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Review in Progress: Eiyu*Senki - The World Conquest (Steam)


Whenever a game lets the player pick a romantic partner, there's a chance they'll engage with other people in a debate over who's the best candidate. If your opponent disagrees with you, then their reply will contain the s-word and your favorite character in the same sentence. Of course, this confrontation can happen with other mediums.

The romance strategy title, Eiyu*Senki - The World Conquest, may not bring an end to this conflict, but you got to give it props for letting the player partake in a harem. While its sex scenes were cut in the Steam release, this version shows more goods than its all-ages PS3 port from 2015.


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Q-Games is making a new PixelJunk Monsters for mobile


PixelJunk Monsters remains one of my all-time favorite tower defense games to this day, and I think for a lot of us, it turned us into longtime fans of Q-Games. As we approach the title's tenth anniversary, the studio has shared plans for another entry, PixelJunk Monsters Duo, due next year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this will be a free-to-play mobile title for iOS and Android. Also, they're going through Kickstarter, which, yeah. With this pricing model, the idea is at least in part to "make it easier to keep new stages, islands, monsters, and other features coming as fast as we can whip them up."

The campaign page has some concept art and mock-ups that show new card- and deck-based mechanics as well as some cute new "Tiki family" critters. Those kinds of mobile-game hooks aren't ideal but I definitely understand why Q-Games would steer the series in this direction.


After the recent-ish closure of The Tomorrow Children, I'm glad to hear they're back at it. I just don't know how many PixelJunk fans are going to show up to get a free-to-play release off the ground.

PixelJunk Monsters Duo Mobile Game [Kickstarter]


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Watch Gotenks rock that wild hair in Dragon Ball FighterZ


Dragon Ball Fighterz might not have on the fly fusions, but at least we'll be able to play as our favorite fused duo. Gotenks is now among the ranks of the other classic characters you'll be able to duke it out with and he's (they are?) still rocking that wild hairdo.


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Slay Sobek in Assassin's Creed Origins' second Trial of the Gods


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Karma's coming for Bayek in a big way. After senselessly murdering hundreds of crocodiles in pursuit of a bigger arrow bag, the King Croc wants revenge. Sobek's pissed.

The second of Assassin's Creed Origins' Trials of the Gods encounters features a massive fight with Sobek, the Egyptian deity of strength and power. The trailer above does an apt job of introducing him. Like the previous Anubis trial, this one is available for a week; it ends on November 28.

The deadline isn't the only similarity Sobek shares with Anubis. This fight plays out almost the same. It's predicated on shooting Sobek in the chest while avoiding ground attacks and fending off enemies that spawn at certain intervals. The Anubis battle has trained you well for this one.

As before, being at level 40 is suggested before attempting this fight. Here's the reward you get for defeating Sobek; beating all four gods will unlock a set of legendary armor. However, anyone who isn't far enough along to try these encounters doesn't need to worry. Ubisoft has confirmed that all of the Trials of the Gods will be available again sometime down the road.


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With Session, one studio aims to reinvent skateboarding games


For years, skateboarding thrived in the shadows. It was a sport defined by alleyways and scraped knees pioneered by punks and self-described weirdos. Before the X-Games and multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals, skateboarding was a secret ritual shared between outcasts. Together, outside of popular culture's watching eye, kids practiced kickflips for hours. They pushed one another to learn tricks, celebrated successful attempts, and laughed when their friends' faces hit the pavement. 

Skateboarding's changed a lot since then. It's grown up. What was once the gangly, easily-bullied cousin of traditional team sports has become a staple of youth culture. It's on television, now, during prime time, attracting entire generations to waste days rolling around. No matter what, skateboarding's allure lies in its simplicity. It might just be a piece of wood, four wheels, and two pieces of metal, but when you're riding one anything seems possible.

And that's where Session comes in. Following in the footsteps of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and EA's Skate series, the independently developed skateboarding game aims to capture the sport in its purest form. There are no high scores or outside influences. According to developer Creā-ture Studios, Session aspires to nothing more than to be the closest possible version of skateboarding ever seen in a video game.


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Review: Battle Chef Brigade


Battle Chef Brigade is a delightful concoction. It's one part side-scrolling brawler, complemented by a series of match-three puzzles in the form of a cooking competition. With a dash of light RPG progression and beautiful, hand-drawn visuals added to the mix, there's nothing quite like Trinket Studio's debut offering on the market. Like a hearty meal, Battle Chef Brigade entices on multiple levels.

In the simplest terms, Battle Chef Brigade is a game about magical cooks. They travel the world fighting monsters, only to serve exotic dishes with ingredients taken from their quarries. It's a silly premise, but it's one that's easy to get wrapped up in during the game's six chapters. As Mina Han, an amateur chef keen on joining the Brigade's storied ranks, the combination of culinary battles and character-driven storytelling creates a breezy, enjoyable experience.


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The secret origin of 'Hangry' and other localization surprises


In the past few years we've seen an outpouring of kids and young adults with a newfound rage over how games are localized. I feel their pain, but I also think that they don't know how good they actually have it. If you don't like how a game was localized, chances are extremely high that you can either see all of the original version of the game on YouTube, or better yet, download it and play it yourself. In the era of high-speed internet, true censorship is all but dead, at least in a practical sense. In principal, the forces that drive censorship (fear of offending others, attempts to control the direction that our culture evolves, etc.) are all alive and well, but when it comes right down to it, you just can't hold information back anymore. 

There's also the fact that most of the localization changes that upset people today are small potatoes compared to what we used to have to put up with. Capcom has removed entire characters from their fighting games at least twice during their localization process. The sixth stage of  UmJammer Lammy had its lyrics, graphics, and cut scenes changed so that all references to the Hell environment were replaced with a random island. We never even got this Pingu game with its dedicated "NOOT NOOT" button. These kinds of injustices were just accepted back then, as there was no high-speed internet to gather around with other like-minded citizens for commiseration. 


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Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavs, invests in eSports team 100 Thieves


Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag has a big reason to celebrate this week -- Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers owner, just put in a "multi-million dollar" investment into his eSports team, "100 Thieves."

Haag started the team last year, primarily as a Call of Duty competitor (where he got his real start in his pro trajectory), before it underwent numerous roster changes and uncertainty after a crushing defeat in Call of Duty's World League. But this year fortune smiled upon them, as they now have this major backing and have announced that they will be trying their hand in League of Legends (LCS) next year.

There's a lot of uncertainty heading into the 2018 LCS season, especially given that Haag admits that he's "new" to the game -- but with money to burn and build, I'm anxious to see what he can come up with.


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Review: Coco


A litany of Disney animated films have explored various cultures. Whether or not they were entirely respectful of those cultures is up for debate, but the one constant up until recently was that neither Disney nor Pixar tackled any aspects of Mexican culture. 

I was initially skeptical when Pixar announced it was focusing a film on Dia de Muertos. Not only because that seems to be the only part of Mexican culture films want to draw from, but because Pixar's newer, stacked release schedule means it usually releases one great film and one less so. As Cars 3 surprised with how effective it was, I feared Coco would be less Inside Out and more The Good Dinosaur

Seeing as how the co-director also helped write The Good Dinosaur, you can probably guess how this turned out. 


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EA expects 'no material impact' on financial earnings after turning off Star Wars Battlefront II's microtransactions


Never mind (for now) that we don't actually know what's going to happen to Star Wars Battlefront II's microtransaction system when it's turned back on -- the company released a statement recently in their financial briefing that explains that they "[don't expect there to be] a material impact on EA's fiscal ear 2018 financial guidance" as a result of turning them off.

This statement, meant to calm investors, is one of the most bizarre in recent memory. So after all this trouble, and after losing all this good will, and all the heat put on the developer, DICE, they're saying it doesn't really matter?

In an effort to attempt to play toward investors and customers alike, they may alienate both if those microtransactions actually do impact their bottom line. Especially so if they don't sell as many copies as they'd hoped due to the controversy. This whole situation reminds me of the box office failure of Justice League, and how extreme greed beyond the normal acceptable curve can hurt a brand.

Form 8-K Current Report [EA]



Goodwill and cracked ribs to all as Street Fighter V gets more Holiday costumes


A new range of costumes are coming next week for roster members of scrapper Street Fighter V. These include some more retro outfits and a new batch of Holiday gear. 'Tis the season for giving (your money to Capcom).

Ice-princess Kolin is looking particularly classy in her Winter warmers. Menat and Cammy both dazzle in their fun, cat-themed costumes, and you better watch out if Santa Alex is coming to town, because he looks pissed.

Classic (or "Nostalgia") outfits are on the way for veterans Karin, Balrog and Birdie. Of course, Chun-Li will be getting three new skins. These include her classic Street Fighter Alpha look, another Police-themed ensemble, and a number that sees her wearing kick-pads like a jobbing indy-wrestler. The latter two outfits were designed by artist Akiman.

The new costumes will cost about four dollars each. 2016's Holiday costumes, as well as the "Frosty Boulevard" stage, are being bundled together in a Christmas Pack for ten bucks. Even though that's half price, it's still too much for year-old content that's relevant for a couple of weeks at best. Yep, I'm full of Christmas cheer.

The new outfits will be available for purchase in Street Fighter V from November 29.


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The Guinness World Record holding game collector just finished his play room


The Last Gamer seems like a pretty normal dude, which makes his super lengthy expositions on his giant gaming collection all the easier to watch. His original video "The World's Largest Games Room Tour" was a whopping hour and twenty minutes, and essentially goes through the entire history of gaming (which he owns).

This time he's showing off his completed game room, where he actually plays those bad boy carts and discs. The oldest piece of gear he has is a Commodore 64 is hooked up to a Blaupunkt MX 72-83 BTM via RGB. The station that he games at the most has an Xbox 360 Gears of War edition console, an Xbox One X Scorpio edition,  white PS3/PS4s, a standard Wii U, and a Switch. As always, he uses SCART switches to swap between his systems.

Clocking in at just 30 minutes this one will take up a lot less of your time, but given his history in the TV industry, seeing how he wires everything is fascinating -- and a good teaching tool if you want to setup your own miniature version. Around 15 minutes in he explains what the cabinets are (some are custom built, some are from IKEA's kitchen department).

Get this -- his gaming chairs were actually made to his specifications for long period sitting from a neighbor who was an upholsterer.  It's going to take a lot of effort to take down this dude's king of collectors crown.


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TIME magazine names Nintendo Switch 'Best Gadget of 2017'


For a company that had been considered done and dusted in the hardware race, Nintendo sure had an amazing turnaround of fortunes this year. The Switch console has proven to be a hugely popular and successful device, despite some skeptical eyebrow-raising on its announcement (which I was party to myself).

Long-running publication TIME magazine has released it annual honours lists, with Nintendo's puppy finding itself in the top spot of the "Best Gadget of 2017" category, beating out the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Microsoft's Xbox One X. The article was particularly praising of the console's portability, by which games could be seamlessly transitioned from big screen to handheld format.

Additionally, the SNES Classic also made an appearance in the list, with the tough-to-attain retro device falling just outside of the top five, landing itself a respectable sixth slot.

As the end of the year approaches, it will be interesting to see how media outlets reflect on the Nintendo Switch and its range of software. With two exclusive titles -- Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- contenders for many Game of the Year lists, it's been a damn successful year for a company that many were calling to leave the hardware industry altogether.

TIME magazine Gadget of the Year [TIME]



The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time turns 19 today


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had a major impact on a lot of formative gaming careers. Not only was it one of the most famous "it's done when it's done" examples when it comes to Nintendo's willingness to delay big projects, but it's also one of the highest reviewed games of all time.

Whether or not you felt like the move from 2D to 3D was an upgrade or not, it sent ripples throughout the industry. That was 19 years ago on November 21, 1998 on the Nintendo 64. Since then, you could pick it up by way of a GameCube special edition release, the Wii/Wii U Virtual Console, and the 3DS.

Notice how I called it a "3D adventure" above in the tagline? I tried to stay out of the whole genre conversation but what the hell, I'll dive right in. I've always classified Zelda games as "action-adventure with RPG elements." I mean, just because there isn't an "experience bar" it doesn't mean you're not upgrading (hearts, items).



Here's what Venom, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier look like in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite


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Ever since Venom's symbiote was revealed to be a part of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's story mode, I'm sure we've all been curious as to how he would look and play. Luckily, it's the same as he's been in the rest of the series but with a few new tricks. 

The second wave of DLC fighters includes Winter Soldier (a gun boy with some impressive invincibility frames), Black Widow (whose moveset thankfully focuses on the electric gauntlets seen in the Avengers films), and Venom (who has made the transition to 3D pretty well). 

The three fighters will be available for purchase December 5, though it'll be included in the 2017 Character Pass for those who purchased it. 



New Dragon Ball FighterZ screens feature Gotenks, Kid Buu and Son Gohan


Bandai Namco have released a handful of new screenshots from upcoming fighter Dragon Ball FighterZ. The exciting pics show recently announced characters Gotenks, Adult Gohan and Kid Buu laying down hard times on their opponents.

We can see Gotenks getting a major assist from a barrage of doppelgangers in his Super Ghost Kamikaze attack. Kid Buu, looking far less lovable than his rotund counterpart, Majin Buu, can be seen devastating the battlefield with his Planet Burst special. Gohan is also taking care of business, via his unique ability to super-charge all of his special attacks.

We're pushing near to two months from release for the ArcSys-developed fighter, which has had a steady stream of hype building ever since its announcement, reaching fever-pitch once players got their hands on the Beta in September. At least the fan's wait is almost over.

Dragon Ball FighterZ launches on PS4, PC and Xbox One January 26, 2018.


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Splatoon 2 is getting some big updates for the holidays


Do you like free DLC and Splatoon 2? You better, because Nintendo has a bunch of new DLC lined up for the holidays. Starting tomorrow (November 23), Splatoon 2 will receive a new stage for Salmon Run and a bunch of new gear and hairstyle options. New battle mode stages will also start coming on November 24, two of which seem to be based on a supermarket and a museum.

The second update (scheduled for mid-December) will add a brand new ranked game mode called "Clam Blitz." This looks very similar to "Kill Confirmed" from Call of Duty in that you'll earn clams for splatting other players and you'll need to bank them at a goal to score points. It should cater to the more hardcore crowd of players that want a more traditional approach to their shooters.


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Capcom's Resident Evil Revelations Collection isn't getting a Switch physical release in Europe because 'it's not viable'


The Switch tax is one of the only major problems developers and publishers seem to have with Nintendo's new Switch console. While it seems much easier to develop for, the idea that games won't even fit on a standard SD retail card or require 15GB downloads after popping in the card, or that they cost $10 more than other versions, keeps coming up. Capcom, it seems, isn't even going to bother in Europe for the Resident Evil Revelations Collection.

In response to an inquiry about whether or not it could happen, Capcom provided the following statement to Nintendo Life: "Capcom has to take various factors into account when deciding what format to deliver our titles to our fans. These can include but are not limited to overall production costs, manufacturing times, distribution, and first party regulations. In the case of Resident Evil Revelations, we've found that unfortunately it's not viable for Capcom Europe to create a physical version of the title on Nintendo Switch for our territories, however we will be making this available as a digital release."

A region-free stance makes this much easier on collectors to get their hands on it, but I actually just ran out of space installing the whopping 25GB Revelations 2 onto my Switch. It's not even a year and space is a problem for me -- a problem not as easily solved by plugging in a 2TB HDD like I can with the PS4 and Xbox One (or the Wii U for that matter, which I have endless space for).

Resident Evil Revelations Collection Isn't Getting A Physical Release On Switch In Europe [Nintendo Life]



Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is available right now


[UPDATE: Reports are coming in that a rush on downloads and players are causing inevitable server struggles, be forewarned.] 

Free-to-Play community management game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has been made available to download for Android and iOS right now, a day earlier than originally scheduled.

The cute world-builder sees you putting together a campsite community of friendly characters. There are quests to complete, strangers to befriend and a wealth of crafting options. Obviously the game is also laden with in-app purchases, as is the style for the Free-to-Play genre.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp can be downloaded today on Android and iOS devices. It is live today in North America, Europe and Japan, Australia received the game last month. The app can be downloaded through Google Play and iTunes.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp [Nintendo]



$32 Shadow of War for PC in Fanatical Black Friday sale


If you didn't spot the news, Bundle Stars is now called Fanatical. With the name change comes even more individual game offerings as the digital retailer move beyond bundle offerings (something they've been doing since forever ago anyway). As of this morning, Fanatical has launched their Black Friday sale and the highlight of the massive amount of deals includes Shadow of War at almost 50% off. After applying the Black Friday themed coupon you'll be able to pick up the Steam copy of Middle-earth: Shadow of War for only $32.39. Silver is also available for $43 while Gold Edition is $63. Other good pricing includes $18 Conan Exiles, $9 Tabletop Simulator, and Jacbox Party Pack along with tons of LEGO Titles. The sale runs through November 30, though some of the titles below may expire as early as November 22 later this week. Fanatical (aka Bundle Stars) Black Friday Sale Use Code: BLACKFRIDAY10 Top Picks Middle-earth: Shadow of War - Gold Edition (Steam) — $62.99  (list price $100) Middle-earth: Shadow of War - Silver Edition (Steam) — $43.19  (list price $80) Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Steam) — $32.39  (list price $60) Conan Exiles (Steam) — $18.08  (list price $30) Tabletop Simulator (Steam) — $8.99  (list price $20) Dead Cells (Steam) — $11.47  (list price $17) Jackbox Packs The Jackbox Party Pack 4 (Steam) — $16.87  (list price $25) The Jackbox Party Pack 2 (Steam) — $12.37  (list price $25) The Jackbox Party Pack (Steam) — $12.24  (list price $25) LEGO Titles Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Deluxe Edition (Steam) — $11.24  (list price $50) LEGO Marvel Avengers Deluxe Edition (Steam) — $11.24  (list price $50) LEGO Batman Trilogy (Steam) — $11.24  (list price $50) LEGO Worlds (Steam) — $9.17  (list price $30) Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Steam) — $6.74  (list price $30) LEGO Lord of the Rings (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) The LEGO Movie: Videogame (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) Lego: Marvel Avengers (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) More Deals Northgard (Steam) — $13.49  (list price $20) Red Faction Collection (Steam) — $10.79  (list price $60) Furi (Steam) — $8.99  (list price $20) Darksiders Franchise Pack (Steam) — $8.99  (list price $50) Mortal Kombat XL — $8.09  (list price $50) Homefront: The Revolution Freedom Fighter Bundle (Steam) — $7.19  (list price $40) Lords of the Fallen - Game of the Year Edition (Steam) — $5.39  (list price $30) Metro Redux Bundle (Steam) — $5.39  (list price $30) Test Drive Unlimited 2 (Steam) — $5.39  (list price $20) Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) Gauntlet Slayer Edition (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) Mad Max (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) Mortal Kombat X (Steam) — $4.49  (list price $20) Sniper: Ghost Warrior Trilogy (Steam) — $3.59  (list price $20) Atari Vault (Steam) — $3.59  (list price $10) Gothic Universe Edition (Steam) — $3.59  (list price $20)[...]

Clicker Heroes 2 ditches the free-to-play model of its predecessor


Anyone hoping that Clicker Heroes 2 would come out for free might be surprised to read this. For the upcoming sequel, developer Playsaurus is dropping the free-to-play model in favor of a one time purchase. A lot of that comes down to ethical reasons and how Playsaurus doesn't want to feed into the addictive nature that video games can possess.

In a long blog post, Fragsworth (one of the developer's behind the game), states, "We really don't like making money off players who are in denial of their addiction. And that's what a large part of free-to-play gaming is all about. Everyone in the industry seems to rationalize it by shifting the blame, assuming way too much cognizance on the part of their victims. People can make their own decisions, right? But it just doesn't sit well with me. Despite very few of our players having complained, it felt wrong when we started doing it and it still feels wrong now."

"Games are inherently addictive. That alone is not a bad thing, until it gets abused. In Clicker Heroes 1, we never tried to abuse players with our real-money shop," Fragsworth says, "and for the most part we designed it without the shop in mind so that you never have to purchase rubies to progress. Despite this, we found that some number of players spent many thousands of dollars on rubies. I can only hope that these people could afford it, and that they were doing it to support us, and not to feed an addiction."

As such, Clicker Heroes 2 will launch with a price of $29.99 and no free-to-play trappings. You'll be getting access to a full game on launch with modding capabilities coming at some later date. "We like games with mods and we want mods," Fragsworth mentions. If you can't get on with the new direction this sequel is taking, the studio is also offering a full refund for up to one year after purchase, which is certainly nice.

If you're hoping that the original Clicker Heroes will now be ditching its freemium model, then you're going to be disappointing. Fragsworth goes on to say, "We're not going to change how we monetize Clicker Heroes 1. It would destroy our studio if we did. Most people are OK with how we've handled it. Our unlimited refund policy still stands. But going forward we're going to at least try the paid-up-front model for our business."

The original Clicker Heroes was sort of a sensation back when it released in 2015. While it is possibly the bare minimum you could call a game, fans got addicted to its bright, cheerful art style and its infinite loop of Call of Duty-esque prestige levels. It also contained all the microtransaction nonsense you'd expect of a free-to-play game, albeit without predatory tactics or purposely stonewalled gameplay. At least one never felt the urge to dip into the shop if they just wanted to mindlessly click things.

Why Clicker Heroes 2 is abandoning free-to-play [Clicker Heroes 2]



Puzzle Fighter is out this week for iOS and Android


Capcom is bringing Puzzle Fighter back this week in big-headed built-for-mobile form.

The free-to-play iOS and Android title has been out in select regions like Canada and Australia since late September, but the game will soon be available worldwide. You'll pick a character and two supports, puzzle-battle others in real time, and try to work your way up the leaderboard in PvP seasons.

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The faces don't quite reach Garbage Pail Kids levels of disconcerting, but yeesh. I'm not a fan.

Also, for folks like Patrick, there's a color-blind mode. Are you reading this random post on the off chance I name-drop you, Patrick? No? Quick, everyone talk behind his back! Now's our chance.

iOS, Android [Puzzle Fighter]



PUBG as an esport seems like a hell of a ride for spectators


PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, currently one of the most popular video games in the world, has hinged its success on a few relatively-unique systems. It's a competitive shooter, but it usually values survival over killing; often, being quiet and discreet is the smart play. Its loop is also rooted in randomness, with players constantly unsure about what kind of equipment they're going to find.

We don't think of these traits as positives with regard to esports. Playing games at a professional level almost always has some sort of strict standardization attached to it. Action should be steady and external factors should be mitigated. We want pure skill to win out and we want to be entertained.

PUBG sort of defies that convention and it's partially because of the presentation to the audience. The Intel Extreme Masters Oakland tournament took place this past weekend and pitted 20 4-player squads against one another in 8 games to determine a champion. France-based aAa won the whole thing with 1,620 points, 38 kills, and 1 chicken dinner. (Actually, only one team, Digital Chaos, won multiple games.)

While the PUBG playing experience is predicated on always being unsure of what lies just ahead, the spectator experience is vastly different because, for once, we have all the information. Just skim through some of the gameplay of the final match at IEM Oakland:


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Review: Batman - The Enemy Within: Fractured Mask


Bruce Wayne is in a lot of trouble.

Having been successful in his plan to ingratiate himself within "The Pact," a merciless group of Gotham rogues, in efforts to ascertain the reasoning behind a recent crimewave, the billionaire has made enemies on all sides. Relying on "help" from Amanda Waller and her shadowy agency, while trying to stay in the good books with old friend Jim Gordon, Wayne has dug himself in with a ruthless band of killers, and is becoming ever-culpable in their crimes.

With the arrival on the scene of questionable ally Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, the split-personality of buddy John Doe, and the pressures of gang-boss Harley Quinn breathing down his neck, Wayne is spreading himself, and his loyalties, dangerously thin.


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Surprise, Turkeys: Fate/Grand Order opens Thanksgiving giveaway


If you're one of the poor bastards still playing Fate/Grand Order (Hi there!), you may know that one of the odder things about the game's launch was the decision to duplicate the original Japanese content rollout, putting the NA game years behind the original in terms of new additions. While odd, one beneficial side effect has been that players know pretty much everything that's going to happen long in advance. That kind of forward planning helps when dealing with microtransactions and FGO's notoriously stingy random draw system.

That period just got disrupted, though, because FGO's English version has just gone off-script. A special, North America-only Thanksgiving promotion officially kicks off on November 22nd, running through December 1st. Unlike the current "Guda Guda Honnoji" event, this one's mainly focused on giveaways and a new premium summon promo, but it'll be a doozy for folks aiming to get their hands on some rare Servants, or maybe just display some Irish pride.

The Thanksgiving special will add several Servants from Ireland's Ulster cycle. Leading the pack is Scáthach, the game's first 5-Star Lancer, teacher of Fate/Stay Night's original Lancer, Cú Chulainn, and wearer of history's tightest leotard. Also repping the Emerald Isle 3-Star Lancer Diarmuid Ua Duibhne (aka the Fate/Zero Lancer) and 3-Star Saber Fergus mac Róich (who was nicknamed "Brock" after his resemblance to the eponymous Pokemon trainer).

The real money shot, though, is for folks willing to shoot some money Aniplex's way. A one-time, paid premium summon promises a guaranteed 5-Star Servant from a pre-selected pool. The pool includes some classic characters like Fate/Stay night's original Saber, but also a number of best-in-class units like Francis Drake and Zhuge Liang, and even Okita "Sakura Saber" Souji, an otherwise limited-run character. For players deep into the game (read: beyond saving), it's a good deal, considering that the standard drop rate for a 5-Star Servant is 1% (going even lower if you're targeting a specific 5-Star. Whatever the case, it looks like FGO is looking to get its gravy train sauced. 



Visual Novel Maker has given me newfound respect for game developers


If Steam tracked how long we stared at games in the Steam Store the same way it tracks how long we actually play the games we own, it would probably show I've stared at the listing for TyranoBuilder for approximately five hours. I've always had that desire to write and create my own visual novel, but due to my artistic talents being par with those of Janey Briggs, I've withheld putting any money down on programs that would require original art.

Then came a beta opportunity for Visual Novel Maker.

Originally set for release around this time last year, VN Maker was delayed to provide more time for Degica to work on its development. I applied to be part of the Beta and was lucky to get in. With only 20 people select, I felt I had a responsibility to make sure I did it right. Working a full-time job with a three-hour daily commute kept progress to a minimum early in the process. Add in traveling over one weekend to visit my mom on Mother’s Day and I had mostly wasted the first two weeks of the roughly six weeks I would have to put together a sample project. In that time I was given a behind-the-scenes look at game development. Seeing how the sausage is made is allowing me to look at the hard work of developers I frankly couldn't before.


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Overwatch's Blizzard World map is now on the PTR


The latest Overwatch map, Blizzard World, is ready for testing on the PTR. Part Assault and part Escort, the map is an amusement park that mostly pays tribute to Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. It's a fun idea for sure, but based on Chris' impressions out of BlizzCon, I've lowered my expectations a little.

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Still, with this in the works and Moira in the live game, I'm in the mood for Overwatch again.

Today's PTR patch also lets you remove AI characters in the custom game lobby (right click, then "Remove All Bots") and it introduces some assorted bug fixes:


  • Fixed an issue that caused the arcade card for Limited Duel and Mystery Duel to not list all currently disabled characters
  • Fixed an issue that prevented certain sound effects from playing when navigating the Options menu with a controller


  • Fixed a visual bug that caused Ana's Biotic Rifle ammo clip to detach when her Captain Amari skin was equipped
  • Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist's Seismic Slam to create performance drops when repeatedly used with no cooldown
  • Fixed a bug that prevented Mei's Cryo-freeze from clearing the healing debuff caused by Ana's Biotic Grenade
  • Fixed a visual bug with Moira's Biotic Orb that sometimes caused Biotic Grasp's healing spray effects to display instead
  • Fixed a bug that prevented Moira from being able to pass through enemies when using Fade
  • Fixed a bug that caused Moira's eyelashes to detach from her face during her Heroic highlight intro
  • Fixed a visual issue with Moira's Oasis skin that caused her knees to clip through her knee guards while crouched
  • Fixed a bug that caused Reaper's shotguns to animate incorrectly when discarded on the ground
  • Fixed an issue that prevented highlights captured by Zenyatta players from recording correctly when the Cultist skin was equipped


  • Fixed a bug that caused a performance drop when players shot at the gold coin piles in the last Defender spawn of Junkertown

I really want to see the bug that caused "Moira's eyelashes to detach from her face."

Overwatch PTR Now Available - November 20, 2017 [Overwatch]



Review: School Girl/Zombie Hunter


This is a game that knows exactly what it is. Even the title doesn’t leave a hell of a lot to the imagination. You’ve got school girls, and you’ve got zombies. These high school ladies don’t appear to be too worried about getting bitten though. In fact, they’re constantly throwing their clothes and used underwear into the hordes of undead enemies. They don’t give a fuck about common sense or the practicality of covering yourself up when surrounded by things that are trying to bite you. Welcome to School Girl/Zombie Hunter

The story focuses around five ladies as they battle their way through, the adorably named, zom-zoms. The best parts have almost nothing to do with any overarching plot, it’s the inane dialogue exchanges where it really shines. I touched upon it a bit during my review in progress a few days ago, but everything is presented in a deliriously fashioned B-movie sheen. The cast is split between generic, shy types and ultra-vain, over-the-top badasses. The one thing all of them have in common is their desire to escape the school where they’re stranded. Also, that they really don’t like wearing clothes. 


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The Walking Dead Season 8 Recap: 'The Big Scary U'


If you've been following AMC's eighth season of The Walking Dead, you know that so far, we're dealing with the events of a single day, focused around the alliance's attack on the empire, aka Hilltop-Alexandria-Kingdom (HAK, as I'm fond of calling them--for no reason whatsoever) against the Saviors. Inherently, with a show already in its eighth season, with ratings that aren't entirely holding steady and showing slight declines, there's always a sense that endings are inevitable, because they are. Outside of character decision making that ignores logical progression of any variety, the ability to squander screen time with a lack of plot progression remains TWD's biggest flaw.

We don't have forever to come to resolutions for our characters or this world. One day, the plug will be pulled, and you'd hope that in the interim, the goal is to take the story forward so that when said ending arrives, it can happen in a fashion that satiates the audience. At least, that's always been my understanding of how storytelling should work when it works best. TWD's done this before--season 2, on the farm, was like plodding through thigh-high wet snow, uphill. Its pace was glacial. 

Season 8 makes season 2 look like torrential river waters thrumming through a gorge after strong rains. Five episodes down, three to go in 2017 and we're still in day 1.

[Editor's Note: This recap will obviously go into detail about last night's episode of The Walking Dead, so there are going to be a ton of spoilers. Final warning!]


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Humble's giving away Brutal Legend for free right now


AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young died over the weekend. He's the latest in a never-ending sad and continuous stream of beloved musicians passing away. This year has seen, among others, Young, Chuck Berry, Tom Petty, Chris Cornell, Gregg Allman, and Chester Bennington all shuffle off this mortal coil. Some earlier than others, but all undeniably influential in their own way.

Maybe it's a strained connection, but this opportunity to remember gone musicians is also an opportunity to remember a mostly-forgotten music video game. Humble is giving away real-time-strategy-game-in-disguise Brutal Legend for free. No strings attached (apart from having a Humble account) -- just go through the checkout process and get sent a Steam key. The promotion ends at 10am Pacific on Wednesday November 22.

Looking through our archives of Brutal Legend stories, I found this retrospective that I apparently wrote four years ago. (I've written 3,000-some stories here, it's hard to remember even a fraction of them!) In that piece, I said "Brutal Legend is the From Dusk Till Dawn of video games." That is still the smartest thing I've ever said.

Brutal Legend [Humble]



Celebrate Uncharted's 10th anniversary with a free PS4 theme


2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the Uncharted series (holy shit time flies) and Naughty Dog has a freebie to give fans. If you act fast, you can nab a bundle with some PS4 themes and avatars to deck out your PSN profile. It conspicuously leaves Uncharted 3 out of the mix, but at least you can show off your love for the series in style. The bundle will be free until November 21, so don't dawdle.


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Marvel Strike Force is the new squad-based superhero RPG


Marvel has tapped FoxNext Games for its latest franchise-spanning mobile RPG and we've got a first-look trailer. Marvel Strike Force will have players assembling a team of characters like Captain America, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Groot, and Daredevil to take on Ultimus and the Kree.

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The game is due out in 2018 and pre-registration is open for iOS and Android.

Now, this probably goes without saying, but when it comes to investing your time and money into games like Marvel Strike Force, you're doing so at your own risk. As evidenced by the shutdown of Marvel: Avengers Alliance and more recently Marvel Heroes, these things don't last forever. I mean, nothing does, but you can only be burned so many times before you learn to stay away.

I do like the bit where Cap punches out the Red Skull and salutes him, though.



Minecraft's Aquatic update will overhaul oceans, adds new weapon and mob


One of Minecraft's biggest updates ever will be arriving in the spring of 2018, which will host a complete overhaul of aquatic gameplay.

Appropriately dubbed the "Update Aquatic," the ocean biome will now randomly generate objects like coral and fish differently, as well as accounting for additional ideas like underwater treasure hunts and shipwrecks (with helpful dolphins who will guide you toward them). Aquariums are also in, and another big change is the addition of the trident weapon (which can be used as a melee attack or thrown, or even enchanted to act like a boomerang).

Mojang also used the opportunity during the unveiling to announce that the "Super Duper Graphics Update" and Switch cross-play have been delayed into 2018. The reason for delaying the latter is to make sure that the collaboration with Nintendo is "just right," which seems to line up with Nintendo's famous "ready when it's ready" mentality. As a reminder, Sony is the lone holdout in the cross-play program -- as it stands, PC, Xbox, mobile, and Switch players can operate in the same play space. The former three can play together right now.


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Review: Star Wars Battlefront II


In the time since I posted my review-in-progress for Star Wars Battlefront II, EA temporarily halted the sale of in-game purchases. "This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay," the company said. "The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we've made changes to the game."

When exactly microtransactions will return and to what extent isn't yet clear. But I do know this: even without the option to spend real money on loot crates that award randomized Star Cards (active abilities and passive boosts) for character classes, ships, and heroes, there's no escaping Battlefront II's unpleasant progression system. It's good that the real-money option is gone for the time being, but there's much more work to be done, and it needs to come to fruition sooner than later.

There's a decent multiplayer title buried in here, but it's absolutely hindered right now.


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Hideki Kamiya has a lot of dream gigs, and one involves a Dante and Bayonetta crossover


Hideki "BLOCKED" Kamiya is legendary in more ways than one. Many (myself included) like his approach to action games, and are constantly awaiting his next project. Speaking to Dengeki PlayStation, Kamiya threw out a few ideas:

“I want to work on a Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe remake, or a true sequel for Okami. A cooperation with Dante (from Devil May Cry) and Bayonetta might also be fun. Dear Capcom, if it’s okay with someone like me, I will help anytime. Best regards. Everyone, bow down your heads with me!”

They're all noble causes, and all things that could happen. Capcom loves remakes, especially for proven IP like Devil May Cry (Viewtiful might be a harder sell, but given its appearance in Dead Rising 4 recently there's hope). The Okami remaster is coming sooon and sales could possibly spur a sequel, and that Dante vs. Bayonetta concept could come to life on a Switch version of Super Smash Bros., given that Bayonetta is already a cast member and Capcom has a good relationship with Nintendo (and Mega Man is in).

I mean, never say never! Who would have thought that Cloud, Bayonetta, Sonic, and Mega Man would be in the same game 10 years ago?

Kamiya [Dengeki PlayStation via Siliconera] [Image Credit]



Nintendo releasing Google Home app 'Pikachu Talk'


Whilst Nintendo appear to be the masters of consistent trademark applications, one such legal declaration, filed earlier this month, looks like a pretty amusing piece of software.

The trademark is for an app intended for use with Google Home, Google Home Mini and Amazon's Alexa device. Titled Pikachu Talk,  it is apparently some form of home interaction tool, using the voice of Pokemon's electrifying poster-boy.

As you can see from the video below, it's going to be really useful. Whether you need weather or traffic reports, additions making to your shopping list, or just an ego-boosting pick-me-up, Pikachu will always have the answer you need to hear.

It'll be pretty cute to have the lil' monster's voice echoing throughout your home.
Y'know, for about a day, at least.

Nintendo trademark Pikachu Talk Google Home app [Japanese Nintendo]


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Following the Star Wars Battlefront II debacle, EA scrambles to rework Need for Speed loot crates


The revolution may have begun on loot boxes, or at least as far as EA is concerned. While there isn't truly a victory in the case of Star Wars Battlefront II as the boxes are only "temporarily" on pause, the developers of Need For Speed Payback have revised the way they approach their take on it.

You can view the entire changelog below, but the gist is that you now get more in-game XP for playing, which results in more rewards. This is by way of just plain giving out more progress and allowing more avenues to actually earn XP. One of the most contentious ideas, the fact that cars are upgraded with cards, remains intact.

As the industry continues to grow, EA of course once again goes overboard with a mechanic several other developers have gotten less flak for. Between them and WB, they've killed off a lot of bad ideas like online passes due to justified fan outrage.

Progression updates rolling out [Reddit]


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Does tournament confetti point to Sakura's Street Fighter return?


This weekend saw some of Street Fighter V's finest players gather in Boston, Massachusetts for the North American Finals of the Capcom Cup 2017, held at Red Bull Battlegrounds.

After a weekend of hard-hitting and intense matches, PG|Punk's Karin took the gold, beating out Idom's formidable Laura in the finals. A major boost to Punk's confidence ahead of the looming Capcom Cup, which will take place on December 10. At the conclusion of the event, a trailer was shown at the conclusion hyping the upcoming Pro-Tour final, but it was noted by eagle-eyed viewers that the video ended with what appeared to be blossom petals floating through the air.

If this wasn't enough, the Battle Grounds show was closed out with a beautiful flurry of confetti, some of which were formed in the shape the Cherry Blossom, the national flower of Japan, where it is known, of course, as "Sakura". A photo of the decoration was taken by long-time Sakura player Alex Myers.

For well over two years now, two prominent names have been oft-repeated by fans when requesting new characters for the Street Fighter V roster. The King of Muay Thai, Sagat, is one of them, and the super-cheerful fangirl, Sakura Kasugano, is another.

To double-down on Sakura petal imagery like this feels like more than coincidence, so I can understand why fans of the knuckle-flying teen are getting all in a tizzy. Nevertheless, the truth will out at the Capcom Cup very soon.

"Sakura" confetti at Red Bull Battlegrounds [EventHubs]


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Contest winners' original character and stage to feature in King of Fighters XIV


Back in September, Manga Productions held a competition in the Middle-East to design a character and a stage for SNK's legendary fighting game franchise, The King of Fighters.

Entries came in from across the region, with some 300 character and stage designs in total. In a presentation last week at the Misk Global Forum, attended by SNK chairman Zhihui Ge and Manga Productions' President, Badr Al-Azerkel, and CEO Essam Bukhary, the winning entries were formally announced.

For the character portion of the contest, a slinky and mysterious female fighter, hailing from the Saudi Arabian region of Najd, was chosen as the winning combatant. This rad-looking gal was created by Mashael Al-Barrak of. In the stage category, Oman's Zainab Al-Lawaty was selected as the winner for their interpretation of the Masmak fort, a legendary monument located in Saudi Arabia's Riyadh province.

The winning entries were chosen by a selection committee made up of SNK and Manga Productions staff, including KOF's character designer Eisuke Ogura, and art director Nobuyuki Kuroki. No date has been given for when the new character and stage will be available in the game.

The King of Fighters XIV is available now on PS4 and PC.


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Japan is getting 30th anniversary Mega Man stamps, so you can mail all those new Rockman games out


Will we ever get a new Mega Man game? There's a chance. I mean if Capcom didn't announced it at TGS during the highly anticipated 30th anniversary stream it's likely there isn't going to be anything anytime soon, but if the time is right, and Capcom can farm it out to another developer, there's probably a chance.

In the meantime, more merch is on the way. Announced by way of the Japan Post's website, there's gong to be a set of stamps celebrating the 30th anniversary of Mega Man, or specifically, Mega Man 1. All of its Robot Masters (including Roll, Rockman, Wily, and Dr. Light) are represented, and it'll also come with a t-shirt. If you're located in Japan you can reserve the set on November 20 for 5,400 yen (or roughly $50).

So when that new Mega Man game eventually does come out in Japan, you can mail it to all your friends. Or not.

Rockman [Japan Post via Rockman Corner]



Call of Duty: WWII still rocking the UK chart, despite Battlefront II's strong offensive


Activision's military-shooter Call of Duty: WWII is celebrating a third week at the top of the UK Charts, holding off strong debuts from Electronic Arts and Nintendo.

EA's controversy-laden shooter Star Wars Battlefront II debuted straight into second place. A reminder that no matter how angry the internet gets at a title, it's still often a minority voice compared to overall global view of a product. Conversely however, despite this high ranking debut, sales for the Sci-Fi shooter are reportedly down sixty percent over the previous Battlefront's launch weekend.

Nintendo's Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon released on 3DS this week and, as expected, made a very strong showing, debuting in fourth and fifth place. Also making it into the Top Ten are EA's management title The Sims 4 and the re-release of Rockstar's murder-mystery, L.A. Noire. Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 closes out the chart at number ten.


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Pokemon Bank app updated to support Ultra Sun and Moon


The Pokemon Company announced earlier this month that the Pokemon Bank app (for 3DS) would be updated "soon" to provide support for the pair of Ultra releases, and that turnaround was pretty darn quick.

Soon is actually today, and if you have 516 blocks available you can upgrade to version 1.4, which adds said Ultra support, as well as Poke Transporter support for Pokemon Gold and Silver (the recent Virtual Console games).

At this point you have a decision to make if you haven't finished Ultra yet -- on whether or not to bring over your old crew and wipe the floor with the story and postgame. As always it's your prerogative, but waiting until at least most of the endgame narratives are cased closed is probably going to be the most rewarding. I'm still waiting to move everything en masse, but given that the Marshadow code doesn't work on either Ultra, I had to at least bring that lowly level 50 over!

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon - Pokemon Bank []



Justice League comes in well under expectations, can't break $100 million


Well Warner Bros. and DC have got to be pretty damn nervous. Their universe expanding, all-in, reverse-the-course, team up film, Justice League, performed well under expectations pulling in $96 million over the opening weekend. In many respects that's a perfectly good box office, but it's also the lowest grossing DCEU film, losing out to BvS's $166 million and Suicide Squad's mammoth $133 million. Another interesting comparison is that Justice League, a film with some of the most iconic heroes in existence all together, beat out Doctor Strange, a movie featuring a relatively little known hero, by only 13 percent.

$96 million is drastically disappointing (overseas take was good, but again below expectations), but now we know that there is a point where crummy movies will make people stop going to comic book movies. The sad thing is that Justice League was easily better than any other DCEU film aside from Wonder Woman. This obviously doesn't spell the end for the DCEU -- they've got nine films in the tubes between now and 2020 -- but WB now knows that fans will make them pay for poor quality.

Honestly, I'm kind of surprised that that's the case. No offense to all us nerds, but we kind of suck at rejecting things with our wallets when it involves things we love. But way to go. This is a pretty clear message to WB that we want better films, and they better deliver or they're going to see even worse returns. 


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New Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition trailer features new abilities and more


Capcom have released a new trailer for the revamped version of their divisive fighting game, Street Fighter V. The new iteration, Arcade Edition, launches in January and will feature new moves and mechanics.

As seen in the trailer below, characters will be given new V-Trigger skills to select, unlocking new abilities, such as a low hook for Birdie, and the return of the Psycho Crusher for yer boy Bison. Also glimpsed is the new "Combo Extender" mechanic. Appearing as some form of move-cancel mechanic, allowing new links which were previously unavailable to the roster before.

One of SFV's biggest issues, without a doubt, is its lack of inventiveness. The best Ryu in the world plays more or less identically to that great Ryu player you know down the street. This was a possible concern raised by pro-players even before launch, and turned out to be true within mere months of release. Hopefully a choice of V-triggers, as well as a whole new cancelling system, will rejuvenate Capcom's flagship fighter and give it the combo inventiveness it has been sorely missing.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition launches January 16 on PC and PS4.


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Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp goes global this week


People in Australia and New Zealand have been enjoying Nintendo's newest mobile game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, for nearly a month now. The rest of the world has had to wait for this ambiguous "late November" release date teased last month, but that wait is just about over. According to the official Animal Crossing Twitter account, Pocket Camp will get its global release on Wednesday.


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Review: Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV


Final Fantasy XV is an institution. If someone on the development team hasn't named their kid Noctis yet I'd be surprised -- especially given that some have probably spent the better part of a decade on some form of it.

And given the sheer amount of spinoffs and side projects born out of it, others will likely be spending another decade keeping it on the map. Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV is just a blip on the radar, but a very niche blip for a very certain kind of person.


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Valkyria Chronicles 4 announced for 2018, coming to PS4, Switch, Xbox One


Earlier this year, the Valkyria franchise was in a bad state with the release of Valkyria Revolution, which released to poor scores and some of the worst sales in the history of the franchise. It seemed like it was about to be laid to rest, among the numerous IPs in the Sega graveyard, despite the success of the re-release for the original game. However, it would appear that those fears were for nothing, as the company has announced the next main entry in the franchise will be deploying in 2018.

Oh, and also that it will be coming to all major consoles instead of just Sony consoles.


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Office chair battle royale game Last Man Sitting looks dope


Kevin Suckert makes goofy games about ridiculous things. His latest creation that he’s working on, Last Man Sitting, is a battle royale-type where everyone is placed in office chairs. From what I can gather, as the name implies, the objective is to remain seated in your chair while propelling yourself across the room with various firearms and avoiding other players. It’s insanely dumb, and I love it.

This thing is barely even an idea yet, but it’s already blowing up over on Reddit. It’s got a ton of potential to be a whole lot of fun too. Everyone enjoys zipping across the room in office chairs in real life, and now you’ll be able to do it in a virtual room full of people with guns! Mr. Suckert has claimed he’s hoping to have the game released and ready to play over the next few months, so keep your eyes peeled. This could be really good.


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Evolution's transition from cardboard to digital is looking sharp


A couple years ago, a little board game called Evolution came out of Kickstarter and made a bit of a splash at the watering hole. Its representation of the adaptation of a species to its environment and to other nearby species was spot on. Some sessions were more interesting than others depending on the luck of the draw, but each one told its own distinct narrative.

Today, developer North Star Games has one of the biggest booths at PAX Unplugged. The whole thing is dedicated to Evolution, its two expansions Flight and Climate, its two-player offshoot The Beginning, and its upcoming digital release on Android, iOS, and PC.

You could say that since the original board game release, North Star's business has really... evolved. (I'm sorry.)


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Rainbow Six Siege is getting a third year of broken windows and shattered walls


I remember writing last year (around the same time, no less) that Rainbow Six Siege would be getting a second year of DLC. It looks like Ubisoft did well enough with that extra content that Siege will get supported into 2018, as well. Ubisoft announced today that more new maps and operators will be coming to their tactical online only shooter early next year.

Year Three will feature eight new operators from around the world, two brand new maps based in Italy and Morocco and a complete overhaul/remake of an existing map with new art direction and level design. That doesn't sound like a whole lot, but more content is always a plus. If you want to nab the Year Three Pass (which simply includes early access to each operator and map), it will become available on December 12. After that date, the Year Two pass will no longer be available for purchase and any exclusive customization items it offers will be gone.

The full reveal of each operator and both maps will be happening at the Six Invitational 2018 in Montreal, which will be held from Feburary 13th to the 18th. I think it's safe to assume we'll see the DLC sometime after that.