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Updated: 2017-03-25T16:00:00Z

 



You can ogle Summer Lesson's English release in April

2017-03-25T16:00:00Z

I remember being super jazzed about the eventual release of Summer Lesson, and not just because the Tekken team's pet VR project would let me hang out with that most nonexistent of creatures: A pretty teen with no respect for personal space. I was also intrigued by the way it played with presence and used "people" to mess with your senses. 

Now that the game has a firm English-language release date, though, I'm thinking that ship may have sailed. By the time April 27th rolls around and Summer Lesson becomes available on the Asia PSN store (and on physical shelves alongside its DLC), there will have been several VR game experiences that go quite a bit further, and more besides on the less restricted Oculus and Steam VR platforms. Much as I'm still looking forward to feel weird in the presence of "Hikari Miyamoto", it may not be enough anymore to just be able to nod yes or no to questions.

Then again, allowing folks to use their Move controller "hands" might be a step too far? I'm not sure what the right answer would be in this case. I guess we'll see in a month, won't we?

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Street Fighter V will be going free next week to test out new matchmaking changes

2017-03-25T15:00:00Z

Capcom is soon going to implement a new matchmaking system into their "Capcom Fighters Network" for Street Fighter V. Instead of holding a closed beta to make sure everything is up to snuff, the company has decided to give the public a chance to test out every facet of Street Fighter V while using the feedback to tweak anything that needs changing.

Starting March 28 and running until April 3, Steam players will be able to download Street Fighter V for free and will have immediate access to all characters currently available. "We understand that Street Fighter V’s server performance has been a less than optimal experience for many of our players," says the Steam community post. "That said, we want to collect feedback and ensure everything is optimized for launch [of new CFN]. We will be giving PC players a sneak peek of what’s to come while putting the new CFN through its paces with an official PC Beta Test."

All ranking progress made in this CFN Beta will not carry over to the main game. Since this is a separate client from the main title, anything you do will have no impact on your current rankings (though you can log in with your old CFN username). Along with that, this beta will only contain online modes, so you won't have a free run at the campaign. A large list of changes being made to the game can be found on the Steam community post.

Even though this beta is meant for research, I'm definitely going to use it as an extended demo. I've still yet to convince myself whether or not to buy the main game, but having actual online time before purchasing could sway me. For some reason, fighters tend to have the worst time when it comes to netcode, so I'm always cautious before diving in.

A New CFN Is Coming Your Way! [Steam Community]

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Looks like Gal Gun was pretty successful for Inti Creates

2017-03-25T15:00:00Z

Inti Creates is one of my favorite developers in the game today. Whether they're creating sequels to amazing NES games or showing Keiji Inafune how a Mega Man-like should be made, I'm genuinely excited to pop-in whatever new title the company releases. That includes last year's Gal*Gun: Double Peace. When Chris and I did the devil's threesome with the game, we both found it to be an enjoyable, fan-service-filled experience. Turns out we're not alone in thinking that.

Dual Shockers recently spoke with Inti Creates CEO Takuya Aizu to talk about its recent titles, its future plans, and Gal*Gun. When asked about the support for the game since its launch, Aizu said, "We were extremely surprised. We could have never have asked for as good as of reception as we got. The game has currently sold four times as much as we had originally projected."

In addition to two unannounced projects, Aizu said the developer is currently "putting effort" into Gal*Gun VR, but isn't quite ready to announce which VR platform is will come to.

Inti Creates Interview – CEO Takuya Aizu Talks 2D Platformers, Blaster Master Zero, and Gal*Gun [Dual Shockers]

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Weekend deals: Mass Effect's massive cut, GTA V bundles return

2017-03-25T13:00:00Z

Funky animations or not, Mass Effecct Andromeda is getting an impressive 27% discount this weekend for PC gamers. AAAs from BioWare don't go on sale like this less than a week from release, except that now they do. If you'd like to take advantage of the deal you'll need to login or create an account for their "VIP" price. Other good deals this weekend from GMG includes the upcoming Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III Steam key dropping 25% to $44.99. The digital retailer is also offering Grand Theft Auto V bundles with Shark Cards at a return to their nearly historic low price points (off by about a buck). Need to build up your Steam library on the cheap? More bundles galore await at Bundle Stars as they close out their Spring Sale. The SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics bundle gets you 59 SEGA classics for $13.94 after coupon. It's a similar story for their new Atari Vault bundle on sale for $7.19 getting you 100 classic Atari 2600 games on Steam. For something more modern there's the Dominator Bundle which includes a copy of Rocket League and 15 other Steam games for $13.49. Top Deals Mass Effect Andromeda (Origin) — $43.99  (list price $60) Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III (Steam) — $44.99  (list price $60) SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics — $13.94  (list price $62) Rocket League Dominator Bundle (Steam) — $13.49 Atari Vault (Steam) — $7.19  (list price $20) Grand Theft Auto Deals Grand Theft Auto V Megalodon Bundle — $44.79  (list price $136) Grand Theft Auto V Whale Bundle — $36.57  (list price $99) Grand Theft Auto V Great White Bundle — $31.29  (list price $76) Grand Theft Auto V — $24.30  (list price $60) Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition (Steam) — $7.29  (list price $30) Console Picks PlayStation 4 Slim 500GB Console + Controller — $259.99  (list price $300) Wii Remote Plus Special Edition: Yoshi Controller — $25  (list price $40) Wii Remote Plus Special Edition: Toad Controller — $25  (list price $40) Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker + amiibo (Wii U) — $20  (list price $40) Recent Releases 04/25: Dragon Quest Heroes II (Steam) — $50.99  (list price $60) 03/23: Day of Infamy (Steam) — $16.99  (list price $20) 03/21: Toukiden 2 (Steam) — $45.99  (list price $60) 03/17: NieR: Automata Day One Edition (Steam) — $49.29  (list price $60) 03/07: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands (Uplay) — $47.99  (list price $60) 02/28: Torment: Tides of Numenera (Steam) — $29.99  (list price $50) 02/28: Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) — $44.99  (list price $60) Upcoming Releases 03/27: Dark Souls III - The Ringed City (Steam) — $12.74  (list price $15) 04/25: Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 + Season Pass (Steam) — $37.49  (list price $50) 05/05: Prey (Steam) — $47.99  (list price $60) 08/22: Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Steam) — $44.99  (list price $60) PC Game Deals GOG Weekend Sale The Banner Saga 2 (DRM-Free) — $14.99  (list price $20) Armikrog (DRM-Free) — $12.49  (list price $25) The Banner Saga (DRM-Free) — $11.99  (list price $20) Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (DRM-Free) — $9.99  (list price $20) This Is the Police (DRM-Free) — $9.89  (list price $15) Guild of Dungeoneering (DRM-Free) — $8.99  (list price $15) The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (DRM-Free) — $7.49  (list price $30) Kyn (DRM-Free) — $6.66  (list price $20) Skyshine's Bedlam (DRM-Free) — $6.66  (list price $20) The Book of Unwritten Tales (DRM-Free) — $4.99  (list price $20) Toren (DRM-Free) — $3.33  (list price $10) Red Faction 2 (DRM-Free) — $2.49  (list price $10) More Sniper Elite 4 (Steam) — $46.79  (list price[...]



I want to have sex with Carmen Sandiego

2017-03-25T12:00:00Z

[Originally published on Destructoid back in 2006! Some photos were lost/replaced, otherwise minor edits made. A Burch classic! For dumb people: this is satire - Niero.]

3D-Rendered, big-buxomed women with identical blank stares do absolutely nothing for me. As far as I'm concerned, Lara Croft and the Dead or Alive girls could disappear from the face of gaming, and it wouldn't make any difference to me, because of one simple fact: They aren't Carmen Sandiego. Always outfitted in a bright red trench coat and matching fedora, Carmen has been one of the most enigmatic and prolific video game characters of all time: nothing is known about her apart from her name and occupation (thief), but she's starred in twelve games, three TV shows, and two planetarium movies. And I want to do her. I want to do her bad.

Here's why.

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GameStop closing 150 stores in 2017 and had weaker holiday sales

2017-03-25T11:30:00Z

According to GameStop's earnings report (as reported by CNBC), the company is closing 150 stores this year and had weaker fourth quarter sales. 

As hardware sales had dropped 29.1% and software had dropped 19.3%, GameStop announced the closures are part of an annual plan revealed three years ago to trim out "non-productive" stores, according to Fortune. USA Today also notes GameStop "blame[s] weak sales of certain blockbuster video games" released during the holidays and other retailers' "aggressive console promotions" for their fourth quarter slump. More folks are heading to Amazon, and other competing retailers who can offer a little more bang for their buck. 

But while the closures account for two to three percent of the 7,500 retail locations, GameStop is expanding their non-video game centric enterprises. Plans are to open 65 "technology brands" locations (like Cricket Wireless) and 35 collectible (ThinkGeek) stores since those brands actually are increasing in sales (44% and 28% respectively).

Replacing 150 video game stores with 150 other things definitely shows a shift in GameStop's retail philosophy as overall better deals have become available. You know, I'd probably shop there more if trade-ins were more valuable. I'm sick of being offered pennies to the dollar. But that's another story altogether.

GameStop to close 150 stores [USA Today] 

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It's the little touches in Zelda: Breath of the Wild

2017-03-25T10:00:00Z

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild continuously rewards perceptive players with its attention to detail. It's a game I have no intention of ever rushing through, but even with my best attempts to take things slow and steady, I can't help but feel like I'm glossing over so many novel little touches.

Case in point, the monks' hand positions in the first four Shrines up on the Great Plateau:

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I never would've caught that. And while it is small on its own, details like this add up to make exploring -- and even just existing in the world -- feel meaningful. Someone cared, and it shows.

The secret message of the first four shrines [reddit]

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Rumor: Images showing 'Call of Duty: WWII' surface

2017-03-24T20:30:00Z

You can't have Call of Duty without leaks.

While hardly a sure thing at this point, images acquired by YouTube user TheFamilyVideoGamers suggest that the next game in the series is plainly named Call of Duty WWII. The same images, which appear to be marketing materials, have also surfaced on reddit.

Prior comments out of Activision seem to line up with this leak. In a financial report last year, the company said the next installment from Sledgehammer would "take Call of Duty back to its roots."

Genuine or fake, it's only a matter of time. Big-budget shooters are cyclical like that.

TheFamilyVideoGamers [YouTube via Charlie Intel]

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Home-run fighter Lethal League comes to consoles in May

2017-03-24T20:00:00Z

Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ports of Lethal League are in the works, and if you don't know this game yet, you might just be missing out. It's an up-to-four-person fighting game in which combatants deal damage by furiously batting a ball around the screen. This trailer makes it look so effortless!

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Team Reptile says it has sold over 400,000 copies on Steam, which is more than I would've thought considering that some of these multiplayer-centric indie games (even good ones!) can languish.

"From the moment we started the development of Lethal League some years ago we felt that the ideal way to play this game would be on consoles," noted the team. May 10, 2017 is the big day.

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Gaming is healing

2017-03-24T18:00:00Z

[When the world gets you down, Dere is just thankful that some things remain constant in his life. ~Strider]

Let me just start off by saying I've been blessed with an awesome life. I have awesome parents (those of you here may know how high I hold my father), awesome friends, and an amazing wife that somehow puts up with me. Dere. She puts up with Dere! As blessed as I've been though, I've had my share of downs, and through those downs, there's always been something to help me climb out and that is gaming.

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The new Bulletstorm trailer is incredibly not-Bulletstorm

2017-03-24T17:30:00Z

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Bulletstorm is a game that's drenched in ridiculousness. Its inane over-the-top combo-centric action is complemented by its equally juvenile dialogue. Here's a sampling of some choice quotes: "I will kill your dicks!"; "You still reek of sunbaked asshole!"; "Take a lick on the salted taint of doom, you brain-dead biker whores!"; "Trudging through that radioactive goo mutated our good general into a giant pussy."

That is the kind of not-self-serious game Bulletstorm is. You wouldn't know it by watching this trailer for the remaster, though. Rather than leaning into everything that defines Bulletstorm, Gearbox and People Can Fly pulled back and cut a trailer that makes it seem like nothing more than another snappy, setpiece-obsessed shooter. The choice of music is especially dissonant. 

Bulletstorm oozes machismo in an effective parody of the space marine Gears of War-like tropes that rose to prominence during the last console generation. It was underappreciated and this remaster is a second chance to revel in everything that made Bulletstorm dumb but unique. You just wouldn't know it by watching this trailer.

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Dark Souls III's PS4 Pro patch definitely improves the game

2017-03-24T17:00:00Z

That Dark Souls III patch we reported on a few days ago has been put through the ringer by Digital Foundry and the results aren't too surprising. The support for PS4 Pro has given the game better performance, even if it still isn't perfect. Now you won't be hovering around 30 FPS, but will have frame rates above that at all times. This, in turn, makes the game feel smoother and should clear up most of the rather ugly frame pacing issues present in the original code.

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Salt and Sanctuary rolls to PlayStation Vita next week

2017-03-24T16:30:00Z

And there it is: Salt and Sanctuary is definitely, for sure releasing on PlayStation Vita. Soon, too! The Souls-inspired side-scrolling action title will be out on March 28, with Cross-Buy support in tow.

"We had a small hand in the PS Vita version: nudging some HUD elements here, tightening up the camera there, tweaking an effect or two when we needed to, but our contribution on the project was pretty minimal," says creator Ska Studios. "The fantastic, talented folks at Sickhead Games were the ones behind all of the low-level, nightmare-inducing logic that will make games like Salt and Sanctuary on PS Vita even possible."

I only dipped my toes in the PS4 version and need to get back in there some day/year/decade.

Brutal Action RPG Salt and Sanctuary Hits PS Vita on March 28 [PlayStation Blog]

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The Witcher's creator says he was stupid for selling the game rights for a lump sum

2017-03-24T16:00:00Z

Many people don't know this, but The Witcher wasn't a video game first. It was a series of short stories and novels, and it was (and still is) the stuff of legend in Poland. The author is Andrzej Sapkowski and his contribution to the fantasy genre is something of a national treasure to the Polish people.

While The Witcher is Sapkowski's baby, it's developer CD Projekt Red that's responsible for the series having the widespread notoriety that it does. The video games have sold extremely well and they have made a mint. Sapkowski has seen very little of that money.

In an interview with Eurogamer (I encourage you to read the whole piece; it's very good), Sapkowski explains a poor financial decision based mostly in a lack of faith of the entire medium of video games. "I was stupid enough to sell them rights to the whole bunch. They offered me a percentage of their profits. I said, 'No, there will be no profit at all -- give me all my money right now! The whole amount.' It was stupid. I was stupid enough to leave everything in their hands because I didn't believe in their success. But who could foresee their success? I couldn't," Sapkowski laments.

Sapkowski got his pay day in the form of a lump sum. (He declined to mention how much it was.) Now he's stuck watching his franchise rocket in popularity while he receives no additional royalties from it. He may get some residual sales from the games piquing people's interest so they check out the books, but that's surely a mere fraction of what he could be getting.

The irony of it all? Sapkowski earned his fame by advocating for something no one believed in. Fantasy was far from highly regarded. "Back then, in Poland, fantasy was considered something for stupid children who couldn't even masturbate properly," he says. Sapkowski helped dispel that notion. Then, it was his preconceived bias against video games that prevented him from profiting off of his work as much as he should have. Life can be cruel.

Meeting Andrzej Sapkowski, the writer who created The Witcher [Eurogamer]

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Dark Souls III's The Ringed City looks like one hell of a sendoff

2017-03-24T15:30:00Z

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From Software is wrapping up Dark Souls III on March 28 with The Ringed City, the game's second and final expansion. Now that I've seen this launch trailer, that timing tidbit is far less likely to slip my mind Tuesday evening when I settle down to play games. It'll be a late night with Souls, that's for sure.

Part of me wants to avoid referencing anything too specific in the video -- it shows bosses, enemies, and locales -- but I feel like I just have to bring up the two-handed shield with which you can charge forward. I'm already imagining the dumb fun that'll enable in player-versus-player shenanigans.

After spending countless hours with this game, it's going to feel so weird to retire it to my shelf.

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PlayStation Network is having an 'everything goes!' flash sale

2017-03-24T15:00:00Z

The PlayStation Network is having one of its patented flash sales. Everything must go!

Why, you can save 70% on...Battleborne Digital Deluxe ($22.49) or, uh, 81% off The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy's Grand Adventure ($9.49). Handball 17 (PS4) for only 15 bucks? Man, the "sort by price" option is not selling this.

Okay, okay. Persona 4 Golden for $9 on Vita is a steal. Same with Catherine (PS3) at $5. The Evil Within is only $6, that's pretty good! And Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (PS4) for $9. Lot of good games for under $10 here, folks. Deadly Premonition is only $4 if you're in a Twin Peaks mood. For the big spenders out there, our own CJ Andriessen seemed very excited for Vita RPG Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls at $12.

Whatever you're picking up, note the sale ends March 27 at 8AM PT.

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Latest Nioh update lets you pause the game

2017-03-24T14:30:00Z

Just when I think I'm out, they pull me right back in.

While the big "Wait, really?" part of this week's Nioh update is undoubtedly the newfound ability to pause the game when you aren't in multiplayer and summoning a co-op visitor, that's far from all.

Team Ninja has also added challenging side missions scattered across the map, fresh Titles to earn (which involve not getting hit and meeting time requirements in the new missions), and more Smithing Texts for crafting. There's also a long list of nitty-gritty "adjustments and improvements."

You spoil us!

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The Battle.net launcher has become 'the Blizzard app'

2017-03-24T14:00:00Z

The Battle.net URL will live on in our browsers, but the app itself has undergone a name change. Now, when accessing your desktop Blizzard games, you'll go through the "Blizzard" launcher.

The company updated the application this week with "a small makeover to make you feel more at home in the Blizzard universe," according to the patch notes.

Previously, Blizzard had this to say about the then-upcoming plan to move away from Battle.net branding: "When we created Battle.net, the idea of including a tailored online-gaming service together with your game was more of a novel concept, so we put a lot of focus on explaining what the service was and how it worked, including giving it a distinct name. Over time, though, we've seen that there's been occasional confusion and inefficiencies related to having two separate identities under which everything falls -- Blizzard and Battle.net."

So while we knew this was coming, it still feels odd and will take some getting used to. It's sentimental!

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Nintendo not trending towards microtransactions despite poor Super Mario Run sales

2017-03-24T13:30:00Z

Despite being downloaded 78 million times as of two months ago, Super Mario Run "did not meet our expectations," in terms of actual money made, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima told Nikkei.

It's worth noting that an estimated four million people did buy the $10 game, or 5% of everyone who downloaded it, but Nintendo had expected twice that amount. And while it's not expected to suddenly double its sales this long after release, it's also worth noting that those are only figures from the Apple Store; Super Mario Run just released on Android yesterday.

Nintendo isn't ready to abandon Super Mario Run's old school price structure in favor of microtransaction-laden design, however. When asked about the success of Fire Emblem Heroes, a Nintendo spokesperson told Nikkei, "Heroes is an outlier. We honestly prefer the Super Mario Run model."

Nintendo chases more than profit with 'Super Mario Run' [Nikkei]

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Just in case you thought Monster Hunter takes itself too seriously, Sailor Moon DLC arrives today

2017-03-24T13:00:00Z

To celebrate the launch of Monster Hunter XX, an enhanced version of the 3DS' Generations that just hit Japan last week, Capcom is putting out a Sailor Moon collaboration. Starting today by way of DLC you can morph your Palicos into Luna, and wield the "Cutie Moon Rod" weapon. Monster Hunter XX is set to get more free updates than the original, including Okami, Strider, Phoenix Wright, and Breath of the Wild tie-ins.

Since this post is already '90s enough, our own Jonathan Holmes wanted me to quote the Barenaked Ladies because they're "so hot right now." Here's the most poignant verse I could find:

“I could make a mint. Fill my pockets with more than lint. I’ll give you a hint, it involves the internet” (this is real).

Monster Hunter [Capcom]

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Review: Kona

2017-03-24T12:00:00Z

A lot has changed since I first previewed Kona. Back then, it was called Kona: Day One, much of the play area was cordoned off, and the survival elements just hung there in the background. But even so, it had something special already in place. All it needed was some much-needed care.

Now out of Early Access and spreading out onto consoles, Kona is the realised game I hoped it would be. So strap into your red Chevy truck, find your biggest fur coat, put on your best grizzled P.I. face, and figure out a mystery colder than ice.

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It's Mega time? New Mega Man cartoon trailer fails to impress

2017-03-24T11:30:00Z

Some of my peers think it's weird, but I still watch cartoons. No, not just anime, but stuff on Cartoon Network and the like (Samurai Jack's return has been pretty good so far). So I have no problem catching this new Mega Man cartoon due out this year in theory, even if it's aimed at kids in an attempt to reintroduce the character to a new generation.

But so far we haven't really seen anything that makes it stand out from the competition, or even the Ruby Spears cartoon (which was at least hammy). There's a video circulating around that's been taken down multiple times that you can watch below, as long as one of the many international mirrors we've been linking hasn't been taken offline as well.

Like I said I'm going to give it a shot, I just don't have high hopes (I gave Iron Fist a chance too, and it ended up getting worse over time and cementing itself as one of the worst shows of the year by the time the curtain closed). If the video is down you can take in a brief comparison of the new CG animation (on the right) with the old leak (on the left) below.

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Suddenly those Darksiders remasters are pointless on Xbox One

2017-03-24T10:45:00Z

This isn't the first time that a series with a remastered version has been added to the backward compatible list on Xbox One.  Starting from today, you can play Darksiders and Darksiders II on your Xbox One without having to double dip on the games. I'm not sure what the business decision was behind this, but I'm all for not rebuying stuff simply to revisit them.

Along with those titles comes Assassin's Creed: Revelations. While doing research for this post, I wasn't even sure if the Assassin's Creed series had even been added to the backward compatibility service. Turns out that you can play 1, 2 and Rogue on Xbox One. If they add Brotherhood to the service, that will mark another remastered collection you won't have to buy.

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A good old fashioned Nintendo Switch accessory review roundup/slobberknocker

2017-03-24T10:30:00Z

[Update: More accessory reviews have been added.]

Now that the shiny new Nintendo Switch is out, it's time to put a bunch of accessories to the test.

If you're curious how some third-party (sanctioned or non-sanctioned) peripherals measure up, check out the list below, which will be updated as my gear comes in.

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Brett chose to save Space Hitler

2017-03-24T10:00:00Z

Brett had the choice to save Space Hitler or to liberate sci-fi Auschwitz. He went with the former. In his defense, he only had a few seconds to make the decision, so you can understand why it might have been tough.

That's one of the topics that came up regarding Mass Effect: Andromeda in this episode of Podtoid. We also talked a bit about how effing great The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the new mode in Rocket League are.

Otherwise, it was the usual romp through topics ranging from corn dogs to scorpions, with a ton of listener questions, SATPOTPAQ, and a Zelda-themed Hot Dish. I told you it'd be back soon! I'm not a bad liar person like that Brett guy, who is a proponent of galactic genocide.

Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or download it here.

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Gunman Clive creator's next possible game looks great

2017-03-24T09:00:00Z

With the rise of digital distribution, so too have single developer studios risen to the occasion.

One such example is Bertil Hörberg, creator of the Mega Man-like Gunman Clive series that last showed up in 2015. He's been working on projects since then, but we haven't really seen anything in action until now. Up on his YouTube channel is some footage of an unnamed game, which looks a lot like Devil May Cry, giant sword and all, with that beautiful Clive art style and a killer framerate.

As he espouses on Twitter it may never happen as it's such a massive undertaking for one person, but you never know.

Bertil Horberg [Twitter]

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Review: Has-Been Heroes

2017-03-24T08:00:00Z

Roguelikes are supposed to be addicting pick-up-and-play experiences that have players doing 'just one more run' before realizing they've been playing for hours on end. After over 10 hours, I can't bear to play anymore.

Every time I'm about to start a new run in Has-Been Heroes, I feel how I imagine a dog must feel when it knows it is about to go to the vet because 'Momma got the carrier out.' That is to say filled with anxiety and dread at what I was about to experience.

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Uncharted animator explains wacky Mass Effect: Andromeda facial expressions

2017-03-24T07:00:00Z

Although everyone has enjoyed dunking on the incredibly odd (and sometimes unsettling) Mass Effect: Andromeda animations, at least one developer has chosen to give his opinion on why they ended up the way they did, sans shade. That individual is none other than Jonathan Cooper, a former BioWare animator that worked on the first two Mass Effect games, and is currently at Naughty Dog.

Cooper posits that since it's an RPG, comparisons to tight scripted action games like Uncharted are unfair (which is absolutely true, though I don't know who would compare them in the first place). Breaking it down further he explains in laymen's terms how the game's animations "may not even be touched by hand," stating that an algorithm is responsible for some of the goofs. An algorithm, Cooper intimates, is lower in quality with Andromeda, as it more often than not displays the "my face is tired" animation that only focuses on lip syncing -- he also explains that using facial mocap, like Horizon Zero Dawn, helps, or a higher quality algorithm like CD Projekt Red used with Witcher 3.

Jokes aside, the entire thread is fascinating. Cooper manages to reasonably explain the recent question of "why it looks worse than the original trilogy" with poise and experience. What we don't know is how BioWare dropped the ball so hard in this particular area, and why EA didn't allow them more time to clean it up.

Jonathan Cooper [Twitter]

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Surprisingly, Outlast 2 is now clear for release in Australia

2017-03-23T21:00:00Z

Last week, the upcoming horror game Outlast 2 was refused classification in Australia, meaning it was barred from sale in the country -- even to legal adults. But as of now, the Australian Classification Board has gone back on its decision and settled on an R18+ rating for the title. Even more surprising: developer Red Barrels didn't need to alter Outlast 2 to achieve this classification.

As it now stands, the April 26, 2017 release is back on for Australia. "There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide," Red Barrels told Press Start earlier today.

The Board's original issue, as you might recall, had to do with "implied sexual violence" in the game (Kotaku AU has an in-depth description of one scene in particular that was the main sticking point).

Currently, Outlast 2 is listed as R18+ for "high impact horror themes, violence, blood, gore and sex." Or, exactly what you'd expect from the sequel to Outlast. It's good that everything seems to have worked out in this specific instance, but it's clear that Australia's ratings board is in dire need of an overhaul.

Outlast 2 Will Now Release In Australia After Successful Classification Review [Press Start]
Outlast 2 [Australian Classification]

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EA's doing its 'we're not at E3 but we're totally at E3' thing again this year

2017-03-23T19:30:00Z

Electronic Arts pulled out of E3 last year and that, along with Activision doing the same, caused a panic. "E3 is dead!" everyone proclaimed in their spiciest meatballiest takes. How could the most important video game show survive if some of the most important video game makers refused to show up?

E3 2016 came and went and it mostly felt like every other recent E3. EA was E3-adjacent with a large presence just outside the convention center. It seemingly worked out fine because EA has similar plans this year.

There will be another EA Play this year, held from June 10 through June 12. The location is significantly different, though. Instead of staging this in downtown Los Angeles, the event will be in Hollywood. It's a strange time to move away from the convention considering this is the first year that E3 will allow the public into the show.

EA Play seems like it'll be the spectacle everyone thinks it'll be. There will be hands-on demos of the new Star Wars Battlefront game, the new Need for Speed, and the annual iterations of Madden, NHL, NBA Live, and FIFA. EA says there's more, alluding to playable builds of unannounced titles.

Anyone who's interested in attending EA Play would do well to be on alert on 4/20, The Marijuana Day (20/4 for our international audience). Tickets will be available to the public on April 20 at 9am Pacific. EA will detail how that process works sometime in the near future. Keep your head on a swivel if you want a little slice of E3 out in Hollywood.

Save the Date: EA Play Tickets Available on April 20 [EA]

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Review: Little Inferno (Switch)

2017-03-23T19:00:00Z

The rise of Facebook in the late '00s shifted how people use the internet. With the gradual shift away from simply being a networking site, game developers were given a new platform to create games on. Sadly, most of these developers (*cough* Zynga *cough*) made small Skinner Box games to sucker people out of their hard-earned money.

Many of these titles had a cute or interesting appeal, but they slowly become a boring slog of waiting out cool-down timers or paying to expedite the process. Essentially, make the game with a strong hook and then pad out the gameplay so that people who are still engaged get tempted to pry open their wallets.

Little Inferno is a satire of such games. More than just poking fun at things like FarmvilleLittle Inferno takes an insightful look at what drives people to play games and how real life can be neglected due to how alluring interactive entertainment can be.

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PC bundle deals: Sega Genesis Classics and Atari Vault starts at $7

2017-03-23T18:30:00Z

Need a little blast to the past? This week, Bundle Stars launched three decent bundles in its latest Spring Sale 2017. For each bundle that's less than $14, you'll be given a ton of content including classic Sega Genesis or Atari games, or even newer titles such as Rocket League

Spring Sale Bundle Deals:

For all deals use code: SPRING10

The first available bundle is the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis Classics bundle. Here you get 59 classic Genesis and Sega CD titles for $15.49 (or $13.94 after applying the 10 percent coupon at checkout). Big-name titles included are classic Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic CD, along with franchises such as Streets of Rage, Shining Force, and Golden Axe.

The Atari Vault is similar, granting you Steam library access to 100 classic Atari 2600 and arcade games. Titles like Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Tempest, and Yars Revenge seem like endless entertainment from a simpler gaming age.

For something a bit more modern, Bundle Stars offers the Dominator Bundle which includes a copy of Rocket League and 15 other Steam keys. There are actually four tiers to the Dominator bundle, the first is only $1, but also has the least well-known titles. Going all the way up to tier 4 and forking over $14.99 (or $13.49 after the Spring Sale coupon) gets you everything.

As previously mentioned, every game included in these bundles gets activated through your Steam account. If you wanted to build a library of hundreds of games, this could do it for you without spending much cash.

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First kiss: Dear Esther

2017-03-23T18:00:00Z

[My dearest community, it has been several fortnights since I last promoted to you. I long for the days when I may see you again, but the war rages on and I'm afraid Breath of the Wild and NieR: Automata just won't play themselves. Thankfully, soldiers like Flegma continue on with their thoughts on their first experiences, such as with Dear Esther. Sincerely, Sergeant Strider]

Dear Esther,

It has been three months since we last met, and I already miss you.

Do you remember? We first met in May. It was some Steam sale -- one like any other. Once again, I had bought far more games than I had interest to play: Dustforce and bunch of Wolfenstein games. I haven't touched them since that May five years ago.

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Come at me, bro (with questions for Podtoid)

2017-03-23T17:30:00Z

Sometimes I like to get long-winded with these posts, but not today! Nope, I'm going to save my breath for Podtoid when I get to talk to my BFFs Steven and Darren. Us three chuckleheads should have a lot to discuss like Mass Effect and how the pizza Darren eats in Mississippi is very cheap but also not very good.

We can't do it alone, though. We need some content from you. What burning questions are on your mind? What's the longest sitting we've ever burned through a game? Why does it burn when you pee? What's the best way to burn your neighbor's house down? All questions we'll answer if you want!

Leave some questions or interesting stories in the comments here. I know you got 'em. If you don't want to tip your hand too early, just shoot us an email. Podtoid [at] destructoid [dot] com is how you can get all our eyes on your Darren-as-Sonic-but-wearing-a-polo-shirt fanfic.

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There's a new Fortune Street arriving this year, and it has Final Fantasy's Lightning

2017-03-23T17:00:00Z

I completely forgot about the new Fortune Street game, announced back in September of last year. It's a 30th anniversary celebration of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest for both PS4 and Vita, and a ton of characters are coming along for the ride.

Just this week Minifillia (FFXIV), Balther (XII), Squall (VIII), and Lightning (XIII) were confirmed, as well as Erinn, Carver, Jessica Albert, and Angelo from the Dragon Quest side. There's no set release date yet but the team seems far enough along.

The Fortune Street story is a fascinating one. It was actually created by a Dragon Quest designer for the third Dragon Quest game, so the series has always been steeped in Square Enix history. In a Geometry Wars-like twist of fate it ended up becoming its own series, and has been showcased on multiple platforms -- perhaps most notably the Wii, which was the only iteration that was released outside of Japan.

New Fortune Street Game Adds Lightning, Minfilia, Jessica, Angelo, And More [Siliconera]

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Serial Cleaner makes hiding bodies fun

2017-03-23T16:30:00Z

Murder is messy. Think about it; dropping even a single body means a pool of blood, evidence, and potential witnesses. To get away with murder, you have to either think quick or know someone willing to get their hands dirty.

In Serial Cleaner, that's where you come in.

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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier's third episode lands on March 28

2017-03-23T16:00:00Z

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We're approaching the three-episode mark for Telltale's The Walking Dead: A New Frontier and that has me feeling particularly anxious for this series to wrap up so I can get on with the binge session already.

The third episode, Above the Law, suggests that with tensions ever rising, "It may be time to choose between the family you're born into and the family you've made..." Decisions, decisions.

If you're playing these as they come out, Tuesday's the day on PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, and Android.

Telltale's A New Frontier Episode 3 Trailer and Details [The Walking Dead]

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Try to find the most enticing game in April's Xbox Games with Gold

2017-03-23T15:30:00Z

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April is a solid month for Xbox's Games with Gold program, but not in the way it usually is. Typically, of the four free titles, there are one or two standouts that makes the whole month a success. That's not quite what's happening here.

Instead, April has four games that draw some degree of enthusiasm, just not an overwhelming amount. That's fine though! These services don't always need to all bangerz. Sometimes they do just as well to offer titles that you're interested in but not quite interested enough to actually buy. Then subscribers get a chance to finally check those out.

A perfect example of that is Xbox One's first free game of the month, Ryse: Son of Rome. Available the entire month of April, Ryse is something that was slagged upon release but has found its share of defenders since then. A lot of people were likely turned off by the initial negative reception but were always a bit curious to see the cinematic centurion game. Now's a good opportunity.

It's a similar situation with Telltale's The Walking Dead: Season 2, which is free from April 16 through May 15. Some folks have an aversion to Telltale titles because the style isn't quite for them. Still, most of those games are beloved and critically acclaimed. This is a low-stakes way to reevaluate.

The Xbox 360 freebies are Darksiders and Assassin's Creed: Revelations (all playable on Xbox One through backward compatibility). Again, titles that anyone could've easily missed but they wouldn't be opposed to giving a shot. That's April's Games with Gold in a nutshell: A bunch of things you might want to give a shot. Always shoot your shot.

Xbox Live Games with Gold for April 2017 [Major Nelson]

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Titanfall 2's next update marks the return of Colony

2017-03-23T15:00:00Z

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A week from now, you should think about popping Titanfall 2 back in -- even if only for a few rounds.

Respawn Entertainment is bringing out Colony Reborn, based on the dense town center map from the original game, as well as the R-101 with an ACOG scope and a nasty "curb check" execution. That's all coming for free next Friday, along with some paid Titan cosmetics for Northstar and Legion.

Whenever I see trailers like this for multiplayer games, I count my sweet blessings that I don't have to play against these folks. They'd tear me to shreds! Thankfully, there's another Titanfall 2 free weekend trial event on the way (March 30 to April 3) with access to the full multiplayer experience, Training Gauntlet, and campaign mission The Beacon. That'll give us an influx of fresh meat.

Frontier News Network 3.23.2017: Colony Reborn [Titanfall]

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See how Snake Pass got its slithering movements just right

2017-03-23T14:00:00Z

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"The best way to get a snake to look like a snake is to find someone who's owned a snake."

The thing that first drew me to Snake Pass was the curious fact that its creator, Seb Liese, used to be a biology teacher. Now Sumo Digital is talking shop about how one might convincingly achieve snake movements in a video game (divide that sucker into spheres), and I'm drawn right back in.

Lastly -- and this just can't be stressed enough -- the snake's name is Noodle. Noodle!

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JonTron cut from Yooka-Laylee just before the game's launch

2017-03-23T13:00:00Z

All the way back in February 2015, developer Playtonic invited YouTube personality Jon Jafari, aka "JonTron," to be in their game Yooka-Laylee -- which is about to launch next month. It was as simple as Jon giving the studio a "callout" on Twitter, a gesture that can make or break small indie projects (just see Elijah Wood's tweet about Ridiculous Fishing). But based on the controversy that he's been embroiled in the past month, Playtonic has had a change of heart and has removed him from the game.

Playtonic gave a pretty clear reason for the cut, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz: "JonTron is a talented video presenter who we were initially, two years ago, happy to include as a voice contributor in our game. However, in light of his recent personal viewpoints we have made the decision to remove JonTron's inclusion in the game via a forthcoming content update. We would like to make absolutely clear that we do not endorse or support JonTron's personal viewpoints and that, as an external fan contributor, he does not represent Playtonic in any capacity. Playtonic is a studio that celebrates diversity in all forms and strives to make games that everyone can enjoy. As such, we deeply regret any implied association that could make players feel anything but 100% comfortable in our game worlds, or distract from the incredible goodwill and love shown by our fans and Kickstarter backers."

Unless Jon discloses who he recorded audio for, we may never know the identity of the character. It's tough to even tell individual NPCs apart (outside of the main cast) due to the gibberish speak, regardless.

Playtonic removes controversial YouTuber JonTron from Yooka-Laylee [Gamesindustry.biz]

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You can grab Gravity Rush 2's free Raven DLC now

2017-03-23T12:00:00Z

Previously available as a companion during certain parts of Gravtity Rush 2, you can now play as Raven in a free bit of DLC that was just released. It's a brand new story called "The Ark of Time: Raven's Choice."

The best part about the add-on? You can play it right away as it doesn't spoil the plot of the second game. Instead, it deals with the aftermath of the first entry, almost like an epilogue of sorts. The Ark of Time is roughly two hours long, and contains some combat bits and some exposition for Raven. It flows well and is easily worth playing if you've finished the core game.

Plus, having this missing link alongside of the anime, and both entries on PS4 is amazing -- I hope we get to see a Gravity Rush 3.

Raven [PlayStation Store]

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Resident Evil: Code Veronica rated in Germany, could be coming to current platforms

2017-03-23T11:30:00Z

Since basically every other Resident Evil is coming to PS4 and Xbox One (where are the Outbreak games?!), Code Veronica may as well join them. It was recently rated for the German USK on PS4, but since all of them have hit Xbox One as well it's only a matter of time if this rating is accurate -- and it'll probably be the Code Veronica X HD version from 2011.

For the uninitiated, Code Veronica is ham incarnate. The past games dabbled in camp, but this one reveled in it, for better or for worse. I occasionally go back and replay it, and the pure silliness always gets me -- it's never going to be at the top of the list for just about anyone, but it's a fun romp if you can get it on the cheap.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica [USK]

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Nintendo Download: Splatoon 2 Global Testfire

2017-03-23T11:00:00Z

It's a really weird Nintendo Download this week, as there's a ton of different platforms to juggle. For one there's Android, as Super Mario Run finally lost its iOS exclusivity. In other portable news, Japanese Rail Sim 3D and Super Destronaut 3D arrive on the 3DS today.

In Switch news Has-Been Heroes is hitting the eShop on March 28, and the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire (read: beta demo) is live on March 24 throughout the weekend. ACA NeoGeo Turf Masters, New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers, and Othello also will make it onto Switch, having debuted in Japan at launch. Even the Wii U is getting in on the fun with Mahjong Deluxe 3, Aqua TV, and Armored Acorns: Action Squirrel Squad.

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Remember the amazing Kid Icarus: Uprising with some My Nintendo rewards

2017-03-23T10:30:00Z

Kid Icarus: Uprising deserved a sequel on the New 3DS. It was one of the best games I've played in the past 10 years or so, despite the occasional cramping due to the controls -- but I even managed to get used to it with huge hands on an original 3DS.

Either way like a lot of iconic Nintendo franchises the series is in limbo, and paraded out occasionally for promotions like this one. My Nintendo has a heap of new Kid Icarus discounts available, mostly focusing on the NES, Game Boy, 3DS Classic, and 3DS games -- which are coincidentally the only Kid Icarus projects in over 30 years!

While a lot of series really need to go big or go home (Metroid), I could deal with a 2D continuation, or another shooter on the Switch some day for Kid Icarus. I hope they don't forget about him!

Rewards [My Nintendo]

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Supergirl gets her own Injustice 2 story trailer and Black Adam is there for some reason

2017-03-23T10:00:00Z

With how popular Supergirl's become on TV, I'm glad she's getting a major push in Injustice 2. This newest story trailer, part three of "Shattered Alliances," shows a bit of her origin as well as teases how she fits into Injustice's world, and notably, how she gels with its aggressive Kal-El. Black Adam also rejoins the roster for the sequel and his look has majorly improved here.

His super is one of the best ones I've seen so far since it actually feels like an Injustice super with a major camera angle change and a real heavy feel. It seems like the photorealism has improved over the months as the cutscenes here look particularly impressive considering the less than appealing look of Supergirl when Injustice 2 was initially announced. 

Too bad about those Source Crystals though. 

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Vanessa boxes her way into King of Fighters XIV

2017-03-23T09:30:00Z

The King of Fighters XIV DLC characters have been delivering on every count so far. Sometime after Whip and Ryuji Yamazaki come to the game as DLC, fan-favorite boxing mom Vanessa joins the roster. 

I've never been a big Vanessa user, but watching this trailer definitely makes her seem really fun to play. I've been set after Yamazaki was confirmed, but I'm sure this will make a lot of fans happy. Many of the comments for the previous two reveals were for "Baenessa," haha. 

There's one more DLC character to reveal, so who do you want it to be? 

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If we ever get a GameCube Virtual Console, Nintendo needs to make this Joy-Con

2017-03-23T09:00:00Z

Man, if only I had a disposable amount of income that would allow me to paint over an $80 Joy Con set, I would give experiments like this a go. The folks over at Boss Fight Props took the plunge, and managed to craft an amazing looking GameCube homage for the Switch Joy-Con Grip set, and even nailed the button coloring.

For months now the GameCube Virtual Console has been rumored, but we don't even have a concrete date set for the VC in general on the Switch. In case you forgot it didn't launch with the system, and we're still awaiting basically any information on it. The only thing we do know is that by subscribing to Nintendo's online service (which will be free until this fall) you get limited access to one VC game a month. That could change of course, especially after the general distaste for it.

Props [Boss Fight Props]

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Rumor: Destiny 2 arrives in September, will have a beta

2017-03-23T08:30:00Z

While we wait for the original Destiny to die with drip-fed announcements of rehashed raids (which is actually kind of cool, but hella late), Destiny 2 is just around the corner. Or at least, based on everything we know so far it's slated to release later this year, including a recent leak from an Italian retailer.

According to his poster, Destiny 2 will launch on September 8, and will have a beta associated with it, just like the original did. Pre-ordering may guarantee you a spot in said beta at certain retailers, we aren't sure yet.

I think it's obvious that Activision is saving this for E3. While Destiny has had a bumpy ride since launch it also has a diehard fanbase of millions, so there's a chance it'll be one of the biggest announcements of the year. Plus, there's a chance Bungie could have learned from its mistakes, and will rectify them in the sequel. The fact that there's no longer previous generation versions to bog it down helps, and if it somehow takes advantage of the Pro and the Scorpio down the line it could get even more prepared for a long haul approach.

Alleged Destiny 2 Poster Leaks [NeoGAF]

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Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap lets you play as Wonder Girl

2017-03-23T08:00:00Z

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With less than a month to go, Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap developer Lizardcube has let out a nice surprise about its lovely Wonder Boy III remake: there's an option to play as Wonder Girl! And that even extends to the 8-bit visuals, should you decide to switch back to the Sega Master System look.

"Over the past few months we've showcased the various half-animal, playable characters, along with the popular Retro feature," art director Ben Fiquet shared on the PlayStation Blog. "But we haven't yet revealed the new human hero design, and speculation has been rampant. There's a simple explanation for keeping the character's identity a secret: we wanted it to be a surprise."

Also cool? This character development sheet:

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This is yet another endearing tidbit that tells me these creators genuinely care about this remake.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Has a New Playable Hero [PlayStation Blog]

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