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Updated: 2017-10-17T15:30:00Z


Japan's physicality-themed Splatfest reaches its conclusion


Japan's latest Splatfest concluded last night, as supporters of "Agility" took on fans of "Endurance" over which is the best... fitness... component, I guess?

Anyway, when all was said and done on Nintendo's shooter Splatoon 2, Marina's Team Endurance took a much needed 2-1 victory, proving that how long you can last stands tall over how, I dunno, slickly you dance? The public vote went strongly in Agility's favour, but both Solo and Team play were taken by Endurance.

Pearl can console herself with the fact that she won the weekend's Halloween-themed Splatfest with a 3-0 victory. But, for now, the day belongs to Marina.

Splatoon 2 is available now on Nintendo Switch.


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Team Fortress 2 prepares for a major update with an animated short


10 years in and Team Fortress 2 is still going strong. Valve has begun detailing a big update, Jungle Inferno, which adds a control point map called Mercenary Park, several community-made jungle maps, new taunts, and more yet to be revealed. Also, there's a yeti. Also also, there's an animated short.

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I sometimes forget how much I adore these shorts.

"If Jurassic Park taught us one thing, it's life finds a way," says Valve. "If Jurassic Park taught us two things, it's life finds a way and Jurassic Park is a good idea to steal for an update. And if Valve's legal team has taught us one thing, it was by screaming at us about not telling you the second thing Jurassic Park taught us."

That was definitely Pyro wearing a jetpack in the video, by the way. You didn't just dream that up.

Jungle Inferno [Team Fortress 2]



EA has shut down Visceral Games


Visceral Games is set to close its doors in the very near future. Electronic Arts has opted to close the studio that's most well-known for the Dead Space series and Battlefield Hardline.

For the past few years, Visceral has been working on a Star Wars title under the lead of creative director Amy Hennig. That game is going to be reworked into something different and the project will be moved to another studio.

EA explains what this means for Star Wars in a statement by executive vice president Patrick Söderlund:


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Dragon's Crown Pro delayed in Japan, but gets sweet-ass digital game book


Atlus have announced that the revamped edition of PS3 RPG brawler Dragon's Crown will not make its original Japanese street date of January 25, having been put back to February 8.

The silver lining to this story is that they also announced that the first run of Dragon's Crown Pro for the PS4 will come with a digital tabletop-style game book "Treasure of Demon Island". Players will get to take their favourite character on a page-turning quest, rolling digital dice to combat monsters, evade traps and collect treasures.

This announcement is, of course, referring to the Japanese release of the game. So everyone cross your fingers that we can not only get a Western release of the fantasy adventure, but that we also get a translation of this cool little addition. Unfortunately, being a digital game book, you can't keep your finger on the last page, in case you made the wrong decision, sorry.

Dragon's Crown Pro launches on PS4 in Japan on February 8.


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Overwatch reaches 35 million players across all platforms


Blizzard has just shared the news that Overwatch has reached "35 million players and counting" this week.

While the new milestone is impressive, let's make sure we break it down a bit. This isn't accounting for active or concurrent users, nor is it highlighting just one platform. This is across everything, PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and essentially amounts to "units sold," not accounting for promotions. To break it down even further, the game grew from 30 million in April, meaning five million more have joined the fray in six months.

Still, even if a lot of them are inactive, that's a playerbase even AAA publishers can only dream of getting.

Overwatch [Twitter]



Star Wars Han Solo spin-off gets title: Solo


Now that production has wrapped, director Ron Howard took to Twitter today to spill the beans on the title of the Han Solo Star Wars spin-off. And wait for it, it's a doozy: Solo.


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Nicalis' endless scroller Knight Terrors coming to Switch next week


Nicalis, developers of indie darling The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth & Rebirth, have announced that their new published title, Knight Terrors, will charge headlong onto Nintendo Switch October 24.

The game, developed by FreakZone Games (of AVGN Adventures fame) features visuals recalling ZX Spectrum games such as Stormlord and sees a brave night charging endlessly at threat and danger. Quick reactions and lightning reflexes are needed to avoid the bevy of monsters, obstacles and traps threatening you at break-neck speeds.

The game's Gothic horror design is perfect for Halloween week and would make for a pretty good title to play late into the witching hour. Alongside the endless run main game the game features four unlockable modes and high-score tracking.

Knight Terrors launches on Nintendo eShop on October 24.


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Sony's new label 'Unties' is publishing a Switch game


Sony has created a new publishing label called Unties, with the mission to "penetrate the ever-expanding video game market with indie games, which are continuing to draw attention even within Japan." It's a bit convoluted in structure though, because technically Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony, is creating this publishing stable.

Unties will be publishing Tiny Metal, Last Standard, Merkava Avalanche, and Deemo. The biggest get is probably the former, as Tiny Metal is slated for the PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch platforms. Yep, just as Microsoft is publishing all forms of Minecraft across competitor platforms like the PS4 and the Switch, so too is Sony publishing a Switch game.

This sort of crossing over has happened before with subsidiaries and the like, but it's still an interesting situation -- given that the entire game is an homage to Nintendo's now-dead Advance Wars series.



Internet swoons over Overwatch Mercy's concept art


I'm sulking. I'm sulking because apparently some folk have received their The Art of Overwatch tomes already and I'm sitting here with no Art of Overwatch tome (which releases next week). Regardless, lucky owners are already sharing pics of some of the concept art for the arena-shooter's lovable roster of heroes and reprobates.

But, among the test-sketches of stages, poster art and everyone's favourite loot box item, sprays, a portion of the Overwatch community is falling over itself at some Mercy concept art that depicts the angelic healer as a buff-as-hell (heaven?) dude, posted on twitter by user
Pumpkin Spice Enema.

Just be warned that while you'll get all three games, you won't be receiving all of the DLC for Borderlands 2 or Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! That's a shame, because Borderlands 2 in particular has troves of fun, zany DLC that Gearbox developed in the years following its release. Still, if you want a fun FPS series to blast through with a friend, $10 isn't a bad deal for what's on offer. 


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WWE 2K18 on Switch will take up 32GB of MicroSD and 1GB of internal space


It's getting to the point where you might not have much room left on your Nintendo Switch if you're mostly going digital, and didn't opt to pick up a hefty memory card yet.

Now that more studios like Bethesda and 2K are getting into the Switch game file sizes are going to increase, as are massive mandatory installs that go beyond the scope of the MicroSD cards that house the retail games. Case and point -- on top of the 1GB you'll need for internal storage for WWE2K18 when it hits on Switch, you'll also need a whopping 32GB of MicroSD storage if you go digital. Well, at least this one has content parity.

While that's to be expected of a system that doesn't use disc-based media, it's ramping up real quickly. Think of this as a PSA of sorts so you don't pick up your shiny new game on launch day only to be met with a "not enough storage space" prompt. 

WWE 2K18 [Nintendo]



Look for a new Home and Guide in today's big Xbox One update


After a testing period, the Xbox One fall update is now ready for the masses.

These sorts of console updates tend to blur together in my mind and today's is no different. Microsoft is bringing out a lot of incremental changes, as exhaustively detailed in this eight-minute walkthrough video, but there are a few standout elements here. Namely, the Home screen sports a new look with more customizable layout options, and the Guide has been reworked for ease of use and speed.


A few other bullet points:

  • You can have up to 40 pins. Is that enough for you?
  • There's a dark, light, and high-contrast theme (selectable from the Settings menu).
  • GameDVR support for 4K/HDR screenshot and video capture. If you own an external drive, you'll be able to tell the system to automatically save your footage there instead.

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Doom's Switch port will be taking Hell on the road this November


Doom for Switch is pretty much the port that should not be. How is it possible that one of the largest games of 2016 (from a storage perspective) can even fit on a system with such limited capacity, not to mention on a retail cartridge? Aren't Switch's not even powerful enough to run Doom? Somehow, someway, Bethesda and Panic Button (this port's developer) made the dream come true.

Doom on Switch will be launching on November 10. Even if you have no interest, this is monumental for being the first first-person shooter on Nintendo's new platform. It may also be the most violent game on Nintendo's hybrid, which is neat.


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We'll find out what happened to Tidus between Final Fantasy X and X-2


Square Enix is known for weird publicity stunts and Final Fantasy story-bending, and this is no exception. According to the publisher, by way of a tie-in event for Mobius Final Fantasy, they're gong to explain what happened to Tidus between the events of Final Fantasy X and X-2.

This little clip gives you a quick look at the crossover, and expands upon the Yuna-centric Eternal Calm to give us more of Tidus. Much of the same development team from X is participating, and the event itself will run starting this week in Japan.

Eventually the west will probably get this Dream within a Dream update too, and if you're at all curious about what's up with Tidus, odds are you'll be able to catch a YouTube video or read a fan recap at some point. As a reminder, Mobius Final Fantasy was a 2015 mobile-only game that eventually made the trip to PC in 2017.


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Tekken producer claims that fighting game fans don't use tutorials


Tutorials have been experimented with in a wild fashion the last several years or so. Skullgirls really set the bar when it came to how to do a welcoming, but substantial tutorial right, followed by a few other releases like Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2. But according to rock star Tekken producer Katsuhro Harada, people don't use them.

Speaking to PCGamesN, Harada explained that according to Bandai Namco's data, Tekken players don't use the tutorial, so they opted to ignore it for Tekken 7. Harada explains, "You hear a lot of people say this game is great because it has a tutorial but when we look at the data, not many people play these tutorial modes. This is the same when you buy something new, you take it home and you don’t read the manual. It’s a positive for your product if you can say you have a tutorial but when you take a closer look you notice that people aren’t really playing it."

Instead, Harada wanted people to learn naturally through the campaign, which, having played it, I can confirm provides explicit tutorial-ey type instructions. To me, this makes a lot of sense...for Harada, a producer of a fairly hardcore series. If they have data that the vast majority of their playerbase don't use tutorials, so be it -- incorporating them in a new or more organic way is cool.

But they still definitely have a place in gaming in general -- as I know quite a few people who loved repeating Skullgirls' tutorial to learn about the art of fighting, and have become more competitive players as a result of that low key, low stakes approach.

Tekken has dropped tutorials because players don't use them [PCGamesN]



Why didn't you see Blade Runner 2049?


The Groundhog Day derivative Happy Death Day ruled the weekend box office with a total of $26.5M, absolutely wrecking Blade Runner 2049 in its second weekend. If you're Blade Runner, this is a continued problem as you still cost $150M to make and still had an abysmal opening weekend one week ago.

Speaking of Happy Death Day, I'd be totally OK with this movie (and whatever success it achieves) if the ending were a twist wherein it was revealed Bill Murray had never escaped his repeating day all those years ago and now, out of boredom, murders the same college coed who happens to matriculate in Punxsutawney.

Maybe Blade Runner 2049 was just positioned poorly--maybe this film should have aimed for a summer release. Maybe Friday the 13th in early October was just prime positioning for a playful horror movie. Maybe sci-fi really is dead--but then again, the Star Trek franchise endures (yes--its recent iteration has seen diminishing returns, but is still largely profitable); Dr. Who still rules British television; and Star Wars is still Star Wars.

Is it the absence of a franchise or recent history (and thus fan base) that doomed Blade Runner 2049, a sequel that took 35 years to deliver? Perhaps they should have played up the Ridley Scott 'universe' connection to Alien.

So why didn't you see Blade Runner 2049? It's a beautiful movie and worth the big screen experience, but audiences aren't biting--what kept you away?


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Review: The Evil Within 2


In one of The Evil Within 2's early chapters, Sebastian Castellanos stumbles onto a familiar scene. As he wanders through darkened corridors, chasing leads in desperate hope of recovering his missing daughter, the former detective enters a room that's best described as a stand-in for Twin Peak's Red Room. Rich, velvety curtains hang in front of him. Black and white patterned tiling spills out beneath his feet, not unlike the Room's chevron flooring. This location is a far cry from his previous surroundings. It's a transient place, existing somewhere between Sebastian's waking world and the shared reality created by connected minds at the center of The Evil Within's fiction.

This allusion defines one aspect of The Evil Within 2. Like its predecessor, the survival horror game can't resist nodding and emulating elements of other franchises. Its DNA is muddy, mixing gameplay systems and tonal stylings with abandon. If you examine it from one angle, The Evil Within 2 is a strange mashup of horror's greatest hits held together by a leash of semi-open exploration. From another, it's a remarkable mood piece that draws players in with familiarity only to subtly shift attention towards something altogether new. There aren't many games like this one, even though it sometimes feels like it's all been done before.


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E3 has a new logo and it's automatically better than the old one


The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the long-reigning title holder for worst logo in video games. It manages to skirt by year in and year out because no one cares about something that innocuous when E3 rolls around. Everyone's so punch drunk at the idea of huge announcements that picking apart a logo is super low on their list of priorities.

But the logo is bad and it has always been bad! It's like clip art from Microsoft Word '97 levels of bad. Just look at this abomination:


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Redbox to start offering Switch game rentals in the U.S.


Those of you who remember renting games for your Super Nintendo back in the 90's are about to get a blast from the past. Redbox, the automated rental kiosks that one can find littering the U.S. are starting to offer Switch titles for the public to take out for a few fun nights in.

For now, the scheme is only live in Portland, San Antonio and Washington, where you can rent out either Pokken Tournament, Splatoon 2, Just Dance 2018, LEGO Ninjago, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle or NBA 2K18 for around three bucks a night. Not too shabby. This is in alignment with games for other consoles, such as PS4, which the company have been renting out for some time now.

Should the Switch titles prove popular, then it's likely Redbox will branch out to encompass more cities and games. All I remember of the dawn of game rental was all the best games being permanently out. I learned how to settle for the worst in life from spending many a morning attempting to come home with Mortal Kombat II, or Rock n Roll Racing, and instead returning with frikkin' Time Trax.

Redbox kiosks to include Switch titles [Redbox]



Banner Saga 3 sure looks pretty


Oh, right! Banner Saga 3 is happening. That tidbit slipped my mind in the months since the Kickstarter wrapped up, but today's video -- a key art trailer -- is a pleasant reminder of what's to come.

Well, maybe pleasant isn't the right word. No surprise: this won't be a feel-good game.

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Along with the video, Stoic is letting certain backers check out its first playable Alpha Battle, "single-serving battles where you get a first look at new features and may help us tune them and tweak them."

The studio would prefer folks to not share video or screens of this stuff, noting, "A lot of this work will be updated and polished before the game launches." If you contributed to Banner Saga 3's Kickstarter at the Banner Bearer tier or higher, though, dig in. "The goal here is to show you a new feature (in this case, the new 'Battle Waves' system) so we can hear what you think," according to Stoic.

The first Alpha Battle is here! New Art Reveal! [Kickstarter]



As the Miiverse prepares to die, official Nintendo accounts say goodbye


As a reminder, the Miiverse will be completely dead on November 8.

I mean, it's kind of on life support this very moment, as one of the only channels that's obtaining regular official updates is the "Everybody's Message Community," which is allowing developers to say goodbye before the door is shut for good. Yes, even developers are taking the opportunity to thank players for playing their games and using the Miiverse, as a number of Mario Maker, Zelda, and Captain Toad team members (among others) are posting on the channel one last time.

You can freely browse the community yourself online, without having to boot up your Wii U or 3DS, by simply clicking on its link. It's all so bittersweet, but at least they got the go-ahead to have one last stand before it's taken offline.

Everybody's Message Community [Miiverse]



Resident Evil 7's new DLC is just what I wanted


Capcom is lining up two Resident Evil 7 add-ons for December and I cannot wait.

Both of them take place after the main story. Not a Hero will send players after Lucas Baker, so expect plenty of traps and taunting. It'll also let us punch the shit out of the Molded. That's real good.

Meanwhile, End of Zoe introduces a new character, Joe, who Capcom calls a "mysterious outdoorsman." The trailer itself implies much more than that, but I'll leave you to it. (On that note, maybe don't watch this if you need to beat RE7 still...) I really liked Zoe and it's nice to know her story isn't over yet.

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End of Zoe is priced at $14.99/€14.99/£11.99 on its own and will be included as part of the season pass and Gold Edition of Resident Evil 7. December 12, 2017 will also see the free release of Not a Hero.


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Street Fighter V's Zeku is looking pretty complex in this character guide


Yesterday saw the announcement of the final season two DLC character for Capcom's Street Fighter V. It was of little surprise that it was, in fact, predicted character Zeku, master of Bushinryu and the tutor of Final Fight/Street Fighter star Guy.

What was surprising is that Zeku's V-Trigger appears to have de-aging properties, allowing old-man Zeku to bust out his youthful angst and fist-flying attacks. Many of these target combos are reminiscent of his student Guy's attack in previous Street Fighter titles, but having a fighter revitalize his look, attack patterns and moveset is quite a specific gimmick, one that would likely require intrinsic training.

To help prospective Zeku players prepare, Capcom have added a guide to better explain the "Two characters in one" mechanic that Zeku is rocking, allowing for a better understanding of the tools and properties available to the ninja master, in both of his forms.

Season two has seen a lot of gimmick characters join the roster. Menat and her puppet projectiles, screen-tall Abigail and his ridiculous damage, even Kolin and her chill skils and ice-based combo-enders. They kind of leave some of the original roster kicking in the dirt, option-wise, and while Killer Instinct did a great job of balancing out tens of different gimmicks, that doesn't mean the same trickery will inherently work in other fighting games.

Once season two completes, Street Fighter V will head into 2018 and Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. The game needs to take a page from its own launch motto and "Rise Up", because next year may be do or die for the divisive slugfest.

Zeku Guide [Official Site]



Overwatch players, at all levels of skill, seem to be favoring Mercy right now


OmnicMeta, among other data aggregate sites, have done a great job of collecting Overwatch data over the past year and a half or so.

While most of these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt (tier lists, if you believe in the concept at all, shouldn't be derived solely from winrates), they can be very useful in seeing where certain characters stand in the meta. As I always say when it comes to competitive play, "perception is reality," and if one character in particular is being chosen nearly every game (or conversely, another is never picked) it can make for some boring sessions.

That seems to be the case with Mercy after her rework, which sees her "all-resurrect" ultimate turned into a single-res ability, and her ultimate warped into a general purpose Valkyrie boost. Players are really taking to her, as her usage rate is nearly 100% in Grandmaster, Master, and Diamond. In Platinum and Gold she sees a roughly 95% pickrate, with 89% in Silver and 87% in Bronze.

Whether or not Mercy is balanced is another conversation -- she's dominating the meta right now, with a sharp decrease in usage from every other support, especially in Master and Grandmaster games, where heroes like Ana have plummeted. With BlizzCon just a month away many players are awaiting changes -- one of which is in the PTR right now.

Overwatch Hero Meta Report [OmnicMeta]



Review: Forza Motorsport 7


Forza Motorsport 7 gives off a great first impression. Professional drivers introduce you to the various disciplines of racing while you get to reenact the crowning moments of their career. The game gives you an allotment of “mods” to boost the credits you earn and the campaign mode’s first category briskly moves you along to make you believe this is going to be a high-octane experience.

Sadly, that momentum lets up pretty quickly. While the actual race mechanics of this latest entry in Turn 10’s flagship series are stellar, the introduction of loot boxes and the decreased amount of credits offered really makes collecting cars a drag. This is not the Forza we’ve always dreamed of, even if it is in 4K.


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Did You Know Gaming's new video looks at the Mario & Luigi series


This weekend, Did You Know Gaming? returned with a new episode, looking at the Mario & Luigi series. The video is filled with trivia from the handheld games, particularly Superstar Saga, Partners in Time and Bowser's Inside Story.

The video takes a look at some of the game's international names and we learn of a "Knock Knock" joke competition hosted by Kathy Griffin. We hear what steps were taken to prevent Bowser's guts from making you lose your own, and look at the secrets that can be uncovered in Superstar Saga via the GameCube Game Boy player, as well as investigating the creepy "missing brothers" title screen from Partners in Time.

As to be expected from the DYKG channel, it's a fast video of fun facts, perfect for kicking back with while downing your mid-morning coffee, or eating "Brunch", if that's the way you choose to live your life.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions is available now for Nintendo 3DS.


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Newest Black Panther trailer shows its claws


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By the success of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the looks of Thor: Ragnarok, and this latest trailer for Black Panther, it seems Marvel is learning from their past mistakes and allowing their directors a bit more wiggle room within their tight structure. At the very least, the voices presented now are more diverse than in MCU past.

I hope Ryan Coogler's (Fruitvale Station, Creed) afro-futuristic Wakanda hits all the right notes with viewers. This trailer does share some standard MCU beats, but the overall package is just so fresh and interesting it could potentially alleviate the superhero burnout a lot of folks are going through now. 

Coogler's a director who I'll see any project from, that Black Panther suit is cool as hell, and this cast is stacked with the likes of Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan., Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, and the Queen, Angela Bassett. It's a must see in my book. 

Black Panther hits theaters February 16, 2018. 



Review: Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth


A young child comes up to me at the airport after he notices I am playing my 3DS, waiting for my plane to arrive. Wearing Poké Ball headphones, he asks me if I am playing Pokémon as he reaches into his backpack to pull out his dinged and dirty 2DS. I wasn't and he quickly wanders off when I try to explain to him what Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth is. Kids never want to talk about Etrian Odyssey.

Well, sucks for him because Beyond the Myth just may be the best Etrian game from Atlus. It may also be the least creative entry to date.


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FIFA 18 plays keep-away with new releases in UK Charts


Electronic Arts FIFA 18 is celebrating its third week at the number one spot in the U.K. Charts, having held off the debuts of both Middle-earth: Shadow of War, which comes in at number two, and The Evil Within 2, which debuted at three.

The two new third-person adventures slammed into the Top Five, pushing back the Forza duo that made a huge impact last week. I am somewhat surprised that Shadow of War didn't take the top spot, despite its numerous controversies, but it wasn't to be, at least not this week.

There were few shake-ups to the chart standings aside from that. Survival horror title Friday the 13th also saw a physical release this week, debuting modestly at number fifteen.


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These Pokemon Evolutionary Stone replicas put the recent Infinity Stones to shame


Bandai Namco has been trucking away at various toy lines for competitors for years, but this time they really caught my eye.

I doubt I'll actually pull the trigger given that I don't want to start a bigger Pokemon collection, but they're peddling a trio of Evolutionary Stones (Fire, Water, Thunder) in early 2018. They're going on sale in February in fact, and right now they're only going to be sold as an import, and will run you 5,400 yen, which is roughly $50.

They're big enough where you can hold them in your hand, and they have an actual picture of what they look like out of the box/free from promotional materials. Compare these to the Infinity Stones, a collector's item gone wrong in the recent Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite set.

Evolutionary Stones [Bandai]


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Atlus' Jack Frost 2D adventure is legit after all, ready to download now


On Friday, Atlus showed an entertaining trailer for a side-scrolling action adventure featuring cute mascots Jack Frost and Jack Lantern, stars of upcoming title Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux. Disappointingly, they also confirmed that the  game didn't actually exist and the trailer was just a fun tease.

Well, seems like the joke truly was on us, as it appears that not only is the game for reals, but it is free to download on PC right now! Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue, can be picked up from the Atlus website any time between now and December 24 gratis.

Players will get to control Frost and Lantern through a Castlevania-esque platform adventure. It appears that the game is only available in its native Japanese language, but hopefully this shouldn't give you too much hassle as you run and gun your way through the colourful environments. What a wonderful surprise to start the week.

Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue can be downloaded here. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux launches on Nintendo 3DS next week in Japan and comes to the West early 2018.


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People are speedrunning Mario Odyssey with demo kiosks


Like any Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey is conducive to speedrunning. It's not just the scope of your basic abilities that makes this particular iteration so exciting, but the power to "capture" other enemies as Cappy, and turn yourself into an instrument of traversal.

So how are people actually playing Odyssey to even speedrun it? Well, prospective world-record setters are getting their hands on it by way of demo kiosks all around the US, attempting to best all sorts of completion parameters. You can check out Jacob Babione's any% record below, which clocks in at 5:04:16.

If you want to get a handle on some Odyssey tech before the game is out, this is your chance!


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