Mike and Mary say goodbye to their longtime friend Finn.
If you’re getting ready to watch Blade Runner 2049, Ryan breaks down everything you should know about the original Ridley Scott film from 1982.
Blizzard Battle.net now fits in the palm of your hand. A new app for iOS and Android phones let you take the social features you love about the desktop version on the go.
Instead of only contacting your World of Warcraft team when you’re at your computer, the app lets you chat anywhere you go. You can also keep an eye on what your friends are doing so you know exactly when to hop into the game, and add new friends too.
The Blizzard Battle.net app is like any other standard messaging app. It’s meant to provide a more centralized way to get in touch with your gaming crews. But it also provides a safer alternative than giving your virtual pals personal contact information.
The app is rolling out now on the App Store and Google Play globally. If it’s not already available, check back at a later time as it may take some time to open up in your region.
September is closing and Fall is finally here, which means this month’s free Games with Gold titles are wrapping up too. Two titles are on their way out, while one is sticking around through mid-October.
This month we got to have a taste of whats to come with Forza Motorsport 7 through Forza Motorsport 5: Game of the Year Edition, and Dice’s renowned shooter Battlefield 3 came back one more time to remind us how much we love realistic and visceral combat. These two titles are on their way to regular pricing after today, while supernatural adventure title Oxenfree will stay free to charm our hearts for a little while longer.
September 2017 Games With Gold
- Forza Motorsport 5: Game of the Year Edition (September 1-30)
- Oxenfree (September 16-October 15)
Hydro Thunder Hurricane (September 1-15)
- Battlefield 3 (September 16-30)
What To Watch
More and more anime, as well as anime-inspired movies and series, are making their way to Netflix. Originals like Castlevania and the live-action Death Note movie join classic series and upcoming ones on the service, and it can be tricky to know which ones you should binge and which you should let be.
While there’s a lot of great anime on Netflix, there are some you should prioritize. Click forward to see all the best series you can stream right now.
If you haven’t seen it yet–or if you thought the Netflix’s live-action Death Note was interesting and wanted more–now’s the time to watch this classic crime series. Light Yagami, a brilliant high school student and son of a police chief, finds the Death Note, a notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages. The mysterious killer is dubbed “Kira,” and a top detective known only as “L” is given the task of tracking him down.
The series is known both for its fantastic cat-and-mouse dynamic and as a great show for people who haven’t seen much anime. It has things like shinigami (gods of death) and a distinctly Japanese style, but it’s not the capital-A Anime with big fight scenes and a lot of yelling that you might imagine when you think about anime.
If you’re looking for action, suspense, and something a little darker, try Durarara! Set in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district, Durarara follows a newcomer to the area as well as a gang of dangerous individuals and a headless motorcyclist who runs in underground circles. There’s a lot going on, but the episodes switch between different perspectives with a narrator giving context. Durarara is popular for its supernatural-meets-gang-violence style and superb animation. And no, the name doesn’t mean anything.
The Devil Is A Part-Timer
The devil’s on the run from the hero of Ente Isla, a world he’s trying to conquer, and he ends up in modern day Tokyo. In order to survive, he gives himself a human form and…starts working at a fast food restaurant called MgRonald’s. Naturally, there are some shenanigans to be had. This is one of the lighter shows on this list and is great if you’re looking for a fantastical comedy to watch when you want to relax.
Gurren Lagann is an absolute classic and a must-watch for any anime fan. Made by Gainax, the studio behind Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Lagann is about friendship, believing in yourself, and giant mechs that fight each other. It’s action-packed and silly and, despite some weird pacing in spots, is quite the adventure.
One of the coolest things about the series is how it transitions from a hole in the ground–all of humanity lives underground to protect themselves from the dangers of the surface world–to something entirely different by the end, yet still a cohesive whole.
Kill la Kill
After watching Gurren Lagann, your next series should be Kill la Kill. It was made by Studio Trigger, an offshoot started by former Gainax staff, and has the same larger-than-life feel and wacky action in a new world–not unlike FLCL. Be warned: It’s about clothes that have special powers, and those powers are usually activated by making the outfit a lot more revealing. But trust me, it makes sense in the end.
Little Witch Academia
Also by Studio Trigger, Little Witch Academia is a feel-good show about young girls studying to become witches. It stars Akko, a girl who’s struggling at the academy due to her non-magical background–until she finds an artifact that once belongs to the witch who inspired her in the first place. It’s cute and great to watch when you want something a bit more relaxed.
If you grew up watching shonen series like Dragon Ball Z, you’ll appreciate One-Punch Man’s comedic take on the genre. Saitama is the ultimate hero; he can defeat anyone with only one punch. But because of that, he’s pretty bored with being the hero, preferring to get excited about sales at the grocery store instead of defeating the latest supervillain. It’s funny but also an interesting look at what happens after you accomplish your goals, and its theme song goes hard. Plus, season 2 is coming up soon!
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Remember Sailor Moon? Puella Magi Madoka Magica is kind of like that, except much sadder. It’s a twist on the magical girl genre and explores the power of hope over pure despair. The eponymous star Madoka has the opportunity to make a wish with a familiar called Kyubey–any wish, he says, and he can grant it, but she must fight evil in exchange. What wish would be worth the cost?
Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a fantastic, haunting soundtrack and is only 12 episodes, but maybe don’t binge it if you don’t want to cry a lot. Don’t worry, though; believe in hope.
The lead character in Rurouni Kenshin is a placid soul named Himura. And despite carrying a sword on his hip, the blade is sharpened on the wrong side; a move to ensure he won’t inadvertently take a life, even in self-defense. However, one part comedy and one part drama, Rurouni Kenshin truly stands out when Himura’s righteous instincts push back against this mindset.
Himura’s present attitude is a result of him rejecting his past as a legendary assassin. But violent ex-samurai seeking fame and power at the cost of innocent lives cross his path on a regular basis, forcing his hand. Himura’s left no choice but to rekindle his smoldering aggression to protect the innocent, and though he typically manages to rid evil without resorting to murder, the show craftily keeps the question lingering in the air: will he kill to protect those he loves at the cost of his own humanity?
The 95-episode show on Netflix is a great starting point for anyone interested in the series, but once you connect with Himura’s plight, do seek out the OVAs, dubbed Samurai X. Those episodes tell of the disturbing childhood that lead to Himura’s violent middle years–though they unfortunately aren’t on Netflix.
Your Lie In April
Your Lie in April is a heartfelt story about Arima Kousei, a prodigal pianist whose career is derailed by a traumatic event. However, a chance encounter with Kaori Miyazono, a free-spirited violinist, reignites a passion he thought had long faded.
What makes Your Lie in April interesting is, for the most part, it doesn’t focus on the romance between Arima and Kaori. Instead it explores their complicated personal issues and uses these to bring them closer in a way that feels natural and authentic.
Before you can go on your epic 70+ quest in Divinity: Original Sin II, you need to pick a class. Not sure what to pick? Don’t worry, we got you fam.
With the launch of the SNES Classic, Star Fox 2 gets the official release that was originally planned for 1995-96. The game was finished but ultimately scrapped during this transitional period for game consoles, when both the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 were on the brink of delivering richer 3D experiences. It’s a game that’s hard to evaluate in 2017 without contextualizing it in the time it was created. But out of its 22-year limbo, Star Fox 2 is both an expression of technical limitations of the SNES platform and laudable modern game design.
At the start of a playthrough, you choose two pilots to embark on the campaign. The original cast of anthropomorphic critters–Fox, Slippy, Falco, and Peppy–returns with two new female characters in Miyu and Fay. Each character has their own special item, shield strength, speed, and ship design. The overworld map is where you swap between your two pilots, in case one is low on shields and needs a break between battle sequences. This approach detracts from the feeling of camaraderie present in the squadron-style premise of past Star Fox games, especially since you engage in fights as a duo or on your own. It does, however, make you responsible for managing characters’ statuses.
Star Fox 2 breaks from tradition as it’s structured more as a game of base defense than a pure on-rails shooter. The overworld map operates in real time as you send your pilot duo off to defuse a multitude of interplanetary threats in the embattled Lylat system. And the core of the game is to take down Andross (again) before Corneria reaches 100% destruction at the hands of incoming forces. In order to get to Andross, you repel attacks in familiar locations like Macbeth, Titania, and Fortuna. His cronies and high-ranking pilots Star Wolf, Pigma, and Leon will intercept you at times; it’s in these instances where you engage in free-flowing 3D dogfights in space.
Free-roam planet missions differ slightly and offer Star Fox 2’s best moments. Your Arwing ship can transform into a land-based walker. Doing so causes the game to switch to manual acceleration and an alternate aiming system. It’s a showcase of rudimentary third-person shooting that feels surprisingly contemporary, especially with the 16-bit era as your frame of reference. The L and R shoulder buttons control your aim and the D-pad controls forward and backward movement and strafing. Swapping between air and land vehicles as you take down planetary bases is a highlight and peaks in the final level when the game opens up branching paths. But like the game itself, these moments come to a close very quickly.
Each run of the campaign is built around obtaining a high score, and making it to the final stage takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Since actual battles eat up real time, and the ultimate goal is to take down Andross before Corneria is destroyed, you’re encouraged to accomplish everything as soon as possible; plus, you get more points for faster mission completion. It’s a deliberate design decision, but it sacrifices the more intricate boss fights seen in the first Star Fox, which results in a game that feels too thin overall.
To the developers’ credit, the systems in place that make up the base-defense segments in Star Fox 2 instill a valuable sense of player agency. You decide where to go, what to defend, and how to juggle multiple threats; it’s in contrast to the distinct paths you choose in other Star Fox games. You’d be hard-pressed to repel every enemy, and you have to put a bit more foresight into your approach through the campaign, despite its brevity.
However, the biggest factor that holds back Star Fox 2 is its poor technical performance. While we can boil it down to the lack of system resources the original developers had to work with on the SNES, knowing this doesn’t negate the fact that the sluggish framerate and rudimentary visuals make dogfights laborious. You’ll find yourself mindlessly following target indicators since it’s nearly impossible to track enemy ships in the game. It’s hard to enjoy the pace of fights when Star Fox 2 runs almost like a slideshow.
Star Fox 2 can be praised for the ambitious structure that seemed to be ahead of its time, but the enjoyable moments are hamstrung by modern standards and expectations. Framerate issues and tech that wasn’t suited for this style of game prevent Star Fox 2’s vision from being fully realized, but it’s an important piece of gaming history kept alive with an official release. This game alone isn’t the driving force to seek out an SNES Classic, and you’ll want to consider the more time-tested games in the package.