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2019-01-17
Rare has announce a new update for Sea of Thieves, which is designed to both reduce the overall install size of the game and make it easier for the developer to implement further patches in the future. However, to download the update, you'll have to reinstall the entire game.The new install sizes for each version of the game has been outlined in a blog post on Sea of Thieves' main website. The PC version of the game will shrink from 47 GB to 27 GB. For Xbox One, the version on the original console will go from 35 GB to 10, and the One X install size will shrink from 47 GB to 25.As a result of this update, Rare executive producer Joe Neate writes that future patch sizes might "increase slightly in the future." However, the overall install size will no longer grow significantly--like it has in the past--so it should be faster to reinstall the game going forward. The update goes live on February 6.In our Sea of Thieves review, Peter Brown gave the game 6/10, writing, "For now, [Sea of Thieves is] a somewhat hollow game that can be fun for a handful of hours when played with friends, and something worth trying out if you happen to be an Xbox Game Pass subscriber. Even though it's hard to wholeheartedly recommend, I like enough of what I see to hold out hope that things will eventually improve as the game continues to be patched and updated with new content."Since then, Rare has implemented several updates into the game, including a competitive PvP arena mode, a new type of quest, and more enemy types. Rare design director Mike Chapman has announced that the developer has more content planned for the future, including a possible battle royale mode.Sea of Thieves is available for Xbox One and PC.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
A new Spirit Board event is set to begin soon in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This week, Nintendo is holding the second part of the Fire Emblem Fest, which will feature a variety of Spirits taken from the long-running strategy RPG series.The event kicks off at 10 PM PT on January 17 (1 AM ET / 6 AM GMT on January 18) and runs through the weekend, ending at the same time on January 20-21. During the Fire Emblem Fest, Fire Emblem characters will appear much more frequently on the Spirit Board. You'll also take home extra Gold for defeating them.The first part of the Fire Emblem Fest occurred back in December and featured the Legend-class Spirits Caeda and Azura, as well Eliwood, Eirika, and others. Both Azura and Caeda will return for Part 2, but this time they'll be joined by a number of characters who didn't appear the first time around, such as the Ace-class Spirits Leo and Takumi.Nintendo is holding a different Spirit Board event each week in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While most are themed around certain types of characters, last week's event rewarded players with twice the normal amount of Spirit experience and Spirit Points. The Mario Time event from December also introduced a handful of exclusive Spirits.The next game in the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, is slated to launch for Switch this year. Nintendo hasn't revealed many details about the game yet, but we got our first look at it during the company's E3 2018 presentation. Nintendo has a number of other titles lined up for this year; be sure to check them out in our gallery of Nintendo-exclusive games coming in 2019.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
The latest story trailer for Ubisoft's The Division 2 has arrived, and it provides one of the best looks so far at the narrative for the upcoming open-world shooter and its setting in Washington D.C. It also provides a first look a post-apocalyptic frog with unique hopping properties.You play as an agent of The Division, and after surviving the events of the first game in New York, you're headed to the nation's capital to do it all again, it seems. The nation is divided, with the narrator saying America is "slipping into civil war." The country is on the verge of "total collapse," and you're tasked with taking down various enemy groups to restore democracy to the country.In addition to providing a better look at The Division 2's story and setting, the video also shows some of the new weapons and gear such as drones and the crossbow. Also, at around 47 seconds, you can see a frog whose jump appears to have no effect on the water below. This frog also does not appear to move very smoothly. Must be the virus.Given the current political tensions happening in real-world America today, it will be interesting to see how The Division 2's story unfolds and how close to home it might strike.The Division 2 launches on March 15 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The PC edition will launch through Fortnite developer Epic's new store and Ubisoft's own store, but not Steam. A "private beta" for people who pre-order begins on February 7.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
Athlete and actress Ronda Rousey has teased something related to Mortal Kombat 11, and we might not have to wait long to find out what it is. Posting on Instagram, Rousey shared a picture of herself with an invitation to the Mortal Kombat 11 reveal event this week. She captioned the image, "The invitation I've been waiting to accept my whole life. Don't worry, Earthrealm is safe with me ;). Can't wait for Thursday!"Rousey's post fuels the ongoing rumours that she will voice the character Sonya in the fighting game. As of now, this is all speculation, but we should know more very soon. View this post on InstagramThe invitation I’ve been waiting to accept my whole life. Don’t worry, Earthrealm is safe with me ;) Can’t wait for Thursday! I’ll be there #MK11 @mortalkombatA post shared by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on Jan 15, 2019 at 5:32pm PST The Mortal Kombat 11 reveal event is slated to begin at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET on Thursday, January 17, and you'll be able to watch it here on GameSpot. In addition to premiering the first gameplay from Mortal Kombat 11, a description of the reveal event promises "exclusive reveals." It'll also contain details on the game's story and characters, as well as some of its "new features."Mortal Kombat 11 launches on April 23 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch, and those who pre-order a copy will receive Shao Kahn as a playable character.Pre-orders on PS4 and Xbox One also come with access to the fighting game's pre-launch beta. The test will be held for those two platforms sometime in March, although further details have yet to be announced. In other news, Mortal Kombat 11's cover art has been revealed--check it out here.In other news, Rousey has a match set for the upcoming Royal Rumble event. You can learn more in GameSpot's Royal Rumble coverage.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
January's free NES games for Nintendo Switch Online subscribes are now available. This month sees Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and Blaster Master join the service, while Japan receives one additional title: Joy Mech Fight, which was never released outside of the country.As in previous months, Nintendo has also added special save states of a couple of previously available NES games, namely the notoriously difficult Ninja Gaiden and Ghosts 'n Goblins. The former starts you off in stage 6-4, while the latter drops you in stage 6 with the dagger equipped.Nintendo Switch Online's NES library launched alongside the service this past September and initially featured 20 games, with additional ones arriving each month. The most recent batch included the aforementioned Ninja Gaiden as well as Wario's Woods and Adventures of Lolo. More NES games are planned to be released in 2019, although Nintendo hasn't announced what those will be yet.Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions run for US $4 / £3.49 / AU $6 for one month, US $8 / £7 / AU $12 for three months, and US $20 / £18 / AU $30 for one year. In addition to gaining access to the NES library, subscribers are able to play Switch games online with others as well as back up their save data to the cloud.Nintendo also has a couple of special offers for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. The most notable of these is a set of NES controllers for Switch, which are only available for purchase if you have a subscription. The controllers come in sets of two and cost $60.A remake of Blaster Master, dubbed Blaster Master Zero, launched for Switch in 2017. It was developed by Inti Creates, the studio behind the retro-style Bloodstained spin-off, Curse of the Moon, and features the same basic story and gameplay as the original but with redone visuals and other improvements.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
The WestWorld mobile game that Bethesda claimed was a "blatant ripoff" of Fallout Shelter is shutting down following the lawsuit that Bethesda brought against its developer. A statement posted on the game's Twitter page confirms the game has been removed from App Store and Google Play, with a final closure taking place on April 16, 2019. Additionally, all in-app purchases have been switched off, and you're recommended to spend any remaining currency before the final shutdown.It's not immediately clear if refunds will be available, but it doesn't sound like it. "We are sorry to see the Westworld mobile game go, and had an incredible time creating new content and events for players to enjoy. We deeply appreciate our community's enthusiasm and participation in the game," developer Behaviour Interactive said.pic.twitter.com/y7NS7QeSlX — Westworld Mobile (@WestworldMobile) January 15, 2019Nowhere in the statement is the lawsuit from Bethesda mentioned. Bethesda reached what was described by the company as an amicable settlement with Behaviour and Westworld studio Warner Bros. earlier this month. Terms of the settlement deal between Bethesda and Behaviour were never made public, so it's impossible to know if shutting down the Westworld game was part of the deal, but that could be the case.Behaviour worked on Fallout Shelter, and Bethesda alleged that Behaviour "illegally" used the same copyrighted source code from Fallout Shelter to developer the Westworld game. Not only that, but Bethesda claimed Behaviour "copied Fallout Shelter's game design, art, animations, gameplay features, and other elements.Bethesda was suing Behaviour and Warner Bros. for "copyright infringement, breach of contract, and misappropriation of [Bethesda's] intellectual property." Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
From Software has revealed that boss battles will play out slightly differently in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in comparison to both the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne. Although Sekiro will contain encounters just as challenging as its Soulsborne predecessors, its new mechanics offer different ways for From Software to create unique fights.In an interview with Game Informer, From Software director Hidetaka Miyazaki said that the new traversal mechanics--with the exception of swimming--have been used to create boss battles that have never been seen in a Soulsborne game before. "The traversal options allow much more dynamic movement within the boss arena, both for yourself and the boss character themselves," Miyazaki said. "Previously, you would have just had to run around a huge boss' feet and hack away at his ankles, but now you have all these movement options; you can both fully use the extent of that arena."Not every traversal mechanic will be available to you during bosses though. Some bosses will be huge, hulking monsters that are reminiscent of what's seen in Dark Souls and Bloodborne, and you'll defeat them similarly to how you would in From Software's older games. There are also bosses who simply won't give you the room to zip about the arena with your grappling hook, allow you to stealth behind them for an instant kill, or rely on any of Sekiro's other traversal mechanics. But each boss does have a weakness you can exploit to make the fight easier.You won't be alone when it comes to figuring out how to defeat a boss. In place of messages from other players, you can find clues in the world that hint at certain bosses' weaknesses. Whether you search out these hints is entirely up to you, but Miyazaki said that they do help, especially for enemy bosses that "use really dirty tricks" and "underhanded techniques."New types of boss battles aren't the only change From Software is putting into Sekiro. The game won't have multiplayer of any kind, and as a result, you'll be able to actually pause whenever you want. Unlike Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, Sekiro will also have an interconnected world that directly links back to its hub area. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice launches on March 22 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The standard version of the game releases alongside a Collector's Edition, both of which are available for pre-order.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT ASSASSIN'S CREED ODYSSEY DLCUbisoft recently generated controversy when it was revealed that the newest Assassin's Creed: Odyssey expansion, Shadow Heritage, would force players into a straight relationship for a period of time. Now, creative director Jonathan Dumont has apologised, and he also explained why it happened.At the end of the content, Kassandra or Alexios, depending on who you're playing as, has a child in a heterosexual relationship. Dumont said in a forum post that it was important for the game to establish how "your character's bloodline has a lasting impact on the Assassins." However, Dumont acknowledged that Ubisoft "missed the mark.""We want to extend an apology to players disappointed by a relationship your character partakes in," he explained. "Alexios/Kassandra realizing their own mortality and the sacrifice Leonidas and Myrrine made before them to keep their legacy alive, felt the desire and duty to preserve their important lineage. Our goal was to let players choose between a utilitarian view of ensuring your bloodline lived on or forming a romantic relationship. We attempted to distinguish between the two but could have done this more carefully as we were walking a narrow line between role-play choices and story, and the clarity and motivation for this decision was poorly executed."Players do not to need to continue this relationship in the next chapter of the DLC, Dumont added. He also said that this has been "a learning experience" for Ubisoft; he promised that Ubisoft will "do better" to make sure that player choice--which Ubisoft had hyped as one of the core tenets of the game--stays intact going forward.The move to force players into a heterosexual relationship was especially grating for some because, as mentioned, it ran counter to what Ubisoft had promised up until this point: that you could make your own choices in regards to romantic partners.At E3 2018, Odyssey's narrative director Melissa McCoubrey stressed how the game would allow players to choose their romantic partners. "If you want to be a woman and romance a woman, you can do that. If you want to be a man and romance a woman, you can do that. If you want to be a man and romance a man and a woman, you can do that," she told Stevivor at the time.The title of the achievement/trophy for Shadow Heritage that unlocks after the childbirth is "Growing Up," and that name is stirring controversy as well. [Update: the name of the achievement will be changed in a forthcoming patch, according to Kotaku]Shadow Heritage is part of the Legacy of the First Blade paid DLC for Odyssey. In addition to new story content, it added a new Hunter ability, Rapid Fire, which allows players to fire arrows rapidly without reloading. You can watch the opening minutes of Shadow Heritage in the video embedded above. Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
The developers of the PlayStation 4 exclusive God of War originally had many more boss fights planned. Game director Cory Barlog told Noclip that "a lot" of boss fights ended up on the cutting room floor, in part because it was too much work."We cut a lot of bosses. A lot. We had so many more," he said. "It was a much more ambitious, crazier game. And as you go through development, you start realising, 'No, it's too big, we can't do this.'"Barlog said a single boss battle took 18 months of work from a team of 30 developers, so as such, the number of boss fights had to be scaled back to make sure the game actually came out this decade. "One boss takes like 30 developers a year and a half. It's an absolutely massive scale when you really consider it, and you measure it against other games in which we finished the game in a year and a half," he said.The developer also pointed out that the "boss team" had other tasks as well, which took up even more of their time. At the end of the day, Barlog said, "It became a reality that some of these things will have to be cut."Also in the interview, Barlog talked about how the troll fights were never intended to be boss battles. He shares many more interesting anecdotes from his time working on one of 2018's most celebrated games; check out the full video below.In other news, Barlog said he had an idea for a "really fun" expansion for God of War. However, it was "too ambitious," and Sony eventually decided to scrap it.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
Star Wars: Episode IX is filming right now, and actor John Boyega--who plays Finn--has teased something "visually crazy" for the much-anticipated sci-fi film.Boyega shared a cryptic image on his Instagram page of his distressed hands after a day of shooting. The caption of the image reads, "The whole team pushed themselves today to achieve something visually crazy! I've had many moments of shock on set but not like today and I can't wait until you know why." View this post on InstagramGreat working day on set!! The whole team pushed themselves today to achieve something visually crazy! I’ve had many moments of shock on set but not like today and I can’t wait until you know why 👀🙌🏾 #FN2187A post shared by John Boyega (@johnboyega) on Jan 15, 2019 at 1:46pm PST It's intriguing to think about what Boyega might be referring to. The Star Wars franchise is known for its spectacle over-the-top sequences, and we can only imagine what Episode IX will deliver in this department.Episode IX hits theatres this December. It is the third and final instalment in the new trilogy that started with 2015's The Force Awakens. The movie was set to be directed by Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow, but he was fired and replaced by JJ Abrams, who directed The Force Awakens.Lost and Lord of the Rings actor Dominic Monaghan will play an unspecified role in Episode XI.In other Star Wars news, EA has reportedly canceled a new open-world Star Wars game in development at EA Vancouver. However, the company says it remains "fully committed" to making more Star Wars games in the future. Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
From Software has revealed that its changing how it tells stories when it comes to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The contrast of beauty against death will still be present in its narrative, but Sekiro will be about a specific character with his own backstory as opposed to a nameless, blank slate protagonist like in previous Soulsborne games."We're trying to tell more of a drama, if you will, of these characters," From Software marketing and communications manager Yasuhiro Kitao said to Game Informer in an interview. Sekiro follows the changing relationship between Young Lord and his guardian The Wolf, the latter of which you play as. In the beginning of the game's story, the two are attacked and Young Lord is kidnapped while The Wolf is left defeated with his arm cut off. Upon awakening, The Wolf receives his prosthetic arm and then sets out on a quest to find Young Lord and defeat those responsible for the assault.On his journey, The Wolf will meet other characters, but unlike previous From Software games where the protagonist wordlessly responds to others, The Wolf will actually speak to people. He is his own person, with his own thoughts, feelings, and sense of morality. In turn, having a character with an established backstory has allowed From Software to implement storytelling techniques that are absent from past Soulsborne titles, such as flashback sequences.All that said, From Software doesn't want to take away from players who love theorizing about the lore of Soulsborne games. Even though The Wolf has an established past, the history of the world he lives in--as well as the enemies, bosses, and some of the characters he meets--are fragmented. It'll be up to you to piece together exactly what happened prior to the game's events.In Sekiro, From Software is breaking plenty of other conventions it's established with its past Soulsborne games. One of the most notable changes is in how boss battles play out, as Sekiro's expanded traversal mechanics--such as stealth, parkour, and a grappling hook--allow for more unique encounters. Sekiro also won't have an online multiplayer, so From Software has designed the game to allow players to actually pause the action wherever they are. Unlike Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, Sekiro will have a hub area that's connected to its world, allowing for more opportunities to freely explore.Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice releases for Xbox One, PS4, and PC on March 22.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
Disney is pushing ahead with yet another live-action version of one of its classic films. The movie giant's latest live-action remake will be for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.The movie is said to be based on the 1831 Victor Hugo book and Disney's 1996 animated film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The new movie is being written by playwright David Henry Hwang, while the music is coming from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. They picked up Oscar nominations for the music they wrote for the 1996 film. Actor Josh Gad is producing the new Hunchback movie. According to THR, the Hunchback film is "not currently a priority" for Disney, but it's unclear why that is. It might be that Disney's live-action slate is already quite stuffed. In 2019, Disney will release live-action versions of Aladdin, The Lion King, and Dumbo. After that, the company will put out live-action takes on Mulan and Lady and the Tramp.In other Disney live-action movie news, the Pinocchio movie recently suffered a setback with director Paul King dropping out. Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
Relentless absurdity and hyper-stylized action have been core tenets of the No More Heroes series. It never cared for making much sense and instead embraced its own ridiculousness with bold self-awareness, a staple of director Suda51. The slimmed-down hack-n-slash spinoff, Travis Strikes Again, hits many of the same notes, but not as hard and with varying degrees of success. Its combat is frenetic, but well worn toward the end. Its story and style is unique, but thin in crucial moments. Its humor lands in spots, but not quite with a punch. But despite a middling delivery of what past games have done, there's fun and charm packed into Travis Strikes Again, and if anything, it is a great example of local co-op action on Switch.Seven years after the events of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Travis Touchdown has removed himself from the world of assassination. The series' too-cool-for-school protagonist now spends his days playing video games in a trailer nestled away in the backwoods of Texas. The father of past enemy Bad Girl, aptly named Bad Man, tracks him down for revenge, but he and Travis get sucked into an alternate dimension within Travis' possessed Death Drive Mk II video game console. They end up working together to uncover the true nature of the haunted console and its games, and that's how you get the co-op premise where you can play as either Travis or Bad Man in the six Death Drive games that serve as missions.Charge attacks are satisfying to pull off, especially when Travis unleashes his inner tiger.Travis Strikes Again primarily plays as a top-down hack-n-slash action game that pits you against hordes of enemies, referred to as "bugs," that look like they're from a digitized hellscape. Travis is still equipped with his trusty beam katana, but can now equip four unique abilities mapped to the face buttons, which can be activated when holding down the left bumper and operate on a cooldown. As you acquire more of these skills, called Chips, combat starts to open up and become more varied; finding what works for you and stringing together attacks with a preferred loadout is satisfying, especially when dealing with tougher enemies that require more than button-mashing to defeat. A personal favorite combo is a lightning strike to immobilize an enemy followed by a sticky bomb, then a "force push" to toss them into a crowd before the bomb goes off. Each of these abilities are also quite effective alone since they deal more damage and create openings. Along with heavy attacks that carry a nice, weighty feel and charge attacks that build up to bring out a literal tiger in Travis, you can't help getting hyped up when powerful enemies like a Sheepman spawn into combat.Throughout the game, attempts to break up the pace of core combat are half-baked implementations of fun ideas.There's more than enough to toy with in terms of combat skills, but basic level layouts that move you from one combat arena to another wear thin. The scenery changes and stronger enemies with different movesets show up, but the formula eventually stagnates. Aside from the tail end of the first mission, "Electric Thunder Tiger II," and a late mission we won't spoil, environments tend to be visually bare without much flair to match the over-the-top action. The "Coffee and Doughnuts" mission shifts to a side-scrolling view for a straightforward murder-mystery theme sprinkled with Twin Peaks references, but combat is limited in this perspective and rudimentary platforming doesn't make up for it.Missions are occasionally broken up with either a minigame or puzzle, but this isn't enough to stave off the repetition perpetuated by the simplistic level design. The "Life Is Destroy" mission that tasks you with rotating pieces of a grid-based suburb to make a path forward adds a sweet puzzle element, but gets hampered by an enemy that chases you around and causes instant death on contact. A drag racing minigame in "Golden Dragon GP" brings along a novel twist, though it's short-lived. Throughout the game, attempts to break up the pace of core combat are half-baked implementations of fun ideas.There's more than enough to toy with in terms of combat skills, but basic level layouts that move you from one combat arena to another wear thin. The scenery changes and stronger enemies with different movesets show up, but the formula eventually stagnates.Battles get real spicy when the "Serious Moonlight" chapter rolls around (at the time of writing this review, we're not at liberty to divulge its contents), but even then, the combat arena formula begins to overstay its welcome. And the conclusory mission devolves into a series of tedious mazes and Gauntlet-like fights in empty rooms. In boss battles, it's enjoyable to recognize simple attack patterns and strike when the time's right. But again, they don't quite challenge you in interesting ways or make the impact you'd expect from a No More Heroes game.Thankfully, the option for local cooperative play is streamlined and allows a second player to jump in at any time. Playing in co-op elevates the thrilling aspects in combat and makes the duller moments a bit more exciting, as you'll coordinate with your partner to pull off skills and efficiently tear down enemies. The already intuitive control scheme also translates effortlessly to a single Joy-Con. Travis and Bad Man don't differ much in combat capabilities, though there are a few Chips unique to each character, and while you'll have to decide who gets to use which of the shared Chips in the early game, there's enough to go around in later missions.Progression is laid out neatly with each mission concluding in a boss fight followed by a narrative sequence about how Travis acquires the next game. He runs into a cast of quirky characters and bizarre situations in a monochrome screen-style visual novel, and it's surprisingly intriguing. Creative visual representations of characters and places in the green-black color palette are elevated by catchy MIDI-tuned music (including the original No More Heroes theme) and amusing dialogue. It's not without a bad joke or two, or a gag that doesn't land, but the exceptional execution of a seemingly secondary element goes a long way for tying the overarching plot together, as disparate as it may seem.Here's to hoping we still see No More Heroes 3.The overtly crude-but-not-clever humor has been toned down this time around, and it's for the better. Profanity-laced lines and toilet humor remain intact along with tongue-in-cheek jabs and references to gaming culture, and frequent fourth-wall breaking; even commentary on the struggles of being a game developer finds its way into dialogue. Travis' brash attitude works most of the time as every other character keeps him in check, including his sassy cat Jeane--who talks and has an anime-inspired portrait in the story chapters--and the game bosses Travis encounters who he expresses reverence for. However, dialogue is rarely spoken, as there's limited voice acting even in the game's scant cutscenes.As expected, the game is packed with references, purposefully ham-fisted, to drive home the overall absurdity of No More Heroes. It works at times, such as the Chips being named after Gundam (Strike Freedom, F91, and Atlas, to name a few) and a story chapter that uses Suda's own The 25th Ward: The Silver Case as a narrative device. There's even a Jeff Minter stand-in character who's crucial to the plot of finding the original Death Drive developer. A late-game reveal proves to be the boldest of them all, especially for those fond of a particular past Suda51 game. And there's a slew of shirts you can equip with key art from other independent games (like Undertale, Hyper Light Drifter, and many more). As heavy-handed as some references may be, they're at least consistent with the game's personality, and if anything, liven up its tone.This is not the return of No More Heroes you'd hoped for, but it at least shows signs of a series that still has life in it.Once you've sifted through the references and callbacks, you have a competent action game with some great ideas that are only halfway there. Slashing through waves of deformed bugs and hardened brutes has its moments, highlighted by a seamless co-op system that makes jumping into the action a breeze, and the minimalist story presentation will draw you into the journey. However, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes doesn't quite deliver on its potential, relying too heavily on repetitive encounters. This is not the return of No More Heroes you'd hoped for, but it at least shows signs of a series that still has life in it.Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-17
"Postmodern" is both an intriguing and an intimidating word. YIIK, pronounced "Y2K," comes with the subtitle, "A Postmodern RPG," but what does that mean? Is it a game centred around the tennis matches of Infinite Jest? Or around Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans? Regardless of the intention behind labeling the game as such, the postmodern tag initially seems a little peculiar.However, when you boot up YIIK you're met with a stylish title screen that looks like it was ripped straight out of a retro arcade. The stunning visuals are accompanied by an electro-jazz bass-driven track that immediately asserts the game's homage to '90s pop culture. After a short exchange with a crow named Marlene, you're given control of Alex McHugh, college graduate and spoiled brat. You're also unemployed and spend your time wandering around your town aimlessly until you meet a cat with a Salvador Dali moustache. Shortly afterwards, an ethereal girl goes missing, triggering a chain of events that threaten the very fabric of reality itself.YIIK plays as a turn-based RPG, but instead of a strength/weakness mechanic that's usually innate to most turn-based systems, YIIK uses a series of minigames to determine how much damage you deal and receive. Alex's basic attack sees him spin his favorite LP on a portable record player, which is lighthearted and amusing at first. However, as more characters and abilities are introduced to the game, the amount of minigames becomes increasingly more daunting.Basic attacks become ineffective as the game progresses, leaving you to use special abilities that feature minigames spanning myriad genres. These special abilities are necessary to take down mid-game enemies, but because there are no instructions on how to play the minigames, the game's learning curve is both unfair and unsatisfying. Make a mistake and you'll deal no damage, so you'll likely need to die a few times before you get the hang of a new ability. There's a voice that narrates the battle dynamics when you dodge an attack or die that sounds like the aliens from The Simpsons, though, which is a small redeeming factor.The defense mechanics aren't much better. Sometimes you can dodge if you nail a real-time prompt, whereas other times the most you can do is reduce the amount of damage you receive. One particular kind of attack, for example, targets your entire party of four and hits you like a truck unless you nail three timed prompts in quick succession, which is a lot more difficult to do than it might seem. Since this attack is used more frequently over time, it becomes a frustrating way to engage with combat. The battle pace is slow and the response to your inputs is clunky, making the battles themselves last for an unnecessarily long time. And the further you progress through the game, the more often you have to battle while traversing its many dungeons. Also, the real-time battle prompts are much better suited to a precise mouse-click than a button press, which is an issue on PS4.The game's leveling system, meanwhile, is tied to the Mind Dungeon, which sounds a lot more intriguing than it actually is. Again, the Mind Dungeon gets maximum style points, quite literally being a dungeon located in the protagonist's head that's accessed by dialing a specific number. In the Mind Dungeon, the camera angle changes to a side-scrolling perspective. In order to level up, you need to select one of four doors on the current floor and choose one of six skills to increase. You then need to enter the room behind that door, which confirms the skill increase. All four doors can be used to increase a skill, meaning that you can increase four skills for every level. After all four doors have been used, you can speak to Marlene the crow at the staircase located on the opposite side to the side you entered on. After confirming the level up, you descend to the next floor, which has another four doors -- and so on.The actual world of YIIK is stunning, though. Each map (apart from the dreary and awkwardly angled Wind Town) is designed with a gorgeous retro art style that screams '90s Nintendo, and the soundtrack is consistently killer. Hearing that Undertale developer Toby Fox helped with music production wasn't surprising at all, and the late-game vocal tracks in particular set the mood brilliantly. The art style and music set a ‘90s mood that's paired with a lighthearted tone, with the game being genuinely funny for the most part. One particular NPC unleashes a barrage of rubbish jokes, the last of which is, "Are you visiting from Seattle? Say hi to Nirvana for me." It's very silly, but it works in the game's favor.However, YIIK's attempts at humor can also be very problematic. Characters call each other "spazoids," derived from the highly-insulting term "spastic," as a throwaway insult. At one point Alex even says, "That's our word" about the word "ginger." On another occasion, a character says, "You guys went into an epileptic fit," despite the fact that what actually happens doesn’t even remotely resemble that. These jokes don't land, instead creating an uncomfortable atmosphere. It's one thing to set your game in 1999 and use otherwise outdated terms in context, but it's another thing entirely to gratuitously use derogatory terms for comedic effect. The art style and characters already capture the era perfectly; drawing on the negative parts of the '90s for no reason doesn't add anything.YIIK has a number of design and technical performance issues as well. The game doesn't perform very well on console for a range of reasons. For one thing, the movement mechanics are a real issue on console. With no invisible barriers, traversing narrow bridges from an isometric perspective with a PS4 controller's analog sticks usually results in falling off the side. Obviously pressing the D key on a keyboard will cause you to move right with precision, but the same can't be said of analog sticks unless you're willing to move at a snail's pace through a game that's already slow.I also encountered a game-breaking bug that could only be resolved by going back three hours to an old save file.Although some aspects of the game can be called postmodern, YIIK tries a bit too hard to make itself smart, coming off as pretentious more often than notIn general, puzzles that are not complicated ended up being unnecessarily time-consuming. The puzzles in the early parts of the game are quick logic problems that are enjoyable and fit the style of the game like a glove. The later puzzles, however, are resolved with much more arbitrary solutions and, in my experience, are susceptible to bugs. For example, you are taught early in the game that one tool (Panda) is used to hold down pressure plates, while another tool (Dali) is used to activate inaccessible switches. Late in the game, you need to use Dali to activate a pressure plate while Panda is already in use elsewhere. However, you've been explicitly taught that each of the two has a role of its own--it's a bit cheap, really, and when I figured it out I felt dissatisfied, because it didn't fall in line with the logic that the game went out of its way to establish earlier. The solution was neither a clever implementation of the game's established rules nor a smart twist on those same rules.Although some aspects of the game can be called postmodern--namely the character arcs and the writing--YIIK tries a bit too hard to make itself seem smart, and it instead comes off as pretentious. By self-consciously addressing itself as a game and including lines like, "How can an RPG be postmodern?", YIIK is postmodern in a basic sense, featuring nods to the critique of Enlightenment ideas of self-realization. However, it doesn't use this basis to communicate anything important later on. It never builds on its foundations. YIIK's reliance on the quirkiness of its content--such as Alex attacking enemies with a record player--means that it's not postmodern so much as it is a take on hipster culture.YIIK opts for pointless "postmodern" jargon about the nature of objective reality and a person's soul over meaningful character development and ambitious experimentation with its form. On top of this, postmodern literary phrases are rattled off in contexts that are completely detached from their meaning, which can be perceived as postmodern in an edgy sense but definitely not an intriguing or challenging one.YIIK's characters are intriguing at first, but they don't really develop until late in the story, so it's difficult to care about them. At the end of the game, Alex provides a summary of what has happened, and it's genuinely interesting. It's unfortunate that the game managed to kill that intrigue with its slow, tedious, and clunky gameplay. There are two endings, both of which are canon. The one I got is the one that most people will get on their first playthrough, and it's not good. The story doesn't resolve itself in any meaningful way and the last boss is designed as another arbitrary puzzle that's a bit much to be considered clever or fair. Also, the route to the end of the game involves a monotonous grind that feels like not enough butter scraped over too much bread.Despite YIIK's stunning art direction, kicking soundtrack, and occasionally interesting plot point, it suffers as a result of its clunky combat, tedious grinding, and poor puzzle design. Postmodern texts aren't always enjoyable--Wallace's Infinite Jest features walls of text that list every chemical name for prescription drugs under the sun, spanning pages upon pages at a time. However, Infinite Jest has substance. For the most part, YIIK doesn't. Info from Gamespot.com
2019-01-16
Pokemon Go's Adventure Sync Hatchathon may be coming to an end soon, but a new event is set to kick off immediately afterward. Beginning January 15, Niantic will hold a two-week-long celebration of the Hoenn region, featuring a ton of Pokemon originally from Ruby and Sapphire.Throughout the event, Gen 3 Pokemon such as Numel, Zigzagoon, and Taillow will spawn much more frequently in the wild. On top of that, players will have a chance to encounter Shiny forms of Zigzagoon and Taillow, while any Shroomish that evolve into Breloom during the event will know the Grass-type attack Grass Knot.Raid Battles will also feature Gen 3 Pokemon, including the Legendaries Groudon and Kyogre. Gen 3 Pokemon will be much more likely to hatch from 7 km Eggs during the event as well. There will also be new Field Research tasks themed around Gen 3 Pokemon.Rounding out the celebration, Niantic will offer new avatar items based on Team Aqua and Team Magma--the villainous teams from Ruby and Sapphire--in the game's Style Shop. The Hoenn event is scheduled to end on January 29. You can read more details on the Pokemon Go website.On top of the Hoenn celebration, Niantic is hosting a new Limited Research event this Saturday, January 19. Much like a Community Day, it will only run in each region for three hours. During this time, players will be able to get special Limited Research tasks from PokeStops, each of which ends with an encounter with Feebas.Info from Gamespot.com
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