Saturday, 5 September 2020

Why Play Mario With a Controller? This Modder Plays it With a Lego Figure

Lego Nintendo

Nintendo's surprise direct yesterday gave fans of Mario games a ton of new options for playing their favorite platformers.  There's a Game & Watch you can pick up, or you can run through a few of the all-star Mario titles in a collection on the Switch. But for some people, that's not enough. Some people see their Mario lego sets and think "well, why don't I just use this as a controller?"

I can only assume that was the thought going through the head of one modder, who goes by @r1ckp on Twitter. He somehow figured out that he could make a neat program that turns that otherwise useless Lego Mario figure into a pro gaming controller, or at least, a great one for Super Mario Bros.

A video posted on the modder's Twitter page shows him getting around stage 1-1 with his hacked controller. By tilting Lego Mario forward or backward, the mustachioed hero's digital version would run forward or back. If you're watching, it's a pretty astonishing sight. Just don't mind the sounds that Lego Mario makes, even if they're much, much creepier than they should justifiably be.

Moving around is only one part of Super Mario Bros. though, so what about pipes and tossing fireballs? A second video shows how @r1ckp solved those issues too, which has something to do with small Lego platforms and more unholy, demonic sounds coming from Lego Mario.

I'll say it right now, I would absolutely pick up a modded controller like this – sure it's not practical but it's undeniably cool. On second thought, only if it comes with a mute button.

The post Why Play Mario With a Controller? This Modder Plays it With a Lego Figure by Otto Kratky appeared first on DualShockers.

Cyberpunk 2077 Won't be Delayed Again, Reaffirms CD Projekt CEO

Cyberpunk 2077 was supposed to release all the way back in April, but for a number of reasons, the highly-anticipated RPG has since been delayed multiple times to its current window in November. Fortunately, for those who were worried that the game might not make its date before the end of 2020, CD Projekt has now said otherwise.

During today's investor call for CD Projekt that went over statistics from the first half of the year, company President and CEO Adam Kiciński reiterated that Cyberpunk 2077 will indeed be launching in a little over two months. Kiciński said that the project is nearing its final stages, and is even nearing its submittal for final certification. Despite nearing its "final" build though, Kiciński said that CD Projekt Red will still continue to work on Cyberpunk 2077 up until launch day, which isn't shocking whatsoever. Nearly all games that release nowadays have some sort of day one patch, after all.

While some might scoff at the notion of Cyberpunk 2077, you know, actually releasing, Kiciński overall sounded extremely confident that the current launch date will be met. The fact that he went as far to admit that certification is upon the studio backs up that notion, too. If you've been fearful that the title will somehow slip into 2021, it seems like there's a very good chance that it won't — thank goodness.

We'll finally be able to get our hands on Cyberpunk 2077 when it releases later this fall on November 19 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A version of the game for Stadia is also in the pipeline, as is next-gen iterations on PS5 and Xbox Series X. All three of these latter installments still do not have specified launch dates, however.

Thanks to @Jackjakeaa for the heads up on this story.

The post Cyberpunk 2077 Won't be Delayed Again, Reaffirms CD Projekt CEO by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

Tormented Souls Developer Talks About DualSense and How It Could Change Horror Games

Tormented Souls, Dual Effect Games, DualSense

In a new interview with SegmentNext, Gabriel and German Araneda, the duo who lead Dual Effect Games, spoke a bit about the PS5's DualSense controller. The team is currently working on Tormented Souls, a throwback to classic survival horror games. The game isn't confirmed for next-gen consoles yet. However, the Araneda's are obviously thinking about what they could do with the next-gen controller. Give the game's trailer a watch below, if you haven't seen it yet.

In the interview, the devs say the DualSense could be "transcendent for horror games" on the PS5. They point to how teams could use the controller to simulate a spider's leg wriggling against your palm as you try to solve a puzzle. That ability to add extra sensation into development sounds like one of the better use-cases for the DualSense we've heard so far.

Outside of this interview, the only thing that's really gotten me interested in the DualSense is how Deathloop plans to use it. There, the devs are using the new triggers to simulate a gun jamming. So, when it happens, the trigger locks in place. Features like that will really add to immersion in PS5 games.

Of course, without more people getting hands-on with the DualSense, we don't really know how well these things translate. To be clear, the ideas for Tormented Souls and Deathloop both sound incredible. However, for now, they're just ideas. Hopefully, the controller gets out to a wider audience soon.

Tormented Souls is scheduled for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2021. A PS5 or Xbox Series X release hasn't been announced yet, but wouldn't be surprising. Granted, those consoles actually need a release date first, but hopefully, those are coming soon.

The post Tormented Souls Developer Talks About DualSense and How It Could Change Horror Games by Ricky Frech appeared first on DualShockers.

Crusader Kings III Review — A True King's Legacy Has Been Born

Crusader Kings, Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury, Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon, Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics Expansion, Henrik Fahraeus, Linux, Mac, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC, steam, Xbox One

Crusader Kings III is that rare sort of game that immediately takes your breath away. The goal is a simple one: to elevate the status of your dynasty in any way you see fit. But the sheer breadth of ways to achieve that goal make for a genuinely new experience each time, even within the same campaign.

It's the kind of title that promises near endless possibilities and actually acts on it. As the player you feel empowered to make any decision, to abide by or deviate from history — at times encouraged to seek alternate paths to victory — and create a legacy that's meaningful for you.

After choosing from either the year 867 or 1066, you take on the role of a noble or ruler from a domain of your choice whether that be a kingdom, tribe, country, or city-state. Each ruler is shouldered with the burden of their entire dynasty's future on their shoulders with the end goal not only its survival but that it thrives and establishes a legacy that will last through the ages. As the player, you must ensure that every decision will positively influence yourself, your subjects,, and the kingdom at large.

You'll notice immediately Crusader Kings III's menu design, which appears clunky and overly-complicated at first. However, as you play, it becomes apparent how well organized the layout truly is. The amount of information available to you is staggering and the UI does an exceptional job at organizing such massive amounts of game data to track at any given moment. Aiding in that is the immensely vital Issues tab located at the top. Issues is a treasure trove of valuable info that helps players better focus and delegate important tasks such as who needs to be married, what wars can be declared, displeased vassals, and much more.

The developers also devised an ingenious mechanic called the Tool Tip, which disseminates large quantities of information about the various terms used in the game. Essentially, a light blue word(s) indicates that you can hover over it, which summons a pop-up box defining the term. Within that box may be more words, which can also summon a pop-up once ghosted over without dismissing the previous boxes. It's non-intrusive, informative, well-designed, and optional.

Crusader Kings, Crusader Kings 3, Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury, Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon, Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics Expansion, Crusader Kings III, Henrik Fahraeus, Linux, Mac, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC, Review, steam, Xbox One

While the menus relay all this valuable intel information about the current status of your kingdom, there are several stats that you should pay attention to that are vital to your progress.

The first is Fervor, which governs how devoted your subjects are to the current religion. Smaller religions have more fervor while larger ones (such as Catholicism) are vulnerable to heresy, which means a ruler decides to create their own branch of a given religion and tries to convert other subjects under them. Fervor can be traded for favors from the religious head, can be used to change the tenets of your religion to create a heresy, a means to measure control in your territories, and a way to declare war on foreign city-states and countries to increase the size of your own domain.

Second is Renown, one of the most important stats. It's a measure of how far your reputation precedes you and can be used for random events that require you to throw around said reputation for your benefit or others. It's also used to change your level of Crown Authority, or the sovereignty of your dynasty's rule, as well as to permanently increase certain dynasty traits that makes your overall campaign more effective. And as you gain more Renown, you increase its ranking.

Crusader Kings, Crusader Kings 3, Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury, Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon, Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics Expansion, Crusader Kings III, Henrik Fahraeus, Linux, Mac, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC, Review, steam, Xbox One

And the third is gold. This valuable resource is the driving force of most things in game, as in real life. You need money to consolidate your titles, declare war, buy new troops, build up military bases and infrastructure in your capitals, and maintain your army's supplies. You also need it to bribe nobles, curry favor in your court, hire head court physicians, recruit visitors to your court (which is a great way to accumulate powerful knights and talented council members), host feasts to reduce Stress, increase Crown Authority alongside Renown, and most other things. You generate gold primarily from ensuring a steady stream of revenue from taxes as well as from raids, ransoming or releasing war hostages, as a payment for an arranged marriage, or bargaining for money from your religious head.

Your player character also generates Lifestyle experience points naturally over time, which go toward Lifestyle Perks. You choose from several Lifestyle Focuses and then unlock Perks that grant your ruler special effects that make things like war, diplomacy, or family affairs much easier to handle. And since there are so many Perks to choose from, even if you stick with a Lifestyle that suits that ruler's specialty, your player character will be guaranteed to pass on before you unlock everything. This means that the choices you make on what to focus on are extremely important since there's simply not enough time to learn everything available. It also creates a true sense of identity and emphasizes that the best way to rule is by what that ruler is best at, with no "one truth path" that tends to crop up in strategy games like this.

Any ruler worth their salt doesn't rule alone and Crusader Kings III understands this as well. Divvying up your court responsibilities are the members of your Council: your spouse (if they aren't a part of their own court), the Religious Leader that precedes over the religion of your region and monitors heresies (the title name varies based on the culture and religion), the Chancellor in charge of domestic and foreign diplomacy and affairs, the Steward who governs treasury and property, the Marshal that maintains control in all your territories and armies, and your Spymaster who protects you from hostile schemes and keeps your own schemes a secret.

Each position is governed by a particular stat, so the obvious choice would be to appoint the best person for the position, right? Unfortunately, as the game so perfectly demonstrates, your vassals or those who rule smaller territories under you expect to be handed positions of power regardless of their actual competency. So you must wrestle with the difficult options of having the best person, which ensures your city-state is running smoothly, but also deal with the constant threat of mutiny, or appointing someone possibly ill-fitting to keep them happy but at the cost of sloppy ruling and a much higher risk of disasters.

War is one of the biggest parts of Crusader Kings III, as it's the primary means to seize new domains and titles to pass on to your heir. There are several kinds of wars such as ones that require a claim to a title (or you could send your Chancellor to fabricate one), a Holy War based on religious differences, a vassal or peasant uprising due to lack of control or other perceived injustice, a war of defense against an invading threat, or a call to action from an ally embroidered in their own war.

Crusader Kings, Crusader Kings 3, Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury, Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon, Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics Expansion, Crusader Kings III, Henrik Fahraeus, Linux, Mac, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC, Review, steam, Xbox One

War is complex and requires careful management and planning. Not only do you need to understand how the main components of your army — levies are the main mostly peasant force, knights are the commanders, Men-at-Arms regiments bolster the power of your army, and siege are for breaking down reinforced walls of a capital — but you also must become familiar with terrain and its effects. Learning how to utilize rally or summoning points to concentrate your army in the most effective start points, when to split up your army, if conquering or stability is the best course of action, and whether you have the manpower or funds to start a war with another domain in the first place all come into play.. It's refreshing to see this title establish that while war is an important and often inevitable part of rulership, it's just as vital to know when to wait and when to choose peace instead.

Once you acquire new lands, it's your duty to properly build on, manage, and protect them from foreign attackers. You must also keep an eye out for the level of Control you have within separate capitals of your domain. If it dips too low, you might have a peasant uprising on your hands that needs quashing (though you could allow for this and forceably recruit the leader as a powerful knight). And while cultural diversity is important, sometimes it can serve to fracture a kingdom and weaken it, also contributing to a lower Control. This means that you must ensure when conquering areas with different cultures, you must invest time into converting them to your belief system. This balancing of expansion and stability ensures that once you expand your empire you actually put in the work to properly maintain it rather than simply collecting new plots of land with no consequences.

There are other ways in Crusader Kings III to expand your empire other than war, such as forging alliances with other nations through peaceful negotiations, marriage (which is its own complex system of combining positive Congenial traits, avoiding negative ones, ensuring compensation, etc.) or assassinating rulers and other nobles who stand in your way of succession. And though war remains often the easiest and most effective method, there are plenty of ways to avoid conflict as well.

The signature gameplay mechanic of Crusader Kings III, and what really sets this title apart from other strategy titles, are Schemes. Schemes are essentially plots that either yourself or other members of your court can carry out. These can range from Personal Schemes such a fostering a friendship or simple goodwill between two people, or the more devious Hostile Schemes that involve seduction or murder. When your player character is carrying out a hostile scheme, you can recruit people in your court to aid in it and increase the chances of success. Of course there's always a chance that the scheme could be discovered or you could be found out as the perpetrator, either of which comes with the risk of imprisonment and a reputation that follows you to your grave. Conversely, others can plot against you and members of your court, with the only protection at your disposal being your Spymaster and your own quick wits.

Schemes are honestly such a darkly fun and refreshing mechanic to work with thanks to that constant sense of danger at being discovered or failing, as well as being able to commit acts of adultery and murder freely for whatever petty reason you choose. During my own playthrough, I felt a rush of adrenaline at being able to assassinate one of my own council members with no consequences. Or at least no immediate consequences.

Crusader Kings, Crusader Kings 3, Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury, Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon, Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics Expansion, Crusader Kings III, Henrik Fahraeus, Linux, Mac, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC, Review, steam, Xbox One

Once you successfully pull off a hostile scheme, you now have a Secret. This secret can be discovered by a member of your court and used as blackmail against you, resulting in a Strong Hook. Hooks are divided in Strong and Weak, with the former a result of something illegal or illicit and the latter more of a small favor owed. And while weak ones are one and done deals, strong ones last a lifetime and means that you can be manipulated. Conversely, you can and should seek out hooks to utilize as well, since they can help smooth out arrangements and create unexpected allies. For instance, during my playthrough, I found out that my mayor was a cannibal and gained a Strong Hook on him after some blackmail. This also meant that he could never oppose me no matter how disgruntled he became, which is also an extremely handy effect.

Depending on the nature or personality traits of your character, they can either thrive in such wickedness, derive no pleasure from it but see it as a necessary evil, or be haunted by the act and cause Stress levels to rise. What's even better is that other than the Stress mechanic (which at low levels are very manageable but higher levels bring the risk of worsening mental health problems and even mental breaks) the game doesn't punish you for choosing options that oppose your nature.

For first time Crusader Kings players, the wide berth of options and possibilities of what to accomplish in a single run can be intimidating. Luckily for that, there's a handy tutorial that guides you through the first major decisions of a campaign in Ireland, as well as most of the features that will become available to you as you continue your playthrough. It's paced well and does a thorough job of walking you through the major mechanics without holding your hand for too long. As a bonus, as you encounter new scenarios for the first time, an option for more help on navigating it will appear. And the best part is, you can keep playing this campaign until its completion, which is a fantastic way to try out various mechanics and get more acquainted with the game in preparation for an entirely solitary campaign.

Crusader Kings, Crusader Kings 3, Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury, Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon, Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics Expansion, Crusader Kings III, Henrik Fahraeus, Linux, Mac, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC, Review, steam, Xbox One

One campaign spans across many generations, so it's imperative that players plan for the present as well as consider about how their actions will affect the future of their dynasty. And for that there are plenty of tools at a player's disposal. You can navigate menus to view your entire dynasty, spend Renown to unlock Legacies that decide how your dynasty will be viewed by and govern both nobles and commoners, become the head of your culture and decide what long term inventions it will develop, hone the Fervour generated for your culture's religion and weaponize it for conquests or eventually create your own, and more.

But all this talk about the vast array of gameplay features, mechanics, and inner workings of Crusader Kings III is nothing without the feeling of being in a living, breathing world. And honestly, the world building is the biggest strength of this game. The title spans across Europe, most of Asia, and North Africa, so you can imagine the level of diversity that would have to be layered in. And as I previously outlined in my preview, it exceeded my expectations far beyond what I could have imagined possible.

The most important aspects such as culture, religion, and character models are all extremely accurate to the title and time period. While the characters themselves look like they were beaten with ugly sticks, they have exactly the proper ethnic features and clothing which change as they move up or down ranks and grow old, sick, or injured. Each religion and culture is well researched right down to the obscure tenants and beliefs of each one, and stand out completely from one another. A religion and culture based on Christianity is significantly unique from a Pagan one, one based in Hinduism, and a Buddhist based one. Just scrolling around the watch mode and reading through them is a surprisingly educational experience and shines a fascinating light on how people lived during these time periods.

Adding to this sense of realism are sexual orientations. Just as in real life, every person in Crusader Kings III has an orientation, with the most common being heterosexuality. But there's also homosexuality, bisexuality — and as a pleasant surprise — asexuality. Though no one is above the duties of nobility to marry and procreate, this feature is far from being merely cosmetic as it determines who you can seduce for a Hostile Scheme. It sounds minor but it's an interesting touch that makes the title feel that much more grounded and fleshed out — it reminds you that these are actual people with lives, wants, and needs beyond "marriageable meatsack."

Of course, a PC title of Crusader Kings III's magnitude isn't flawless. You'll no doubt come across strange glitches that will throw off events and remind you that yes, this is in fact a computer game based on imperfect code. For instance, once I was arranging an important marriage that would grant me an alliance, which had to be approved by a noble in the spouse's court. However, this high ranking noble happened to be a four year old girl who wrote me a very well written letter of approval after the affair. Another event had a noble in my court express to me their extreme displeasure at another noble's behavior, who was himself.

Crusader Kings, Crusader Kings 3, Crusader Kings II, Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury, Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon, Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics Expansion, Crusader Kings III, Henrik Fahraeus, Linux, Mac, Paradox Development Studio, Paradox Interactive, PC, Review, steam, Xbox One

Between the amount of rulers you can choose from (which is easily in the hundreds, if not thousands) to all the ways you can augment your kingdom, the options for navigating the royal court and all its personal and professional trappings, who and how you can groom your heirs, the variety of schemes to take part in, and more, there is no truly right way to approach your own playthrough.

Crusader Kings III is a game that you become completely engrossed in as you play, and obsess over when you're not. I found myself constantly playing out scenarios and strategies for my kingdom, dreaming of the moment that I unite an entire country under my powerful rule, and celebrating the highs while cursing the lows of noble life. Even if you're not a strategy game fan, the person-focused approach to the genre allows for players to build more intimate relationships with your family, allies, and greater kingdom. Not only is it fun, but it's impactful and the experience stays with you long after you close down the game after a long session.

The post Crusader Kings III Review — A True King's Legacy Has Been Born by Allisa James appeared first on DualShockers.

Spelunky 2 Heads to PC via Steam at the End of September

A few weeks back, Mossmouth finally announced in the most recent edition of PlayStation's State of Play that it would be releasing Spelunky 2 on PS4 on September 15. Despite the release date announcement for Sony's platform, however, PC users will still left in the dark as to when the roguelike would head their way. Well, now that wondering has ceased.

Spelunky 2 developer Derek Yu took to Twitter today and announced the launch date for the game on PC. It will be launching via Steam near the very end of the month and will drop on Tuesday, September 29. Furthermore, those who are looking to pick Spelunky 2 up on release can add it to their wishlist right now.

While it's a few weeks after the PS4 iteration of the game, it's very good to see that Mossmouth was able to stagger our both versions of Spelunky 2 so close to one another. Personally, I'm just torn on what platform to play it on. As someone who primarily played the first entry on PS Vita (RIP) quite a bit, I'm naturally leaning towards PS4. That said, I really do wish the sequel was still coming to Vita. Oh well, it had a good run.

Stay tuned for more on Spelunky 2 from us here at DualShockers over the coming weeks. We should hopefully be able to share a review with you in addition to some other forms of coverage as its release nears.

The post Spelunky 2 Heads to PC via Steam at the End of September by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

Madden NFL 21 Boasts Strong First-Week Sales In Spite of Reviews

Madden 21, EA Sports

Despite being the worst-reviewed Madden game on record, Madden NFL 21 continues to sell well with its core customers. EA Sports recently announced that the only football simulation on the market has seen an almost 20% increase in its sell-through numbers as compared to last year. Sell-through, in case you don't know, are how many copies were sold to customers. On the surface, that number might be surprising given the scores and online calls for a boycott. However, there are several factors that have likely led to such an increase.

The most obvious reason for Madden NFL 21 to continue its strong sales numbers is that EA Sports has a monopoly on simulation football with the NFL license. That, coupled with the brand awareness as the only game in town for years means people only have one place to go for their football fix. Remember, 2K can and will develop an arcade NFL game, but that hasn't happened yet. For now, most casual fans might not even know that game is a thing.

On top of the perception monopoly the team has built, COVID-19 has led to an increase in video game sales nearly across the board. People are salivating over the thought of football finally starting next week. It's not a surprise that more people are picking up Madden than last year. Plus, it looks like people just really want to play with Tom Brady and the new-look Buccaneers.

Seriously, in the infographic EA shared alongside the announcement, they revealed that the Bucs usage rate has increased by almost 900%. That's wild. They're in the top five most popular teams. That probably hasn't happened since they beat the Oakland Raiders for the Super Bowl in 2002. And that was just so people could pretend to be John Gruden.

It also sounds like people are enjoying The Yard, with over 17 million games happening over the first week. I still wish that mode was standalone and actually incorporated arcade-style football. That said, I'm glad to see people seemingly loving it. It sucks how badly EA has monetized the mode.

Madden NFL 21 is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The game comes to PS5 and Xbox Series X once those consoles launch.

The post Madden NFL 21 Boasts Strong First-Week Sales In Spite of Reviews by Ricky Frech appeared first on DualShockers.

Lab Zero Games Has Laid Off the Remainder of its Staff Following Recent Departures

Last week, a number of employees at Lab Zero Games, the studio behind titles like Skullgirls and Indivisible, announced they would be leaving the company due to a toxic work environment that had come about in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levied at founder Mike Zaimont. In the wake of these moves, it seems as though the remainder of the employees that stayed at Lab Zero Games have now been forced to leave as well.

In a report detailed by Kotaku, the wide-scale departures at Lab Zero over the past week left the company with only 11 employees left in total. The attitude at the developer following these absences was said to be a negative one, which has now resulted in Zaimont laying off the remainder of the workers at Lab Zero.

In a statement given to Kotaku, Zaimont says that the studio "was forced into layoffs because we were no longer able to meet our payroll obligations." He went on to say that as of now, "We are exploring all funding options in hopes of bringing those team members back, but right now that's the reality." The layoffs themselves took place last week onb August 25.

The larger issue at play in this situation is that the developers that have been affected by the layoffs haven't been informed of what form of severance they'll receive. In its place, former LZG animator Mariel "Kinuko" Cartwright has been selling some sketchbooks to fans to help raise profits for the developers that were fired without warning.

Our best goes out to the former developers at Lab Zero Games who are now looking for work. We'll keep you updated on this story if there are any further development.

The post Lab Zero Games Has Laid Off the Remainder of its Staff Following Recent Departures by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Fan Still Has Skate Deck From 20 Years Ago

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

The remaster for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is out today and to celebrate, Reddit user u/timotion posted a picture of him holding up his 20-year-old skate deck next to the same one in the game. The deck is so worn that it's almost unrecognizable, save for the parts shielded by the trucks and wheels. Despite that, you can still see parts of the 'H' and 'Y' in the word "Shorty's" originally printed on the board and seen in its virtual counterpart.

Love for this particular deck and the skater who made it, Chad Muska, is still very much alive in the comment section of u/timotion's post as Reddit users reminisce about their decks back in the day and the skate culture of the late 90s and early 2000s.

It's still there – after 20 years. from gaming

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 has been highly anticipated since it was announced last May and has been received very well so far for both fans and critics alike, seemingly making up for the less than favorable Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5.

Some of the marketing for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 has been a little out there. Hawk teamed up with Chipotle in August to make the Tony Hawk Burrito to help promote the game. The burrito wasn't anything out of the ordinary or special, it was just Hawk's go-to order for when he goes to Chipotle. The catch, however, was that the first 2,000 fans who bought the burrito also got a demo code for Pro Skater 1 + 2. While the pair seemed unlikely, the promotion successfully got people excited for the game, as Game Informer's Daniel Tack puts it, "because burritos are awesome."

If you haven't already, make sure to pick up a copy of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 out now on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. If you haven't picked up the game yet you can grab a physical copy on Amazon to help support DualShockers. For more things Tony Hawk, make sure you stay right here on DualShockers.

The post Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Fan Still Has Skate Deck From 20 Years Ago by Peter Hunt Szpytek appeared first on DualShockers.

Kamala Khan is the Best Part of Marvel's Avengers

Over a year ago when it finally had its big reveal, Marvel's Avengers didn't exactly make the best first impression. The long-in-development superhero title was revealed not too long after Avengers: Endgame came into theaters and capped off a series of films that were over a decade in the making. This of course put Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics in the unfortunate situation of having to go up against the cultural mindset of these iconic characters formed by the MCU, and was a situation that the title has had to work hard to break out of, alongside its "games as a service" presentation. However, after playing through the full campaign of the game, it's safe to say that Marvel's Avengers manages to escape the MCU's shadow over the franchise by delivering its own unique take on a world that many of us have come to know through the films.

While I had some reservations after how the game was initially revealed last year, I was still excited to see how Crystal Dynamics could take on Earth's Mightiest Heroes and tell a new story with these characters outside of how we've seen them on-screen for the last decade. I'm happy to say that the story campaign in Marvel's Avengers is a lot of fun, and the campaign almost entirely owes that to its breakout star, Kamala Khan.

Though the initial trailers and marketing for the game have very much painted Marvel's Avengers as a tried-and-true "Avengers game," the real star and focal point of the story is Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel. Though the campaign inevitably gives some of the spotlight to its marquee heroes like Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, and more, what makes the story work so well is the fact that Kamala Khan is not only a hero in her own right, but feels like the heart and soul of how Crystal Dynamics wanted to depict this world and these characters.

The beginning of the campaign in Marvel's Avengers starts with the "A-Day" scenario that we've seen several times before in gameplay demos and in the recent beta, where the Avengers gather for a celebration of their new headquarters in San Francisco. Kamala is introduced as the winner of a fan contest and attends the festivities with her father, and little time is wasted to establish her as a capital F, capital G "Fan Girl" of the Avengers.

The opening section of the game as Kamala has you exploring the A-Day celebration on a quest to gather different comic books to enter the VIP section of the celebration by completing several games and activities. Right away, Kamala's infectious admiration and love of the Avengers makes this opening section not only a fun setpiece–along with a ton of easter eggs for Marvel fans–but one of the most interesting ways that Marvel's Avengers sets up and introduces the heroes further into the campaign.

Kamala barely contains herself when she encounters Captain America, Black Widow, and Thor, giddy with excitement at the fact that they all read her winning entry for a fan fiction competition. She looks on in awe at all of the different Avengers memorabilia and items on display at the A-Day celebration, reciting facts and quips about them that she's surely drawn to memory. Right away, Kamala introduces us to these characters in a way that is not only charming and refreshing, but speaks to the way that Crystal Dynamics' take on these characters is different than how we've seen them before. Instead, Marvel's Avengers captures the excitement and love that so many of us have for these characters, and it's all shown through the eyes of Kamala Khan in a genuine, human way.

Marvel's Avengers

Though Kamala very much is meant to be the sort of "eyes of the audience" throughout the campaign of Marvel's Avengers, the story doesn't lose focus on her once the rest of the Avengers are introduced into the narrative. Picking up five years after the events of A-Day with a now older Kamala, who is coming into her own with her ability to "embiggen," she embarks from Jersey City to find and reassemble the Avengers throughout different parts of the US. Given the traumatic events that took place on A-Day, the Avengers are left broken and disbanded, with Kamala being the driving force to bring them back together to take on AIM, a nefarious organization that is capturing and experimenting on Inhumans across the world.

Kamala eventually reconnects with the Avengers throughout the campaign, putting an interesting perspective on how she witnesses the heroes in their various fallen states compared to how she idolized them at the game's beginning. But most of all, Marvel's Avengers takes time to not only reflect on the inner struggles of each of the Avengers, but for Kamala herself. As someone that felt like she was an outsider that could never fit in due to her abilities, Kamala right away draws empathy for her struggles with acceptance and embracing what makes her different. Her conversations with the first Avenger she recruits, Dr. Bruce Banner, brings that idea even further as he encourages and supports her, along with providing some of the game's most memorable (and humorous) scenes.

As someone that only had a cursory knowledge of Kamala Khan's history in the Marvel universe, more than anything I'm grateful that Marvel's Avengers introduced her to me and, likely, a ton of other people. From her writing and performance, to how her transformation into Ms. Marvel comes together by the campaign's end, Kamala Khan is truly the highlight of playing through Marvel's Avengers and brings its story together in a compelling way that I didn't expect.

We knew that Kamala would play a significant part in the game's story before, though its prior trailers and gameplay demos have largely kept her role hidden compared to her more well-known counterparts. In a way, it's a bit of a shame that she didn't have a bigger part of the spotlight heading into launch, but after playing through the campaign, it's safe to say that Kamala Khan is the true hero of Marvel's Avengers.

The post Kamala Khan is the Best Part of Marvel's Avengers by Ryan Meitzler appeared first on DualShockers.

Uncharted's Nathan Drake and The Last of Us' Joel Fused Together Makes for One Handsome Dude

There's no denying that Uncharted and The Last of Us are two of PlayStation's most popular first-party franchises. Not only are the games in each series loved for their narratives and gameplay stylings, but each also features some of the more beloved characters in PlayStation history, most notably, with Nathan Drake and Joel Miller being the standout protagonists of each property. That being said, have you ever wondered what these two iconic characters would look like when mashed together? Well, wonder no longer.

Over on Reddit, u/Anthrophantasma shared an image of what Drake and Joel look like when combined, and the mix makes for one dashing fella. Thanks to the FaceApp, the user was able to smash together Drake's look from Uncharted 4: A Thief's End with Joel's model from The Last of Us Part II. The resulting character is one that featured Drake's strong jawline, but had the gruffness of Joel from the recently-released sequel.

You can check out the full mash-up in the original post here:

[Image] Fusion of Nathan and Joel faces from r/PS4

In all honesty, this combo really makes me just saddened that we never saw Nathan Drake grow a beard in any of the Uncharted games. This model really makes me think he'd look ten times better with one. Then again, when they make the gritty reboot of Uncharted in 10 years on the PlayStation 6, maybe they can bring Drake back with a full beard — that's basically what PlayStation did with Kratos, after all.

Anyway, you can now do whatever you want with this newfound information. Print an image out of Joel Drake and hang it on your wall, create a 3D character model of it, or just stare deeply into his eyes and wonder about what he's thinking about.

The post Uncharted's Nathan Drake and The Last of Us' Joel Fused Together Makes for One Handsome Dude by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.

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