We've been diligently tracking Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin for years on Destructoid because we enjoyed Edelweiss' last game, Astebreed, and we're into the idea of an action-game-meets-rice-growing-sim. I can't say I've played one of those before, but this one looks promising, and it has for a long, long time.
That said – and I cannot stress this enough – Sakuna's November 10 release date sure isn't helping anyone. It's launching the same day as the Xbox Series X and S, and just two days before the PlayStation 5, to say nothing of the big-hitters like Cyberpunk 2077 releasing throughout November.
It wasn't originally going to be this way (Sakuna was supposed to release last year), and there will still be people who are interested in this niche game who aren't going to have a new console gobbling up all of their free time next month, but dang, it stings to see this series of unfortunate events unfold.
Xseed is taking pre-orders for the physical Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 versions of Sakuna (it's also coming to Steam), and the publisher shared a new gameplay trailer to rekindle dwindling excitement. Let this article remind us to check it out as soon as we can. (In 2021, potentially?)
Best-case scenario, I hope Sakuna snowballs its way into sleeper-hit status.
You know what they say about expectations. Set them low and you might find yourself surprisingly pleased. Set them high and you're only setting yourself up for disappointment.
G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout is a licensed, B-tier, bargain bin sort of third-person shooter, and it might just the injection of nostalgia you need right now. Operation Blackout lets you play as both the heroes and the villains. Duke, Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander, Destro, Roadblock, Storm Shadow are 6 of the 12 playable characters.
What's more, the story campaign features split-screen co-op. There's also a PvP multiplayer mode that might prove fun because of every character's unique abilities.
But, I don't know -- I'm just basing all of these assumptions off of the 90 seconds worth of launch trailer that I watched. It doesn't necessarily look bad though, right? It looks better than you'd expect a G.I. Joe game to look? As Jordan mentioned in our announcement post, it's a low bar to clear.
G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout launched today on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One for $40. If G.I. Joe was a big part of your childhood, this game might have the chops to bring back some good memories and provide some entertainment. If G.I. Joe isn't something you care about, well, then this decent-seeming third-person shooter is a lot riskier of a proposition.
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.
Rockstar Games has added UK studio Ruffian Games to its ever-expanding portfolio, rebranding its latest acquisition "Rockstar Dundee," after the Scottish developer's home city. Rockstar Dundee joins a lengthy list of studios operating under Take-Two Interactive in the UK, Canada, and North America.
Founded in 2008, Ruffian Games has mostly operated alongside other developers, working on a range of various Microsoft Studios titles and ports. The studio is best known for its sci-fi open-world sequel Crackdown 2, which launched on Xbox 360 back in 2010. The Ruffian team includes developers gathered from studios such as DMA Design and Climax.
While the acquisition by Rockstar is a relatively new announcement, it seems that the two companies have been working together for at least the past year on a selection of unspecified titles.
The purchase of Ruffian Games will help bolster Rockstar's ranks as it enters a whole new generation of gaming, one which will no doubt see the blockbuster studio embark on new entries in franchises such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and Table Tennis*.
Rockstar buys Crackdown 2 developer Ruffian Games [The Gamer]
*Perhaps not this one.
One of Microsoft's pillars of next-gen is unifying the past two decades of Xbox. This morning, Microsoft detailed exactly how Xbox Series S/X make backward compatibility better. An underlooked part of that plan is the way it's dropping barriers for accessing games you've already played.
Two generations ago, Microsoft tied cloud saves behind maintaining an active Xbox Live Gold subscription. That requirement is going away. Moving forward, everyone will be able to access their Xbox 360 cloud saves without a premium subscription. "For those of you still enjoying Xbox 360, cloud saves will soon be free to all Xbox 360 users, making transferring your favorite games to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S even easier," Microsoft states.
The concept of free cloud saves shouldn't seem novel in 2020. Xbox One's cloud saves have always been free. Sony, however, has them locked behind a PS Plus subscription for PS4 saves. That's wild. That needs to change on PS5.
Anyway, it's a nice little accessibility thing for people who are still playing Xbox 360 stuff -- even if it feels like it came several years too late. Their saves are no longer being held hostage behind a paywall. The Xbox Series X has unleashed them and lets them run free across the cloud.
[Update: Halloween Terror 2020 is live in Overwatch with eight new skins, three of which (Fantasma Sombra, Stone Brigitte, and Ragdoll Echo) can be unlocked with Weekly Challenges – you just need score nine wins each week). Check out the gallery to see Tengu Genji and everyone else.]
For a while, Overwatch kept churning out events at such a rapid pace, it was fun to see what the team could come up with. Halloween Terror co-op content? Sure, I'll take it.
But Blizzard could only keep the "brand new" feel train running for so long, and now we've settled into a comfortable cadence of returning events. Halloween Terror returns annually, usually with small twists and new skins on top of the same wave-based foundation. The same thing is happening this year.
Over the weekend, Blizzard confirmed that Halloween Terror is coming on October 13. It'll run through November 3, and as usual, skins are at the forefront of the event. Previous limited-run skins will be available to pick up again (with old ones accompanied with a discount), as well as some new ones teased in the video below (the Echo skin is perfection).
Halloween Terror, without fail, gets me to play even a little bit more Overwatch each year. Recently, the Switch version has been calling to me!
Axiom Verge 2 is no longer a 2020 release – it's aiming for a first-half-of-2021 launch. In a blog post today, creator Tom Happ highlighted a few reasons why the sequel is taking longer than expected.
He says Axiom Verge 2's art style is "far more complex" since it's set on "a more earth-like planet with natural inclines and dips." Beyond that, the enemies have more advanced behaviors – some of them will scan the room for you and "give chase" – and there's a new feature to replace the Address Disruptor that "serves a similar function but in a way that gives the player more control over the outcome."
The original release window, fall 2020, was "based my prediction on the remaining features on my project list and how long those tasks took when I was making Axiom Verge," he explained.
Looking at Nintendo Switch exclusives and first-party games in particular for the rest of this year, the console's autumn lineup could be stronger – and I say that as someone who's getting Pikmin 3 Deluxe this month and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity next month. Axiom Verge 2 would've slotted in nicely.
Happ said he's "extremely grateful" that Axiom Verge fans have been hitting him up about the delay and expressing interest after all this time. "I had my concerns about whether people would even care at all about a sequel coming five years after the release of the original," he wrote. "Although it's taking longer than I originally hoped, I am going to do my best to make sure it's worth the wait."
Next year will be fine. In the end, I'm sure the sequel will be all the better for it.
The Legacy of 2020 Continues [Axiom Verge 2]
Feral Interactive has announced that excellent sci-fi sequel XCOM 2 Collection will be making its debut on iOS in November 2020. The iOS port of the 2018 Firaxis strategy release will include the base game, as well as the War of the Chosen expansion and multiple add-on packs.
XCOM 2 Collection will support the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 Plus, and all models released following the iPhone X. For iPad users, you can enjoy turn-based alien warfare on all post-2017 iPad Pros, and all standard iPads released after 2019. You can download the title from the App Store from November 5, priced at around $25.
Of course, for regular PC and console folk, XCOM 2 Collection is already available on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Capcom has revealed that Street Fighter V's hoity-toity warrior Karin is set to receive a new costume in the near future. This one is something a little special, as it will see the upper-class madam kit herself out in the style of Hokuto, one of the lead characters from Arika's Fighting EX Layer.
As fighting game fans will be aware, this crossover is something of a "return to roots" deal for both franchises. Fighting EX Layer is a title spawned out of the characters that appeared in Arika's Street Fighter EX series in the mid-'90s, which re-imagined the classic 2D fighting title in 3D form.
We've seen a lot of memorable replicas of various Zelda: Breath of the Wild paraphernalia over the past three years or so, but sometimes a unique work still catches my eye.
This particular one is from Redditor thehyliann, showcasing their Great Flameblade life-size replica. While the actual quality of the sword is impressive enough, in the below video they show off how it can actually light up, just like how it glows in the game.
As a reminder, Great Flamblades are incredibly useful weapons that can get you out of a jam in Breath of the Wild: allowing you to burn enemy wooden shields or solve puzzles more easily when they require a flaming touch and you're out of elemental arrows. The pedestal that thehyliann puts the sword on is reminiscent of the ones that Link uses in his Hateno Village home: which is conveniently on the monitor in the video.
As far how long it took to make, thehyliann says it was around a week's worth of work. They used wood to make the handle and guard: a process they say that they will probably use again for potential future Frost and Thunder blades. The light is a cathode anode at low voltage; which is triggered by placing the sword on the pedestal.
The first version already sold on their Etsy store!
Back in May of this year, Capcom held a Twitter poll to gauge the most popular monsters in Monster Hunter World. Some of you may recall that Safi'jiiva won, with Yian Garuga coming in dead last. With Iceborne in the mix though, things have been shaken up quite a bit.
With four options in the new poll: now, Zinogre is in the lead as the most popular and most-hunted creature of Iceborne. Safi'jiiva is now rocking second place, with Velkhana in third and Fiercewater Nargacuga as the fourth-most popular.
As far as the least-popular monsters go, Brute Tigrex came in dead last on a separate poll as fifth place in the loser's bracket. Third place is Shara Ishvalda, second place is Scarred Yian Garuga and first place is Viper Tobi-Kadachi. For reference, the polls ran through 17:00 JST today, and just concluded around the time of publication.
If you're interested in comparing and contrasting the poll options for yourself, just head here and copy/paste the Japanese script into your search bar on this page. This handy database lists monster names in both languages!
While Zinogre is a fine creature to win the poll, I'm still partial to Safi'jiiva.
Monster Hunter JP [Twitter] Thanks John!
Devolver Digital has released a wacky teaser trailer for a brand new entry in strategy gaming series Reigns. Reigns: Beyond, once again developed by indie outfit Nerial, is currently in the works for release on Apple Arcade.
The excitable trailer does not feature any gameplay footage, but does see the series eschew its usual medieval aesthetic for a sci-fi setting. According to the blurb, Reigns: Beyond will see players take charge of an intergalactic rock band, managing their resources, equipment, and band-mates as they travel from gig to gig across the Milky Way and beyond.
Reigns: Beyond will include over 60 quirky characters, a whopping 1400 decision cards, and a stellar soundtrack composed by Grindstone's Sam Webster. No release date was announced but interested space rockers can pre-order the game over on the App Store.
Hi-Rez Studios is seemingly putting all of their money-making power into Smite, locking up deals for some fairly huge IPs to appear in the game. They just recently hosted Avatar: The Last Airbender and now they're going down the nostalgia hole (and further into their partnership with Nickelodeon) with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo are all appearing in their turtle glory, as part of the upcoming November "TMNT Battle Pass." As usual, these wacky characters are reskins of existing Gods. So Leonardo will double as Osiris, Donatello is predictably Sun Wukong, Raphael is Loki (ha, he would be) and Michelangelo is Mercury. You can also opt for "radical" versions of their skins, which emulate their '90s look.
As a reminder, Hi-Rez also runs Paladins, Realm Royale and most recently: Rogue Company. They're fairly busy for a private company!
Borderlands fans planning on making the leap to next-gen platforms will be super stoked to hear that next-gen upgrades of Borderlands 3 will be ready to roll day-and-date alongside the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X hardware.
The next-gen ports of Borderlands 3 will feature 4K resolution and will run at 60 FPS. New options will allow for three-and-four player split-screen gameplay for local multiplayer modes. Pandora explorers upgrading to the PS5 and Xbox Series X port will be able to carry over their current accounts, complete will all gear, weapons, loot, and levels. Rad stuff. (It should be noted that all current Borderlands 3 physical disc owners will require a disc-enabled next-gen console to access some of the aforementioned features.)
Of course, those new to Borderlands 3 will be able to purchase the new edition of the game outright from the PlayStation or Microsoft store respectively. The next-gen edition of Borderlands 3 will launch November 10 on Xbox Series X and November 12/19 on PS5.
In one final piece of news, 2K Games will present a special edition of "The Borderlands Show" on October 29, offering the latest news pertaining to the franchise's future. The action will kick off at 09:00 PT / 12:00 ET / 17:00 BST on the official Borderlands Twitch channel.
Masahiro Sakurai is a madman when it comes to detail.
The extended look at Minecraft's Steve in Smash Ultimate is insane, especially the bit where Sakurai explains that every level had to be retooled to work with the character. Naturally, Steve's accompanying stage will be pretty detail-oriented as well.
Shared on the official Smash Bros. Twitter account, it has come to light that players will be able to hold certain button combinations to access specific biomes. As a reminder, biomes are separate areas in Minecraft that are randomly generated across a giant map; and host different resources and creatures.
To initiate the cheat-like functionality, you just hold down the button combinations above and select the stage. I'm going to be going with the Snowy Tundra fairly often! It's one of my favorite Minecraft biomes and Smash could use some more winter-themed stages.
As a reminder, Steve is out later today in Smash Ultimate.
Smash Bros. JP [Twitter]
When the next generation arrives, there's going to be a huge emphasis on older games.
That's just how Microsoft is rolling this year with a lack of some hard-hitting first-party exclusives: but it makes perfect sense. Microsoft has been committed to backward compatibility for some time now, striving to make a ton of super old games work on newer hardware, dating all the way back to the original Xbox. Today, they shared a bit more on how all of that is going to work.
Microsoft says that "backward compatible games run natively on the Xbox Series X and S, running with the full power of the CPU, GPU and SSD." You don't need to toggle a special boost mode, it'll just work, with "higher and more steady framerates," with "maximum resolution and visual quality." The publisher also touts "significant reductions in load times," in part due to the SSD and the Velocity Architecture initiative.
They're also boasting "Auto HDR," which allows the Xbox Series S and X to automatically enhance games with HDR that didn't previously have access to it. Microsoft says developers don't even need to implement it manually, and games as far back as Fuzion Frenzy can take advantage of it.
Amazingly, Microsoft is saying that some games will have "double the framerate," using Fallout 4 as an example: going from 30 FPS to 60 FPS. This will be for "select titles," and "not applicable for many [games]," so keep that in mind. Given what we found out about Sekiro hitting 60 FPS, it might be limited to semi-recent offerings; despite being a different case. Other bonuses include improved textures and better resolution.
As for what you need to do? Nothing, basically. Once you hook up your Series X you can re-download old stuff or put in a compatible disc. That's the plan anyway, and it sounds pretty great.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity's marketing is really heating up, as Nintendo is starting to show off some of its unique bits.
While at first it seemed like just another Warriors game, Nintendo is leaning hard into the tie-in with Breath of the Wild. We just recently saw that there will be some heavy lore implications with the action-centric prequel, and now it looks like we're going to be getting a deeper look at the Yiga Clan.
While the Yiga were mostly a footnote in Breath of the Wild, featured in one major questline and a few sidequests, they're going to be front and center in Age of Calamity, if this new clip is anything to go by. We get to see the infamous Master Kohga, who will potentially play a greater role, as well as an "ominous figure" aiding the clan. I'm getting Agahnim vibes.
At the end of the video, two Yiga footmen are seen kneeling in front of a character with a tattered cloak and what might be a magical sextant. Talk about a tease!
As we move ever closer to the "next generation," Microsoft is gently reminding us that the transition will be a little smoother if you're an Xbox Game Pass subscriber.
This month you get a little bit of everything: strategy, action, JRPG, retro, puzzler and....sports? The first run, which kicks off on October 15, involves Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, which is a brand new game that's actually out on that same day (reminder: Microsoft is pushing brand new first-party releases as a part of the Game Pass program).
October 15 will also host Heave Ho, Katana Zero, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition and The Swords of Ditto. A week later, on October 21-22, ScourgeBringer, Cricket 19 and Supraland are out.
This drop might not seem exciting, but it's a sleeping giant of sorts. Tales of Vesperia is worth playing if you haven't experienced it before, and it feels right at home on the Xbox 360: a former bastion of JRPGs and the one to welcome Vesperia into the world originally. Katana Zero is also a great way to get sucked into an afternoon if you enjoyed Hotline Miami.
There's a lot to choose from! It's the calm before the November 10 Xbox Series X storm.
Coming Soon to Xbox Game Pass for Console and PC [Xbox Wire]
Almost a full year after release, Infinity Ward has finally added mode-specific install options to the PC edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The new feature will let players pick and choose which elements of the game they wish to have installed at any given time, in an effort to drive down the military shooter's unfathomable 225GB file size.
Once the patch goes live, PC users will be able to select the individual addition or removal of huge "Data Packs," including the single-player campaign, Spec Ops, multiplayer, and the standalone battle royale title, Warzone. This will allow CoD players to free up precious HDD space for other games and applications... Perhaps Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War?
On a personal note, while this multi-install feature has been available on the PS4 edition for some time, I have run into multiple problems when it comes to reinstalling Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The title will often ask for missing data packs, then flatly refuse to download them when requested, even after a full reinstall. A quick Google search sees that I'm not alone in running into this frustrating issue, so here's hoping the PC edition will not suffer the same pitfalls.
There are a lot of schools of thought when it comes to microphone tech, but I've been a Blue (da ba dee da ba daa) man for many years now.
The now-Logitech-owned company has a penchant for simplistic designs that are not only effective from a recording standpoint, but also aesthetically pleasing: if you've watched a video podcast or stream, you've probably seen a Blue microphone at some point.
The Yeti X has been one of Blue's top pieces of hardware for a while now: and that family is about to expand later this month with the very weird, yet very interesting "World of Warcraft Edition" Yeti X.
Over the weekend, modder Lance McDonald showed Bloodborne running at 60 frames per second on a PlayStation 4 Pro – the culmination of lots and lots of tinkering. It's as beautiful as we all imagined.
Before you get any funny ideas, McDonald says that "out of respect," he won't release his unofficial high-frame-rate patch until after the PS5 is out in November and Sony has "made it clear whether or not Bloodborne will be enhanced on that system in any way." If an official patch never comes, "you'll need a way to run unsigned code on a PlayStation console to use the utility once it's released."
As for how any of this is possible, well, his 15-minute video is a great showcase.
This modification was far from a simple flip of a switch with debug tools to uncap the 30FPS limit. "A vast array of features such as cloth physics, particle and special effects, environmental wind, enemy patrol pathing, motion blur, sampling rate, and elevator movement speed" needed "manual patching."
McDonald was able to fine-tune everything by studying From Software's PS4 Pro patch for Dark Souls III and applying his own "performance-focused optimizations" that weren't in that game or Sekiro.
As a trade-off, the rendering resolution was dropped from a native 1080p to 720p. "The engine still scales this to 1080p for the final video output" but it has an impact on "the in-game visuals and UI."
For a full technical rundown, check out Digital Foundry's analysis from May. "A lot of you might have already seen me discussing this with Digital Foundry some time ago," he said this weekend on Reddit, "but I finally spent time to test the entire game a few times through and filmed a ton of footage."
The 60FPS footage was captured in a bunch of areas. According to McDonald, the frame rate holds up consistently "across the majority of the game's campaign, including The Old Hunters expansion."
Pressed for time, I'd suggest skipping to the 5:30 mark to see a boss montage (with major spoilers) that really highlights the patch's dramatic improvement. These scenes – combined with the best-in-class soundtrack – make me want to drop what I'm doing and start a Bloodborne replay right this second.
I truly hope we can get an official PS5 patch. This game-of-a-generation deserves it.
Lance McDonald [Twitter]
Everything, at all times, is dangerous in a battle royale. Everyone has the explicit goal of killing you, and that doesn't make for a lot of downtime and easy breathing. Rarely, though, is the environment trying to kill you too.
PUBG's Season 9 introduces a very unstable battleground. A new map called Páramo is being added. Páramo takes place in the Andes mountains on an active volcano. Battle Royale meets Dante's Inferno.
Páramo is the first dynamic map in PUBG. The developer hasn't really indicated exactly what "dynamic" means in this context. It's presumed that the volcano may or may not blow, and the lava it spews will create unique environmental hazards. However it works, it's touted that every game will be different.
Sonic, despite being a destroyer of chili dogs, keeps a pretty trim figure. He gets the cardio in, putting in enough Miles to warrant as many cheat days as he needs.
That's why it's moderately disturbing to see Sonic within the framework of a rotund Bean. Gaze upon this weirdness:
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.
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.
The first time was the charm and the second time was also the charm, so there's no need to go back to the well a third time. At least not yet.
Moon Studios, who's best-known for Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, isn't doing the 2D metroidvania thing again for its third game. Late last year, we learned through a job listing that Moon's next game will be a next-gen 3D action RPG that's inspired by the likes of Zelda and Diablo. Now, the developer is starting to talk about it just a little bit.
In an interview with The Gamer, Ori lead artist Daniel van Leeuwen says "The new project we're working on is a very different project to what Ori is. So for sure we'll be able to use a lot of things that we weren't able to use in Ori, just because it's a 3D environment. And we're aiming for a few years out so yes, we are looking at a lot of these next-gen techniques."
He continued "I think at Moon we just want to make something that stands out from the crowd, to really drive a strong artistic feeling, and for that we'll have to utilize a lot of techniques that we haven't before."
That probably signals the end of the road for Ori, at least for now. Moon's next game is also breaking free from Xbox exclusivity, as Private Division is publishing it. Microsoft owns the rights to Ori, so there's no chance this action RPG is the evolution of the little woodland creature -- unless Moon has enough cash to buy the property.
The metroidvania platformer market was crowded but Ori came along and towered over most everyone else. The action RPG market is in a similar place. There's no reason to think Moon can't do it again.
Izanagi Games has finally secured a new release date for the PS4 edition of Death Come True. The FMV murder-mystery title will now launch on the PlayStation Store on November 12.
Death Come True, the tale of a young man who awakens in a plush hotel suite to find himself both wanted for multiple murders and caught in a time loop, launched on PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile platforms this past summer. A PS4 port was supposed to arrive this week, but was ultimately delayed due to the title requiring re-submission to Sony's classification process.
In our review for the PC release, I found Death Come True to be a short-lived and not entirely successful entry into the FMV genre from a gameplay standpoint, but more than worth checking out due to its expertly shot mini-movie, featuring great characters, solid performances, and an engaging mystery.
Death Come True is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile platforms.
Gears fans should play Gears Tactics. It's not an essential part of the lore and it's not the classic Gears formula, but there's a lot of familiarity in Gears that translates well to turn-based strategy. I know I'm going to be lobbying for its inclusion in some Game of the Year discussions.
As if being a totally quality game weren't reason enough, here's another carrot on a stick: Gears Tactics protagonist Gabe Diaz will be a playable character in Gears 5 multiplayer. All you have to do is play Gears Tactics on PC or Xbox to unlock him. Gabe joins the roster on November 17, one week after Gears Tactics emerges on Xbox.
Playing a separate game isn't as arduous in this case because of Xbox Game Pass. Both Gears 5 and Gears Tactics are included with Xbox Game Pass, so there's no need to own both of them in order to unlock Gabe. One subscription will have you covered.
Gabe brings another branch of the Diaz family tree to Gears 5. He's Kait's father, and nothing says Daddy Daughter Day like curbstomping some Locust. Don't let him die in multiplayer, though. Canonically, the Rustlung has to do him in.
Gabe Diaz Coming to Gears 5 [Gears Tactics]
Shy Guy, the cute Super Mario villain beloved by our own Wes Tacos, is now available in solid gold form in Nintendo's mobile racer Mario Kart Tour. But anyone wishing to grab the sparkly fella will have to move fast, as he will only be available until October 15, 2020.
Gold Shy Guy has been added to the pipe as part of Mario Kart Tour's ongoing anniversary celebrations. Joining him in a special "Gold Pipe" gacha pull are returning rares Gold Koopa, Gold Dry Bones, and Gold Dry Bowser, along with a variety of matching gold karts and gliders. In all, 50 items are available from the Gold Pipe between now and October 15.
Also currently live in the MKT Anniversary Tour are new circuit New York Minute 3, as well as returning favourites Paris Promenade 1, Vancouver Velocity 1, Tokyo Blur 1, and London Loop 1. There is also a fresh opportunity to bag returning drivers Hakama Mario, Vacation Peach, Bus Driver Waluigi, Aurora Rosalina, and Pauline.
For the past several years, it's not uncommon to see a Magic: The Gathering meta where a single card archetype is defining the vast majority of competitive decks. We saw it with Oko, then we saw it with Uro. Now we're seeing it again with Omnath: and friends!
These past few weeks, the meta has been absolutely dominated by Omnath, Locus of Creation. While they banned Uro (which further enabled Omnath) and was "monitoring the situation" after that, the community knew it wasn't going to be enough to stop Omnath's dominance. Sure enough, Omnath decks absolutely blew out the most recent competitive runs, leading to today's standard ban. Omnath is even suspended in historic and brawl play as well.
But it's not just Omnath that's getting the ban hammer: Escape to the Wilds and Lucky Clover are hit too. Both products of the extremely wonky Eldraine cycle, they contributed to the power level of adventure and ramp decks, where players would be able to work their way up to late-game board states in the blink of an eye. As it turns out, that doesn't make for a fun game of Magic!
Wizards says that "Four-Color Adventures has become the deck with the highest overall win rate and has a favorable matchup against 9 out of 10 of the other top decks that don't play Omnath." While Escape to the Wilds is commonly used with Omnath, both cards got the boot because Wizards saw a world in which they also dominated the meta. Lotus Cobra and Genesis Ultimatum (two other targets that players thought might be hit) were spared: for now.
It's utterly wild that so many brand new cards have been banned in recent years, but that's the current climate of Magic. It's a brave new world out there! Enjoy your mono-red and Dimir Rogues decks until the meta sorts itself out (hilariously, my first post-ban game was my mono-red deck versus Dimir Rogues; after I had written that out already).
Banned and Restricted Announcement [Wizards of the Coast]
[Update: The original upload was made private, but here's the link to a mirror.]
Depending on where your allegiances lie, it's exactly one month until next-gen arrives or just a little less than that. The PlayStation 5 launches on November 12 and the Xbox Series X launches on November 10. It's close enough to feel in your bones.
These things never go completely without incident and the Xbox Series X already has its first official unboxing. This fella got ahold of an Xbox Series X now that they've made their way to distribution centers, and did us the favor of showing us what's in the box.
This video is a great candidate for a takedown from Microsoft, so we'll give you the play-by-play. The contents are actually pretty minimal. As expected, the console is front-and-center and takes up almost all the space inside the box. There are some marketing materials like an insert that says "Power Your Dreams" lying right on top. The Xbox is wrapped in a black paper that electronics are often swaddled in. A separate compartment houses the controller, HDMI cable, and power cord.
Is it exciting? Now, four paragraphs later, I'm prepared to admit that no, it's not really exciting. He drops the controller at one point, and that injects a sudden rush of adrenaline to the whole video. But, apart from some butterfingers, it's mostly exactly what you'd expect. The Xbox Series X package is extremely functional and light on surprises.
This guy's probably excited, though. He has a dang Xbox Series X a month early. That is until Microsoft sends its reconnaissance agents to take it back.
Despite the proven staying presence of Crash Bandicoot in the UK Charts, this week sees Activision's Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time knocked from the number one spot after just one week by Electronic Arts' annual football release, FIFA 21.
But despite this seemingly mighty power play, GamesIndustry.biz notes that the FIFA series continues to see physical sales plummet year-on-year, with the 2021 edition down 43% on physical launch sales on last year's FIFA 20. It's also possible that some fans will be holding off for the next-gen version of FIFA 21, which is set to launch later this year.
Elsewhere in the Top Ten, EA's Star Wars: Squadrons holds fort at number two, while Square Enix' Marvels' Avengers drops four places to number nine. As usual, Nintendo rounds out the rest of the premier league, with steady sales for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Ring Fit Adventure, and two Minecraft titles.
Spellbreak, the spell-slinging fantasy-themed battle royale, is finally out of early access. Naturally, the next step is seasonal updates, which developer Proletariat is ready to talk about.
Teased via a new trailer, the 1.0 edition of the game will be updated on October 22, at which point the "Prologue: The Gathering Storm" edition will hit. Billed as a "major" update, clash mode (team deathmatch) will be the big highlight, as well as new talents, cosmetics and items. It'll be free, naturally.
Digging in, clash will be framed as a 9v9 team deathmatch gametype with squads of three. The cosmetic side is also themed around Halloween, with extras as in-depth as afterglows and emotes in addition to outfits (skins). Variety is something Spellbreak sorely needs, so a new mode should hopefully keep people playing without cannibalizing queue times.
You can also find the basic rundown below, straight from the developer.
Level-5 has been a beloved institution in my household since the year 2000.
Dark Cloud absolutely mesmerized me in a way that many games before it never could. Ever since then the company has been on my radar, and I've truly kept up with them. Professor Layton was a marvel back in the unstoppable era of the DS, and even their oddball spinoffs and niche titles thrilled me on occasion.
Once Ni No Kuni came into the spotlight though Level-5 expanded their dominion even further outside of Japan. But recent years haven't been so kind. Level-5 really pushed hard for Yo-Kai Watch to take off in the west and become the next Pokémon, but it never really happened: and its success in Japan dwindled in recent years. Inheriting Comcept, the troubled developer of Mighty No. 9, also hasn't done them any favors.
Fans of the Gallifreyan time-lord Doctor Who will be pleased to hear that another digital escapade is headed to PC and console platforms early next year. Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality is a joint production of BBC Studios, Just Add Water, and Maze Theory.
Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality is described as a re-imagined version of 2019 VR release Doctor Who: The Edge of Time. The new game will see the 13th doctor (Jodie Whittaker) team up with the tenth doctor (David Tennant) in a continuation of The Edge of Time's generation-hopping adventure.
While the above teaser trailer offers nothing, essentially, The Edge of Reality promises fans the opportunity to leap through a variety of locations, traveling in the TARDIS, solving puzzles, wielding the legendary Sonic Screwdriver, and tackling pants-wettingly scary adversaries such as the Cybermen, The Weeping Angels and, of course, The Daleks.
The Weeping Angels in VR?.. Good lord...
Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality will launch spring 2021 on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Like many other old school collectors, I frequently lament the lack of full-color, detailed manuals in the current climate. The rush of cracking open a new game and reading the entire manual first is something a lot of people will likely never experience in their lifetime.
That said, naturally, there's a lot of waste involved with manuals. A lot of folks aren't quite as giddy about a piece of paper slipped into their game case; and not having to print or design them saves game studios some cash. It's very easy to see why they were phased out, but that doesn't mean they still can't be a niche product.
In addition to all of the collector's editions and companies like Limited Run that keep print media alive, artist Rowan Fox-Noble crafted their own "Super Mario 3D All-Stars Manual." What does it entail? Well, it's a lot like the manuals of old. It's 44-ages, with sections for the main game, Mario 64, Sunshine and Galaxy. It also provides a soundtrack list, as well as controls for each individual game and what each power-up does.
Most importantly, it provides star checklists! This thing is incredible. You can find the listing over on Etsy, where Fox-Noble is offering a week-one discount. For reference, they create several other "companion booklets" for other Switch games.
Rez is absolutely timeless.
I can't believe it came out in 2001, but the even crazier realization is that so many powers that be have kept this classic alive for so long. It easily could have died on the Dreamcast and PS2, becoming an urban legend: the sort of $150 disc that's passed around in whispers at tradeshows. Instead it got a new lease on life in 2016 on the PS4 with the Infinite edition. The rest is history.
This one is here to stay.
Tomorrow sees the official launch of epic adventure sequel Torchlight III, which is finally ready to open its dungeon doors after spending the past few months in Early Access.
Publisher Perfect World Entertainment has released a lengthy overview video to showcase the sequel's classes, customisable forts, skillsets and - most importantly - pets. Whether you enter the dungeon armed with crossbow, blunderbuss, or axe, accompanied by dog, wolf, owl, or... erm... alpaca, many monster-filled floors of high-adventure and glorious looting action awaits.
Torchlight III launches tomorrow, October 13, on PS4, PC, and Xbox One. It will arrive on Nintendo Switch later in 2020.
Genshin Impact is already pretty packed for a free game, but a recent blog post from developer and publisher miHoYo sheds some light on what's in the pipeline.
According to the post, miHoYo is aiming for updates "every six weeks," with patches arriving on Wednesdays. The studio says that patches won't just be technical fixes and the like either, as each will come "with its own themed activities."
We'll get the first one on November 11, which will add the Unreconciled Stars event. On December 23 the next update will follow suit, adding a brand new area (Dragonspine) and extra content. In February of 2021, a Lantern Rite event is a go. Presumably, the "six weeks" format will continue after that.
Smaller quality of life changes are also coming to Genshin Impact, like the ability to track the stuff you find in the game with a compendium-like tool and quick-use items. Truth be told I'm fairly content with how the actual game works foundationally; it would just be great to have more activities to do between leveling.
Genshin Impact [miHoyo]
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the best and worst game to try and preview.
On the one hand, there are questions – about the new protagonist, the shift to JRPG combat, and the English VO – that people want answered. On the other, Yakuza is a go-at-your-own-pace sorta series, the kind that lets you obsess over dramatic big-picture moments while also immersing yourself, for hours on end, in surprisingly in-depth management sim mini-games and silly one-off side stories.
Trying to convey everything I want to convey within the confines of a particularly-worded NDA – using a save file that starts with Chapter 5, "five to seven hours into an average playthrough" – will be tricky.
As anyone who has replaced their drifting Switch Joy-Con knows: those little controllers can get pretty expensive to replace.
The asking price, in US dollars, for a pair of Joy-Con is $80, which is a huge amount of money to spend, even if you're just looking to replace one busted remote at $40. It's been this way for many years as Nintendo hardware rarely drops in price this close to release, but there might be some hope out of Japan.
Spotted by Japanese Nintendo, the price of Joy-Con remotes in the region have dropped from 4,480 yen per remote to 3,740 yen per remote (before tax) on the official store. That's roughly $5 per remote, which would put a new $80 bundle at $70, US. That bundle, mind, is still 7,480 yen (about $80): it's just the single Joy-Con that are being discounted.
Still, I'll take it! Going into the new generation, it's already going to be a pain to buy (and potentially replace) brand new PS5 controllers.
Yesterday saw the eighth anniversary of celebrated adventure series Bravely Default. In lieu of any actual news, publisher Square Enix simply tweeted out the announcement that new info pertaining to anticipated sequel Bravely Default II would be coming "soon."
In addition, Square also released a cute sketch of series heroes Ringabel and Edea Lee, as realised by artist Naoki Ikushima. You can check out the artwork and Square's succinct message in the tweet below.
Bravely Default launched on Nintendo 3DS in Japan on October 11, 2012, before heading west in expanded form in 2013. The series has since seen the release of tie-in in manga and drama CDs, alongside browser game Praying Barge and spin-off release Bravely Second: End Layer.
Bravely Default II news coming soon [Gematsu]
Super Mario Bros. for the NES wasn't my first game, but it was the first cartridge I ever owned. I treated it like a sacred talisman.
In between Duck Hunt bouts, I made it my mission to memorize the ins and outs of each and every level. Eventually, I got to the end. That simplicity couldn't have come at a more perfect time in my life.
Games have changed a lot in the last 35 years or so, which makes it tough to really dig into Super Mario Bros. 35's streamlined veneer. But it sure is fun in short bursts.
Arc System Works has revealed another all-new character headed to its gorgeous-looking anime fighter Guilty Gear Strive. And this one's a doozy. Presenting super-cool federal agent, Giovanna.
Despite her fashionista appeal, Giovanna is actually a high-ranking member of the secret service. Given her hair, dress sense, and vocation, it's hard not to make comparisons to King of Fighters' Vanessa and Street Fighter's Crimson Viper. Still, Giovanna holds her own in the ring, taking down her opposition with an incredible range of rib-breaking kicks. Being Guilty Gear, Giovanna brings a metaphysical side, in the form of a spirit wolf companion called Rei, who manifests itself within her acrobatic style.
ArcSys has described Giovanna as an "entry-level" character, with hopes that she will allow new players to find their footing in the deep and complex fighting title. I think she looks amazing and I wish I was her... apart from the "working for the U.S. government" thing, of course. I can't wait to try Giovanna and her wild footwear out come spring.
Also of note, the trailer ends with the suggestion that the next announced character will be Mito Anji. The debut trailer for the Japanese fan-fighter will premiere on January 1, 2021.
Guilty Gear Strive launches on PS4, PS5, and PC in April 2021.
On previous lists looking on the Pokémon meta, we've seen both brand new Pokémon set the tier list aflame as well as witness old favorites continue holding down the fort. Now it's time to see what has changed since the base game launched with how the Isles of Armor brought back classic Pokémon, gave current dex Pokémon new tools, and determine how some returning legendaries may fare when the Crown Tundra releases.
Some that were on previous versions of the list, like Gyarados, are still dangerous owing to the strength and longevity of their sets. Others, like Durant, will experience a dip in usage as old rivals like Scizor return, better than ever with new moves like Dual Wingbeat for Scizor specifically.
Cblogs Recap: Week 41
There's no two ways about it, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is one of the major successes of 2020. While the lead-up to Mediatonic's madcap multiplayer title was somewhat subdued, Fall Guys absolutely exploded onto the scene come launch day, even going as far as to crash its own servers under the incredible weight of players eager to get their bean on.
Fall Guys became a household name practically overnight, many of my friends and relatives - including those who generally don't play video games - asked me about it. Hell, even the staff at my local coffee shop were chatting to me about their crown-grasping escapades over the counter (and through plexiglass dividers - mask up, folks). There is that magical zeitgeist that comes around once so often, the zeitgeist where your mum suddenly starts asking you about video games. And Fall Guys had it.
This week saw the launch of Fall Guys' second season, bringing with it new rounds, new costumes, and a few wild gameplay tweaks, all dressed up in a fun medieval vibe. This refreshing new content will no doubt keep Fall Guys regulars running up that hill like Kate Bush well into the fall season.
But I can't deny I have definitely noticed a drop-off in people talking about Fall Guys. In fact, all the people who would casually reference it to me daily have since made this unpredictable side-step into playing InnerSloth's suspicion simulator Among Us. One day it was all Slime Climb and cactus costumes, and the next it was all Crewmates and ghosts. The world moves fast.
That isn't to say that Fall Guys is a "dead game." Of course not. It's still one of the most successful releases of the year and is still entertaining over 30,000 players a day on the Steam version alone. But it does feel like the buzz has dropped off a little, and that it dropped off rather suddenly. I guess that's an inevitability, hype can't last forever.
As for myself, I've slotted Fall Guys into an occasional "just before bed" slot. When it's too early to hit the hay, but too late to start a long gaming session, that's when Fall Guys comes to play. It's a nice bit of catharsis after a long day, and a delightful mood booster as the cold October nights draw in. Ultimately, Fall Guys is still harmless, stake-free fun, and that remains one of the best platitudes you can level at any video game.
Hamster has released the newest entry to its incredible range of Arcade Archive releases, which now boasts hundreds of old-school coin-op classics. And they don't get much more old-school than this, Sun Electronics' Arabian.
Originally launched in 1983, Arabian is a single-screen platformer as was typical of the day. Players control a brave prince on a quest to rescue his fair princess, held prisoner within her own palace. Our young hero sails the seven seas, ventures through dense jungle, and scales the outside of the palace, before finally saving the girl and taking flight on the obligatory magic carpet. The player must gather a selection of vases, spelling out "ARABIAN," while dodging various enemies and hazards strewn throughout the environment.
You can check out the action below, in this video from YouTuber Old Classic Retro Gaming.
While Arabian's gameplay is undeniably simplistic, Sun Electronics' formative platform title is very creative. It has a fun "storybook" presentation, four very distinct stage settings, cute sprites, and a fun, if bafflingly anachronistic soundtrack which includes "The Can Can" and The William Tell Overture. Arabian certainly has its fair share of fun ideas.
Arabian is available to download now on Nintendo Switch, priced at $8.
October is here and that can only mean one thing: terrible novelty songs on the radio. There are several Halloween songs out there, but obviously, the most well-known is "Monster Mash" by Bobby Pickett. But is the song "Monster Mash" about a song called "Monster Mash" or a dance called "Monster Mash?" Or is it both? Or does it not matter because this is the type of argument you should only have if you're high?
That's one of the topics on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Chris, Dan, and Occams come together to talk Genshin Impact, Super Mario 35, Inframan, granny getaway drivers, and Mafia: Definitive Edition. All that, plus we answer your listener questions, on Podtoid Episode 461.
Spike Chunsoft has released the fourth episode of its excellently in-depth "Dangan TV" show, looking at the inspiration and creation of the adorable and maniacal Danganronpa franchise. The video series was produced as part of the ongoing anniversary celebrations for the visual novel franchise, which has presented fans with a decade of destruction.
Following previous episodes - which focused on specific franchise entries - Episode 4: Hope Keeps on Going is more of a series overview, spotlighting one of Danganronpa's most important features: its stylish soundtrack. Host Megumi Ogata returns to hold court with series planner Shun Sasaki, sound designer Jun Fukuda, and composer Masafumi Takada, whose memorable tunes have scored many a brutal murder and intense confession.
In this particularly lengthy episode, our panel discusses the importance of sound and music within the franchise, as well as the influences behind Takada's awesome OST. With help from Danganronpa fans on Twitter, the team also present a "Top Ten" of the series' most popular tunes, including Danganronpa 2's "Kill Command" and Danganronpa V3's "Let's Kill Each Other" ...are you noticing a trend here?
The episode winds up with the obligatory merchandise reveal, which this time around includes a beautiful Gothic parasol, much like that of Trigger Happy Havoc's gambling queen Celestia Lundenberg, and a brand new tabletop card game, Love Letter of Despair, which will launch in Japan this fall.
Dangan TV has been a great series. Each episode a detailed, personable, and fascinating look at one of gaming's most-bizarre franchises. Any title would be lucky to receive similar "Inside Baseball" treatment. It's a grand year to be a Danganronpa fan, and Spike Chunsoft has gone above and beyond with its anniversary celebrations. With a couple of months still to go before 2020 shuffles off, there's still time for a potential surprise. Fingers crossed!