Blog archive

Friday, 2 October 2020

I'm going to die way too much in Overcooked 2's free Moon Harvest levels

I like to start Overcooked 2 levels with a "practice run" – a chance to see where the ingredients are, how we're meant to flow around the room and navigate obstacles, and who should be on top of each duty.

I can already tell the very temporary (and very narrow) lily pad walkways in the Moon Harvest update are going to be trouble for me. The free Overcooked 2 update went out earlier today on all platforms. On the bright side, mooncakes. We'll be whipping up cute fruit-filled treats for the ravenous crowd.

Like other recent updates, this one can be accessed from the Seasonal Updates option in Extras.

With the PS5 and Xbox Series X getting Overcooked: All You Can Eat, this might be one of the final updates for Overcooked 2. It's been wonderful! (Aside from all the times I pissed off my girlfriend.)

I'm going to die way too much in Overcooked 2's free Moon Harvest levels screenshot



Fan imagines a world where Stardew Valley celebrates your birthday

Stardew Valley is such a watershed game, that absolutely any small addition can get fans to salivate.

Banana trees? The internet goes wild. Moving your bed? I need to carve out time in my schedule when 1.5 hits just for this. It's crazy how developer Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone can get nearly 60,000 likes when tweeting out something as simple as rearranging furniture. But then again, I perked up when I saw this fan-made birthday mechanic mock-up.

Held at The Stardrop Saloon, Redditor hoethegrandma (what a name) imagines what it would look like, adorned with banners, balloons, gifts and good company. I'm just thinking of all of the gifts the townsfolk could possibly give: make sure that it's that one thing I need to finish the Community Center. It's also adorable to see the Mayor and Marnie hanging out together in public.

As they point out, there is an actual mod for birthdays in Stardew Valley. It's been downloaded 120,000 times. If ConcernedApe wanted, they could probably keep working on this game forever.

Imagine the gifts! [Reddit]

Fan imagines a world where Stardew Valley celebrates your birthday screenshot



This Keanu Reeves commercial is gonna sell so many more copies of Cyberpunk 2077

People who frequent this blog probably already know how they feel about Cyberpunk 2077. Many of you have been excited for years. Some of you likely aren't on-board with the recent revelation that CD Projekt employees are subjected to "mandatory crunch" until the game ships. Regardless where you fall, you probably have an opinion.

But for people who have no idea about Cyberpunk 2077, this new Keanu Reeves-led advertisement is going to sell a lot more copies. This commercial aired during the NBA Finals last night, and it just feels cool, flashy, and badass in all the right ways. It has mass appeal, and that's even before you consider the inclusion of global sweetheart Keanu Reeves.

This game is gonna sell so many goddamn copies it's gonna be stupid.

This Keanu Reeves commercial is gonna sell so many more copies of Cyberpunk 2077 screenshot



Despite Blizzard's insistence that World of Warcraft: Shadowlands won't be delayed, it has been delayed

"Shadowlands will arrive in the fall, even if we have to ship it from our homes." That take hasn't aged well! One a few months ago, World of Warcraft executive producer John Hight insisted that nothing is going to stop Shadowlands from launching on time. As it turns out, something -- a whole entire pandemic, to be clear -- has stopped Shadowlands from launching on time.

Once set to release on October 27, Blizzard has been forced to delay World of Warcraft: Shadowlands to sometime "later this year." There's no new date given, but it'll have to be in November or December if Blizzard wants to make good on this new window. At this point, it wouldn't be unreasonable if Shadowlands fell back into 2021.

The reason for the delay is that Blizzard is having some trouble tuning the balance of the endgame. The content (story, zones, quests) is complete, but there's need for polish and balancing.

Even though there's no firm date on when Shadowlands will arrive, Blizzard's releasing the pre-patch relatively soon. That will go live on October 13, and it includes "level squishing" which revamps how character leveling works. (Read all about the pre-expansion patch here.) You'll have more time than expected to get used to the changes in the patch.

An Update on Shadowlands [World of Warcraft]

Despite Blizzard's insistence that World of Warcraft: Shadowlands won't be delayed, it has been delayed screenshot



Review: Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

Crash Bandicoot is a legend in my household.

As a kid, I couldn't get enough of the 'lil furball, whether it was via the classic platforming series or Crash Team Racing. When I met my wife, as luck would have it, we would both share a love for Crash-related games, and spent much of our early dating years toiling away taking turns with the trilogy or engaging in late-night Crash runs.

Witnessing the series slowly slip away from Sony's grasp and into the state of irrelevancy was tough. That all changed in recent years with the N. Sane Trilogy and now Crash 4 thanks to the tireless efforts of developmental stewardship from Vicarious Visions and Toys for Bob.

Review: Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time screenshot

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GOG will soon let you buy games from other storefronts like Epic

Perpetually frustrated by Epic's strategy of securing a bunch of high-profile exclusives? Over the fact that the Epic Games Store still doesn't have a shopping cart? There's something of a workaround in the pipeline.

GOG has revealed that it's revamping its store so that people can purchase games from other storefronts through GOG:

GOG will soon let you buy games from other storefronts like Epic screenshot

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Nintendo Download: Super Mario Bros. 35

A first-party Nintendo game is out today! As long as you're okay with battle royales. And micro-eShop games that have limited windows. And...have Switch Online. Wait, come back!

Yep, Super Mario Bros. 35 is definitely the headliner today, and time will tell if it becomes the next Tetris 99. You better believe that if it does catch on, Nintendo will walk back that "limited time release" nonsense and give it some paid DLC, just like Tetris 99 did.

As far as other big releases go, Rogue Company is out today in full, having enjoyed a paid early access period. Ys Origin is also out on Switch, which is going to be a big deal to some people.

Nintendo Download: Super Mario Bros. 35 screenshot

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Unlike the Xbox versions, Dirt 5 on PS4 won't transfer save data to PS5

Bringing our save files from PS4 over to PS5 isn't something we should have to wonder about – it should be one of those invisible "it just works" features – but that's not how things are shaping up.

Dirt 5 is another game that will be available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 but will not let players transfer their progression from one console to the next when they freely upgrade to the PS5 version.

"Currently on Xbox, all progress can be carried over between generations," Codemasters said in response to a question on Twitter. "On PlayStation, your Playgrounds creations can be carried over, but other game progress (Career, currency, saved liveries) cannot. If that changes, we'll let you know!"

We're still making sense of how widespread this issue will be for PlayStation fans hoping for a smooth console transition, but for now – with Spider-Man: Miles Morales supporting PS4-to-PS5 saves and Maneater and Yakuza 7 proactively announcing otherwise – it's very much a case-by-case basis.

I'm curious to hear specific details about the transfer process for Miles Morales "closer to launch."

[Via VGC]

Unlike the Xbox versions, Dirt 5 on PS4 won't transfer save data to PS5 screenshot



This simple Devil May Cry 5 mod does one thing: It gives Vergil a plastic chair throne

The Devil May Cry 5 modding scene has been vibrant ever since it was released, and these past few weeks have been no exception.

It all started with a series of tweets that eventually became a mod: the idea of Vergil's decadent endgame throne getting replaced by those scrape-prone plastic lawn and garden chairs. It's such a small touch, but when it plays out (like in Franctastic's video below) it perfectly fits the otherwise dour mood that the scene otherwise exudes.

This is partially why so many folks are up in arms about the lack of a proper PC port for Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition. I want to see 4K60FPS mods for the "armies of enemies" mechanic. Maybe a 4K lawn chair? At the very least, previous platforms are getting Vergil as DLC.

So you can just imagine the chair and get all of the Vergil benefits.

Vergil Chair [Nexus Mods]

This simple Devil May Cry 5 mod does one thing: It gives Vergil a plastic chair throne screenshot

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You can play three Yakuza games for free until Sunday if you have Xbox Live Gold

With Yakuza 7: Like A Dragon shaking things up and Xbox Game Pass bringing first-time players into the fold, it's another great year for curious players to see what the cherished Yakuza series is all about.

I won't lie, it can be intimidating – and super easy to put off as a seemingly huge and potentially years-long undertaking. But one step at a time is all you need to see if Yakuza's street-brawler action, cozy city vibes, larger-than-life personalities, and wacky side-stories and mini-games are your sorta jam.

As a limited-time trial offer, Sega is letting Xbox Live Gold subscribers play as much Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 as they can possibly squeeze in from October 1 to October 4.

These games are way too long to finish during that free window, so I'd start with Yakuza 0, a prequel that's often cited as the most accessible and intriguing for all-new players. I'd also try to prioritize reaching Chapter 3: A Gilded Cage sooner than later. You've gotta experience Majima's introduction.

It's risky to hope something lasts forever, but I'm kind of at that point with Yakuza.

You can play three Yakuza games for free until Sunday if you have Xbox Live Gold screenshot



My Nintendo has a Dodo Airlines bag and a few other physical rewards for Animal Crossing fans

Those Mario pins went stupidly fast, but maybe there's hope for My Nintendo's newly-stocked Animal Crossing rewards. (Yeah, right. Every cool item with limited quantities is a nightmare to get this year.)

My favorite of the bunch is the Dodo Airlines shopping bag because of the color and understated logo, but there's also a Leaf bandana, a Tom Nook keychain figure, and a Nook shopping bag. These items range from 600 to 1,000 Platinum Points each and, as usual, Nintendo is charging a shipping fee.

Godspeed. The site didn't break for me and my order went through. I hope you have the same luck!

[Thanks, Neronium]

My Nintendo has a Dodo Airlines bag and a few other physical rewards for Animal Crossing fans screenshot

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Mystic adventure The Pathless is a PS5 launch title

Publisher Annapurna Interactive has announced that lavish looking adventure title The Pathless will launch alongside PlayStation 5 hardware in November. It will also be available to purchase on PS4, PC via Epic Games Store, and on iOS via Apple Arcade.

Developed by ABZU creators Giant Squid, The Pathless will allow players to explore a beautiful open-world environment, ranging from icy tundras and deep forests to dank caves and peaceful meadows. As "The Hunter," players must travel this mythic universe on a quest to rid the land of an ever-growing corruption. Aided by a faithful eagle companion and equipped with amazing archery and acrobatic skills, The Hunter must chase down and eradicate the evil spirits that plague the land.

Mystic adventure The Pathless is a PS5 launch title screenshot

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Fallout 76's underground shelters look rad, but parts of them are gated behind Atoms or Fallout 1st

It's kind of strange to log into Fallout 76 these days and see how far the game has come since the ignoble mess of a state it launched in.

We've gotten multiple free expansions and improvements: most notably a ton of bug vacuuming and quality of life upgrades for both solo and multiplayer modes. It can feel like a completely different game at times. A still flawed Fallout experience, but something new all the same.

Bethesda has been teasing a completely new customization option for a while, but now we actually get to see the fruits of their labor. "C.A.M.P. [I hate typing that out] Shelters" are going to be a thing, which, roughly translated, allows players to build underground instanced homes. Because it's in a completely controlled space, it allows both players and the designers to have more freedom in terms of what is allowed to happen.

These spaces are going to be added "near the end of this year," and will allow for three different sizes: the "Utility Room," the "Vault Lobby" and the "Vault Atrium." The former room will be unlocked after a short quest titled "Home Expansion," but there are provisos. The lobby is going to be free for Fallout 1st members, after which it'll cost an undisclosed amount of Atoms (currency). The Vault Atrium, described as the "largest" room, "will be available for Atom purchase immediately on patch day."

You can get a good look at the underground aesthetic below: it slots nicely into the look of vaults in some previous games. From October 1-4, Bethesda is encouraging folks to enter the PTS (public test server) to try out the changes. If you do, you'll earn a "PTS Pennant." You'll also be able to build to your heart's content in the PTS as material requirements are temporarily removed.

It's standard operating procedure at this point, as Bethesda opened up the PTS to everyone who owns the game on PC and runs it via the Bethesda launcher. They could have stood to open this testing concept up months before launch so it didn't launch in the state it did, but them's the breaks.

Inside the Vault [Bethesda.net]

Fallout 76's underground shelters look rad, but parts of them are gated behind Atoms or Fallout 1st screenshot

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Review: Oculus Quest 2

Budding tech industries move quickly and often leave prior products in the dust: it's the nature of the business.

I've said this a lot having covered every major gaming-oriented headset since the first consumer version of the Rift was released in 2016, but: "buyer beware." Not only are headset manufacturers constantly on edge, but developers are closing down VR studios in recent years after the expected VR boom didn't match their expectations.

Even still, VR is in a very good spot at this point from a consumer standpoint. So many studios (defunct or otherwise) have contributed to the landscape in a positive way, to the point where we are spoiled for choice when it comes to quality VR games.

The Oculus Quest was one of the most ideal ways to experience that newfound glory, especially if you count the option to tether your headset to your PC for extra juice. The Oculus Quest 2 reaffirms what I said last year about the Quest: this is looking more and more like the future of VR, now.

Review: Oculus Quest 2 screenshot

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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles patched on Switch, multiplayer fixes still up in the air

Back in late August, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition arrived with some unfortunate multiplayer issues. Square Enix has since apologized for it, vowing to fix the connection problems among other lingering bugs. The day has come for one of those things to be quelled further.

Version 1.0.2 has launched (initially for Switch, then PS4), which fixes several hangups beyond the connection woes. You can now skip boss and Myrrh drop cutscenes, which were exceedingly annoying when they all added up and you were seeing the same things over and over again (all remasters should make basically everything skippable).

It also ironically fixed a multiplayer bug that allows certain players to see hidden locations if they were in a game with someone who already found them. It also crushed an infinite item dupe bug and contains "various bug fixes."

So if any of those things were annoying you, they should be better now. As for the sweeping multiplayer alterations, that is likely still to come. The decision to region lock multiplayer is still mind-boggling: you'd think with cross-play and cross-regional capabilities, a lot of these "can't find a player" issues would solve themselves.

Version 1.0.2 [Square Enix]

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles patched on Switch, multiplayer fixes still up in the air screenshot



Earth Defense Force: World Brothers looks a hell of a lot of fun

D3 Publisher has released a lengthy Japanese trailer showcasing new footage of EDF: World Brothers, an upcoming spin-off entry in the bug-busting Earth Defense Force franchise.

Previously revealed back in June, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers will capture all of the frenetic, pulse-pounding, monster-squishing action of the EDF series, but stylised in a super-cute voxel world. As is the franchise wont, World Brothers will see players tacking an army of ants, wasps, spiders and other skyscraper-sized critters as they lay waste to some of Earth's most beloved locations and also Parliament.

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers looks a hell of a lot of fun screenshot

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Here's a supercut of a ton of great Zelda: Breath of the Wild combat tips

My wife is finally starting her The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild journey for the first time, and it's like watching a kid in a candy store.

I get to relive the whole thing over again as she wanders the world of Hyrule searching for Koroks and shrines, and I couldn't be happier. One day, I'll replay it again on Master Mode among all of the other Zelda games I revisit over the course of my life.

For now, you can live in the moment too with the below combat technique montage from Redditor RinHara5aki. "How many of these combat techniques do you know?" is such a simple challenge, but an effective one.

To a lot of learned Breath of the Wild players, things like arrow-aiming slow-mo dodging and elongating the parry window are second nature. The same goes for frame-perfect parrying. Guardian flipping? Not so much unless you're keen on watching stunt videos. But what this video showcases most of all, is how invincible you can feel after you nail pretty much every aspect of this video.

That's in part where Breath of the Wild really ran away with the Game of the Year trophy for so many people. It's appealing in the sense that it gives you the freedom to explore, but it also has a level of complexity for hardcore Zelda fans. Not everyone loved it, but it's plain to see why it's so beloved.

Here's a supercut of a ton of great Zelda: Breath of the Wild combat tips screenshot

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Pikuniku is free right now on Epic Games Store

If you're yet to check out Sectordub's charming and hilarious indie hit Pikuniku then you might be pleased to hear that it is currently available on PC, free-of-charge, via the Epic Games Store.

Originally released by Devolver Digital in January 2019, Pikuniku sees players guide an odd-looking armless fella - "Piku" - through a simplistic and colourful world, solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles with the aid of some lateral thinking and a swift kick in the backside. A co-operative multiplayer mode sees a friend step into the gangly legs of Piku's orange pal, Niku, with the duo using the teamwork to pick/kick their way through the game world.

Pikuniku is free right now on Epic Games Store screenshot

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Fall Guys season two teases nameplates and '600% more crowns'

As we approaching the anticipated second season of madcap battle royale title Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Mediatonic has teased that - along with the previously revealed new games and skins - season two will offer unlucky beans the opportunity to bag up more of those elusive crowns.

"We've heard all of your feedback loud and clear," announced the official Fall Guys Twitter. "Winning crowns in Fall Guys against 59 other beans can be a little challenging. For season two, we've added over 600% more golden crowns into the Season Awards... FEATURED COSTUMES FOR EVERYONE."

No specific details were offered as to how these new crowns would appear in season two. Maybe they'll be in-game objectives, perhaps they'll just be level grinds, but it seems the evasive prize of the every-bean-for-themselves battle is perhaps going to be a little easier to come by. It's been argued by some players in the comments that this motion will lessen the impact of actually outlasting your bean brethren, but we'll see.

Further on the in same Twitter thread, Fall Guys appeared to tease a "very spicy" new way that season two will be rewarding its "most competitive" players, before going on to suggest that "nameplates" are also in the works, to be revealed in the coming days. So better get back in training, as the race to the top of the mountain is far from over.

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is available now on PS4 and PC.

Fall Guys season two teases nameplates and '600% more crowns' screenshot

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Whoa! Minecraft's Steve is the next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter

Today during the dramatic Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character presentation, Minecraft's Steve and Alex were presented as the next DLC fighters. They'll be accompanied by the classic DLC suite: a new level and music (seven tracks) for $5.99, or as part of the $30 Fighter's Pass.

After the reveal, Sakurai affirmed that "the most popular game in the world" is coming to Smash, and that in this case, someone at Nintendo suggested that they put Minecraft in the game. He mentions the "wizardry" and the difficulty of porting Minecraft into the Smash world and that he was ready for the task. "Stages needed to be reworked so blocks would fit in them," Sakurai muses, going over the design process on the "completely different" Steve/Alex models that were tough to design to slot into the current engine.

That's all he had to say today. More info is coming at 10:30AM ET on October 3. I'm here for it! I mean there are probably a ton of anime characters a few of us wanted first (Dante), but Minecraft is a global phenomenon and this will actually attract people to Ultimate in a way some DLC characters haven't in the past. It might have been a coincidence, but as soon as the news hit, Twitter literally broke. Four more to go!

It's also a watershed moment for Nintendo, having buddied up with Microsoft previously for the play together initiative, which threw serious shade at Sony; who at the time, was hesitant to embrace any form of cross-play.

Whoa! Minecraft's Steve is the next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter screenshot

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Battle royale Super Mario Bros. 35 is out now on Switch for free, if you have Switch Online

The day has finally come for another free Switch download.

Buried within the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct, we got wind of a battle royale themed around the classic NES Mario Bros. The idea is that you duke it out with other players by running through classic platforming stages, throwing hazards their way. The last surviving Mario wins. Simple, right? It's kind of like Tetris 99, but 35...and it's Mario instead of Tetris.

Well it's not just a dream anymore, as it's fully out on Switch. So long as you have Switch Online, you have access to the game: just hit the eShop. Oh, and don't forget that this is another "limited time" dealio. Nintendo reminds us that it will "only be playable until March 31, 2021."

Maybe around that time we'll get a Jump Rope Challenge-esque extension?

Battle royale Super Mario Bros. 35 is out now on Switch for free, if you have Switch Online screenshot

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The Wii Sports theme is still a complete banger, and this video proves it

Wii Sports was an utter phenomenon.

Your grandma played it. Your neighbor probably played it. All in the before times of course: no I'm talking about when everyone's Wii was hooked up! 2006 was a wild year for Nintendo, when their plans for living room domination were finally realized. When Wii Sports and Wii Fit were crushing it, and the Wii would go on to be their best-selling home console of all time.

This video from willyj1234 brings up back to those simpler times: when we'd leave the game running to hear a Wii theme (or the eShop music!). "The band writing the 'Wii Sports' theme song and knowing it's a banger," is all you really need to know going into the below vided.

My Wii U is perpetually hooked up, so I'm game to go back and at least listen to the theme myself in the near future. That's right, I still use it! I'm not sure when I'll ever pack it in, even as the next generation arises.

[Thanks Bob!]

The Wii Sports theme is still a complete banger, and this video proves it screenshot

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(Update) Nintendo is revealing the next Smash Ultimate fighter soon, watch it here

[Update: It's Steve/Alex from Minecraft!]

Thanks random retail advertisement! You were right.

As fans speculated, a retailer display that showcased the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighter's Pass had an interesting proviso: it would be changed out on October 4 for a new leaflet. Hey! That could mean an imminent Smash DLC reveal. And so it is.

This morning Nintendo spilled the beans and gave us a heads-up for yet another surprise "Direct-like" stream: they will announce the next DLC fighter on October 1 at 10AM ET. Typically, this involves Sakurai giving us a dramatic reveal trailer, followed by in-depth gameplay footage and developer commentary. This video will allegedly be "three minutes long, followed by a brief message from Sakurai."

As Sakurai showed off back when Min-Min was announced, he has a full setup to 'cast from his home, so everything should be good to go. As far as a release date goes, Smash DLC typically is released a week-ish away from the reveal. So the new fighter could enter the fray as soon as October 8.

I hope it's not another Fire Emblem character! Just joking, I won't jinx it.

Nintendo of America [Twitter]

(Update) Nintendo is revealing the next Smash Ultimate fighter soon, watch it here screenshot

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This new Bakugan Switch trailer explains the gist of the universe in five minutes

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia was revealed several months ago, much to the chagrin of folks who anticipated a big new WayForward IP (Nintendo was quick to walk back expectations there!). 

Alas, Bakugan is headed for the gaming plane once again, this time with the creators of Shantae at the helm, under the publishing guidance of WB Interactive. If you don't have a kid, you might be wondering what the hell Bakugan even is. Well, this video is here to the rescue.

In roughly five minutes, this extremely Saturday-morning-cartoon-narrated video gives you an overview of the universe, as well as how Bakugan work in general and the gist of the game. In short, the planet Vestroia was destroyed and the Bakugan species came to Earth, creating all sorts of conflicts: kind of like a more aggressive Pokemon. The battle system vaguely replicates the real-life experience (gathering BakuCores to power-up the Bakugan).

Champions of Vestroia is out on November 3 on Switch; which could serve as a respite for kids who aren't entering the "next generation" a week later.

This new Bakugan Switch trailer explains the gist of the universe in five minutes screenshot

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Switch hack seller to pay $2 million in damages to Nintendo

A lawsuit filed by Nintendo against retailer Uberchips has reached its conclusion, with the Ohio-based Switch hack seller ordered to pay damages to the Switch manufacturer.

Nintendo filed suit against several retailers back in May for the re-selling of "jailbreak" devices such as the SX Core and SX Lite, which facilitate the playing of pirated games on Switch hardware. In the case of Uberchips, the retailer is to pay $2 million USD in damages and must guarantee the destruction of all remaining stock that infringes upon any Nintendo copyrights. Nintendo has also filed a permanent injunction to prevent Uberchips from selling similar products in the future.

Nintendo has also filed suit against eight other retailers in similar cases, but due to the general "underground" nature of hack-selling and video game piracy, the publisher is yet to identify the individuals behind each of these outlets.

Nintendo's lawsuit against hack seller to land it $2 million in damages [Gamasutra / TorrentFreak]

Switch hack seller to pay $2 million in damages to Nintendo screenshot



Housemarque's Returnal is a bullet hell, third-person roguelike

Housemarque has offered up more details on its unnerving sci-fi adventure Returnal, which made its debut back in June as part of the PS5 Future of Gaming presentation.

The Resogun developer has stated that Returnal is a third-person roguelike adventure, with recurring gameplay specifically designed for "extreme replayability." This gameplay loop is borne out through Returnal's narrative, which will see intergalactic explorer Selene crash land on a strange, physics-defying planet, where every death only finds her reliving her hazardous and intriguing adventure over and over again.

Housemarque's Returnal is a bullet hell, third-person roguelike screenshot

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Astro Gaming's A03 earbuds are designed with handheld and mobile in mind

Back when I used to ride the train to work every day, having a good set of small headphones could make or break my commute. They were the difference between enjoying my ride or having to listen to whatever music the dance tropes would blast between Embarcadero and West Oakland. Unfortunately, most of the earbuds I owned didn't have enough bass to let me fully enjoy the full depth of the sound from my Switch or mobile phone. Clearly, they could have benefited from a second driver, like those found in the Astro A03 In-Ear Monitors.

Designed with mobile and portable gaming in mind, the Astro A03s come equipped with two drivers in each earbud. One is for the bass, and the other covers the mids and highs. The earbuds are compatible with all major consoles and any phone or tablet with a headphone jack, as well as the Astro MixAmp Pro TR.

Astro Gaming's A03 earbuds are designed with handheld and mobile in mind screenshot

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Bethesda nukes Fallout 76 weight bench Strength glitch

The West Virginia Wasteland has had a sudden inflex of bodybuilder-type survivors who look more keen to fight off body fat than radiation sickness. Alas, Bethesda has squashed all their sweet gains.

The last couple weeks of Fallout 76 has seen an easily-repeatable glitch at the weight bench that has left everyone completely jacked. Using the weight bench grants a temporary +2 to Strength. The problem is that Bethesda accidentally allowed for the perk to stack. 

It stacked a lot, too. The Strength would stack up to 8 times (for +16 STR), and the duration would effectively stack for how many ever extra reps you performed. When seeing those kinds of immediate gains, it's easy to keep pumping iron. (Although, to be fair, Bethesda disabled use of the weight bench a while ago; so it hasn't been easy to keep pumping iron.)

However, after the newest patch, it's now capped at the intended +2 STR and will only buff once from the most recent use of the weight bench. It was nice while it lasted. You can safely go back to ignoring your physical fitness.

The other major part of the update concerns the new One Wasteland feature that scales enemy level to player level. In short, a lot of the mid-level creatures were too tough. So, Bethesda has "smoothed out the difficulty curve."

Here are the full patch notes for Fallout 76 Update 1.4.0.23

Bethesda nukes Fallout 76 weight bench Strength glitch screenshot

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Ghost of Tsushima is $45 in PlayStation's Games of a Generation sale

The PlayStation Store is running a Games of a Generation sale until October 14, and if you've been waiting for a discount on the digital copy of Ghost of Tsushima, here it is. $45 is a more-than-fine price.

I just wrapped up the story this week and I'm making a renewed push to finish every last morsel – even that annoying five-standoff-kills-in-a-row trophy – before the co-op Legends mode comes out. Aside from far too many "follow the footprints" moments, Ghost of Tsushima has been an utter delight.

A case could be made for waiting until the PS5 is out to dive into this game, but it's smooth as is on PS4. Sucker Punch Productions' unusually fast load times are invaluable. The samurai action is cool, it's fun to become OP after feeling so weak early on, and the horseback exploration never loses its magic.

As for the rest of the sale, given that there over a hundred games, they can't all be generation-defining experiences, but on the whole, there are plenty of tremendous titles to consider picking up. Just make sure you don't inadvertently buy anything that's on the upcoming PlayStation Plus Collection list.

For all of the current anxiety surrounding the PS5, Sony sure ended the PS4 on a high note.

Ghost of Tsushima is $45 in PlayStation's Games of a Generation sale screenshot



Your Xbox One external HDD will immediately work on Xbox Series X

The past few weeks have been rife with riveting Xbox Series X storage stories. First we found out that the proprietary external SSD will be rather expensive, nearly half the price of the console. But, maybe it's not a huge deal because some transfer time tests revealed that the Xbox Series X is pretty quick about moving installs from an external HDD to the internal SSD. Maybe you can manage.

For people planning on the latter option, here's some good news: The external HDD that you use for your Xbox One will immediately and automatically work on Xbox Series X. Just unplug it from the old machine and plug it into the new machine. Xbox's Major Nelson confirmed this on Twitter: 

Your Xbox One external HDD will immediately work on Xbox Series X screenshot

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Godfall unveils its ass-kicking intro cinematic

Gearbox Publishing has released the intro cinematic to its epic fantasy hack 'n' slash title Godfall, preparing its players for their upcoming quest to save the kingdom of Aperion from devastation at the hands of unchecked powers from above.

Titled "The Fall," the near three-minute CGI movie details the war between the Order of Valorian Knights and power-hungry god Macros. We see Godfall's protagonist as they try - and fail - to defeat Macros in the wake of a devastating ground war, only to rise once again, determined to save the kingdom from the deity's insufferable thirst for conquest. It's a very nicely done cinematic, sure to get Godfall fans' hype-fires stoked.

Godfall unveils its ass-kicking intro cinematic screenshot

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The My Nintendo Mario pin set shortage situation was just plain weird

Earlier this month, Nintendo revealed a new promotion that would allow people to grab a free Mario pin set for purchasing Mario 3D All-Stars and doing a few easy tasks. That's good!

But as soon as the promo actually went live, it crashed the site, the entire Nintendo store and sold out in minutes. That's bad!

So what went wrong? A lot of things.

The My Nintendo Mario pin set shortage situation was just plain weird screenshot

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Transformers meets XCOM in less than a month

October is a packed month for sudden launches of B-tier-looking video games based on pop culture from your childhood. First, we got word of a new G.I. Joe game. Then, we learned that there's a Cobra Kai beat-em-up tie-in with the Netflix show. The most recent one might be more than meets the eye.

Transformers: Battlegrounds is a new tactical strategy game in the vein of XCOM. Yep, developer Coatsink (Esper, Jurassic World Aftermath) isn't going the route of open-world action destructathon. This one's more cerebral, as you send you Autobots scrambling to positions where they'll have a tactical advantage. It also has cooperative multiplayer.

Here's the official description of Transformers: Battlegrounds: "As evil Megatron closes in on the Allspark, Bumblebee and the Autobots need a new commander to help save Earth -- you! Assemble your squad and roll out for a battle that will rage from Central City to Cybertron... and even to the local multiplayer arcade!"

Transformers: Battlegrounds is rolling out on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One on October 23. It's certainly a different take on Transformers. We'll find out soon enough if the formula works or if it's nothing more than scrap metal.

Transformers meets XCOM in less than a month screenshot



Focus Home Interactive teams with Flying Wild Hog for 'ambitious' mystery title

Flying Wild Hog, the studio behind the Shadow Warrior series, has entered into a partnership with publisher Focus Home Interactive to develop a title that the studio claims is its most ambitious project to date.

While no details were offered regarding the mysterious new title, Flying Wild Hog spoke of its excitement for the project, as well as its partnership with Focus Home, who were recently responsible for solid AA releases such as Greedfall, A Plague Tale: Innocence, and Vampyr.

"Focus Home Interactive is the perfect partner for Flying Wild Hog," said Flying Wild Hog CEO Michal Szustak. "We both share a love for creating unique, exciting worlds filled with crazy gameplay. We also deeply care for quality and creativity. Focus's team supports us not only with great trust for our vision, but also helps us to forge that vision into an outstanding game. We are sure that our partnership will bloom into an amazing experience for players around the world. Fans of original action games can expect quite a surprise!"

Focus Home Interactive responded with equal praise and enthusiasm. "We at Focus have a directive to bring exciting and innovative games to the market, and with their upcoming title we know that Flying Wild Hog will reach the objectives we have on all of our projects, in terms of both quality and originality," said Focus COO John Bert. "We're enthusiastic to be working with this professional team, who are masters in the art of creating spectacular, action-packed games."

We'll be sure to keep you informed once either party is ready to announce this exciting new project.

Focus Home Interactive and Flying Wild Hog announce partnership [MCV]

Focus Home Interactive teams with Flying Wild Hog for 'ambitious' mystery title screenshot



It's gonna be a real beach sifting through Xbox's new big sale

If the newest Xbox sale were a movie, it'd probably by Deep Blue Sea. Or Open Water. Or maybe the best name would be Ocean's 48.

Xbox is unwavering in its commitment to the theme of the Deep Sea Discounts sale. It's 48 games that are purely aquatic one way or another. For some, it's the nightmares that lurk below the water. For others, it's just a whole lot of fishing. Maybe you'll catch a nightmare!

This one runs through October 5. Here's everything included in the Deep Sea Discounts sale:

It's gonna be a real beach sifting through Xbox's new big sale screenshot

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Final Fantasy XIV's Naoki Yoshida talks project management, 'small but big surprises' and 'planning years in advance'

Years ago, Naoki "Yoshi-P" Yoshida quietly changed the perception of Final Fantasy XIV.

I was there at E3 when XIV debuted. I saw the grimacing faces of press and players alike, and witnessed the rocky launch. I was also there when it was quite literally "reborn," and experienced the drastic upgrade myself. Years later I would come to learn that Yoshi-P's light touch (alongside of his team) was responsible for the revival, and it seems like Square Enix noticed him too; as he's one of the developers heading up Final Fantasy XVI.

But before we shift some of our focus to XVI, I sat down with Yoshi-P to talk XIV: which still has plenty of life left in it.

Final Fantasy XIV's Naoki Yoshida talks project management, 'small but big surprises' and 'planning years in advance'  screenshot

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Free Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot update will add Card Warriors mini-game

Bandai Namco has announced a free update headed to Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot this fall that will add a new card-fighting mini-game to the open-world anime RPG. The "Dragon Ball Card Warriors" mode will allow players to build a deck of notable DBZ characters and abilities, before challenging each other in casual and ranked online battles and monthly Budokai tournaments.

Free Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot update will add Card Warriors mini-game screenshot

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You don't have to start Zombies mode with a pistol in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Treyarch is bringing Zombies mode back for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and along with a first look at the mode's 1980s Dark Aether storyline (that conveniently involves a World War II bunker), the studio also confirmed that Zombies will support cross-platform co-op. That's what we like to see.

"We finished a story [in Black Ops 4], but we're still in that same universe, and this is the next chapter," said game designer Kevin Drew. The new Zombies crew in Cold War is a CIA-backed team, Requiem, that's led by Grigori Weaver from Black Ops. A rival Soviet squad, Omega Group, is also in the mix.

One of the bigger structural changes is that you won't have to start hunting undead hordes with a pistol this time – player progression in Zombies is hooked into the wider Black Ops Cold War multiplayer experience (including the Battle Pass), and you can bring your Gunsmith weaponry over "via loadout."

Treyarch says that "any weapon in the game" can be "sustainable in later rounds" through a new weapon rarity system. More than anything else, I like the sound of an exfiltration option that lets players get to a chopper if things are looking grim. If you escape, you'll come away with "some rewards."

We'll see how these changes go over with long-time players. Perks, including Juggernog, are coming back (without a usage limit), and Treyarch also plainly teased Dead Ops Arcade 3 on Twitter.

You don't have to start Zombies mode with a pistol in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War screenshot

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Get a free copy of Overwatch on PC

Still holding out on checking out the most popular hero shooter in the world? Sometimes the late bird gets the worm.

Overwatch League team Boston Uprising is giving away copies of Overwatch on PC. All you have to do is fill out this form. Then you should get a code to redeem on Battle.net within a few days. Overwatch is still priced at $20, so this deal is hardly something to thumb your nose at.

Maybe more interesting is that this promotion has been running for nearly a month. The rules page indicates that the Boston Uprising have been giving away Overwatch since September 4. It just seems that the internet at-large hadn't noticed until today.

Anyway, go get yourself Overwatch if you don't already have it. You have plenty of time in the sense that this giveaway runs until January 31, 2021. However, you don't have plenty of time in the sense that supplies are limited and awarded on a first come, first served basis. So, these will probably go quickly. Blink like Tracer and they'll be gone.

Get a Digital Copy of Overwatch for PC! [Boston Uprising]

Get a free copy of Overwatch on PC screenshot



Vergil has his own theme for Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, listen to it here

What are some of my favorite moments in any game, ever? Well, Devil May Cry 3 steals away multiple slots for me.

The rush of figuring out that a second player can pick up and play Vergil alongside of Dante in that pivotal moment near the end of the game? Priceless. The humanoid confrontation with Vergil at the very end that showcases some of the best aspects of Devil May Cry's combat? Also classic.

So when Vergil shows up in any Devil May Cry as a playable character, I perk my head up. He was a blast to play in the third game's special edition, and epitomized the "stylish" mentality of the series. He was also arguably the best part of DmC: Devil May Cry when he entered the fray via DLC, and the combo videos for Devil May Cry 4's Vergil appearance can get pretty crazy.

We now know that he's set to re-appear in the special edition of Devil May Cry 5. At that time, we also got a brief glimpse of his new theme: "Bury the Light." Since then the song has been widely released on multiple marketplaces, including Spotify. Give it a listen!

Although Vergil is coming to the current generation in the form of DLC, the special edition is one of the few "next-gen console exclusives" in terms of visual fidelity and mechanical enhancements. I'm stoked to play it.

Vergil has his own theme for Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, listen to it here screenshot

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Peter Parker has a new face in Spider-Man Remastered

Insomniac shared more details about Spider-Man Remastered today, and apart from visual upgrades across the board and a Performance Mode targeting 60FPS, there's a big surprise: Peter has a new face!

People liked how he looked before, so why go to the trouble of changing his appearance now for PS5? According to community director James Stevenson, the team "loved working with John Bubniak on the original game; however, to get a better match to Peter Parker/Spider-Man actor Yuri Lowenthal's facial capture, we have cast Ben Jordan to be the face model for Peter Parker on the PS5 console."

It'll take some adjustment, but it's doable. For a direct comparison, check the gallery.

"It's my face's fault," said Lowenthal. "The stupid stupid bones in my face. Blame my bones."

Here's some extra fluid footage of Spider-Man Remastered running in Performance Mode.

As far as specific remaster enhancements, this version has improved models and materials, ray-traced reflections, ambient shadows, spatial 3D audio, photo mode quality-of-life features like swapping your suit mid-shot and placing lights in the environment, and "higher fidelity skin, eye, and teeth shaders" along with "individually-rendered strands of hair." This is Insomniac Games, after all. They're going for it.

Also, even though there's "near-instant loading," you can still toggle on the old fast-travel scenes.

All in all, it's looking like a fantastic way to play a great game. My only hangup? The fact that it won't be available as a standalone game (at least not at launch). You need to get the $70 Ultimate Edition of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which I just don't see myself doing. Then again, there are three new suits...

Peter Parker has a new face in Spider-Man Remastered screenshot

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Breakers Collection sees the niche '90s fighter return for one more round

In surprising but thoroughly welcome news, developer QuByte Interactive has announced that obscure '90s fighter Breakers is getting set to see re-release on PC and consoles in 2021.

Developed by Visco Corporation and originally released in 1996 and 1998 respectively, Breakers and Breakers' Revenge are 2D fighting titles which captured the audio/visual and gameplay style of SNK's classic one-on-one fighting games such as Fatal Fury and King of Fighters. The new Breakers Collection will include both titles along with new content such as the all-important Online VS. mode.

Breakers Collection sees the niche '90s fighter return for one more round screenshot

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A Zelda Gerudo Valley song cover in Stardew Valley? Sure, why not

You can find a cover of a Zelda song on pretty much any instrument, or anything that will allow it. Here, let's try a little experiment.

I randomly Googled "Mario Maker Lost Woods." Yep, there's an app for that.

"Epona's Song on a flute." Yep.

"Zelda's Lullaby on a fiddle." Well, close!

"Ballad of the Wind Fish on drums." Close again!

You get the picture. If you didn't know that Stardew Valley was capable of this kind of musical wizardry, you do now! YouTuber NetWarrior FM managed to recreate the classic Gerudo Valley theme in-game, and the fruits of their labor are below.

I guess you could call it..."The Ballad of Stardew Gerudo Valley?"

A Zelda Gerudo Valley song cover in Stardew Valley? Sure, why not screenshot

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Trials of Mana Version 1.1.0 update will include bunny slippers

Square Enix has announced that it will release the latest update for fantasy adventure Trials of Mana on October 14. Version 1.1.0 will add two new difficulty settings along set to test the mettle of the most hardened adventurers.

The new update will offer access to the new "Very Hard" and "No Future" difficulty settings. The former can only be selected in New Game+ mode and will offer a greater challenge than Trials players have faced to date. No Future, however, is a whole other bag.

This new mode will not only return the player to level one, but will also increase the strength of all enemies and boss characters, will add a time limit to each fight, and will limit the usage of items and certain special abilities, making this a true test of skill for Trials of Mana experts.

And your reward for conquering this relentless, bloodthirsty challenge? Bunny slippers.

Trials of Mana Version 1.1.0 update will include bunny slippers screenshot

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Need for Speed Payback and Vampyr are the next PlayStation Plus games

Sony has announced the latest PlayStation Plus lineup, and prepare to be "whelmed."

Starting on October 6, you can pick up Need for Speed Payback and Vampyr on the service, both of which are PS4 releases. You have until November 2 to claim them, at which point they'll be cycled out for something else.

Need for Speed Payback came out in 2017 and is currently the second-most-recent Need for Speed title, preceding Need for Speed Heat. Vampyr is from 2018, where the Dontnod action RPG was released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It's slated to arrive on Switch late next month. Both of them were released to a semi-middling reception, so I understand if folks aren't super jazzed about PS Plus next month.

As a reminder, you have until October 5 to log in and claim PUBG and Street Fighter V. I suggest you do that! Street Fighter V has come a long way since launch, and even the base version is worth trying.

PlayStation [Twitter]

Need for Speed Payback and Vampyr are the next PlayStation Plus games screenshot



Jump Rope Challenge on Switch isn't getting nuked today, will stay free 'until further notice'

Jump Rope Challenge was all set to go "poof" today, just like Super Mario All-Stars 3D will in 2021. It is...the Nintendo way.

Except this time, a game was spared from the "vault" treatment, at least for now. Announced on Twitter in the dead of night last night, Nintendo of America explained that they had a change of heart. Jump Rope Challenge, having reached a "2.5 billion jump" milestone, will remain on the eShop.

How long is it staying? Well, it seems like a threat. Nintendo notes: "As new jumpers are joining, the free download will be available until further notice and will not be removed from the Nintendo eShop on 9/30." Until further notice eh? Well if you haven't picked up this free app yet, you may as well do it now.

No reason was given for the change of heart, but it could have been a marketing stunt all along. I'm just the messenger!

Nintendo of America [Twitter]

Jump Rope Challenge on Switch isn't getting nuked today, will stay free 'until further notice' screenshot



Wooden train game Tracks comes to Switch this November

Ever since I first spent a month with Train Sim World, I've had a hankering for more games featuring trains. They're just so serene, and in 2020, serenity is something we all could use a bit more of. The Train Sim games are great, but the title I've really had my eyes on for the past two years has been Tracks.

This wooden train sandbox game doesn't have the sim elements of those Dovetail Games titles. Instead, it taps into those early-childhood Thomas the Tank Engine train sets, allowing players to construct their own tracks and the villages, towns, and cities that sprout up around them.

The game released last year on Steam, but in just a couple of weeks, it's making the jump to Switch, and it's bringing along all of its DLC for Tracks: Toybox Edition.

Wooden train game Tracks comes to Switch this November screenshot

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Check out this amazing C64 port of Another World

Another World, one of the most ported video games of all-time, could soon have another format to add to its ever-growing list of platforms. Homebrew programmer Eric Majikeyric has released in-progress footage showing the seminal fantasy adventure running on the humble Commodore 64.

The video features the entire intro from the 1991 Amiga classic, scaled down to fit the C64's ultra-humble 8-bit processor. We then see various moments from the adventure replicated in Commodore form, including Lester Chaykin Knight's arrival in the strange new dimension, his first meeting with "friend," as well as a glimpse at the game's somewhat bleak finale.

Check out this amazing C64 port of Another World screenshot

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Nintendo urges Switch owners to 'charge their devices once every six months' to avoid an 'unchargeable battery'

Batteries...they're a pain, am I right?

Just recently we were reminded about the dangers of the PSP's battery, now, Nintendo is giving us tips on how to maintain a healthy Switch console. The gist? Charge your Switch once every six months.

This past week, Nintendo of Japan's customer service Twitter account shared a helpful tip: "please charge [your battery] every six months." Simple, right? Nintendo says that the battery baked into the Switch "may become unchargeable if it has not been charged or used for too long."

You might be thinking "well I keep my Switch docked all the time!" And you'd be right: you're good. But if you ever get a second Switch and retire your original unit to storage, or upgrade to a Switch Pro and do the same, you might want to keep this tip straight from the horse's mouth in your back pocket.

The dangers of having a big collection of hardware! One tip I've heard from another game preservation expert is to schedule reminders every six months or so to take an inventory of all of your old systems and either charge them or inspect their batteries. As a kid, I used to experience that battery leakage/rot in my old Game Boys. Never again!

Nintendo Customer Service [Twitter]

Nintendo urges Switch owners to 'charge their devices once every six months' to avoid an 'unchargeable battery' screenshot



Mistress of the lewd, Plumeria, is Fire Emblem Heroes' newest Mythic Hero

As if Fire Emblem Heroes didn't already get its fans hot under the collar with its expansive array of male and female stunners, the newest update to Nintendo's mobile battler teases more saucy antics with the arrival of its newest mythic hero: "Lewd Dream" Plumeria.

An original Fire Emblem Heroes character, Plumeria is a Dökkálfar who resides in Dökkálfheimr, where she reigns as the overseer of "lewd dreams." Despite her charming and gracious appearance, Plumeria seems to have developed a deep dislike of humans, going as far as to consider them vulgar and disgusting. Given her vocation, these views seem completely fair and understandable.

Mistress of the lewd, Plumeria, is Fire Emblem Heroes' newest Mythic Hero screenshot

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