Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Get ready for the next big Magic: The Gathering rotation in Arena

Just ahead of the new standard rotation for Magic: The Gathering, the Arena team has posted a "state of the game" blog to give folks a heads-up on what to expect in the near and far future.

As a reminder, rotation is a yearly event that serves as a fairly big shakeup for the competitive standard community, in which several sets are cycled out of the game and are no longer "standard legal." So as of tomorrow; Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegience, War of the Spark and Core 2020 are out. In the wake of that shakeup, Throne of Eldraine, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, Theros: Beyond Death, Core 2021 and Zendikar (which is out the day of rotation) will remain.

Zendikar really is the big focus here, as 280 new cards are plopping into Arena. Along with the set, Arena is also getting an emote customization system, more keywords to juggle, Zendikar events and renewal gifts (for players who have accounts active before the latest set actually arrives). As for future content, the mobile version is still "coming," Kaladesh Remastered is in development, another historic anthology set is on the way and UI rework and deck sharing mechanics are in "concept" stages.

Now just shore up the mastery pass system and most of Arena's issues will have been solved at this point.

MTG Arena: State of the Game [Wizards of the Coast]

Get ready for the next big Magic: The Gathering rotation in Arena screenshot

Urouge is the third member of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4's 'Worst Generation' DLC

Bandai Namco has revealed the third and final character headed to One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 this fall. Urouge is the latest member of the feared faction known as the "Worst Generation" to join the musou-like's huge roster of fighters.

Known to his friends and foes as "The Mad Monk", Urouge is the captain of the Fallen Monks and is known for his insane and massively unnerving grin, which is rarely - if ever - wiped from his face. Like many members of the Worst Generation, Urouge is a mammoth of a man, standing literally stories above your average pirate.

Urouge is the third member of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4's 'Worst Generation' DLC screenshot


Here's how all of the new Switch controls work for Super Mario 3D All-Stars

With three classic Mario games coming to a brand new console via Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a lot of folks are probably wondering how they control.

Here's a full breakdown of the control schemes for each title, as well as a few short notes for how they work.

Here's how all of the new Switch controls work for Super Mario 3D All-Stars screenshot


Hearthstone's Book of Heroes adventures are a great reminder that the game isn't always about chasing packs

In all of the years I've played Hearthstone (about six years now), the free bits and the adventures are the portions I've enjoyed the most. There's something so relaxing about hunkering down and solving a single-player puzzle, engaging in a free weekly brawl, or chilling out with battlegrounds that keeps me coming back far more than the constantly adjusted and sometimes pricey standard play.

My jam just got another shot in the arm this week, as the Book of Heroes just went live yesterday. In short, it's a free series of quests that "retell" the stories of the game's current default heroes. The first wing is open now and provides a truncated tale of how Jaina came to become such a powerful mage. It's a simple eight-boss run with some story sprinkled in, and like previous adventures, is heavily framed around puzzle-like encounters.

Naturally, it's tied to a separate monetization scheme. If you want, you can pay 10 bucks for a new Jaina hero, as well as five mage card packs as part of a bundle. Blizzard will presumably do this for each hero that enters the "book" and makes their debut. For now though, you can earn a pack just by beating their questline.

While my interest in standard waxes and wanes with balance and the sheer amount of cash required to build a competitive deck, I'll always come back to these sorts of Hearthstone experiences as long as the game exists.

Who Dares Enter the Forbidden Library []

Hearthstone's Book of Heroes adventures are a great reminder that the game isn't always about chasing packs screenshot

Panzer Dragoon: Remake takes flight on PC September 25

Fans waiting on ports of rail-shooter Panzer Dragoon: Remake will be pleased to hear that we finally have a release date for the PC edition. The ground-up remake of the Sega Saturn classic will arrive on Steam and GOG September 25. A price was not announced.

Panzer Dragoon: Remake takes flight on PC September 25 screenshot


Nintendo is planning more than just the Mario movie from the Minions studio

Nintendo likes to play things close to the chest, but every so often the company will give us little kernels of info to either create excitement: or excite their investors.

We know that Nintendo is ready to take on cross-media projects with a renewed gusto, as evidenced by their partnership with Illumination (Minions, Despicable Me) for a Mario film. But thanks to a corporate management policy briefing this week, we know that it's just one prong of their aggressive strategy.

While the Mario film is due in 2022, Nintendo says that they have "already embarked on multiple other visual content expansion projects," and are "pursuing further opportunities." Nintendo also clarifies that "visual content expansion initiatives may not be limited to film," opening up the door for say, a Mario TV show on a streaming service. Nintendo says it will "continue to invest in these entertainment expansion initiatives."

All of this is in addition to their usual gaming strategy, as well as the theme park expansion initiative (no further details were provided for that venture), more merchandise (of course), a bigger retail location footprint and additional mobile expansions.

With the Switch as big as it is, now is the time to strike: Nintendo is enjoying their largest sales push since the height of the Wii craze.

Corporate Management Policy Briefing [Nintendo]

Nintendo is planning more than just the Mario movie from the Minions studio screenshot

Nintendo says Switch Online now has 26 million paid members

Today during a semi-enlightening corporate management policy briefing from Nintendo, we got an updated figure for Switch Online membership: 26 million "+" paid members.

Nintendo says that subscriptions "continue to rise," and that they have reached that figure thanks to the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The numbers originally started to jump after Smash Ultimate, followed by a surge with Pokemon Sword and Shield, then New Horizons. It's very clear that Nintendo intends on tethering more functionality to first-party games in the future.

The publisher states that "going forward, [they] want to further contribute to consumer satisfaction while ensuring the long-term vitality of [their] platform with attractive titles that "enrich the Switch Online service." If you recall, they were around 9.8 million in April of 2019, then 15 million in January of 2020. Of course, Nintendo isn't actually breaking down how many people in that figure are lumped in with the family plan: which could count up to eight members per family subscription.

I really hope that "consumer satisfaction" bit doesn't actually involve carving out more previously free features for the paid service; and actually translates to a more stable online infrastructure. The negatives so far have outweighed the benefits, especially if Nintendo isn't going to steadily give subscribers free games anymore (or new games, for that matter).

Corporate Management Policy Briefing [Nintendo]

Nintendo says Switch Online now has 26 million paid members screenshot

Review: Super Mario 3D All-Stars

We all have our favorite Mario game.

Maybe it's a classic entry you played during your childhood. Maybe it's a newer one that blew you away. Me? It's kind of a mix of both, as Super Mario World still rules the 2D roost as far as I'm concerned, but Mario Galaxy 2 and 3D World definitely fit into that latter category.

I'm sure everyone is going to have opinions on which Mario is "best" to include in a Super Mario 3D All-Stars compilation, but the ones Nintendo actually gave us are a decent selection.

Review: Super Mario 3D All-Stars screenshot


Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase coming tomorrow, September 17

Nintendo has announced a new Nintendo Direct Mini presentation, which will take place tomorrow, September 17, at 07:00 PT / 10:00 ET / 15:00 BST and will focus entirely on incoming Switch releases from Nintendo's publishing partners.

As is the case with previous Partner Showcase streams, that means we're unlikely to see any froth-developing major announcements, but we will likely receive a whole host of updates regarding rad-looking titles from third-parties. Be sure to tune in over on the official Nintendo YouTube and Twitch channels and check out some of the latest games vying for your hard-earned moolah.

Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase coming tomorrow, September 17 screenshot


(Update) Sony reportedly scaling back production of PlayStation 5

[Update: Reaching out with a statement to, Sony said today that "While we do not release details related to manufacturing, the information provided by Bloomberg is false. We have not changed the production number for PlayStation 5 since the start of mass production."]

According to a report from Bloomberg, Sony has been forced to scale back the production of its next-gen hardware, PlayStation 5, due to ongoing issues surrounding a specific component in the console's infrastructure.

The Bloomberg report claims that Sony has not been able to produce its custom-designed system-on-chip to target, with a production yield somewhere in the region of 50%. As such, the manufacturer has been forced to slow down PS5 production, which is expected to reduce the PS5's launch numbers by some four million consoles.

Ironically, just back in July it was reported that Sony had made efforts to boost its output for the PS5's launch months. If the July numbers are to be believed, then even with this low production yield, Sony is still expected to produce around 11 million PS5 units in the fiscal year, a higher number than the tech giant had initially planned.

PlayStation 5 launches worldwide later in 2020. An online showcase, scheduled for tomorrow, is expected to reveal the new console's price and release date.

(Update) Sony reportedly scaling back production of PlayStation 5 screenshot

Nintendo Switch is finally getting Donkey Kong Country 2

Our pleas have made it to Nintendo and the king is finally about to return. Donkey Kong Country 2 will be playable on Nintendo Switch starting September 23 for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.

It has consistently topped fans' most-wanted lists, and I'm right there with the crowd. I'd love the chance to reconnect with EarthBound, but DKC2 is my favorite game of all time. We made it, fam.

The SNES library is also getting Mario's Super Picross (a first-time release outside of Japan) and The Peace Keepers, a funky Jaleco beat-'em-up. On the NES front, it's S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team, a Natsume shmup. Imagine if these retro releases happened on a regular basis. That sure would be nice.

Anyone else going for 102% completion?

Nintendo Switch is finally getting Donkey Kong Country 2 screenshot

Contest: Win Niche, a genetics survival game, for Nintendo Switch

In today's contest you can win Niche for Nintendo Switch!

If you've ever wanted to explore animal husbandry in a video game based on real life genetics, then you're in luck! Niche is a different little title combining turn-based strategy, evolution, and survival, and you can win a free copy for Switch!

Contest: Win Niche, a genetics survival game, for Nintendo Switch screenshot


Ubisoft changed Gods & Monsters' name because it violated Monster Energy's trademark

Ubisoft's Gods & Monsters recently underwent some rebranding, switching its name to the demonstrably-worse Immortals Fenyx Rising a few weeks ago. It has gone over like a lead balloon. In fact, it had our team wondering if we should just refuse the new name and stick with the old one!

As it turns out, Ubisoft had some taurine, some guarana, and 160mg of caffeine forcing its hand.

As uncovered by TechRaptor, Monster Energy opposed Ubisoft's trademark for the title "Gods & Monsters." The logic goes that Monster has enough of a presence within video games that Ubisoft's use could reasonably cause confusion among consumers.

The proceedings didn't get too far. After Ubisoft answered the Complaint, the two sides filed a pair stipulated motions for extensions of time, presumably telling the court that they were attending mediation to try to sort it out without the court's involvement. A third motion for extension was filed last week, but that's well after Ubisoft unveiled the new name Immortals Fenyx Rising. It'll likely be followed with a stipulated motion to dismiss shortly thereafter.

Playing armchair attorney, this seems like something Ubisoft probably could've won, no? My guess is that it has less to do with whether or not Ubisoft cared to spend the money on this legal battle, and more to do with just getting the game out on shelves. Immortals has been delayed already, and its sales factor into Ubisoft's fiscal year that ends in March 2021. Fighting a protracted trademark infringement case would further delay the game. Going ahead with the name Gods & Monsters would result in an injunction. Ubisoft may be in the right, but it doesn't have the time to prove it.

Gods and Monsters Trademark Fight With Monster Energy Caused Name Change [TechRaptor]

Ubisoft changed Gods & Monsters' name because it violated Monster Energy's trademark screenshot

Overcooked: All You Can Eat will let you stop orders from expiring with a new option

Well-meaning accidents are all part of the fun of the Overcooked series, but an option to tone down the stressful recipe time limits sure sounds pleasant. In the upcoming Overcooked: All You Can Eat for PS5 and Xbox Series X, there will be an Assist Mode for players who want a more laid-back co-op session.

This trailer runs through the list of accessibility options for the Overcooked + Overcooked 2 remaster.

Assist Mode will let players stop recipes from expiring, meaning you'll never fail an order because you were too slow or overwhelmed. You don't have to, but the option's there and it could be useful for practicing trickier stages. Otherwise, by default, Assist Mode raises the "round timer" for each level, it gives out more points, and it increases how much time you have to make and deliver meals.

Beyond that mode, All You Can Eat also has accessibility features for color-blindness, dyslexia, and a text size scaling. You'll be able to pump up the subtitles, level descriptions, and other wordy bits.

Another thing I'm excited about: "seamless navigation between [both] games and [all] DLC."

Overcooked: All You Can Eat will let you stop orders from expiring with a new option screenshot


Marvel's Avengers has a long road ahead

From the moment Marvel's Avengers was first showcased at E3 (in what feels like forever ago), a lot of people had their doubts about the game based on what we saw at the time. Well, now that it's finally here, it's a clear-cut example of a game that should have been left to cook for a lot longer.

Whether it was Marvel and Square Enix attempting to get it out of the oven before the new consoles arrived or just too much feature creep (or both), it's all conjecture for now.

However, the road ahead for Marvel's Avengers has plenty of content in store. Crystal Dynamics claims it plans on supporting the game for years to come, and data miners have discovered a list of new characters coming in the future. But, before they start dropping content, there are plenty of ongoing issues in the base game as it is, and that's what we're going over today on Impulse!

So, sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of Justin and myself (now in 4K!) sharing our experiences and issues we've encountered this past week while playing Marvel's Avengers.

Marvel's Avengers has a long road ahead screenshot

Dontnod's Twin Mirror gets real weird with it in December

Twin Mirror is nearly ready to show us what it has up its Twin Peaks-inspired sleeve. Dontnod's most bizarre game yet (probably, hopefully) is officially slated to launch before the end of the year.

Revealed via this new gameplay trailer, we learn that Twin Mirror has a release date of December 1, 2020. We also see more of protagonist Sam Higgs' Mind Palace, a place where this journalist goes for crime scene recreation. This sort of thriller-style storytelling seems like it might be right up Dontnod's alley.

Although Twin Mirror is launching in December, it's not getting PS5 and Xbox Series X versions that come with any sort of enhancements. Instead, Twin Mirror is releasing on PC (via the Epic Games Store), PS4, and Xbox One. However, it'll still be playable on next-gen consoles via the backward compatibility that both systems feature.

Dontnod's Twin Mirror gets real weird with it in December screenshot

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 teases its 'extreme long-range' shots

It's time to check your wind-speeds all over again, CI Games has released a new teaser trailer for its scalpel-precise shooter sequel Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, which launches later this year on PS4, PC, and Xbox One.

The short video focuses entirely on one of the key elements of Contracts 2: "Extreme Long-Range shooting." In the video, our patient protagonist - ominously known as "Reaper" - successfully completes a shocking 1506-metre shot, hitting his mark from almost a full mile away. The video's intent is to spotlight Contracts 2's heightened realism and pin-point weapon accuracy.

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 teases its 'extreme long-range' shots screenshot


The ninja action game Ghostrunner is getting another demo before its October 27 release

The fast-dashing cyber-ninja action game Ghostrunner is releasing on October 27 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC (Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store). It'll be a nice little cyberpunk taster before we feast in November. The launch price – $29.99, with discounts available if you pre-order – reflects that status.

This trailer out of PAX 2020 reiterates that the heart of this game is jumping, dashing, wall-running, grapple-swinging, and doing everything in your power to quickly close the distance on your foes.

My favorite part? Fast reloads. Death isn't a pace-killing setback.

If you haven't sliced and diced fools in Ghostrunner's limited-time demo, an "updated" build is coming back to Steam on September 29. There's also a private beta sign-up if you're that into these vibes.

I appreciate having a mid-priced, straight-to-the-point action game as we gear up for next-gen.

The ninja action game Ghostrunner is getting another demo before its October 27 release screenshot

Review: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Back in August, I wrote up a preview of Vanillaware's 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim that focused on the prologue to the full adventure. In my post, I said I'd written down several notes to keep track of everyone in the game and the respective years they traveled from to reach Japan circa 1985.

Turns out, most of those notes were useless. They were a waste of paper really, because no matter how close I paid attention in that prologue, how much I studied the review guide I was sent by Atlus, nothing could prepare me for what this game had in store.

Review: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim screenshot


Doom 64 comes rip 'n' tearin' from Limited Run Games

Get that trusty chainsaw oiled and that Super Shotgun locked 'n' loaded, as the physical phanatics over at Limited Run Games have announced a special edition for the 2020 re-release of Doom 64.

Doom 64 comes rip 'n' tearin' from Limited Run Games screenshot


Bethesda has uncapped the microtransactions for Fallout 76 Season 2

It took exactly 77 days. That's how long it took for Bethesda to reverse its reasonably feel-good approach to microtransactions within Fallout 76's seasons.

Today marks the start of Fallout 76 Season 2, and Bethesda has announced that you can immediately pay to rank up through the new Armor Ace S.C.O.R.E. battle pass. It costs 150 atoms (approximately $1.50) to advance a single rank, and the season has 100 ranks. Obviously, you can earn ranks by playing and completing challenges.

But this is a stark contrast to the approach Bethesda took in Season 1. For the debut season, Bethesda wouldn't let people buy ranks for two weeks. It seemed to come from a position of parity, like it wanted everyone to be on equal footing throughout the first stages of the battle pass. Now, in hindsight, it seems as though Bethesda didn't want the conversation around the first season (at least in the early going) to be "It's too grindy and designed to make you pay." The governor has been removed.

It wouldn't even be surprising that microtransactions are immediately available if Season 1 weren't framed the way it was. Most every other battle pass (all?) will let you buy tiers right from the get-go. This is the natural conclusion, but it's also what was expected all along. 

Season 2 is just a part of the sweeping changes that come via Fallout 76's Update 22. Appalachia is getting a glow-up of sorts, through new features like "One Wasteland" and changes to Daily Ops. We've detailed both before (hit those links!) but here's the overview: One Wasteland makes it so every enemy scales to your level even if you're in a party with much higher level players; Daily Ops are team-based challenge encounters that are meant to be run daily for big rewards -- especially if you're able to complete it quickly.

There is a ton in the Update 22 patch notes. An overview of Season 2, detailed explanations of these new features, the addition of Legendary Perk cards for players who are level 50+, a bunch of quality-of-life changes, and the requisite bug fixes. Check it all out over on Bethesda's site. If you just want to see all the Season 2 rewards -- including a playable foosball table -- we've got that too.

Fallout 76: Update 22 Patch Notes -- September 15, 2020 [Bethesda]

Bethesda has uncapped the microtransactions for Fallout 76 Season 2 screenshot

Rocket League going free to play next week, will be delisted from Steam

Back in July, Psyonix announced that its wildly popular socc-car game Rocket League would be going free-to-play. At the time there was only a vague "in the future" release window. Today, Psyonix announced on Twitter that the go-live date for the free-to-play changeover would be September 23.

In the week leading up to the F2P launch, there will be an update that will officially change all active accounts over to legacy status that will bring with it multiple benefits. The most tantalizing perk will be the gift of all previously released Rocket League branded DLCs as thanks for being an "early" adopter. The full details of what legacy status will entail can be found on the official site.

This week, users can begin merging their accounts through an Epic Games account. There's also going to be an event called Llama-Rama to celebrate the F2P launch, but details, for now, are being held.

As expected, this move to F2P will also spell the end of Rocket League being listed on the Steam storefront. Steam users will still be able to launch the game through Steam but starting tomorrow, no new PC users will be allowed to download the game outside of the Epic Games Store. The update will go live tomorrow morning so if you're continuing to avoid the Epic Games launcher then you have only a scant few hours to get it on Steam before the listing is gone.

Where we go from here, no one knows. It has been a long road that led to this and while I have my problems with some of the more toxic bastions of the community, I still love Rocket League with all of my heart. It will be interesting to see how the meta evolves in the F2P era and how many of us old geezers will be left in the dust.

Rocket League is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and starting tomorrow exclusively through the Epic Games Store on PC.

Rocket League going Free to Play September 23 [Psyonix]

Rocket League going free to play next week, will be delisted from Steam screenshot

Amnesia: Rebirth will be a hell of a way to celebrate Halloween

October 2020 has its big-ticket horror game. Amnesia: Rebirth, the long-time-coming sequel to 2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent, is out on October 20 for PS4 and PC (Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store). It's launching at $29.99, and there's a 10% discount for early birds and PlayStation Plus.

Rebirth is set in the Algerian Desert. Playing as Tasi Trianon, you'll have to make sense of your eerie surroundings and your "shattered past" while managing limited "physical and mental" resources.

As Frictional Games puts it, Amnesia: Rebirth couldn't be a "side-project" and risk getting "lost in the crowd." During its production, it went from "a game with a small scope to being the biggest and most ambitious game we have produced to date." With SOMA forever etched on my mind, I'm stoked to see what that means – well, as "stoked" as anyone can be when vile creatures are scurrying out of sight.

"This sort of change in scope wasn't without issues, especially as we were working on another, currently secret, project at the same time," the studio added. "But, finally, we got through it, and created a game of the quality we wanted."

It'll be tough to top the legacy of The Dark Descent. If they're excited, I'm excited.

Amnesia: Rebirth will be a hell of a way to celebrate Halloween screenshot

Super Mario 3D All-Stars trailer celebrates Mario's escapades

This week sees the sudden launch of Super Mario 3D All-Stars for Nintendo Switch, compiling three of the iconic gaming hero's grandest adventures for fans everywhere.

Nintendo has released a near three-minute "Overview" trailer, spotlighting each of the titles featured in the upcoming triple-pack. From iconic N64 release Super Mario 64, to the GameCube's Super Mario Sunshine, and finally Wii hit Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario 3D All-Stars promises to retain all of the fun and adventure of these classic games, while adding HD resolution visuals and Joy-Con optimised control schemes. Also spied in the trailer is a "Music Player" mode, which will allow players to enjoy each title's soundtrack at their leisure.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars trailer celebrates Mario's escapades screenshot


You'll appreciate this 8K Crysis Remastered trailer if your eyes are better than mine

This week sees the long-awaited launch of Crysis Remastered, bringing the notoriously resource-heavy shooter out of 2007 and screaming onto the high platforms of 2020. Developer Crytek has released a new 8K trailer to show of the remaster GPU-melting myriad of visual effects.

The super-shiny video compares the new release with the 2007 original, (which still looks pretty damn good), while spotlighting the real-time reflections, global illumination, ray-tracing effects, depth-of-field improvements and *checks notes* "rippling caustics".

You'll appreciate this 8K Crysis Remastered trailer if your eyes are better than mine screenshot


Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is $100 to start, will require a Switch for each racer

In case you missed it, the recent Mario news blowout revealed Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a new toy that allows folks to relive the Mario Kart experience in their homes.

Essentially, kits come with a racer that has a camera on it (which allows you to see your driver in action on your Nintendo Switch), as well as real-life pieces to create a digital track. It's neat in theory, provided that it works and that you have the space. Or the cash to front for it.

Now that retailer listings are live, we know a bit more about how the whole thing will play out. As previously announced it's $99.99 for the Mario starter kit, which comes with Mario and a bunch of cardboard to set up the track. As stated by the listing, each player will need their own Switch and kart: so that's $100 a pop plus individual Switch units. There's also a similar Luigi set up for sale, and the Mario Kart Live app will be a free download, under the assumption that you can actually operate it with the toys.

The whole concept is very cool, but be ready to shell out some dough if you have a bigger family who all want in. I'm particularly intrigued by the variation of the mixed reality tracks, as well as the promise of "unlocks" from the listing, like "speed settings, costumes, environments and more." Rainbow Road is even teased. It's out on October 16.

Mario Kart Live [Walmart]

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is $100 to start, will require a Switch for each racer screenshot


Fall Guys mid-season update now live, bringing BIG YEETUS

Devolver Digital has announced that a new mid-season update is available for its wacky multiplayer title Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. The update, now live on PS4 and PC, adds remixed stages, improved online stablity, anti-cheat tech, and the terrifying giant mallet known as "Big Yeetus."

The trailer below shows off some of the new tweaks, which include a reduced timer for Fall Ball, a lower minimum-player count to provide more round variety, and dynamic new looks for various in-game items, adding new visual flair to Fall Guys' madcap mayhem. Big Yeetus is a dominating hammer that will appear in a selection of rounds from time to time. Still, as demonstrated below, wily beans can actually use this new "threat" to their advantage. 

Fall Guys mid-season update now live, bringing BIG YEETUS screenshot


2021's 'Sonic Anniversary Collection' consists of 'toys, apparel and more'

So it's come to this. The 30th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog.

The little blue blur that could survived multiple console generations, several ill-fated franchise spinoffs and the collapse of Sega's console empire. He can survive anything. That's why the indomitable mascot is appearing in the "30th Anniversary Collection for Sonic the Hedgehog" initiative, which is confusingly, not strictly a "collection game."

This week, Sega revealed the campaign title, which will consist of "toys, apparel and more" in 2021: with some products hitting stores in December. Funko figures are mentioned by name, as is the "Encyclo-Speed-Ia" book (a retrospective encyclopedia of the series from Dark Horse Comics) and jewelry from King Ice.

If you recall, there are "new Sonic games" on the horizon for 2021 as well. It's a pretty good year for Sonic already, with a moderately successful film that has a greenlit sequel.

2021's 'Sonic Anniversary Collection' consists of 'toys, apparel and more' screenshot


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the fastest selling entry in the franchise

Publisher Activision has proudly announced that recent remake Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the fastest game to hit the one million sales mark in the skateboarding franchise's storied history.

Developed by Vicarious Visions, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 features authentic remakes of beloved PlayStation releases Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (1999) and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (2000). Both of these classic titles have received full visual makeovers, while retaining the addictive and satisfying gameplay that kept fans and their friends playing games of "HORSE" long, long into the night.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Epic Games Store.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the fastest selling entry in the franchise screenshot


Oh yeah: Another big Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC is 'coming soon'

We're set to get another Pokemon Direct fairly soon.

The Pokemon Company still needs to give us more information on the upcoming Pokemon Unite MOBA (which was shown and then promptly shot off into the sun by PR), and we should also probably get a closer look at the upcoming Crown Tundra DLC for Sword and Shield.

Revealed earlier this year, it'll take us to the titular Crown Tundra region as the second part of the pair's season pass. A new clip below from Nintendo South Africa, sent in by a reader, gives us a closer glimpse at what's to come in this expansion; which ostensibly looks bigger (or more impactful, lore-wise) than Isle of Armor.

Remember, if you're getting into the season pass scheme late: you can accidentally buy the wrong pass. Sword and Shield each have their own SKU. Hopefully the sheer number of snafus and customer service calls they've gotten thus far has turned them off from the idea in the future.

But with The Pokemon Company (and thus Nintendo) at the helm, I wouldn't count on it. Things can't just be simple!

Oh yeah: Another big Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC is 'coming soon' screenshot


Risk of Rain 2 will keep growing with expansions and free patches

With Risk of Rain 2 now out of Early Access and the console release of update 1.0 on the horizon, Hopoo Games has shared a state-of-the-game blog post detailing what went right, what could've been better, and what the future holds for this surprisingly great 3D sequel to a beloved 2D roguelike game.

The team says that while its roadmap kept Risk of Rain 2 on track, compromises had to be made and some "cool but challenging" ideas had to be cut for time. That's to say nothing of longstanding bugs, incomplete lore entries, and "a passionate modding community that has no official mod support."

Now that Early Access is in the rear-view, Hopoo hopes to transition into a more "sustainable, creative development" strategy – starting with a final "thank you" content update on all platforms.

Following that update – and keep in mind, there isn't a timeline for this stuff yet – the developers want to expand the team and begin creating expansions for Risk of Rain 2 at a pace of one or two per year.

"These Expansions will most likely be themed – for example, we could have a 'Void Expansion' or an 'Imp Expansion' – with new content built around that theme," according to Hopoo. The idea is to deliver fresh content that's exciting and compelling enough to get players hooked all over again. Having more time to dream up fun ideas and let them coalesce makes sense, and I won't mind paying for DLC.

"Quality of life, bug fixes, and balance changes will still be free as patches to the base game."

Dev Thoughts #18 - The Future of Risk of Rain 2 [Steam]

Risk of Rain 2 will keep growing with expansions and free patches screenshot

Ooblets' spooky new region, Nullwhere, will be here in time for Halloween

As the seasons change, Ooblets is changing too. Err, growing actually. It's nearing a major update that will add the first new region since the game launched in Early Access in July.

This new area is called Nullwhere, and it's Halloween-themed. You'll need to overcome your fear of the fearsome because this is where you'll need to activate the next satellite to get the Oobnet up and running.

Technically, this is stuff that we already knew. Developer Glumberland shared this information last month when it released a roadmap. However, now we have some idea as to what Nullwhere will look like. Here's a gif that shows off the general aesthetic:

Ooblets' spooky new region, Nullwhere, will be here in time for Halloween  screenshot


Review: Death and Taxes

It seems the most important shared experience of our lives is the one we know nothing about. None of us know, definitively, what happens after death. Certainly, many of us have our beliefs -- an afterlife, reincarnation, total oblivion, our souls harvested by an eldritch god to fuel their resurrection -- but no one has crossed the threshold of mortality to tell us what goes on after our hearts beat their last.

To some, this is chilling, to others, it's comforting. Some fear it, some revere it, some dwell on it, and others ignore it. Views on death are as individual as we are, and its mysteries may never be solved.

So put that out of your mind and get back to work!

Review: Death and Taxes screenshot


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the exact trip down memory lane we needed in 2020

I would be lying if I said I haven't spent a good part of 2020 reminiscing about the better days of the past. Every week of this goddamn year has been too much, so why shouldn't I get lost thinking about the past and all the fun games of my youth. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was one of the defining titles of teen years and with the recently released 1 + 2, it's taken me straight back to those weekends of Hot Pockets and Sunny-D.

That's just one of the topics we're covering on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Chris, Occams, and Charlotte are on hand to talk about skateboarding memories, Oxenfree, Super Punch Patrol, the Xbox Series S, and Microsoft's lack of significant launch titles. All that, plus just because you play a doctor in movies doesn't mean you are one, on Podtoid Episode 458.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the exact trip down memory lane we needed in 2020 screenshot


You're gonna want to eat at Arby's just for these Cuphead toys

Sometimes the neatest promotions come to the places that you don't necessarily want to frequent. Cuphead continues on its march toward international conquest with a fast food crossover that'll leave you remembering that, oh yeah, you actually love curly fries.

Arby's kids meals now come with Cuphead toys. They're extremely thematically appropriate too, as they feature heroes launching projectiles at the big bad bosses. Here's what it looks like in action: 

You're gonna want to eat at Arby's just for these Cuphead toys screenshot


Star Wars: Squadrons has a cool lead-in CG short to watch before you play

Whether or not you're in the mood for a Star Wars flight sim, this Star Wars: Squadrons short film – a seven-minute tale about the last TIE pilot left standing in the wake of a battle – is a cool watch.

The protagonist of this lead-in short, Titan Squadron leader Varko Grey (you gotta love unmistakably Star Wars names), is "one of the ace pilots who you'll be fighting alongside" in Squadrons.

This video was a collaborative effort between Motive, Lucasfilm, and ILM, so a not-insignificant amount of energy went into its creation. "Hunted" is a fun way to build up to the game's October 2 launch.

The mechanical foundation of Squadrons looks promising (and niceties like HOTAS support go a long way), but can the story stick the landing? I hope it takes some cues from 1994's TIE Fighter.

Fighter, Bomber, Interceptor, and Reaper – decisions, decisions.

Star Wars: Squadrons has a cool lead-in CG short to watch before you play screenshot

Review: Spelunky 2

It's been eight years since the non-freeware release of Spelunky, but those layouts are still fresh in my mind.

This was the early days of the modern roguelike. The kinks were still being worked out by myriad developers, but Derek Yu had a cohesive vision that married the cacophony of chaos and challenge in a way that just...sung.

Spelunky 2 thankfully continues that legacy.

Review: Spelunky 2 screenshot


Marvel's Avengers retains the top spot of this week's UK Charts

Despite mediocre reviews, Square Enix's comic-book adventure Marvel's Avengers has had a relatively successful physical launch, retaining the top spot of the UK Charts, while fending off advances from Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 & 2 and THQ Nordic's remaster Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning.

Last week also saw a physical release for Xbox Game Studio's Minecraft Dungeons, which debuts at number six after a slew of Nintendo Switch sales. Minecraft Dungeons is a cheerful, Diablo-like take on the mega-popular block-building title Minecraft, which itself has been a mainstay in the Top Ten for several weeks now.

The remainder of the Top Ten is filled out with chart stalwarts such as Take 2's Grand Theft Auto V, and Nintendo Switch releases Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Ring Fit Adventure, as the high street waits for the inevitable influx of major holiday releases.

Marvel's Avengers retains the top spot of this week's UK Charts screenshot


Xbox Game Pass is getting five more solid games

Xbox Game Pass keeps getting stronger. The next couple of weeks see five worthwhile additions, and the headliner is up for debate based on your personal interests.

Bungie has the best chance of capturing your playing time, as two of its games are prominently featured in the newest round of "Coming Soon to Xbox Game Pass." All of Destiny 2 is being added (base game and expansions); eventually when the Beyond Light DLC drops in November, it'll also be on Game Pass.

Likewise, Halo 3: ODST is joining the Master Chief Collection on PC next Tuesday. Bungie's quirky Master Chief-less 2009 game is well-regarded as a good Halo campaign, but its legacy is in introducing the Firefight cooperative mode. You've gonna have fun mowing through waves of Covenant. 

If Bungie shooters aren't really your thing, there are more entrees at the buffet. Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Night in the Woods, and Company of Heroes 2 all come to Xbox Game Pass in the next couple of weeks. They're all special in their own way.

Also, one minor side note, it's kinda weird seeing most every Game Pass listing come with an "Android" designation. That's a near-universal platform now that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Project xCloud have merged. Basically, almost every new Game Pass title can be played on your Android phone via game streaming from this point forward. Or, you can just stick to the PCs and consoles you know.

Here's what Xbox Game Pass is adding over the course of the next ten days:

Xbox Game Pass is getting five more solid games screenshot


Fist of the North Star RPG coming to mobile platforms in Japan

Koei Tecmo has announced a new mobile RPG based upon the uber-violent anime/manga series Fist of the North Star. Shin Hokuto Musou Mobile will launch in Japan later this year on iOS and Android platforms.

Some attractive splash art for the new mobile title features Hokuto no Ken series protagonist Kenshiro flanked by allies Rei and Mamiya, the latter of whom has forgotten her pants it seems. The trio stand in the shadow of Kenshiro's dictatorial brother, Raoh. You smell it? That's the smell of death.

Fist of the North Star RPG coming to mobile platforms in Japan screenshot


Godfall releases action-packed trailer, details multiple special editions

Gearbox has released a new trailer for its dazzling action-RPG Godfall, showcasing the powerful Valorian Knights as they tear through armies of otherworldly enemies in a stunning and luminescent fantasy universe.

The trailer focuses on the combat mechanics of Godfall, featuring a myriad of ranged and melee attacks, as well as acrobatic and lightning-quick evasive maneuvers and devastating finishing blows. Godfall will offer five different classes, an arsenal of death-dealing weapons, and customisable "Valorplates" - Zodiac-inspired armour that will offer new skills and benefits to its bearer. It all looks quite cathartic and equally as appealing visually.

Godfall releases action-packed trailer, details multiple special editions screenshot


Here's a more detailed look at Dragon Ball FighterZ's Master Roshi DLC

It's up for debate whether or not Arc System Works uses their DLC powers for good or bad; but the publisher very frequently supports its games for a lengthy period of time. That includes Dragon Ball FighterZ. It's insane that FighterZ arrived back in January of 2018, and it's still getting season passes.

This very season just added Ultra Instinct Goku and Kefla to the roster, with the recently revealed Master Roshi slotting in on September 18. But before he actually arrives, Bandai Namco and Arc System Works put out a fairly detailed trailer that showcases his moveset and his general vibe.

Roshi looks as formidable as ever, capable of projectile attacks and the ability to power up with his "Max Power" form. He's also going to maintain that goofy old man shtick, as seen near the end of the trailer. While it could be argued that Roshi should have been added to the game way earlier, he looks like a blast to play.

You can take a look at his cosmetic options, as well as the aforementioned video, below.

Here's a more detailed look at Dragon Ball FighterZ's Master Roshi DLC screenshot


Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 will be another online event

Unsurprisingly, the Awesome Games Done Quick team has confirmed that their first event of the new year, AGDQ 2021, will be an online-only affair, as the world continues to be rocked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Much like last month's SGDQ 2020 event, the week-long charity speedrun marathon will features players from across the globe showcasing their amazing gaming prowess from the safety of their own homes. Viewers on Twitch will be able to check out seven days of speedruns, while entering prize draws and, most importantly, donating money to a worthy cause.

Despite eschewing the usual haunt of the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Minnesota, SGDQ 2021 still managed to raise a very impressive $2.3 million for global medical network Medecins Sans Frontieres. All of the streams from the summer event can be found bookmarked over on the GDQ VOD website.

AGDQ 2021 will take place between January 3-10. Game submissions will open on September 24. Additionally, an all-women's speedrun event, Fleet Fatales, will take place between November 15-21. For more info on all events, visit the official GDQ website.

Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 will be another online event screenshot


The next big Marvel's Avengers patch will 'address hundreds' of issues

If you've played Marvel's Avengers, you might have recognized the "hundreds of smaller quality of life issues" that the game is dealing with right now. Well, the good news is that Square Enix is seeking to address a ton of those shortcomings in the next patch (V.1.3.0). But will it fundamentally overhaul the core loop of the game? Not likely.

Amid a heap of patch notes for version 1.2.5 (which went up this past week), the team teased that version 1.3.0 will be the "largest" update yet and will further shore up existing bugs. Currently there's no timeline for the patch, but the team is "rigorously testing" it.

Naturally, the microtransaction store also got an update, adding a new takedown, an emote and a new suit for Iron Man. Square Enix reminds us that it's using the Fornite FOMO style of marketplace, with "rotating weekly" items.

This game is in such a weird spot! It feels like it's cribbing from multiple live service games, but forgot to be its own thing. Whether Marvel, Square Enix, or Crystal Dynamics itself decided to make it a live service game is irrelevant at this point: I can't help but think how this could have turned out with a more focused vision akin to an open world Tomb Raider joint.

Avenger's War Table Weekly [Square Enix]

The next big Marvel's Avengers patch will 'address hundreds' of issues screenshot


UK retailer cancels Super Mario 3D All-Stars pre-orders after receiving 'woefully short' stock allocation

UK retailer has been forced to cancel all of its customer pre-orders for the upcoming Super Mario 3D All-Stars after receiving what it referred to as a "woefully short" stock allocation for the highly anticipated release.

"We have just been notified of our allocation of Super Mario 3D All-stars (Nintendo Switch) and it is woefully short," reads a customer email, posted to Reddit by user Greebos. "This is very disappointing and it is with great regret that we have to inform you that we will be unable to fulfil you [sic] order on the day of release... Further, as Nintendo and their UK distributers [sic] are unable to give us any reassurance that more stock will become available after release, we have taken the regrettable decision to cancel all orders".

While many Nintendo fans were understandably excited for the announcement of the Nintendo Switch title - which compiles classic releases Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy - some have been left frustrated by its "limited time" release, which implies that the triple-pack will only be available for purchase, both physically and digitally, between September 18 and March 31.

The news has, inevitably, led to a mild form of "panic-buying" as fans, (and no doubt scalpers), rush to pre-order the title for release day. Rushes such as these are likely part of the problem faced by and other retailers when hoping to receive adequate stock. In fact, this is nothing new, as in my own experience of retail work, the allocation of Nintendo products was often a dice roll, particularly when it came to holiday releases. Add to this the distribution issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and you have a particularly sticky situation.

It's important to note that, as of this writing, is the only UK retailer that has chosen to cancel its confirmed Super Mario 3D All-Stars pre-orders.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars launches September 18 on Nintendo Switch.

UK retailer cancels all Super Mario 3D All-Stars pre-orders [Eurogamer]

UK retailer cancels Super Mario 3D All-Stars pre-orders after receiving 'woefully short' stock allocation screenshot

Here's a fresh look at the Zelda: Breath of the Wild-inspired Genshin Impact

As we inch ever close to Genshin Impact's release (after an extensive testing period that's lasted over a year), developer miHoYo is gearing up for the launch with a deluge of information. The latest clip showcases Keqing: a new character that wields the power of electricity and an elegant sword to maintain order.

Her playstyle seems to center around quick strikes and dashes, culminating in a very anime-like "samurai cuts everything and watches it all collapse" ability. It's a very brief clip, but it gets the job done in terms of showing ups what Keqing is all about, and how her stoicism seeps through to her fighting style.

In case you missed it, the studio also showed off Mona the magician over the weekend, who sports that classic witch look and caster look. Her element is water, which she can use to hold enemies in place with a stasis-esque effect. Pretty much every character in this game looks fun to play.

Genshin Impact is out on September 28 on PC, iOS, Android and PS4. It'll come out at some point on Switch, but miHoYo hasn't even given us a window for that yet.

Here's a fresh look at the Zelda: Breath of the Wild-inspired Genshin Impact screenshot


Live-action Crash Bandicoot returns in unnerving Japanese commercial

Long-time Crash Bandicoot fans will be pleased to see that publisher Activision has produced a brand new, live-action commercial to promote the release of the upcoming Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, which launches in October on PS4 and Xbox One.

In the new Japanese ad, Our boy Crash imposes himself on a family, essentially forcing them to perform a dance to the ear-worm that is the "Crash Bandicoot" song, which featured in similar commercials back in the 1990s. Crash and the family perform the dance at home, in the woods, by a stream, and in the high street, with the family's father seemingly losing all sense of sanity as the advert progresses.

And who can blame him, that moment at 1:20 is the stuff of nightmares.

Live-action Crash Bandicoot returns in unnerving Japanese commercial screenshot


Oculus Quest 2 will have controller free hand tracking for some games, Facebook leak confirms

The Oculus Quest is a rad piece of tech. Facebook was very smart to anchor their entire future to it, as the tetherless system that does not require any other hardware is one of the most accessible ways to enter the VR space to date. A follow-up to the Quest has been expected for some time, and now it's been fully revealed: a little sooner than expected.

Thanks to a leak from Facebook's own site, we have all of the details ahead of the Wednesday unveiling. You can get an extensive look at the headset via the videos below, but the upgrades themselves are fairly substantial in nature. In addition to full hand tracking (for select games), the headset will also sport 4K video (2K in each eye), with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor.

Facebook also boasts that the Oculus Touch remotes (which are already a feat of engineering) are upgraded, in addition to 3D audio for the standalone headset (which does not require headphones, like the original Quest). The link cable will still be an option for folks who want to hook up their Quest to their PC for extra power.

Facebook is expected to give us full details on Wednesday, but given that their own site spilled the beans, it may come earlier. Right now the rumors point to a $300 entry point, with a $400 possible price for the 256GB model that was unveiled via the leaks.

Given how impressive the original Quest was out of the box, this one should be even more enticing. I can't wait to try it out: particularly the new controllers.

Meet Quest 2 [Facebook via VG247]

Oculus Quest 2 will have controller free hand tracking for some games, Facebook leak confirms screenshot


Spelunky 2 guide: Tips I wish I would've known sooner

30 hours into Spelunky 2, I've beaten the game exactly once – and come close countless other times.

While much of that time was admittedly spent exploring potential branching routes and figuring out what's up with certain elusive NPCs, straight up, I didn't see the credits until my 400th or so run.

Coming in, I knew I'd be rusty at spelunking, and I expected a long period of acclimation before I could quickly, reliably, efficiently carve through the sequel's procedurally-generated deathtraps, but goddang! This game is brutal. Not just for novices, who are in for a world of hurt, but also those of us who put dozens of hours into Spelunky, toppled Olmec, and survived the trip to hell. The struggle is real – again!

We'll be uncovering secrets in Spelunky 2 for years to come, but for now, here are my tips. I've ordered them based on the stages I've seen – in the order they appear – but I'm missing several in my journal.

The further you scroll down, the more spoilery it'll be – including a pic of the boss at the bottom.

Spelunky 2 guide: Tips I wish I would've known sooner screenshot


Cblogs of 9/5 to 9/11/2020: Hyrule Warriors, Xbox Series S, and game delays

Cblogs Recap: Week 37

-Kerrik52 reviews Ape Escape as part of his Traveler in Playtime blogging series.

-ModSquadLeader talks about three great pixel-based indie games.

-Black Red Gaming reviews Borderlands 3 on the PC.

-Shoggoth2588 responds to this month's Band of Bloggers prompt regarding game delays by focusing on a few games that were better because of it.

-LaTerry is running wild with speculation about the new Hyrule Warriors game.

-Dinoracha shares his initial thoughts regarding Paper Mario: The Origami King.

-Ctg867 argues that there is no way that the Xbox Series S is going hold back game development despite being weaker than its higher-end competition.

-TheBlondeBass shares his thoughts on Celeste in this blogging series focusing on games with a lot of heart.

-Taterchimp is asking the community to submit ideas regarding a community based monthly streaming contest.

-PhilsPhindings discusses the similarities between the soundtrack of Xenogears and Country-Rock music.

-Joel Peterson who previously worked in Dtoid is back for a brief hello which I think has a lot of good advice in it.

-ModSquadLeader reviews the movie #Alive as his first movie review.

-Gaming Sheepy joins the Dtoid blogging community with this introduction blog.

-PhilsPhindings discusses the similarities between the soundtrack of Trials of Mana and the music of Hank Williams.

-ChronoLynxx is back with another open TGIF community thread.

Cblogs of 9/5 to 9/11/2020: Hyrule Warriors, Xbox Series S, and game delays screenshot


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