Blog Archive

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Revisiting the infinite joy of Excitebots: Trick Racing

When we look back at the launch of the Nintendo Wii, there are a few titles that immediately come to mind. They're the ones that would go on to define the console throughout its lifespan. There's Wii Sports, obviously, the pack-in that your grandmother probably still plays today. Then there is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Nintendo's first cross-gen hit that was saved from the Wii's poorly performing predecessor to find massive success in the new generation. Those two titles were enough to sell the console to millions of people and radically expand the market for console gaming. As much as I enjoy both them, when I look back at the Wii's start and the titles it launched with, honestly, it's Excite Truck that fills me with the warmest memories.

The Excite series has never been a priority for Nintendo. The NES original didn't see a sequel for more than 15 years when Excitebike 64 hit the Nintendo 64 near the twilight of its life. In fact, I'd say more people know the game from its inclusion in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe than as its own franchise. I don't think Excite Trucks did enough to move the needle in the franchise's favor — and really, what do you expect launching alongside Wii Sports — but it did prove popular enough to give us a sequel that remains one of my most treasured racing games of all time: Excitebots: Trick Racing

Revisiting the infinite joy of Excitebots: Trick Racing screenshot


Review: Star Wars Squadrons

I really enjoy the Star Wars universe. Not to the point where I know anything about the extended universe, but I like all the movies in their own way. Yes, even the prequels and The Last Jedi. So I'm not the expert that is going to either gush or nitpick when Squadrons throws some new lore my way, but I will admit that I got rather excited when Admiral Ackbar was giving me directions. "I know that guy!" I yelled to no one in particular.

What I also really enjoy is tight, small experiences that do one thing and do it well. This basically summarizes most of the indie scene, but Squadrons also fits the bill. At $40, and with this much polish, it's easy to find an enjoyable experience here.

Review: Star Wars Squadrons screenshot


Review: Torchlight III

After several months in Early Access, Echtra Games is pushing Torchlight III out the door.

As a quick refresher, in my Steam Early Access review, I called Torchlight III more of a "spinoff than a numbered sequel." I said it didn't "do enough to encourage experimentation or creativity." It's a lighter, fluffier action-RPG, one that has a place but probably won't live up to long-time fans' expectations.

Did they turn it around for the 1.0 launch? Not exactly. My overall impression has barely budged.

Review: Torchlight III screenshot


An incoming patch for The Outer Worlds on Switch will bring some much appreciated visual upgrades

The Outer Worlds on Switch prompted a lot of conversation about if some sacrifices are worth making when porting a game to weaker hardware. For those who played it on PC, PS4, or Xbox One, it was a noticeable downgrade for sure. For me, having never played it on stronger systems, I found it to be decent enough

It looked rough and disappointingly barren, but that might change later this month when the long-awaited patch will release on Switch. Full patch notes are being withheld for now, but the game's Twitter page decided to give us a sneak peek at how the visuals will improve with the download.

An incoming patch for The Outer Worlds on Switch will bring some much appreciated visual upgrades screenshot


Cblogs of 10/10 to 10/16/2020: Mafia, Front Mission, and Jonathan Holmes' podcast returns

Cblogs Recap: Week 42

-Jonathan Holmes returns with Talking to Women about Video Games.

-Kerrik52 reviews Siren: Blood Curse on the PS3 as part of his Traveler in Playtime reviews series.

-Lord Spencer reviews Front Mission on the DS as part of his DS REVIEWS blogging series.

-Exber reviews God Hand as part of his Retro Reviews blogging series.

-Joel Peterson writes about his reluctant transition to the digital video game age.

-Sapato64 discusses how not to get bored and stay invested while playing MMOs.

-Shoggoth2588 continues his review of the last decade with this blog focusing on 2019.

-Black Red Gaming reviews Mafia: Definitive Edition on the PC.

-Dinoracha reviews La Mulana on the PC.

-Xeo shares his impressions from the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War beta.

-Agent9 continues with his daily journal for this month.

-TheBlondeBass writes some short narrative prose under the guise of an Owlboy review.

-PhilsPhindings discusses the similarities between the soundtrack Wizards & Warriors X and the music of Kansas.

-PhilsPhindings discusses the similarities between the soundtrack of Animaniacs and several other pieces of music.

-ChronoLynxx is back with another TGIF open forum blog.

Cblogs of 10/10 to 10/16/2020: Mafia, Front Mission, and Jonathan Holmes' podcast returns screenshot


Konami's 1981 shmup Super Cobra returns on Nintendo Switch

We're looking to the skies to save us thanks to this week's Arcade Archives release. Konami's chopper classic, Super Cobra, is now available to download on Nintendo Switch, courtesy of the retro scallywags over at Hamster.

Originally released in arcades way back in 1981, (before later being ported to the Atari 2600 and several other formative consoles), Super Cobra puts players in the pilot seat of a fully-armed, hi-tech attack helicopter, not unlike the one that would appear a year or two later in Roy Scheider movie Blue Thunder.

A precursor to Konami's intergalactic classic Scramble, Super Cobra is a basic horizontal shmup, featuring 10 stages of simplistic sky-high action as our futuristic chopper rains death and destruction on the titular villains... You thought "Super Cobra" was the helicopter itself? Apparently not.

You can check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Old Classic Retro Gaming. Super Cobra is available to download now on Nintendo Switch, priced around $8.

Konami's 1981 shmup Super Cobra returns on Nintendo Switch screenshot


Mario Kart Live is impressive, but the fun you get out of it really depends on the effort you put in

Nintendo is the king when it comes to experimentation.

I would have really liked to have seen how wacky the Wii Vitality Sensor would have gotten, but in its stead, we've seen Labo and countless other flights of fancy. Mario Kart Live is the latest in a long line of toys from Nintendo, and like many others, you get out what you put into it.

Mario Kart Live is impressive, but the fun you get out of it really depends on the effort you put in screenshot


Itsuka Kendo is bringing her battle fists to My Hero One's Justice 2

Another anime superstar is headed to the ranks of Bandai Namco's 3D fighter My Hero One's Justice 2. As revealed in this week's edition of Weekly Jump. The happy-go-lucky Itsuka Kendo will arrive in-game as paid DLC "soon".

Itsuka Kendo is bringing her battle fists to My Hero One's Justice 2 screenshot


Now that Mileena is in, which Mortal Kombat character will fans badger Ed Boon about next?

Fighting game rosters are always fascinating to me. For an industry where fans are always demanding "new, new, new," it's the one genre where old is good. Old characters, old stages, people just want to see everything they're already familiar with plus a couple of new additions to separate the new entry from the old one.

Not every character can be in every entry, and as we've seen in the past with multiple fighting games, those missing favorites can cause an uproar amongst the fanbase. And with social media, that uproar is louder and more annoying than ever. But I get it. Milenna is a great kharacter with a great backstory and mouth so big it makes Steven Tyler's lips look like Betty Boop's. 

That's just one of the topics on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Dan, Charlotte, and Chris come together to talk John Rambo, FIFA 21, Watch Dogs 2, the Monster Hunter movie, Resident Evil reboot, beaches full of drugs, and home baking. All that, plus Michelle Rodriguez's pleather pants, on Podtoid Episode 462.

Now that Mileena is in, which Mortal Kombat character will fans badger Ed Boon about next? screenshot


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is, arguably, the closest I've come to being Chuck Norris in Invasion USA

Whenever someone needs to be digitally blown up, stabbed, or shot, the overlords at Destructoid always seem to deem me the person for the job. I'm not sure why, given that I'm very clearly the Bernadetta of the editorial team. Regardless, it's that time of year again, and with the impending release of a brand-new Call of Duty title, it falls on me to load up on guns, throw on my sexiest legwarmers, and return to the political upheaval of the 1980s.

The second Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War beta weekend begins today, offering first-person shooter fans the chance to check out Activision's latest entry in its money-printing franchise. All PS4 players - alongside PC and Xbox One pre-order customers - can dive into the action today, the beta will then open its doors to all players on all three platforms from Saturday, October 17.

But your boy Moyse has already cut his own path of destruction through said beta, capping out at Level 25 one murderthon at a time. In the hours I've spent with Black Ops Cold War so far, I've gotten to grips with a selection of weapons, modes, and maps, I've been the king of the scoreboards, and been found face-down in a pool of my own tomatoes. It's been the best of times, it's been the worst of times. But what I'll mostly remember is the laughter.

Here's a selection of my humble thoughts regarding Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War:

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is, arguably, the closest I've come to being Chuck Norris in Invasion USA screenshot


Whatcha been playing this week, Destructoid?

It has been a week, both in my own localised life bubble and in the greater picture of this here planet. I miss the days when I could open these articles with a simple "Hey yo" and a brief reminder to love yourselves and each other, but the reality is that troubled times continue. While I'm not interested in pretending we aren't all having a tough run right now, it's still important to remember that we all have our saving graces, be they friends, family, pets, movies, exercise or, of course, video games. Keep it up, folks, you've got this.

This week has seen me engaged in military warfare on two very different fronts. Firstly, I spent some hours runnin' and gunnin' through 1980s Miami in Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War beta. Then, far and away from that "real-world" action, I've been taking on the might of COBRA in Game Mill's G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout. The only real conclusion I've drawn is that global warfare is far less traumatic when fought by glasses-wearing dominatrixes (domanatrices?) and evil dudes with solid silver heads. Still, at least I know that now, and knowing is half the battle.

That's more than enough about me. I'm crawling back under the duvet to stick my head in the proverbial sand. Why don't you jump into the comments below and tell us what you've been enjoying this week? It doesn't even have to be gaming related. Perhaps you've read a cool book, or enjoyed a movie, so tell us about that instead. What's important is that you interact. We have a wonderful community here and you're very welcome to be part of it.

Have a safe and pleasant weekend, from all of us at Destructoid.

Whatcha been playing this week, Destructoid? screenshot

Ghost of Tsushima fans should absolutely make time for Legends

I hope you still have Ghost of Tsushima installed on your PS4. If not, queue that download.

Earlier today, Sucker Punch released Legends – a co-op mode with two-player story missions and four-player wave-based survival maps, both of which make fantastic use of Ghost's sneaky combat. Best of all, it's free. If you own the game, you can download update 1.1, load up Legends from the main menu, burn through a few "remember how to play?" tutorials, and start queuing with your warrior of choice.

As someone who stuck with ranged combat as much as possible in the campaign, I initially went with the Hunter over the Samurai, Ronin, or Assassin. You'll be able to unlock all four classes eventually – Legends really leans into its loot and XP-based progression – but make sure you pick whoever strikes your fancy. That said, while they all have their specialties, they don't feel dramatically different at first.

Everyone can use ranged and melee attacks, and much of Jin's toolkit carries over from the main game, albeit split across class-based ability trees and equippable Charms and Ghost Weapons that you'll unlock as rewards for clearing objectives. The actual loot (and its ensuing "Ki" power level) is mostly shared across the four classes – a design choice I adore – but each archetype levels up independently.

I had only planned to play a few – not all! – of Legends' nine co-op story missions before sharing my impressions. Unlike the side quests in the main Ghost of Tsushima campaign that began to grow stale as early as the second island region, none of these outstayed their welcome. One mission had me watching lightning to locate and dispatch ghost warriors. Another involved powering up my katana with color-coded energy. My favorite level let me and a co-op buddy sneak around several ships at sea.

These stories are fully narrated, they only take about 15 minutes to clear, they're broken into three well-paced parts (with quick torii gate transition scenes in between), and they're just big enough in scope to feel open-ended yet still playable with a random person online who isn't using a microphone.

While I'm not sure when I'll go back to play everything again on the higher difficulties (there's a bronze, silver, and gold-tier system with varying Ki power level requirements), I probably will make the effort. I had that much fun. There's something wonderful about taking out two guards simultaneously with a stranger or nailing a far-off headshot on a foe before they can stab your unaware pal in the back.

As a Nioh fanatic, I'm also here for the loot. But don't let that scare you off if you aren't.

Aside from ranking up to unlock new (and alternate) class abilities, you'll need to spend a moment swapping in new gear items – a katana, bow, Charm, and two Ghost Weapons – as you earn them. Everything has a rarity tier and Ki level associated with it, and the best stuff has special properties or perks (which you can re-roll using currencies earned from playing and dismantling unwanted junk). If that sounds like Too Much, it honestly isn't – the loot situation is pretty intuitive and manageable.

As for the survival missions, they aren't as inspired – remember when every game had to have a mode like this? – but they are enjoyable with even a decent-at-best group of players. Across 15 waves, some of which have beefy demon boys, you'll want to divide and conquer to defend multiple control points from being captured (or risk losing a chunk of your health bar for a limited time if you let them fall).

It's worth noting that you can go into Legends alone – heck, you can even go in alone with photo mode enabled. In my experience, the public matchmaking is super fast and the connections are reliable.

After spending an afternoon with the mode, I'm looking at my schedule and trying to find room to play more of it soon. Legends could've easily been a paid DLC pack – and it would've been worth the money, too. The fact that it's free and there aren't microtransactions is just wonderful. I'm now at the point where I'll be sad if a potential sequel doesn't have co-op support. It fits this combat style perfectly.

Even if you burned yourself out on Ghost of Tsushima, don't skip Legends. This mode feels fresh.

Ghost of Tsushima fans should absolutely make time for Legends screenshot


Stardew Valley is getting split-screen co-op after all

Can ConcernedApe do no wrong? After Stardew Valley got online multiplayer, I wrote off split-screen co-op as something that probably wouldn't happen – but where there's a will, there's a way. The developer has continued to improve the game over time, and he's making good on another heavily wishlisted item.

As part of update 1.5, Stardew Valley will let you play side-by-side with a buddy.

Elaborating on the feature, Eric Barone said that it's coming to PC and consoles, although "the number of simultaneous players might vary" depending on where you play. For PC, it's up to four-player split-screen. For certain console platforms – presumably Nintendo Switch – the cap could be two players.

I'm over the moon either way. When update 1.5 drops, I'm gonna lose myself to Stardew all over again.

Stardew Valley is getting split-screen co-op after all screenshot

The Analogue Duo brings the TurboGrafx-16 back with a vengeance

Unlike most modern "mini" pack-in play consoles, the TurboGrafx-16 Mini has neither become impossible to find nor has it seen drastic price-drops. It's the very definition of a middling success, which is more than the original iteration of the system could say for itself. Due to a variety of reasons, the system never took off outside of Japan, though it's still home to a litany of classics: Bonk's Adventure, Snatcher, and Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, to name a few. 

My guess is the modern "Mini" version of the console has fared better so far due to years of passionate word-of-mouth praise from TG-16 obsessives such as myself. If it were up to me, it would be Bonk, not Sonic, battling Mario at the Olympics, palling around with James Marsden at the movies, and eating chili dogs in the dreams of many a millennial. He's my favorite 16-bit baby boy

That said, the TG-16 Mini wasn't truly the best vessel for him, and the TG-16 library, to make its return. It's missing so many classics: Bonk 3, Valis 2, Legendary Axe 1 & 2, Bloody Wolf, Keith Courage, and Far East of Eden. Sure, you could just hack the thing to add the ROMS of those titles to the console, but for those that want to play the original software sans tampering, Analogue has the solution.

Today the boutique console developer announced the Duo, a new emulation-free piece of hardware that runs everything from the TG-16/PC Engine family, including the SuperGrafx, TurboGrafx CD, PC Engine CD-ROM², and Super Arcade CD-ROM. The console doesn't release until next year, but you may want to sign up for the mailing list now. Perhaps due to issues around FPGA board availability, consoles from Analogue tend to be produced in extremely limited quantities, so if you want in on this higher-energy game system, you better work. 

The Analogue Duo brings the TurboGrafx-16 back with a vengeance screenshot


Contest: Win Dead Cells - Prisoner's Edition on Switch from Signature Edition Games

In today's contest, you can win a Switch copy of Dead Cells - Prisoner's Edition from Signature Edition Games!

Today, we've got a beefy one! Not as beefy as say, a Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, but definitely a behemoth in its own right.

Signature Edition Games produces physical editions of beloved digital indie titles. They're got this massive Prisoner's Edition of indie darling Dead Cells up for grabs, and let me tell you, this thing has it all!

Contest: Win Dead Cells - Prisoner's Edition on Switch from Signature Edition Games screenshot


Xbox Series X isn't any quicker at installing games from discs

Most of the discourse around the Xbox Series X has been what it can do faster than the Xbox One. Its PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD means that it's capable of performing loading and transfer tasks quicker than console players are used to. For instance, the breakdown of file transfer times demonstrates nicely what kind of speed we're dealing with.

Here's an area where Xbox Series X hasn't improved: When installing from a disc. According to GamesRadar+'s preview coverage of the new Xbox, its disc installation times are almost identical to last-gen. The example given is that Titanfall 2 took about 35 minutes to install.

Xbox Series X isn't any quicker at installing games from discs screenshot


Double Fine's classic remasters are coming to Xbox Game Pass this month

Here's a story that you could've deduced with a little simple logic. Microsoft owns Double Fine. We learned earlier this year that Double Fine's classic remasters are breaking free from PS4 console exclusivity. All of Microsoft's first-party games are eventually destined to wind up on Xbox Game Pass. QED, Double Fine's classic remasters are coming to Xbox Game Pass.

Sorry for the flashback to 8th grade geometry. You're not really any less awkward now but at least you're taller!

Double Fine has confirmed that it's three big classic LucasArts remasters -- Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango -- will make their way to Xbox Game Pass sooner rather than later:

Double Fine's classic remasters are coming to Xbox Game Pass this month screenshot


Buying Cyberpunk 2077 from GOG will get you some bonus lore

If CD Projekt Red had its way, it'd certainly prefer that everyone buy Cyberpunk 2077 through GOG. That's because CDPR owns the digital storefront, meaning 100 percent of proceeds go straight into the the Polish publisher's pocket. No advanced economics degree is required to understand why that's better than a revenue split with Steam or Epic.

To that end, CDPR has sweetened the pot for anyone who's undecided about where to purchase Cyberpunk 2077. GOG is getting some exclusive digital add-ins that might seal the deal for some people.

The linchpin to this offer is a 50-page digital comic called Cyberpunk 2077: Big City Dreams. It tells the story of two scavengers who are "stealing cyberware and spending money on parties and braindances." It's The Odd Couple by way of Cyberpunk as they both want to live very different lifestyles. It sounds like an inessential side story that should help fill in the lore of this world.

There's more. Buyers on GOG also get some "print quality" posters, and a new set of wallpapers and avatars. 

If you're going to get Cyberpunk 2077 on PC and you're fine with GOG as your launcher, this is kind of a no-brainer. I'm in love with braindancing and just want as much braindance content as humanly (or cyborgly) possible.'s Exclusive Digital Goodie for Cyberpunk 2077 Revealed! [GOG]

Buying Cyberpunk 2077 from GOG will get you some bonus lore screenshot

Fall Guys made the Season 2 levels less rare and it's planning something sinister for Perfect Match

Nothing is set in stone in Fall Guys, that's for sure. After some of us complained that the medieval-themed Season 2 levels weren't showing up nearly enough in the rotation, Mediatonic has addressed the issue – and added a new Slime Survivors playlist – with an update on PS4 and PC today.

The update increased the odds of the four Season 2 levels showing up, decreased the odds of nicknames and nameplates appearing in the store, and added an alternate playlist, Slime Survivors, that's all about survival-based rounds, culminating in either Hex-A-Gone or Jump Showdown. The latter was bugged initially – the same levels kept repeating over and over – but it has since been fixed.

I'm happy about these changes and I'm excited about two more: a hotfix "early next week" that makes your party member the default selection in spectator mode, and a twist on dull old Perfect Match. Mediatonic is testing a rotating stage hazard for the memory game in the "mid-season update."

This isn't the only upcoming level variation, either. We gotta be careful what we wish for.

Fall Guys made the Season 2 levels less rare and it's planning something sinister for Perfect Match screenshot

This Zelda: Breath of the Wild combat video is straight out of a Dragon Ball Z episode

I'm halfway through another run of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and knowing what I know now: it makes combat trick videos all the sweeter. Twitter user A.xk is taking things to the next level though, completely trashing a Guardian with a ton of abilities rolled into one video.

You've seen Guardian flipping, right? Well A.xk incorporates it into their beatdown. Using the Cryonis to set their prey up, they launch right into the attack with a gnarly surfing slow-motion archery shot, which looks extra flashy thanks to the Daruk's Protection aura. Then they stun it, launch it, use the momentum from the launch to follow it up in the air with their glider; then continue to lay the smack down while the thing is aerial, flinging it back to the ground.

Of course, the slow-motion badass no-look walkaway at the end is not optional. It must be done or there will be a price to pay (less views I'm guessing!). Note that their character is basically maxed out, with multiple stamina rings and a row of hearts. Don't try this at home kids!

Truth be told I'm still having fun with wrecking Guardians three years later. It's pretty much the first thing I do now when I start a new game: go to Hyrule Field and have a field day. Farming up Guardian parts and running straight into the maw of Hyrule Castle is still my aesthetic.

This Zelda: Breath of the Wild combat video is straight out of a Dragon Ball Z episode screenshot


Here's some SNES Mario Kart inside Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

Those who recreate the past are doomed to get hit with a red shell. Pretty sure that's how the proverb goes.

Nintendo has remade the first Mario Kart track that most of us ever played inside Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. Check out the simplistic Mario Circuit 1 from the SNES Mario Kart as experienced through the AR lens of Home Circuit:

Here's some SNES Mario Kart inside Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit screenshot


PlayStation has a massive Halloween sale on horror games

Tis the season, as they say. Two more weeks to revel in the macabre before society goes back to thinking you're a weirdo for 11 more months. Murder's only cute one month out of the year.

PlayStation has a big ol' Halloween sale to get everyone in the mood. The sale mostly stays in its lane, too! Sure, there's some weird stuff like Crash Team Racing, but most of it's at least tangentially horror-related. You can see the connection for about 90 percent of the games.

Oh, you want recommendations? Fine. Let's start at the very top of the list with Alien: Isolation for $8. Mortal Shell for $25 is one of the newer games here. It might be your time to check out Death Stranding since it's down to $30. Salt and Sanctuary and Little Nightmares -- each around $5 -- are also excellent gets. I don't know if this is cheap or not, but I had a lot of fun with Darksiders Genesis and it's $28 in this sale. Lastly, I feel compelled to call out the Raccoon City Edition which is the Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes bundled together for $40. The name is far from intuitive but that might pique a lot of curiosity.

Here's the full list of everything available in the PlayStation Halloween Sale:

PlayStation has a massive Halloween sale on horror games screenshot


PS3, PSP, and Vita listings are about to vanish from the PlayStation Store on desktop and mobile

Sony is about to make a frustrating change to the PlayStation Store that's going to hit desktop and mobile users the hardest. Soon, it will no longer be possible to buy PS3, PSP, or Vita games (or their DLC) from the PlayStation Store if you're browsing on a web browser or mobile device. That restricted access also goes for apps, themes, and avatars – and the wishlist feature is being "discontinued" too.

What's the deal? Sony is cleaning house for the fast-approaching PlayStation 5.

The company sent out an email to PlayStation users yesterday with details about these (previously rumored) PlayStation Store changes and when they will take effect. On desktop, the switchover will happen sometime next week. On mobile devices, the removal is happening on October 28, 2020.

Under the new setup, if you want to buy a PlayStation 3, PSP, or PS Vita game, you'll need to do so on your original system using its less-than-ideal storefront. (One of the big reasons why this change is such an annoyance.) If you want to get PS4 apps, themes, or avatars, you'll need to use your PS4.

To be clear, your purchases aren't being revoked – "you will still be able to access all your previously purchased PS3, PSP, or PS Vita content as before," according to Sony. The issue is ease of access.

As for the web-based wishlist feature going away, I don't get it. That's just irritating. If you've got a bunch of potential games stockpiled for a rainy day, it's time to take notes and plan accordingly.

Discontinued PlayStation Apps, Features and Services [PlayStation Support]

PS3, PSP, and Vita listings are about to vanish from the PlayStation Store on desktop and mobile screenshot


Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On adds a new mode and a Wi-Fi indicator

Last night, Bandai Namco announced that spectator mode would be arriving for Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On. The frequently teased mode was not the only addition however, as multiple quality-of-life additions were included. A new "Player Match Arena" setup was added for lobbies, as well as one of the most desired features within the overall fighting game community.

There is now a Wi-Fi indicator built into the game, exposing players that are on wireless connections.

For the new Player Match Arena lobby, it can be described as a tournament setup. Players will fight in elimination matches, with the pairings determined by when they joined, a random shuffle, or by the room owner. Other room members will be able to spectate in a similar manner to watching replays, so expect the framerate to dip if you choose to watch all four players at once. The addition itself is nothing revolutionary, but it does help run online tournaments, which is a huge benefit given COVID-19.

On the other hand, we have the Wi-Fi indicator. While the heavily requested feature did make its way into Tekken 7 earlier this year, I don't know if this was the right move. To put it bluntly, the online player base for Gundam Extreme Vs., at least outside of Japan, is not in a healthy state.

Throughout the week I've been unable to find ranked matches, and have seen near-empty lobbies. I fear the resulting purges, as lobby owners can now mass kick based on connection type, will further damage what is left of the remaining player base rather than help revitalize it.

That being said, Bandai Namco is largely to blame for the state of the player base. While I did state in my review that there was a possibility of no DLC characters, the lack of any post-launch additions has been astonishing. Outside of these new modes and quality-of-life changes for player lobbies, there have been zero additions otherwise – not even a balance patch. It's not surprising that people fell off once they realized nothing was coming, or their favorite character had no hope of being buffed.

If this is what the developers choose, then it's no longer possible to recommend the game for its online suite, as the population just isn't there.

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On adds a new mode and a Wi-Fi indicator screenshot

Guilty Gear Strive looking to reinvent online ranked mode mentality

While many fighting game players love the thrill of testing their skills and mettle in online battles, it must be said that playing almost any fighting game's "ranked mode" can sometimes be a frustrating, deflating, and even stressful experience.

Certain fighters (I'm looking at you, Kombat League) put ridiculous emphasis on keeping your score momentum at terminal velocity, with the very worst punishments reserved for those at the top of the chain - despite the potential for online lag, disconnections, or the dreaded "off day." For many ranked players, the need to maintain that W/L percentage becomes paramount, superseding the desire to experiment in battle, or simply enjoy themselves. This is a mindset Arc System Works is hoping to change with its incoming fighter Guilty Gear Strive.

Guilty Gear Strive looking to reinvent online ranked mode mentality screenshot


Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition is getting physical on December 1, a few weeks after the digital release

Look, Devil May Cry 5 is fantastic; and I can't wait to play it again with enhanced visuals, even if the PC crowd is left out of the party this time around. The Special Edition is looking great so far, but if you really want to go the collector's route, you'll have to wait a bit.

The digital editions of the game are arriving on November 10 on Xbox Series X and November 12 on PS5, but Capcom has just announced that the physical versions won't ship until December 1. It's a small wait and likely due to production issues, but if you're keen on  collecting Dante's exploits like me, you may want to hold off. Consider this your PSA: the physical edition not only exists, but it's coming a bit later!

Out of all of the enhancements, like every other Special Edition that includes Vergil, I'm looking forward to the inclusion of another playstyle the most. Turbo Mode is also going to be rad as a new default. As a reminder, Vergil will be coming to the prior versions of the game eventually.

Devil May Cry 5 [Twitter]

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition is getting physical on December 1, a few weeks after the digital release screenshot


Review: Nioh 2: Darkness in the Capital

With Team Ninja dropping Nioh 2 DLC every few months, it's tough to catch up and stay caught up.

Darkness in the Capital uses the same structure as The Tengu's Disciple, meaning there's a new weapon to learn (Fists and Clawed Fists), a few main story missions (set in the Heian period), a handful of side skirmishes, and more "stuff" across the board – higher-level gear, several new guardian spirits, new yokai including a big-ghost-headed ox cart, and the next New Game+ difficulty tier, Dream of the Wise.

Oh, and there's a bonus fight against a certain Hayabusa. He's a slippery son of a gun.

Review: Nioh 2: Darkness in the Capital screenshot


Fallout 76's next big Steel Dawn update is being tested now

Fallout 76 already had its big moment earlier this year when Wastelanders arrived, but Bethesda is also planning for another expansion: Steel Dawn. What happens after that is anyone's guess, but we're coming up on the second anniversary of this game in a few days (October 23). It's hard to believe it's been around this long, polarizing Fallout fans everywhere!

So what's planned in the near future? Well, there's a "Bombs Drop Day" event to commemorate the start of the in-game "fallout," which begins on October 22. At that point a Double XP period starts (12PM ET on October 22 through the same time on October 26), as well as the invasion of the treasure hunting mole miners.

More importantly perhaps is more information regarding the rollout of Steel Dawn. Although it's still tentatively scheduled for a winter release, some quests are being tested right now in the PTS. Bethesda says there's no NDA for the test (it would be hard to enforce that since the PTS is now open to all Bethesda launcher users), but they do warn about flinging spoilers left and right.

During the PTS period for Steel Dawn, the shelters mechanic is still running: so you don't have to worry about Bethesda taking a wrecking ball to your new underground home just yet.

Inside the Vault []

Fallout 76's next big Steel Dawn update is being tested now screenshot

Something's in the fog in Dark Pictures: Little Hope

Supermassive Games has dropped a new trailer for the next entry in its creepy horror anthology The Dark Pictures. Little Hope will launch on PS4, PC, and Xbox One on October 30, promising players a particularly creepy Halloween weekend.

Following on from the haunted tale of the Man of Medan, Little Hope is a story of witchcraft and vengeance set within an abandoned New England county. Players will guide a group of college students and their professor, stranded in the fog-stained town after a bus crash. While Little Hope is seemingly bereft of all life, violent and grim memories are embedded within its walls. Little Hope owes a serious debt for its unjust history, and tonight our unlucky visitors may have just become its debtors.

Once again, players will be tasked with keeping Little Hope's cast alive and well, making both informed and gut-based decisions that will have far-reaching, (and perhaps fatal), consequences for the band of hapless heroes. Parties of up to five players can share the adventure in local co-op, working together to save the protagonists, or carrying the burden of blame as each character meets a uniquely sticky end.

Something's in the fog in Dark Pictures: Little Hope screenshot


Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is getting a 1-versus-100+ mode as DLC

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is the gift that keeps on giving: so long as you're willing to keep it installed and pay up.

Despite its release earlier this year in January it's still going with DLC, having hosted several free quality of life updates (like a cute time machine that lets you revisit old missions) and a major DLC pack. Now Bandai Namco is nearly ready to unleash "Part 2" of the New Power Awakens add-on, and it sounds like a doozy.

Based on a new article from V-Jump (as reported by ryokutya2089 and translated by Gematsu), the DLC will contain a mode called "Mob Battle," and it sounds like every DBZ fan's dream. It's all in the name: you'll take on a group of over 100 enemies who will all take you on at the same time, but you'll have extra powers at your disposal to make up for it. That list of abilities includes a "Maximum Kamehameha," which I really need to see happen in-game as soon as possible.

Kakarot has its faults, but it's shaping up to be a fun trip down memory lane and then some, with the extra content. Hopefully more free updates on the way to smooth things over, because at that point it would make a killer "Game of the Year Edition" gift for any Dragon Ball fan.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot [V-Jump via Gematsu]

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is getting a 1-versus-100+ mode as DLC screenshot

Marvel's Avengers keeps trucking with a new quality of life patch, but big content has been delayed into 2021

Marvel's Avengers and Fallout 76 are having a contest to see how many bugs pop up in each subsequent patch: and by Grabthar's Thor's hammer, Avengers is making a case.

The last time we checked in with Avengers the game wasn't doing so hot in terms of player retention, a problem that was even unusually acknowledged by developer Crystal Dynamics itself. While we still have to wait a bit to see how big of an impact the Kate Bishop, Hawkeye and Spider-Man DLC will make, there's a new patch (1.3.3) that addresses a few more lingering issues in the meantime.

A ton of bugs have been addressed involving reward problems, as well as combat bugs (like losing invulnerability immediately after reviving, which is a pain) and a nasty bug that the notes call an "infinite loading screen." My heart goes out to anyone who waited an hour to get back into their Avengers game. You can also preview cosmetic vendor items now, which is something that should have been in at launch; and is present in nearly every looter shooter at this point.

I can't help but think that at this point, the Spider-Man DLC is being held hostage as a "break glass in case of emergency" plan. If the userbase every really bottoms out, Crystal Dynamics can at least drop Spider-Man when everyone has their shiny new PS5s and upgraded versions of Avengers as an effort to get the playerbase surging again.

Speaking of....Crystal Dynamics has just announced that it will be delaying the next-gen versions until 2021, even if the game will be backward compatible. Kate Bishop's Hawkeye is also seeing a delay, which is extremely unfortunate as her arrival was supposed to move the story forward.

Players are getting an apology bundle of 1500 credits, 7000 units, 250 upgrade modules, a nameplate and 20 DNA keys to compensate. That would require them playing the game though, which might be a problem. To that end, you can find a list of things that Crystal Dynamics is adding to the game eventually, fueled by fan-feedback. This license is too valuable to give up just yet.

Version 1.3.3 [Square Enix]

Marvel's Avengers keeps trucking with a new quality of life patch, but big content has been delayed into 2021 screenshot


(Update) GONNER2 launches on PC and consoles October 22

[Update: Publisher Raw Fury and developer Art in Heart have officially announced that GONNER2 will launch on PS4, PC (via Steam and GOG), Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on October 22. You can check out a brand new trailer below.]

Art in Heart's beautiful-but-quirky roguelike GONNER2 has received a launch date for its Nintendo Switch release. The surreal adventure will hit the eShop on October 22.

(Update) GONNER2 launches on PC and consoles October 22 screenshot


(Update) Here's how to get your free Ash's Pikachu in Pokemon Sword and Shield

Today during this morning's special Pokémon stream, The Pokémon Company unveiled a new promo for Sword and Shield. Naturally, it involves Pikachu.

From here on out, special Pikachu will be distributed for Sword and Shield, tailored around the idea of it being "Ash's Pikachu" with eight different hats. The first one is available today, with more coming later "through various means." If history is anything to go by, codes doled out during tournament streams and the like are a safe bet.

To get the initial rat, enter "P1KACHUGET" into your copy of the game.

To unlock the second version, use: "1CH00SEY0U."

A third version has been released: "P1KAADVANCE."

As well as a fourth version: "V0LTTACKLEP1KA."

And the fourth version: "P1KABESTW1SH."

There's even going to be a full website for it! It's not live at the time of publication, but The Pokémon Company says more info will be available here. You can also take a look at the array of hats below.

(Update) Here's how to get your free Ash's Pikachu in Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot


Blizzard brings an end to a decade of development on StarCraft II

After 10 incredible years of sci-fi strategy action, Blizzard Entertainment has announced that it is ceasing development of further content for one of its most successful releases of all-time, StarCraft II.

In a statement on the Blizzard website, Vice President Rob Bridenbecker said that the team was "eternally grateful" for the StarCraft community's support over the past decade, and that the developer would now be solely focusing on balance tweaks, bug fixes and, most importantly, "what comes next" for the intergalactic warfaring franchise.

"We're going to continue supporting StarCraft II in the same manner as we have with our previous longstanding games, such as Brood War, focusing primarily on what our core and competitive communities care about most," noted Bridenbecker. "What this means is that we're not going to be producing additional for-purchase content, such as Commanders and War Chests, but we will continue doing season rolls and necessary balance fixes moving forward."

"We know some of our players have been looking forward to some of the things we're moving away from," Bridenbecker continues, "but the good news is this change will free us up to think about what's next, not just with regard to StarCraft II, but for the StarCraft universe as a whole."

While Blizzard has no announced StarCraft projects on the horizon, the popularity of the series - both from a single-player and an esports perspective - all but guarantees that the conflict between the Terrans, the Zerg, the Protoss, and any other alien race that deems itself up for the ruck will continue into the next generation... and beyond.

Blizzard brings an end to a decade of development on StarCraft II screenshot

Contest: Win Alpaca Ball: Allstars for Switch

In today's contest you can win wacky party game Alpaca Ball: Allstars for Switch!

The prophecy has been foretold! I covered Alpaca Ball: Allstars way back in the day because I'm a sucker for dumb games featuring animals. Since I'm a man of my word, I'm following up and giving away some Switch copies of this wacky little ditty. Who's in, and who's a turd who doesn't want a free game?

Contest: Win Alpaca Ball: Allstars for Switch screenshot


This is hopefully the last time Digimon Survive will be delayed

Bandai Namco has been no stranger to delays this year, and here's another one. Digimon Survive, a turn-based tactical game with visual-novel loveliness, is now aiming for a 2021 release window.

In a message on Twitter, producer Kazumasa Habu said that "current world events have shifted our development timing and we have made the difficult decision to push Digmon Survive's launch to 2021."

He also thanked fans for their "continued patience" and promised "exciting updates" in spring 2021.

This isn't the first time Digimon Survive has been pushed back. And actually, we even had a false alarm back in April when Weekly Famitsu printed a "TBA" error instead of the then-"2020" release date.

One of these days, Agumon. One of these days.

Digimon Games [Twitter]

This is hopefully the last time Digimon Survive will be delayed screenshot

The Epic Games Store has a few free games coming up that are perfect for Halloween

Halloween isn't just a single day in October so much as it is a mindset – at least, that's the excuse I'm using to justify watching all of my favorite horror movies again that I haven't seen in years, from Prince of Darkness to The People Under the Stairs to Hellraiser. That goes for video games, too. Squeeze 'em in.

As usual, the Epic Games Store is giving out free games, and the October lineup has a few titles befitting the Halloween mood. This week, it's Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Kingdom New Lands (admittedly an outlier). Next week – from October 22 to October 29 – it's Layers of Fear 2 and Costume Quest 2.

The picks make a lot of sense from a promotional standpoint. Frictional Games has Amnesia: Rebirth coming up on October 20, while Bloober Team has The Medium on December 10. I know most folks weren't over the moon about A Machine for Pigs (and I could say the same for Layers of Fear 2, which just didn't "click" with me), but criticisms are easier to accept when you're getting a game for free.

Flawed horror still has its place! See you next Thursday when it's time for another reminder.

The Epic Games Store has a few free games coming up that are perfect for Halloween screenshot

Are you online enough to remember all these Nintendo controversies?

"Did you know" this week can easily be replaced by "Can you remember?" It's a list of Nintendo's semi-recent blunders and missteps, and they're all the sort of things that this blog has probably covered at some point. It's just a matter of whether you're online enough to recall them all.

Did You Know Gaming tackles Nintendo controversies in its latest video. As the intro disclaimer clarifies, this isn't about games that are simply bad. It's about happenings where you're left to wonder aloud "My god, how did Nintendo screw that up so bad?!?"

I'll admit that I had about a 50 percent hit rate on these topics. For instance, I don't remember the Animal Crossing thing but I definitely remember the Tomodachi Life controversy. Too much stuff happens every single day. I feel like saving brain space for half of these is pretty good on my part!

Are you online enough to remember all these Nintendo controversies? screenshot

Planet Coaster: Console Edition will probably be the first game I buy for my Xbox Series S

We are less than a month away from the launch of the Xbox Series X/S, and while Microsoft might not have the big, tentpole releases its competition will have, that doesn't mean early adopters will be left with nothing to play. There is a bevy of titles that will be optimized for the new consoles at launch, including some shiny new games from Ubisoft and Sega.

However, the release I'm most looking forward to isn't all that new. In fact, it'll be nearly four years old when it makes its long awaited jump from PC to consoles. But after watching the new trailer below for Planet Coaster: Console Edition, I can see the wait will have been worth it.

Planet Coaster: Console Edition will feature a brand-new interface designed with a standard game controller in mind. Like in the PC version, players will have access to the Frontier Workshop, where they can browse designs and ideas uploaded by other players and share their own as well.

Planet Coaster: Console Edition will probably be the first game I buy for my Xbox Series S screenshot


Microsoft ups Xbox Elite Series 2 controller warranty from 90 days to one year

For the better part of 2020, Microsoft has faced a class action lawsuit over routine stick drift in several models of Xbox controllers. The Complaint alleges that Microsoft knows of the defects and refuses to repair the problem free of charge when users submit a support ticket. Just two weeks ago, the Complaint was amended to list the new(ish) Xbox Elite Series 2 controller as a model that is defective and subject to consumer relief.

Probably not coincidentally, Microsoft has just quadrupled the length of the Xbox Elite Series 2's standard warranty. In an update on its support page, Microsoft has extended the Elite Series 2 warranty from 90 days to one year.

The warranty change is retroactive too. The Elite Series 2 launched in November 2019, so all controllers are currently covered. If you previously paid for an out-of-warranty repair, you're due for a refund. If you've been holding off on a repair because you didn't want to pay for it, now's the time to send it in.

It took 11 months and some litigation, but we're finally where we should've been all along. A $180 controller should have quality control and insurance that outlasts three months.

Xbox Wireless Elite Series 2 Controller warranty update [Xbox]

Microsoft ups Xbox Elite Series 2 controller warranty from 90 days to one year screenshot

Destiny 2 will be 'optimized' for PS5 and Xbox Series X on December 8

Bungie is giving Destiny 2 a next-gen boost with FOV options, snappier load times, and a smoother frame rate, but the full update won't be ready in time for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S launch.

Destiny 2 will have "faster load times" and cross-generation multiplayer support if you boot it up on your Xbox Series X or S on November 10, or your PS5 on November 12, but as relayed in Bungie's blog post today, the optimized-for-next-gen version of Destiny 2 won't be released until December 8.

When that day comes, you'll benefit from optimizations and a feature rarely seen on consoles. On PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, there's 4K support, 60 frames per second, and a field-of-view slider with a "range similar to that on PC." It's the same story with Xbox Series S, except it's 1080p, not 4K.

"There will be noticeable improvements to things like loading the game and inspecting character inventory," according to Bungie. Keeping expectations in check, the studio warned that "some load times are dependent on networking and matchmaking," so the new speed gains can only go so far.

It would've been nice to have everything squared away in time for Beyond Light, but December is doable. Casual players have other stuff to play, and hardcore fans will still be chipping away at it.

It's going to be interesting – and hopefully fun, not frustrating – to see how all of our long-time-running games can adapt to these powerful new consoles. I've got a list of old favorites to check out.

The Next Generation of Destiny [Bungie]

Destiny 2 will be 'optimized' for PS5 and Xbox Series X on December 8 screenshot

Your extra PS5 controller might arrive way ahead of your PS5

Sony is inadvertently taking teasers to an all-new level. Two weeks before the PlayStation 5 shows up on doorsteps, some folks will be getting their spare PS5 controllers in the mail.

Some people who ordered PS5 accessories through Sony are getting emails that the delivery date is being bumped up to around October 30. The PlayStation 5 launches on November 12. The PS5 controller isn't compatible with the PS4. That means it's useless until the PS5 arrives. Tantalizing but useless.

Here's what the confirmation email looks like:

Your extra PS5 controller might arrive way ahead of your PS5 screenshot


Tour the real-life inspiration for Pokemon's Galar region with this new video series

Say what you will about Pokemon Sword and Shield (and you will!), but I really love the Galar region.

Some portions of it feel underdeveloped, but the vistas and actual landscapes are beautiful and fun to look at. Having played Pokemon since day one of picking up Red and Blue at Toys "R" Us, it's crazy seeing how far the series has come: even if it hasn't come far enough for a lot of people.

If you also dug Galar, this video from The Pokemon Company's YouTube channel should give you a bit of background on the real-life UK inspiration. One word of warning though: if you want to skip all of the influencer-esque freaking out about how cool all the free stuff is, skip ahead to roughly 5:00 in.

While the actual touring is fairly light in this episode, there's more to come: it's part of a series that will be traveling around the UK "each week." If you're in the UK, you're probably thinking: this is just my backyard! Well, your backyards are breathtaking!

Tour the real-life inspiration for Pokemon's Galar region with this new video series screenshot


Atelier Ryza 2 will cook up a commotion in North America this January

There are two things I know to be true about the Atelier franchise. First, the series is getting more popular outside of Japan, with Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout selling more copies than any previous entry. Second, Gust Co. likes to pump out sequels with a type of regularity we usually only see in sports franchises.  

As the first Atelier Ryza nears its first anniversary here in North America, we now know the release date for its sequel, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy. The game will hit Switch, PS4, PS5, and Windows PC on January 26, 2021 in North America and on January 29, 2021 in Europe. That's not too long from now.

Atelier Ryza 2 sees Ryza teaming up with old friends and new as they seek the truth of ancient ruins and forgotten legacy of the Royal Capital. Along with new locations to explore, the game will feature a modified version of the original's party system. In addition to the three main members of your team, you'll also be able to assign one sub-member.

Select retailers will have pre-order bonuses in the form of t-shirt DLC for Ryza. Anyone who purchases the game in the first two weeks will also get the Summer Fashion Costume set DLC for free, and if you have save data from the first game, you'll unlock the Classic Costume set.

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy [Koei Tecmo] 

Atelier Ryza 2 will cook up a commotion in North America this January screenshot

Nioh 2 'Darkness in the Capital' DLC drops today on PS4

Koei Tecmo has released its second DLC add-on for mythical samurai sequel Nioh 2. The Darkness in the Capital expansion, available to download on PS4 today, is available to purchase standalone or as part of the Nioh 2 season pass.

Set in a past version of Japan's capital city of Kyoto, Darkness in the Capital will see our protagonist rally together some of legend's foremost demon-slayers, samurai, and mages, for a desperate battle against a powerful yokai, whose very presence in the past threatens Japan's future.

Alongside the new story content (designed to be played after one has completed Nioh 2's main questline), Darkness in the Capital features new enemies, orange Ethereal-tier gear, Smithing Texts, Guardian Spirits, and the Fists/Clawed Fists weapon type. Additionally, a new difficulty level, Dream of the Wise, has been added, offering dedicated Nioh players their toughest challenge to date.

Nioh 2 'Darkness in the Capital' DLC drops today on PS4 screenshot


This is the Xbox Series X launch lineup

This list is going to come with several asterisks attached. "Launch lineup" doesn't mean what it used to. Previous generations, these were the new games that were on shelves alongside new consoles. Now... it's different.

Microsoft has named the Xbox Series X launch lineup but under a different banner. Instead, these are called the "Games Fully Optimized on Xbox Series X and S Launch Day." Catchy! The distinction is important because not all of these games are new. Most of them, in fact. These are the games that will have next-gen enhancements immediately applied. It's just that some of them happen to also be launching for the first time.

So, we're left with some of the list looking like Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and Dirt 5, all of which definitely qualify as launch titles. Then there's stuff like Maneater, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Gears 5. Those simply "look and play best on Xbox Series S/X" but by no means will be confused for brand new games.

Here are the 31 games that Microsoft more or less officially pegs as the launch lineup:

This is the Xbox Series X launch lineup screenshot


(Update) My Nintendo is offering these Mario posters for 300 Platinum Points

[Update: The poster reward (with different designs) is now live for the US My Nintendo store, where it's going for 800 Platinum Points. There's also a Mario Zipper Case for 800 points, an Origami King origami set for 400, an Origami King postcard set for 300 and a Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit ID holder and lanyard for 800.

As a note, three out of four of the recent Animal Crossing rewards are still in stock. It's entirely possible that a few of these might sell out, but there's also a chance a few of these could remain in stock until you can get the points for them. Remember to grab 100 Platinum Points with our guide!]

Nintendo is going hog-wild with physical My Nintendo rewards now, offering up several new goodies that can be acquired with Platinum Points: funny money that can be earned through various means and website challenges.

Today, a new reward hit My Nintendo, but only in the UK: a triple-poster set featured around Super Mario 3D All-Stars. In other words, you get one poster each of Mario 64, Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy, based off of the box art. They're printed on 170g/m paper, sized at 70 x 50cm each. Nintendo calls this a "limited-time offer," which is likely a true statement, as My Nintendo products have the propensity to sell out in under 24 hours.

Note that you just need to pay with 300 Platinum Points plus shipping. If you've never done this before, you basically just log in, exchange your points, and you'll be granted a code. Use that code on the Nintendo Store to get the item for free, at which point you'll need to fork over for shipping costs (estimated at £6.25 for the UK and other select European countries).

As of right now they are not offered on the US My Nintendo site. We'll let you know if that changes.

Super Mario 3d All-Stars Poster Set [My Nintendo UK]

(Update) My Nintendo is offering these Mario posters for 300 Platinum Points screenshot

Hearthstone's Battlegrounds meta just got a huge shakeup with some hero and card nerfs

Hearthstone is in a pretty decent spot right now. The current cadence includes big Battlegrounds patches between major standard expansions, and I'm really enjoying the seesaw approach there. Whenever standard is getting me down I have the option to hunker down in Battlegrounds: and vice-versa. 

Lately, Battlegrounds has been an absolute warzone with the introduction of several new heroes and the Elemental tribe. Elementals have been dominant in many respects, alongside of a new hero that's absolutely crushing it so heavily that it probably should have been tested a bit more (Ragnaros) and several others that are not making any impact. Patch 18.4.2 is making strides to bring things back in line a bit more.

The major takeaways include Ragnaros getting a slight nerf (he needs to kill 25 minions instead of 20 now to bring his Sulfuras ability online, which now gives +3/+3 instead of +4/+4), Maiev getting a nerf (Imprison now gives +1 attack instead of +1/+1) and the complete removal of the Pogo-Hopper minion; which was seeing very sleazy play with one of the last waves of heroes (Jandice).

If Pogos or Ragnaros were in your games these past few weeks, there was a good chance that they were in the top four, if not taking the whole crown. It was frustrating to play against and not incredibly interactive to play, so thankfully these changes are coming at the right time. Low-end heroes have also been buffed a bit (Chenvaala, Patchwerk, Sindragosa, Mukla) and Bartendotron (a very low winrate hero) has been removed from the pool entirely to cut down on the annoyance of being offered multiple low-end characters.

Several minions have also been altered, most notably Deadly Spore (which is now tavern tier six), Lil'rag (also moved to tier six) and Gentle Djinni (now tier five). All of these alterations should make for a big meta shakeup, as Lil'Rag was an early enabler for Elementals. Yes, both versions of Ragnaros have been nerfed: fair play for the Fire Lord.

In all I'm happy with most of the changes here, but I'm not sure that the Ragnaros nerf was enough. He'll need about another turn to get his ability online, but once that happens (especially now that Deadly Spore is a tier higher) he's still going to dominate most compositions: enough to squeak him into the top four by sheer force of will. Clearing Pogos out may have been overkill, but as a stop-gap solution, I'm just happy that every Jandice I play against won't be using the same boring, homogenized build.

Patch 18.4.2 is live today!

18.4.2 Patch Notes [Hearthstone]

Hearthstone's Battlegrounds meta just got a huge shakeup with some hero and card nerfs screenshot

Left 4 Dead 2 has only improved with age, all thanks to the community surrounding it

It's been over a decade now since the release of Left 4 Dead 2, and now with the community-made "Last Stand" update, what better time to kill hordes of zombies than ever before?

On today's Impulse, Justin and I discuss and share our past and current experiences with this wonderful gem of a game. From what graphics cards we were rocking when we first played Left 4 Dead 2, to all the times Justin straight-up abandoned me during our recent play sessions. It's a conversation of nostalgia, zombie-killing, being killed by zombies, and much more!

So take a seat in your favorite chair, make sure the lights are off and that you've got headphones on (to prevent any noise from alerting the horde), then sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of gunfire, betrayal, and Louis screaming about pills.

Left 4 Dead 2 has only improved with age, all thanks to the community surrounding it screenshot

Nintendo Download: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

It's a bit of an unconventional week for Nintendo's eShop, as the top game is actually a pseudo-app of sorts!

The culprit is none other than Mario Kart Live: the hybrid augmented reality real-life kart toy that allows players to run a machine with a camera strapped to it through their house, which doubles as the track. The action plays out on an actual Switch screen, which fills in AI opponents, hazards and other goodies. It's $99 for the starter kit, which comes with Mario (as in, Mario driving the kart) and the physical gates to create the track.

There's a few other options if that's too rich for your blood. Roki is out on Switch this week, as well as Jackbox Party Pack 7. A new Jackbox game is basically an even in our household! It's especially useful now that there are concessions for playing online with each other via streaming.

Nintendo Download: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit screenshot


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