Naomi N. Lugo

 
Things have not been going well for Bungie and Destiny 2 lately. Fans have already been more than a little steamed at a lack of endgame content, a flawed loot system and a need for more of everything really. The latest revelation of a rigged XP system has only provided a tipping point. 
 
Reddit user EnergiserX exposed the XP discrepancies through testing and data calculation. To sum up their findings, "to get one thing clear: there is no cap to XP. You can keep earning XP as fast as you want, and you will always be making progress towards that next bright engram. You will just face dramatically diminishing returns the faster you go." Bungie responded initially in a blog post simply titled "XP in Destiny 2" but fans were not satiated. 

In another attempt to address their fan's concerns, Bungie announced via another blog post that they had canceled their stream scheduled for Nov. 29. The stream was planned to show off the upcoming DLC “Curse of Osiris” but will instead now focus on "delivering some higher priority information about Destiny 2." 
 
The post is short and vague, but lets players know that they'll hear from "studio leadership" about what they think of the game, goals, what's planned for future updates and reactions to feedback. Only time will tell if the information will be able to get players back on Bungie's side.
 
"Curse of Osiris" is the first expansion for Destiny 2 and is set to release Dec. 5.
 
Update: see the accompanying blog post with update list and message from Bungie by clicking here.
 
Are you frustrated by Destiny 2 end game content? Do you think Bungie will be able to recover from this controversy? Let us know in the comment section below.

StarkleSparkle
Article written by Nicole Ryan, a first-year participant who plays for Boston Children's Hospital.

Extra Life speaks to my heart on several levels.
 
The main reason I signed up this year is because of my son, Jacob. The little boy he is now is such a different child to who he was in early 2016.
 
I do not know that we could have gotten him safely along without the loving care of Boston Children's Hospital.
 
Jacob is a 7-year-old boy in second grade who loves his service poodle, trains, bridges, tunnels and his iPad. He is funny, loving, curious, open-hearted, caring, sweet, sassy, challenging. He also happens to be autistic.
 
Early 2016 was a strange time for our family because our formerly cheerful and sweet boy had suddenly turned anything but. Outbursts were a daily thing in our home, some of them violent, some of them deeply scary. The pain he must have felt is beyond what I can imagine, and left him banging his head and lashing out as those he very truly loved. This was not how he wanted to be, or how anyone would ever want to be, but as his mom I had no idea who to call or what to do.
 
A day came where he had such violent episodes that I called 911. There was no way his father and I could safely transport him on our own to an emergency room. We needed help. I did not even think twice when I climbed into the ambulance with him. I asked for Boston Children's Hospital. I knew they could help, and they did.
 
Mental health issues and mental illness, especially in children, is something that is danced around and shied away from. It is a topic that needs to be discussed. When we got to BCH, we were received with respect and care. They wanted to see my son safely looked after, too.
 
The team at BCH carefully discussed options with us, ruled out physical illnesses, involved every appropriate service that could help him and guide with compassion and clarity. My son, just 5 years old, needed psychiatric hospitalization. They stood by and found a bed for him in an appropriate unit elsewhere and made sure that as his parents, we understood what this would mean and what to expect.
 
They prepared us for the worst while working for the best. Jacob spent two weeks in a pediatric psychiatric unit specializing in working with children with cognitive disorders like autism. He was diagnosed with a co-morbid condition called disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). Treatment began and continued when he came home. It was like seeing my son anew all over again when he came home. His smile returned. His loving nature shone like a star. He found his words again and has had ever so much to tell us since.
 
He found the bond with his service poodle Blossom and realized how unbreakable it is. He is happy, gregarious, challenging and most of all content in his own skin. Where we would be today if BCH's ER staff had not cared; had not been so thorough and patient with us, I have no idea.
 
There aren't enough words to express the gratitude I have for the help we received. I'm looking forward to fundraising over the next year to help hospitals like this continue to help families like mine and kids like Jacob.

Naomi N. Lugo

On Nov. 19 Niantic challenged the trainers of the world. Catch 3 billion Pokémon in a week. The rewards included short-time access to the previously region-locked Farfetch'd (worldwide) and Kangaskhan (in East Asia) as well as other in-game buffs. 
 
Players succeeded in the lofty goal on Sunday, catching 3.36 billion. As an added bonus, Niantic announced a surprise perk today, legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh can now be found at Raid Battles at Gyms. Ho-Oh will only be catchable for a limited time until Tuesday, Dec. 12.
 
The Global Catch Challenge, as it was formally called ran alongside a campaign called Pokémon GO Travel. In the video series, enlisted community stars explored various locations in Japan hunting for Pokémon while giving the global community daily updates on the challenge process.
 
This challenge was the first of its kind, but it's not the first time that legendary Pokémon have been in the game. Like Ho-Oh, these Pokémon are only attainable through raid battles and can be caught during a limited time. Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres and Lugia were available earlier this year. Raikou, Entei and Suicune are currently available until Nov. 30 in rotating regions. Mewtwo is available through exclusive invite-only raids. 
 
 
Have you caught any legendary Pokémon? Did you participate in the Global Catch Challenge? Let us know in the comments below.
 

Jack Gardner

 
River City has been one of gaming's longest running franchises and Natsume has something special planned for the 30th anniversary with the release of River City: Rival Showdown. 
 
Officially, the River City games are part of the Kunio-Kun series, which have proven to be massively popular in Japan. There have been 52 games made related to the series if you include collections and spin-offs, which is, quite frankly, a staggering number. 
 
River City: Rival Showdown stands as a remake of the original River City Ransom that completely overhauls the story to provide multiple paths and endings, a fighting system that reflects more modern sensibilities, and a lot of other changes that are sure to reward longtime River City fans. A day-night cycle has been introduced along with super special moves, 2-player local co-op, difficulty settings, and a bonus Double Dragon fighting game. 
 
"Natsume is proud to continue the Kunio-Kun legacy with River City: Rival Showdown and welcome players back to the city and its residents in a brand-new way!" said Hiro Maekawa, president and CEO of Natsume. "Rival Showdown is a big milestone for the Kunio-Kun series as it marks the 30th anniversary for the series and it evolves the franchise in a major way."
 
River City: Rival Showdown follows Kunio after he survives an attack by two unknown assailants. His friend Riki's girlfriend has also gone missing, and Kunio only has three days to solve the mystery of her disappearance. The only problem? An army of thugs and gang members seem bent on stopping him from finding her. 
 
 
River City: Rival Showdown is available today on 3DS.

Jack Gardner

 
The indie title Mulaka has been gathering some buzz in recent months. The action-adventure game follows the shaman Sukurúame as he races to battle the otherworldly powers corrupting his homeland. Developer Lienzo created Mulaka in the hope that their game will be both enjoyable for players and also teach about the Tarahumara culture.
 
Sukurúame and Mulaka are based largely on the Tarahumara, a people indigenous to northern Mexico. The Tarahumara were known for their stamina and ability to run vast distances in the sprawling landscape they called home, but they were far more than that. To help players better understand the beating cultural heart of Mulaka, Lienzo has launched the first episode of a three part educational series about the Tarahumara.
 
 
Mulaka draws from the legends and myths passed down by the Tarahumara to create a visually unique world full of incredible demigods and magic - all grounded in real-world locations and beliefs. Lienzo hopes that giving the Tarahumara people a story within a modern game will help to shad some light on a culture many people might never have heard of otherwise.
 
"Even though I didn't know the mythology, it is still part of the city I live in, and the state and the country I live in. So I really feel proud that we can get to share part of this amazing culture with the world," says Lienzo's lead developer Adolfo Rico.   
 
 
The next two videos will be coming soon. Expect to see them go up sometime before Mulaka's early 2018 release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. 

Jack Gardner

 
In 2014, Stoic Games released their Kickstarter indie darling The Banner Saga to massive success. Hailed as "The Oregon Trail, but with fighting and a Norse apocalypse," The Banner Saga went on to generate a sequel as well as a third installment that recently found success on Kickstarter. The high-stakes, turn-based RPG took players on a journey through a hand-painted world full of mystery and intrigue, where it felt like one wrong move could unravel tenuous alliances or get people killed. 
 
With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode.
 

 
Outro music: Paladin's Quest 'Sleep, Beloved Child' by Archangel (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03557)
 
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 Valkyria Chronicles series returns next year with its fourth mainline entry coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. While that might throw off some fans of the first Valkyria Chronicles that released for the PlayStation 3 back in 2008, Valkyria Chronicles 2 and 3 were only ever released for the PlayStation Portable. That means that by the time Valkyria Chronicles 4 releases, it will have been a decade since a mainline game from the franchise has appeared on consoles.
 
It should be noted that Valkyria Chronicles has been considered the core series while titles like the recent Valkyria Revolution and Valkyria Chronicles D are spin-offs of the franchise.  
 
The signature watercolor look of the series returns along with its World War II-inspired political turmoil, weaponry, and drama. Players will join the ranks of Squad E as they undertake a desperate mission to capture the enemy's capital and bring the war to an end. Losses in war will bring heartbreak, test friendships, and determine the fate of the war. Of course, Squad E will also have their encounters with the mysterious and powerful Valkyria. Sega has teased that other mysteries will be introduced in this entry, too. 
 
In addition to a new engine built specifically to help better render the watercolor aesthetic of the series, Valkyria Chronicles 4 offers the next iteration of its unique mash-up of real-time and turn-based combat. One part strategy, one part third-person shooter, and one part RPG, the revamped system offers a new class, the grenadier, battleship support, a last stand opportunity for soldiers near death, and larger maps than were possible on the consoles of the previous generation.  
 
 
Valkyria Chronicles 4 releases sometime in 2018 for PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. 

Jack Gardner

 
Praise the sun! Okami makes the jump to current-gen consoles this December.
 
The Capcom published critically acclaimed action-adventure game originally released for the PlayStation 2 back in 2006. Since then, it has been ported to Wii and PlayStation 3. Now, Clover Studio's classic will be available in HD with the option to switch between a more modern widescreen presentation or the original 4:3 ratio. 
 
In Okami, players become Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun who becomes a white wolf and sets off on a quest to defeat Orochi, an eight-headed demon bent on destroying the world of Nippon.  
 
 
Okami HD releases on December 12 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. 

Jack Gardner

 
Titan Quest released back in 2006, and an expansion titled Immortal Throne followed on its heels a year later. From that second expansion until now, over ten years have passed. Today, THQ Nordic announced that a second expansion has been stealth released for PC. 
 
The new adventure goes by the name of Titan Quest Ragnarök. Whereas the core game took players around the ancient world fighting mythical beasts and gods in Greece, Egypt, and China, Ragnarök adds a new Norse adventure developed by Pieces Interactive. It brings a new story act to the base game with a slew of new quests. Players will test their mettle against the Celts, the enigmatic Northmen, and the gods of Asgard itself. 
 
The expansion also sprinkles new features and secrets into the base game. More masteries help players optimize their playing style and offer more strategic flexibility. The new weapons add different ways to fight enemies and new gear brings a fresh look to Titan Quest. Most importantly, after more than a decade, players of Titan Quest will finally be able to wear pants! 
 
Ragnarök introduces graphical and performance improvements, too. New shaders and effects go a long way toward sprucing up the mythological action. Players will have access to better control customization, UI, and modding tools to create their own Titan Quest adventures. Oh, and ragdoll physics, because how else are you going to properly convey the power of Thor without sending everyone flying?
 
 
Ragnarök is not a standalone adventure and does require the recent version of Titan Quest, Titan Quest Anniversary Edition, to function. 
 
Some of you might be asking yourselves, "why now?" After all, it is a bit weird that a publisher would go out of their way to fund the development of a game that's over a decade old. Perhaps this stealthy release becomes more understandable when looking at the sales of Titan Quest Anniversary Edition. The anniversary release aimed to celebrate the cult classic with a revamped and retooled version of Titan Quest and that was probably about all that it was expected to cash in on. However, it seems to have become something of a stealth hit, raking in over 1.6 million sales in the past year. I suspect that information funded the development of Ragnarök relatively quickly. 
 
So what do you think? Will you be picking up Titan Quest Ragnarök?

Jack Gardner

 
Amazon has signed a deal to create a TV series based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The series will serve as a prequel to The Fellowship of the Ring and will unfold over multiple seasons, indicating that Amazon plans to put considerable resources behind their show, which will be exclusive to the Amazon Prime streaming service. 
 
“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Amazon Studios' Sharon Tal Yguado. In fact, The Lord of the Rings is such a cultural phenomenon that Amazon has optioned the rights to create a spin-off series based on the Tolkien property should the main series find success. 
 
No release date has been announced as the show is still only in the infant stages of production, but here's hoping that Amazon can take the time to do such a bold undertaking justice. 

Jack Gardner

 
California has been at the heart of a number of deadly wildfires raging across the state lately. At least 41 people have lost their lives to the fires and more than 20,000 have been forced to evacuate their homes to flee for safety. Many people and organizations have stepped up to support relief efforts. To help aid those affected by the fires, Ubisoft has pledged to help, too. To help, Ubisoft has added California-themed Assassin's Creed shirts and hoodies to the company's online US store. All proceeds from those pieces of Assassin's Creed apparel will go to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund, which goes toward supporting people in the affected areas who have lost homes or the ability to work, first responders who lost homes, and both kids and schools in the fire zones.  
 
Ubisoft might usually be seen as an international company, but with one of their teams based in San Francisco, they've certainly seen how these fires have affected the community. Ubisoft's president of their Americas division issued a statement saying, "we have employees, family and friends that were directly impacted by these fires. We’ve donated money and we’ll roll up our sleeves volunteering, but we want to do more. The shirts are just one of the ways we can continue to support our neighbors who have lost everything.” 
 
The limited run of Assassin's Creed "NorCal Strong" shirts will be sold until the end of December.

Jack Gardner

 
Just three years ago, This War of Mine released on PC to relate the experience of civilians struggling to survive in the midst of war. The indie game developed by 11 bit studios has continued to receive support over the years in the form of translations and expansions. However, 11 bit has undertaken a new effort to bring life back to their dramatic survival title.
 
The initiative, called This War of Mine Stories, aims to bring a number of narrative adventures to life. Father's Promise will be the first of these DLC expansions. It uses the framework of This War of Mine to weave the compelling tale of Adam, a man trying to protect his daughter and escape from their war-torn city. 
 
 
11 bit studios based Father's Promise on an audio-drama by author Łukasz Orbitowski. Orbitowski has won awards for his literary accomplishments and has been hailed as "a Polish Steven King." It is unclear whether future Stories DLC will also be based on Orbitowski's work or if they will draw from other sources of inspiration. 
 
Father's Promise is available now for $1.99 or can be obtained by purchasing a season pass for all This War of Mine Stories for $4.99.