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Updated: 2018-03-23T19:30:00Z


Dying Light: Bad Blood does a great job reworking competitive multiplayer three years later


Like the hordes of zombie antagonists it features, Dying Light refuses to die. There's a passionate community that keeps the game alive, and Techland is happy to oblige these players with continued support. Before a GDC demo in San Francisco this week, a Techland representative tells us there are still 2.5 million active players. That's a remarkable number, especially considering Dying Light isn't something along the lines of a persistent MMO.

Techland's next step in keeping people interested sort of follows industry trends while staying uniquely Dying Light. A standalone expansion called Dying Light: Bad Blood is set to release later this year on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It's a competitive multiplayer mode, which is the first time it has tried this angle (aside from the Left 4 Dead-like humans versus zombies from the base game). This is piggybacking on the ever-popular battle royale billing.

It feels pertinent to get this out of the way up front: Bad Blood is not really battle royale despite plenty of other outlets reporting it that way. Bad Blood is a six-player mode -- more of a battle miniature than anything else. Everyone has only a single life, so there is a pervasive cautiousness about it all. But a lot of games were doing that well before battle royale became so profitable.

Instead, Bad Blood leverages its systems to make a multiplayer mode that uses its existing environmental hazards, and simply adds a human threat. The premise has six players dropped off on a map, everyone with a different dumpster to land in (exactly where I belong, according to some people). They have to collect infected blood samples for their employer to come pick them back up. But, due to a helicopter design that seems awfully deficient, there's only one seat on the chopper. You see where this is going.


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PUBG's third map will be playable in early April


Today marks the one-year anniversary of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds entering Steam Early Access, and the developers have taken the opportunity to show off the battle royale title's next map.

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"This is a marathon for us, not a sprint," said creative director Brendan Greene. "We're building a team now globally and expanding every day in order to service this game for many years to come."

Public testing for the game's third map, a 4x4km island, will begin in early April.




The team intends to get back to "pursuing open development once more," according to PUBG Corp. CEO and executive producer CH Kim. The new map will be playable earlier than normal in order to better realize feedback "and really improve the map early in development," as Greene puts it.

Admittedly, the aesthetic isn't doing much for me, but I'm curious to see how the smaller map size impacts the speed and tension of PUBG matches. I hope it all comes together with player feedback.



Bizarre '90s fighter Waku Waku 7 comes to PS4 and Xbox One today


Hamster are at it again, and have dropped another classic from their Neo Geo ACA range. Left-field fighting game Waku Waku 7 is available to purchase on PS4 and Xbox One.

Created by Sunsoft for arcades and the Neo Geo platform, Waku Waku 7 received a very low-key launch back in 1996, before being ported to the Sega Saturn one year later. The game is a delightfully drawn and vibrantly-coloured 2D fighter starring a cast of nine weird characters including a tank-mecha, a hot-tempered BMX rider and a fun-loving gal with bunny ears.

The game is known within the hardcore fighting community for its experimental mechanics, such as the ability to attack downed opponents, attacking while downed, and the ability activate a wall-bounce in order to get back to your feet. The game has a host of genuinely cool ideas, that are implemented with varied degrees of success. Waku Waku 7 remains a fun fighter even today, though more for its amusing cast and intriguing gimmicks.

Already available on Nintendo Switch, Waku Waku 7 is available for download on Xbox One and PS4 worldwide. As is sometimes the case, the Hamster website lists the PS4 version as being available in Japan only.


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Review: Ghost of a Tale


Ghost of a Tale has a fantastic aesthetic. It was the gothic imagery akin to games like Thief that first drew me in. The medieval adventure follows Tilo, a mousey minstrel on a quest to escape the clutches of a rat empire and rescue his wife Merra. 

Tilo uses stealth and disguises to dodge the guards in this prison as he searches for clues as to Merra's whereabouts. It's all good fun, but some of the mechanics are poorly explained and honestly a bit frustrating.


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Custom Wolfenstein II Switch being given away at PAX East


The official Wolfenstein twitter has announced that the Nintendo Switch port of 2017's hit shooter Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus will be playable next month at PAX East.

The MachineGames developed sequel, which sees hero B.J. Blazkowicz and his rag-tag gang of rebels take on The New Order, released last year to very positive reviews. Switch fans have been eagerly awaiting the pocket-sized port, which is scheduled to release this year, so it will be great to see the build in action.

Not only that, but a competition will be held to give away a cool custom Switch console, featuring a slick yellow-and-black design and emblazoned with the "2 down" logo that B.J. sports on his similarly-coloured jacket. Lucky viewers, watching the event online, could also bag themselves a custom console.

PAX East runs from April 5-8 in Boston, MA. The Wolfenstein II Switch build will be playable on April 7 at Laugh Boston, between 13:00 and 21:00.


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I wish Gekido: Kintaro's Revenge played as good as it looks


When classic-style sprite-based graphics came back into fashion a few years ago, a lot of people called it a retro revival. Truth is, good old dot art never really went away. Polygons may have largely taken over during the PS1 and PS2 eras, but you could still get great 2D games on the GBA and DS during that time. Case in point, Gekido: Urban Fighters was a PS1 game first, with chunky butt textures and thicc-as-hell polys to spare, and it did OK, but it wasn't until Gekido Advance: Kintaro's Revenge hit the GBA in 2002 that people were really impressed with how these games look. 

That's probably why out of the two games, it's Gekido Advance: Kintaro's Revenge (now re-titled without the Advance part of the name) that's been re-released on the Switch. Those classic sprites still hold up great, even by today's standards, making it one of the better-looking games in its genre on the Switch eShop. It also adds two-player co-op, which is a fine addition, though it's a shame they weren't able to give the new protagonist a standing animation. That's no big deal though. The problem is, the game holds tight to the limited replay system of the arcade games that inspired it, but it drops the classic structure of titles like Final Fight and Double Dragon in favor of a slow-paced, key-hunting, "adventure" framework. 

That kinda stinks.


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Here are some of the hero ideas you want to see in Overwatch


When I asked the community what they wanted from the future of Overwatch, I got some pretty unexpected and thoughtful responses. I mostly just mused on how we could use more baddies/Talon members on the roster, but a few of you had some great mechanical-minded ideas.

Here are a few of your choices!


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This week's Splatoon 2 weapon is the Zink Mini Splatling


It's the weekend, guys 'n' gals, and that means another weapon is headed to the arsenal of Nintendo Switch shooter Splatoon 2. Today sees the return of the Zink Mini Splating.

Making its original appearance in the first Splatoon game, the Zink Mini Splatling is a portable minigun-esque device. As the smaller variation of the Heavy Splatling, it has a faster charge time and slicker maneuverability, but sacrifices range and ammo load. It still packs a pretty punch, and can generally splat a foe in four direct hits.

This version of the weapon comes equipped with a Curling Bomb sub and an Ink Storm special. It will go live in North America this evening, with Europe and Japan to follow earlier tomorrow.

Speaking of Japan, the country's latest Splatfest also takes place from 15:00 JST tomorrow, with players battling it out over 24 hours over the frankly crappy, Nike-sponsored theme of whether you prefer, as a consumer, to purchase "What's new" or "What's Popular"?


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PixelJunk Monsters 2 is set for PC, PS4, and Switch


At long last, we're getting a full-fledged, honest-to-goodness PixelJunk Monsters 2. I'm thrilled! The tower defense sequel sports a new look and it's heading to PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

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Q-Games and publisher Spike Chunsoft are hosting a live stream today at 5:00pm Pacific with footage of PixelJunk Monsters 2 as well as Zanki Zero: Last Beginning and 428: Shibuya Scramble.

This game seems like a best-case scenario following the demise of The Tomorrow Children and the unsuccessful Kickstarter for the mobile-bound PixelJunk Monsters Duo. I'm so down for it.

The wait isn't long, either -- PJM2 launches May 25, 2018.

Q-Games [Twitter]



Kirby Star Allies is bringing in Kirby's old nemesis Marx as a playable character


I'm already pretty much in love with Kirby Star Allies, but if Nintendo is going to keep adding in extra DLC characters for free, I'll keep playing it. In addition to the already announced Dream Land 2 friend trio, Marx, the villain from Kirby Super Star's Milky Way Wishes, is in.

His main kit involves rolling on his ball to dispatch enemies, but he can also sport his final form, which I've always referred to as the "Milky Way Bat." He can also take in elements from other fiends to modify his powers.

Yeah this definitely warrants another playthrough for me as he looks really fun to play. Gooey, another Dream Land 2-3 friend, is also confirmed.


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Review: Sea of Thieves


Sea of Thieves is proving to be a divisive game.

During my review-in-progress, I said that I fell in the middle of the pack: somewhere between the folks who find Rare's shared-world pirate adventure dreadfully boring and those who feel it's an amazing goof-filled social experience that cuts out a lot of the fat in modern multiplayer gaming.

The thing is, Sea of Thieves can genuinely be both. Much has been said about its lack of progression in favor of giving all players the same tools, weapons, and capabilities right at the start. There are only so many ways quests can play out before monotony sets in. And crew-on-crew battles, while often exhilarating and hilarious, aren't as commonplace as you would probably expect.

But when the stars align in unscripted or otherwise unexpected ways, Sea of Thieves is such a treat.


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Yeah, you could say I'm interested in this 'Sonic Maker' fan project


Fan projects can really get me going, especially for retro franchises that don't get a lot of modern releases. Despite the fact that Sonic Mania was pretty rad that goes double for Sonic Maker, and upcoming fan game from the Sonic Maker team.

The concept was just made public this month, and based on the footage the idea is to craft a "maker" game that sort of operates like Mario Maker, but with the ability to plainly draw shapes and contort terrain to your will.

Before people get up in arms about how we're "ruining the release of the game," Sega is very supportive of fan projects. Not to mention that this isn't some clandestine find -- the project, with all of its social media information emblazoned on it, is publicly available on YouTube.


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Get your giraffe in your backpack because The Adventure Pals releases in early April


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As far as video games about a boy (along with his pet rock and backpack-confined giraffe) rescuing his dad from a madman who turns old folks into hot dogs go, The Adventure Pals seems to be one of the very best. Maybe it's the only one. A victory by default tastes just as sweet.

This action platformer takes its cues from the likes of Adventure Time in more than just naming conventions. It's an irreverent experience full of non sequiturs that are meant to make the player constantly raise their eyebrows as if to say "oh wait, what now?" It's probably equal parts charming and tiresome, mostly because that brand of cheeky nonsense has been so en vogue for so many years now.

Thankfully, The Adventure Pals has chops that range farther than just comedic sensibilities. It's a good-feeling platformer from Massive Monster -- the sort where you wall jump around and hack and slash through enemies. The titular Adventure Pals have five worlds to get through, each one with several levels that are full of the standard-fare adventure platformer collectibles and whatnot.

Through my brief demo, I'm convinced that it plays fine and will be fun enough. It's just up in the air as to whether all that absurdist humor can jell in a way that makes this a story worth telling. It won't be long before we find out. The Adventure Pals releases on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One on April 3 for $15.



SNK reportedly going public on the stock market, will hold anniversary panel at PAX East


Korean financial publication The Bell is reporting that long-running Japanese studio SNK is preparing to go public on the stock market, alongside plans to buy up Japanese IPs and help boost profits.

The report suggest that the funds received from sales of SNK stock will be used to acquire already-existing properties, which will then, in-turn, provide further moolah for the company, renown for long running fighting game series such as The King of Fighters and Fatal Fury.

SNK hopes to work alongside industry giant Tencent in order to make the most of these planned acquisitions, and are hoping to increase their annual profit from ¥3.1 billion (as of July 2017) to a projected ¥5-6 billion. SNK have always struggled financially, but have seen their most positive figures in an age thanks to The King of Fighters XIV and the recent outpouring of their back catalogue.

In other news, SNK will be holding a 40th Anniversary panel at PAX East on April 6. The panel will feature SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy director Kaito Soranaka and studio artist Naoto Abe. We can expect new character announcements for the all-gal brawler and other fun surprises.

SNK are preparing to take the company public [The Bell / Resetera]



Upcoming Sea of Thieves patch adds gold cost for death


So it seems there are some changes to Sea of Thieves that are coming in addition to the "day one [item] patch" joke very soon. 

Tucked away in their 1.0 patch notes is a "coming updates" section, which explains a new mechanic: "Death Cost." As per the notes: "This new feature has the Captain of the Ferry of the Damned deduct a small gold fee when you die. Rates are dependent on the cause of death, so the more avoidable the death, the less patience the Captain will have when we enable this feature! Please note, we never intended to charge players for PvP related deaths, as we understand the negative impact this would have on player experience."

That last bit is cute sounding, but folks are already up in arms about the change, mainly because Rare had already taken a ton of player feedback to heart in the beta, and decided to launch the game without this alteration -- then patch it in directly after launch. It'll be interesting to see if Rare goes ahead with it, and what the impact will be.

Release Notes [Sea of Thieves]



Cyberpunk 2077 is focusing on a taut single-player experience with no microtransactions


We've learned a few things about CD Projekt RED's mysterious RPG Cyberpunk 2077 this week, with news of the studio expanding to boost production, and various notes now coming out of the developer's recent financial conference.

Although company President Adam Kuciński attempted to keep his cards close to his chest, he fortunately still couldn't help but drop a few details about the new game, which was first announced way back in 2012.

The biggest take-away is that the team is focused on making a narrative-driven single-player experience, with any multiplayer plans not on the board right now. That doesn't mean the latter won't happen, as, when questioned whether Battle Royale was coming to the game (someone asked that?) the response given was that "everything and anything" was up for consideration.

Another point made is that CD Projekt RED is going for a "one price" strategy with no plans for the game to feature microtransactions or any other "hidden costs" although this statement likely doesn't include expansion DLC, which was also featured in the company's previous Witcher titles.

Regarding platforms, the team is aiming for powerful technology, such as the latest consoles and high-end PCs, as the game is "very advanced". Pressed further, Kuciński said that he could only speculate, as the next generation of consoles haven't been announced yet. Yikes. Other minor notes include the confirmation of a character creator and a "special announcement" concerning the title that will happen right before E3 this year.

Cyberpunk 2077 is currently in development for PC and consoles. As for what generation of consoles, I don't know what to tell you.

CD Projekt RED Financial results conference webcast [YouTube]



Absolute madman gets every achievement in World of Warcraft


Having played World of Warcraft since the start, I remember the impact achievements had when they were introduced to the game with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. A lot of people (myself included) gave them a "big old nope" reaction because of how time-consuming they were, and a conversely a lot of folks were consumed by them.

A recent reddit post by user Xirev shows just how dedicated some of that latter group is, as they've managed to knock out every achievement. Like, they have 100% in every category. As they said themselves on Reddit, "6 years ago I set a goal for myself, today I reached that goal."

There are some insane achievements in World of Warcraft that span the likes of gathering, world quests, and PVP, so this is a massive feat, and an actual salute goes out to Xirev.

Xirev [World of Warcraft]



Review: Isle of Dogs


Do you like Wes Anderson? Then you'll like Isle of Dogs. It's got everything we've come to expect from the director, who has basically created a genre named after himself. The film is full of his signature symmetrical shots; his stunning mise en scène; the slightly off nostalgia; the same cast of actors; the hipster aesthetics; the deadpan humor and performances; the subtle, yet effective, relationships. I like Wes Anderson so you can probably guess where this review will go.

Do you not like Wes Anderson? Well, this might actually be the Wes Anderson movie for you. For starters its a story about a boy and his dog, and everyone loves stories about children and their dogs. But the movie also functions as a strange, beautiful, and surprisingly thought-provoking political satire done in a style that only Wes Anderson could deliver. 


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Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising


The original Pacific Rim was an absurd, goofy and dumb action movie about robots punching monsters in the face. Despite this ridiculous premise, the movie turned out to be a cut-above your standard blockbuster trash. The spectacle of huge monsters smacking each other around was counterbalanced with characters and developments that gave the film a hell of a lot of heart. Who could forget the likable personas of Mako Mori, Stacker Pentecost, Newton Geiszler or Hermann Gottlieb? Somehow, against all odds, a movie about punching monsters in the face turned out better than it had any right to be.

Pacific Rim: Uprising feels like a direct response to the success of the original. Instead of relying on the seemingly irreplaceable heroes of the original film, Uprising brings on a mostly original cast of characters to fill their void. Instead of trying to one-up the last film, it goes in an entirely new direction with its plot, themes, and characters. It expands on the universe of the original. It introduces an internal struggle and a hidden villain. Uprising, if anything, is trying to be different, while recapturing the feeling of the original.

In terms of the action, it succeeds. But, where’s the heart?


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New Detroit Become Human trailers introduce us to the game's android cast


Sony have released three new trailers ahead of the release of Quantic Dream's moralistic cyber-story Detroit Become Human. Each of the trailers presents us with on of the android protagonists players will control in the shifting-narrative adventure.

First up is Connor - RK800. Connor is designed to assist detectives at crime scenes to establish cause and effect of events using a sophisticated reconstruction device and a variety of in built forensic tests. Connor is the Detroit lead known most famously for taking part in the world's easiest hostage negotiation atop an apartment building.

The next trailer features Kara - RK200. Kara's model was created by CyberLife as a household help, performing chores around the home and babysitting your squawking kids. We all know Kara from the infamous domestic violence scene, which you shouldn't ask creator David Cage about because you wouldn't ask a film director the same question, or something.

The final video features Markus from the RK200 series. Markus is one of the lesser-advertised characters in the game, but could turn out to be the most important. Owned by celebrated artist Carl Manfred, Markus is taught in the ways of the arts, passion, love and humanity, all of which will help guide him to growth and, ultimately, revolution.

Detroit Become Human launches May 25 on PS4


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Amid fan outcry to region lock Chinese players, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds isn't giving in


Hacking is a big problem plaguing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds right now, and much of the playerbase is blaming it on Chinese players. For months they've been asking the game's developers to region lock Chinese users, which they say will fix the issue in one fell swoop. Others contend that locking out an entire region is a bad idea, and the creator agrees with them.

After a long period of silence, Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene shared his thoughts on the matter with USGamer, explaining that "it just doesn't work." His response: "I mean everyone that [suggests] region locking [is forgetting about] VPN. It just doesn't work. We just implemented ping-based matchmaking which really has improved the gameplay experience for a lot of players. It's working out quite well and we're still doing research. We have the data team looking into it and trying to improve it. And that's the goal with the game, to keep improving it over this year and the next year and the next ten years.

So if you were curious, the next step is to rely on ping-based matchmaking and see if it works out. Until PUBG cracks down in a more meaningful fashion (whether it's with ping-based matchmaking or anti-cheat protection), we can enjoy all of the hilarious and frustrating hacks.

PUBG Creator Brendan Greene: "Region Locking Just Doesn't Work" [USGamer]



Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on Switch will be nearly half the size of the Wii U version


Thanks to a tip from a reader, I was able to log into my Japanese eShop account on Switch and take a gander at the listing for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze -- only to find out that the file size has been posted!

According to the listing the Switch port is 6.6GB, which is roughly half the size of the Wii U original of 11.4GB. Compression ho! Japanese eShop users can pre-load the game now that the size has been posted, and we can only assume that the functionality will make its way across the world over time.

I'm a little nervous about this release, mostly because I don't want to see the reputation of the incredible original tarnished because people are turned off by the $60 pricepoint of the Switch edition. That's on Nintendo though.


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FLCL's sequel brings out The Pillows goodness on June 2


Whenever a title finishes its run, there's a good chance that its story is complete. As FLCL's new seasons hit us with a cool trailer, I'm still siding with those who think that the sequels aren't necessary.

Aside from the original show having a satisfying conclusion, the other reason behind my stance is that the first series was the result of Gainax wanting to make something happy after being sad from working on End of Evangelion, which likely played a role in the OVA's hyperactive over-the-top nature. Since the sequel's team is lacking the old one's mentality, the new FLCL might not be on a similar level to its predecessor.

With the sequel being two new seasons, they're being called FLCL Progressive and FLCL Alternative. Just like the original, they'll be six episodes each. Seeing that they both feature different casts of characters, it looks like it's focusing on Medical Mechanica's effects on society. There also seems to be a new robot that may be the Canti of the series, so we'll see how it turns out.

FLCL Progressive hits the Toonami block on June 2 at 11:30 p.m. (EST and PST), and Adult Swim's Website will simulcast the series in Japanese. Then Alternative will air in September. If you're in Japan, they'll be shown in theaters on September 7 and 29, with Alternative being the first one to be screened. 

Depending on their quality, I might get to relive my high school senior year as I get to see FLCL on TV again. Either way, it won't stop me from jamming out to The Pillows' new opening songs, "Spikey Seeds" and "Star Overhead." If they lack the charm of the original, then we have Studio TRIGGER's Space Patrol Luluco as a wonderful spiritual successor. Fortunately, there are a couple people on the staff who worked with Gainax and TRIGGER, so there's a bit of hope in the sequel not being a disappointment.


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Review: Game Over, Man!


Die Hard doesn’t really need any sequels, but because Bruce Willis is still working, we’ll probably get at least one more anyway, in between Death Wish and Sixth Sense revivals. But, if the creators and stars of Workaholics were to pitch a Die Hard knockoff comedy, starring themselves, apparently executives at Netflix would be hard pressed to not say YES, have money NOW.

For this is all Game Over, Man! is: it’s Die Hard meets Workaholics. And finally breaking free of the shackles that confined them on cable, the trio of Anders Holm, Adam Devine, and Blake Anderson seem to embrace the Netflix freedom with open arms, dropping f-bombs at a pace set to give Scarface a run for its money, and adding more gore than was ever necessary. Sometimes it’s comic, given the trio, and director Kyle Newacheck (Workaholics co-creator and co-star, Karl) are clearly working to make this movie as ridiculous as it could possibly be. But when people start having their face carved off in layers with meat slicers, or tiny dogs explode in pools of blood, they risk taking the gag too far and alienating large swaths of an audience that probably had no idea what it was in for.


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Zelda took the top honors at the Game Developers Choice Awards


Early this year as game-of-the-year lists were still coming out, CJ spoke about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's potential victory lap come March 2018. The open-world adventure game was showing up all over the place, and it had just been nominated for the Game Developers Choice Awards.

Well, the awards ceremony took place last night, and wouldn't you know it, Zelda is still pulling in wins. Nintendo took home Best Audio, Best Design, and Game of the Year for Breath of the Wild.

The Independent Games Festival Awards followed the show, highlighting games like Baba Is You, Celeste, and the grand-prize-winning Night in the Woods. I wonder what Mae would say about that.

You can find the full list of winners below.


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Nintendo is hosting an eShop sale for Switch, 3DS, and Wii U


If you're anything like me, you might be scoffing at the idea of loading up on even more Nintendo Switch games. I've put all of five minutes into Bayonetta. I'm midway through Celeste. I could keep scrolling right on my Switch home screen and I'd find numerous other unfairly-neglected titles.

But maybe you're a more responsible shopper than I am. Maybe you've been biding your time, waiting for the right deals to pop up before bloating your backlog. This week is your week. Right now in North America and Europe, you'll find a bunch of discounted Switch, 3DS, and Wii U games on the eShop.

Looking at the Switch list, several titles stand out: SteamWorld Dig 2 ($14.99), SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition ($14.99), Kamiko ($2.99), Aeigis Defenders ($15.99), Crypt of the NecroDancer ($14.99), and Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King ($12.74). The UK sale has a wider range of games, too.

Many (but not all) of the currently-running deals last until Thursday, April 5.



PUBG's new Event Mode brings rotating game types


PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds will soon have another match type, one the developers describe as a "periodically changing preset Custom Game where we will be trying new things and experimenting with different game parameters." Event Mode, as its known, is playable on the test servers.

To start off, you'll be able to test your mettle as part of an eight-player squad on Erangel with double the drop rate for rifles. "We know it's not a huge change from the public matches," the team said, "[but] this is just to get things rolling. The future of the Event Mode holds exciting things!"

We've seen this sort of rotating-game-type offering in plenty of other multiplayer games, to say nothing of PUBG's closest competitor Fortnite, and it sounds like a nice change of pace to me.

Most importantly, "Event Mode will be unranked but you will receive BP at the end of each match."

Event mode is here! [Steam]



Rock the night like your life depends on it in Afterparty


Indie-outfit Night School Studios, renown for existential mystery game Oxenfree, have released a trailer for their next mind-warping adventure, Afterparty. A story of two friends who must escape hell through the strategic consumption of alcohol.

After Milo and Lola find themselves trapped in hell after a premature demise, the besties ascertain that their only way out of the underworld is to schmooze and booze their way through Satan and his minions. Thus, the player guides the two pals through a riotous night out involving karaoke, bar games, tipsy psychology and drinking... lots of drinking.

I really like the neon visuals, and the delivery of dialect through social media style thought-bubbles. The audible vocal style isn't quite as magnetic for me, personally, but I really dig the vibes given off from this trailer. It looks like a unique title, worth keeping an eye on.

There's a bit of a wait however, as the Afterparty doesn't begin until sometime in 2019.


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Fire Emblem Warriors DLC Pack #3 and Version 1.5.0 detailed


In what feels like the missing Nintendo Direct announcement, details for the final DLC pack for Fire Emblem Warriors have been revealed along with the related update, Version 1.5.0. The DLC will be arriving on March 28, and is confirmed to be $8.99 USD if you do not own the season pass.

Let's take a look at what could be the last major content added to the game.


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Nintendo reveal artwork of Splatoon's original ink-blasting rabbit concept


Everyone knows the song "You're a kid now, you're a squid now, you're a kid, you're a squid... etc". But things could have been oh-so-different for arena-shooter Splatoon, had Nintendo gone with its original concept of an army of rabbits.

Speaking at GDC 2018 in San Francisco yesterday, Splatoon Producer Hisashi Nogami spoke about the original designs that went into creating the popular, colour-stained Switch game, with new tidbits concerning the game's original protagonists, a concept previously revealed on "Iwata Asks..." several years back.

Originally, the lop-eared cuties were chosen due to their territorial nature and distinctive colouring, but the concept was changed to squids when they started asking themselves why rabbits were firing ink and diving into streams to swim into battle. Y'know, like a squid might?

Soon after the conference, Nintendo tweeted out some original artwork of the abandoned idea, which you can check out below.

Nintendo's speaks on Splatoon's "rabbit" concept [Nintendo / Kotaku]


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PC Port Report: Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom


Ni No Kuni II is a charming RPG where the president of some great human nation gets blown up by a missile and transported to a magical world of talking rats and half-cat kings, armed only with a bitchin' ponytail and a handgun. On paper, it sounds more like a fantasy fish out of water story than a JRPG, but Revenant Kingdom's tale of clashing worlds, deposed kings, and gun-toting presidents works because no one bothers to stop and point out how silly it all seems. 

In his review, Chris Carter touched on the dichotomy that drives the game forward. Its central characters, the greenhorn king Evan and capable Roland, stand in contrast to one another immediately. They're from two different worlds, but because their survival depends on it, the duo grows to rely on one another. This central theme carries extra contextual weight considering that Ni No Kuni II marks developer Level-5's first release on PC and the recent batch of JRPG-style games coming to the traditionally Western-dominated platform.


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Elder Scrolls Online returns to the High Elves of Summerset for the first time in ages


I find myself enjoying the general lore of Elder Scrolls more than a few of Bethesda's gaming renditions. I've always been interested in the Dunmer, a hobby that was not only indulged with reckless abandon in Morrowind and its several add-ons, but a full-on expansion for Elder Scrolls Online as well.

The elves are back, but this time they're High (Altmer), and we're going to Summerset. Bethesda just confirmed that the next expansion for ESO is simply called "Summerset," and will arrive on June 5, with an early access program for PC coming on May 21.

Despite being a fairly closed off nation, Queen Ayrenn has opened up the island for all to visit, though once again you'll have to deal with the evil forces of the Daedra. You'll be able to complete a new storyline, join the Psijic Order (with its own combat skills/powers), battle in Cloudrest, a 12-player trial, and work on your jewelry crafting skills.

It's great how much ZeniMax and Bethesda were able to turn this game around, and I'll be there when this expansion arrives in June.


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Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - MARS zero shifts into a September worldwide release


Hot off the heels of the September release date for Japan, Konami has announced that the remaster of Zone of the Enders 2 will launch worldwide the same month. Alongside the announcement came a helpful video, showing off the remaster in comparison to the original and HD versions of the game.


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How realistic is this Andy Serkis Unreal Engine rendering?


The uncanny valley is a concept you've probably heard a lot about, and every few years, some developer or hype train tries to explain that they've "cracked the code." Remember when people touted Heavy Rain as the one true herald, the project that would shepherd all of us out of the dark ages of photo-realism in gaming?

That day probably hasn't come yet for some, even with this incredibly well-acted performance from the talented and underrated Andy Serkis. As shown at GDC, studios 3Lateral and Epic Games have managed to push the Unreal Engine to its limits, showcasing a Serkis rendering that serves as a dramatic reading of lines from Macbeth.

Serkis, an animated fellow in real life, is the perfect person to show this tech off with, but I'm hung up a bit on the mouth movements; specifically around the dimples area. Still, it's hard to be down on this in any real way -- it's fantastically rendered and a huge leap forward for the industry.


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It took 18 years, but Rune: Ragnarok is Human Head getting back to where it all started


Human Head Studios, a company that has been around for 20 years, is known by most people for two very specific things: It released Prey which is remembered fondly, and it started making Prey 2 until Bethesda put the kibosh on that. Kind of lost in the studio's history is Rune, the Norse mythology game that first proved Human Head was more than capable of serving as a lead developer on projects.

In a GDC meeting with Human Head co-founder Chris Rhinehart, it's made clear why the studio's going back to its roots. "It was our first game and we always wanted to bring it back," Rhinehart tells us. The slightly-longer version is "After Preywe started talking about how it'd be cool to come back to Rune. We hatched different ideas and kind of explored small prototypes and talked to different publishers. A year ago, we connected with ESDF and they were looking to do a viking-based game and we were looking to bring back Rune, and we thought it would be a great fit. So we decided to resurrect it."

It's easy enough to see how Human Head ended up on a Rune reunion tour, but actually creating the game is very different 18 years later. There are modern conveniences and expectations that have to be accounted for. There needs to be a certain degree of variety to keep players invested.


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New Hyrule Warriors Switch footage mostly focuses on the baddies


Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition continues to look enticing, despite the fact, and I've said this many times before, that I've played the Wii U edition into the ground.

For many who haven't played the 3DS iteration this is going to be a sort of homecoming, as there are many DLC characters you probably haven't played yet -- most notably Yuga and Ravio, showcased in the below video, focusing on the dualities of light and dark, ending on the ever-imposing Ganondorf.

Of course the Yuga footage is juxtaposed to Ravio, a new fan-favorite item-peddler from Link Between Worlds. Hyrule Warriors Switch launches today in Japan, and will arrive on May 18 in the west.


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Prison break co-op adventure A Way Out releases launch trailer


Hazelight Studio's stealth adventure A Way Out launches tomorrow, and Electronic Arts have released a launch trailer to get you and your fellow escapee prepped for the longest night of your lives.

A Way Out, directed by Josef "Fuck the Oscars" Fares, sees players take control of convicts Vince and Leo who, after one bowl of porridge too many, decide to take leave of their concrete abode and make their escape into the great outdoors. Players must guide the duo from the confines of their cell to the perimeters of the prison walls and beyond, with cutscenes and in-game dialogue driving the story.

A Way Out can be played in local co-op or online, but is two-player mandatory, there is no single-player mode or an alternate A.I partner. Given the split-second timing and co-ordination of Vince and Leo's plans, that's probably a helluva good thing.

Will the guys see the sun once again? or will your pal with the non-wired connection let you both down? Get busy living or get busy dying tomorrow, when A Way Out launches on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.


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Nintendo is bringing back competitive Smash and Splatoon 2 at E3 this year


Nintendo might shy away from unofficial events a little too often, and in the wrong way, but they sure can kick off officially sanctioned tournaments.

Once again Smash and Splatoon will return to E3, but this time it'll be based around Splatoon 2, and the newly announced Super Smash Bros. (the latter will have a presumably limited roster until everyone gets revealed). The events (Invitational for the former, World Championship for the latter) will run from June 11-12, which hints that Nintendo's Direct will probably reveal Smash before the actual convention starts on June 12.

If you're interested in qualifying, the official rules are below:


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Nintendo demonstrate more ideas with Labo's Toy-Con Garage in new video


Nintendo have released a follow-up to last week's Labo video, showing how software package Toy-Con Garage can be used to make all manner of fun inventions and games.

The new video starts with the creation of a remote-control tank and a pint-sized Kaiju. Using the software's basic coding system, which assigns actions to the Joy-Con's various buttons via "nodes," users can make the tank move using the rumble feature. When the camera picks up the marker sticker on the monster's head, further vibrations will cause the cardboard destroyer of worlds to tumble "Mission Face-Plant accomplished!"...apparently.

Mad on power, the narrator then shows how you can use further nodes to include button presses, add sound effects, and more. We then see the science behind Labo's marker sticker, which interact with the Joy-Con's infra-red beams to create action and reaction. All this leads to a sweet-looking organ grinder device, my favourite Labo invention so far.

Whilst Labo isn't for me - and I understand that perhaps jaded sociopaths approaching forty are probably not its target audience - I do think some of these home made devices are very cool, and that imaginative kids will create some fascinating tools with it.

The first Nintendo Labo kits launch April 27 on Switch.


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Free Dissidia Final Fantasy NT update adds Orbonne Monastery from Final Fantasy Tactics


Despite some initial mixed reactions to Dissida Final Fantasy NT, Square Enix is still delivering a smattering of free and premium content, and I'm still playing it.

The newest 1.06 update adds in myriad balance changes for most of the cast (Emperor, Onion Knight, Cecil, Bartz, Tina, Cloud, Ultimecia, Vaan, Noctis, Ramza, Ace), as well as an easier way to access character movesets. But most importantly, it gives us the Orbonne Monastery arena from Final Fantasy Tactics for free. 

Square Enix hasn't had much experience with fighting game patch notes, but it would be super helpful if it was translated in English, with balance details and numbers, whenever the Japanese notes drop.

Dissidia NT [Square Enix via Gematsu]



Microsoft's Phil Spencer is still game for Banjo appearing in Super Smash Bros.


When asked yet again if Phil Spencer was game for the previously Nintendo adorned duo of Banjo and Kazooie appearing in Super Smash Bros., Microsoft boss Phil Spencer tweeted out a "yep" in solidarity.

It might seem like a quick useless tweet, but there's a history behind it. Spencer has been a fan of the idea for years, explaining that there's no IP problems at all from his end: "I think it would be cool if Banjo was in the next SSB DLC. We've worked with Nintendo on Rare IP before, no issues." It seems like Nintendo didn't take him up on the offer for Smash on Wii U and 3DS.

While it's easy to say that Nintendo wouldn't be so adventurous, Mega Man, Sonic, and Solid Snake are pretty out there -- though they aren't direct competition like Sony and Microsoft. Either way I hope we get an insane "Mega Man" or "Snake" moment with the character reveals this year.

Phil Spencer [Twitter]



Tomb Raider trilogy remasters for Steam are not happening


There was some exciting news recently that the original Tomb Raider trilogy was in line for a facelift on Steam, with studio realtechVR announcing that they were remastering the '90s classics for PC, complete with VR functionality and a new engine.

Unfortunately, it appears that these plans have been squashed before they even got off the ground, with publisher Square Enix never even giving the go-ahead for such an idea. "While we always welcome passion and excitement for the Tomb Raider franchise," says an official Square statement. "The remasters in question were initiated and advertised without seeking approval. As such, they were never officially sanctioned."

This is a bit of a bummer for the series' PC fans, as the original games are only available via awkward DOS-based chicanery. realtechVR have since said that they are now "refocusing on new projects" and are not committing to third-party licences anymore. It's more than likely this statement also puts an end to their planned mobile port of Tomb Raider 3.

realtechVR no longer working on third-party licences [Twitter]



Nintendo Download: Detective Pikachu


It's a  monumental day for the 3DS, as it's getting a pretty big exclusive in Detective Pikachu -- following a week that had the release of literally zero 3DS games, eShop or otherwise. The 3DS is also getting The Alliance Alive on March 27.

As for the Switch, the usual avalanche of titles is a go: Outlast 2, OPUS: Rocket of Whispers, NeoGeo World Heroes 2 Jet, Moon Patrol, Castle of Heart, Eat Beat Deadspike-san, Gekido Kintaro's Revenge, No Thing, Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut, Sol Divide - Sword of Darkness -, and Warp Shift.


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The new Deadpool 2 trailer unites the X-Force


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Not to be too upstaged by Avengers: Infinity War's latest trailer, Fox has released a new look at the wacky and madcap Deadpool 2. Previous looks at the movie have mainly been skits of sorts with some brief glimpses of footage, but this official trailer goes a little more in-depth with the premise of the movie.

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is forming a team, composed of "tough, morally flexible" superpowered beings that are "young enough to carry their own franchise for ten to twelve years." That includes Domino (Zazie Beetz), and... is that Terry Crews? The newly-formed X-Force is looking to stop the time-traveling Thanos- er, Cable (Josh Brolin) from killing a child (played by Julian Dennison from Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople).

And it looks like this sequel actually has the budget for the X-Mansion, with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) returning. The visual comedy and wackiness from the first film looks to be intact, with the high-octane action from director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) looking smoother than ever.

Deadpool 2 is dropping onto theaters on May 18.



Contest winners Najd and Masmak Fort stage coming to King of Fighters XIV next month


SNK have released a new trailer featuring the newest character set to make an impact in The King of Fighters XIV.

Najd is an unassuming college student who hails from Saudi Arabia. When night falls, however, she dons an ornate Abaya and ventures out into the shadows, protecting those who cannot protect themselves from the evils of the world.

The winning entry in a character design competition held last year, Najd was created by Mashael Al-Barrak, who won the judges over with her artwork of the mysterious vigilante. From the video we can see Najd likes to keep things up close and personal, going toe-to-toe with some of the roster's combatants and coming out on top.

Also visible is a new stage, also designed by a fan. The stage is reminiscent of the Masmak fort, located in Saudi Arabia's Riyadh province, and was created by competition winner Zainab Al-Lawaty. Congratulations to both winners, I can only imagine the immense pride of seeing your creations finally made real.

Najd and the new stage are set to arrive in-game sometime in April. King of Fighters XIV is available now on PS4 and PC.


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Review: Detective Pikachu


When I first saw the concept for Detective Pikachu, I was in. Although the idea of a talking Pikachu who solves crimes with a young boy named Tim raised some eyebrows I dug the Sherlock look on the ol' rat, and since many Pokemon have talked at this point by way of the series and its various films (Entei, Meowth, Mewtwo, Slowking, and many more) it wasn't that much of a stretch.

By the time the curtains closed on the game I didn't walk away all that impressed -- but I definitely want to see more of Detective Pikachu in the flesh.


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Ys VIII for Nintendo Switch gets new trailer and June release date


NIS America have announced that the 2017 RPG Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana will be launching on the Switch in Europe and North America come June, almost day and date with its Japanese release.

The RPG has been praised by fans and critics alike, depsite suffering from development woes and localisation issues that resulted in some damage-control post-release. The Switch edition of the game will feature the rewritten, re-recorded dialogue and all previous content made available for the PlayStation 4 edition of the anime adventure.

Not only that, but a Day One physical edition will also be made available. This package includes a reversible cover, double-sided map and three collector's cards. For digital fans, the game will also be available to download from the Nintendo eShop.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana lands on Switch June 26 in North America and June 29 in Europe. A PC release is tentatively scheduled for April.


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Hori is making a proper d-pad for the Switch Joy-Con


If you're like me and play the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode far more than you do in docked -- that face button style of d-pad isn't exactly great for 2D platforming and fighting games. Honestly, when the Switch was first showcased, I was kind of shocked how bad of a d-pad it was and that it came from Nintendo of all places.

Well, thankfully, we may have a solution thanks to Hori, who have announced they're releasing a left Joy-Con with a redesigned d-pad that looks far more comfortable and is currently planned to release in Japan for 2,678 yen ($25.36). Sadly, there hasn't been any word yet on an international release, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


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Labrys, Shinji, Akechi, and more coming to the Persona Dancing titles as DLC


During a livestream focusing on the Persona Dancing games, Atlus revealed a new trailer for the upcoming titles, as well as some news. In addition to the already announced roster, six additional characters will be joining the dance party for the games through DLC. No dates or trailers were given, but their announcement did leave something of a sour note for some.

Check out the new trailer below. However, be warned that some of the revealed characters are spoilers for Persona 3 and 5.

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The 300 Week 11: THIS IS LARA!


Hola, buds, and welcome back to The 300, a recurring feature on my harebrained attempt to see 300 movies in theaters in the year 2018. I’ll be watching new releases, classics, hidden gems, and festival films to experience the wide world of cinema in all its forms. Hopefully there’s something here for you to seek out and enjoy as well.

As always, there are three rules for The 300:

  • The movie must be at least 40 minutes long, meeting the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ definition of a feature film.
  • I must watch the movie at a movie theater, screening room, or outdoor screening venue.
  • While I can watch movies I’ve seen before 2018, I cannot count repeated viewings of the same film in 2018 multiple times.

I’m back in New York City and the normal routine of seeing a lot of movies. In fact, next week’s installment of The 300 should be pretty big since I’ll be seeing a few films at The Inaugural Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival, which opens tonight and runs through Sunday.

Eight classic works of film noir will screen at the Kit Noir Festival, most of them in 35mm. There will also be a special conversation with writer/director Paul Schrader. If you’re in NYC and love film noir, stop by the Lenfest Center for the Arts and give this a look.

And so, onward.


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