Original Xbox Platform RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Original Xbox RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Skyrim Pygmy Sunfish Location: How to Catch It https://www.gameskinny.com/gy83p/skyrim-pygmy-sunfish-location-how-to-catch-it https://www.gameskinny.com/gy83p/skyrim-pygmy-sunfish-location-how-to-catch-it Tue, 23 Nov 2021 09:43:46 -0500 Gavin Burtt

With a brand new creation in the newly-released Anniversary Edition of Skyrimfishing has been added to the already endless list of things to do in this RPG. Of the 24 fish available to catch throughout the game, one that players have been particularly struggling with finding is the Pygmy Sunfish. In this guide, we'll cover where to find it and how to catch it.

Where to Find the Pygmy Sunfish in Skyrim

A complete understanding of the Pygmy Sunfish spawn behavior has yet to be developed, though there are some tips that have been worked out.

One area that has proven to bring success to fishers is the Ancestor Glade, a large cove in the Jerall Mountains in south Skyrim. There is a chance that you may have to have started Dawnguard questline for them to spawn here, though this hasn't been confirmed. This cove is likely your best bet.

Another place that the Pygmy Sunfish has been found is Broken Limb Camp, a giant camp located north-northwest of Darkwater Crossing. The fish has been found in the pool, southwest of the bonfire in this camp, but may also spawn in other pools of water in the area. You're going to want to be careful here, though, as the camp is guarded by a pair of Giants.

Near to this camp, you can also find the Soaking Sulfur Pools Hunter Camp, west of Eldergleam Sanctuary. Here, you can find three hunters bathing in the hot springs, but you may also be able to find the Pygmy Sunfish in those hot springs too. The hunter's will not become hostile unless you steal from them, so avoid doing that and you shouldn't have to worry while fishing here.

How to Catch the Pygmy Sunfish

Fishing spots around Skyrim are indicated by small buckets of fishing supplies alongside the pools of water. In order to fish, simply approach the bucket of supplies with your fishing rod equipped and interact with it. You can then cast your line into the water and wait. If you don't have a fishing rod, you can craft one with an iron ingot and some firewood.

After a second, your rod will start to move a little bit, though you're going to want to wait until it starts to violently vibrating before you start to reel it in. Press the interact button to catch the fish. If you're lucky, it'll be a Pygmy Sunfish. If you can still see water splashing, then there are still fish to be caught in the pool and you can continue.

That's all you should need to know to catch Pygmy Sunfish in Skyrim, but if you're interesting in learning more about the game, you can check out our other Skyrim content in our guides hub!

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Skyrim: How to Get Ebony Mail https://www.gameskinny.com/6n7as/skyrim-how-to-get-ebony-mail https://www.gameskinny.com/6n7as/skyrim-how-to-get-ebony-mail Mon, 15 Nov 2021 10:57:05 -0500 Gavin Burtt

Ebony Mail is sought after by most Skyrim players at one point or another, and it's one you can't make yourself. Ebony Mail is an artifact that can only be obtained through looting. It's one of the few heavy armor types that remains a good choice for stealth missions, and it has the highest defense-to-weight ratio in Skyrim. It ranks fourth, after Daedric, Dragon, and Stalhrim armors in basic armor value, and is lighter than all three.

How to Get Ebony Mail in Skyrim

In order to get this rare artifact, you will need to loot the corpse of the Champion of Boethiah during the "Boethiah's Calling" quest.

The champion is found at Knifepoint Ridge, but if that area is visited at all before the quest is initiated, the armor will unfortunately become unobtainable, as the passageway that leads to the champion will be blocked off by collapsed boulders.

In order to initiate this quest, you will first need to reach level 30. At this point, Boethiah's Proving, one of the many books to read in Skyrim, will begin spawning in numerous locations around the world, which are listed below. The quest will begin once you read the book.

The book can be found:

  • In the Black Book: Untold Legends
  • In Hob's Fall Cave
  • On hostile Boethiah cultists
  • On the bookshelf in Septimus Signus's Outpost
  • In the Markarth abandoned house under the bookshelf in the second room

Once the book is read, the Sacellum of Boethiah will appear on your map. Travel there to meet a priestess who will give you the task of luring someone in to be sacrificed. This "someone" will need to be a humanoid, and is easily done by taking a follower or guild initiate to the Pillar of Sacrifice. This will work for any follower that isn't considered an essential character, and will not work for initiates of the Dark Brotherhood guild.

The poor soul you chose will be stuck to the pillar, and you will have the honor of performing the ritual with a weapon of your choice. The corpse will reanimate, controlled by the Daedric Prince, and will deliver a speech. Shortly thereafter, you will be commanded to fight to the death with the rest of the cultists. 

Stand back and allow them to damage each other until few remain, then jump in and finish them off. Boethiah will take over the corpse of the last person killed, then tell you that she is bored of her current champion, and will order you to kill the gang they run at Knifepoint Ridge.

When you reach the ridge, take out the gang using whichever method you prefer. The Champion of Boethiah who commands the gang will be seen wearing the Ebony Mail, and once they're killed, Boethiah will task you with recovering the armor. You will be declared as the new champion, and the Ebony Mail armor will become yours to keep.

Ebony Mail is one of the coolest types of armors in all of Skyrim, and now you know everything you need to know about acquiring it. If you're interested in learning more about Skyrim, then feel free to check out our other guides at our guides hub!

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The Easiest Way to Get the Halo 2 Scarab Gun Easter Egg https://www.gameskinny.com/62eyf/the-easiest-way-to-get-the-halo-2-scarab-gun-easter-egg https://www.gameskinny.com/62eyf/the-easiest-way-to-get-the-halo-2-scarab-gun-easter-egg Mon, 14 Jun 2021 13:04:27 -0400 Gavin Burtt

Many things make Halo a great series, but the thing that sets it apart the most is its vast catalog of Easter Eggs. The series has no shortage of these, and one of its most popular — the Halo 2 Scarab Gun — is maybe its best. 

Whether you're just looking to play with the legendary hidden weapon or looking to unlock the "Scarab Lord" achievement in the Master Chief Collection, attaining this weapon will be tricky. The traditional method involves luring a banshee all the way through the tunnel on Metropolis, while the new-age method involves using the Feather skull and a rocket launcher to super-launch to the gun.

For this Halo 2 Scarab Gun guide, however, we'll be tackling this Easter Egg with a much more consistent, much cooler method.

How to Reach the Halo 2 Scarab Gun

The Scarab Gun can be found atop a very tall building on the level Metropolis. The method that we'll be using requires two controllers in split-screen on Easy difficulty. You'll use a pelican to fly up to the skull.

Pelicans aren't traditionally pilotable, but by using a glitch called Arbitrary Unit Possession, you can trick the game into spawning you as a marine who can pilot the pelican. 

How to Spawn as a Marine

Load up Metropolis on Easy difficulty in local co-op split-screen with the Envy skull enabled. This skull replaces your flashlight with cloaking, which will be imperative in getting this to work.

As soon as the level loads, enter the warthog to your right with player one and wait for the two marines to hop in. It is very important that you don't shoot, throw grenades, or honk your horn at any point.

Hop into the scorpion with your second player and drive it to the left, towards the corner between the concrete wall and the ledge of the bridge, seen below:

Make sure you are aligned as in the image above, then hold forward and aim about 45 degrees to the right and up. This will allow you to drive partly up the wall, though it can be a bit finicky.

Turn left once you are at the peak of your climb, such that the scorpion is leaning against the other wall. Take your hand off all buttons and the scorpion will slide partly down the wall. Exit the vehicle. The result will be a scorpion resting at a slight upward angle against the left wall.

Exit the warthog with player one and melee your second player to death six times, but be careful not to pick up any of their grenades or weapon drops. After each death, move a few feet to the side, so that they respawn away from their previous corpse. You don't want them picking up old drops either. 

Following the final respawn after the six deaths, have the second player carefully pick up two grenades from the ground and nothing else. Move player two over to the scorpion and have them crouch-walk under it, then towards the lowest point of the tank.

With your first player, jump up on top of the scorpion, then over the edge and off the bridge to your death. If done correctly, you should not respawn, as there is no room around player two to do so. Pause the game and restart the mission.

Enter the warthog and pick up the marines again with player one, then drive to the corner where you previously set up the scorpion. Exit the hog and climb up onto the ledge, but don't jump off the edge yet.

Now, you must progress across the bridge with player two without getting shot at. This means you can't allow the enemies to shoot at all, so you'll have to be sneaky. If you hear a shot of any kind fired at any point (including wraiths, marines, etc.), revert the checkpoint.

Progress along the right side of the bridge to the right of the flipped truck. When you pass it, immediately activate cloaking at the point pictured below and keep running to the next flipped truck.

Keep running forward. The ghosts should ignore you. Once you run past the cab of the red truck, activate cloaking a second time, at the point shown here.

Once you reach the next red truck, hug the right side of the truck and wait for cloaking again. This should be the first time you completely stop moving.

Activate it and run forward and to the right of the white truck ahead. Jump up the incline to your right and hide behind the giant strut on the bridge, as seen below.

Throw two grenades off the cliff, wait for camo, then activate and run forward to the second cable. Crouch here, out of sight, and wait for camo again. Run to the fourth cable, then repeat until you are at the sixth cable.

Wait for camo, then have the player by the warthog jump off the cliff. At the same time that you jump the player off, activate camo with the other player and start jumping and meleeing as you continue to run down the side of the bridge.

Stay to the right of the cables, and even when your camo runs out, keep going, past the wraith. After you've passed four cables, stop jumping and meleeing, but keep running.

Assuming you didn't trigger any enemies to shoot, your second player should now spawn behind you as a marine. The hard part of the trick is now done.

At this point, you are free to shoot as you please. Board the wraith with Chief, kill the driver, then enter the wraith with the marine. Since you are playing as an NPC, the auto-turrets in the wraith will fire for you, and you can boost a lot more frequently, which is pretty neat.

How to Pilot the Pelican

Continue forward until you are in the tunnel and see a warthog appear on your right. Get on the turret with the marine, and in the driver seat with Chief. Drive it up the ramp ahead of you, past the blockade.

The game will keep trying to eject you from the warthog since marines aren't supposed to be in one at this point, but just keep re-entering it. It's essential that the marine is in the warthog when you pass this load zone, otherwise, he can be despawned.

Weave the hog through the debris in this area, then drive up the incline to the right at the end, past the second large blockade. Drive over it, take a right into the small room, then drive through the tunnel ahead and to the left. Continue driving through the level until you reach the section with the two wraiths.

Kill the wraiths, then the snipers that the phantom drops off, and the jackal snipers. At this point, a pelican should swoop in and hover above the bridge closest to the building that you need to enter.

Climb up the stairs to this bridge with the marine and wait for the pelican to come overhead. When it stops, stand underneath the turret at the front, look up and hold the reload button to boot the pilot out. Climb in with the same button and you are free to fly around!

Use the jump button to fly up, and the crouch button to descend. Other than that, the flying controls are the same as a banshee.

Ascend straight up, all the way above the building pictured below. You should be able to see a small orange pylon on the building, with a peculiar plasma rifle sitting atop it. Fly down to it.

This is the Scarab Gun, the most powerful weapon in the series. You can then fly back down to Earth with your newfound superweapon and tear through the rest of the level.

And that's how to get the Halo 2 Scarab Gun Easter egg the easiest way possible. It's still involved, sure, but it's the most effective way to get the gun.You'll even get an achievement for all of your efforts.  

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders Review — A Tactical Blunder https://www.gameskinny.com/ofj1l/kingdom-under-fire-the-crusaders-review-a-tactical-blunder https://www.gameskinny.com/ofj1l/kingdom-under-fire-the-crusaders-review-a-tactical-blunder Mon, 02 Mar 2020 17:49:06 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

These days, it's tough to have a surprise release, but developer Blueside seems to have done it with a PC port of the 2004 cult-classic Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders. Releasing 16 years after its initial Xbox drop certainly qualifies as a surprise.

The Crusaders is a game that I was aware of but never played on its original release, and I was excited to dive in and see what this port was all about.

However, don't expect some massive remaster here with all sorts of newfangled options. Besides a few quality of life upgrades (like supporting modern resolutions), this release of Kingdom Under Fire is the exact same game you would have played almost two decades ago.

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders Review — A Tactical Blunder

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders is a combination of two different genres: hack-and-slash action and real-time tactics. Initially, the game might seem rather shallow, with the tutorial missions lulling you into a false sense of security. But there is a lot to think about as you lead your armies into battle.

Once you encounter a foe on the battlefield, the action zooms in, allowing you to take control of the leader of your forces, slicing your way through the opposing army in third-person action.

The hack-and-slash sections will be familiar to anyone who played games from this original time period as it was an extremely popular genre in the early 2000s. You have a few different attack buttons, a block button, and a few specialty attacks. You can chain together some combos and seek out elite foes to turn the tide of battle, but these sections are relatively mindless and get boring fairly quickly.

The tactical sections are pretty ambitious considering Kingdom Under Fire is originally a console game (and it still very much plays like one). You adjust your army's formation on the fly, counter enemy troops, utilize flanking maneuvers and sneak attacks, and even use weather patterns to your advantage. You can also upgrade your troops between missions; upgrades that are certainly necessary but don't generally make enough impact to be all that exciting.

All of this is done with an Xbox controller. There is an option to use a mouse and keyboard, including a near-constant reminder about what key to press to pull up an overlay, but after a few goes at it, I gave up. This is a game made for consoles, and even the voiceover tutorials reference which Xbox button to press.

Death Metal

All of this action is set against the backdrop of an extremely generic fantasy setting with extremely generic characters. Early on, your army consists of Generic Goodman, Sexy Sword Lady, and Beefy Dumb-Dumb. They lead a troop of identical-looking soldiers against other groups of identical-looking soldiers. The first army you fight is a bunch of ladies in thong armor, because of course, it is. And many enemies spout one-liners and say they're "surprised" without sounding like it.

Production values for video games were very different in 2004, but there are a lot of issues with Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders that remind you exactly when this game was made, and why things have changed since. 

When zoomed out, characters look fine. When zoomed in, well, dear lord. Anytime characters speak, their mouths move in bizarre slow motion no matter what they are saying. Their eyes are black pits. Characters clip in and out of one another with abandon.

It's hard to criticize a game from almost 20 years ago by saying, "It looks bad." But it just does.

If you just scrolled down to the comments to write, "Because the soundtrack is badass, dummy," then I must admit that you are correct. Kingdom Under Fire has a very awesome heavy metal soundtrack that plays almost constantly. Credits, battles, cutscenes, it doesn't matter: this is a game that sounds like how the cover of a Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook looks. 

Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders Review — The Bottom Line

  • Awesome soundtrack
  • Surprisingly deep tactics
  • Was (probably) technologically impressive in its time?
  • Hack-and-slash gameplay gets bland
  • Generic stories and characters
  • Has been surpassed by many other games
  • Straight port leaves a lot to be desired

It feels like the PC port of Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders could have benefited greatly from a bit more remastering. It seems like a game that had some fine ideas back in the day, but both genres it tackles have moved on to bigger and better things in the time it has been away.

The hack-and-slash sections lack the variety to stay interesting, and the tactical sections are impressive for a console game but feel clunky and hamstrung on PC.

2004 me probably would have loved sitting down at a friends house and cracking some skulls in Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders. If this is a game that you fondly remember playing, the PC port will undoubtedly hit some nostalgia buttons. For everyone else, I just don't think you'll get too much out of it.

Check out the soundtrack though: it's bangin'.

[Note: A copy of Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders was provided by Blueside for the purpose of this review.]

The Best Core Weapons in Halo History https://www.gameskinny.com/u5lyc/the-best-core-weapons-in-halo-history https://www.gameskinny.com/u5lyc/the-best-core-weapons-in-halo-history Wed, 11 Dec 2019 15:57:35 -0500 John Schutt


The Assault Rifle


There's a lot of vanilla Halo on this list, but that's where most of the broken weapons lived. The original AR wasn't a world-beater in a game where that pistol lived, but no other version had nearly the magazine size and therefore sheer bullet-hose potential.


60 rounds. That was how many bullets you could lay into someone before needing a single reload. Later titles cut that number to almost half, in addition to cutting the damage slightly.


It was a sad day when the Halo 3 assault rifle made its debut. If nothing else, these significant nerfs were a sign of how powerful the weapon had been at one point, even in a game filled with powerful weapons.




Let us know what memories you made with the best weapons in Halo history.


Now I'm looking forward to the PC release of Halo Combat Evolved so I can return to Blood Gulch and do... well, Blood Gulch things.


You know the ones. 


For more Halo, be sure to check our review of Halo Reach Remastered, Bungie's multiplayer masterclass. 


The Sniper Rifle


I'm bending the rules a little bit here, but the best Sniper Rifle ultimately comes down to personal preference. Appearance, sound, ease/skill of use, where you started in the franchise — all of these factor into which sniper is your #1. 


For me, I think the Halo: Reach sniper is my favorite. I know it's not everyone's choice, but I like the bass of the shot, the clicks of the ejection and reload, and the snappiness of a good headshot across a map. 


Halo 4 and Halo 3 also have good snipers, and I think I like the sound of 4's is the best, but the total package doesn't do it for me. 


The Shotgun


Out of pistol ammo? That would be a problem if you don't have the original shotgun from Halo Combat Evolved.


If you do have it, well, everything is fine. Every living thing within five meters will be dead momentarily. 


The original Halo's shotgun could and would kill to a ludicrous distance, had plenty of ammo, and employed just the right amount of speed to its reload. Even better, it had style, gave off a chunky sound when fired, and allowed for a quick melee follow up if anything was still moving after eating a load of buckshot.


Other games might have had better aesthetics for their shotguns, but nothing beats death by a thousand pellets.


The Battle Rifle


On its introduction in Halo 2, the battle rifle — BR for short — became an instant hit. Generous, but not overbearing, auto-aim, and low time to kill paired with a healthy magazine and hitscan mechanics quickly elevated the BR to legendary quality long before Halo 3 was a twinkle in gamers' eyes.


What differentiated the Halo 2 BR from its counterparts in later entries, including the remaster by 343, were the various button glitches players could exploit to make the weapon even deadlier. The best players could do things more casual players could only dream of. 


The Pistol


There's no contest here. You could — and everyone did — snipe other players across the largest Halo maps with the pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved. If you played Blood Gulch, you were sniped by a pistol. And you sniped with the pistol.


It was just how things worked. 


The pistol's power came from a near-complete lack of recoil and little if any damage falloff. Add in semi-automatic fire and a low time to kill and a healthy store of ammo, and you've got yourself a killing machine without peer.


The Halo franchise is almost 20 years, and in that time, players have had the chance to use a number of different weapons and have had to deal with even more frequent weapon changes. Between each series entry, developers Bungie or 343 Industries tuned the arsenal to their liking, causing the occasional community outcry in the process.


Still, there is a solid core of Halo weaponry anyone familiar with the series knows and loves: the pistol, battle rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, assault rifle. And throughout the series, each gun in this noble arsenal has seen a king; it's the most powerful version that would be reduced to nothing in future titles.


Here, we catalog the best weapons in all of Halo, focusing specifically on the core group mentioned above. We've listed the best power weapons separately. 

Metal Wolf Chaos XD Launches in August https://www.gameskinny.com/h4iux/metal-wolf-chaos-xd-launches-in-august https://www.gameskinny.com/h4iux/metal-wolf-chaos-xd-launches-in-august Wed, 03 Jul 2019 14:10:10 -0400 Erroll Maas

Devolver Digital has officially announced via Twitter that From Software's formerly Japan-exclusive mech action title, Metal Wolf Chaos XD, will launch for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One on August 6.

The publisher also released a, which can be seen above. 

It has been said that Metal Wolf Chaos XD will feature upgraded visuals, refined controls and gameplay, a new save system, and 4K and 16:9 support for a modern display.

Players who purchase the game will also receive an exclusive mech skin, which depends on what platform upon which it's purchased. Additionally, those who pre-order on PlayStation 4 will receive an exclusive theme.

Metal Wolf Chaos stars fictional 47th U.S. President Michael Wilson as he takes on U.S. Vice President Richard Hawk, who has conquered the country with an army of mechs. Using a mech of his own, it's Wilson's sworn duty to take the country back, no matter what.

Metal Wolf Chaos was originally released in Japan for the original Xbox on December 22, 2004. Despite only being released in Japan, the game is notable for its cheesy voice acting.

In a Gamescom 2018 interview with Famitsu, Producer Yatsutaka Ogura revealed that Metal Wolf Chaos was originally supposed to release worldwide, but did not due to sensitive timing after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD was first officially announced during Devolver Digital's Press Briefing for E3 2018 with a release window for later that year, until it was delayed to mid-2019. Prior to E3 2019, it was announced that the release date would not be revealed until after the event. 

A Famitsu article claimed the game would also be coming to Nintendo Switch, but corrected this false information via Twitter.

Top 20 best Xbox 360 Backwards Compatible Games (So Far) https://www.gameskinny.com/p3ego/top-20-best-xbox-360-backwards-compatible-games-so-far https://www.gameskinny.com/p3ego/top-20-best-xbox-360-backwards-compatible-games-so-far Thu, 02 Aug 2018 13:33:26 -0400 Joseph Ocasio


Mass Effect 2


It's no secret that the original Mass Effect was one of the best role-playing games of its day. However, it hasn't really aged well. Mass Effect 2, however, has aged like fine wine.


The gunplay is improved over the original, the story is much more action packed, the characters are incredibly developed and complex, and it still has some of the best art design in all of gaming. 


Mass Effect 2 is the reason why I play video games -- and I'm not the only one who feels that way. Mass Effect may be dead, but legends like Mass Effect 2 will always live on.




Was there a game we missed?  If so, leave a comment below and let us know why. With so many games, it's easy for us to miss one or two of them.


Gears of War 3


The original Gears of War reinvented third-person shooters back in 2006, but the last game in the original trilogy was the one that perfected it.


Gears of War 3 takes everything you loved about the original series and pumps it up to 11. With great gunplay, amazing set pieces, and touching moments that will make even the manliest man tear up, Gears of War 3 is the pinnacle of the series. 


Red Dead: Redemption


After GTA IV, Rockstar took somewhat of a left turn, releasing a game that surprised everyone: Red Dead: Redemption.


Implementing the gameplay that made GTA so great, and using a setting such as the Old West, was one of the best idea's the developer has ever had. Along with an improved combat system over GTA IV and a compelling story of betrayal (and an ending that may make you cry), Redemption still remains a fan favorite and we can't wait to get our hands on the upcoming sequel.


Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD


With many fans playing Metal Gear Solid 3, a few may have been lost with some of the characters introduced in Metal Gear Solid 5. 


If you aren't familiar with characters like Paz, Kaz, or Huey, MGS: Peace Walker HD will catch you up. Along with the trademark storytelling that the series is known,  this entry in the series was the "blueprints" to what would eventually become MGS 5's excellent gameplay. That alone is worth checking this one out.


Dead Space 2


The original Dead Space was an excellent mixture of Resident Evil 4 and Event Horizon. Combining the backtracking, tension, and gunplay of the former with the ideal location of a spaceship in the middle of nowhere, Dead Space created something special.


The sequel expands upon this by allowing players to explore the blood-drenched floors of the space station, Sprawl. Dead Space 2's narrative may be a bit less interesting than the original, but truly great gameplay, excellent tension, and outstanding production make this a horror classic.


Alan Wake


If you love Steven King or Twin Peaks, then you'll probably love Alan Wake. As the eponymous character, you'll be shoved into a shifting, real-world nightmare as you puzzle out the secrets of an otherworldly town while attempting to rescue your wife from supernatural forces.


Mixing eerie storytelling and a creepy atmosphere (with the unique use of light as a combat mechanic and excellent gunplay), Alan Wake is one of the 360's more under-appreciated games.


Oh, and did I mention you can it for free if you buy Quantum Break?


Assassin's Creed


The original Assassin's Creed help start the open-world trend that many games still attempt to capitalize on, even other franchises that Ubisoft owns. It may feel old when compared to later installments and it can get extremely repetitive, but its core exploration-based gameplay and level design is still strong.


It also has a world that no game has ever been set in and an engaging story that still holds up after all these years. With the series exploring prequels in its latest installments, it's worth going back and seeing where it all began. 


Batman: Arkham Origins


Batman: Arkham Origins gets a bad rap for not doing anything different with the formula that it's predecessors laid out -- and that's true. Despite that, it tells a great Batman/Joker story, has engaging combat, and has some of the best boss fights in any video game.


Arkham Origins may only be available on disk, but it shouldn't be missed for Bat-fans craving more time in the Arkham-verse.


Deus Ex: Human Revolution


After years of hibernation, Deus Ex finally returned with Human Revolution. By allowing players to choose a specific gameplay style (either guns blazing or sneaking about), this excellent RPG managed to capture the original's spirit while not being afraid to try different things.


Human Revolution also managed to tell an intriguing story of government conspiracy and revenge. The sequel may be better in nearly every way, but this adventure is still an unforgettable tale that's worth experiencing. 




Grand Theft Auto's debut on last-gen machines may not be its best installment (the driving is still a pain in the ass), but the changes it made to story and gameplay, as well as the inclusion of multiplayer that's even more addictive than GTA Online, makes this one of the series' best installments.


Nikko's story of revenge still holds a place in many people's hearts, as it is easily the most grounded and relatable story in a GTA game. Top that with the same open world gameplay that's made GTA a household name and you've got yourself a winner.


Beyond Good and Evil HD


Technically an HD version of an Xbox game, Beyond Good and Evil HD still counts as it's the only way to play this classic game on consoles.


Jade's adventure has touched many gamers in the years since the game's release, and it still holds up with its solid mixture of gameplay types. With a sequel currently in development, it's the perfect time to replay this cult classic adventure.


Splinter Cell: Blacklist


After the action focused Conviction, Ubisoft listened to fans and was able to tailor Blacklist to what many players wanted: the ability to choose their own style of play.


By combining the gameplay mechanics and urgency of the previous game and the slower and more methodical style of Chaos Theory, Blacklist was able to cater to both newcomers and long-time veterans of the series.


It's shame that Sam hasn't been around in while, but his recent appearance in Ghost Recon: Wildlands gives us hope for a comeback. 


Hitman Absolution


Hitman Absolution took some risks with the typical gameplay of the long running series. While some changes, like more linear sections, didn't work so well, its change to a more Grindhouse style of storytelling and inclusion of the instinct meter were welcomed.


Absolution also contains some of the series' best kills, such as switching BBQ sauce with Gasoline. It's easily Hitman at it's most cinematic and most accessible -- more so than any title in the series.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2


There's little doubt that Call of Duty is a defining franchise. But Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 did a lot of different things with the franchise -- and they payed off.


From the ability to make choices that changed the game's story to a futuristic setting and a villain that's actually intimidating, Black Ops 2 made for the best CoD game since the original Modern Warfare.


Not all additions, like Strike Force missions, are winners, but it's still a game that's worth playing. 


Sonic Generations


Probably the last Sonic game both critics and fans can agree on was good (well, except for the recently-released Sonic Mania), Sonic Generations let's players relive some of Sonic's best memories in new ways, while also acting as a great tribute to the entire franchise.


With classic Sonic platforming action and fast paced modern Sonic gameplay, it's still a great title that only has one crime: being too short. 


Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon


Do you love the 80's? Do you love shooting dinosaurs and neon-psychedelic henchmen? Then this version of FC3 just what you've been looking for. You even get to go around shooting baddies with Robocop's gun!


However, the 80's love doesn't stop there. Blood Dragon is so drenched in 80's nostalgia that it's the Ready Player One of video games. It may be short, but Blood Dragon still has the classic Far Cry gameplay, just colored in a retro vibe. And that ain't half-bad.




Another Platinum Games title that many didn't pick up when it was first released, Vanquish has one of the best campaigns in shooter history, an excellent sense of speed, and wonderful slide mechanics that other shooters tried to implement, but did so with varying results.


It may be a little on the short side, but it still works thanks to great gameplay, a wonderful visual aesthetic, and Platinum Games' trademark over-the-top set pieces. Give this one a shot. 




Though it was thought to just be "that game that came with the Halo 3 beta," Crackdown quickly gained a large fallowing thanks to its open-world gameplay, gripping character abilities, and one of the best radio sidekicks of all time.


Thanks to Xbox One X, Crackdown looks and plays even better than before. It can even run at 4K if you have the capability.


Long story short, you'll want to check out this classic Xbox game before it's third installment comes out next year.




Though her heart and sequels may be with Nintendo these days, and her first adventure has started showing a few signs of age, the original Bayonetta still offers plenty of hack and slash action that will please fans of action games and the hack and slash genre.


Bayonetta has some of the craziest boss fights in gaming history, and its battles are fierce (your thumbs will definitely get a workout). If you love character-based action games like Devil May Cry (but crazier), you owe it to yourself to check this one out.


Lost Odyssey


As one of a few JRPGs Microsoft produced to generate interest in the Xbox 360 in Japan, Lost Odyssey is a game that many fans of the genre overlooked.


Created by famed JRPG maker Hironobu Sakaguichi and his team at Mistwalker studios, Lost Odyssey does a lot of things right. While using basic frameworks from other games in the genre, Lost Odyssey still works thanks to its strong characters, excellent art design, and a functional combat system. 


If there's one thing the Xbox One has over the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, it's backwards compatibility. Sure, the PS4 has its streaming service (PlayStation Now) for playing PS3 games, but the relatively high price and often fuzzy visual quality isn't as consumer friendly as people may want it to be. And, of course, the Switch doesn't have Virtual Console, so ... 


Playing old games on your current system without having to pay some kind of Netflix-like membership is a much better alternative -- and it does a better job of helping the medium retain its physical history, too. 


With more than 300 titles currently getting the backwards compatibility treatment on the Xbox, picking only 10 games wasn't good enough. For this list, we're looking at 20 of the best Xbox 360 games you can play on your Xbox One right now.


There are only two caveats. One, the games in question can't be available in the form of a remaster -- so don't expect the Halo series, the original Gears of War, Burnout Paradise, etc) as they can be played on Xbox One with numerous improvements. And two, we're only looking at one game per franchise.


With that said, let's get started.

Another 10 Badass Video Game Characters You Shouldn't Mess With https://www.gameskinny.com/v3fsf/another-10-badass-video-game-characters-you-shouldnt-mess-with https://www.gameskinny.com/v3fsf/another-10-badass-video-game-characters-you-shouldnt-mess-with Thu, 26 Jul 2018 10:25:41 -0400 Edgar Wulf


Ryo Hazuki

Shenmue (1999)

Shenmue's Ryo Hazuki may not be the most skilled fighter, but he gets the job done.


After being forced onto a path of revenge, Ryo must evolve from a regular, impulsive teenager into an imposing martial artist, learning new moves and styles from masters across Japan and Hong Kong. Ultimately, he develops his body and spirit to face the ultimate adversary, Lan Di. After almost two decades, his story is yet to reach its finale.




That is it for this list. If you think a character is missing, they may be on the original list. If they're not, then comment down below on who you would like to see and, as always, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more badass compilations.


Kazuma Kiryu

Yakuza (2005)

This man has been through it all; he has felled numerous skilled fighters, dealt with a thief of female underwear, and even taken care of a baby. A chairman of the highly respected Tojo Clan, Kazuma Kiryu is a master in many fields, including martial arts, which he gracefully employs to protect his friends, children, and simply beat up random punks on streets who annoy him. 


Yakuza's Kiryu has a distinctive dragon tattoo covering his back, he enjoys drinking whiskey, fishing, and singing karaoke. Call him.


John Marston

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Perhaps one of the most tragic heroes in gaming, John Marston knows the definition of dire straits all too well. Compelled to reunite with his family, who are being held captive by the government, Marston embarks on a harrowing journey through the chaos-sphere that is the Wild West. 


He is an outlaw -- a criminal, even -- and has no doubt committed numerous questionable deeds. But despite that, it is almost impossible to not relate with his noble intentions.


Red Dead Redemption's John is a deadly sharpshooter -- especially during his signature "Dead Eye" mode -- and takes down many opposing factions on his quest which, ultimately and unfortunately, leads to a bittersweet conclusion



The Last of Us (2013)

Ellie might seem harmless enough; after all, she is just a child in the original The Last of Us. Past experiences and many gruesome events, however, have conditioned her to become a merciless killer -- being able to stand up for herself and those she cares about.


She learns that, in a world where nobody can be trusted, a switchblade and a sniper rifle are your best friends. Them, and that Joel guy who has taught her how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by monsters. That helps, too. 



Doom (1993)

Not the fanciest name for someone who rips demons apart with his bare hands, but, thankfully, actions speak much louder than words. Doomguy is the eternally silent protagonist of the Doom series, one of the most historically significant franchises in the industry.


He is agile, brutally strong, and remorseless; he doesn't have a love interest, though he may or may not have a special relationship with his signature chainsaw or destroying hordes of Hellspawn.



Darksiders II (2012)

Death is the main character in the sequel to Darksiders, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and a brother to the first game's protagonist: War. He uses stylish scythes to slice and dice his opponents while employing stylish, yet devastating combos to come out victorious. He even transforms into a terrifying reaper to finish off his most resilient foes.


The mask -- which Death never removes -- is not only for aesthetics: it adds a depth of mystery to the character, making him even more badass. 



Devil May Cry (2001)

Dante's twin brother -- Vergil -- is already featured on our first list of 10 Most Badass Video Game Characters, but Dante deserves a spot just as much, if not more, than his brother. 


Possessing the enhancing power to transform into a demon -- much like his evil sibling -- Devil May Cry's Dante gives preference to oversized swords. However, he never lets go of his trusty handguns (Ebony and Ivory), which he uses to soften enemies up before cutting them into pieces.


At times, Dante may act somewhat cocky and playful, but he always backs it up with unprecedented skill.


Big Boss

Metal Gear (1987)

Solid Snake may be considered the main protagonist of the Metal Gear Solid series, but let's face it: he wouldn't even exist without Big Boss.


Boss' first appearance was in the original Metal Gear, though he didn't become a playable character until much later when Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was released. An unfortunate encounter with his former mentor leaves him with countless bruises, dislocated joints, and broken bones; later on, he even gets his eye shot out.


Despite all that, he manages to complete his mission, earning him the legendary title -- Big Boss. The rest, as they say, is history. 


Aranea Highwind

Final Fantasy XV (2016)

This gorgeous blonde may very well be the most stylish Final Fantasy character in over a decade. She joins Final Fantasy XV's party of heroes as a dominating force -- however briefly -- and adds an amusing flavor to their conversations.


Aranea dons stylish battle armor and employs an impressively-sized lance during combat, which, of course, decimates her opponents. Beautiful, confident, and strong, Aranea Highwind is not hesitant to take on multiple foes at once -- and deals with them in brutal, timely fashion.


Ada Wong

Resident Evil 2 (1998)

Ada first appears in Resident Evil 2 as a supporting character, but she later plays a much more significant role in Resident Evil 4, where she receives her own story scenario: Separate Ways.


Her personality and background are rather mysterious, though she seems to have an affection toward a certain someone (ahem). Ada tends to prefer lightweight, conventional weaponry like handguns and machine guns, but when push comes to shove, she is also a deceptively skilled hand-to-hand combatant.


In a franchise full of badass characters, Ada often gets overlooked by casual fans, which is just too bad. 


As it turns out, our original list of the 10 most badass video game characters needs an update. I mean, there are more than 10 badass characters in the pantheon of gaming. Surprising, right?


That is why we decided to whip up a follow-up list including more of those badasses; 10 more, to be precise. Some of these characters are defined by superhuman strength, some by unique traits, some by the armory of weapons they possess, and some by the events they've endured. Ultimately, they are all bound by the same uncanny traits: individually completing meaningful tasks, defeating their enemies and, basically, getting sh** done.


Much like our original list, this one is based on two simple criteria:

  • Only one character per franchise (per individual list)
  • \n
  • The character is playable at any point in the particular series in question or must represent a playable party of characters
  • \n

Let's get started. 

Devolver Digital Teases Potential Metal Wolf Chaos Remaster https://www.gameskinny.com/x95sz/devolver-digital-teases-potential-metal-wolf-chaos-remaster https://www.gameskinny.com/x95sz/devolver-digital-teases-potential-metal-wolf-chaos-remaster Fri, 08 Jun 2018 12:58:20 -0400 Erroll Maas

Devolver Digital has teased Metal Wolf Chaos by tweeting the presidential seal found in the game (seen below).

Originally released for the Xbox in Japan in 2004, Metal Wolf Chaos is a third-person mecha shooter developed by FromSoftware. It stars fictional president, Michael Wilson, as he goes on a mission to save the country from the evil Vice President, Richard Hawk, who has taken over the country in a coup d'etat.

The game was never released in English despite having English dialogue.

In January, Devolver Digital contacted FromSoftware via Twitter regarding Metal Wolf Chaos. A possible upcoming announcement of a localization or remaster may have been the end result.

Devolver Digital will host their E3 2018 press conference on June 10 at 8:00 p.m. PST. It will be the company's second E3 conference, after previously hosting one last year.

Make sure to keep an eye on GameSkinny for more E3 2018 news and updates.

The Thing: One of the Greatest Film-to-Game Adaptations Ever Made https://www.gameskinny.com/yagp5/the-thing-one-of-the-greatest-film-to-game-adaptations-ever-made https://www.gameskinny.com/yagp5/the-thing-one-of-the-greatest-film-to-game-adaptations-ever-made Wed, 09 May 2018 14:53:52 -0400 Edgar Wulf

Few may know that John Carpenter's horror classic The Thing, released in 1982, received a direct sequel -- in the form of a video game. Developed by the now defunct Computer Artworks and published by Konami and Vivendi Universal, The Thing was released on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2. Despite being well-received both critically and commercially, the game has not been made available on any other platform since.

My first introduction to the game was around early 2002, when I read about it in a magazine. Being a huge horror fan, I was immediately attracted to The Thing, even though I knew nothing about the movie at the time; I vividly remember a promotional screenshot in which the main character, Blake, is wielding two weapons and engaging a heavily disfigured monstrosity in combat. I was eager to play this game and got it shortly after release, a game I had no business playing in my early teens (the game is rated M). Luckily my mom didn't mind (thanks, mom). I loved The Thing back then, but fast-forward over 15 years -- does it do the movie justice?

Where Were You Childs?

The story picks up shortly after the events of the 1982 movie, as a small team of U.S. Special Forces arrives at the remains of Outpost 31. With Captain Blake at the forefront, whom you will control throughout the game, the team is sent to survey the camp in search of potential survivors and clues as to what might have caused the camp's downfall. The story doesn't offer much in terms of substance, but it does a good job of leading you through many desolate locations, both familiar and new, including Outpost 31 and Thule Station. Many characters, events, and objects from the movie are also referenced, forming a strong bond between both the film and the game, and masterfully creating the impression of a singular, coherent universe.

The Thing is a third-person shooter mixed with some very basic squad-command capabilities. Your squad is, aside from Blake himself, composed of morons; three kinds of moron -- the soldier, the engineer, and the medic. Soldiers will, for the most part, pretend that they are inflicting damage on enemies while you do all the hard work. Engineers can unlock door mechanisms and hack terminals. Medics can heal either Blake or another squad member, but they can't heal themselves (the irony) and will quickly go into a mental breakdown if presented with even a minor threat. All of them are susceptible to fear and have a certain sanity threshold. If you don't address their mental well-being for too long, they may pose a threat to their comrades or even commit suicide. Many of these events, however, are scripted, so don't expect to save them all. Commands can be issued based on their abilities, alongside some simple ones like stay or follow. However, they won't do anything unless they trust you. Trust can be earned by giving squad members weapons or ammo, and also ... providing proof that you're still human.

Nobody Trusts Anybody Now

Relatively early in the game, you will acquire what is known as the Blood Test Kit. With it, you can check whether or not a squad member has been taken over by an extraterrestrial entity. If the syringe explodes, prepare for battle, as it will trigger whomever was being tested to change into a Walker -- a mutilated alien form roughly resembling a human -- and attack anyone in sight. You can also use the kit on yourself to prove that you are still human and gain your squad's trust as a result.

Combat makes up a large portion of gameplay and is decent, albeit flawed. The main problem comes from the inability to aim; once an enemy is in vicinity, a target reticle will appear around them, and all you need to do is point in that direction and shoot. Some bullets will hit, some won't; shooting in short bursts seems to be more accurate. You can aim properly only when in first-person mode, to kill hard-to-reach enemies, but you can't move in this mode and thus become vulnerable. All of this, thankfully, does not impede progression as most enemies, aside from bosses, are quite easy to deal with. However, there are the already mentioned Walkers, and they are slightly more complex. They come in several differing types, each more disfigured than the last, and generally require the same strategy. The goal is to bring their health low enough with gunfire, indicated by the target reticle turning red, and then finish them off with an incendiary weapon -- a flamethrower will do nicely. All of that considered, combat isn't bad, it isn't boring, it's just very simplistic and unlikely to challenge you or bring the satisfaction of victory.

Final Thoughts

So combat is mediocre, and the story serves mostly as an opportunity to revisit some familiar locations and, to a certain degree, experience the movie's atmosphere through an interactive medium. What makes the game stand out, even today, is the trust mechanic, which is a core principle in John Carpenter's story. You can never know for sure if the guy you just gave a flamethrower to is not intent on ripping you apart once the opportunity presents itself. In addition, each ally's fluctuating sanity means that they can become a liability in a crucial moment, and you must always remain aware of that. These mechanics, along with its dedication to the source material, are what places The Thing among the best movie-based video games ever made.

Perhaps somewhat unfortunately, The Thing is only available in physical format on the same platforms for which it was originally released. The good news is that a used copy, for either platform, shouldn't set back your budget by too much. The game also provides a greater closure to the overall plot, should you wish for it, and despite some of its shortcomings, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the movie.

Have you watched the movie or played the game? Let us know about your impressions in the comments below!

8 Games With Alternative Timelines You Should Play https://www.gameskinny.com/y8lyr/8-games-with-alternative-timelines-you-should-play https://www.gameskinny.com/y8lyr/8-games-with-alternative-timelines-you-should-play Wed, 14 Feb 2018 15:32:50 -0500 Alberto C.


Whether set in a nuclear wasteland or a cyberpunk megacity, alternative timeline games allows to us wonder and drift on about potential outcomes in history while still keeping one foot within reality.


Know of any games that portray alternative timelines that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.


Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon


If there's only thing nuclear technology has given us besides cheap electricity, nuclear waste, and big bombs, it's games based on a post-apocalyptic era. But don't worry, this one isn't focused on the consequences of nuclear fallout.


Fan of the 80's vision of what the future would be like? Also a fan of cheesy commentary, comedic narrative, running-n-gunning gameplay complemented by power moves, lasers, and power-bows? if so, you're in for a treat.


What was thought to be an April Fool's joke ended up becoming one of the most unexpected and awesome expansions in recent gaming history. Ditching the more serious undertone of Far Cry 3, this stand-alone expansion used the same engine and gameplay mechanics while completely revamping the visuals and giving us a new story set in a dystopian world of 2007 by 1980s standards.


Taking the role of cybernetic super-soldier Rex Power, your mission is to stop an elite agent-gone-rogue who plans to transform the world into a prehistoric version. To do so, you'll need the assistance of Dr. Darling as you save scientists, fight off the rogue agent's army, and kill dinosaurs that roam the environment -- all while collecting cybernetic hearts, performing power moves, and enhancing your skills through a leveling system.


I mean if lasers, cheesy commentary, cybernetics, power moves, and dinosaurs doesn't convince to play this game, I'm not sure what else I could tell you.


Freedom Fighters


If you enjoyed the theme of Wolfenstein's reboot but got tired of shooting the same old Nazis and their augmentated soldiers, Freedom Fighters will be of interest.


Much like in Wolfenstein, you play the role of a resistance fighter fighting for American independence, only this time you're fighting the Soviet troops occupying New York. And instead of being an agent for an intelligence organization of the U.S. government, you're a plumber. Yes, a plumber.


In a world where the Soviet Union first acquired nuclear weapons and swiftly ended World War 2 by nuking Berlin, the United States found itself at a disadvantage and eventually was surrounded by communist nations that facilitated a full-out invasion of the country. As a simple plumber who was on his way to see a client, the player goes from wielding a wrench at one moment to full-time resistance, mowing down Soviet troops with AK's with the hope of liberating the city.




Nazis are bad. Nazis messing with experimental technology and supernatural powers can only be worse. If you ever wondered what it would be like if Nazi Germany had not lost World War 2, the Wolfenstein series is the franchise for you.


However, the series has two plots you should take into account if are considering giving the franchise a shot. Up to and including Wolfenstein (2009), the stories take place during World War 2, and you play as famous agent of the Office of Secret Actions B.J. Blaskowicz, who is sent deep behind enemy lines to investigate experiments and paranormal activity conducted by the Paranormal Division of the SS.


Since the series reboot in 2014, the plot revolves around a world in which Nazi Germany was victorious in successfully defeating the United States and its allies and is now acting as an occupying force in the continental United States. Still playing as Blaskowicz, you lead a resistance fight against the Nazi occupiers, who have augmented their forces with bizarre technology.


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl


The incidents of Three Mile Island and the Chernobyl Disaster were significant enough to raise public skepticism towards nuclear power, but both were a cakewalk compared to S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s setting.


As you can guess, the game takes place in the Ukrainian area that was affected by the Chernobyl Disaster where humans, if present at all, live a hazardous life of survival fighting off other humans and mutants severely affected by the nuclear fallout of the power plant.


Once again, game developers in the East delivered us a post-apocalyptic nuclear scenario FPS combined with survival and horror elements.




Another heavyweight franchise whose original title is now over 10 years old, Bioshock distinguished itself from so many other titles at the same for being a great combination of RPG and FPS gameplay mechanics that were supported by one of the most unique storylines and settings in gaming.


The original game takes place in the 1960s and puts you in the shoes of a plane crash survivor who, by apparent sheer luck, finds a lighthouse and gains access to a secret underwater city known as Rapture. The city is the product of utopian visionary and businessman Andrew Ryan, who is also isolated from the surface. By the time you arrive, the whole city is anything but utopian, with the remaining survivors tearing each other apart.


Bioshock's story is complemented by an art design and visual approach that resemble 1960s architecture, style, and technology in such a memorable way as to make its imagery easily recognizable even a decade later.




Deus Ex


Deus Ex might be set a few decades from now, but its backstory is one of conspiracies and power politics that go back hundreds of years. The Illuminati play a major role in this background as a mighty organization with power that supersedes that of nations themselves, including the US government.


Set in a near future where human augmentation through cybernetics is a common sight, Deus Ex titles have you fulfilling roles ranging from ex-SWAT security managers working for corporations to rookie anti-terrorist agents of the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition.


Deus Ex's plots are blacklights for any conspiracy theorist enthusiast that will take you through twisted storylines and plot twists in a Blade Runner-esque universe where actors like the Illuminati, governments, international organizations, and multinational corporations are in a fight for survival with each another.


Avoiding spoilers as much as possible in case any reader might just want to pick it up for the first time, we can tell you that the chronological storyline order of the games is not the same as their release dates. The latest titles of the series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided were published in 2011 and 2016 respectively, and both take place before the events of the original Deus Ex itself. So if the outdated graphics of the original seem too off-putting, perhaps the enticement of continuing the story after the latest games will convince you to try it out anyways.




Metro 2033


There are quite a few games out there that hypothesize the consequences if the Cold War had turned into a hot one. In the RTS genre notably, titles like Wargame and World in Conflict portrayed scenarios where Soviet and NATO forces faced each other head on. Metro parted from a similar idea.


The backstory of Metro 2033 is one where Russia, presumably along with the rest of the planet, is now suffering the consequences of the aftermath of nuclear warfare that took place two decades earlier. You play the role of Artyom, one of the survivors of the initial onslaught who sought refuge in one of the subway stations of Moscow. As a member of the underground community, you venture beyond the safe zones to advance the storyline and battle both rival human factions and mutants alike.


Metro's story is not just one you should play because of the interesting post-apocalyptic setting (the Fallout franchise fills in that checkbox pretty well too), but because the perspective of playing as a Russian is rare enough, and playing as a Russian survivor in a post-apocalyptic nuclear world is absolutely unique in itself. The story and gameplay developed by Eastern gaming enthusiasts 4A Games gives us a significantly different experience from the more Hollywood-ish franchises developed in the West. The game was such a success in both Russia and the Western market that the third title of the franchise is currently in development and set to be released later this year.




In addition to solid gameplay mechanics and making possible the development of mods that went on to become franchises of their own, the Half-Life series gave us a story that was identical in terms of historical development ... right until you started the campaign.


Set in the shoes of a "simple" scientist working at a research facility, you start the game doing the mudane things every other working person does: talking to coworkers, putting on your work clothes, going through security checkpoints, etc. ... And then all hell breaks loose when you and your geek squad accidentally open a portal to another dimension that is dominated by a multidimensional empire bent on conquering everything they can.


If this premise isn't interesting enough, the second installment is even more intriguing by informing you that the multidimensional empire, The Combine, managed to defeat the whole Earth in less than a day. You go from MIT-educated scientist running around a top-secret research facility in one game to fighting guerilla warfare and inflitrating Combine strongholds in the second.


The Half-Life universe portrayed an alternate version of Earth that was subjugated by an alien force and at the same time showed an unlikely alliance between humans and another persecuted alien species with their common goal of liberation from the conqueror's fists.


Not matter how many Call of Duty titles Activision makes about World War 2 or how many RPGs we play about slaying the ultimate demon-spawn-destroyer of all that is holy and sweet, they always boil down to two things: we either know how the story really ends, or it's so far out that the game world feels more like another dimension in a whole other universe.


Here's a list of some of the top games and franchises, regardless of genre or age, that have had some of the most memorable storylines and plots based on alternative historical outcomes.

Mario Kart Tour Coming to Mobile in 2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/oxdis/mario-kart-tour-coming-to-mobile-in-2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/oxdis/mario-kart-tour-coming-to-mobile-in-2019 Fri, 02 Feb 2018 12:27:35 -0500 Nilufer Gadgieva

A longtime favorite party game, Mario Kart is coming soon to a device near you -- yes, that's right, your phone. Mario Kart Tour will be available on both iOS and Android devices at some unspecified point between April 2018 and May 2019. 

The Mario Kart series has stood out as a signature of Nintendo since the first game on the SNES in 1992, and various iterations have been made and available on every single Nintendo console since.

Nintendo announced the coming release on Twitter on the 1st of February:

Nintendo's first mobile game was Super Mario Run in December 2016, which received 200 million downloads, and then Nintendo followed suit with Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Of course, Nintendo fans were elated with the releases, and many are eagerly anticipating this one.

With a new Mario movie coming up and the development of Mario Kart Tour, our friendly Italian plumber is getting more of a spotlight than ever.




Original Xbox Controller “The Duke” Returns this March https://www.gameskinny.com/hkqt9/original-xbox-controller-the-duke-returns-this-march https://www.gameskinny.com/hkqt9/original-xbox-controller-the-duke-returns-this-march Sun, 14 Jan 2018 15:04:12 -0500 Kerry-Lee Copsey

To everyone’s surprise, Microsoft’s infamously clunky controller is making a comeback. “The Duke” will be returning to cramp up your hands this spring, courtesy of Seamus Blackley, the man often cited as the father of the original Xbox.

The re-creation is nearly identical to the original pad in terms of size, shape, and button placement, with a few adjustments and added features. The memory card slots have been removed, a USB cable is now present, and two small bumper buttons have been added to ensure full compatibility with Xbox One, 360, and PC games.

Arguably the most interesting addition to the controller is the OLED screen under the “jewel” which, when pressed, plays the Xbox startup animation. According to Blackley, it’s a feature he wanted to implement in the pad from the start, creating his own prototype before selling the idea to Microsoft.

What are your thoughts on "The Duke?" Will you be picking one up this March? Let us know in the comments below.

Anime and Their Video Game Counterparts: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly https://www.gameskinny.com/1wvlr/anime-and-their-video-game-counterparts-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly https://www.gameskinny.com/1wvlr/anime-and-their-video-game-counterparts-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly Thu, 30 Nov 2017 13:01:27 -0500 Brandon Janeway

Anime has inspired numerous video game counterparts that allow fans the opportunity to play some of their favorite characters. Unfortunately, this does not always mean that the games do justice and provide fans with an enjoyable experience in their anime universe. While some games rise to the occasion by bringing a fun and memorable experience, some quickly turn into a headache for the player. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of anime inspired video games.

The Good

Some games do an amazing job of merging what makes an anime great with video game functionality that provides an overall enjoyable experience for the player.

One franchise that has managed to achieve this is Naruto, which, in recent years, has developed a successful line through its Ninja Storm titles. As a fighting game series, the Naruto games allow players to become some of their favorite characters and live out some of the most iconic moments from the TV show. The series did not start out the best, but over time has developed a good balance of style and substance that make it a fresh and fun fighting game with the anime setting that fans love. The roster of characters is one of the largest ever seen in a video game which can feel overwhelming, but it does allow a player to use their favorite character even if they were not that important in the show.

Another franchise that blends game and anime well is Danganronpa. Now this is a video game series that inspired a successful anime but nonetheless it does a great job doing both. The game is a point and click mystery adventure that puts players in a the role of a grim detective trying to figure out who is the mastermind behind the evil plot. It is unique story that somehow fits very well in the game universe. The art style is fantastic and there are many parallels between it and the show which is a good fan service. The game seems simple but offers enough intrigue to feel rewarding to the most observant players.

The Bad

Now some games do not do as well of a job at crafting a video game with anime world, which can leave players with an unsatisfying gaming experience. Usually these games try so hard to make the anime world come to life, that they miss the mark for good gameplay.

One such example of this is Dragon Ball Xenoverse. Taking place in the Dragon Ball universe, Xenoverse is a fighting game that looked great. It was very flashy and offered a unique story but that was essentially all that it had to offer. The combat of the game felt very unfair which bogs down a fighting game, where fairness can determine the outcome of a match pretty quickly. Now the game is still a fun time and does enough to satisfy fans wanting to play a Dragon Ball game but this game does not stand out without its anime elements.

One Piece: Burning Blood faces similar issues. This game offered a lot as far as fun 3D combat is concerned, but does not do a lot outside of that. If you are not a longtime fan of the series, this game is not for you. The combat is fun and wacky, which is very much One Piece, but makes little sense to anyone that is not familiar with the series. The story is also an arc of the show but does little to make the player feel as though they are living the One Piece story and are instead just watching a different format of the anime.

The Ugly

These games got the mix of anime and game all wrong. They make an attempt to provide a video game experience to an anime world and end up delivering something very far from that.

A franchise with a history of this is Sword Art Online. Sword Art Online’s universe is literally a video game so it would make you think that there is a lot that can be done, but that has yet to be the case. Fans of the series have been left with games that are repetitive and do little to build off the universe. Most are repetitive and feature frustrating combat mechanics that leave many people doing the same moves over and over again. The games have not brought the anime to life and lack any real development for the overall story. There has yet to be a saving grace in the series and we do not know if we will see one to come.

Another franchise with similar hiccups is Attack on Titan. The first Attack on Titan game, Humanity in Chains, was a disaster. The visuals were muffled, the gameplay was lackluster, and overall the game was a disservice to the anime world many fans love. It is a frustrating experience to see a world you love get bombed with an ugly video game. On a lighter note, the franchise did improve itself by offering a new PS4 title which was a much better game though still not spectacular. In the newer game, the combat was much better and visuals were cleaner but it suffered from a generally unsatisfying plot.

Some anime games know what to do and some should just stay out of games. Let us know in the comments which anime games are favorites and your worst nightmares

13 Xbox Games Coming to Xbox One October 24 https://www.gameskinny.com/t8zt7/13-xbox-games-coming-to-xbox-one-october-24 https://www.gameskinny.com/t8zt7/13-xbox-games-coming-to-xbox-one-october-24 Mon, 23 Oct 2017 18:03:02 -0400 StrongerStrange

One of the more eye-catching surprises from Microsoft's E3 press conference was the announcement of backwards compatibility between the Xbox and the Xbox One. Today, the company announced the first 13 original Xbox games coming to the Xbox Marketplace -- all of which will be playable starting tomorrow, October 24. 

Here's the list of available games: 

  • Black
  • BloodRayne 2
  • Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
  • Dead to Rights
  • Fuzion Frenzy
  • Grabbed by the Ghoulies
  • Ninja Gaiden Black
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  • Psychonauts 
  • Red Faction 2
  • Sid Meier’s Pirates!
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • The King of Fighters Neowave

These will be rendered in 1080p resolution, have vastly improved framerates, and of course, provide gamers with faster loading times.

If you own the physical disc for any of these games, the disc should work in your Xbox One. And in the case of original Xbox games that were previously re-released for Xbox 360, digital copies of those games will transfer over as well.

For those of you that don’t already own any of these titles, many of them will be available for $9.99 through the Xbox Marketplace. 

State of the Xbox One https://www.gameskinny.com/vwid4/state-of-the-xbox-one https://www.gameskinny.com/vwid4/state-of-the-xbox-one Wed, 06 Sep 2017 18:05:01 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Ever since the PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox were released back in 2000 and 2001 respectively, Sony and Microsoft have been at odds, each battle ending with a clear winner crowned. This new era of the 'Console Wars' has been intense and ongoing since these two consoles have been released. 

The PS2 destroyed the original Xbox in sales. The PS2 ended up selling over 150 million units compared to the Xbox which only sold over 24 million units. Because of this, Sony had their head held high when they released the PlayStation 3 in 2006.

Microsoft beat Sony to market when they released the Xbox 360 a year earlier than the PlayStation 3. Even though Xbox had a head start, the PS3 had a bumpy beginning after starting their console prices at $499 and $599 compared to the Xbox 360 which was priced at $299 and $399. The price disparity allowed the Xbox take a huge lead in sales, which lead to Microsoft winning this round of the console wars.

This leads us to the current generation: the PlayStation 4 against the Xbox One. Microsoft knew they had the video game aspect of the console in the bag, so they decided to focus on the entertainment side of their new console. Sony knew they had to take back the power, and decided to focus mainly on games and console power, which they did. 

PlayStation has easily won this generation due to its exclusive titles as well as confusion over whether or not the Xbox One was meant to be a gaming console or a home media center. We all know that Microsoft have struggled to get the high quality exclusives for Xbox that Sony boasts for its PS consoles. Studios have released many blockbuster games exclusively for the PS4 such as Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne and many more on the way. The Xbox One exclusives include games like like Halo 5, Gears of War 4, Sunset Overdrive, Forza, but not much else. 

The PlayStation 4 has already been named the winner of this console generation, with the PS4 sales at 63.3 million against the Xbox One, which has sold 26 million consoles as of the beginning of 2017. 

Microsoft have not lived up to their own hype

With the release of the Xbox One X later this year, Microsoft is going after the hardcore players that want the best in graphics and performance without having to buy or build an expensive gaming PC. While there are plenty of games lined up to get the 4K patch to make the experience better on this new console, there isn't much else to play if you want something new.

In Microsoft's 2017 E3 conference, Forza 7 and Crackdown 3 were the main exclusive games that used the power of Xbox One X. Forza 7 looked amazing, as expected, but Crackdown 3 didn't look too good. Many fans complained that the graphics didn't live up to expectations. If the consumer is supposed to spend $500 on the 'most powerful console ever made' the graphics should be very realistic. 

Microsoft have been suffering from a serious lack of quality Xbox exclusive titles. Besides Forza and Crackdown 3, the only other 'exclusives' were indie titles like Cuphead or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Where are the fresh IPs? Where is the next Halo? Where is a brand new game that is going to bring gamers back to the console people want to play? 

What can Microsoft do to bring gamers back to the Xbox franchise?

Backwards Compatibility and Xbox Game Pass are great additions to the console and many gamers spend a lot of time on both of these features. However, I don't want to buy a console just to play old games. 

If Xbox wants to bring gamers back to their platform, they need to show more quality games. Yes, people are excited for PC games to be ported to their Xbox One, but that isn't enough. They need to bring fresh IPs to the console. Whether they debut on the Xbox One X or the next console, they need to focus on bringing exciting and high quality titles to their gamers. 

I'd love to see a remaster of Banjo Kazooie for the Xbox One X. With the Crash Bandicoot N'Sane Trilogy selling as well as it is and Sonic Mania getting great reviews, it's clear that people want to see the return of these collect-a-thon games. They could either do a remastered version of all the games like Crash Bandicoot, or make a brand new one. We've recently seen that this style of game is in demand. 

The Xbox franchise isn't dead... but it needs work

People want to play games on the Xbox One, but if there are no new games, the Xbox will collect dust. Releasing a beefed up Xbox One is a great idea, but how much replayability is in a 3 year old game that's just repackaged with better graphics?

Phil Spencer and the Xbox team at Microsoft need to step it up and prove to both the loyal Xbox fans and gamers everywhere that the Xbox One and Xbox One X are the best consoles to play the best games. If they are unable to do that, they will always be in second place behind PlayStation.


Video Game Remasters - Are they Here to Stay? https://www.gameskinny.com/wl6nm/video-game-remasters-are-they-here-to-stay https://www.gameskinny.com/wl6nm/video-game-remasters-are-they-here-to-stay Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:00:01 -0400 JazmanGames

Lately, we've seen a trend of older games getting remastered and re-released onto modern platforms. Between the success of collections like Crash Bandicoot  N. Sane Trilogy and Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 ReMIX, it's clear nostalgia sells. However, as many reasons as there are to re-release older games, there are plenty of those who feel remakes are killing the industry. Let's take a look at both sides below and try to answer the question – is the trend of remastering games here to stay?

It Keeps Older Games Alive

The world is changing at a fast rate and this especially goes for the game industry. Games are advancing so fast while older games quickly become incompatible and unplayable on newer hardware. As a result, they get left behind and forgotten about. Remastering games updates and modernizes them. It allows them to run at higher resolutions and frame rate, and to a lot of people, this helps keep that game alive. Even if it's not the original game, it prevents it from dying out and being forgotten about in a world where most consoles do not have full backwards compatibility.

Time Could Be Spent Developing New IP

On the flip side, why bother keeping an old game alive when the time and resources could be better spent on developing new franchises? If you look anywhere on the internet with regards to this topic, you will undoubtedly see the opinion that old games should be left where they are. They've been developed, had their shot, and are done with. Although the developers remastering games usually aren't the same ones that worked on the originals, some still argue that the time and resources could be better spent on entirely new games.

Nostalgia Does Sell…

A big reason for remasters is nostalgia. Publishers know that nostalgia sells and often this can encourage a remaster. Take Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for example. When the originals released on the PlayStation they were extremely popular, the first three games were considered masterpieces and players wanted more. There were several releases since the original three but they didn't recapture what the originals had and were not as successful.

Players have been wanting a remaster of these games for years and finally this year, we got the N. Sane Trilogy. Easily the most popular remaster so far, the whole game sold entirely on nostalgia. Original players wanted to re-live their youth, new parents show their children the games they grew up on, and friends showing others what they missed out on. The N Sane Trilogy topped charts and the success of this could trigger reboots of other series as well like Spyro the Dragon or Ape Escape.

But Publishers Are Just Money Grabbing With Repackaged Content!

Perhaps the most obvious reason, it’s more than likely true that the reason behind remastering a game is money. If the game being remastered is a popular one, such as Crash Bandicoot. The publishers are obviously going to decide that it is worth while doing a remaster. After all, it is very easy to repackage the content, making it look modern and work on modern hardware. Fans will buy it and they make a bit of money out of it as well. The thing with this though is that they are right. Fans will buy the remaster and the popularity, along with how well it sells will make publishers consider remastering other franchises.

Take Bulletstorm Full clip edition as an example. The original Bulletstorm was released in 2011 and this year we got a remaster. Releasing on current generation consoles and PC, this remaster contained a huge graphical upgrade, a move to Unreal Engine 4 and all the DLC included as well. There wasn’t much added in the way of new content. For some reason though, this remaster was released as a full priced game. The only real benefit of this remaster is for console players who are newcomers to the game as this allows them to play this game on current generation consoles. Even though there is hardly any new content, we have a repackaged and over priced remastered game.

Lack of Backwards Compatibility

One of the common questions you'll see when a new console is released is whether it will support backwards compatibility. More commonly the answer to that questions is no -- especially for the older generations such as the original PlayStation and the original Xbox. Because of this, the only way to get games onto the modern platform is to remaster them.

The Last of Us originally released on the PlayStation 3 with raving popularity. It took some time before the PS3 really caught steam, and some skipped the generation entirely, meaning they didn't get to play the game. Because of its popularity, it was remastered and released on the PlayStation 4 even when it didn’t really need to. If every game was made backwards compatible then there would be less of a need for remasters. 

On the flip side of this the lack of backwards compatibility has allowed remasters to introduce people to the games they might have missed when skipping a generation or playing on a different platform. If someone moved from the original PlayStation across to the Xbox and didn't own a PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3, when they picked up a PlayStation 4 there might have been games from the previous generations that they had wanted to play but missed out on. Games being remastered onto the PlayStation 4 would enable them to play those games and finally be introduced to the franchise and this is what the remaster of The Last of Us did.

Is Remastering Really Needed for PC When There are Mods?

The answer to this is both yes and no. The Modding scene on PC is quite big and often a modder will release an HD or High-Resolution texture pack for a game that will make it look spectacular. Also, if a game is designed to run on a PC it will most likely already look good enough for years without needing much.

When Skyrim was released on PC in 2011 it had the Steam workshop and modding support. This eventually sparked the release of High-Resolution and HD texture packs which drastically improved its looks. In 2016 Bethesda released Skyrim: Special Edition which featured a remastered version of the game with improved textures and lighting effects. Unfortunately on the PC this is actually worse than what mods were able to do and does not look as impressive.

While a remaster for a PC game is less needed, it's usually better to have an official remaster -- even if it's not as good looking as the modded versions. The reasons behind this are because the developers know the game inside out and have access to the original files. They can do far more to release a stable remaster than a modder could. They can also add genuine improvements such as controller support and most importantly they can support you if things go wrong.

Sometimes, remastering can produce a better game

It is possible for a remaster to produce a better, more improved version of the game. Going back 10 years we had the 10th anniversary of the Tomb Raider series. To celebrate this, Eidos Interactive decided to produce a remastered version of the original Tomb Raider and release it on multiple platforms. The result of this was Tomb Raider Anniversary. This fully remade / remastered game re-imagined the original. Set in the same locations and levels while following the same story. Anniversary ran on an improved version of the Legend engine, used for Tomb Raider Legend. This remaster received some high reviews and is arguably a better game than the original was. It is a good example of a scenario where a remaster did the original game justice and exceeded it.

So, is the Trend of Remastering Games Here to Stay?

It seems that this trend of remastering game isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Publishers know it will make money, and they won't stop until the cash stops flowing. They play heavily on nostalgia knowing for a fact that people will buy them. Its far easier to remaster a game than it is to develop a new IP, and it solves a lot of backwards compatibility issues.

Remasters really aren't a bad thing though. If they're done right they can keep the original games alive, and opens them up to new people who may not have been around when the originals came out. They allow players to relive their past, playing old favourites and having them look exactly how they imagined they would.

Have you played any remastered games lately? Do you agree with this increasing trend? We would love to see your opinions in the comments section below!

Ranking the Call Of Duty Series From Worst to Best https://www.gameskinny.com/0u19h/ranking-the-call-of-duty-series-from-worst-to-best https://www.gameskinny.com/0u19h/ranking-the-call-of-duty-series-from-worst-to-best Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:46:03 -0400 Ty Arthur


From past to present and into the future, the Call Of Duty franchise has covered a ton of ground -- and could even cover much more if the sadly cancelled Roman Wars is any indication.


Next up, the impending CoD WWII takes us back to war-torn Europe to kill a whole bunch of Nazis once more. But from there, who knows where the series will head.


Call Of Duty is just the latest giant franchise we've definitely ranked from best to worst. Want to see how we felt about other huge series? Check out our listings of:


What did you think of our rankings, and what time period or location do you hope to see next? Let me know in the comments!


Best: Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2


Alright, here we are: the cream of the crop. Yep, there have since been CoD titles released with better graphics, but this one still kills it on story, level design, cinematic sequences, and shock value ("No Russian" killed my innocence).


From stalking through a snowy Russian base to the insanity of defending heartland America from invasion (I'll never not hear the phrase "Get on top of that burger town!" echoing in my head), this entry solidly earns its spot at the top of the pile.


Top-speed snowmobile gun fights, fighting your way through a destroyed White House, getting your throat torn out by dogs...this game has it all.


Call Of Duty Modern Warfare


If I have to name one game where the series really revolutionized the FPS genre and brought out a level of polish that other franchises have since tried to emulate, it would be right here with Modern Warfare.


The tilted screen on the sinking boat chase sequence was absolutely heart-pounding (although looking back now from a modern perspective, the ships and buildings in the background seem incredibly basic and low-res).


There are so many crazy, genre-defining moments packed into one game that it's hard to sift through them all. That nuclear explosion scene will of course always stick out, where you get back up and crawl around for while, foolishly believing the character you've been playing for half the game might actually survive.


Then of course there was the incredibly cinematic ending -- lifting one arm to shoot at the big bad before he can kill you and the rest of your team, which is a segment that has since been ripped off repeatedly and overdone all throughout the series and in FPS games in general.


Call Of Duty Black Ops III


At this point the series had become advanced enough that the main single-player campaigns could no longer work on previous gen consoles, with only a stripped down version of the multiplayer released for older systems. RIP Xbox 360 -- you served us well for so many years.


It's a Black Ops game, so of course we've got a weird mind-bending story, this time giving us a sort of Jacob's Ladder in the future. Aside from the cool new futuristic powers, the claim to fame here of course is Christopher Meloni -- of Law & Order: SVUOz, and that one season of True Blood where he didn't really need to be.


I really enjoyed unlocking and selecting your own power loadout in this one, rather than having it chosen for you in each mission like in Advanced Warfare. The Lovecraftian pulp zombie mode with Sons Of Anarchy's Ron Perlman is also a highlight that's well worth sinking a lot of hours into with your friends.


Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3


After the series-topping Modern Warfare 2, this sequel had high expectations. And while there were some disappointments here and there, overall the game caps off the story arc very nicely.


Sure, some of the big action sequences didn't feel as compelling or unique as its predecessor, but the gameplay in the campaign is spot-on, the globe-hopping story is fun, and finally getting to wrap a noose around Makarov's neck and then light up a cigar is something every gamer had wanted to do for five long years.


The co-op Survival and Special Ops modes were also refined quite a bit here, and they are still fun to play to this day.


Call Of Duty Black Ops


Honestly, I could probably just say "Nuketown" and leave it at that.


Here we see Treyarch become a powerhouse, and do something different in terms of time frame and gameplay. All of the Black Ops games offer something offbeat and very different, with wonderfully bizarre story lines and this time around some iconic music from The Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival.


It's also where zombie mode started becoming its own bona fide phenomenon, which has since taken over the franchise.


Call Of Duty Black Ops II


Here we're getting to a point in the series where any ranking differences are mostly nitpicks or personal preferences. All of these are on par in quality, with just minor issues detracting from the experience that might drag them down a spot or two. 


Treyarch again experimented with concepts outside the franchise norms here (like multiple endings), in addition to the expected weirdness on the story front. The "pick 10" system also shook up the multiplayer aspect a bit.


If there's a downside here, it's that the zombie mode somehow wasn't as good as the previous entry, which was a serious shame. Don't worry yourselves though, my fellow CoD time travelers, as it would become amazing again in subsequent games!


Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare


There's always been a fun little rivalry between Battlefield and Call Of Duty, but here things got nasty. There's no question Infinite Warfare came out the battered loser, netting some of the highest "dislikes" on YouTube of all time.


Even the star power of "you know nothing Jon Snow" Kit Harrington couldn't save the game. One of the biggest killers was that the multiplayer is straight up garbage. I'm not gonna mince words or defend what doesn't deserve defending: you can skip the death matching here altogether.


That being said, I'm again going to have come to the defense of the campaign, much like with Ghosts. It's not nearly as bad as everyone says. It was clever to add side missions based on hunting down specific members of the enemy command throughout the solar system, and I really liked picking my own weapon upgrade and loadout schemes.


This one also majorly improved on the lackluster space combat from Ghosts, and I don't care what anybody says, that robot companion is just all kinds of awesome.


There's also another solid reason that Infinite Warfare is worth playing, and a major exception to multiplayer problem: the 80s neon VHS zombie mode is an absolute blast. It might even be one of the best zombie modes in the whole series.


Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare 


Although Ghosts was what kicked off the series' time on current gen consoles, Advanced Warfare is where it really felt the franchise was taking advantage of better hardware -- but it wasn't an entirely smooth transition. 


While the faces in the cut scenes are amazing, you can really tell where they cut corners, with certain buildings and objects in the actual campaign maps having a much more low-res appearance.


That issue aside, Kevin Spacey is a major character and you have self-targeting swarm missiles/ So needless to say, this is a pretty rocking time. The game straddled the line between realistic and futuristic warfare amazingly well, even if there were a few times it felt like you should have died but didn't. The multiplayer took a bit of a hit with all the twitchy exo suit double jumping, though.


Advanced Warfare is where the series starting ramping up the famous people appearing in zombie mode -- this time with Big Love's Bill Paxton. There's also a very clear blueprint here on the campaign, re-imagined with zombies that would be refined later in Black Ops III.


Call Of Duty 2


You feel that? That's the sensation of your health regenerating after you hide behind cover. Has there ever been a more glorious sensation?


As far as I'm concerned, Infinity Ward deserves a Nobel Prize for getting rid of health packs. I'm not sure there's been a more noteworthy contribution to the advancement of mankind, other than perhaps... grenade indicators! Yep, those appeared here too. IW was on a roll in CoD 2.


Granted, there's a level of polish that isn't quite here yet and won't show up until around Modern Warfare -- but if you want to see where shooters started getting serious, look no further.


Call Of Duty


Woah, woah, woah. You're probably thinking right now: why on Earth isn't this one up at the top, man? It was ground-breaking and started a franchise that now dominates gaming every single year!


I'll tell you why it's not at the top. Health packs, you guys. Health. Packs. If it isn't something ludicrous like Doom or a game that's at least trying to seriously simulate binding wounds like the Far Cry series, you get those health packs right the hell on out of here.


Now that that unpleasant business is out of the way...yeah, this is still a pretty solid shooter, even if the mechanics are a lot more clunky and it is showing some serious age.


Call Of Duty: World At War


Although I'm sure there will be keyboard warrior hell to pay, I'm going to to break ranks with fan consensus here: I wasn't crazy about this final World War II entry (until the upcoming CoD WWII, that is).


If memory serves, this is where the series started putting in the big stars with Keifer Sutherland. And while hearing a recognizable voice in your CO was a nice surprise, the game itself didn't have nearly as interesting characters or missions as later entries.


The gameplay felt like an oddly bastardized hybrid between the two main developers of the era, Treyarch and Infinity Ward, and just didn't quite have its footing properly on either side, with unsatisfying spawning waves of enemies.


I do have to give credit on one front though: this is where the Nazi zombies made their appearance, which has since become a staple that's been extrapolated in some very fun ways over the years.


Call Of Duty 3


Back in 2006, I remember being completely blown away by the graphics on this entry of CoD while watching an Xbox 360 demonstration at Gamestop.


That's really the main thing this title has going for it though -- and obviously a game can't survive the test of time on graphics alone, since there will always be a better-looking game down the line.


Between a horde of quick time events (as that was starting to ramp up here), checkpoint glitches, the inability to skip cut scenes (whoops), and a forgettable cast of characters, CoD 3 just doesn't match up to what would come down the line. It is noteworthy, however, for the rather dubious honor of being where paid map back DLC started showing up through the Xbox store.


The Absolute Worst: Call Of Duty Ghosts


Unfortunately we've got to put a "worst" somewhere -- and with CoD, the general consensus is Ghosts. As the first in the franchise to hit current gen consoles, it suffered somewhat of the same fate as Assassin's Creed Unity (although thankfully with fewer horrifying missing-face bugs).


The story was a bit bland and predictable, even if the Homefront-style setting was interesting. All-American brothers who need to patriotically save a crumbling nation with their perfect Republican dad (faithful hound, hunting rifles, distinguished grey hair and all) just didn't really resonate with people.


This was also where we started to go into space for some reason, and the space combat was just not satisfying at all -- although it would be taken up a notch with the also-poorly-received Infinite Warfare.


Despite those criticisms, it's worth noting that Ghosts isn't a terrible game by any means, even if it is among the worst Call Of Duty has to offer. 


The game features some amazing scenes, like rappelling down a skyscraper and taking guys out on each floor without drawing attention. Using the dog instead of a drone was at least something a little different, even if it didn't quite work out as hoped.


The alien Extinction multiplayer mode was a cool idea, but sadly the execution was a bit of a flop. This story arc of the series has now essentially been abandoned, as has the alien mode -- which clearly lost out to zombies. So it's unlikely we'll ever see a sequel to that ending, which was just begging for a follow-up game.


The Call of Duty series is about to return to its Nazi-stomping roots with the impending CoD WWII (which is going to totally blow Battlefield 1 out of the water, by the way). So it seemed like a good time to take a walk down Call Of Duty memory lane.


Here we're covering every single entry in the main series, from where it all started with the original groundbreaking Call Of Duty, to latest flop Infinite Warfare -- the game everyone loves to hate.


We won't be straying from the path of the main franchise, however, ignoring handheld titles like Roads To Victory or console spin-offs like Big Red One and Finest Hour. With all those extra titles the list quickly gets out of hand.


With that out of the way, let's get ranking!

Fighting Game Terms: A Glossary for New Players https://www.gameskinny.com/64mo1/fighting-game-terms-a-glossary-for-new-players https://www.gameskinny.com/64mo1/fighting-game-terms-a-glossary-for-new-players Sun, 04 Jun 2017 14:14:57 -0400 Thomas Wilde

We're currently undergoing a low-key fighting game renaissance. Last year's Street Fighter V finals at Evolution were shown on ESPN 2 for the first time, SNK made a triumphant return with The King of Fighters XIV, and Guilty Gear is still going strong. On top of that, Injustice 2 has released to rave reviews, Mortal Kombat X was the best-selling game of its franchise, Tekken 7 has finally come out for consoles, and we've still got Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite on the horizon.

There are more people trying to get into fighting games than ever before, but like any genre, fighting games have their own specialized slang. You may have noticed it yourself; if you try to read a subreddit or forum thread about a game you're interested in, it can be like fighting-game fans are speaking an entirely different language.

This is intended as a guide for beginners as a way to get a handle on some of the common terms used by the fighting game community (FGC). Even a relatively simple modern fighting game can be complicated for a newcomer, and that's bad enough without also having to pull out a decoder ring to figure out what your fellow players are saying. 

FGC Notation

Here's where the first problem usually kicks in. Click on a link for a fighting game you're interested in, and here's something that they might list as "basic":

j.S -> st. M -> st. H -> b, d, db + L -> j. M -> j. M -> j. S -> st. M -> st. H -> DP + H

That's an ostensibly beginner-level combo for Spider-Man in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. (There are a lot of hits in it. UMVC3 is just that kind of game.) If you're coming at the game cold, it looks like gibberish.

Every fighting game typically has its own unique button scheme. There may be a crossover between franchises from a single publisher, too; for example, Street Fighter and DarkStalkers both use the same six-button layout, although their mechanics differ. In general, however, each game will have its own style of notation, the most basic of which starts from the joystick:

b - back
f - forward
d - down
u - up

Naturally, "back" and "forward" are always relative to your character, who will almost always be facing your opponent.

Combinations of these notations are used to indicate diagonals, so, for example, d/f is down and towards the opponent.

To make things a bit more confusing, some Japanese players will use numbers here instead, which dates back to old-school BBS days. To translate, look at the number pad on a standard computer keyboard. The numbers correspond to the joystick direction. For example, 1 is down/back, 2 is down, and 3 is down/forward. Let's just stick to Western notations for now.

j. -- jumping
sj. -- super-jumping, where applicable
cr. -- crouching
st. -- standing; neutral position
XX -- often used to indicate canceling one move into the next

If there's nothing at all in front of a button, you can comfortably assume that it means a standing or neutral move.

Individual buttons will differ widely enough between games that we'd be here all day if we tried to discuss them all specifically. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest things to figure out if you've got the game in front of you, although you'll still run into an occasional naming convention among different online fans. Still, you'll have to go game by game on this one.

Basic Fighting Game Terms

We should probably start with these, as they're the heart of most fighting games' systems.


There's some form of resource meter built into most modern fighting games. Typically, this meter fills up gradually when you get hit or land a hit, and is spent on using super moves, enhanced special attacks, or other useful mechanics.

This may seem obvious -- after all, the meter's right there in the UI, it's generally always in the same place from game to game, and some kind of gradually-building resource has been a regular fighting game mechanic for almost twenty years -- but this is meant as a list for beginners, after all, and meter management is a huge part of any fighting game it's in.

This goes doubly for games like Street Fighter V, where there's more than one similar resource to keep track of, or Mortal Kombat X, where your X-ray, EX moves, and breaker all run off the same meter.

EX Move

This is a mechanic where you can opt to spend some super meter when you use a special move in order to enhance that move in some predetermined way. This may mean it does more damage, hits another couple of times, or has some additional tactical utility. For example, Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat X can spend some of his meter on his energy ball in order to throw two of them at once.

This is also known as "meter-burning" or as an enhanced move, but fans often call this sort of thing an EX Move, after its name in the DarkStalkers and Street Fighter franchises.

Ryu's EX Hadoken in SFIV hits twice.

Normal Move

These are the most basic attacks you can do. Normals are what come out when you push a punch or kick button while standing, jumping, or crouching.

A "command normal" requires you to use simple joystick commands in conjunction with an attack button. These aren't typically as elaborate as special moves but do give you some extra options.

Special move

These moves are more complicated trademark attacks of a character, which are performed with the combination of a joystick motion and an attack button. These are your fireballs, teleports, fancy throws, and special punches or kicks. They form the spine of your character's strategy.


It often has a more spectacular official name, such as a Desperation, a Super Art, or an Overdrive, but they all mean the same thing. A super move is a damaging, often multi-hit attack that costs a substantial amount of meter to perform. In games that include supers, they are often where much of your damage ends up coming from.

Slightly Less Basic Terms

This is by no means exhaustive; a full list of all the slang in the FGC would be enough for a short book, and it would likely be out of date within a few days to a week depending on when Yipes next goes on stream. It also tries to shy away from terms that are overly specific to one game or one community.


A common term in the community for a particular subgenre of well-animated, often insane Japanese fighting games, such as Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, and Persona 4: Arena. Also known as anime fighters or anime games.


In team-focused games, this is the last character in your team order, and thus, the one who you're going to fall back on when you're about to lose the match. Less frequently, it's also used as an adjective to refer to the last character standing on a player's team ("anchor Vergil").

When choosing a team, it's generally a good idea that your anchor is a character that A.) you're good with, and B.) has particular abilities that scale well with whatever comeback mechanics are built into the game. In King of Fighters XIV, your anchor should be a fighter who benefits from higher meter capacity, like Robert; in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, anyone can be a decent anchor, but the best are characters who are already fast and mobile, so they turn into absolute nightmares when you activate X-Factor.


An attack that is either intended or which is used to counter an incoming attack from above, such as a jump-kick. Ryu's and Ken's Shoryuken is the most well-known example.


A passive ability that allows a character to ignore the impact of one or more incoming hits. Armor allows you to go straight through an enemy attack in order to connect one of your own. You'll still take the damage from it, but your character won't flinch.

Armor may be a passive ability that a character possesses (Juggernaut in Marvel Super Heroes) or applied temporarily by certain special moves (enhanced special attacks in Mortal Kombat X). If a character can ignore more than one hit before flinching, that's sometimes called super armor; if a character simply will not react at all when struck, regardless of how often they're hit (Hsien-Ko's gold mode in Marvel vs. Capcom 3), that's sometimes referred to as hyper armor.

Enhanced moves in MKX often get a single hit of armor.

Some older games have a similar mechanic, auto-guard, where an enemy attack that connects during a given special move is treated as though it was blocked.


This refers to a character that's good at generating resources, like super meter, but who doesn't necessarily need to spend them to be effective. Their role on a team is to build those resources so another character can use them.

In team-based games like King of Fighters, it's helpful to have a battery character in the first or second spot on your team, as if that character gets knocked out, it positions your next character to come in with plenty of available meter.

Beam super

A generalized term for any super attack that takes the form of a giant, screen-filling projectile of some kind.

Bread and Butter Combo

A simple combo that a character will use all the time. Like the name suggests, it's basic stuff, and part of picking up a new character involves mastering or coming up with some bread and butter combos. Often abbreviated as B&B or BnB.


The split-second following a successful block in which a character is stuck in his or her blocking animation.

It's difficult to take a screenshot of Laura that doesn't
look like I'm doing it for the sake of fanservice.

Some games have mechanics that allow you to cancel this state into an attack or end it early, such as the Just Defense system in Garou: Mark of the Wolves or guard cancels in the King of Fighters series.


A move you can use while you're getting hit. Your character breaks out of your opponent's combo, allowing you to regain momentum. This will typically cost you some amount of resources to perform, such as super meter. They're a well-known feature in the Killer Instinct games, but made their debut in the Mortal Kombat franchise in MK vs. DC Universe.


Interrupting one move by entering the input for another. This forms the basis of many games' combo systems.

Charge character

A character whose special moves mostly or entirely involve holding back or down for a second, then pushing forward or up in conjunction with an attack button.

Guile in Street Fighter II is the archetypical charge character, but most 2D fighting games will have at least one on the roster somewhere.


When you jump up to deliberately block a move while you're in mid-air. When your character lands, you come out of your block animation early and can retaliate just a little bit faster.

Obviously, this only works in games where you can block in mid-air. It's most commonly seen in the Marvel vs. Capcom series.

This link is NSFW (content warning: announcers swearing/having a lot of fun with this), but skip to 5:21 for a perfect example of chicken-guarding. Since Chris blocked Nova's super in mid-air, he recovered from blockstun upon landing and could instantly retaliate, ending the match.


Cherry tap

To knock out an opponent with one of your weakest attacks.

The term comes from the Street Fighter Alpha series, where when you won a round with a jab or short kick, your victory icon was a pair of cherries. This went on to appear in a couple of later games, such as 1995's Marvel Super Heroes.

Chip damage

A slight amount of damage that gets inflicted through a successful block. In most fighting games, normal attacks do not inflict chip damage, while special attacks do; however, a few games, most notably the Mortal Kombat franchise and Street Fighter V, have universal chip damage on block.

This is also sometimes referred to as cheesing. As with cherry tap, above, you got a block of cheese as your victory icon in Street Fighter Alpha if you knocked out an opponent with block damage.


An attack, usually a super, that takes the form of a short, non-interactive animated sequence. They cannot be interrupted once they begin, and some will even stop the round timer while they're playing.

Examples include the supers in the Injustice games, Ultra Combos in Street Fighter IV, or Spencer's Bionic Beatdown in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.

All you can do is watch the show.


A series of attacks in a row. How you achieve a combo will differ markedly from game to game, but in general, basic combo mastery is the first step in learning a new fighting game.

Command throw

A particular type of special move or super. Command throws typically cannot be blocked and inflict heavy damage, but leave you wide open if they miss. The ur-example is Zangief's Spinning Piledriver.


An attempt to circumvent an opponent's defense by attacking from an unexpected direction, so they don't immediately know where you're coming from and will have a hard time blocking you.


An informal slang term for a special move that involves some kind of jumping uppercut or kick, usually used as an anti-air. Named for Ryu and Ken's Dragon Punch (a.k.a. the Shoryuken) in Street Fighter II, which spurred countless imitators both in the Street Fighter franchise and elsewhere.

DP can also refer to the trademark joystick input -- down, forward, down-forward -- for a Shoryuken. Many fan-created move lists will use DP (or SRK) as shorthand for it.


This refers to when both players are testing out each other's defenses and trying to find an opening. This often involves a lot of long-range kicks, hence the name; in some games, such as Street Fighter IV, an extended period of footsies looks a lot like both characters are trying really hard to kick one another in the shins.

Frame Advantage

Frame advantage discusses how quickly a character becomes directly controllable again after a given action or reaction, measuring it in the number of frames of animation it involved. The more of a frame advantage you have, the faster you recover after a given action, and at the tournament level, players frequently build their strategies around manipulating frame advantage.

This is what fighting-game fans are talking about when they refer to a given move as "plus/minus on block." It's a specific, precise way to discuss a move's activation and recovery time. 

Frame Data

A measurement of how many frames of animation a given move lasts, which illustrates its response and recovery time. High-level players will often analyze frame data as a method of determining what moves to use in a given, specific situation, especially when they're trying to figure out a particular character match-up.

There are a number of ways to determine frame data, such as strategy guides, in-game tutorials, third-party analysis tools, or mods for a game's PC version.

Note: Frame data and frame rate are not the same thing. Frame rate is how fast the game is running; frame data is a relatively number-crunchy way to analyze characters' reaction speeds.

Frame Trap

An advanced tactic in which you're deliberately trying to bait your opponent into a counterattack, because it looks like you left yourself open. It's a mind game, because, in an ideal frame trap, you're using your character's skills to feign vulnerability.

A typical example: You're raining down hits on your opponent, who blocks them all, but you leave just enough of a gap between one hit and the next that he thinks you're done and tries to stick out an attack of his own. He is mistaken.


The part of a character that can interact with an opponent, whether it's by hitting or being hit. Hitboxes are invisible in a typical retail copy of a fighting game, but they can be revealed via mods or developer codes. Studying them can tell an advanced player a lot about how the game works, as a character's moves may temporarily grow, shrink, or outright remove their hitbox.

Alternatively, there's a type of highly specialized all-button arcade stick called a Hitbox, which some players swear by.

Hit confirm

To successfully turn an attack into the start of a combo. Also known as a conversion.


The period of time immediately after being struck when a character cannot act.

Invincibility frames

A window in which a character cannot be hit at all. Some characters have special moves that provide invincibility frames, and knowing when to use them is a big part of that character's strategy. For example, Haggar in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a common team pick entirely because his Spinning Lariat assist has a lengthy period of invincibility, which lets him stop enemies in their tracks.


An attack that, if it connects, knocks a character into the air in order to start a combo.


Timing an attack on an opponent so it hits as late in its animation as possible, typically while the opponent is standing back up. This is a method of gaining frame advantage.


Damage you inflict without having to burn any meter on it.

Mirror Match

A round in which both players are using the same character. Named after one of the later fights in the original Mortal Kombat's arcade mode. Sometimes simply called a "mirror."

Negative Edge

In a fighting game that has negative edge, its systems allow you to input special attacks by either pressing an attack button or letting go of one.

At a beginner level, this is likely why your attacks aren't working the way you want them to. At an advanced level, you can use negative edge to save a split-second on your inputs, which lets you pull off combos and tactics that would otherwise be impossible.

Relatively few games have negative edge. Recent examples include Street Fighter IV and Mortal Kombat 9.


Also abbreviated as "oki." A portmanteau of the Japanese words for "to wake up" and "to strike." See wake-up.


"Off the ground." Moves or attacks which strike a character who's lying prone, knocking him or her into the air for further punishment.

Some older games called this a "pursuit" move, although there, it's typically limited to a single hit.


An overhead, or a move that hits overhead, cannot be blocked from a crouching position.

This is designed to allow an attacker to get in on a defender who's simply crouching in the corner. Before the implementation of overheads, if an opponent simply spent the entire match holding down-back, there wasn't much an attacker could do about it.


A medium to long-range attack meant to test your opponent's defenses.


A vaguely controversial term that regards a given attack's chance to hit. It doesn't actually involve any math or random chance; instead, a "high-priority" move might have a bigger hitbox or temporarily move a character's hitbox out of harm's way.


A move done all by itself. You didn't combo into it or do anything to set it up; you just threw it out there. It will be extremely impressive if it hits anything. Sometimes it's worth doing to inflict some block damage, though.


To deliberately let a combo end so you can immediately start another one. High-level players will do this in order to get around the way that damage scales with the length of a long combo.


A rematch. Most commonly used to refer to one player earning a rematch against another player who's already beaten him or her once in the same tournament.


An attack that doesn't leave you at a potential disadvantage, such as a quick jab. You can throw safe attacks out all day and your character will recover in plenty of time to block or avoid an incoming counter.


A common term in the larger FGC, used to denote dissatisfaction, typically from a match that didn't go your way. This is why one of the most common reactions to a sore loser in FGC Twitch streams is an emote of a spilled container of table salt.


A character that looks and plays similarly to Ryu and Ken in Street Fighter, who both practice Shotokan karate.

A lot of subsequent fighting games used the general Ryu/Ken moveset as a kind of shorthand for its protagonist or its entry-level character. There are also a lot of similar or related fighters in later games in the Street Fighter franchise, such as Akuma, Sean Matsuda, Dean Snider, and Dan Hibiki.

Not Ryu or Ken, but an incredible simulation.


A special move, traditionally mapped to the Start button on arcade cabinets, where your character leaves him- or herself open in order to jeer at the opponent.

This is basically a way you can show off, although some games' taunts have additional capabilities. For example, Street Fighter III: Third Strike gives every character a short-lived buff after a successful taunt, Eternal Champions' taunts drain your opponent's chi meter (yeah, we mentioned Eternal Champions; old-school cred firmly achieved), and taunting an opponent right before you win a round in Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- means they start the next round with 50% Tension.

Tech hit

To break out of an attempt at a normal throw.


Using a quick attack, such as a light punch or kick, to set an opponent up for a command throw. Ideally, either the attack hits and you can use it as the beginning of a combo, or they block the attack and you land the throw while they're stuck in blockstun. Tick-throws are a big part of the game for anyone who's playing a wrestler or grappler.


Typically used in discussion of character matchups, "tiers" are an entirely arbitrary method of ranking characters' abilities. High-tier characters have many solid advantages; lower-tier characters are flawed in some significant way.

This is sometimes also discussed in terms of numerical match-ups. For example, if a character is said to be 6-4 against another character, assuming an equal amount of skill on both players' parts, the first character should confidently expect to win six out of every ten matches.

There is very little hard data behind tier lists, most of the time, and each one generally comes down to the writers' opinion. They can be an interesting point of discussion, as a game's tiers usually give you a good idea of what the competitive players are thinking, but if you're strictly a casual fan, you can (and probably should) ignore them altogether.


When both characters take damage at once; taking damage in order to inflict greater damage or gain a positioning advantage.


A move with a lengthy recovery time. If it misses or is blocked, you're leaving yourself wide open.

An unsafe move is generally high-risk, high-reward; throwing it out randomly is a bad idea, but if you figure out how and when to use it, it can be powerful. The Shoryuken, for example, is notoriously unsafe.


A general term that surrounds what you do when your opponent or your character have been knocked down. Also known as okizeme or oki, as above.

The wake-up game is a big part of any fighting game, although some, such as the Tekken franchise, make it more important than others. At its heart, the wake-up game is about how you use the advantage you've gained by knocking your opponent down, or conversely, how you recover momentum after getting knocked down yourself.

Wall bounce

A heavy attack that throws its target backward into a wall or the corner of the screen, allowing for follow-up attacks while they're recovering from the impact. This is also frequently called a wall splat.

Some games also allow you to inflict a ground bounce, which is exactly what it sounds like.


A character built around controlling space and making him- or herself difficult to approach. This typically involves a wide variety of projectiles and ranged attacks. A perfect round for a zoning-based character is one in which their opponent was unable to get anywhere near them.

Zoners tend to make people angry, especially early in a game's life (such as Full Auto Jacqui in the first few weeks after Mortal Kombat X came out), but eventually most people figure out their tricks. They're great in the first month or so, but after that, tend to fall out of regular use.

Even the sound of her gunshots still makes people angry.

Nowhere Near Done

This should be enough to get you started on a general level. If there are other terms you'd like to have explained, feel free to mention them in the comments below.

Fighting games can have a big learning curve, but they're one of the most social parts of this hobby, and you've probably got a local scene near you. Be ready to lose your first few (hundred) rounds, keep learning, and keep adjusting.

The Importance of Characterization and Narrative in RPGs and Adventure Games https://www.gameskinny.com/xfy9r/the-importance-of-characterization-and-narrative-in-rpgs-and-adventure-games https://www.gameskinny.com/xfy9r/the-importance-of-characterization-and-narrative-in-rpgs-and-adventure-games Sat, 20 May 2017 14:00:01 -0400 Stephen Brown

CRPGs have been around for decades, with nearly all of them inspired by the likes of Dungeons and Dragons in some shape or form. The genre has also slowly merged with adventure games in recent years, allowing for new dynamics (and problems) to arise in their designs. However, with advancement in technology, video games, in general, have evolved into huge, intricate, and immersive experiences. Which has led for consumer expectations to rise.

Therefore, developers need to focus on creating complex and engaging storylines filled with memorable characters. That's what will keep the genre iterating -- and interesting.

Why Are Story And Characters So Important?

Story is what holds every RPG together, and it gives the player focus throughout his or her playtime. However, great storytelling isn't just about the main narrative, but also compelling mini story arcs and side quests narratives. When the player wants to explore and seek these out, they should be engaged by them and rewarded by them -- and not just with loot. Otherwise, these side quests become mundane, a chore to get through.

Likewise, characters are pivotal to any story -- the two cannot be separated. They work in tandem with great storytelling. They must have personality to be believable. They cannot be blank and emotionless A.I. If the characters are dull and unmemorable, then it will be difficult for the player to become invested in the game.

Although the story may boil down to saving the world, telling this in an interesting way -- with relatable characters -- makes the experience so much more engaging and worthwhile. 

Where RPGs and Adventure Games Get It Wrong And Right

The following RPGs aren't necessarily bad games, but they're also not necessarily great games, either. There are certain design and development decisions, specifically in the realms of narrative and quest design, that harm each game's overall experience. 

The Assassin's Creed Franchise

The Assassin's Creed series has had ups and downs, to say the least, Assassin's Creed 2 and Black Flag arguably the best games in the franchise. On the other hand, the series' side quests have never been great, relying too heavily on treasure hunts and endless fetch quests that offer little variety and no narrative payoff.

Comparatively, its main story has always been quite engaging and complex. This has been one of its strong suits (alongside fun and likable characters, like Ezio Auditore). Although the story in later entries isn't as strong as some of the early narratives in the franchise, it still contains its surprises, ones that keep the player engaged and coming back for more.

The Final Fantasy Series

The Final Fantasy series has always put a focus on its storylines and characters, which has allowed many entries to remain memorable and iconic years (and even decades) after their releases. Entries such as Final Fantasy VI, Final fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, and Final Fantasy X are regarded as the best in the long-running franchise. Even with dated graphics, the strong stories and relatable cast of characters allow them to stand the test of time.

Now, they are not without their faults -- one of them being the lack of side quests. Final Fantasy 15 corrected this to a degree by going open world and including countless side quests of varying quality. But its plot and characters were still a huge driving force behind the game, even through the late-game parts where the pacing of the narrative felt rushed. But in the end, it was still a successful narrative with an intriguing and well-written villain that sits among the best in the franchise.

The Elder Scrolls Series

Commonly referred to as the king of western RPGs, this franchise has always been one of the best at world building, providing players some of the most intricate pieces of lore in all of video games. Flawlessly incorporated into the gameplay, lore, story, and narrative-driven side quests have brought the series acclaim and provided originality. Skyrim may have better combat than Oblivion, but the quest design clearly took a hit, going with quantity over quality.

However, memorable and likable characters have never been present in the series, which does hold the games back from staying with the player long after they finish it. With the next game in the series, Bethesda will need to fix this long-running issue if they want to compete with the next example.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt improved every aspect and flaw from The Witcher 2. Its main story was epic and hooked players from the start. Nearly every character was detailed and layered, and each was easily likable and memorable as soon as you met them --  like The Bloody Baron, Geralt himself, Ciri, and Triss to name a few.

Many critics and fans alike consistently praise the side quests and for good reason. They all have a good, and often bizarre, story to tell. Players often seek out quests for narrative surprises, not loot. 

The level of detail, care, and passion that has gone into this game is unparalleled, far more than any other game out there. It has an impeccably written story and deep characters. Why? It's because every aspect of each has been created to such a high standard. The game's multiple endings allow for more than one playthrough, so you can experience many different choices over and over again. It is the closest gamers have ever come to a perfect game.

Final Thoughts

I hope that every developer learns the importance of story and characters in RPGs. It's needed alongside strong gameplay and quest design to truly make the game a masterpiece. Otherwise, the genre will pump out one uninspiring game after another -- many with little evolution.

Do you agree, or do you think I am completely crazy? Let me know in the comments.