Blog archive

Monday, 16 November 2020

Review: Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin has been a long time coming, and even though it's dropping in a super crowded release week, I'm thrilled to see this spunky rice-growing action-RPG platformer finally come out.

As a laid-back agricultural sim with monster-whacking side-scrolling action bits, it's a pretty chill game, one you can throw yourself into for 20 hours or slowly but surely complete over a few months.

I had high hopes coming in – maybe too high? – but there's still a lot to like here. Especially the rice.

Review: Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin screenshot

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Review: Bugsnax

Playing Bugsnax while starting a diet is probably not the ideal way to enjoy the game. I'm sitting here doing my best to not think about food and the Grumpuses of this island keep asking me to chase down grinders with googly eyes or cinnamon roll snails. Or fiery bowls of ramen. Or Bungers.

God I could go for a Bunger right now.

Review: Bugsnax screenshot

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I want a Sonic & Sega All-Stars rhythm-action game

[Destructoid user Ninjaspeed is here to remind you just how fantastic some of the soundtracks for Sega games are and make a case for a rhythm-based Sega All-Stars revival. They definitely sold me on the concept.

I hate karaoke in real life, but if you don't absolutely adore Yakuza 0's wonderfully over-the-top karaoke minigame, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you will probably never truly be capable of experiencing love. It's amazing, and the absurdity of seeing a dangerous killing machine let loose and bust out the trusty old air guitar after a few drinks is something legitimately special.

If Sega could tighten up the actual gameplay into a full-fledged rhythm game starring Sonic and the cast from the many other delightful games published under its name, while still opting for the fun visual delivery in Yakuza, we could absolutely be looking at a total banger. - Kevin]

In 2012, I was beyond hyped for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. The tracks, characters, and game mechanics looked amazing. I had a blast playing it, and I wasn't sure how the developers at Sumo Digital could surpass the quality of this game in a future installment. I suppose Sega felt the same way, since the Sega All-Stars series has been on hiatus ever since.

I want a Sonic & Sega All-Stars rhythm-action game screenshot

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Yo, what's up with the faces in Watch Dogs: Legion?

We're on the cusp of a new generation of consoles, and Ubisoft has three(!) massive open-world games coming over the span of just a few weeks. And while the environments the developers there create just keep getting better, the same can't be said about the faces of the people who populate these places.

That's just one of the topics on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Chris, Dan, and Charlotte come together to talk Watch Dogs: Legion, Bugsnax, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, PS5 storage space, and Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. All that, plus adorable White House dogs, on Podtoid Episode 466.

Yo, what's up with the faces in Watch Dogs: Legion? screenshot

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Review: Assassin's Creed Valhalla

About 35 hours into Assassin's Creed Valhalla, I unlocked the "Silent Viking" achievement for killing 10 consecutive enemies without alerting anyone. It really drove home how different this Assassin's Creed is from all the other Assassin's Creeds. In previous games, maybe Origins or Odyssey, I would've methodically dismantled entire fortresses and earned that same achievement within the first few hours.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is indiscreet and inelegant. It's a brash spectacle that's more interested in glorifying the toils of war than with quietly subduing and destabilizing the enemy. It's more Viking than assassin, so much that Valhalla feels out of place in the Assassin's Creed lineage. It's a wayward-growing branch on the family tree.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey was the Least Assassin's Creed Game Ever two years ago to great effect. Valhalla strayed too far to its own detriment.

Review: Assassin's Creed Valhalla screenshot

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Here's a giant list of all of our next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X coverage

If you haven't noticed...we've been busy!

These past few weeks we've all been working on various projects, from (now) current-to-previous-gen, and it's time to celebrate the fruits of our labor...with a big list! Below, you'll find all of our coverage so far, including hardware rundowns and individual reviews or impressions pieces. As more games are covered in the coming weeks, we'll add them to this list.

I know the world is crazy right now, but I hope that through the comments section and our quickposts/community blogs, we can continue to connect and make sense of it all, together. Whether you've picked up a console already...or you're waiting for yours to ship...or you aren't getting one until 2021...or you're waiting for me to stop talking about new consoles...be safe out there!

[The platforms in parenthesis in the below lists denote the platform we tested/covered.]

Here's a giant list of all of our next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X coverage screenshot

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Cblogs of 11/7 to 11/13/2020: Bubble Bobble, PS5 love, and the 8th generation

Cblogs Recap: Week 46

-Ctg867 looks back at the games that defined the 8th generation of consoles for him.

-Kerrik52 reviews Resistance: Fall of Man as part of his Traveller in Playtime reviews series.

-Exber shares his list of Top Ten Wii games.

-Council of the Lost discusses the latest updates of Genshin Impact.

-Darrenhupke discusses the launch love for the PlayStation 5.

-PhilsPhindings discusses the similarities between the soundtrack of Donkey Kong Country and '80s synth music.

-Riley1sSpook defends the cause of Amon in The Legend of Korra cartoon show.

-PhilsPhindings discusses the similarities between some Bubble Bobble tunes and early 20th-century pop music.

-TheBlondeBass reflects on the blog projects he completed this year.

-ChronoLynxx is back with another TGIF open forum for open community discussion.

Cblogs of 11/7 to 11/13/2020: Bubble Bobble, PS5 love, and the 8th generation screenshot

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Konami classic Gradius II is this week's Arcade Archives release

Hamster Corp. continues in its ongoing efforts to deliver a weekly string of classic arcade titles to modern platforms. This week's release is one of the coolest shmup titles from Konami's golden era, Gradius II, now available to download on Nintendo Switch.

Hitting arcades in 1988, Gradius II (or "Vulcan Vulture") is the sequel to one of the most iconic and influential space shmups of all-time. Once again, the swift and super-powered fighter, Vic Viper, takes to the skies to battle the remnants of the once-defeated Bacterion Empire. Combining elements of the original Gradius and its 1986 spin-off Life Force, Gradius is another slick, action-packed shmup, still holding its own decades later.

Konami classic Gradius II is this week's Arcade Archives release screenshot

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All-women's GDQ event Fleet Fatales kicks off tomorrow

The record-smashing folks over at Games Done Quick are at it again, as another awesome speed running event is scheduled for this week. Dedicated video game fans will once again be blitzing through a host of titles, old and new, in a worthy effort to raise money for a good cause.

Fleet Fatales is slightly different in concept to GDQ's typical marathon events, however, in that it specifically boasts an all-women squad of runners. Born out of GDQ community Frame Fatales, the week-long event will see expert players burn through a list of rad titles, old and new. The schedule includes modern releases such as Hades, Celeste, Resident Evil 2, and Cadence of Hyrule, alongside classic entries from the Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Legend of Zelda series.

As with all GDQ events, Fleet Fatales will feature bidwars, challenges, and interviews alongside the fundraising action. 100% of the proceeds donated throughout the week will go directly to The Malala Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing every girl's right to safe, free, and high-quality education, regardless of background, status, and economy.

Fleet Fatales kicks off tomorrow, November 15, and ends on Saturday, November 21. The event will run from 13:00 PT / 16:00 ET until 21:00 PT / 00:00 ET each day, so be sure to tune in to the GDQ Twitch channel, check out some great speedrunning action and, of course, donate if you are able.

All-women's GDQ event Fleet Fatales kicks off tomorrow screenshot



Review: Astro A03 In-Ear Monitor

Having a decent set of earphones isn't really something I've ever considered to be important to gaming. When I have played my Switch, 3DS, Vita, or smartphone on the go, I'd just use whatever set I had lying around. Usually, it was the same set I'd wear to the gym, all crusty from my sweat.

Clearly, I should have been taking it a bit more seriously as mobile gaming platforms are home to some dynamic soundtracks and sound effects, something made perfectly clear with the Astro A03 earphones.

Review: Astro A03 In-Ear Monitor screenshot

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes to life in this incredible fan animation

Animal Crossing and creativity have always gone hand-in-hand, as Nintendo social sim continually brings out the best in its community of artists, musicians, model-makers, and designers. Case in point: This simply gorgeous fan animation, independently created by Chilean animator and Animal Crossing fan Gabriel Salas.

Designed as a fake teaser trailer for a hypothetical Animal Crossing TV series, the short video is the result of hours of painstaking work for Salas and their team, and sees everyone's favorite hard-working doggo, Isabelle, dutifully preparing for a day at the Resident Services office - complete with dusting, plant-care, and a trusty cup of Joe.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes to life in this incredible fan animation screenshot

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Whatcha been playing this week, Destructoid?

Well, the shit's on now, right? November has already been quite eventful, not in the least bringing about the launch of the ninth generation of gaming. As somebody who was somehow breathing when the first generation was underway, it's been a trip. Everything always seemed like the ceiling, like games "couldn't get better." While some might argue that they haven't, the undeniable fact remains that the technology behind the incoming wave of modern classics is a step up from Gun Fight. Buckle up, it's gonna be a wild ride.

We've all been super busy at Destructoid the past couple of weeks, which has left very little time for personal gaming funsies. I did dive back into the Gothic splendor of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night once again, and made some serious progress from my previous meanderings. I also said hi to the divine Bloodless, who was recently added to the platformer as a playable character. Nice. Once Bloodstained is wrapped up, I can get back onto Control, as promised to you, our beloved community.

Speaking of which, you know the score by now, drop into the comments below and let us know what you've been playing, or have lined up, for the week. Maybe you're the proud owner of a brand new console, or maybe you're more than happy with your current backlog, thank you very much. Whatever your gaming plans, please share them with us below!

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

Whatcha been playing this week, Destructoid? screenshot



Contest: Win this Dragon's Lair x RepliCade fully-functional mini arcade cabinet

In today's contest, you can win this officially licensed Dragon's Lair x RepliCade 1/6 scale arcade cabinet!

So, how many of you remember pumping quarters into Dragon's Lair just to die, over and over and over again? I remember seeing it in arcades, but never got around to playing it, myself. Guess I saved my parents quite a bit of spare change!

New Wave Toys have taken the classic arcade cabinet and shrunk it down to just a foot tall -- but don't worry, as it still plays the original arcade ROM. This beauty runs on a working mini laser disc, comes complete with little tokens, and best of all, can be plugged into a TV! Fan of the original or not, this is a really awesome collector's item that you can win totally free from your pals here at Dtoid!

Contest: Win this Dragon's Lair x RepliCade fully-functional mini arcade cabinet screenshot

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Review: Astro A20 Wireless Gen 2

As of this week, I'm officially living in a three-console household. With the arrival of my Xbox Series S, I'm about to expand my gaming horizons and experience those treasures I've missed for the last two decades. Or I'll just download Apex Legends and play nothing but that.

Either way, a new console means more controllers, less space on my TV stand, and having to go back to a wired headset. I don't mind wires, but the past several months of using my Astro Gaming A50 headset has let me really enjoy the freedom of a wireless experience. That's a great headset, but I'm not really in the mood for buying another wireless headset just for my Series S. Wouldn't it be perfect if there was a wireless headset that could easily switch between a PlayStation and Xbox?

Yes, it would be. Just a shame this ain't it.

Review: Astro A20 Wireless Gen 2 screenshot

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Review: Godfall

I've played a lot of insane action games in my time.

No, not "whoa that backflip into a shotgun blast was wild!" kind of insane. Like, "how was this even made?" insane. Godfall doesn't quite fit under that latter umbrella as there's a clear vision here, but I can heartily say that the amount of people I can recommend it to is a niche at best.

I also really enjoyed my time with it when it wasn't actively fighting me.

Review: Godfall screenshot

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I hate Nioh 2's Valve helmet so so so so so much

It's a busy day for Nioh news, all of it good. Scratch that. Almost all of it good.

Both Nioh games are coming to PS5 with 4K and 120fps support on February 5, 2021. (That's good.) Also, Nioh 2's complete edition is launching on Steam on the same date. (That's also good.) Lastly, everyone who buys Nioh 2 on Steam will get an exclusive Valve helmet. (That's good in theory but hideous in execution.)

RockPaperShotgun reported on the Valve helmet and called it "an affront to the eyes" and "upsetting to behold." I'm inclined to agree! I can't tell what I hate more: The RGB keyboard wrapping around the head or the godawful Valve poking out the back. That red hexagon is all you'd see for 50 hours, like your character grew an umbrella out the back of their head.

Anyway, almost a flawless day for Nioh fans. But, anyone who plays these games knows that you're inevitably going to take some damage. Sometimes RGB stands for "Really Gross (and) Bad."

I hate Nioh 2's Valve helmet so so so so so much screenshot

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Japan gets a Final Fantasy VII Remake action-stealth escape room-style game

You could leave the eco-terrorism to Cloud and the rest of the Avalanche crew. Or, you could take it into your own hands -- provided you can get to Japan one way or another.

Japan is getting a real-life Final Fantasy VII Remake experience at Tokyo Mystery Circus in Shinjuku. It's a quest to blow up the Mako Reactor, as up to three people sneak around the Shinra compound casting Materia spells and dodging soldiers. There's a 30-minute time limit but getting shot by Shinra will subtract from the time.

It's an escape room-type thing, but with more emphasis on stealth and action than on puzzles. There may still be some mind-benders as the description on the game's site says players need to "break through gimmicks and traps while hiding themselves from the enemy." It's officially called a Real Infiltration Game.

The Final Fantasy VII Remake Real Infiltration Game debuts on December 9. Pricing is sort of all over the place (there are a lot of tiers and options), but it seems like three people can play for about $90. A small price to pay for saving the stars.

Real Infiltration Game x Final Fantasy VII Remake [Tokyo Mystery Circus]

Japan gets a Final Fantasy VII Remake action-stealth escape room-style game screenshot



Review: The Falconeer

Look, I'm a simple man: I see a flight sim with an animal in it, and I'm immediately game.

The Falconeer caught my eye a while back with its dazzling Panzer Dragoon style approach, but after playing it, I can say that it doesn't quite have the same appeal on multiple levels.

Review: The Falconeer screenshot

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Stardew Valley's 1.5 update won't keep us waiting much longer

It's almost time to go back to the farm to chiiillllllll. It won't be a whole lot longer until we can reap what Eric Barone has sown. 

After spending most of 2020 working on Stardew Valley's massive 1.5 update, Barone says it's nearly ready. Everything is in the "home stretch" as the update is content complete, and there's only some bug-squashing and polishing left:

Stardew Valley's 1.5 update won't keep us waiting much longer screenshot

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Review in Progress: Demon's Souls

I'm feeling exhausted yet weirdly energized this morning, and that can only mean one thing: I stayed up too dang late with a new Souls game. My inability to tear myself away from this series – to responsibly call it a night well before I take "just one more peek" at that cool area up ahead – is as potent as ever.

For a remake of a deeply-played game like Demon's Souls, that's no small feat. It's impressive how much Bluepoint is able to evoke a sense of intrigue and excitement for long-time fans while still staying overwhelmingly true to From Software's flawed but way-ahead-of-its-time source material.

Whether it's the so-short-you-hardly-notice-them load screens, the grand orchestrated score when a boss enters the room, the stunning visual details in the distance (Stonefang and the giant towering heart in Latria), the revamped characters (oh my god, Patches!), or the freaky new sound design (you aren't ready for the Man Centipedes, or heck, even just an accidental exploding pot you strolled into in the dark), there's so much to take in, even for familiar players. First-timers are in for such a treat.

Review in Progress: Demon's Souls screenshot

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Earth Defense Force: World Brothers shows off more cute bug-bustin' action

One of the quirkiest looking releases on the horizon has to be Sandlot's cute voxel shooter Earth Defense Force: World Brothers. This spin-off title to the popular EDF franchise will take the series' typical monster-mashing action and stylize it with adorable voxel visuals.

As EDF: World Brothers' Japanese release approaches D3 Publisher has launched a new weekly video series, that will offer overviews of a variety of elements found within World Brothers' colorful, insect-infested universe.

The first episode, which you can check out below, focuses on the arsenal of weapons, items, and gear available to your pint-sized party of agents, as they do battle with ants, wasps, and the most adorable giant spiders you ever did see. I think it looks an absolute blast, but perhaps a little too slow-paced.

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers launches in Japan on PS4 and Nintendo Switch on December 24. Fret not, a western localization has already been confirmed, expected to arrive in early 2021.

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers shows off more cute bug-bustin' action screenshot

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Spider-Man: Miles Morales has a truly next-gen photo mode

Photo modes are a great tool that developers create so players can leave their own artistic mark on a game. Sometimes it's the simple ability to take a snapshot of the in-game action. Other times, it's far more nuanced.

Insomniac has developed a photo mode for Spider-Man: Miles Morales that greatly expands on the photo mode for the original Spider-Man on PS4. The most impressive addition is light manipulation. Insomniac says "You'll be able to place and control up to three lights and adjust height, distance, color, light intensity, color intensity, spread and softness." There's also a setting for controlling the sun and ambient lighting.

Another feature that might spice up your photos is the ability to change suits from inside the photo mode. Of course, there are also new stickers and photo frames. Insomniac delivered one of my all-time favorite developer clapbacks via a sticker when it launched photo mode for PS4's Spider-Man:

Spider-Man: Miles Morales has a truly next-gen photo mode screenshot

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Meet the demon-stomping ladies of Sakura Revolution

Sega has released a new trailer for Sakura Kakumei: Hanasaku Otome-tachi (or Sakura Revolution) a mobile spin-off from the tactical anime franchise, Sakura Wars.

Previously known as Project B.L.A.C.K., Sakura Revolution will once again see a team of performing artists take to powerful mech armor in order to fend off inter-dimensional demons hell-bent on ruining their opening night. The new video spotlights the eight members of Sakura Revolution's heroes: The Imperial Combat Revue B.L.A.C.K.

Taking the stage for this series entry are the previously revealed Prana Tosei, Meisa Akashi, and Kurumi Saimei. They will be joined by starlets Kurea Sekisho, Meju Kazayuki, Tenka Keburai, Miyabi Hanami, and lead gal Shino Sakura. In a novel twist on the Sakura Wars concept, each character's "Spiricle" mech unit will take the form of super-powered body armor, capable of taking down any nightmare being in brutal melee combat. You can check out the team below.

Meet the demon-stomping ladies of Sakura Revolution screenshot

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Elite Dangerous will be free next week on Epic Games Store

It's hard to accurately convey what a game-changing, mind-blowing experience it was when Firebird's intergalactic, space-trading adventure Elite first hit home computers back in 1984. It wouldn't be amiss to compare it to the 2001 launch of Grand Theft Auto III, as Elite - for the first time - opened up the linear worlds of gaming's formative years, and instead of telling the player what to do, asked "What do you want to do?"

It's a mentality that is alive and well today in the form of Frontier's Elite Dangerous, which retains the exploratory instincts, and deep, open-ended gameplay of the original series, now dressed up in enticing and atmospheric modern-day visuals and sound. Since its initial launch in 2014, Elite Dangerous has grown into an epic inter-planetary adventure, hooking in new players with each passing update and offering endless hours of adventure.

If you are yet to blast off into the great unknown yourself, then next week could provide the perfect opportunity, as the base edition of Elite Dangerous will be given away gratis on PC via Epic Games Store. From November 19 through November 26, all you need do is log in to your EGS account and pick the game up, and you're good to go.

Who knows? Your next all-night gaming obsession could be a mere week away.

Elite Dangerous will be free next week on Epic Games Store screenshot



Kaladesh Remastered is out in Magic: Arena, and you can get a free pack now

Kaladesh is back, and with it, an endless supply of Blossoming Defenses and Gearhulks. Man, that set was wild, wasn't it? Well, sets, to be precise.

The 2016-2017 Kaladesh and Aether Revolt sets are now revived under one "remastered" banner in Magic: Arena, similar to how Wizards of the Coast handled Amonkhet. Out now, you can buy packs of the set to use in historic play (non-standard), but there are also going to be several events like sealed, traditional draft, premiere draft, and draft challenge modes.

You can get a free pack by entering the code "TRYKALADESH" in the store. Players can also nab a pack of free Kaladesh lands as a result of Wizards messing up the Zendikar land distribution: something I hope they keep doing indefinitely.

As for other Arena business, the way tokens work in Arena has been tweaked, so you don't time out waiting multiple minutes for your opponent's Scute Swarm to resolve. In short, Scute Swarm creates tokens, but can also clone itself if certain conditions are met: so it could clone into a clone, which could create more tokens. It can be chaos on certain PCs.

Other than that, a few bugs have been fixed, which is par for the course for Arena. Excuse me while I continue my Mythic climb with Mono-Red!

Patch Notes [Wizards of the Coast]

Kaladesh Remastered is out in Magic: Arena, and you can get a free pack now screenshot



We'll learn more about Cyberpunk 2077's Johnny Silverhand next week

As we bear down on the (latest) release date for Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED has announced that it has another episode of its developer series "Night City Wire" scheduled for next week.

The new episode will focus on the sounds of Night City, taking a look at the music of the epic RPG and offering up new details on its resident guitar shredder Johnny Silverhand, as played by Hollywood megastar Keanu Reeves. If you want in on the hot scoops, then be sure to tune into the official CDPR Twitch channel on Thursday, November 19. The stream is scheduled to kick off at 10:00 PT / 13:00 ET / 19:00 BST.

Having pushed through a long development cycle and numerous delays, Cyberpunk 2077 is now expected to launch on December 10 on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Stadia. It is expected to arrive on PS5 and Xbox Series X in early 2021.

We'll learn more about Cyberpunk 2077's Johnny Silverhand next week screenshot

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Both Nioh games are coming to PS5 in 2021 in 4K and 120 FPS

It's incredible to see Team Ninja bounce back with the Nioh series.

After a string of mistakes (capped off by Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z) things weren't looking good for the studio, but Nioh brought them back into the collective consciousness again and reinvigorated the studio. They aren't going anywhere anytime soon, if today's announcements are any indication.

Announced by way of the PlayStation Blog, Nioh and Nioh 2 are coming to the PS5 on February 5, 2021. It's not going to be a port dump either, as Koei Tecmo says that the PS5 editions (which are available piecemeal or as part of a collection, so long as you get the "Complete" version of Nioh 2) will offer "4K resolution," as well as "120 FPS gameplay" for those that can support it. Naturally, faster SSD load times are also in, as well as save transfers from PS4. There are upgrade paths for current Nioh 2 owners, which are detailed below. No upgrade details were mentioned for the original Nioh.

In non-PS5 news, Nioh 2 is also coming to PC on February 5, 2021, via Steam. Plus, Nioh 2: The Complete Edition will also debut on PS4 on that same date. The third and "final" DLC for Nioh 2, The First Samurai, is also arriving on December 17 of this year.

It's a great day for Nioh fans! This thing has pretty much become the new modern Ninja Gaiden.

The Nioh Collection [PlayStation Blog]

Both Nioh games are coming to PS5 in 2021 in 4K and 120 FPS screenshot

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There are a handful of PS4 games that currently don't work on PS5 and aren't on Sony's list

As of right now, there's a small list of games on Sony's "PS4-only" backward compatibility list for the PlayStation 5. But running through my library at launch, I uncovered a bit more.

Several aren't that surprising (Battleborn), but a few of them are. Here are a few games from my library that currently give me a "playable on PS4" notice.

There are a handful of PS4 games that currently don't work on PS5 and aren't on Sony's list screenshot

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Nintendo Switch sold over 730,000 units last month, marking its best October since launch

While much of the gaming industry is chatting excitedly about the NKOTB - PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X - Nintendo has quietly seen continued success with its Nintendo Switch hardware, still smashing targets nearly four years into its lifespan.

Over the course of October 2020, Nintendo's hybrid console shifted 735,926 units in the United States, which is an amazing 136% increase on sales for the same period in 2019. The impressive figure also represents the second-highest October sales for any game console. Nintendo's own Wii hardware still holds that particular record, having shifted 807,000 units in October 2008.

"Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite continue to provide one-of-a-kind gaming experiences on the TV or on the go, allowing holiday shoppers the choice of a video game system that matches their lifestyle," said Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser. "Seeing encouraging sales growth like this in the fourth October of Nintendo Switch proves to us that the system has many more years and great games yet to come."

Nintendo Switch currently holds a 23-month streak as the most purchased console in the United States, a record that is in jeopardy given the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S hardware in recent days. One thing is for sure, with 68 million global sales, and no sign of slowing down, the Switch has no need to fear obsoletion in the wake of the new generation, and has carved a niche out for itself for 2021 and beyond.

Nintendo Switch sold over 730,000 units last month, marking its best October since launch screenshot



(Update) Mythical Pokemon Zarude will be distributed outside of Japan

[Update: US plans have been announced, and thankfully, they do not seem to involve going to GameStop. The official site for the Zarude distribution notes: "Sign up for the Pokémon Trainer Club newsletter, opt in to email marketing by November 20, and then watch for a special email with a password to add the Pokémon to your game."

If you're in a different region, scroll all the way down the bottom of the page and click the little block that shows "United States." Change it to your country and you will get different instructions.]

It's been around nine months since Zarude was announced for Pokemon Sword and Shield, but getting him has been troublesome. No doubt the current state of the world put the kibosh on distribution events: including the very event that it was supposed to debut at.

Yep, the "Rogue Monkey" was originally going to be a bonus for the next Pokemon film, but that event was further delayed. The good news is that Europe is starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, which means that North America can't be too far behind.

Serebii.net has uncovered the next distribution event for Sword and Shield, which involves Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. This time around you'll need a TCG code from the Vivid Voltage set: a promotion that is going on from November 13 to December 13. Hmmm, "going to GameStop," or dealing with TCG code distribution? What's more ideal?

I got it! Just make it a mystery gift that everyone can pick up in the safety of their own home and end this madness.

Pokemon Sword and Shield [Serebii.net]

(Update) Mythical Pokemon Zarude will be distributed outside of Japan screenshot

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So, is there a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S now sitting in your homestead?

For many, at least for those in North America, the next generation of gaming is officially underway. The past week-and-some-change has seen the launch of Microsoft's Xbox Series X/S hardware, while yesterday saw the coming on Sony's PlayStation 5, with both consoles wasting zero time in winging their way into homes across the nation.

It promises to be a particularly close race this time around, given that the PS5, Xbox Series X, and modest PC hardware are all relatively similar in technology and power - more or less. Here's hoping that the coming years provide us all with plenty of joyous new games, engaging digital experiences, and few hardware faults. Vagrant Story 2 wouldn't go amiss either.

I'm yet to receive my PS5 - it isn't out on these shores yet and the only people in this country to have received one are popular game journalists. But that's fine, given that the first thing I'll play on the ridiculously sized behemoth is likely Street Fighter V, Rainbow Six Siege, or Huntdown. Besides, I already own the Lone Wolf and Cub and Female Prisoner Scorpion #701 series on Blu-Ray, so to be honest I'm set for life.

Still, that doesn't mean that many among you, our beloved community, have not got a shiny new box propped up in your packed-out TV unit. So if you're fortunate enough to have grabbed a new console this week, or even if you have zero intent on owning either. Jump into the comments below and share your thoughts and impressions.

And Welcome to the Woooorld of Tomorroooow.

So, is there a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S now sitting in your homestead? screenshot



Contest: Win a Switch copy of Yes, Your Grace from Super Rare Games

In today's contest, you can win a Switch copy of kingdom management sim Yes, Your Grace from Super Rare Games!

Super. Rare. Games. These are all words to describe the limited-stock releases from physical media pioneers Super Rare Games. You could probably use a whole lot more, but these just seem to fit so well!

They're back at it, this time putting Yes, Your Grace on a Switch cart. If you're into playing king for a day, then this one should be right up your alley. Come win a copy, knave.

Contest: Win a Switch copy of Yes, Your Grace from Super Rare Games screenshot

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Half-Life: Alyx now has three hours of commentary waiting for you

In-game commentaries are synonymous with Valve, but due to the rough year we've all been through, Half-Life: Alyx wasn't able to launch with the Developer Commentary fans have come to expect.

Almost eight months later – and just in time for game-of-the-year discussions to begin in earnest – Valve has added the commentary feature to Alyx with a free update released today on Steam.

There are caveats – as Valve admits, the team had to use "closets and blanket forts" instead of its "comfortable high-quality recording studio" due to COVID – but there are over three hours of behind-the-scenes tidbits. The commentary touches on "art, animation, rendering, sound, and more."

Basically, it's perfect for your inevitable next replay – just start a new save with Developer Commentary toggled on. According to Valve, there are subtitles for English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Russian, Polish, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.

I always appreciate sincere, meaningful commentary tracks, but there's something extra special about the hands-on nature of Valve's narrations. In this case, there are 147 "points of interest" to find.

Commentary Update [Steam]

Half-Life: Alyx now has three hours of commentary waiting for you screenshot



Phil Spencer has a Halo Craig meme t-shirt

Xbox head Phil Spencer has been making the rounds as of late. That's bound to happen when you're in the middle of launching a new generation of hardware. We've learned stuff like: He's played a good chunk of Elden Ring and is evidently impressed by it; he's not going to disclose console sales numbers anymore; and, contrary to earlier reports, Xbox isn't actively pursuing any Japanese studios.

This update is far less important than any other tidbit to come out of those chats. As part of the lengthy GameSpot interview, Spencer revealed that Xbox employees made Craig t-shirts following the July 2020 showcase. Craig is a brute in Halo Infinite who achieved meme status for all the wrong reasons. He became the literal face of the "Halo Infinite's visuals seem bad" crowd.

Spencer says "We actually have these t-shirts, I didn't wear it today, which is Craig's face. I love that the team embraced that, it was just so funny. Yeah. I think Craig will be around for many, many decades in the Halo lore. You'll find his pictures all over the place. Yeah. Probably in games somewhere."

Craig will live on in games but also emblazoned across Phil Spencer's chest. Show us the Craig shirt, Phil. Wear it to the next E3 press conference. Go Full Peter Moore and get it tattooed on your arm. If you can't laugh at yourself...

Phil Spencer On Xbox And Japan, Halo's Future, Playing Elden Ring, And More [GameSpot]

Phil Spencer has a Halo Craig meme t-shirt screenshot



Review: The Pathless

When Abzu came out in 2016, I blew through it in a day. While it had its limitations in terms of storytelling, I mean that more as a compliment, as studio Giant Squid clearly had a knack for creating beautiful worlds worth exploring.

Four years later, and The Pathless feels like an extension of all of that groundwork.

Review: The Pathless screenshot

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You don't want to miss picking up The Textorcist for free this week

You can choose to look at the weekly Epic freebie as a glass half-full or half-empty situation this week. On one hand, we're only getting one free game. That's how it went last week too, when we only got Dungeons 3. Looking a gift horse in the mouth and all, we've been trained to expect two!

But, on the other hand, it's a damn good freebie. Typing-action meets bullet-hell in The Textorcist. Use your WPM to fight off your demons, use your arrow keys to keep from catching an evil spell with your face. The Textorcist is certainly unique in the way it makes you swap between typing and moving, but it probably won't do your typing technique any favors.

Epic has another niche game on deck for next week, it's just a much more expansive niche. Elite Dangerous will be free on the Epic Games Store starting on November 19. Now that the Horizons expansion is permanently part of the base game, anyone who picks this up will more or less have the complete Elite Dangerous experience. It's a smart way to expand the userbase before the Odyssey update arrives in 2021.

We're back to two games next week, as Elite Dangerous is accompanied by puzzle battle/visual novel hybrid The World Next Door.

The Textorcist [Epic Games Store]

You don't want to miss picking up The Textorcist for free this week screenshot



Review: Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Oh hey, didn't notice you there: I was too busy picking up my Sackboy: A Big Adventure co-op partner (read: my wife) and throwing her into the abyss.

How did everything go after that was all said and done? Pretty good actually!

Review: Sackboy: A Big Adventure screenshot

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A whole lot of you are playing Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Just like Phil Spencer and the new Xbox, Ubisoft isn't interested in talking sales. Assassin's Creed Valhalla came out Tuesday, and Ubisoft says that it already has twice the number of players that Assassin's Creed Odyssey launched with.

Even then, we have no firm numbers. Ubisoft only confirms that Valhalla doubled Odyssey's launch day player count, but doesn't mention what that number is. It's data that's seemingly positive but impossible to draw any real conclusions from.

The reason Ubisoft isn't giving sales specifics is because a good chunk of Valhalla's players probably didn't buy the game. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is available on subscription-based streaming services Google Stadia, Ubisoft+, and Amazon Luna. We don't know how many people are playing on those platforms.

But then again, it's very feasible that Valhalla has outsold Odyssey to this point, just not two-to-one. When you factor in that Valhalla's one of the most highly-touted next-gen games during a console launch and an active pandemic that's keeping people indoors, it seems like a formula for success. 

I guess the takeaway is that Assassin's Creed Valhalla is doing fine. We won't know how fine until February when (and if) Ubisoft gives sales figures as part of its third-quarter financial report. But, given this vague and incomplete information, Valhalla's doing fine enough.

A whole lot of you are playing Assassin's Creed Valhalla screenshot



Ghost of Tsushima sold five million copies and I'm excited about its future

In case you needed more affirmations that Ghost of Tsushima was a big success for Sucker Punch Productions and Sony, here's an updated sales figure: five million copies since launch day on July 17.

As for what those sales actually mean, in a tweet today, head of PlayStation Worldwide Studios Hermen Hulst once again called Ghost of Tsushima the "fastest-selling first-party original PS4 game."

"We're thrilled and absolutely blown away by all of the support," said Sucker Punch.

I wrapped up Jin's journey wanting a sequel, and those feelings were only cemented by the free post-launch multiplayer Legends mode that leans into the supernatural, fun loot, and new mechanics.

Sucker Punch invested so much energy into Ghost of Tsushima that it's hard to imagine the studio will suddenly move onto something new, especially in light of the game's ongoing commercial success. The inFamous series branched out in unexpected ways, and I'm hoping history will repeat itself.

Apart from a potential sequel, I wouldn't mind seeing even more of Legends – it's that good.

@hermenhulst [Twitter]

Ghost of Tsushima sold five million copies and I'm excited about its future screenshot



Deadly samurai Kikunojo is headed to One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4

Bandai Namco has revealed the newest character headed to One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4. The beautiful and deadly samurai, Kikunojo, will be the second warrior released as part of the hack 'n' slash adventure's third character pack.

Kikunojo of the Lingering Snow - known as simply "Kiku" to most - is a Wano County samurai who serves as one of the "Nine Red Scabbards," a dangerous gathering of fighters who work for the Kozuki Family. Despite her towering height, Kiku's demure appearance lures in foes, who soon come to regret their decisions once they fall afoul of her devastating sword skills.

Deadly samurai Kikunojo is headed to One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 screenshot

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Review: Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory

Kingdom Hearts!

I can just say that phrase, "Kingdom Hearts," and it'll whip a lot of people up into a frenzy. Let's madlibs this: Kingdom Hearts....what? I bet everyone here can come up with 1000 different words to describe this insane franchise.

Kingdom Hearts...is now a rhythm game? That might not have been on anyone's mind before Melody of Memory was announced.

Review: Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory screenshot

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Xbox Series X and PS5 will be (very briefly) back in stock at Walmart on launch day

[Update: Any luck out there? Getting a console in your cart is only half the battle in this hectic age. Walmart will restock its PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition consoles soon – try those links.]

Is it better to know precisely when to show up for a pre-order, or do you prefer having little to no notice before they go live, forcing everyone to uniformly scramble? If you've tried to get your hands on an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 over the past couple of months, I'm sure you have a stance on this topic.

Walmart will have another batch of consoles in stock on their respective launch days: November 10 (Xbox Series X) and November 12 (PS5). You'll need to try your luck online again with the internet at large, though – there aren't going to be any in-store launch-day orders due to, well, you know.

These are the specific start times. (Don't tell the bots.)

Xbox Series X ($499) and Xbox Series S ($299)

PlayStation 5 ($499) and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition ($399)

Remember when Walmart went rogue and kicked off PS5 pre-orders early? It's tough to forget!

I'm curious to see how this shopping experience compares. It's also worth reminding that the cheaper PS5 Digital Edition will probably be much trickier to secure than the model with a disc drive.

In retrospect, I almost miss waiting in lines. Almost.

Xbox Series X and PS5 will be (very briefly) back in stock at Walmart on launch day screenshot



Arkane's Deathloop goes guns blazing on May 21, 2021

The cat's out of the bag, and good thing the cat's got nine lives. Arkane's Deathloop and its endless lather, rinse, repeat cycle is set for next May. Except this isn't shampoo. It's murder and death.

Yesterday, the New Zealand PlayStation Store accidentally outed Deathloop's May 21, 2021 release date. Maybe it's because of the International Date Line or maybe it's because someone just can't read a calendar, but that date was perfectly accurate. Bethesda confirmed it today.

Six months out from Deathloop, this Groundhog-Day-but-with-assassins game is in a curious position. It's a timed PS5 console exclusive even now that Microsoft is in the process of buying Bethesda. Once that expires -- and it's reported to be a yearlong period -- it's almost certainly coming to Xbox (and Xbox Game Pass). The PC version launches on May 21, 2021 alongside the PS5 version.

It's also worth noting that Deathloop will retail for $60 instead of the inflated $70 price tag that some PS5 games have. What's the logic, you ask? Who knows. It seems like we're just going to have to live with prices being all over the place until everything balances out and something -- probably $70 if we're being realistic -- becomes the norm.

Of course, you could pay more. Deathloop has a deluxe edition that comes with all sorts of in-game bonuses like a snazzy James Bond-like tuxedo. There's also a standard edition that has throw-in items for people who pre-order. The standard edition, as previously mentioned, is $60 while the deluxe edition is $80. Pictures of all the bonuses are in the gallery below.

Deathloop Coming May 2021 [Bethesda]

Arkane's Deathloop goes guns blazing on May 21, 2021 screenshot

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You can grab Bugsnax for PS5 with PlayStation Plus even if you don't have the console yet

If you're anything like me, you're looking to get weird with Bugsnax after blowing through Demon's Souls, Miles Morales, and Astro's Playroom as your first PS5 games. I've got it all mapped out.

The funky first-person adventure game has elements of Pokémon Snap and Viva Piñata that speak to me, and while I was always planning to get around to playing it eventually, Bugsnax has moved up to Spot #4 thanks to its inclusion in PlayStation Plus. You can and should grab it now at no extra cost.

Even if you don't own a PlayStation 5, you can redeem the PS5 copy of Bugsnax for your future library. The offer will last through January 4, 2021, so if you're the procrastinating type, that's your deadline.

It feels good to have a few worthwhile titles in my PS5 library already. I hope the pace continues.

You can grab Bugsnax for PS5 with PlayStation Plus even if you don't have the console yet screenshot

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King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match for Steam now has rollback netcode

One of the greatest fighting games of all time just got that little bit better. Developer Code Mystics has released a new update for the Steam port of The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, adding rollback netcode to the three-on-three tag-fighting classic.

Originally released for PlayStation in 2009, KOF02 UM can be considered a celebration of sorts for the legendary SNK franchise's halcyon days. Boasting an incredible roster of over 65 characters, KOF02 UM compiles the greatest fighters from The King of Fighters '94-'02 in one mighty battlebowl. On a personal note, it's one of my personal favorites in the franchise, and a regular "go-to" whenever I settle down for some 2D punchin'.

King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match for Steam now has rollback netcode screenshot

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Minecraft Dungeons will support cross-play from November 17

Mojang has announced that its cubic fantasy adventurer Minecraft Dungeons will be adding cross-play support next week via a scheduled update. As of November 17, players on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Switch will be able to rally together for exciting escapades within the creepy caverns of the Overworld.

Released back in May, Minecraft Dungeons won over a loyal army of followers with its charming and cutesy aesthetic, as well as its stripped-down approach to the dungeon-crawling genre, making it an ideal adventure title for families and kids to enjoy together.

December will also see the launch of third DLC expansion Howling Peaks, bringing new dungeons, enemies, gear, and missions to the title. The continued drip-feed of continued, coupled with the cross-play update, should help consolidate the Minecraft Dungeons playerbase and thus extend the title's life-span for the foreseeable future.

Minecraft Dungeons will support cross-play from November 17 screenshot

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World of Warcraft Shadowlands' pre-launch event is live, and it's pretty fun

World of Warcraft's pre-launch event for the Shadowlands expansion has arrived, and it's running through November 23, the day the new storyline launches.

In case you haven't been following along with WoW's age-old storyline (which is entirely possible!), Sylvanas has unleashed undead hell on earth (Azeroth), and it's your job, on both sides of Alliance or Horde coin, to stop it.

So long as you're level 50 you can join the fight against the undead scourge, earning rewards in the process. Or, you can become a mindless member of the undead army (well, even more mindless if you already are part of the undead race) for fun: naturally, it isn't permanent.

 

World of Warcraft Shadowlands' pre-launch event is live, and it's pretty fun screenshot

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Phil Spencer casts doubt on report that Xbox is looking to buy Japanese studio

Xbox vice-president of gaming, Phil Spencer, has suggested that there is no truth to the recent reports that Xbox is in the market to purchase a Japanese development studio. In a recent interview with GameSpot, Spencer noted that while the company is looking to expand its relationships with a wider variety of game developers, an outright purchase is not on the cards.

"We're usually not out there... I say I don't think so, I mean, I'm not in every meeting that every team has. I'll say not from me," said Spencer. "Most of the opportunities that we've had to date have been for a long-lasting relationship. So I don't think we're out there with our business cards throwing them out on the corner trying to find people."

"I've talked about my affinity for Japanese studios and the thinking back in the day when we had more games in Japan created as part of our first-party. I'm excited when the deal closes to spend more time with Tango (Gameworks) and the work that they're doing. So it's an area I'm interested in, but no, I don't think. That's not accurate."

Last week saw the launch of new hardware Xbox Series X/S, thrusting the long-time developer/publisher into a brand new generation of gaming. Having played second fiddle to other brands during the previous generation, Xbox will be looking to go all-out to re-capture its glory days in the coming months and years, and expanding its portfolio of partner studios will certainly help the green-and-black brand's efforts to achieve this.

Xbox boss denies report of Japanese studio acquisition talks [Eurogamer]

Phil Spencer casts doubt on report that Xbox is looking to buy Japanese studio screenshot



Here's how World Tendency works in the Demon's Souls remake

"World Tendency" is one of the most esoteric aspects of Demon's Souls: perhaps one of the earliest examples of the "it takes a village" mentality when it came to community-driven education in the Souls series.

While World Tendency is back in the PS5 remake, there's one big change: you can plainly see it on a menu!

Here's how World Tendency works in the Demon's Souls remake screenshot

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Hitman franchise celebrates 20th anniversary, which entry is your favorite?

This month marks an incredible two decades since Agent 47 first strode into our lives - poorly disguised - before leaving us for dead in a convenient laundry hamper. Yes, the Hitman franchise turns 20-years-old this month. That's 20 years of silent assassinations, unfortunate accidents, perfectly-fitting discarded clothes and, of course, rubber duckies.

IO Interactive first introduced us to The ICA and its top operative, 47, way back in PC release Hitman: Codename 47 (2000) - a title now so utterly quaint in its clunkiness that modern eyes might wonder how the franchise found the success it enjoys today. In the ensuing decades, Hitman has remained relevant thanks to its ability to adapt with the changing face of video games, adopting a successful episodic approach with popular reboot Hitman (2016) which began the still ongoing World of Assassination arc.

Hitman franchise celebrates 20th anniversary, which entry is your favorite? screenshot

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