Destructoid community stream night is live on Twitch

Hey again! Tonight I'm doing a first-time entirely blind playthrough of Resident Evil 2 on Destructoid's Twitch channel starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Aside from Resident Evil 7, I haven't played any other games in the series, and I'm excited to see how this game compares. I frequently (and lovingly!) dunk on scary games; most aren't up to snuff for me and are easy to get through, but a couple made their mark. RE7 was phenomenal up until about halfway through before I felt I saw it caving to common weaknesses in the genre. RE2 looks super cool as well and I can't wait to see what's in store! Puzzles and horror ahead. Hope to see you there!

Resident Evil 2 key art

A bit about me: As I was growing up, my older brother shaped my interests in games and fantasy culture. We were obsessed with dragons, fantasy books, world and creature building, you name it. Most of our time was spent hanging out and chattily imagining things. We dipped into Pokémon when I was six with trading cards, figurines, and books, but even our very first video games on our Dad's computer were split right down to the controls; he would do movements and I'd do action buttons. Over time we tried dozens of games, however RuneScape, D&D, and Pokémon always stuck with me the most.

It's been almost two years since I first started streaming. I tend to stream all sorts of games now, but my favorite genres came to be RPGs, puzzles, adventure, and strategy -- bonus if it's fantasy-themed or an MMO that I can play with my friends and an instant favorite if the atmosphere is just right! Alongside trying new games together, my heart is in our bubbly banter while we all talk it up in chat. I'm so happy to have met people who have the same passion as I do for all these games and cool hobbies.

But how did I get here? A while back, Destructoid hosted its "So You Think You Can Stream?" contest. It was my first time entering any type of serious contest, but I still wanted to shoot my shot and really get out there. Although I didn't win, I was elated to hear that my audition stood out and there was an opportunity for me to come on board to stream alongside Dreezy on the Dtoid channel.

Come catch me live at Destructoid's Twitch channel every Friday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern! Let's chat it up about anything and everything while playing cool games! I hope to meet you there. :)

Destructoid community stream night is live on Twitch screenshot

Scarlet Nexus' brain-powers are on full display in two new gameplay trailers

Bandai Namco's action-RPG Scarlet Nexus is set for the summer, and today we got some new looks at what it will look like to smack enemies around with your brain powers while playing as its protagonists.

In the first cut, Yuito takes on a big enemy called the "Slippy Chinery" by using Pyrokinesis on it. Like I've always said, when in doubt, fire is probably the way forward.

And while Yuito can do plenty of rad-looking slams and mind attacks, fellow controllable character Kasane can also use telekinesis, taking out groups of monsters (called "Others") at a time.

Bandai Namco has been slowly trickling out more about Scarlet Nexus leading up to its June 25 launch date, including looks at some of its massive battles and the gameplay outside of those scraps too. It's got a fantastic look to it, and after the success of other stylized action games like Astral Chain, maybe this is a next-gen mind-masher to look out for.

Scarlet Nexus comes to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on June 25, 2021.

Scarlet Nexus' brain-powers are on full display in two new gameplay trailers screenshot

Review: Shadow Man Remastered

Nightdive Studios does important work. Sure, there are a lot of companies out there that are all about remaking and remastering old games, but few of them dredge the bottom of the swamp for games that lay forgotten by time. It's one thing to resurrect a game that was near and dear to many, but it's another thing to dust one off that a lot of people may have missed out on. Not everyone remembers Strife or Forsaken, but they're no less deserving of a remaster than, say, Kingdom Hearts.

This time they've dug up a body that I recognize, but I swear I don't know how it got there. Shadow Man is a 1999 game from Acclaim that landed on the PC, N64, PS1, and Dreamcast. I recall seeing it on the rental shelf enough that I at least remember it, but I think it was too out there for my young mind, so I never picked it up. This is my first visit to Deadside, and I almost wish I dropped in sooner.

Review: Shadow Man Remastered screenshot


It Takes Two just hit a well-earned one million sales

Since launching on March 26, Hazelight's co-op adventure game It Takes Two has sold a million copies across PC and consoles, and it's "still going strong," according to the developer. You love to see it.

As a bigger, bolder, and more inventive follow-up to A Way Out, it'll be interesting to see where these two games end up, sales-wise, once the dust settles — I feel like It Takes Two is only getting started. Quick throwback for context: in 2018, A Way Out cleared a million sales in "just under two weeks."

It Takes Two looked fun and varied leading up to launch, it got high marks from critics, and the word of mouth from the general public has been overwhelmingly positive so far. I've seen people call it a game-of-the-year contender, and while I'm not quite at that level of enthusiasm, I had a wonderful time tearing my way through oversized household locales as a shrunken-down dad doll. It's a perfect long-weekend, nothing-else-going-on game that you can really sink into. For $40, I have no regrets.

I can't imagine Hazelight or EA are anything but happy with these early figures, so I hope I can get my wish — please keep the "co-op only" games coming, folks. There's a real audience for these meaningful shared experiences that let both players have their own unique-to-them standout moments.

It's just a matter of time before we play It Takes Two again and swap characters. With the way the puzzles, abilities, and even whole sections of any given level vary for P1 and P2, it's gonna feel weird!

It Takes Two just hit a well-earned one million sales screenshot

Brush up on your suplexes for Tecmo's Tsuppari Oozumou

I don't have much to say about the sport of sumo. It's really old and has held onto many of its traditions. It's also not difficult to get the gist of. Push the other rikishi out of the ring or knock them off their feet. Because of this, size is a major advantage and that gives us the typical image of a sumo wrestler: a rotund mass of human. Immovable objects that walk like men.

It's interesting to me, but not enough that I've gone to the effort of actually seeking it out. If I want a dose of Japanese culture, I typically turn to dating simulators and my Famicom. What luck! Crossover! Way back in 1987, Tecmo released Tsuppari Oozumou, a simulation of the sport. Sort of.

Brush up on your suplexes for Tecmo's Tsuppari Oozumou screenshot


How Chicory: A Colorful Tale fuses creativity and colors with Zelda

2018's Wandersong was a game about a bard, who used the power of music and singing to change people's lives for the better. There were grander stakes for sure, but at its core, it was about helping people and singing. A lot of singing.

Developer Greg Lobanov is back, but rather than dulcet tones, he's turned to brushstrokes and watercolors with Chicory: A Colorful Tale, an upcoming game about painting the world. The titular Chicory is a hero, a legendary artist who wields the powerful and magical Brush. You don't play her; you're just her number-one fan, who cleans up after Chicory's messes, until one day Chicory vanishes and you're left in possession of the Brush in a world that's suddenly devoid of color.

How Chicory: A Colorful Tale fuses creativity and colors with Zelda screenshot


Here's how to get 200 My Nintendo Platinum from the Pokemon Snap site

New Pokemon Snap is coming very soon to Switch, and in case people didn't know about it, Nintendo just put up a new series of Platinum Point quests.

Here's a quick explainer on how to earn 200 Platinum.

Here's how to get 200 My Nintendo Platinum from the Pokemon Snap site screenshot


Don't forget, Resident Evil Village is opening up the castle demo on Saturday

After last weekend's first of two demo slices for Resident Evil Village, I feel like we're a bit better equipped to handle Capcom's ridiculous constraints. Tomorrow evening, the castle portion will be playable — but only for a limited time in-game and a limited time in real life. Let's do another rundown.

Plenty of people pre-loaded the PS4 or PS5 early access demo for Resident Evil Village only to realize that it wasn't playable by the time they showed up and settled in. As it turns out, you have to be online to play, and if you fall outside Capcom's strict access window, the demo won't let you do anything.

As you can see in this demo schedule, there's an eight-hour window in which PS4 and PS5 players can fully launch the castle demo, and it starts on Saturday, April 24 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific. The double-whammy caveat is that within this window, you only get 30 minutes of playtime with the castle.

A schedule for the PS4/PS5 castle demo.

As we learned with the earlier demo slice, which was a cutscene-filled trip through the village with one tense but short lycan encounter, the 30-minute timer does not stop once you're in the game proper. That means you should figure out your preferred settings — like whether or not you want ray-tracing on PS5 — while you're still on the main menu. Once you're in, the race is on, even during cutscenes.

Capcom reiterated that there's one demo for Resident Evil Village, so if you played the village experience last week, you won't need to download a new client to access the castle section this weekend.

On the PlayStation Blog, producer Tsuyoshi Kanda says we'll see the "beautiful inner workings of the castle, the stronghold of the illustrious Alcina Dimitrescu and her bloodthirsty daughters."

"One of the major motifs of this area, and the game in general, was creating environments filled with beauty. When players aren't running for their lives, we wanted to create a setting that they could enjoy by venturing through and slowly taking in all the sights and scenes. Of course, every picture of beauty hides a face of terror. Players may also find themselves beneath the splendor in an underground prison, tiptoeing past cold cellar bars that offer a sharp juxtaposition to the warmth found up above."

The article also includes what I'll just refer to as a "claw gif." You can peek if you want.

Remember hearing Mr. X thud around and trying to pinpoint precisely where he was in the police station only to have him still get the jump on you? I'm ready for those same vibes in Village. (I think.)

If you're unavailable on April 24 or you don't have a PlayStation console, there will be another chance to try Resident Evil Village on Saturday, May 1. All platforms and both of the demo areas will be included.

Don't forget, Resident Evil Village is opening up the castle demo on Saturday screenshot

Whatever you may think of the new Mortal Kombat movie, it was made with the fans in mind

The new Mortal Kombat was always going to be a hard sell.

Not only do you have the stigma of video game movies lingering throughout the industry (I don't think Detective Pikachu completely "solved" it), but you have the nostalgia for the 1995 original to compete against.

It's an uphill battle for sure, and we spoke to director Simon McQuoid, Lewis Tan (Cole), and Mehcad Brooks (Jax) about that Sisyphean theatrical journey.

Whatever you may think of the new Mortal Kombat movie, it was made with the fans in mind screenshot


Call of Duty: Warzone hits 100 million players as franchise celebrates 400 million total sales

This past week has been one of the biggest in the history of the Call of Duty series. Activision's legendary franchise, which remains the standard-bearer for the shooter genre (at least from a branding and success standpoint), has been dropping explosive headlines daily.

Most of the excitement has been centered around the popular battle royale title Call of Duty: Warzone, which dropped a literal bomb on the multiplayer locale of Verdansk. After the recent zombie infestation became too much to contain, some shady authority decided to go all Return of the Living Dead on us, hitting the big red button and leveling the entire district. In the blast's aftermath, the retro-themed "Verdansk '84" has risen, signifying the merging of CoD: Warzone with CoD: Black Ops: Cold War.

Call of Duty: Warzone hits 100 million players as franchise celebrates 400 million total sales screenshot


Valorant will take a sunny vacation with its next map, Breeze

The next Act of Riot Games' tactical FPS Valorant is on the way, but rather than a frigid Icebox, things will get a little brighter. Next week, the Agents of Valorant are headed to Breeze.

A new map, Breeze, is launching alongside the Act 2, Episode 3 battle pass on April 27, 2021. Today, Riot showcased the new locale, set on a remote island within the southern part of the Bermuda Triangle. Totally normal place to have a gunfight.

Senior game designer Sal Garozzo said one of the main goals for Breeze was building "larger and more open spaces with longer sightlines" than other maps in the Valorant pool at the moment. While that sounds great for snipers, it also opens up the potential for some Agents to use their abilities in new ways—long-reaching sight-denial moves, like Viper's Toxic Screen or Astra's ultimate, probably come in handy for those long lines.

There's also a new battle pass to dump experience into, with new gun skins, player cards, gun buddies, and sprays to pick up. As always, there is a free track and a paid track for $9.99, and the pass will run from April 27 through June 21, 2021.

As Valorant nears its one-year anniversary since launch, it's managed to establish itself as one of the competitive FPS games to watch right alongside Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six Siege. What more might be in store for this game will be fun to watch, though if the long lifetime of League of Legends is any indication, it's here to stay for quite a while.

Valorant's new battle pass and map go live next week on April 27, 2021.

Valorant will take a sunny vacation with its next map, Breeze screenshot

Here's a look at the Fallout 76's big new Locked and Loaded update

It's been a long time coming, but Bethesda is basically ready to launch the next big update for Fallout 76: Locked and Loaded.

Everything is good to go for April 27, and it's been tested in the PTR for quite some time and is bug-free enough to launch. Let's start with the new video showcasing the finalized features.

Here's a look at the Fallout 76's big new Locked and Loaded update screenshot


All five Shantae games are on Switch now, commemorating nearly 20 years of history

The Switch just turned four this past year, which means that it has quite a hefty amount of history already.

It's hard to believe that it's been around that long, but publishers have been drawn to it like a prospector to a gold mine: as evidenced by the 30-40 games that flood the eShop each and every week. Also, if there's a game that can possibly be ported to it, it probably exists.

That list is growing all the time, and now it includes all five Shantae games throughout WayForward history. With the original hitting Switch just yesterday, the catalog is complete.

All five Shantae games are on Switch now, commemorating nearly 20 years of history screenshot


Sexy, sexy Hades sweeps up at the DICE Awards 2021

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) has revealed its winner's list for the 2021 iteration of The DICE Awards, celebrating some of the fine releases that hit the market during last year — arguably one of the best gaming years in recent history.

The list reads as a who's who of 2021's finery, with awards dished out to Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II, Sucker Punch's Ghost of Tsushima, Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII Remake, Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2. Even VR got in on the action, with an appearance by Valve's Half-Life: Alyx.

The big winner of the evening, however, is Supergiant Games' fantastic roguelike Hades, which walked away with five awards in total, including the coveted Game of the Year. Hades is going to need a bigger mantelpiece, having already won a glut of honors, including five BAFTAs and Destructoid's very own Game of the Year 2020. Well deserved.

You can check out the full list of winners below. The full DICE Awards ceremony is available for viewing over on the official Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences website.

Sexy, sexy Hades sweeps up at the DICE Awards 2021 screenshot


Of course Bungie is making Destiny 2 transmog a grindy chore with microtransaction shortcuts

I can't say I'm surprised at this point that Bungie would take a concept as old and as simple as transmogrification (cosmetic changes) and "Bungiefy it." They've done it so many times in both Destiny 1 and 2 that I'm immune to it.

Did anyone expect the long-awaited transmog system to go swimmingly?

Of course Bungie is making Destiny 2 transmog a grindy chore with microtransaction shortcuts screenshot


Mysterious 'countdown' site appears as Judgment launches on PS5, Xbox Series X, and Stadia

It's a one-two blow of news from Team Yakuza's violent detective thriller Judgment, which launches today on PS5, Xbox Series X, and Stadia. In fitting with the occasion, Sega has opened a mysterious website, which is counting down the hours to a forthcoming announcement.

The simple site, which features support for multiple languages, features a single fish-eyed image of the fictional district of Kamurocho, which plays host to both Judgment and the legendary Yakuza franchise. A foreboding clock counts down to "Judgment Day," which will apparently take place on May 7, 2021. Looks like Sarah Connor was wrong all along.

Mysterious 'countdown' site appears as Judgment launches on PS5, Xbox Series X, and Stadia screenshot


A huge Monster Hunter Rise update is coming soon, along with a stream

A whole lotta folks got into Monster Hunter Rise this past month, and now they're going to be riding on the typical Monster Hunter wave of free content.

That first wave is coming very soon, as Capcom has confirmed that the free Version 2.0 update will be coming soon, and will include Apex Rathalos and Chameleos, as well as "much more." That will actually debut on April 27 at 7AM PT, and you can find the link to the stream here.

Thankfully, Capcom is giving us a little heads up from a practical point of view even if Version 2.0 is still shrouded in mystery. They're warning players that you'll need roughly 0.9GB of space to install it if you already have the game housed on your Switch; or 1.5GB of space in total for new players. Handy!

With Iceborne being so successful, it's highly likely that Capcom already has a big expansion up their sleeve, possibly after the PC edition launches in early 2022. The Switch is only growing in popularity, and Monster Hunter is constantly cracking the top 10 all-time Capcom best-seller list these days, so they want to keep the good times rolling as long as possible.

Rise should be healthy for the rest of the year, but expect it to blow up again with the PC edition.

Monster Hunter Rise [Twitter]

A huge Monster Hunter Rise update is coming soon, along with a stream screenshot

Cyberpunk 2077 sold over 13.7 million copies in 2020

CD Projekt RED has announced that it sold 13.7 million copies of Cyberpunk 2077 in the final few weeks of 2020, quickly making the future-noir RPG the Polish developer's best-selling release to date. Of this number, 56% of sales were on PC, 28% came from PS4, with the remaining 17% on Xbox One. Overall CDPR's profit grew 558% year-on-year.

After an expensive development process and several delays, CDPR's sci-fi adventure arrived in December 2020 in a famously disastrous state — at least in regard to its console editions, neither of which had been offered to news outlets for review. Plagued with technical issues, Cyberpunk 2077 would find itself removed from the official stores of platform holders such as PlayStation, and would even be served class action lawsuits from grumpy shareholders.

Apologies were made as the publisher scrambled to repair the hammer blow to its then pristine reputation for polished, high-quality releases. Through its rapidly-launched "Help Me Refund" program, CDPR received requests for only 30,000 refunds out of 13-million-plus sales (though this figure does not account for refunds made directly through other platforms, such as PlayStation Store, for example).

Cyberpunk 2077 sold over 13.7 million copies in 2020 screenshot


Sony is trying to ramp up its PS5 hardware output

Sony has stated that it is making efforts to increase production on its tough-to-find next-gen hardware, PlayStation 5. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei Business (as translated by VGC) CEO Jim Ryan talked of the issues Sony faced has in both the manufacture and worldwide distribution of the new console, already six months into its lifespan.

"There are several reasons why PS5 was hard to come by," said Ryan. "Supply under the new coronavirus was very complicated, and we had to limit distribution to online. The supply and demand for semiconductors is also tight worldwide. We are asking our suppliers to allow us to increase production, which will flow into the market this year."

It's a surprisingly paradoxical situation, as while the PS5 has been a difficult console to purchase in almost all global territories, Sony's fancy new box has still bagged the title of fastest-selling console in U.S. history, with an estimated 4.5 million units sold in 2020 and well over six million units sold in total. In regards to software, PS5 is still struggling to get out of the starting blocks, with Housemarque's upcoming Returnal being the brand's first major exclusive in months.

Ryan also touched upon this subject of exclusive games, stating his belief that the PS5 platform would eventually see more "more dedicated software than ever before", while not ruling out the possibility of further studio acquisitions. It has been a staggered start for gaming's new dawn, more so than even previous gens. But with each new generation, console lifespans only increase — and as such it remains very early days for PlayStation 5.

Sony is trying to ramp up its PS5 hardware output screenshot

Orbital Bullet could be your next one-more-run obsession

Imagine this: a fast-shooting action-platformer with wrap-around 360-degree levels like Resogun.

Actually, wait, you don't need to! That game exists, and it's called Orbital Bullet. After recently catching it in the Popular Upcoming list on Steam, I jumped in and realized two hours had flown by. The Steam Early Access version launched today, and while there's room to freshen up the UI, the core roguelite shooter premise already feels fantastic — and I love the funky almost-but-not-quite-PS1 aesthetic.

I know roguelite burnout is a very real concern, but this one's pretty special.

Orbital Bullet could be your next one-more-run obsession screenshot


Titanfall 2 and other EA games get an FPS Boost option on Xbox

The back catalog has been growing on Xbox, and several Electronic Arts games are getting a little boost to their performance on newer consoles.

Earlier this year, Microsoft detailed FPS Boost, a new tool for making older games run even better on Xbox Series X and S. A few games, like Bethesda titles Fallout 76 and Dishonored already got their FPS Boost. Today, several EA games are joining the lineup.

Battlefield 1, 4, and V; Mirror's Edge Catalyst; Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, Garden Warfare 2, and Battle for Neighborville; Star Wars Battlefront and Battlefront II; Titanfall and Titanfall 2; and Unravel 2 are all getting support for 120hz on Xbox Series X. Battlefield 4, Unravel 2, the first Battlefront, both Titanfall games and all three Plants vs. Zombies games are also getting 120hz support on Xbox Series S, and Sea of Solitude gets a 60hz boost on both consoles.

You can find the full list of games supporting FPS Boost, as well as which games have it turned off by default, on this blog post. Considering that all these games are also in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate thanks to it adding EA Play, that's a bunch of newly FPS-boosted games to play.

If you were feeling nostalgic for Titanfall 2 thanks to the crossovers happening right now in Apex Legends, well, here's your shot to play it in glorious 120hz.

Titanfall 2 and other EA games get an FPS Boost option on Xbox screenshot

Hand of Fate 2 and Alien: Isolation are free on the Epic Games Store

The Epic Games Store is giving out two freebies this week — one title you've no doubt already played (if you were ever going to try it), and one you might've missed that's worth a fair look. Today through April 29, 2021, you can claim Alien: Isolation and Hand of Fate 2 for free for your bustling PC library.

This isn't the first time Alien: Isolation has been free on the Epic Store, but it's worth highlighting just in case. Plenty of people adore this first-person horror experience — it has one of the tensest "stalker" enemies you'll ever encounter — and I adore the lived-in craftsmanship of the world, doubly so given that it's such a beloved movie property done right. That said, I've always found Isolation to be too stressful and long-winded to warrant a replay. Several years later, I still feel like once was plenty.

I do love revisiting player photos from time to time, though. What a looker.

I haven't played the lesser-known of these free games, Hand of Fate 2, but I'm intrigued by its nontraditional structure as a "living board game" blended with real-time fantasy action combat.

Here's how Destructoid reader TreasureCat summed up Hand of Fate 2's central hook last week: "It's not really a roguelite, but you do go play it by embarking on structured quests (runs) where you acquire equipment and resources while navigating randomized events. The gameplay is a one part board game, where you manage resources and play simple games that mix together skill, chance, and preparation and then one part Arkham-style third-person action combat encounters." Like I said, intriguing!

As for next week (April 29 to May 6), it's a weird one by Epic's standards: Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, otherwise known as the D&D clicker game. This idle RPG is normally free, so this promo is really for a bunch of champions, chests, and two familiars — a supposed $100 value. To get these items, you just have to log-in during that period to claim the Epic Champions of Renown pack.

[Image credit: DARKBLADEXE]

Hand of Fate 2 and Alien: Isolation are free on the Epic Games Store screenshot

PlayStation is giving out 10 fantastic PS4 games for Play at Home 2021

[Update: Today (April 22) is the last day to get nine free PS4 games from Play at Home 2021. So long as you show up and claim them from the PlayStation Store by 8:00 p.m. Pacific, they're yours to keep — no subscription needed. PlayStation VR owners, in particular, shouldn't sleep on this deal.]

We had heard that more free-to-keep PS4 games were coming soon from Sony after the Ratchet & Clank giveaway, but I can't say I was expecting 10 more titles to show up for the Play at Home promo. It's not just about quantity, either – these are all quality releases.

The Play At Home 2021 game list: Abzu, Enter the Gungeon, Rez Infinite, Subnautica, The Witness, Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Moss, Thumper, Paper Beast, and Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition.

You'll be able to grab nine games from March 25 at 8:00 p.m. Pacific until April 22 at 8:00 p.m.

Sony is also kicking in one of its own: Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition. You can add the robo-dino-hunting adventure to your PS4 library for free from April 19 at 8:00 p.m. Pacific until May 14.

Unlike the usual monthly "free games," you do not need PlayStation Plus for any of these.

Play at Home 2021 also has an "extended" 90-day trial for Funimation/Wakanim. If you're a new member and you want to go on an anime binge to end all binges, you have from March 25 to April 22 to take them up on the offer. I'll leave recommendations to the readers – they know what's good.

To give you a little bit more context on how much I like the games on this list, I own everything here except for Paper Beast – and the only reason it's on my yet-to-play list is that I've been on a VR break lately. Subnautica is one of my all-time favorites, Astro Bot is PSVR at its best, and Horizon Zero Dawn is a crowd-pleaser. I'm envious of anyone about to carve through these games for the first time.

PlayStation is giving out 10 fantastic PS4 games for Play at Home 2021 screenshot

Clone Hero streamer shreds full combo of a seemingly impossible song

If you haven't played Guitar Hero since the days of "Through the Fire and the Flames," well, things have come a long way. Modding communities have sprung up and developed new, incredible, seemingly insurmountable challenges. And the only thing better than an impossible challenge is seeing someone thrash it.

Clone Hero competitive player and streamer "CarnyJared" has been working on nailing a 100% Full Combo, or FC, of a custom track called "Soulless 6." It's part of the "Soulless" series of charts, and well, once you see him start playing it, you'll get why it appeared impossible.

It has been tech FC'd before—basically, playing Full Combo'ing it in segments—by another player, though that took not just breaking it up into individual pieces, but swapping guitars and stances. Jared's run is one straight go of it, start to finish.

Though the era of plastic instruments might have faded, it's clear there are still players out there ready to push these guitars and charts to their absolute limits. You can find CarnyJared's Twitch channel, where he livestreamed the FC run and more, here.

Clone Hero streamer shreds full combo of a seemingly impossible song screenshot

Dead Cells has a new difficulty curve and more mutations to play around with

[Update: Dead Cells' Whack-a-Mole update released today on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.]

New weapons? More mutations? Hard-hitting balance tweaks? Where do your eyes dart when scanning the patch notes for a major Dead Cells update? It probably depends on your goals for the game and where you're at with them. For folks stuck in Boss Cell hell, the revamped difficulty curve is a big deal.

In today's Whack-a-Mole update, the difficulty in Dead Cells was rebalanced again:

  • BC0: Health fountains in every transition.
  • BC1: Health fountain every other transition, with one minor flask when the fountain is missing.
  • BC2: No more health fountain, one minor flask in every transition.
  • BC3: One minor flask after the first boss and before the second.
  • BC4: No more health in any transition, enemies teleport to your position.
  • BC5: No more health, enemies teleport, malaise added.

For those who haven't kept up lately, these changes are meant to make things "easier."

Elsewhere in the Whack-a-Mole update, we're getting three amusingly beefy weapons: a doom-inflicting Tombstone, a last-hit-chaining Oven Axe, and a hold-to-charge club called the Toothpick.

There's also three tempting mutations to mull over, two of which speak to me as a tactics player:

  • No Mercy (colorless): Instantly kill enemies that are under 15 percent health – and bosses under 7.5 percent health – by hitting them with a weapon.
  • Barbed Tips (tactics): Inflict damage per second to foes based on how many arrows are stuck in them.
  • Point Blank (tactics): Close-range attacks have scaling bonus damage.

So uh... I think barbed tips might be a little busted. from r/deadcells

How do you unlock the new mutations and weapons? They're drops! According to the wiki, you can get No Mercy from Slashers, Barbed Tips from Toxic Miasmas, Point Blank from Corpulent Zombies, Tombstone from Swarm Zombies, Oven Axe from Oven Knights, and Toothpick from Ground Shakers.

The team has tried to stamp out seed-related crashes for good, touched up the Malaise mechanic (including new icons to "give you a better idea of what's about to hit you"), and made it so Legendary items scale "based on the sum of your two highest stats" and Legendary status doesn't raise an item's level. That said, those last two reworks are "very subject to change." Dead Cells doesn't stand still.

As always, it's worth poking around to see the minutia. For instance, it may not be a headliner for a lot of players, but a new accessibility-focused hold-to-chain-attacks toggle sounds pretty sweet.

As noted on Reddit, the Whack-a-Mole update should be ready for consoles in the next three to four weeks. If you're a Dead Cells mobile player, that version just got The Bad Seed DLC – it's $3.99.

Back to the grind we go!

Dead Cells has a new difficulty curve and more mutations to play around with screenshot

Review: NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. I think about that title a lot.

It may not even be the weirdest game name. But it stuck in my mind as one of the quintessential "Square Enix" titles in recent memory.

The thing is, NieR actually earns the right to be weird. So I'll type out NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139... just this once! Because the game deserves that respect.

Review: NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139... screenshot


Latest Apex Legends trailer teases Ash and the Arenas

It looks like a new way of duking it out is coming to Apex Legends. Today, Respawn Entertainment premiered the launch trailer for its upcoming Legacy update, narrated by a familiar voice for Titanfall fans.

Following the reveal of Valkyrie earlier in the week, today's trailer is narrated by none other than Ash—a former antagonist of Titanfall 2—who seems to be getting in on the battles. Alongside her is a tease of the Arenas, which seems like it could be a new game mode coming to Apex Legends.

Ash has been taking part in the broader Apex Legends lore for some time now—there's even an easter egg with her that recently got added—but it looks like she'll have a pretty direct role in what's to come. "Welcome to the Legacy of the Apex Predators," she says in the trailer as she's standing over a bank of controls. "Welcome to the Arenas."

The full gameplay reveal of Arenas is coming on April 26, and it's tagged with the line "go beyond battle royale," which raises some interesting questions about what type of game mode Respawn might be going for.

Whatever it is, seeing more ties to the Titanfall universe in Apex Legends has been pretty exciting so far. Between Valkyrie taking to the skies in her father's stead and Ash getting involved in the Games as well, plus all the potential backstory and lore possibilities, it's nice to see Titanfall's legacy continue on in myriad ways through Apex. I, uh, guess I'm reinstalling it now?

Latest Apex Legends trailer teases Ash and the Arenas screenshot

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection demonstrates Ryu Hayabusa's ninja rap

We're still almost two months away from the launch of Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, which sees three classic titles from the Ninja Gaiden franchise remastered and collated for those who like their action-adventures a little on the sadistic side.

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection demonstrates Ryu Hayabusa's ninja rap screenshot


Nier Replicant's creators share a special message about the 'version upgrade' ahead of its launch

The remaster-remake-relaunch of the first Nier game is due out tomorrow, and creative director Yoko Taro has some words to share about it.

Ahead of the launch, Square Enix has shared some messages from both Yoko Taro and producer Yosuke Saito, originally sent to reviewers who were covering the game. And, much like you'd hope from Yoko Taro, the message is not your bog-standard marketing release.

Yoko Taro calls Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139... a "version upgrade," rather than a remake or remaster. Drawing comparisons to Square Enix's own work on Final Fantasy VII Remake, the creator says it would be "terribly inconvenient" to be compared to such a massive game, and so he went with "version upgrade." (Consequently, Yoko Taro says the big string of numbers is something he just "stuck on randomly," so don't worry too much about it.)

You can read the letter in full below:

Hello there everyone, YOKO TARO, Creative Director of NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139... here.

This game is a "version upgrade" of a title released 10 years ago under the name of "NIER". That's right, it's not a remake or a remaster, it's a "version upgrade".

In the beginning I only intended for it to be a remaster you know. With some improved resolutions and that… But once I started saying that I would like to tweak the models a bit, or that I wanted to fix up the backgrounds etc., we were soon looking at a lot of fixes and improvements.

I mean, Square Enix recently did that remake of FINAL FANTASY VII right? I saw that and I thought it would be terribly inconvenient to be compared to such a massive blockbuster, so that was when I decided to call Replicant ver.1.22… a "version upgrade".

Incidentally, the big string of numbers on the end of the title was just something I stuck on randomly, so I wouldn't think too hard about it if I was you.

And another thing. In recent years, when I have been around Square Enix, they always give off this palpable aura of enthusiasm as if to say "Look! NieR:Automata (the previous thing I made) did well, so NieR Replicant will also sell now". I would like to take this opportunity to tell Square Enix to take a good hard look at reality. Only the names are similar and the content of the two games is completely different, so it's not really going to sell all that well now, is it lads?

I mean, come on, I made it! Automata selling was a fluke, and all my other stuff has hardly sold anything worthy of note. If you really do go ahead and manufacture all these discs and then store them in a big pile in a warehouse somewhere, the only thing we can do with that will be to have a good game of frisbee. Although, I mean… that does sound like fun and all…

Right now, at this very moment, some guy from the Square Enix marketing team is looming behind me and his glare is saying "YOKO you bastard, just promote the game properly for a change!", but meh, not much that can be done about that now is there? Let's all just give up and call it a day. I mean, you really don't understand anything in this game until you play it through multiple times right? And the reviewers will find it pretty hard to do that in the limited time they have…

So, more importantly than that, let's all just go home early and be nice to our parents, Mm, yes, that would have a much more positive impact on the world I think.

Producer Yosuke Saito also commented on calling it a "version upgrade," though he says regardless of what Yoko says, he personally doesn't believe it does "justice to the level of quality that the team has achived." Here's his full message:

Hello everyone. It's "long time no see" for some of you, and I guess "nice to meet you" for others. My name is Yosuke Saito, and I am the producer of NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...

Thanks to all you fans out there, NieR:Automata became a massive hit, and this game was developed under great pressure from that past success.

We are calling it a "version upgrade", but regardless of what Mr. YOKO says, I personally believe that moniker doesn't do justice to the level of quality that the team has achieved!

Having said that, NieR:Automata's big success was honestly somewhat of a miracle, so I don't think we will be selling quite that much… However, if we don't shift a certain amount then Mr. YOKO and myself will be forced to travel the world, selling the game out the back of a van. Ah, and Mr. Okabe will have to come along too!

So now you know this, please keep on supporting the NieR series.

Please, anything but the van…

Nier Replicant is out tomorrow for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam. You can check out our review of the "version upgrade," which went live this morning, here. As Chris notes, there aren't too many games like those in the Nier series. I'm personally still happy to keep supporting whatever this creative team gets up to, and keep on keeping them out of the van.

Nier Replicant's creators share a special message about the 'version upgrade' ahead of its launch screenshot

The Last Blade's Hibiki brings quiet ferocity to Samurai Shodown next week

Two of SNK's weapon-heavy fighters are getting set to lock horns next week, as Hibiki Takane prepares to cut a swathe of destruction through the roster of Samurai Shodown. The Last Blade's junior samurai will join the SamSho roster as a paid DLC  character April 28.

The Last Blade's Hibiki brings quiet ferocity to Samurai Shodown next week screenshot


The next Battlefield is coming later this year, with a reveal coming 'soon'

Electronic Arts confirmed today that two Battlefield games are in development. Alongside a new Battlefield for console and PC, there's also a standalone mobile game on the way.

In a blog post, DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson broke down the two games. The next Battlefield is currently set for this holiday season, later this year. While the blog notes all-out military warfare and game-changing destruction, the Battlefield staples, Gabrielson also writes that it's brought to life with "the power of next-gen consoles and PC." A reveal for the new Battlefield game is coming "soon."

The mobile game, meanwhile, is in development at Industrial Toys, working closely with DICE. The completely new Battlefield game will be a standalone game for smartphones and tablets, and is currently set for 2022. It's entering a testing period phase ahead of next year's launch, and more details are expected soon.

With two Battlefield games on the way, that's a whole lot of massively multiplayer destruction. It's been a little while since the last Battlefield, and with some new console hardware, I have to say I'm excited to see what DICE and the various teams like Criterion, DICE LA, and Gothenburg are putting together. 

The next Battlefield is coming later this year, with a reveal coming 'soon' screenshot

Biomutant is almost here, new trailer shows off its striking fantasy world

It seems like a decade since we first heard about THQ Nordic's genetic-splicing adventure Biomutant, even though it has, in fact, been just four short years. But the development cycle is finally at an end and Experiment 101 is ready to release its curious fantasy title on the world.

THQ Nordic has released an atmospheric new trailer focusing entirely on Biomutant's huge, beautiful open-world. Said world is in dire straits, however, due to a suffocating pollution that is chewing away at the Tree of Life, the roots of which provide the land with the nutrients it needs in order to survive.

The player's custom character is tasked with exploring this world, searching out the Tree of Life roots and protecting them from destruction. Sounds simple enough, but each root also happens to be guarded by one of the land's six tribes, and a little democracy, compromise, or perhaps even violence will be in order if the tree is to be restored to its former glory. 

Biomutant is almost here, new trailer shows off its striking fantasy world screenshot


Nintendo Download: Shantae

You know it's going to be a slow week when Nintendo touts Immortal: Fenyx Rising DLC as not only the marquee Nintendo Download option of the week, but the only headliner.

We've all been through those days on the 3DS and Wii U, but the Switch typically has something flashy to offer every week. I mean, see for yourself and read the near-decade eShop weekly posts I have logged here. Sadly, Shantae, despite being re-released several times, didn't even get the respect of a top spot.

But I'm changing that! The original Shantae is out on the Switch natively this week without any Virtual Console shenanigans, as is Picross S6: those games will never go out of style. Oh, and all of the stuff below.

Nintendo Download: Shantae screenshot


Ubisoft is publishing a run of Assassin's Creed Mr. Men and Little Miss books. Yes, really

The newest day in the Weirdest Timeline sees Ubisoft's stealth series Assassin's Creed cross over with Roger Hargreaves' 1970s children's book series, Mr. Men. As spotted by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the two brands are collaborating for a range of six titles based on the time-hopping mass-murder franchise.

"By mixing the Assassin's Creed sense of adventure and history with the colorful and delightful designs of the Little Mr. Men, these books will appeal to both young and adult readers," said Ubisoft in the announcement. "Follow Mister Ezio, Little Miss Kassandra, and Little Miss Eivor, as they each try to complete their own missions in the first three books of this series!"

Mister Ezio! He's a killer! But Mr. Men is a cutesy thing for kids! Much Random!

Ubisoft is publishing a run of Assassin's Creed Mr. Men and Little Miss books. Yes, really screenshot


The new Immortals: Fenyx Rising DLC basically turns the game into Diablo

Immortals: Fenyx Rising has been out since last December, and it's enjoyed a nice little niche between the typical open world Ubisoft fare and its inspiration: Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

But in true Ubisoft fashion they can't just leave the game alone and complete, there has to be some form of DLC to peddle. First we got A New God in January, then Myths of the Eastern Realm in March, and now April is giving us what might be the most unique add-on yet: The Lost Gods.

The minute-and-a-half trailer below is actually a very good elevator pitch for what to expect, with the new top-down view serving as the main hook. As is generally the case with Immortals add-ons, it focuses on a new character (Ash) in an attempt to build up the lore of the game while providing players with a side story.

The new view and a different combat system are great ideas to sell players on the pack piecemeal, but of course there's a season pass if you want that. It actually feels like a unique DLC, in other words.

The new Immortals: Fenyx Rising DLC basically turns the game into Diablo screenshot


Boomerang X put my air-dashing shooter reflexes to the test and I'm so into it

I'm not sure how I missed Boomerang X seeing as how 1) it's a Devolver Digital joint and that still counts for a lot, and 2) it's a stylish aerial-focused arena shooter, but man — it's so cool. I jumped into a very generous preview build recently and couldn't put the game down until I'd done, well, everything!

It took a bit for me to latch onto the mechanics given that they're doled out piece by piece and things start out really simple, but I was immediately into the idea of playing as a bandaged-up protagonist who, in my headcannon at least, must look like Mac the Knife, the mummy from Captain Commando.

Washed ashore on a mysterious abandoned island, you'll leap (and I mean leap) around until you quickly find an all-important weapon — your one and only for this reflex-intensive platforming shooter. It's a mystical boomerang that can one-shot shadowy figures and automatically come back to you. In the right hands, with your targets' weak points lined up just so, it's devastating. But you can never sit still.

Once Boomerang X comes into its own, you'll be able to dash toward your boomerang, and at that point, you never need to touch the ground again. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but it's so, so satisfying.

Boomerang X put my air-dashing shooter reflexes to the test and I'm so into it screenshot


Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis is coming a lot sooner than we thought

The Final Fantasy XIV really nails the "producer live letter" format, which is basically a fireside chat of everything going on with the game at different intervals. It's a very easy-to-follow concept and I dig the non-produced, realism of it. Well, Sega just held one of its own today for Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis, and it was super enlightening and gave us a ton of details for the upcoming game.

First up, New Genesis will arrive in June of this year, and it will be a global launch. That's huge, as there is no lead time (like say, years) for the Japanese version; everyone is getting it. It's very important to understand here that the team does plan on providing global patches, so unlike the current version of PSO 2 was with the western launch, there will be no "lag time" between updates. There's also going to be a "starter package" out on August 19, which will contain codes for nine in-game items, plus a "Limited Edition," with a mini soundtrack and new artwork.

You can watch the full hour-ish presentation below. As a note, it does have English voiceovers in this global version of the stream, so you can fully along without wonky YouTube subtitles.

Oh, and we also got some PSO 2 basic news today. As of June 2021, it will be caught up with the Japanese edition! So we'll have full Phantasy Star Online parity in just a few months.

Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis is coming a lot sooner than we thought screenshot


Sega's Sakura Wars mobile game has been a costly catastrophe, will shut down six months after launch

I believe this is what you call "cutting your losses." Sega has announced that it is shutting down mobile title Sakura Kakumei: Hanasaku Otome-tachi (Sakura Revolution: Hanasaki Maidens). The free-to-play gacha game, which launched in Japan in December of last year — will be switching off its servers on June 30, a pithy six months from release.

"Since service launched, we have worked hard planning and managing events, improving game systems, and so on in efforts to provide better service," said Sega in an official statement. "But after considering the environment surrounding the game, playability, and future developments, we have unfortunately come to the decision to end service."

Sega's Sakura Wars mobile game has been a costly catastrophe, will shut down six months after launch screenshot


Meet Alex Chen in Life is Strange: True Colors' opening scene

Square Enix has released a short teaser for its upcoming graphic adventure Life is Strange: True Colors. The new game, the latest entry in the award-winning series, will launch on PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Stadia platforms on September 10.

The short clip introduces us to new protagonist Alex Chen, as she discusses her hopes for a better life, living alongside her brother, in her new home of Haven Springs. Sadly for Alex, fate has more complex plans in store, and her arrival at the sleepy locale will be an eventful one, bringing new personalities, challenges, and hazards into her mysterious world.

Meet Alex Chen in Life is Strange: True Colors' opening scene screenshot


I was tired of Fall Guys, but Squads mode pulled me back in and I'm hooked again

Somehow, Season 4 of Fall Guys has already been out for a month. That whole time, I've been meaning to check in — the futuristic low-gravity levels looked fun — but I kept pushing it off. After adoring Season 1, bouncing off of Season 2, and missing most of Season 3, it wasn't that hard to procrastinate.

On a whim, curiosity got the better of me and I spent a couple of hours with Season 4 today.

The lobby for Fall Guys Season 4.Challenges? Huh? If you haven't peeked at Fall Guys in a while, you might have questions.

You know you've been on a real break when a once-familiar main menu suddenly feels overwhelming.

As much as I like the new stages and variations on the original obstacle courses, the biggest surprise to me is just how much I enjoy Squads mode. It has single-handedly renewed my interest in (trying to) keep up with Fall Guys again, which is funny, because it wasn't even a blip on my radar until now.

I think I had it in my head that Squads would only be good with a full crew of friends to back you up. That's surely the ideal way to go, but at least for me, as a solo-queue player, I'm having a blast.

I was tired of Fall Guys, but Squads mode pulled me back in and I'm hooked again screenshot


Oculus shares more details about Resident Evil 4 in VR

Earlier this month, Capcom announced Resident Evil 4 would be coming to virtual reality via the Oculus Quest 2. During today's Oculus Gaming Showcase, the VR company showed more of how Leon's adventure is being turned into a first-person VR experience.

The most obvious change is that you're moving around in first-person, with the Touch controllers acting as your mode of interaction. The analog stick moves you around, but development studio Armature has added an upper-body rig on top of Leon to work movement in with the Touch controllers, and there's support for both teleportation and room-scale movement options. The Oculus blog says you can play through the whole game comfortably seated, if you'd like.

There's also a lot of remastered art. Over 4,500 textures have either been repainted or had their resolution bumped up, character animations have been converted over to Unreal Engine 4, and cutscenes will be shown in their original format.

Overall, the VR version is looking even more solid than it did during last week's showcase. You can see more of it in the above video starting around the 21:30 mark, including a wild Pokédex-looking device and Leon's sick health-tracking watch. Considering how much of a different experience VR made for playing through Resident Evil 7, playing through the village, castle, and more in Resident Evil 4's VR adaptation could be pretty rad when it goes live later this year.

Oculus shares more details about Resident Evil 4 in VR screenshot

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake reportedly in the works at Aspyr

It's sounding like the Knights of the Old Republic will be getting a revival, at the hands of a studio well-known for its handling of older games.

In an interview with MinnMax, Bloomberg's Jason Schreier confirmed that a remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is in development at Aspyr, which has previously ported KOTOR to iOS among many other titles. 

Eurogamer corroborates this news in its own report, so it looks pretty certain. It also lends credence to some rumors that were circling earlier this year, saying a new KOTOR was in development outside of Electronic Arts.

This means BioWare—currently working on the next installments in its Dragon Age and Mass Effect series—won't be handling it. But it's hard to ask for a better-suited studio to handle remaking KOTOR than Aspyr, which has worked on a number of ports and updates to older games. Hopefully we'll get some official news and details about this one soon.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake reportedly in the works at Aspyr screenshot

New PC updates for Max Payne 3 and L.A. Noire gift all DLC for free

This week has been a bit of a strange one for Rockstar Games, at least in regards to its PC store. It began on April 19, when the Grand Theft Auto developer's entire catalog vanished from the Steam platform. It was quickly reinstated without explanation, and (for a brief period), complete with Midnight Club 2, which has not been available to purchase in three years.

One further oddity, however, concerns the surprise arrival of new updates for 2011's detective title L.A. Noire, and 2012's shooter sequel Max Payne 3, both of which have automatically dished out their entire DLC for free, gifting all those who own the titles on Steam a selection of skins, weapons, missions, and other goodies.

Today, things seem to have returned to a sense of normalcy, with Rockstar's Steam catalog all present and correct. L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3 are admittedly getting a little creaky in the bones in their latter years, but they're both pretty good games in their own right. The free DLC is a welcome, if slightly bizarre, bonus.

New PC updates for Max Payne 3 and L.A. Noire gift all DLC for free screenshot

Sell some ancient treasures and you could afford this stylish Tomb Raider statue

Premium merchandise maker Weta Workshops has opened pre-orders on a limited edition statue of the legendary Lara Croft. The stunning display piece recalls the classic "Lost Valley" stage of the original Tomb Raider release, and depicts Ms. Croft in action as she fends off an attack from a pair of ravenous velociraptors, deep within some forgotten land lost to the annals of time.

Sell some ancient treasures and you could afford this stylish Tomb Raider statue screenshot


Samurai Gunn 2 hits Steam Early Access this summer, but the Switch version is waiting for 1.0

The long-time-coming Samurai Gunn 2 resurfaced today with a blistering new trailer and a revised summer release window for Steam Early Access. What about Nintendo Switch? It's still happening — but that version won't come out until the 1.0 launch on PC, which should take "about a year or so."

The sequel had plummeted off my radar, but after catching this gameplay footage, I immediately remembered what it was like to face off in frantic one-hit-kill combat with friends. Simplicity and split-second decisions are still the name of this 2D action game. That said, there's more to chew on.

For combat, beyond the super-lethal sword and gun at your disposal, Samurai Gunn 2 now lets you "swallow" one of your three bullets to dash. Trickier yet, the dash allows you to fly through slash attacks, but not other players' shots. A small change can have a big ripple effect in high-stakes duels.

A four-player duel in front of a fallen statue's head.

In terms of modes and content, at Early Access launch, the game will have the first of four Adventure worlds (with solo and four-player co-op support!), nine local/online Versus levels (two all-new originals, six updated zones from Samurai Gunn, and a Minit arena), and eight characters (two of which are guests). There's also a graphic novel from artist Valentin Seiche (the first of six chapters).

Wait, guests? Yeah. Indie crossovers can be used to great effect, and Samurai Gunn 2 is on the right track so far with Ana from Spelunky 2 and the cursed hero of Minit. Everyone has unique abilities, too.

For those of us planning to wait for the Switch edition or the 1.0 PC release, Beau Blyth and the team are using Early Access to "make a better game by seeing what people enjoy the most and doubling down on that." (And adding more characters.) As it stands, they say Samurai Gunn 2 is "extremely fun to play right now, and has all of the main modes and features we want in the finished game."

As much as multiplayer is the screaming heart of Samurai Gunn for a lot of people, I'm all about Adventure mode. Whichever you prefer, online support should be a huge boon for the sequel.

Samurai Gunn 2 hits Steam Early Access this summer, but the Switch version is waiting for 1.0 screenshot

Xbox is removing the Live Gold restriction from a bunch of free-to-play multiplayer games today

Xbox is lifting the restrictions on its free-to-play games. While some online multiplayer games still required an Xbox Live Gold membership to play even if they didn't cost any money to play themselves, Microsoft is unlocking that today.

The company had previously been testing this feature out, and start today, the feature should go live for all players across over 50 free-to-play games. Here's the current lineup:

  • 3on3 FreeStyle
  • Aegis Wing
  • APB Reloaded
  • Apex Legends
  • Armored Warfare
  • Battle Ages
  • Battle Islands
  • Battle Islands: Commanders
  • Bless Unleashed
  • Brawlhalla
  • Call of Duty: Warzone
  • Crackdown
  • Crackdown 2
  • Crimson Alliance
  • Crossout
  • CRSED: F.O.A.D.
  • Darwin Project
  • Dauntless
  • DC Universe Online
  • Dead or Alive 5 Last Round: Core Fighters
  • Dead or Alive 6: Core Fighters
  • Defiance 2050
  • Destiny 2
  • Doritos Crash Course
  • Dungeon Defenders II
  • Enlisted
  • Eternal Card Game
  • Family Game Night
  • Fishing Planet
  • Fortnite
  • Galaxy Control: Arena
  • Gems of War
  • Happy Wars
  • Harm's Way
  • Hawken
  • Hyper Scape
  • Killer Instinct
  • Korgan
  • Minion Masters
  • Neverwinter
  • Outriders (Demo)
  • Paladins
  • Path of Exile
  • Phantasy Star Online 2
  • Phantom Dust
  • Pinball FX2
  • Prominence Poker
  • Realm Royale
  • Rec Room
  • Resident Evil Revelations 2
  • Rocket League
  • Rogue Company
  • Skyforge
  • Spacelords
  • Spellbreak
  • Star Trek Online
  • Techwars Global Conflict
  • TERA
  • The Four Kings Casino and Slots
  • Too Human
  • Trove
  • Vigor
  • War Thunder
  • Warface
  • Warframe
  • World of Tanks
  • World of Warships: Legends
  • Yaris

There are some big names in that list, ranging from the battle royales of Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone to the secretly uber-popular Roblox. Xbox says that the list will be updated in the future as well, as more free-to-play games launch for its consoles.

The Xbox Live experience has been changing a lot with the launch of the new console generation. Earlier this year Microsoft toyed with the idea of increasing Xbox Live Gold pricing before backtracking, and the packaging of Game Pass Ultimate has certainly been appealing for the catalog alone. We might be approaching a time where paying for multiplayer access is outdated, and honestly, it couldn't have arrived sooner.

Xbox is removing the Live Gold restriction from a bunch of free-to-play multiplayer games today  screenshot

Focus Home is in acquisition mode, purchases Space Hulk and Necromunda dev Streum On

Focus Home Interactive has acquired French developer Streum On Studio, best known for its work on Games Workshop releases such as 2016's Space Hulk: Deathwing and the upcoming Necromunda: Hired Gun. The acquisition was revealed as part of the publisher's latest financial report.

"Over the past year, and particularly the past six months, we have profoundly transformed Focus Home Interactive, said Focus board chairman Christophe Nobileau. "Our Group now has an adjusted business model and a dedicated M&A team, as well as renewed governance, a strengthened Executive Committee and a retention programme for key managers. These changes allow us to invest much more in game development and to significantly improve our profitability, starting next year. On the external growth front, we are delighted with the acquisition of the Streum On Studio."

You can check out a brand new trailer for Necromunda: Hired Gun below.

Focus Home is in acquisition mode, purchases Space Hulk and Necromunda dev Streum On screenshot


Here's what Genshin Impact looks like running on PS5

Just last week Sony and developer MiHoYo confirmed that Genshin Impact was coming to PS5 on April 28.

We knew it was happening, but it's nice to see that the studio is putting it out relatively soon in an era full of delays (they have the money for it, that's for sure!). And confirmation that it's going to support 4K visuals and the obvious SSD-related faster load times is always a plus.

Now, we get to see it in action. Sony put out a roughly eight-minute video of the PS5 port in action, which is thankfully low key, no commentary, raw footage. We get to see someone walk through the hub of Mondstadt and out into the world, with seamless load times to boot.

It really is a clear and effective way to show off the port without being too flashy. We also witness multiple locations, including some that are graphically intensive. The best part for me of course? The near-instant load times. Check one of them out here at 4:23 in the clip.

Sometimes, and this isn't exclusive to Genshin Impact, I'll refrain from going to certain places to do small tasks because of the load times involved. In an open world game, fast travel instant loading has become a godsend.

Here's what Genshin Impact looks like running on PS5 screenshot


Cyberpunk 2077's clunky console port is back in the Top Ten

The notoriously busted console edition of CD Projekt RED's Cyberpunk 2077 managed to shift enough physical copies last week to re-enter the UK Charts' Top Ten, nestling in at number nine. This is likely due to in-store efforts to reduce stock surplus. Still, just because something is cheap, doesn't mean it's worth buying, and while the PS4/Xbox One editions of the RPG have seen slight improvements since launch, they remain in a relatively poor state.

Aside from this charts oddity, it's mostly business as usual for the UK's physical sales. Electronic Arts' soccer sim FIFA 21 is once again back at the number-one spot, and is unlikely to be usurped by Dreamcast title Super League anytime soon. From there onward, it's mostly the Nintendo show, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, and Minecraft all enjoying steady sales. Capcom's Monster Hunter Rise sits at number seven, a healthy position for a non first-party release.

It's easy to forget that we're in a brand new gaming generation at all. Around five months on from the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and not a single title from either platform resides in the current Top Ten. Most generations begin with a whimper, it has been that way for literal decades, but with a shortage of hardware and multiple development delays, the ninth generation of gaming is sure taking its time getting out of the starting blocks.

Cyberpunk 2077's clunky console port is back in the Top Ten screenshot


The Guardian Games are here in Destiny 2, as is a real-life achievement-exclusive track jacket

The Guardian Games have begun in Destiny 2, which serves as an in-game Olympics of sorts for all three classes.

As Bungie points out Titans won last year, and they're hoping they'll see a new winner this time around. And as usual, Bungie is implementing "feedback" from prior events that didn't go as well as they planned, and has revamped the entire scoring system. Now medals range from one point for bronze, two points for silver, five points for gold, and 15 points for platinum.

To "account for different class population," the class that comes in third place each day gets a 10% scoring bonus, which will be applied permanently throughout the event. Events like this are pretty hard to get right, so there's probably going to be some issue at some point before it's done. For now, Hunters seem to have the edge as the most popular class overall, according to various Destiny data sites.

Rewards include near armor and an exotic Sparrow.

The crown jewel of the announcement is easily the Guardian Games track jacket, though. Following with Bungie tradition dating all the way back to the original years ago, if you manage to unlock the Sparrow, you'll get a code to purchase the jacket from the Bungie store (it's otherwise unobtainable, and merely listed on the store for ease of use).

You can also grab silver pins from the store, or a golden pin for whatever class wins the games. Mech! Bungie knows how to capitalize on it.

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The Guardian Games are here in Destiny 2, as is a real-life achievement-exclusive track jacket screenshot