Jack Gardner

 
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild received its second expansion today in the form of The Champions' Ballad.
 
The DLC pack comes with a wide variety of additions to the core Breath of the Wild experience. Here's what to expect if you're thinking of dropping some money on the expansion:
 
A new dungeon and additional shrines The One-Hit Obliterator, a new weapon The Master Cycle Zero, a snazzy motorcycle A questline that has Link aiding Kass the Bard to find the final pieces of a lost song Nine additional treasure chests that hold different armors and outfits Horse armor  
Players will have to free all of the Divine Beasts in order to unlock the Master Cycle Zero to allow Link to rip-roar his way across the wilderness. The accordion playing bird, Kass, hopes to reconstruct his master's last song, setting Link off on a quest to find the missing verses. The completed song provides new information about the history of Breath of the Wild's heroes, Revali, Mipha, Daruk, and Urbosa, as well as Princess Zelda. Like with Link's new motorcycle, Kass' quest only opens up once the Divine Beasts are freed.
 
The treasure chests hidden across the world add in things like the Island Lobster Shirt from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the helmet of Zant, Ravio's hood, and Phantom Ganon's armor. These chests can also contain the ancient bridle and saddle for Link's trusty steed. In addition to looking neat, the bridle allows the horse to be spurred more times and the ancient saddle will somehow help the horse to hear the player's calls from farther away. 
 
 
 
The expansion is already out in the wild, so if the features appeal to you, pick it up for the Nintendo Wii U or Switch.

Jack Gardner

 
Atlus announced yesterday that Vanillaware's unique action-RPG Dragon's Crown would be making its way to the PlayStation 4 early next year with a grip of improvements over the original.
 
Dragon's Crown takes place in the same fantasy world as Vanillaware's previous titles, GrimGrimoire and Odin Sphere. It stars a cast of six characters in a side-scrolling melee reminiscent of the Golden Axe arcade titles mixed with more modern RPG mechanics. Players had to face down a myriad of dungeons to uncover the secrets of the titular Dragon's Crown. It can be played solo or co-op with up to four players, Gauntlet style. It made a significant splash in the lead up to its PlayStation 3 and Vita release for its exaggerated, extreme art style.
 
Dragon's Crown Pro will give the original a face-lift with 4K resolution and updated artwork compatible with that increased fidelity. The soundtrack has been remastered with a live orchestra to imbue the action with a more robust soundscape. It's really a boon to any gamers out there looking for a new co-op experience to enjoy with friends.
 
 
Dragon's Crown Pro will be available for the PlayStation 4 sometime Spring 2018.

StarkleSparkle
Article written by Ryan Juel, a third-year participant who raises funds for Gillette Children's Speciality Healthcare.

 
My brother David was in a nasty car crash in April of 2008. After swerving to avoid a deer, he hit a tree, whacked his head on the steering wheel and suffered traumatic brain injury.
 

 
After 4 weeks in a medically induced coma, he had to re-learn everything. He had to learn to walk, talk, eat, get dressed, everything. Things we take for granted, like opening a jug of milk or holding a hand of cards were difficult if not impossible for him after his injury.
 

 
He also spent two or three months at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare at he recovered. It was tough, but he persevered. David managed to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA. I owe a significant debt to Hennepin County Medical Center and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. They literally saved his life. And this is why I do what I do.
 
This year I raised $1100 from my Extra Life stream. 7 3/4 hours of Dance Dance Revolution. It's a great workout, can you tell? 

 

herobyclicking
Hey Friends!
 
Another Game Day and another Extra Life milestone! The past month marked a number of fundraising firsts and shattered records, meaning November 2017 saw the entire community step up and raise more money than ever before to help sick and injured kids across North America.
 
Our monthly updates are sent out to let you all know the important news from around the community. Buckle in, because you’re the best gaming has to offer!
 
A Record-Breaking Game Day
Game Day weekend left our jaws on the floor this year as you all came together to raise over $1.8 million for the kids! The collective efforts of thousands of gamers across all kinds of platforms and mediums pushed us beyond the $7 million mark. It was a weekend of coming together, helping children, and forging memories. We certainly won't be forgetting our milestone celebration anytime soon! 
 
 
 
 
First $1MM+ Team in Extra Life History
We are proud to announce that Rooster Teeth now holds the honor of being the first team to raise over $1 MILLION! Since they began participating in Extra Life, the RT community has collected more than $3 million for Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. They're making miracles happen for those kids.
 
 
 
 
 
November was Humbling!
The past month has seen game developers and publishers support Extra Life through Humble Bundle. Our friends at Double Fine Productions created the Day of the Devs Bundle raising over $57K for the kids. For Game Day, we had the opportunity to put together the massive official Extra Life Humble Bundle that brought in an additional $60K with the help of Bandai Namco, Adult Swim Games, Paradox Interactive, DrinkBox Studios, and PAIZO. Reminder: You can support Extra Life with each Humble Bundle purchase by using our partner link.
 

Continuing to Make Miracles
We may have broken $7 million on Game Day weekend, but the Extra Life community continued fundraising for all of November. That month of fundraising means that Extra Life 2017 has currently raised over $10 MILLION FOR THE KIDS!!! That's truly incredible! Every year, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across the US and Canada treat 10 million kids, and it is amazing to see Extra Life step up to try to meet their needs.
 
 
 
 
We’ve broken a lot of records this year, but remember that there’s still time to do more. Fundraising remains open through December 31st. We put together some fundraising tips for those in the community who want to help us reach $10.5 million before the end of 2017. Get your offline and matching donations in as soon as possible to count toward your 2017 fundraising total! Never stop pushing forward for fun, fellowship, and – as always….
 
 
For The Kids,
Mike, Liz, Lou & Jeromy
Team Extra Life
Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

StarkleSparkle
Article written by Michael Wiltfong, a fourth-year participant who plays for St. Louis Children's Hospital.

I started Extra Life four years ago after the birth of my son, Phoenix Joeseph.
 
Early into the pregnancy we found out he was going to be born with a defect called gastroscesis. Basically, he has a hole in his abdomen and his intestines were developing outside his body. I was fresh out of the military and had recently laid off when the due date drew near.
 
We drove an hour into the city to see a specialist every week to make sure he was safe and growing. The day he was born, the greatest day of my life, I saw my baby boy get taken to surgery seconds after coming into the world. After a successful surgery he was in the NICU and his mother and I didn’t want to leave his side, unfortunately we would have to after her 3-day recovery period.
 
Luckily a nurse was kind enough to tell a member of the hospital staff our situation and they helped us get a room at the Ronald McDonald House and a small care package of essentials for Phoenix. I never forgot the generosity of these people so I promised to repay that kindness.

 
So four years and almost $2,000 dollars later I keep to that promise, I do it to give hope to not only the children but to the parents as well, so they know people out there hear their call and answer it proudly.


Jack Gardner

 
After a great many technical issues (THE ENTIRE EDITING COMPUTER DIED!), here is the long overdue episode on Banjo-Kazooie! Rare's 1998 N64 followed in Mario 64's groundbreaking footsteps with a song in its heart and an aura positively radiating whimsy. The collectible-heavy 3D platformer starred an anthropomorphic bear named Banjo and his bird pal Kazooie. The duo took off on an adventure to defeat the powerful witch Gruntilda who had kidnapped Banjo's sister because she was... too cute? The ensuing worlds wove a distinct spell all their own with the help of Grant Kirkhope's amazingly memorable score and a colorful cast of characters. 
 
Does Banjo-Kazooie hold up as well today as it did in the late 90s or is it seen through rose-colored glasses for its undeniable charm? 
 
And, yes, there certainly was a gap between episodes, so there will probably be a few special podcasts to make up for that in the coming weeks!
 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.
 

 
Outro music: Banjo-Kazooie 'Big Room Gobi' by B-laze (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03593)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it!
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday

Jack Gardner

 
"The truth is we screwed up," said Creative Assembly's creative director Mike Simpson as part of an extended apology and explanation regarding the delay of a new game mode for Total War Warhammer II titled Mortal Empires. The addition of Mortal Empires would effectively combine the campaigns of Total War Warhammer I and II into one colossal campaign that will dwarf previous Total War campaign maps.    
 
Essentially, the Total War franchise has had a lot of experience merging content across different games in the same series. They went into Total War Warhammer II's merger with Warhammer I content with the expectation that it would go just as smoothly as it had with past titles. They started merging the content of the two games and quickly began running into problems. Simpson explains that the sticking point has to do with the studio's confidence in their process that happened to overlook the file containers the data for the game was stored within. "We got so good at branching and merging builds, we thought we had it mastered. [...] Although the data itself didn’t clash, improvements to the infrastructure of WH2 meant the containers the data was going into had changed significantly." 
 
The team was set on adding the Norsca from Warhammer I to Warhammer II, as well. This meant that as the bugs of merging the two games together grew, the Norsca specific problems reared their head more and more at every step of the process. Simpson elaborated on the challenges they encountered and the various approaches they used to attempt to overcome them:
 
 
All of that being said, Creative Assembly has revealed their revised schedule for Warhammer II. December will see the rollout of the Reprisal Update for Mortal Empires that will bring a bunch of new fixes and tweaks for Old World Legendary Lords and Chaos alongside a new game mode that hasn't yet been announced. January has been designated as the release month for the first campaign expansion pack. This will contain new elements for Eye of the Vortex and Mortal Empires. Finally, Creative Assembly aims to have the full implementation of the Norsca in Warhammer II sometime in May. 
 
 
What do you think? Was this a good apology from the Total War Warhammer II team?

Jack Gardner

 
During the announcement of Mega Man 11, Capcom also responded to fans who have been requesting support for the Nintendo Switch when it comes to the Mega Man series. That support comes in the form of Mega Man 11, the total Mega Man X collection, and Mega Man 1-10!
 
The Mega Man Legacy Collection includes Mega Mans 1-6 and The Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 consists of Mega Mans 7-10 (that's a lot of Mega Mans!). These will all be coming to the Switch in early Spring 2018. One minor change will be made to the new version the first collection; a rewind feature allows players to roll back time and undo mistakes, Braid style. This should help players looking to have an easier time completing the 8-bit side-scrollers. Those who already own the Mega Man Legacy Collection for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC will also be gaining the rewind feature. 
 
 
The Legacy Collections will be available for the Nintendo Switch sometime during Spring 2018.

Jack Gardner

 
In the year 21XX, Mega Man was reborn as Mega Man X, a robotic bounty hunter taking on the robo-criminals of the future. The X series spanned three console generations before its final entry in 2005 with Mega Man X8. Next summer all eight games will be available for the first time on modern systems (there was a Mega Man X Collection on the GameCube and PlayStation 2, but it only included the first six games of the series).  
 
While more information has been promised in the next several months, there are definitely still some questions. Capcom has made a habit of releasing some robust collections, breaking up the mainline Mega Man series into two packages. The Mega Man Legacy Collection included the first six games of the franchise, followed by The Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, which held Mega Man 7-10. Does this mean X will get a similar treatment with X 1-4 as one bundle and X 5-8 as another? Or perhaps all in one bundle? It also isn't outside the realm of possibility that Capcom might see fit to release them all individually. 
 
 
However Capcom decides to do it... MORE MEGA MAN X! That's always a good thing. Look forward to seeing X on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime next summer. 

Jack Gardner

 
The Blue Bomber has just turned 30 years old and Capcom has given everyone's favorite robotic defender a gift: The surprise announcement of Mega Man 11! 
 
The new Capcom title aims to take the series in a bold new direction. While Mega Man 9 and 10 adopted the retro aesthetic of the original NES classics, Mega Man 11 makes use of 3D models and lighting to give the decades old franchise a new coat of paint. On top of that, the gameplay clips shown on the 30th anniversary livestream put on by Capcom offered glimpses at a handful of Mega Man's new powers. Charged shots, the return of Rush the robo-dog, an ability to summon a series of brick cubes on top of enemies, and an impressive ability that seems to temporarily supercharge Mega Man round out a few of the fun tools players will have at their disposal. Oh, and newcomers to the series who find the traditional difficulty daunting can take refuge in a lower difficulty mode (and those looking for additional challenge might just find more demanding modes).
 
Capcom reassured fans who might be put off by the visual tweaks saying, "with an expert development team at Capcom, many of whom have been working at the company since the early 8-bit era, we’re revitalizing and revolutionizing Mega Man for a new generation while keeping the series’ tight classic gameplay and the heart of our beloved hero intact. Veterans can expect the series’ signature challenge, and we’re inviting new players to the mix with a variety of difficulty options to choose from in the game." 
 
 
Mega Man 11 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in late 2018.

Marcus Stewart

 
Trust. Everything revolves around that word in Fractured Mask. With threats closing in from all sides, should Bruce Wayne expand his inner circle or insist on carrying on alone? Relationships take big steps forward (or backwards) based on that question, but that focus comes at the expense of a looming threat still struggling to get off of the ground. 
 
Episode 2 saw Bruce Wayne infiltrating and reluctantly working with The Pact, the super villain alliance led by Harley Quinn Maintaining Bruce’s cover at all costs becomes increasingly tricky with Harley becoming wise of a mole within the ranks. Conspiring against the group keeps the tension high with some close calls with the skeptical Bane and Quinn. 
 
The Pact returns from last episode’s mission one member short based on who players chose to abandon during the conclusion. Not that it matters, as the missing party immediately reappears without anything close to an explanation. Disappointing, as keeping that character out of the picture for longer could have led to an interesting shake-up in the ranks. No matter who got ditched, Bruce’ standing with them takes no significant hits, making the whole thing feel like a missed opportunity. 
 
Fractured Mask tugs the curtain back a little bit more on the villain’s endgame but there’s still not enough shown to feel threatened. Being as we’re over halfway through the season, this worries me. Fractured Mask feels like the point where their scheme should become at least mostly clear. Instead, we’re still putting together vague pieces or the larger puzzle. I’m not sure Telltale can reveal the plan and resolve it in two episodes. Or, at the very least, pull it all off in a way that feels satisfactory.
 

 
Catwoman slinks back into the spotlight and remains an alluring temptress who’s fun to be around and tough to say no to. Though the song and dance with her isn’t much different than in Season 1. However, choosing whether to let Selina in or keep her at arm’s reach takes the relationship to meaningful highs and lows. 
 
Tiffany Fox and Bruce Wayne’s tense stand-off takes an unexpected turn to a much needed payoff. The same applies to Amanda Waller and Jim Gordon’s feud with the latter party in particular reaching a boiling point that could lead to something promising. The underlying story of Alfred’s fragile emotional stability takes a few sad baby steps forward. The background is a suitable place for that subplot for now and I look forward to see how that pans out. 
 
John’s road to...whatever he may wind up becoming takes an important pit stop in his first encounter with Batman. It just feels right to see him finally interact with the persona he’s destined to tangle with, especially with the intriguing angle their going with. As a fan of the Bat and eager to learn from him, the dialogue allows players to potentially mold John’s ultimate opinion of him for the day they likely face-off. Players who humor John’s almost innocent infatuation with Batman are treated to a cute and surreal scene involving Batman teaching him some pointers. Once again, Telltale does a good job of presenting plausible alternative outcomes to John’s journey to keep players guessing. 
 
A solid puzzle segment early on serves as the most substantial gameplay contribution from Telltale. Beyond combat encounters and the introduction of a new but simple investigation type, it seems the most interesting mechanics died with the Riddler. Given how well his modus operandi fits Telltale’s gameplay style I can’t help but question taking him out of the season so quickly. 
 
 
Conclusion:

Fractured Mask features good moments but stands as the weakest installment thus far. I wouldn’t call it bad, only that it comes and goes without the punch of previous installments. Adding layers to the established character drama, while entertaining, takes precedence over fleshing out the primary threat. I can’t help but feel that particular aspect could wind up being a mess. Here’s hoping the next episode proves me wrong. 
 

Naomi N. Lugo

 
It's official, the game that took 10 years to develop is one year old. Final Fantasy XV celebrated it's first birthday today and to celebrate Square Enix made a few announcements. 
 
To commemorate the event, Square Enix held what it called an “Active Time Report” which was a live stream with voice actors from the game and Kingsglaive and discussed "the past, present, and future of Final Fantasy XV." 
 
The biggest news to come from the stream was the details of December update. It was revealed that players will be able to switch between Noctis Ignis, Prompto and Gladio during the main campaign of the game. While there are some restrictions to this, notably the Chapter 9 Leviathan fight, this feature is available mostly in the open world. 
 
During the Japanese stream, it was revealed that there would be more episodic installments for the game with Episode Ardyn being confirmed as one of them. There was no word on the character focus for the other two, but there has been speculation that they might be about Aranea and Lunafreya. Yes please. The goal for release on these is 2018.
 
 
In addition to all of that, we also got to see the first three opening minutes of the upcoming Episode Ignis which will be released Dec. 13. The multiplayer expansion Comrades made an appearance as well with the update on that coming out around the same time as Episode Ignis. Updates for Comrades are also planned for next year, with the possibility of a playable Noctis, Ignis, Gladio and Prompto.
 
FFXV wouldn't be anywhere without its fans, and Square included its players in the celebration with a Moogle Fan Art Competition. "To help celebrate the one year anniversary of FFXV, we’ve made a limited number of handmade FFXV moogles, kupo!" said the announcement. The competition is open now until Dec. 31.