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Sunday, 27 September 2020

Madden NFL 21 Guide – How to Get Free MUT Unlockables, and Best Playbooks

madden nfl 21

Want to get some really good rewards from Madden NFL 21's Ultimate Team mode without having to spend any money? There are quite a few ways to do this and you can net some fairly strong players as a result. Here are a few unlockables that are worth picking up.

  • Lamar Jackson – One of the better quarterbacks, it's possible to get an 85 OVR card for Jackon by scoring 5 touchdowns in Superstar KO.
  • Master Andre Johnson – With an OVR of 89, Master Andre Johnson is pretty good. To unlock it, simply reach MUT Level 7. This can be done by simply playing the game and gaining XP.
  • Rookie Master Isaiah Simmons – Complete the Core Rookie Master Set to get Rookie Master Isaiah Simmons. You'll need cards for Chase Young, Joe Burrow, Braden Mann and Derrick Brown, and then thirty-nine 75-79 OVR Rookie cards and twenty-two 72-74 OVR Rookie cards to complete the set. The Rookie cards can be of anyone.
  • Loyalty Reward Pack – Players of Ultimate Team mode in previous Madden titles will receive a Madden Loyalty Reward Pack for free. It contains six player options in total, namely Patrick Peterson, Darius Leonard, Emmanuel Sanders, Demarcus Lawrence, Andrew Whitworth and Mark Ingram II. However, there's a catch. You're only eligible for the pack if you've played MUT from previous games in the last three years. Those who have played in all three of those years can choose three players from the six. Those who have played only two or one title in the past three years can only select two or one out of the six players respectively.

Best Playbooks

Playbooks offer a range of different formations and strategies, and are divided into Offensive, Defense and Overall. They're essentially to planning out different plays. You'll find a number of different custom playbooks made but the community but the standard playbooks can be very good as well. Check out the guide below for more details on the top 5 best playbooks, from the Seattle Seahawks to the Las Vegas Raiders.


NBA 2K21 Guide – How to Use Face Scan

nba 2k21

There are quite a few different things to master in NBA 2K21, from the new shot meter to effectively farming VC. But how do you go about using the Face Scan function to get your face into the game? The process takes a bit of work but isn't too complicated. First off, download the MyNBA2K21 app for either iOS or Android.

When the app is installed, you'll need to sign in on the platform that you're currently playing on. Head over to the Face Scan option and accept the terms. While you could just start scanning right away, make sure there's a uniform amount of light in the room. Your entire face needs to be lit up – any spots covered in shadows will cause problems. Remove glasses or anything else covering your face as well.

Once all of that is taken care of, select the Front or Rear Camera (whichever offers better quality) and position your face at the top of circle. The app will light up a few times. Turn your head slowly to the left or right and make sure that you're looking at the camera. After the process is complete, there will be a dozen or so screenshots to choose from. Select the ones that aren't too dark or blurry and then upload them to NBA 2K21. If there aren't any good images to choose from, start the process over in a more ideal setting.

Head over to the MyPlayer Builder and select "check for Head Scan data." This should load all of your images if performed correctly and it will appear as an option in MyPlayer. If not, either relaunch the game or attempt the process again.

For more details on NBA 2K21, check out our review for the current-gen version here.


Sony's Stance on PS5 Backwards Compatibility Has Been a Mess

Following a showcase where it not only revealed gameplay for several of its big PS5 exclusives but also the console's launch date and price, it's interesting to see Sony being on the back foot. This is due to bungled communication regarding pre-orders, both with retailers and consumers; mixed messaging about its commitment to generations versus cross-gen support; and, perhaps most damning, it's message on backwards compatibility. Things started off innocently enough during the showcase – Sony unveiled PlayStation Plus Collection, a number of PS4 titles that would be playable on PS5 at launch.

PlayStation Plus Collection

Such titles included God of War, Days Gone, Bloodborne, Persona 5, Until Dawn and so on. This is only available to PlayStation Plus subscribers and already questions were being asked. Is this Sony's backwards compatibility strategy? Will it add more games to the list in the coming years (which is likely, especially to continue to offer some kind of value to the Instant Game Collection)? What about PlayStation Now? Where is Marvel's Spider-Man?

Later, Sony's Jim Ryan would clarify that 99 percent of all PS4 titles would be backwards compatible on the PS5. Which is nice and all but how does it work? What kind of visual enhancements can we expect? Can we learn more about which games are backwards compatible? What is the one percent of games that won't work?

Finally, the publisher confirmed what many had feared – that Marvel's Spider-Man would not be receiving a free upgrade from PS4 to PS5. When Insomniac unveiled gameplay for Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, it also confirmed a remaster for the first game. It's "no simple up-res" as per the developer. Along with completely updated art assets and improved character models with better facial animation, eyes and hair, there's also ray-traced reflections and ambient shadows, a more busy city with greater draw distance, better lighting and even the option to play at 60 FPS. But wait, there's more – it will also take advantage of DualSense and 3D audio, feature three new suits and features for Photo Mode and some new Trophies.

spider-man

That sounds like quite a good amount of features added in (especially if the DLC is included). But even if you think that way and wouldn't mind spending, let's say, $20 to $40 on the remaster alone, you can't. Sony has stated that Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered won't even be sold standalone on PS5. If you want it, you have to purchase the Ultimate Edition of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales which costs a whopping $70. Even if Miles Morales ends up being a stellar title, despite Insomniac admitting to it having a smaller scope and scale, the lack of choice here is pretty surprising.

This is especially when you consider that buying Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS4 does entitle you to a free upgrade to the PS5 version. You can even upgrade it further to the Ultimate Edition (for a price) and receive Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered. Or you could play the non-remastered PS4 version of Spider-Man on the PS5 thanks to backwards compatibility. But not through the PlayStation Plus Collection, mind you, because this clearly wasn't confusing enough already.

On the one hand, I'm prompted to ask what happened and why Sony couldn't streamline its approach to backwards compatibility better. My theory – it's a combination of several things and the publisher trying to have it both ways. It wants to continue having paid remasters for its best-selling PS4 titles, which explains why you haven't heard a peep about free PS4 to PS5 upgrades for The Last of Us Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima, two big name exclusives which launched this year. However, it also wants to have some kind of cross-gen strategy especially in light of Microsoft's approach with the Xbox Series X and S. This strange approach has put Sony in a rather odd position.

horizon forbidden west

It probably doesn't help that Microsoft came out pretty early on and clarified its position on cross-gen support and backwards compatibility. Features like Smart Delivery, improving frame rates and resolution, and even adding HDR to older titles that never had it are worth praising. Meanwhile, despite many the company's biggest titles being several years off (and not being available on Xbox One like it promised all first party titles would be at one point), it's stuck close to supporting previous generations.

Then there's Sony, which speaks about supporting PS4 players by making upcoming PS5 titles like Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West available for the PS4. However, it won't properly explain how backwards compatibility works, what games will be backwards compatible on PS5, and what games could potentially receive remastered versions down the line. While some may purchase Ghost of Tsushima or The Last of Us Part 2 to experience them on PS4, there could be others who want to take advantage of the PS5's power for a higher frame rate and resolution. What happens if they purchase these titles for the console and then Sony announces remastered versions that require another purchase one year later?

There's no denying that it will earn additional revenue for the publisher (just look at The Last of Us Remastered on PS4). It's just the lack of transparency that's getting to fans, especially with the console being less than two months from launch. Look how long it took Sony to even acknowledge PS4 owners of Marvel's Spider-Man not getting a PS5 upgrade, that too after rumors spread about the same.

ps5

Don't even get us started on Sony's approach to PS1, PS2 and PS3 backwards compatibility. Such a feature isn't included with the PS5 but you can pay $9.99 per month and up to $59.99 for PlayStation Now to stream those titles to the console. Except, PS One titles aren't available on the service. Also you can only stream PS3 titles, not download them locally like with PS2 and PS4 games.

It also doesn't help that several big PS4 titles aren't available on the service like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Days Gone, Persona 5 and so on. But it's a good thing that PlayStation Plus Collection is a thing, right? That too, one that requires a separate paid subscription to a completely different service. The fact that Sony hasn't offered more details on PlayStation Now for the PS5 is a stark contrast to Microsoft's approach with Game Pass.

Some could argue about backwards compatibility or free upgrades not being important to them. But they're important enough for a large enough player base to justify numerous companies, from Falcom and Square Enix to Bungie and Bethesda (even before its acquisition by Microsoft), to offer some kind of next-gen support for their titles. While I don't think Sony will present a backwards compatibility or cross-gen solution that could rival Microsoft's any time soon, there's still time for the company to clarify its current initiatives. More details are needed all around, whether it's backwards compatible PS4 titles requiring a disc or whether PlayStation Now will receive some of the bigger name PS4 titles that it's currently missing.

It also needs to talk more about its plans for more recent PS4 titles, how it plans to approach PS5 remasters in the future and at least offering some kind of discount for current-gen owners. There's still time, sure, but the clock is ticking.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.


Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition Trailer Showcases Dan Hibiki

Street Fighter 5 Champion Edition

As Tokyo Game Show 2020 Online rolls on, Capcom's Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition has received a new trailer focusing on the next DLC character. It's the series' comic relief icon Dan Hibiki and the preview details the various moves that he's capable of. Check it out below.

As a training partner to Ryu and Ken, Dan is fairly over-confident in his own skills. Though he's capable of a variety of movies, like the rapid kicks following a knee strike, he can also unleash a Shoryuken. Of course, Dan can also unleash his trademark "taunt" complete with lots more rolling.

As part of the Season 5 Pass, Dan will be available this Winter. Other characters include Rose from the Street Fighter Alpha series; Oro from Street Fighter 3; and Akira Kazama from Rival Schools. An as-of-yet unrevealed character will also be releasing in Fall 2021 so stay tuned for more details in the coming year.


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Gameplay Footage Revealed, Young Impa Confirmed Playable

Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity

Koei Tecmo revealed some new gameplay footage of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity during its Tokyo Game Show 2020 Online showcase. The gameplay will look very familiar to fans of Musou games and Breath of the Wild as Link engages with hordes of foes on the plains of Hyrule. Check it out below (from 1:23:51 onwards).

A new trailer was also released, offering a look at Impa at a younger age. As a Seeker, Impa serves as an aide to Hyrule Castle and is friends with Zelda. As a playable character, she relies on Sheikah techniques like explosive tags and temporary clones. It's a fairly interesting playstyle that will remind one of the Yiga Clan's troops.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity releases on November 20th for Nintendo Switch. It's set 100 years before the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with Link, Zelda and the Champions battling against Calamity Ganon's forces. Stay tuned for more details en route to its release.


Super Mario 3D All-Stars Review – The Bare Minimum

Super Mario 3D All-Stars includes arguably some of the best games ever made, all put together in one $60 package. On the basis of that alone, it's worth buying. The chance to play stone cold classics such as Super Mario Galaxy, or games as important to the development of the medium as Super Mario 64, on a modern system, with no hassle, and on the go, is a fundamentally appetizing prospect. Inasmuch as you have any interest in platformers, Mario, or even just the evolution of video games as a medium, this collection is worth it.

Even if you're only interested in one of the three included games, I'd argue it's worth it to have a version of said game on a modern console; however, things get a bit tricky once you stop taking this package as a whole, and start to break it down into its individual constituents.

First off, let's talk about the quality of the games themselves, before anything else. It's astonishing how well they hold up. Super Mario 64 is obviously the most aged here, and has a lot of jank you will need to come to terms with at first. However, once you're past the initial hump, it's honestly astonishing how incredibly well it holds up today. Super Mario 64 is the direct forebear of just about every single 3D game on the market today – so the jank and roughness was expected, given that literally every game since has had a chance to build on it. What wasn't expected was just how delightfully well the core design of the game holds up. Nintendo has arguably the best game designers on the planet – and it should come as no surprise that they were as inventive or creative while literally pioneering an entire dimension as they were in Super Mario 64.

"Even if you're only interested in one of the three included games, I'd argue it's worth it to have a version of said game on a modern console; however, things get a bit tricky once you stop taking this package as a whole, and start to break it down into its individual constituents."

That roughness can make it tough for a newcomer to jump in, however. Super Mario 64's camera, in particular, is pretty bad, and the camera controls for the original game were mapped to the Nintendo 64's four C buttons – meaning it was controlled digitally. In this Switch version, those C button controls have been mapped to the right analog stick as is, meaning you're using an analog stick for digital camera control, which can cause a lot of frustration when things don't work the way you are naturally inclined to expect them to.

These camera issues only get in the way of what, as I have already explained, is a game that holds up marvelously well in just about every regard. From its level design to the actual movement controls for Mario, Super Mario 64 has aged far better than most games of its era – and honestly, far better than a lot of games of subsequent eras too.

Super Mario Sunshine is a controversial game; it has been that since its initial launch, and is now widely regarded as the lowest point of the 3D Mario series. There are very valid reasons to have issues with Mario Sunshine, from its frustratingly obtuse objectives (which stand in stark contrast to how effortlessly and intuitively the other games in the series communicate what they expect from the player) to some extremely fiddly platforming – platforming that, to be honest, is made a bit worse because of Nintendo having to map Sunshine's analog trigger controls to a console which lacks them entirely. So here we have those controls mapped to the right analog stick (again), with some complicated and contrived control schemes to achieve the varying levels of pressure you could achieve with Mario's water backpack FLUDD.

Gameplay aside, there are other problems with Sunshine that very clearly mark it as a product of a time when Nintendo was in an existential transition, and not yet sure what direction the company would take in the future. For instance, Super Mario Sunshine remains to date the only Mario game with full voice acting (and yes, it is every bit as unsettling as you would expect), which is no better today than it was in 2002.

mario sunshine

"From its level design to the actual movement controls for Mario, Super Mario 64 has aged far better than most games of its era – and honestly, far better than a lot of games of subsequent eras too."

But for all its considerable shortcomings, Super Mario Sunshine has a lot of merits that shine brighter now with the benefit of hindsight – it has some of the sharpest platforming in the series (once you get used to the controls, at any rate), with FLUDD being an extremely versatile addition to Mario's repertoire of movies; it is the only Mario game to date to take place entirely in one location, and having a cohesive theme like that really adds to the game's sense of atmosphere and charm. Delfino Island's various locations make for some delightful sandboxes, and if and once you have made your peace with the controls, allow for some of the most expressive platforming in the series.

Sunshine, one way or the other, is definitely the weakest link of this package, however, at least in terms of the core game's quality. There are obviously fans, and I am sure they will be delighted by the ability to finally play it on a modern system (Sunshine had been stranded on the GameCube until this release), and I am glad this update exists for them, however, if nothing else.

Which brings us to Super Mario Galaxy.

Super Mario Galaxy is arguably the greatest game ever made. It was widely acclaimed as that when it first launched, it was reinforced as that when its sequel (mysteriously missing from this collection) launched, and it stands tall even today, 13 years after its initial release. Super Mario Galaxy can almost justify the $60 for this collection by itself. It's a remarkably special game, with impeccable controls and some of the best level design in the medium's history. Super Mario Galaxy has some of the most stirring vistas in any game ever, brought to life by an ageless art style that holds up incredibly well, and one of the all time great soundtracks . It's even the most story focused Mario game ever – and while obviously it's no The Last of Us, it has some genuinely moving story developments centered around the new character Rosalina, as well as some surprisingly dark developments later in the story.

In every way possible, Super Mario Galaxy holds up. It could be released as is today, and it would still be better than most games currently on the market, including most of Nintendo's own. It is a work of creative genius, put out by a development team at the peak of its powers, and it is absolutely unbelievable how incredibly well this game has held up, especially given how poorly most other games of that era aged. With Super Mario Galaxy, there are very few to no shortcomings I can nitpick at – it is an absolutely marvelous game.

"In every way possible, Super Mario Galaxy holds up. It could be released as is today, and it would still be better than most games currently on the market, including most of Nintendo's own."

Thankfully, it's the game that has gotten the most care in this package as well. Nintendo has updated the game's resolution, and it is now running at widescreen (while maintaining its original 60fps framerate). The game's pointer controls have been mapped to the Switch's gyro (in console mode) and touch screen (in handheld mode). Neither are, to be honest, optimal, but the pointer controls were deemphasized enough in the original game to never feel too obtrusive to begin with – so their implementation in this new package doesn't really detract from Galaxy's underlying brilliance in any way.

Super Mario Sunshine has also seen some work. It, too, has been updated to run in widescreen, with some upgraded textures, and as mentioned previously, the controls have been rethought (to mixed results). Unfortunately, the rest of the upgrades are minimal – Nintendo has not, for example, taken this chance to update the game's framerate to 60fps (the original infamously ran at 30fps, in spite of being marketed at 60fps all the way through to its release); however, even Sunshine's barebones updates feel far beyond what Super Mario 64 got, which feels like an almost a direct dump. It's not even running in widescreen, the updates to the textures and graphics are minimal to none, and like I mentioned earlier, even the camera controls haven't been reworked from their original digital implementation. Super Mario 64 is also the original, N64 version of the game, missing all the improvements and additions that Super Mario 64 DS brought to the table.

This shocking lack of effort is actually endemic to this whole collection – I've so far stuck to discussing the games themselves, and the games are amazing, but if we are to view this as a collection of remasters, released to celebrate a milestone anniversary for the single biggest and most important gaming franchise there is, it comes up horrifically short. You don't even need to view it as a celebratory collection, in fact – even compared to the recent Crash or Spyro releases, which remade the original games, gave them loving facelifts, and sold at $40, Super Mario 3D All Stars feels almost insultingly lacking in so many ways.

"I've so far stuck to discussing the games themselves, and the games are amazing, but if we are to view this as a collection of remasters, released to celebrate a milestone anniversary for the single biggest and most important gaming franchise there is, it comes up horrifically short."

Unlike many other legacy collections, there are very few to no extras here – you don't get any bonus features such as save states, you don't get any cool concept art, you don't get any special features or insights into development, there's really nothing other than the games themselves – and their respective soundtracks, which can be accessed directly from the main menu (and can even be played with your Switch in sleep mode, turning it into a makeshift portable music player. Nifty). And the soundtracks are amazing – you won't find me complaining about the ability to listen to Gusty Garden Galaxy on an infinite loop. But it's still disappointing that this is all we get – again, this is a full priced celebratory collection to commemorate a landmark milestone for the most important franchise in gaming. And this is what we get? Three games, two of which are barely touched up or updated, and no other content?

So this review is really a tale of two entirely opposing assessments – inasmuch as you just care about the core quality of the games, this is unbeatable value, because even without much in the way of updates, the games hold up, and are great to play through. If you look at it as a collection of re-releases, even without the whole anniversary celebration context, it comes up short, and looks positively offensive next to how great (and cheap) other similar releases have been.

Obviously, it's still worth buying – as I said, Galaxy alone justifies the price of admission, and throwing in 64 and Sunshine on top of that is just overkill. But if it is worth buying, it is no thanks to any merits of this collection in and of itself – Nintendo is, ultimately, coasting off of the back of some amazing work it did more than a decade ago to sell what is ultimately a disappointingly barebones, facile celebration of gaming's most important icon who truly deserves better.

This game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch.


Phil Spencer: Bethesda Exclusivity Will Be On A Case-By-Case Basis, But Xbox Ecosystem Will Be "The Best Place To Play"

xbox bethesda acquisition

While it's been a big week in general for the industry between the pre-orders going live for the Xbox Series S and X as well as the start of the Tokyo Game Show 2020, the biggest news kicked off the week with the announcement that Microsoft was purchasing third party publisher Bethesda alongside all of its studios and IPs. It was a head spinning piece of news, no doubt, and a lot of questions remain, with the biggest one being that of exclusivity: will Bethesda games remain multiplatform or will they be exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem? Well, Phil Spencer isn't saying for sure, but he's got some comments that you can take at least a few ways.

Talking with Yahoo Finance, Spencer was asked outright if Bethesda titles would be exclusives or if they would come to other platforms. He largely dodged the question, saying it would be a case-by-case basis, but did say that he saw the move as a huge get for Game Pass, which will see Bethesda titles on the service day 1 after the deal is finalized, and that the Xbox community should see it as an investment in their ecosystem, and that he wanted that ecosystem to be the absolutely best place to play those games (thanks to Twitter user GameRy for the full clip as seen below).

"But as the Xbox community, what they should feel is this is a huge investment in the experiences they are gonna have in the Xbox ecosystem. And we want the Xbox ecosystem to be absolutely the best place to play and we think game availability is absolutely part of that."

You can look at that statement several ways, but the part about the Xbox ecosystem seems to be pointing to the games being only in that ecosystem, though there are other ways it could be the 'absolute' best way to play from exclusive DLC to more technical aspects like resolution or graphical features. It was said that Bethesda will continue publishing games under their umbrella, but it remains unclear how much freedom that will actually equate to, though it did give some hope that the games could still release on Sony and Nintendo systems. While it still is up in the air, I wouldn't hold my breath about seeing the next Elder Scrolls or DOOM on a competitor's machine.


Resident Evil Village Gets Developer Insights Trailer Alongside New Art For Chris And Ethan

Resident Evil 8 Village

Next year will see the eighth mainline entry in the long running survival horror series, Resident Evil Village. The game will once again see you taking the first person perceptive as you find yourself in a dangerous European village filled with all kinds of creatures you'd come to expect from the series. On Sunday, September 27th, we'll see a large scale presentation for the game at TGS 2020, but ahead of that, we got a little taste.

Capcom released a new video called Developer Insights about the game's development. Most of it focused on how the team is taking a lot of elements from the previous title, Resident Evil 7, and expanding on them for the sequel. A lot of focus is on the main character as well, Ethan Winters, who is returning from 7, which matches up well with rumors that Ethan will have more of a personality and presence in this title. They also graced us with some nice new renders of Ethan and Christ. You can see all of this below.

Resident Evil Village will release sometime in 2021 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PC. Capcom has said they plan to look into also porting the title to PS4 and Xbox One, but as of now those versions have not been officially announced.

RE8 Village Ethan RE8 Village Chris


Xbox Series X, Series S Pre-orders Sold Out Quickly In Japan

Xbox Series X_S

The Xbox Series X and Series S are coming in November, but pre-orders went live earlier this week. Microsoft says there's been "record-breaking" demand, and it seems largely pre-orders have seen sell outs by and large. That even includes one region that some maybe wouldn't have expected to see an instant sell out.

As reported by VGC, major retailers in Japanese sold out of the Series X in roughly 20 minutes, with the Series S stock going quickly roughly an hour later. Of course, one might imagine that the actual stock being allocated to the region is pretty low due to the market share they have, and without solid numbers it's impossible to know what that was, but hey, it's not a bad start to sell out of your stock anyway you cut it. I personally like to imagine Xbox Japan's newest mascot inspired this surge, but that is just me.

Both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will launch on November 10th with pre-orders live now in all regions, if you can find them.


Monster Hunter Rise Gets New Gameplay Footage Via TGS 2020

Monster Hunter Rise

Last week came quite the bombshell from Nintendo with a Direct announcing not one, but two, brand new Monster Hunter titles coming to the Switch. One was the more story-focused RPG Monster Hunter Stories 2 due out Summer 2021 with the other being the more classic looking Monster Hunter Rise. While both caught the eyes of fans, Rise especially did since it saw the return of what appears to be a more traditional Monster Hunter to the handheld space after World went to consoles. And now, we've got more footage to check out.

Capcom saw fit to release a new online trailer for the game during TGS 2020, which you can see below. The first part is reused footage from the reveal trailer, with new footage kicking in at about 1:40. Most of it is more highlighting of the wirebug feature that allows you to swing as well as the new Palamute companion. Check it out below.

Monster Hunter Rise will release on Nintendo Switch on March 26th, 2021. The game is also said to be running on Capcom's latest RE Engine, which you can read more about through here.


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