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Jack Gardner

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  1. A ton of great games have already released in 2019, and we even talked a bit about what's coming this year, but so many more games are slated to release this year that are going to be legendary. Naomi Lugo takes the reins for this episode to give her most anticipated titles that are expected to release this year (though it's quite possible they will face delays pushing them into next year). Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the most exciting upcoming games and talk about them a bit! 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: Animal Crossing: New Leaf 'Late-night Ambience' by Kade Kalka (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03861) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. A ton of great games have already released in 2019, and we even talked a bit about what's coming this year, but so many more games are slated to release this year that are going to be legendary. Naomi Lugo takes the reins for this episode to give her most anticipated titles that are expected to release this year (though it's quite possible they will face delays pushing them into next year). Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the most exciting upcoming games and talk about them a bit! 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: Animal Crossing: New Leaf 'Late-night Ambience' by Kade Kalka (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03861) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. After over a decade of developing story-driven mods using a variety of different engines and subject matter, Dark Craft Studios has released their final mod. Titled The Shadow of the Ramlord, this standalone adventure game takes players on a macabre journey through an occult mansion to unravel a dark conspiracy along the way. Dark Craft Studios describes it as Lovecraftian adventure that's light on deliberate scares, but heavy on story, atmosphere, and environmental storytelling. Caecea Manor takes center stage in The Shadow of the Ramlord. Consumed by the desire to summon the deeply evil Ramlord, an entity of inexplicable evil, the Baron who calls Caecea home has conducted ever more grotesque experiments. His wife, imprisoned deep within the manor, managed to smuggle out a desperate cry for help. Roped into undertaking a rescue, the player embarks to delve into the secrets of Caecea Manor and in the process discovers "an intricate, disquieting narrative through the occult, madness, and despair." The Shadow of the Ramlord was developed using the tools that came with Amnesia: The Dark Descent and it's sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Veterans of both games will notice a number of assets repurposed from the original games used to fill out a grisly new world. The game is designed to be more contemplative than a straight horror title. If typical horror games are too scary or the anxiety of jump scares puts you off, The Shadow of the Ramlord might just be more your speed. The adventure takes about an hour to complete in full and is free. Below you can see a teaser for the mod released last year. You can download The Shadow of the Ramlord for free from ModDB. The adventure will be the last one released by Dark Craft Studios. Glenn Winklemann Jr. founded the studio in 2009 to pursue opportunities to expand and hone his writing skills. The studio created three mods, each standalone titles in their own right: The Worry at Newport, Triptych, and now The Shadow of the Ramlord. The first two were developed using CryEngine 2 that shipped with the original Crysis. Winklemann Jr. put out a statement along with the release of the The Shadow of the Ramlord that reads: This will be the end of a long road for me. With the release of this project, I am officially retiring from video game/mod design. Dark Craft Studios will have its symbolic doors closed, and I will transition to simply writing. It has been the throughline for all of my projects from the very first in 2009 to the final, today, in 2019. I'm hoping to hone my craft and take serious interest in professionally developing that hobby into something tangible for me. Unfortunately that means leaving the world of video games behind as a creative mind. With that said, I hope you all enjoy The Shadow of the Ramlord as the swansong for Dark Craft Studios. It has been nearly a decade spent with all of you in some way, and it will take me time to reflect and absorb that chapter turn. A decade of efforts is a long time to devote to anything, especially to undertaking complex endeavors life coordinating and writing the creation of entire games in exchange for nothing. At the very least, Dark Craft Studio's previous three projects are worth a look and a play if you have the opportunity. They're all free and incredibly impressive, each with an interesting and complex story with an eldritch tinge. Best of luck to the Winklemann Jr. and everyone who contributed to the studio's final swansong to interactive storytelling. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  4. After over a decade of developing story-driven mods using a variety of different engines and subject matter, Dark Craft Studios has released their final mod. Titled The Shadow of the Ramlord, this standalone adventure game takes players on a macabre journey through an occult mansion to unravel a dark conspiracy along the way. Dark Craft Studios describes it as Lovecraftian adventure that's light on deliberate scares, but heavy on story, atmosphere, and environmental storytelling. Caecea Manor takes center stage in The Shadow of the Ramlord. Consumed by the desire to summon the deeply evil Ramlord, an entity of inexplicable evil, the Baron who calls Caecea home has conducted ever more grotesque experiments. His wife, imprisoned deep within the manor, managed to smuggle out a desperate cry for help. Roped into undertaking a rescue, the player embarks to delve into the secrets of Caecea Manor and in the process discovers "an intricate, disquieting narrative through the occult, madness, and despair." The Shadow of the Ramlord was developed using the tools that came with Amnesia: The Dark Descent and it's sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Veterans of both games will notice a number of assets repurposed from the original games used to fill out a grisly new world. The game is designed to be more contemplative than a straight horror title. If typical horror games are too scary or the anxiety of jump scares puts you off, The Shadow of the Ramlord might just be more your speed. The adventure takes about an hour to complete in full and is free. Below you can see a teaser for the mod released last year. You can download The Shadow of the Ramlord for free from ModDB. The adventure will be the last one released by Dark Craft Studios. Glenn Winklemann Jr. founded the studio in 2009 to pursue opportunities to expand and hone his writing skills. The studio created three mods, each standalone titles in their own right: The Worry at Newport, Triptych, and now The Shadow of the Ramlord. The first two were developed using CryEngine 2 that shipped with the original Crysis. Winklemann Jr. put out a statement along with the release of the The Shadow of the Ramlord that reads: This will be the end of a long road for me. With the release of this project, I am officially retiring from video game/mod design. Dark Craft Studios will have its symbolic doors closed, and I will transition to simply writing. It has been the throughline for all of my projects from the very first in 2009 to the final, today, in 2019. I'm hoping to hone my craft and take serious interest in professionally developing that hobby into something tangible for me. Unfortunately that means leaving the world of video games behind as a creative mind. With that said, I hope you all enjoy The Shadow of the Ramlord as the swansong for Dark Craft Studios. It has been nearly a decade spent with all of you in some way, and it will take me time to reflect and absorb that chapter turn. A decade of efforts is a long time to devote to anything, especially to undertaking complex endeavors life coordinating and writing the creation of entire games in exchange for nothing. At the very least, Dark Craft Studio's previous three projects are worth a look and a play if you have the opportunity. They're all free and incredibly impressive, each with an interesting and complex story with an eldritch tinge. Best of luck to the Winklemann Jr. and everyone who contributed to the studio's final swansong to interactive storytelling. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  5. If you've ever played a BioWare game, chances are you've played through a game written or designed by David Gaider. Gaider worked at BioWare for over a decade writing games, novels, and comic books for the company. He cut his teeth writing and designing for Baldur's Gate II and went on to play a major part in the creation of Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and then wrote and conceived the fictional world of every single Dragon Age game. With that pedigree, Gaider definitely possesses a familiarity with the minds of the various characters spread throughout Dragon Age. One of the biggest components of the fandom surrounding BioWare's modern juggernauts remains the shippers; people who become very invested in the fictional romances around the various companion characters the developer brings to life with so much care and attention to detail. After a Mass Effect or a Dragon Age releases, fans construct their own headcanons or write fanfiction, but the original creator always reigns supreme. To that end, one of Dragon Age's fans asked Gaider, who is no longer a works at BioWare, what Valentine's Day dates would look like in Dragon Age. Gaider's response was an absolutely adorable and cute gift to the Dragon Age fandom. You can read the highlights of his date descriptions below: Alistair's would probably start off as something which seems lame - like he takes you bowling. Then you realize he's rented the entire place, because he remembered your anniversary, and has it all set up with candles so he can clumsily serenade you while blushing the entire time. Fenris's dream date would probably involve raiding a magister's Tevinter mansion, and then - excited like a schoolboy - he demonstrates his latest choreography for you amidst the ruins. Plus, he brought wine. Dorian's dream date would be some elaborate extravaganza which you both decide to ditch halfway through to head down to the worst dive in the city. There you end up in a big fight with sailors. Who you then drink shots with after the fight's over until you all pass out. Zevran's dream date would involve him taking you on a tour of Antiva while he plays a mandolin. All the locals seem to know him and bring out cakes and other delightful treats. Eventually it turns out to be the lead-up to an assassination. After the fight, he apologizes with sex. Cassandra's date is taking you to a play of Varric's first novel. Her delight is palpable. You arranged to have her dragged on stage to play a character... at first she protests , but then plays the part perfectly. After, you walk along the pier while she talks about her dreams. Morrigan's dream date is taking you to break into a tomb full of musty tomes. You read passages to each other while she laughs at your interpretations of the text. As you're leaving, she suddenly remembers to tell you she had a lovely time. You're not allowed to call it a date. I'm pretty sure Shale's dream date would be going to a clay pigeon factory. The two of you would destroy larger and larger batches of clay pigeons. Between batches Shales would laugh and maybe dance a little jig. There you have it! If your favorite character didn't have a described date, you'll have to hope a different BioWare writer tackles the characters that they wrote throughout the series' history. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  6. If you've ever played a BioWare game, chances are you've played through a game written or designed by David Gaider. Gaider worked at BioWare for over a decade writing games, novels, and comic books for the company. He cut his teeth writing and designing for Baldur's Gate II and went on to play a major part in the creation of Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and then wrote and conceived the fictional world of every single Dragon Age game. With that pedigree, Gaider definitely possesses a familiarity with the minds of the various characters spread throughout Dragon Age. One of the biggest components of the fandom surrounding BioWare's modern juggernauts remains the shippers; people who become very invested in the fictional romances around the various companion characters the developer brings to life with so much care and attention to detail. After a Mass Effect or a Dragon Age releases, fans construct their own headcanons or write fanfiction, but the original creator always reigns supreme. To that end, one of Dragon Age's fans asked Gaider, who is no longer a works at BioWare, what Valentine's Day dates would look like in Dragon Age. Gaider's response was an absolutely adorable and cute gift to the Dragon Age fandom. You can read the highlights of his date descriptions below: Alistair's would probably start off as something which seems lame - like he takes you bowling. Then you realize he's rented the entire place, because he remembered your anniversary, and has it all set up with candles so he can clumsily serenade you while blushing the entire time. Fenris's dream date would probably involve raiding a magister's Tevinter mansion, and then - excited like a schoolboy - he demonstrates his latest choreography for you amidst the ruins. Plus, he brought wine. Dorian's dream date would be some elaborate extravaganza which you both decide to ditch halfway through to head down to the worst dive in the city. There you end up in a big fight with sailors. Who you then drink shots with after the fight's over until you all pass out. Zevran's dream date would involve him taking you on a tour of Antiva while he plays a mandolin. All the locals seem to know him and bring out cakes and other delightful treats. Eventually it turns out to be the lead-up to an assassination. After the fight, he apologizes with sex. Cassandra's date is taking you to a play of Varric's first novel. Her delight is palpable. You arranged to have her dragged on stage to play a character... at first she protests , but then plays the part perfectly. After, you walk along the pier while she talks about her dreams. Morrigan's dream date is taking you to break into a tomb full of musty tomes. You read passages to each other while she laughs at your interpretations of the text. As you're leaving, she suddenly remembers to tell you she had a lovely time. You're not allowed to call it a date. I'm pretty sure Shale's dream date would be going to a clay pigeon factory. The two of you would destroy larger and larger batches of clay pigeons. Between batches Shales would laugh and maybe dance a little jig. There you have it! If your favorite character didn't have a described date, you'll have to hope a different BioWare writer tackles the characters that they wrote throughout the series' history. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  7. Nintendo gave one of their most announcement heavy Directs to date earlier today, revealing the release dates of games coming to the Switch in the near future as well as teasing some longer term projects and an entirely new action IP from the creators of Bayonetta and Nier: Automata. Sandwiched between the major announcements came a number of indie reveals and announcements. The continuing flow of titles onto the system has made it one of the biggest gaming juggernauts of this generation, able to bring in new players and those fond of classic or artsy games. Without further ado, let's dive into what Nintendo had to show for their extremely successful console/handheld. Super Mario Maker 2 will release for the Switch this coming June. The sequel will bring all of the old features from the original that people loved and supplement them with a slew of new content for the best platformer builders to play with and construct their dream levels. There aren't a ton of details from the Direct, but it's likely we'll hear more as we get closer to E3 and Nintendo's customary announcements around that time. First, the company revealed Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, an upcoming action-RPG starring a huge roster of Marvel's biggest comic book characters. This will be the first time the series has seen a release in a decade and it's bringing with it an entirely new story that pits the biggest heroes of the Marvel universe against Thanos and his Black Order. While Marvel Ultimate Alliance largely exists in its own universe, there will be some nods and references to upcoming films, like an updated look for Captain Marvel and a focus on her powers and abilities. You can look forward to seeing more details coming out about Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order as we get closer to its summer release window. A boxy new puzzle game will come to Switch on April 26. Box Boy + Box Girl continues the series by adding a co-op mode. Those who complete the game will find an entirely new adventure starring the tall box boy waiting for them. The title features over 270 stages, making it the most robust puzzle game in the series to date. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be receiving its 3.0 update soon. The free update will add a chunk of new content to the Switch's premier fighting game and will include Persona 5's Joker as a new character for those who purchased the DLC. In addition to the update, new amiibo figures based on the designs from Ultimate are coming. There aren't too many additional details, though Nintendo has said more will be coming; given the most recent patch notes for Smash, we'll be seeing a lot of new things on the battlefield. Players should expect to see the update release sometime in April. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker's Switch version will be getting a 2-player co-op mode in a free update that launches today. In addition to that game-changing update, Nintendo will release paid DLC to add 18 new challenges across new maps like a sunken ship or a candy land. Additional challenges will come to existing courses, too. Titled Captain Toad: Special Episode, fans of the game can purchase the DLC today to get their hands on one new course with the rest releasing on March 14. A digital bundle of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker also hits the eShop later today. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has slowly been spinning its gears up for a launch and now we finally know when to expect it on Switch! The Nintendo Direct showed off a bunch of impressive gameplay footage, giving many their first looks at character customization, hints at sidequests, and a number of interesting abilities like controlling gravity itself. Ritual of the Night will release for Switch sometime this summer. Dragon Quest Builders 2 will be coming to Switch, too. The new title supports 4-player co-op locally or online. Among a number of other additions, DQ Builders 2 will also add a first person mode to fully complete the Minecraft comparisons. The construction RPG releases July 12. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition comes to Switch this fall. The new version possesses some striking differences from the original release. Players can decide to play it in a classic 16-bit mode for a truly retro feel. The soundtrack has also been fully orchestrated across the entire game, though it includes both soundtracks for players to choose whichever they like better. There were some complaints about the English voice overs, so the Definitive Edition also includes the Japanese voiceover options. Finally, new companion quests and storylines will fully flesh out the backstories of the various party members that join the hero on his journey to save the world. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition launches this fall. Disney found a lot of success with their stuffed tsum tsum toys based on Disney characters. That popularity has turned the toys into a game of their very own. Disney Tsum Tsum Festival offers a collection of multiplayer mini-games for people of all ages as well as a core puzzle matching game. This game will come to Switch sometime in 2019. Star Link: Battle for Atlas on the Switch will receive a free update in April of this year that brings the members of Star Wolf into conflict with all the members of Star Fox. Players will be able to play as Falco, Slippy, and Peppy, each with their own unique abilities to combat the nefarious plans of their evil mercenary rivals. The popular Harvest Moon-inspired series Rune Factory will be coming to Nintendo Switch later this year with Rune Factory 4 Special. This remastered version of Rune Factory 4 offers a light RPG experience alongside farming, trading, and socializing with various locals. Unique to the Switch version, players will be able to marry NPCs who become close to the main character. Rune Factory 4 Special will release later this year. In addition to all of that, Nintendo confirmed that Rune Factory 5 is currently in development, though they didn't clarify anything more than that. Oninaki appears to be the next indie RPG from Square Enix in the same vein as I Am Setsuna. Oninaki puts players in the role of an individual who can cross the line between life and death to save lost souls. The balance of reincarnation has been thrown off, with souls becoming lost and turning into monsters that roam the land. As players save souls, they will unlock new abilities they can use to more effectively fight monsters with the right weapons. The deep, single-player RPG launches this coming summer. Yoshi's Crafted World will release on March 28. In addition to the platforming and puzzle-solving that players expect, keep your eyes peeled for the hidden costumes and minigames scattered throughout the worlds. These hidden costumes provide a bit of extra protection to Yoshi, too, so they're more than just decorative. Nintendo will release a demo later today that will allow players to go through the first course and experience its charm first-hand. This Nintendo Direct revealed a great deal of information about the upcoming Fire Emblem title, Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The turn-based RPG looks like it might have received an overhaul in terms of both its systems and story. The player starts as a mercenary who uncovers a strange power and receives an offer to teach students at a strange monastery at the center of three great nations of a fantastical continent. As all of this happens visions begin to haunt the hero hinting at a grand future yet to unfold. Naturally, there are three factions of students, one from each country. Players will have to choose which faction to tutor, leading to a branching story line and three different campaigns. From the basic plot ideas laid out in the Direct, it seems like the new Fire Emblem combines the school drama of titles like Persona with the traditional turn-based combat and deep systems of Fire Emblem. Fire Emblem: Three Houses releases on July 26. Nintendo teased a battle royale puzzle game called Tetris 99. Details were a bit scarce, but players will be able to hinder one another and battle to remain the last Tetris player standing in the online title that actually releases today! Dead by Daylight will be coming to Nintendo Switch this fall, though it's unclear whether there will be Switch specific additions to the indie hunter-hunted game. Toby Fox's Delta Rune Chapter 1 releases for Switch on February 28. Much like it's PC counterpart, the Switch version will be free, though the remaining chapters that will fill out the title will not be free. Final Fantasy IX, arguably the best Final Fantasy game of all-time, will be available on Nintendo Switch later today. Additionally, Final Fantasy VII comes to Nintendo Switch on March 26. The mecha action game Daemon X Machina has somehow managed to keep a low profile recently, but producer Kenichiro Tsukada hopes to change that with a demo releasing later today. The demo, a collection of missions titled Daemon X Machina: Prototype Missions, includes several sorties to acclimate and familiarize players with its gameplay and systems. The demo culminates in an encounter with a massive mechanical boss for a good final challenge. The demo also serves as a beta of sorts and some players who download it will be sent surveys to help the developers fine-tune the experience for the full release. Check out the demo and get hype for Daemon X Machina when it releases this summer. Touting the most realistic racing title on Switch to date, GRID Autosport will be coming to Switch. Players will be able to use motion controls to drive or customize their own specialized control schemes. Players can race one another in split screen or online across a variety of real-world maps. This version will also include all DLC released for the title on other platforms, meaning there are over 100 cars and 100 circuits to race with. Expect GRID Autosport later this summer. Chocobo Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy (March 20) Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice (Spring 2019) Mortal Kombat 11 (April 23) Unraveled 2 (March 22) Assassin's Creed III Remastered (May 22) To round out their Direct, Nintendo announced Astral Chain, a new IP from Platinum Games. Hideki Kamiya, the creator of Bayonetta, is supervising the creation of Astral Chain while the core direction duties have gone to Takahisa Taura, the director of Neir: Automata. The trailer provides nearly all of the details we have to go on: It's about police officers dealing with a terrorist threat in a crazy sci-fi world. They seem to have abilities or technology that allows them to summon mechanical warriors while also fighting themselves - connected by what one can assume is the titular astral chain. However, given the dialogue in the trailer, it's all too possible that their fight against the terrorists is inadvertently dooming the world. Astral Chain releases on August 30. THEY ARE REMAKING THE WIND FISH Erm... *ahem* Nintendo closed their Direct by teasing a resurrection of the classic action-adventure Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. The remake of the 1993 Game Boy title oozes so much charm and joy that it's, frankly, criminal. The revamped art style rivals some of the heaviest hitting cute aesthetics in all of gaming - and we get to play the new Link's Awakening before the year is done as this Switch exclusive will release sometime this year. You can watch the entire Nintendo Direct for yourself below if you'd like to see all of the announcements for yourself: Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  8. Nintendo gave one of their most announcement heavy Directs to date earlier today, revealing the release dates of games coming to the Switch in the near future as well as teasing some longer term projects and an entirely new action IP from the creators of Bayonetta and Nier: Automata. Sandwiched between the major announcements came a number of indie reveals and announcements. The continuing flow of titles onto the system has made it one of the biggest gaming juggernauts of this generation, able to bring in new players and those fond of classic or artsy games. Without further ado, let's dive into what Nintendo had to show for their extremely successful console/handheld. Super Mario Maker 2 will release for the Switch this coming June. The sequel will bring all of the old features from the original that people loved and supplement them with a slew of new content for the best platformer builders to play with and construct their dream levels. There aren't a ton of details from the Direct, but it's likely we'll hear more as we get closer to E3 and Nintendo's customary announcements around that time. First, the company revealed Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, an upcoming action-RPG starring a huge roster of Marvel's biggest comic book characters. This will be the first time the series has seen a release in a decade and it's bringing with it an entirely new story that pits the biggest heroes of the Marvel universe against Thanos and his Black Order. While Marvel Ultimate Alliance largely exists in its own universe, there will be some nods and references to upcoming films, like an updated look for Captain Marvel and a focus on her powers and abilities. You can look forward to seeing more details coming out about Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order as we get closer to its summer release window. A boxy new puzzle game will come to Switch on April 26. Box Boy + Box Girl continues the series by adding a co-op mode. Those who complete the game will find an entirely new adventure starring the tall box boy waiting for them. The title features over 270 stages, making it the most robust puzzle game in the series to date. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be receiving its 3.0 update soon. The free update will add a chunk of new content to the Switch's premier fighting game and will include Persona 5's Joker as a new character for those who purchased the DLC. In addition to the update, new amiibo figures based on the designs from Ultimate are coming. There aren't too many additional details, though Nintendo has said more will be coming; given the most recent patch notes for Smash, we'll be seeing a lot of new things on the battlefield. Players should expect to see the update release sometime in April. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker's Switch version will be getting a 2-player co-op mode in a free update that launches today. In addition to that game-changing update, Nintendo will release paid DLC to add 18 new challenges across new maps like a sunken ship or a candy land. Additional challenges will come to existing courses, too. Titled Captain Toad: Special Episode, fans of the game can purchase the DLC today to get their hands on one new course with the rest releasing on March 14. A digital bundle of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker also hits the eShop later today. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has slowly been spinning its gears up for a launch and now we finally know when to expect it on Switch! The Nintendo Direct showed off a bunch of impressive gameplay footage, giving many their first looks at character customization, hints at sidequests, and a number of interesting abilities like controlling gravity itself. Ritual of the Night will release for Switch sometime this summer. Dragon Quest Builders 2 will be coming to Switch, too. The new title supports 4-player co-op locally or online. Among a number of other additions, DQ Builders 2 will also add a first person mode to fully complete the Minecraft comparisons. The construction RPG releases July 12. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition comes to Switch this fall. The new version possesses some striking differences from the original release. Players can decide to play it in a classic 16-bit mode for a truly retro feel. The soundtrack has also been fully orchestrated across the entire game, though it includes both soundtracks for players to choose whichever they like better. There were some complaints about the English voice overs, so the Definitive Edition also includes the Japanese voiceover options. Finally, new companion quests and storylines will fully flesh out the backstories of the various party members that join the hero on his journey to save the world. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition launches this fall. Disney found a lot of success with their stuffed tsum tsum toys based on Disney characters. That popularity has turned the toys into a game of their very own. Disney Tsum Tsum Festival offers a collection of multiplayer mini-games for people of all ages as well as a core puzzle matching game. This game will come to Switch sometime in 2019. Star Link: Battle for Atlas on the Switch will receive a free update in April of this year that brings the members of Star Wolf into conflict with all the members of Star Fox. Players will be able to play as Falco, Slippy, and Peppy, each with their own unique abilities to combat the nefarious plans of their evil mercenary rivals. The popular Harvest Moon-inspired series Rune Factory will be coming to Nintendo Switch later this year with Rune Factory 4 Special. This remastered version of Rune Factory 4 offers a light RPG experience alongside farming, trading, and socializing with various locals. Unique to the Switch version, players will be able to marry NPCs who become close to the main character. Rune Factory 4 Special will release later this year. In addition to all of that, Nintendo confirmed that Rune Factory 5 is currently in development, though they didn't clarify anything more than that. Oninaki appears to be the next indie RPG from Square Enix in the same vein as I Am Setsuna. Oninaki puts players in the role of an individual who can cross the line between life and death to save lost souls. The balance of reincarnation has been thrown off, with souls becoming lost and turning into monsters that roam the land. As players save souls, they will unlock new abilities they can use to more effectively fight monsters with the right weapons. The deep, single-player RPG launches this coming summer. Yoshi's Crafted World will release on March 28. In addition to the platforming and puzzle-solving that players expect, keep your eyes peeled for the hidden costumes and minigames scattered throughout the worlds. These hidden costumes provide a bit of extra protection to Yoshi, too, so they're more than just decorative. Nintendo will release a demo later today that will allow players to go through the first course and experience its charm first-hand. This Nintendo Direct revealed a great deal of information about the upcoming Fire Emblem title, Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The turn-based RPG looks like it might have received an overhaul in terms of both its systems and story. The player starts as a mercenary who uncovers a strange power and receives an offer to teach students at a strange monastery at the center of three great nations of a fantastical continent. As all of this happens visions begin to haunt the hero hinting at a grand future yet to unfold. Naturally, there are three factions of students, one from each country. Players will have to choose which faction to tutor, leading to a branching story line and three different campaigns. From the basic plot ideas laid out in the Direct, it seems like the new Fire Emblem combines the school drama of titles like Persona with the traditional turn-based combat and deep systems of Fire Emblem. Fire Emblem: Three Houses releases on July 26. Nintendo teased a battle royale puzzle game called Tetris 99. Details were a bit scarce, but players will be able to hinder one another and battle to remain the last Tetris player standing in the online title that actually releases today! Dead by Daylight will be coming to Nintendo Switch this fall, though it's unclear whether there will be Switch specific additions to the indie hunter-hunted game. Toby Fox's Delta Rune Chapter 1 releases for Switch on February 28. Much like it's PC counterpart, the Switch version will be free, though the remaining chapters that will fill out the title will not be free. Final Fantasy IX, arguably the best Final Fantasy game of all-time, will be available on Nintendo Switch later today. Additionally, Final Fantasy VII comes to Nintendo Switch on March 26. The mecha action game Daemon X Machina has somehow managed to keep a low profile recently, but producer Kenichiro Tsukada hopes to change that with a demo releasing later today. The demo, a collection of missions titled Daemon X Machina: Prototype Missions, includes several sorties to acclimate and familiarize players with its gameplay and systems. The demo culminates in an encounter with a massive mechanical boss for a good final challenge. The demo also serves as a beta of sorts and some players who download it will be sent surveys to help the developers fine-tune the experience for the full release. Check out the demo and get hype for Daemon X Machina when it releases this summer. Touting the most realistic racing title on Switch to date, GRID Autosport will be coming to Switch. Players will be able to use motion controls to drive or customize their own specialized control schemes. Players can race one another in split screen or online across a variety of real-world maps. This version will also include all DLC released for the title on other platforms, meaning there are over 100 cars and 100 circuits to race with. Expect GRID Autosport later this summer. Chocobo Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy (March 20) Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice (Spring 2019) Mortal Kombat 11 (April 23) Unraveled 2 (March 22) Assassin's Creed III Remastered (May 22) To round out their Direct, Nintendo announced Astral Chain, a new IP from Platinum Games. Hideki Kamiya, the creator of Bayonetta, is supervising the creation of Astral Chain while the core direction duties have gone to Takahisa Taura, the director of Neir: Automata. The trailer provides nearly all of the details we have to go on: It's about police officers dealing with a terrorist threat in a crazy sci-fi world. They seem to have abilities or technology that allows them to summon mechanical warriors while also fighting themselves - connected by what one can assume is the titular astral chain. However, given the dialogue in the trailer, it's all too possible that their fight against the terrorists is inadvertently dooming the world. Astral Chain releases on August 30. THEY ARE REMAKING THE WIND FISH Erm... *ahem* Nintendo closed their Direct by teasing a resurrection of the classic action-adventure Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. The remake of the 1993 Game Boy title oozes so much charm and joy that it's, frankly, criminal. The revamped art style rivals some of the heaviest hitting cute aesthetics in all of gaming - and we get to play the new Link's Awakening before the year is done as this Switch exclusive will release sometime this year. You can watch the entire Nintendo Direct for yourself below if you'd like to see all of the announcements for yourself: Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  9. Jack Gardner

    Review: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

    The latest arcade flight sim with narrative aspirations from Project Aces, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown exists as a bit of an odd duck. The last couple attempts to bring the series into the modern day after its PlayStation 2 heyday fell flat and failed to gain much traction. This left Ace Combat in something of a limbo, only receiving support for the PSN exclusive and microtransaction-heavy Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seeks to bring the series back to its roots by setting itself up as a canonical sequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the most successful Ace Combat games to date. Despite that positioning, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown doesn’t require players to be familiar with its predecessor or the history of the fictional world of Strangereal. There are certainly nods to events and characters that veteran fans will recognize, but for the most part, these moments aren’t necessary to enjoy the larger story. That story details a war between the countries of Osea and Erusea stemming from economic and political contention regarding a space elevator constructed using Osean funds on Erusean soil after Osea devastated Erusea in a previous war. Into this situation are thrown all manner of crazy twists and plot threads including: Prisoners forced to pilot aircraft in the war, the assassination of a former head of state, the future of unmanned drone warfare in the skies, and a survival behind enemy lines narrative. If all of that sounds interesting, it should! Unfortunately, it never comes together into one cohesive entity and then just ends. One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of a protagonist. This was somewhat solved in Ace Combat 5 by allowing the player to participate in radio conversations with pilots in their squadron. Allowing for a little bit of character development that wasn’t just, “Golly gee, [player] is really the best pilot!” And that’s a huge problem in Ace Combat 7 because the player is framed for the assassination of the former president of Osea and sent to an island to fly junk planes as a distraction for the enemy. He just happens to be such a good pilot that eventually everyone seems to forget that they all think he assassinated a former president for no apparent reason. Ace Combat 7 squanders the unique opportunity it has with the concept of prisoner pilots by very quickly hand waving away that aspect. A bunch of criminals flying airplanes sounds like it should be a great mix for the series, but it never has a tangible effect on the gameplay outside of one mission where players are denied the ability to repair and reload weapons mid-mission. Limiting the choice of planes, putting players against hopeless odds, heck, maybe having the planes the prisoners are flying literally start falling apart mid-mission – there are so many interesting ways that Ace Combat 7 could have handled the disposable prisoner-soldier aspect. Eventually, the war progresses and leaves Osea overly dependent on the squadron of prisoners – until a late-game twist cuts the squadron off from those higher up in the chain of command. This could have been a great opportunity to put the game into the player’s hands: Will the prisoner-pilots stay loyal to Osea of maybe they join the losing Erusean forces. Ace Combat 5 had several missions that diverged based on player choice and gameplay decisions. Instead, it becomes a story about survival behind enemy lines; admittedly still cool, but it doesn’t do much to revitalize the story. Many of these interesting narrative beats ultimately fail because of the disconnect between them and the main focus of the story: Unmanned drones. Ace Combat 7 really wants to be a story about the dangers of drone warfare. All of its cutscenes and several of its missions deal directly with that theme and threat. It’s the only one that actually feels tangible in the gameplay itself. The threat of coming up against an AI-controlled aircraft that can outmaneuver a human pilot feels more real than anything else the flight sim presents players. It’s unfortunate that the game that the game doesn’t then focus itself entirely on that danger, flooding the player’s airspace with mass produced drones or recurring encounters against a squadron of AI aircraft that learn from the player’s maneuvers. If prisoner-pilots and being lost behind enemy lines weren’t going to help build the story around the threat of drone warfare, they should have been cut or reworked to include them. Instead, we have a bunch of half-baked ideas that lack full function or resonance. Something odd must have been going on behind the scenes of Ace Combat 7’s development to have led to the narrative being a hot mess. The game just ends with everyone realizing that the disagreement over the space elevator was based on a misunderstanding. The campaign stands at 20 missions long, shorter than Ace Combat 5 by 7-12 missions depending on how one counts them. It’s possible that many of these lingering questions or half-formed ideas will be expanded upon in future DLC that will be supporting the title, but not enough is known about the eventual DLC to say for sure. We do know that it will touch on story content, but we can only judge based on what’s there now and it’s not a terribly satisfying narrative package. On top of that, there’s no arcade mode like previous entries in the series possessed, which featured a series of flight scenarios designed to challenge players. The only thing that makes sense is that due to budget or time constraints much of the single-player content had to be axed out of the core game. Or, to be a bit cynical, it’s possible that it was cut out to serve as DLC later down the road. Ace Combat 7’s story might be a mess, but the visual design for the aircraft, skies, and even the detailed models of structures and vehicles on the ground absolutely nail what the series has always been about. For all of the craziness of its Metal Gear-like flying drone carriers, the realism and attention to detail instantly convey that this is Ace Combat. It’s so beautiful, I often wanted to simply fly and look to at the swirling clouds, missile trails, explosions, and gorgeous chaos going on in missions. Each mission has a recap camera that follows the entire mission from a variety of angles centered on the player’s airplane and I’d often watch that for several minutes after concluding a sortie. The replay feature could be improved by the ability to fast forward through the mission at more than just 2X speed. The soundtrack created by longtime game composer Keiki Kobayashi does its best to replicate the music of Ace Combat, succeeding in some respects while falling short in others. Kobayashi has been composing since 2001 and worked in the music departments of all the Ace Combat games since Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies. It makes sense that he would be able to nail the ambient background soundscapes of the Ace Combat series for Ace Combat 7. However, Skies Unknown desperately lacks a central theme to rally around. Even at its best, it manages to convey frantic or dramatic energy, but possesses little memorable thrust of its own. It’s good experiential music to fly to but not so much to remember after the fact. The gameplay remains largely true to the Ace Combat formula of loading up a plane with an impossible number of missiles and sending it out to do battle against a variety of air and ground targets. The mission design feels tight with every mission offering a number of exciting and unique challenges. Whether it’s altitude restrictions, flying through canyons, a time limit to do as much damage as possible, getting close enough to identify a wide field of unknown potential targets, or finding smuggling trucks in a dust storm, players should expect the unexpected when gearing up for the next mission. Dealing with a number of flying quirks on missions adds another unique wrinkle to the gameplay. High winds can make flying close to the ground or staying on target difficult. Flying through clouds can help block missiles while also threatening to ice over the engines. Rain can obscure vision in the cockpit view. The most dangerous weather condition of all stands out as lightning which can fry electronics and send a plane into a deadly tailspin. Instead of a lengthy campaign or an arcade mode, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown boasts an online multiplayer mode with a couple different rule sets, pitting players against one another for intense aerial combat. The mode is… fine. It’s fine. It’s not fantastic due to the lack of gameplay modes and rule sets for players to choose from. This might be some player’s jam and it’s certainly necessary to include in a modern Ace Combat game. However, most people aren’t playing Ace Combat for the multiplayer and there’s not much beyond replaying the campaign for people who value that single-player experience. Conclusion: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown feels like a game that’s not sure about what it wants to be. It wants to be a gritty war story, but lacks the punch necessary to follow-through on that desire. The gameplay frequently feels disconnected from the story itself. It’s incredibly short, clocking in at only 2/3 the size of its PS2 predecessor. However, despite these narrative shortcomings, its ultimately nails the feel of classic Ace Combat. It’s a blast to play and part of the disappointment in the shortness of the game stems from the desire to play more of it. As a starting point for relaunching consistent Ace Combat releases, Skies Unknown feels like solid bedrock on which to build. For those who love multiplayer or want a unique VR experience (yes, the VR is cool, but you probably shouldn’t buy PSVR just to experience Ace Combat 7), Skies Unknown caters directly to those cravings. It certainly isn’t the perfect Ace Combat game that sets a new standard for the franchise, but Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown stands as an enjoyable entry that fans will appreciate. Maybe just wait for it to go on sale and see how the DLC roll out goes before you buy. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  10. The latest arcade flight sim with narrative aspirations from Project Aces, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown exists as a bit of an odd duck. The last couple attempts to bring the series into the modern day after its PlayStation 2 heyday fell flat and failed to gain much traction. This left Ace Combat in something of a limbo, only receiving support for the PSN exclusive and microtransaction-heavy Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seeks to bring the series back to its roots by setting itself up as a canonical sequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the most successful Ace Combat games to date. Despite that positioning, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown doesn’t require players to be familiar with its predecessor or the history of the fictional world of Strangereal. There are certainly nods to events and characters that veteran fans will recognize, but for the most part, these moments aren’t necessary to enjoy the larger story. That story details a war between the countries of Osea and Erusea stemming from economic and political contention regarding a space elevator constructed using Osean funds on Erusean soil after Osea devastated Erusea in a previous war. Into this situation are thrown all manner of crazy twists and plot threads including: Prisoners forced to pilot aircraft in the war, the assassination of a former head of state, the future of unmanned drone warfare in the skies, and a survival behind enemy lines narrative. If all of that sounds interesting, it should! Unfortunately, it never comes together into one cohesive entity and then just ends. One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of a protagonist. This was somewhat solved in Ace Combat 5 by allowing the player to participate in radio conversations with pilots in their squadron. Allowing for a little bit of character development that wasn’t just, “Golly gee, [player] is really the best pilot!” And that’s a huge problem in Ace Combat 7 because the player is framed for the assassination of the former president of Osea and sent to an island to fly junk planes as a distraction for the enemy. He just happens to be such a good pilot that eventually everyone seems to forget that they all think he assassinated a former president for no apparent reason. Ace Combat 7 squanders the unique opportunity it has with the concept of prisoner pilots by very quickly hand waving away that aspect. A bunch of criminals flying airplanes sounds like it should be a great mix for the series, but it never has a tangible effect on the gameplay outside of one mission where players are denied the ability to repair and reload weapons mid-mission. Limiting the choice of planes, putting players against hopeless odds, heck, maybe having the planes the prisoners are flying literally start falling apart mid-mission – there are so many interesting ways that Ace Combat 7 could have handled the disposable prisoner-soldier aspect. Eventually, the war progresses and leaves Osea overly dependent on the squadron of prisoners – until a late-game twist cuts the squadron off from those higher up in the chain of command. This could have been a great opportunity to put the game into the player’s hands: Will the prisoner-pilots stay loyal to Osea of maybe they join the losing Erusean forces. Ace Combat 5 had several missions that diverged based on player choice and gameplay decisions. Instead, it becomes a story about survival behind enemy lines; admittedly still cool, but it doesn’t do much to revitalize the story. Many of these interesting narrative beats ultimately fail because of the disconnect between them and the main focus of the story: Unmanned drones. Ace Combat 7 really wants to be a story about the dangers of drone warfare. All of its cutscenes and several of its missions deal directly with that theme and threat. It’s the only one that actually feels tangible in the gameplay itself. The threat of coming up against an AI-controlled aircraft that can outmaneuver a human pilot feels more real than anything else the flight sim presents players. It’s unfortunate that the game that the game doesn’t then focus itself entirely on that danger, flooding the player’s airspace with mass produced drones or recurring encounters against a squadron of AI aircraft that learn from the player’s maneuvers. If prisoner-pilots and being lost behind enemy lines weren’t going to help build the story around the threat of drone warfare, they should have been cut or reworked to include them. Instead, we have a bunch of half-baked ideas that lack full function or resonance. Something odd must have been going on behind the scenes of Ace Combat 7’s development to have led to the narrative being a hot mess. The game just ends with everyone realizing that the disagreement over the space elevator was based on a misunderstanding. The campaign stands at 20 missions long, shorter than Ace Combat 5 by 7-12 missions depending on how one counts them. It’s possible that many of these lingering questions or half-formed ideas will be expanded upon in future DLC that will be supporting the title, but not enough is known about the eventual DLC to say for sure. We do know that it will touch on story content, but we can only judge based on what’s there now and it’s not a terribly satisfying narrative package. On top of that, there’s no arcade mode like previous entries in the series possessed, which featured a series of flight scenarios designed to challenge players. The only thing that makes sense is that due to budget or time constraints much of the single-player content had to be axed out of the core game. Or, to be a bit cynical, it’s possible that it was cut out to serve as DLC later down the road. Ace Combat 7’s story might be a mess, but the visual design for the aircraft, skies, and even the detailed models of structures and vehicles on the ground absolutely nail what the series has always been about. For all of the craziness of its Metal Gear-like flying drone carriers, the realism and attention to detail instantly convey that this is Ace Combat. It’s so beautiful, I often wanted to simply fly and look to at the swirling clouds, missile trails, explosions, and gorgeous chaos going on in missions. Each mission has a recap camera that follows the entire mission from a variety of angles centered on the player’s airplane and I’d often watch that for several minutes after concluding a sortie. The replay feature could be improved by the ability to fast forward through the mission at more than just 2X speed. The soundtrack created by longtime game composer Keiki Kobayashi does its best to replicate the music of Ace Combat, succeeding in some respects while falling short in others. Kobayashi has been composing since 2001 and worked in the music departments of all the Ace Combat games since Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies. It makes sense that he would be able to nail the ambient background soundscapes of the Ace Combat series for Ace Combat 7. However, Skies Unknown desperately lacks a central theme to rally around. Even at its best, it manages to convey frantic or dramatic energy, but possesses little memorable thrust of its own. It’s good experiential music to fly to but not so much to remember after the fact. The gameplay remains largely true to the Ace Combat formula of loading up a plane with an impossible number of missiles and sending it out to do battle against a variety of air and ground targets. The mission design feels tight with every mission offering a number of exciting and unique challenges. Whether it’s altitude restrictions, flying through canyons, a time limit to do as much damage as possible, getting close enough to identify a wide field of unknown potential targets, or finding smuggling trucks in a dust storm, players should expect the unexpected when gearing up for the next mission. Dealing with a number of flying quirks on missions adds another unique wrinkle to the gameplay. High winds can make flying close to the ground or staying on target difficult. Flying through clouds can help block missiles while also threatening to ice over the engines. Rain can obscure vision in the cockpit view. The most dangerous weather condition of all stands out as lightning which can fry electronics and send a plane into a deadly tailspin. Instead of a lengthy campaign or an arcade mode, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown boasts an online multiplayer mode with a couple different rule sets, pitting players against one another for intense aerial combat. The mode is… fine. It’s fine. It’s not fantastic due to the lack of gameplay modes and rule sets for players to choose from. This might be some player’s jam and it’s certainly necessary to include in a modern Ace Combat game. However, most people aren’t playing Ace Combat for the multiplayer and there’s not much beyond replaying the campaign for people who value that single-player experience. Conclusion: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown feels like a game that’s not sure about what it wants to be. It wants to be a gritty war story, but lacks the punch necessary to follow-through on that desire. The gameplay frequently feels disconnected from the story itself. It’s incredibly short, clocking in at only 2/3 the size of its PS2 predecessor. However, despite these narrative shortcomings, its ultimately nails the feel of classic Ace Combat. It’s a blast to play and part of the disappointment in the shortness of the game stems from the desire to play more of it. As a starting point for relaunching consistent Ace Combat releases, Skies Unknown feels like solid bedrock on which to build. For those who love multiplayer or want a unique VR experience (yes, the VR is cool, but you probably shouldn’t buy PSVR just to experience Ace Combat 7), Skies Unknown caters directly to those cravings. It certainly isn’t the perfect Ace Combat game that sets a new standard for the franchise, but Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown stands as an enjoyable entry that fans will appreciate. Maybe just wait for it to go on sale and see how the DLC roll out goes before you buy. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  11. Today, Nintendo released a tweet to announce a new Dr. Mario game for mobile devices titled Dr. Mario World. The Dr. Mario franchise helped pave the way for the massive popularity of match 3 games with its fast-paced puzzle gameplay inspired by Tetris. The prospect of Dr. Mario's addictive gameplay making its way onto phones is certainly something that has a lot of long-time fans excited. Dr. Mario has been one of the more overlooked of Nintendo's core series. The puzzle spin-off of Mario got its start back in 1990 on the NES with Dr. Mario and has received a total of seven entries. The last Dr. Mario game was Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure for the Nintendo 3DS back in 2015. The announcement states that Nintendo will be teaming up with Disney Tsum Tsum mobile developer Line Corporation to create Dr. Mario World. Disney Tsum Tsum was one of the top grossing mobile games of 2015 and was based on a line of Japanese plushies of Disney characters. Dr. Mario World will release in early summer 2019 and will be free for everyone, though it will include microtransactions. It releases for iOS and Android devices in 60 countries including Japan and the United States. The game will be co-developed/published with NHN Entertainment Corporation, a South Korean company that has had a hand in creating games like Tera and the the Kingsman: The Golden Circle puzzle game for mobile devices. Dr. Mario World represents Nintendo's further development of its burgeoning mobile market. The decision to begin partnering with other companies to create mobile games based on their popular franchises they made back in 2016 has proven to be a colossally lucrative one for the big N. We can only expect this trend to accelerate as it continues into the foreseeable future. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  12. Today, Nintendo released a tweet to announce a new Dr. Mario game for mobile devices titled Dr. Mario World. The Dr. Mario franchise helped pave the way for the massive popularity of match 3 games with its fast-paced puzzle gameplay inspired by Tetris. The prospect of Dr. Mario's addictive gameplay making its way onto phones is certainly something that has a lot of long-time fans excited. Dr. Mario has been one of the more overlooked of Nintendo's core series. The puzzle spin-off of Mario got its start back in 1990 on the NES with Dr. Mario and has received a total of seven entries. The last Dr. Mario game was Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure for the Nintendo 3DS back in 2015. The announcement states that Nintendo will be teaming up with Disney Tsum Tsum mobile developer Line Corporation to create Dr. Mario World. Disney Tsum Tsum was one of the top grossing mobile games of 2015 and was based on a line of Japanese plushies of Disney characters. Dr. Mario World will release in early summer 2019 and will be free for everyone, though it will include microtransactions. It releases for iOS and Android devices in 60 countries including Japan and the United States. The game will be co-developed/published with NHN Entertainment Corporation, a South Korean company that has had a hand in creating games like Tera and the the Kingsman: The Golden Circle puzzle game for mobile devices. Dr. Mario World represents Nintendo's further development of its burgeoning mobile market. The decision to begin partnering with other companies to create mobile games based on their popular franchises they made back in 2016 has proven to be a colossally lucrative one for the big N. We can only expect this trend to accelerate as it continues into the foreseeable future. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  13. The three rascals explore a portion of the vast vault of Nowhere and encounter the enigmatic creature known as Rune before deciding to embark on a shopping escapade to Sellingdales! We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. "Immersed", "Tenebrous Brothers Carnival - Mermaid" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  14. The three rascals explore a portion of the vast vault of Nowhere and encounter the enigmatic creature known as Rune before deciding to embark on a shopping escapade to Sellingdales! We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. "Immersed", "Tenebrous Brothers Carnival - Mermaid" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  15. It's safe to say that the Resident Evil 2 remake has been a resounding success for Capcom, and it's one they are celebrating with free DLC depicting some big "what-if" scenarios. Players will no longer be limited to Leon, Claire, Ada Wong, and Tofu (the best survivor of them all) any longer. Titled The Ghost Survivors, the DLC will add three new characters to the game for players to explore hypothetical alternate realities in which some of those who died in Raccoon City strive to make it out of the undead apocalypse. The titular Ghost Survivors, an unnamed and masked soldier, a gunsmith and shop owner named Robert Kendo, and the mayor's daughter, Katherine Warren. Each will have an entire chapter's worth of content to flesh out their stories. If you are interested in seeing the Japanese developers of the Resident Evil 2 remake talking about the DLC, you can watch the announcement below. They begin talking about The Ghost Survivors at around 1:21:00. It's not in English, so you might have to rely on YouTube's awful auto translation to make some sense of it if you don't know the language (not that the translation will give you much insight). In addition to the story/gameplay DLC, The Ghost Survivors will include retro costumes for Leon and Claire, both looking excellent in all their blocky, PlayStation 1-era glory. The Ghost Survivors hits Resident Evil 2 remake owners on February 15.
  16. It's safe to say that the Resident Evil 2 remake has been a resounding success for Capcom, and it's one they are celebrating with free DLC depicting some big "what-if" scenarios. Players will no longer be limited to Leon, Claire, Ada Wong, and Tofu (the best survivor of them all) any longer. Titled The Ghost Survivors, the DLC will add three new characters to the game for players to explore hypothetical alternate realities in which some of those who died in Raccoon City strive to make it out of the undead apocalypse. The titular Ghost Survivors, an unnamed and masked soldier, a gunsmith and shop owner named Robert Kendo, and the mayor's daughter, Katherine Warren. Each will have an entire chapter's worth of content to flesh out their stories. If you are interested in seeing the Japanese developers of the Resident Evil 2 remake talking about the DLC, you can watch the announcement below. They begin talking about The Ghost Survivors at around 1:21:00. It's not in English, so you might have to rely on YouTube's awful auto translation to make some sense of it if you don't know the language (not that the translation will give you much insight). In addition to the story/gameplay DLC, The Ghost Survivors will include retro costumes for Leon and Claire, both looking excellent in all their blocky, PlayStation 1-era glory. The Ghost Survivors hits Resident Evil 2 remake owners on February 15. View full article
  17. Dragon Ball FighterZ, the fantastic fighting game from Arc System Works, will be getting a second season of DLC. Following the Red Bull Dragon Ball FighterZ tournament, the developers revealed a handful of the characters that will be making appearances in the arena. Four of the six fighters coming in the second season were revealed in the trailer released by Arc System Works. The first two characters shown is Videl, the energetic fighter who captured the heart of Goku's son, Gohan. She enters brings a number of flashy moves and flying kicks along with the assistance of The Great Saiyaman, Gohan's alternate superhero identity. The two fighters actually work as one character to unleash a world of pain and justice upon their foes. The trailer depicts Videl's combos mixing nicely with the Saiyan powers of The Great Saiyaman. The duo feel like a great, fun nod to Dragon Ball's history. Jiren, Goku's awe-inspiringly powerful opponent from the most recent arc of the Dragon Ball Super anime, will also join the fray. With his massive physique and brutal energy blasts, he has the ability to decimate opponents with unparalleled speed and precision. Fans of the anime will be chomping at the bit to see how he stacks up to the characters already established in the game. Yamcha versus Jiren, anyone? The final two fighters to be revealed in the trailer both hail from the recent Dragon Ball Super: Broly film. While Broly has already been added into Dragon Ball FighterZ, a different version of the maximum power Saiyan will be added in based on the redesigned and revamped Broly that appeared in the movie. The other fighter will be Gogeta, the fused form of Goku and Vegeta that was able to fight Broly on more equal footing in the film. For that part of the trailer, we are only shown footage from the actual movie and not in-game footage. Arc System Works will release Videl and Jiren on January 31 with Gogeta and Broly following in the near future. Who the last two fighters might be remains a mystery, but it's a safe bet that when Gogeta and Broly are released we'll get a reveal and possibly a release date for them. Who do you think will make their way into the most successful Dragon Ball game in history? Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  18. Dragon Ball FighterZ, the fantastic fighting game from Arc System Works, will be getting a second season of DLC. Following the Red Bull Dragon Ball FighterZ tournament, the developers revealed a handful of the characters that will be making appearances in the arena. Four of the six fighters coming in the second season were revealed in the trailer released by Arc System Works. The first two characters shown is Videl, the energetic fighter who captured the heart of Goku's son, Gohan. She enters brings a number of flashy moves and flying kicks along with the assistance of The Great Saiyaman, Gohan's alternate superhero identity. The two fighters actually work as one character to unleash a world of pain and justice upon their foes. The trailer depicts Videl's combos mixing nicely with the Saiyan powers of The Great Saiyaman. The duo feel like a great, fun nod to Dragon Ball's history. Jiren, Goku's awe-inspiringly powerful opponent from the most recent arc of the Dragon Ball Super anime, will also join the fray. With his massive physique and brutal energy blasts, he has the ability to decimate opponents with unparalleled speed and precision. Fans of the anime will be chomping at the bit to see how he stacks up to the characters already established in the game. Yamcha versus Jiren, anyone? The final two fighters to be revealed in the trailer both hail from the recent Dragon Ball Super: Broly film. While Broly has already been added into Dragon Ball FighterZ, a different version of the maximum power Saiyan will be added in based on the redesigned and revamped Broly that appeared in the movie. The other fighter will be Gogeta, the fused form of Goku and Vegeta that was able to fight Broly on more equal footing in the film. For that part of the trailer, we are only shown footage from the actual movie and not in-game footage. Arc System Works will release Videl and Jiren on January 31 with Gogeta and Broly following in the near future. Who the last two fighters might be remains a mystery, but it's a safe bet that when Gogeta and Broly are released we'll get a reveal and possibly a release date for them. Who do you think will make their way into the most successful Dragon Ball game in history? Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  19. Nightdive Studios has been quietly working on a remake of System Shock since their successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2016. Their mission is to bring the forward-thinking 1994 PC title into a recognizable, but modernized, form. And, to be honest, it looks fantastic. System Shock originally released on PC back in 1994. It offered players the chance to play a first-person science fiction role-playing game with a rich and detailed world that could be tackled in a wide variety of unique ways. It rewarded creativity and established many of the conventions that games still make use of to this day and directly influenced the creation of games like BioShock, Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, and Metal Gear Solid. Looking Glass Interactive received critical acclaim for the game, but the games it created were ahead of their time, leading to lower sales compared with the straight-forward and immediately rewarding Doom. That brings us to the present day as Nightdive Studios works to bring a completely rebuilt version of System Shock to modern systems. Nightdive cut their teeth on revamping retro titles to play on new hardware. They are responsible for reviving I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, System Shock 1, and System Shock 2, and also played a part in creating modern titles like Skyrim and BioShock Infinite. The studio has been transparent with their development process, posting videos and screenshots throughout the creation of the new System Shock. The latest update showcases a number of the finished and finalized art assets in action. The System Shock remake is scheduled to release in 2020, so this video is still pre-alpha. However, seeing a small section of what will be included in the finished game is really exciting. You can check out the video below. The next development update will apparently show off the combat mechanics of the System Shock remake, which will be really interesting. One of the drawbacks of the original was the complicated control scheme that doesn't feel great if you go back to experience it. Modernized controls and mechanics would go a long way toward making the remake a success. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  20. Nightdive Studios has been quietly working on a remake of System Shock since their successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2016. Their mission is to bring the forward-thinking 1994 PC title into a recognizable, but modernized, form. And, to be honest, it looks fantastic. System Shock originally released on PC back in 1994. It offered players the chance to play a first-person science fiction role-playing game with a rich and detailed world that could be tackled in a wide variety of unique ways. It rewarded creativity and established many of the conventions that games still make use of to this day and directly influenced the creation of games like BioShock, Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, and Metal Gear Solid. Looking Glass Interactive received critical acclaim for the game, but the games it created were ahead of their time, leading to lower sales compared with the straight-forward and immediately rewarding Doom. That brings us to the present day as Nightdive Studios works to bring a completely rebuilt version of System Shock to modern systems. Nightdive cut their teeth on revamping retro titles to play on new hardware. They are responsible for reviving I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, System Shock 1, and System Shock 2, and also played a part in creating modern titles like Skyrim and BioShock Infinite. The studio has been transparent with their development process, posting videos and screenshots throughout the creation of the new System Shock. The latest update showcases a number of the finished and finalized art assets in action. The System Shock remake is scheduled to release in 2020, so this video is still pre-alpha. However, seeing a small section of what will be included in the finished game is really exciting. You can check out the video below. The next development update will apparently show off the combat mechanics of the System Shock remake, which will be really interesting. One of the drawbacks of the original was the complicated control scheme that doesn't feel great if you go back to experience it. Modernized controls and mechanics would go a long way toward making the remake a success. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  21. After a shocking interruption, combat with an unknown entity breaks out. The battle brings out a series of shocking revelations about the continent of Nevarrone and the threat it faces. Just what is The Silver Key organization? We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. "Awkward Meeting", "Pale Rider" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  22. After a shocking interruption, combat with an unknown entity breaks out. The battle brings out a series of shocking revelations about the continent of Nevarrone and the threat it faces. Just what is The Silver Key organization? We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. "Awkward Meeting", "Pale Rider" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  23. Jack Gardner

    Ace Combat 7's JPEG Dog Explained

    Now that Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown has released into the wild, people are finding its quirks. One of the earliest parts of the game that has since become a meme is the strange, 2D image of a fluffy dog inserted into one of the game's meticulously rendered 3D cutscenes. Of course, the internet being the internet, this flat hero captured the hearts of many players and catapulted it into meme status as "JPEG Dog". The jarring image of the adorable pooch raised many questions. How could such a detailed game have made such a seemingly bizarre addition? What series of decisions had to be made to get this dog into a game about aerial combat and international political situations? It turns out that JPEG Dog actually has a tragic and touching backstory. Kazutoki Kono, Bandai Namco's brand director on Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, took to Twitter yesterday to clarify why the curious canine seemed so out of place. Translated by writer and translator James Galizio, the message reads: So, I have a bit of depressing news to share. It's about our now famous, loyal, canine companion. I heard from the rest of the staff that he had passed away shortly after the photo was taken. We are truly blessed to have known you. May you rest in peace. While it's sad that the precious pupper is no longer with us, the tribute to the dog included in Ace Combat 7 has spread a lot of joy with the memes it spawned. Enjoy them, get some good laughs, and never forget our precious JPEG Dog. RIP JPEG Dog. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  24. Now that Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown has released into the wild, people are finding its quirks. One of the earliest parts of the game that has since become a meme is the strange, 2D image of a fluffy dog inserted into one of the game's meticulously rendered 3D cutscenes. Of course, the internet being the internet, this flat hero captured the hearts of many players and catapulted it into meme status as "JPEG Dog". The jarring image of the adorable pooch raised many questions. How could such a detailed game have made such a seemingly bizarre addition? What series of decisions had to be made to get this dog into a game about aerial combat and international political situations? It turns out that JPEG Dog actually has a tragic and touching backstory. Kazutoki Kono, Bandai Namco's brand director on Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, took to Twitter yesterday to clarify why the curious canine seemed so out of place. Translated by writer and translator James Galizio, the message reads: So, I have a bit of depressing news to share. It's about our now famous, loyal, canine companion. I heard from the rest of the staff that he had passed away shortly after the photo was taken. We are truly blessed to have known you. May you rest in peace. While it's sad that the precious pupper is no longer with us, the tribute to the dog included in Ace Combat 7 has spread a lot of joy with the memes it spawned. Enjoy them, get some good laughs, and never forget our precious JPEG Dog. RIP JPEG Dog. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  25. 2018 was an incredible year of games that will be hard to top going forward. However, 2019 holds a metric ton of great games just waiting to be unleashed. Let's take a look at some of the most exciting upcoming games and talk about them a bit! On top of that, Jack answers the question: What games from the past might convince someone to spend their days writing about games? 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: Skies of Arcadia 'Inner Reflections' by YoshiBlade (https://ocremix.org/album/90/arcadia-legends) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
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