New Red Dead Redemption 2 Trailer Coming Very Soon

After a long stretch of sharing virtually nothing about Red Dead Redemption 2, the floodgates have opened recently. We should be learning even more soon, as Rockstar has announced that the next RDR2 trailer is coming on Monday, October 1.

The company shared the news on Twitter, saying our next glimpse at the game debuts in trailer form at 6 AM PT / 9 AM ET / 2 PM BST. It didn’t specify what to actually expect to be featured in the trailer–it only said it would be “gameplay video part 2”–but there isn’t much longer to wait to find out.

With Red Dead Redemption 2’s release date coming on October 26, Rockstar recently afforded us an opportunity to go hands-on with the game. We came away impressed with the level of depth to the world, with numerous systems at play. Since then, more screenshots and details on things like hunting and fishing have been shared.

While the main game itself is coming in just a few weeks, Red Dead Online–the game’s online multiplayer component–won’t launch until sometime in November. Even then, it’ll only be releasing in beta, and Rockstar has warned of “teething problems” as it expects things may not go completely smoothly at launch.

Red Dead Redemption 2 will be available in a number of special editions; you can read all about that in our pre-order guide. There’s also a PS4 Pro bundle on the way, which revealed–at least on that system–RDR2 will require 105 GB on your hard drive.

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/articles/new-red-dead-redemption-2-trailer-coming-very-soon/1100-6462156/

Top New Game Releases On Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, And PC This Week — September 30 – October 6

This week delivers exclusives like Forza Horizon 4 and Super Mario Party, plus big sequels like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Mega Man 11.

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/videos/top-new-game-releases-on-nintendo-switch-ps4-xbox-/2300-6446577/

The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep Review – Lament

InXile Entertainment’s resurrection of this long-lost series from the age of Ronald Reagan and Max Headroom takes the role-playing genre back in time for better and worse. The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep‘s visuals are a charmingly nostalgic reminder of the origins of 3D role-playing games, but most of the game’s features are too outdated to hold up to today’s standards.

Actually, the first challenge here is remembering what the Bard’s Tale franchise is all about. The plot is supposed to follow 1988’s The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate, although most of us will have to take their word for it given the 30 years between major franchise installments. Skara Brae and a rogues’ gallery of familiar villains from the original Bard’s Tale trilogy are the main hallmarks here, along with new live-action cutscenes that brings to life the iconic cover art from those ’80s RPG classics. They are beyond cheesy, but these clips provide plenty of old-school atmosphere.

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Other shout-outs to RPG history are evident in the core design, which is minimalistic by comparison to modern role-players. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the straightforward character development and combat systems are easy to learn. Your group is depicted via portraits in the “party bar” along the bottom eight slots (for the six party-member maximum plus two for summoned allies) on the screen. Movement is handled fluidly with the party being directed as one in real time while exploring. Encountering enemies switches the game over to turn-based combat where you give orders to attack, cast spells, and so forth based on objective and spell points. Overall, it’s a tried-and-true system for a retro RPG experience, especially if you want something basic.

But with that said, Bard’s Tale IV is too simplistic. Characters come with just four core stats (strength, constitution, armor class, and intelligence) that can basically only be adjusted with equipment and skills earned when leveling up. If you want to raise your constitution (which functions here as hit points, unlike a more traditional D&D system), for example, you need to put on armor, wield a bonus-granting weapon, or take a skill that gives a corresponding buff.

Serious customization is hard to come by. There aren’t a lot of character choices provided beyond standard fantasy races like humans, elves, dwarves, and the goblin-like trow, and classes like fighters, practitioners (mages), rogues, and bards. Bards do feel somewhat unique due to their ability to power skills and magic in battle by chugging booze. Leveling up provides some ability to tweak your heroes, but choice is limited because you’re allocated just a single point with each advancement to distribute among the four skill trees

Combat has a narrow focus. A handful of objective and spell points are given to the party to use collectively each turn, and you have to spend them on just four selected skill masteries from your overall pool of abilities. Attacks always hit, so strategizing involves looking through each hero’s masteries, choosing what does the most damage, and deciding on the best enemy target. You can deal physical damage via melee and ranged attacks or mental damage via spells.

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Masteries deal with one type of damage or the other, which causes problems as there is no way to switch them up once a battle has begun. As a result, readied masteries regularly don’t match up with what enemies bring to the table. For example, heavily armored foes are vulnerable to mental damage, but if your ready-to-go masteries don’t have enough mental attacks, you’re out of luck. You can try to build a balanced party, but many masteries aren’t shared across classes, so there’s not a great range of options if you want a group that’s prepared for everything. Because of that, combat feels gimmicky, with you failing at times through no fault other than not guessing what the game is about to throw your way.

The one positive aspect of combat–and it’s a positive with definite drawbacks–is that every region is populated with the same four or fives types of enemy. So once you take on the first mob of goblin fire archers, cultist sorcerers, skeletons, assassins, or whatever in a particular location, you know what to expect in that entire area and can go on autopilot when it comes to battle strategizing. Enemies help out by not being very bright, either. They waste their own objective points on moving around unnecessarily, do nothing in the back row, ignore wounded heroes and threats like spellcasters, and so on.

Surprises still happen, though. Difficulty jumps around. You can be steamrolling all comers for ages and walk into a brutal fight against an all-new creature with a never-before-seen ability like regeneration, or undead that revive unless you send them all back to the afterlife in one turn. You learn how to fight different creatures as they appear, but because there’s no save-on-demand feature–you instead save at totems strewn around the landscape–this can lead to frustrating trial and error.

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Making matters worse is the inaccuracy of the enemy warning system. Look at a mob of foes and they highlight green, yellow, or red. To try to make matters even clearer, party members chime in by assessing the potential bout as a cakewalk, a challenge, or suicide. None of this is very accurate, though. While green scraps always seem easy, some yellow are murderous, and some red are a lot more painless than expected. As a result, you can get a nasty shocker and get killed in a fight that looks like no problem–which is a major pain if you haven’t been able to save in a while.

Stability is a also problem. Crashes are a frequent occurrence, especially at the end of battles. Usually the game went down with an error message, but a few times it froze up at the end of a fight while looking at the loot that dead foes left behind. Because of these crashes, it’s wise to save constantly–even when you have to run back significant distances to find a save totem after a tough battle.

More serious issues arise due to problems with the level design and structure of the game’s locales. The maps are huge and labyrinthine and that’s befitting the history of dungeon crawlers, of course, but the game is too loaded with narrow corridors with minimal incentives. Despite the maze-like appearance, you are led in a linear fashion from Point A to Point B in the dungeon ruins of Skara Brae, the forest of Inshriach, or the tundra of Stronsea. There is little room for creativity, as both plot and maps run on rails from start to finish. Inaccessible areas are crudely blocked off with rubble or piles of crates, as well, reinforcing the feeling that you’re playing a game of connect-the-dots with extra steps.

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While there is a good variety of brainteasers in the game, ranging from switching gears to moving blocks to shoving faeries around an obstacle course to routing blood into connected streams, there are far, far too many of them. Puzzles are used to pad out levels too often. Instead of having to face one or two of these innovative enigmas at a time, you get five or more in a row, almost always of the same type, which gets very monotonous, very fast.

Aspects of the map design appear unfinished. While loads of NPCs are ready to chat, these encounters generally lead to dead ends. Some wayward monk or lovelorn peasant will tell you a story of woe that seems to be leading somewhere, as their conversations tend to revolve around boilerplate RPG quests like hunting for an artifact or finding a lost girlfriend. But then these talks either come to an abrupt halt or the guy or gal turns into a merchant. Your only response to somebody pouring their heart a lot of the time is to ask if they’ve got any stuff to sell.

Most areas offer little beyond solving puzzles and fighting. Loot drops are limited. You collect the same swords, helmets, and armor constantly from defeated enemies and the crates and barrels scattered across the landscape, along with various types of food and drink that both recover hit points and can be used in crafting. There is little sense of reward. For every cool sword you discover, you smash open 50 barrels and chests filled with vegetables and bottles of water. There’s nothing like taking 10 minutes to solve a puzzle leading to a chest…and then finding nothing in it but three carrots and a potato.

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The visuals aren’t technically impressive and cause even the best systems to chug and stutter when moving the camera on all graphics settings. Character faces have an oddly disturbing appearance in the middle ground between a mannequin and a melted candle, and animations are stiff and jerky, both in real-time dungeon delving and in turn-based battles. Still, the look of the game remains charming. Everything is given a Celtic/Scottish look that could have been taken from Braveheart, and a bright color palette evokes an ’80s RPG mood recalling the vivid hues of classic D&D art.

Audio is hit and miss. Well-acted dialogue perfectly handles the Scottish brogue of most characters. Enemies repeat cheesy taunts in combat, though, and party chatter consists of juvenile insults. Some audio effects don’t fit with what’s taking place on-screen. Gulping down water triggers the same crunching and lip-smacking that accompanies eating a cabbage or apple. At least the music has a beautiful Celtic flavor with plucked strings, fiddles, and choral odes that make the game sound like Enya outtakes.

Other quirks add aggravation. Load times are long and frequent; it takes over a minute to transition between areas, even when leaving a tavern to hit the streets. Level maps can be misleading. Key items like save totems aren’t included, and you can’t make notes. There is no way to sort character inventories, leading to tedious item management.

Common wisdom and clichés aside, The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep proves you can go home again. But why would anyone want to? While the game re-creates what we played in the 1990s, misty water-colored memories of hours spent with Eye of the Beholder are not enough to fix numerous design miscues, performance problems, and bugs. This is a tough sell to all but the most dedicated and patient retro fan.

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/the-bards-tale-iv-barrows-deep-review-lament/1900-6417002/

Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition HD Review – Nintendo Switch

On platforms where the full experience exists, Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is in a strange position. The version of Final Fantasy XV released two years ago is a sprawling behemoth of a game where it’s fully expected and encouraged for players to just meander around for the first three to five hours, getting to know Noctis and his friends, toying with the mechanics, and meeting the people of Eos. It’s one of the scant examples of a game where an extremely pared-down experience–which is, ultimately, what Pocket Edition is–remains as engrossing and immense an experience as the average 30 hour JRPG designed to be such.

The main story and the fundamentals of the game’s combat are reproduced here, save a few minor narrative beats and some of the fancier gameplay flourishes, like Link Attacks. But regardless, it’s still the story of the warring kingdoms of Insomnia, Niflheim, and Altissia. The three countries are on the verge of a peace that will only be solidified if Insomnia’s King Regis signs a treaty with Niflheim and if the prince of Insomnia, Noctis, enters an arranged marriage with Lunafreya of Altissia. Noctis, still immature and lackadaisical about his future, is fond of Lunafreya, but not necessarily ready for the responsibilities that come with marriage, and as such, decides to take one last road trip with his three best friends, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus, toward the altar. When the signing of the peace treaty turns out to be a trap, leaving Insomnia devastated and the prince without a home to go back to, Noctis is forced to gain the divine blessings of his ancestors and claim his birthright ahead of schedule.

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Like most demakes, a lot of Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition’s charm is largely in seeing how it compares to the original game. In this case, FFXV’s stunning locales and photoreal CG have been redone in a bright, abstract, cartoon aesthetic, akin to watching the game acted out by Funko Pop figures. There’s an element of warm, familiar nostalgia to it all. Having to fill in the visual blanks of a heavy scene being played out by these expressionless dolls gives you the feeling that you’re just playing a souped-up 32-bit Final Fantasy game. The visual dissonance of blocky, polygonal Cloud mourning an equally blocky Aeris can very easily vanish when you’re swept up in the moment. It’s much the same here, watching giant-head Noctis grieve his father and the fall of Insomnia. It only stands out as dissonant because unlike, say, Final Fantasy VII, you’ve likely seen what a photoreal version of these same scenes looks like.

Really, losing nuance from the world itself is more noticeable than losing out graphically. One of Final Fantasy XV’s greatest strengths was leaving a lot of narrative details about the world of Eos to the environment, hearing stories from the people you meet, overhearing gossip, and taking on sidequests. The vast majority of that has been stripped away. Also, the wide-open world has been pared down to an ongoing series of linear top-down maps. Pocket Edition’s quest is, quite literally, a critical path only that only communicates the essentials, with very little ability or reason to wander off. Yes, that means no fishing, no photography, no Hunts, no Justice Monsters Five, no Formouth Garrison, no Pitioss Ruins, no messing around. Ignis’ recipes are still part of the mix, but in a much more limited capacity. It says a lot about just how dense and layered Noctis’ journey was to begin with that even having so much of the original game and its narrative jettisoned off still leaves enough material for a very traditional, linear JRPG to take place.

With these limits in mind, it’s rather impressive how meticulously the most vital locations and story beats in the game had been reproduced. Having played the main game twice, it’s a delightfully surreal experience seeing how much of the world I was able to move through by sheer memory, knowing where traps, shop, and enemy ambush locations would be long before the game decided to point them out. A new player will likely have to refer to the map fairly often, but each area, even the more twisty dungeons in the game, is small enough where the potential to get lost is diminished relative to the original game.

Combat is similarly streamlined, though this is the one area where the main game’s depth is deeply missed. The fundamentals are, as mentioned, the same: hold the attack button and Noctis will spam attacks until you let go. You can dodge and roll out of the way, and you also have the Warp Strike, allowing you to close great distances and strike hard against a target clear across the screen. The arsenal is here, but there’s far less actual thought that needs to go into the majority of encounters in the game. Only one magic spell can be held at a time, and there’s a strange delay before Noctis can even cast it. Weapons like the Greatswords and polearms only vary in terms of striking speed, but generally do the same damage. And even when Noctis dies, with only a few exceptions later in the game, it’s so much easier to either throw yourself a potion or wait for an ally to revive you. For most of the fights in the game, you’re just holding attack and the left stick in the vague direction of the thing you want to kill. That likely made sense when Pocket Edition was solely a mobile title, but it’s a bit undercooked on consoles.

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Thing is, though, as flashy as it could be, combat wasn’t exactly a shining example in the genre in the full game either. Final Fantasy XV’s brilliance shone forth in the interactions Noctis had with the people of Eos, friend and foe. Family friends reappear in Noctis’ life to offer guidance and comfort. Locals in every town have their own inner lives, surviving under the occupation of the Empire, and will gladly take Noctis on a tour of their town to see what life outside his kingdom is really like. The bounty hunter who tries to kill him while on a secret mission will later escort Noctis’ group through a dungeon and speak honestly about her own government job for the first time. The characters, their stories, and how they all contributed to Noctis growing into the man he needs to be to become king were the soul of Final Fantasy XV.

All these things have been admirably translated, in a way far less intimidating to newcomers and logistically fascinating to veterans. You get the parts of that experience that count the most towards the narrative from Pocket Edition, and the gameplay, rudimentary it may be, has been as elegantly streamlined as possible to obtain that experience. This is still, ultimately, Final Fantasy XV, and while there’s a lot of the game that you might want out of Pocket Edition, there’s an argument to be made that this version of FFXV will serve you just fine.

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/final-fantasy-xv-pocket-edition-hd-review-nintendo/1900-6417001/

Fortnite’s Floating Island Is Moving Around The Map

The mysterious island floating above Loot Lake in Fortnite has started moving, though to exactly what end remains unclear. For those that haven’t been keeping up with the latest happenings in Fortnite, a strange purple cube appeared in the game and plunged itself into Loot Lake just before the start of Season 6. Once the season kicked off, however, it floated into the air, taking a chunk of land up there with it.

Currently, the cube and the attached island seems to be just moving between locations on the Fortnite map. Fans have speculated that the it’s moving between the runes that the cube left on the map towards the end of Season 5, before it dropped into Loot Lake.

Data miners also seem to have discovered evidence that, in addition to travelling around the map, the cube will grow in size. A folder called “CubeGrowth” has been discovered in game files, which could lend further weight to the speculation that this is all part of upcoming event that developer Epic Games is planning.

As previously stated, Season 6 of Fortnite has kicked off and there have been some pretty significant changes to the game. In addition to a few new areas on the map–some thanks in part to the cube, again–Epic has also introduced a number of new items, including Pets. While they are undoubtedly the cutest new addition, you’ll probably be wanting to see all the cool new skins and cosmetics, and we have a Season 6 rewards gallery for that. If you need help unlocking these, you can complete Fortnite’s latest challenges using our Season 6 challenge roundup.

Another surprise fans received alongside the launch of Fortnite Season 6 was cross-play on PS4. On September 28, Sony Interactive Entertainment said it had “identified a path towards supporting cross-platform features for select third-party content,” including Fortnite. An open beta that allows for “gameplay, progression, and commerce” across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Mac, Android, iOS of the game is currently underway. If you need a hand with linking your console accounts to Fortnite, we’ve got a guide.

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/articles/fortnites-floating-island-is-moving-around-the-map/1100-6462155/

Fortnite’s Floating Island Is Moving Around The Map

The mysterious island floating above Loot Lake in Fortnite has started moving, though to exactly what end remains unclear. For those that haven’t been keeping up with the latest happenings in Fortnite, a strange purple cube appeared in the game and plunged itself into Loot Lake just before the start of Season 6. Once the season kicked off, however, it floated into the air, taking a chunk of land up there with it.

Currently, the cube and the attached island seems to be just moving between locations on the Fortnite map. Fans have speculated that the it’s moving between the runes that the cube left on the map towards the end of Season 5, before it dropped into Loot Lake.

Data miners also seem to have discovered evidence that, in addition to travelling around the map, the cube will grow in size. A folder called “CubeGrowth” has been discovered in game files, which could lend further weight to the speculation that this is all part of upcoming event that developer Epic Games is planning.

As previously stated, Season 6 of Fortnite has kicked off and there have been some pretty significant changes to the game. In addition to a few new areas on the map–some thanks in part to the cube, again–Epic has also introduced a number of new items, including Pets. While they are undoubtedly the cutest new addition, you’ll probably be wanting to see all the cool new skins and cosmetics, and we have a Season 6 rewards gallery for that. If you need help unlocking these, you can complete Fortnite’s latest challenges using our Season 6 challenge roundup.

Another surprise fans received alongside the launch of Fortnite Season 6 was cross-play on PS4. On September 28, Sony Interactive Entertainment said it had “identified a path towards supporting cross-platform features for select third-party content,” including Fortnite. An open beta that allows for “gameplay, progression, and commerce” across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Mac, Android, iOS of the game is currently underway. If you need a hand with linking your console accounts to Fortnite, we’ve got a guide.

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/articles/fortnites-floating-island-is-moving-around-the-map/1100-6462155/

Dragon Ball FighterZ Review: The Fast And The Furious

Despite the countless Dragon Ball games that have appeared since the manga debuted in the mid-’80s, the series has never needed them to sustain its popularity. Most are forgettable, some are good, and even fewer are truly great. Thanks to developer Arc System Works’ particular talents, Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the great ones, if not the best yet. Even if you think Dragon Ball is old hat, and even if you’re intimidated by fighting games, there’s a good chance you’ll be drawn into the explosive action and personalities that expertly evoke the anime’s infectious spirit.

Arc’s prowess for making 3D assets look like 2D cel animation is as strong as ever, and its artists display a clear understanding of Dragon Ball’s characteristic details. The screen is constantly filled with saturated colors and special effects, and super attacks are framed in a way that pull you out of the fight and into a momentary state of awe. Whether still or in motion, FighterZ’s art looks like Dragon Ball at its very best, adhering closely to the standards set by the series creator, Akira Toriyama. And no matter how you may have watched the show, the option to choose between Japanese and English voice acting makes it easy to feel connected to the events on-screen.

Within the convincing Dragon Ball shell lives a fast-paced 3v3 tag-team fighting game that will feel familiar to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 veterans. But despite a few familiar parallels, FighterZ is distinctly Dragon Ball. Characters can jet through the air in a flash at any time, toss energy blasts like it’s nothing, and unleash a flurry of smaller punches and kicks to stagger a hesitant opponent. Every fighter emphatically shouts at the top of their lungs (in a good way) every few seconds while attacking, and you understand why: these super beings are incredibly powerful, and FighterZ translates that energy to the screen perfectly. It also makes it easy for anyone to tap into that power, with relatively short special attack lists and one-button or two-button activations for universal mechanics. Not that it’s recommended, but you can theoretically play with one hand and capably close the distance to your opponent to kick their ass in style regardless of the character you choose–all without any directional inputs.

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Like any great fighting game, FighterZ doesn’t lose depth just because it’s accessible. Super attacks and teleports are easy to pull off, but they come with timing and combo conditions that allow for expert-level analysis and strategic play. It’s also important to properly manage the lone meter that fuels most of your special abilities, a setup that makes a fighter’s next move more unpredictable than usual, compared to some games with multiple, ability-specific meters. With seven levels of charge that feed into both offensive and defensive moves, it’s never exactly clear what someone will do next, but you know a full meter means trouble, and a potentially chaotic back and forth between two crack fighters.

It also means fun is just seconds away. Being that it’s so simple to cover ground, participate in mechanical mind games, and look impressive while doing it, there’s practically no barrier to enjoyment provided you are fighting with opponents of a similar skill level. When the balance of skill in your opponent’s favor, with no means of escaping a combo once you’re trapped, there are times when you have to accept fate and wait for them to finish their onslaught–or until your current character dies–again, not unlike MvC3. Thankfully, online matchmaking is set up to auto-match you with players of similar experience, and lopsided fights are (so far, based on the open beta) few and far between.

You also don’t need to be an aspiring online competitor to enjoy FighterZ, as it includes a significant story mode that can last a dozen hours or more if you seek out every possible cutscene. While a bit drawn out in places and relatively easy until the conclusion, it’s still a treat for Dragon Ball fans with plenty of new vignettes staring classic characters. Though the plot is split into three arcs, you are technically seeing one arc from different perspectives, with a few alternate events to keep things interesting.

The gist is that a bunch of clones of the planet’s strongest fighters are running amok, Dragon Ball heroes and villains (some who have been resurrected from death) must work together to stop them, and a new character, Android 21, is somehow at the center of it all. Because there’s practically zero time spent introducing you to characters or their world, it’s difficult to imagine how a newcomer to Dragon Ball would understand things like the Ginyu Force’s proclivity to pose dramatically or the reason why Krillin doesn’t have a nose, let alone the broad concepts of Super Saiyans and Dragon Balls. Then again, the mix of oddball antics and hyper-serious face-offs is inherently appealing for the confident cartoon expression on display.

As in combat, Arc’s capable design skills make the 3D models and environments in cutscenes look stunningly close to actual 2D animation. There are moments when it feels like you’re watching a new episode of Dragon Ball Z. But there’s a catch: you’re forced to press a button to advance dialogue, rather than allowed to kick back and watch the show. When FighterZ gets achingly close to recreating the look of the anime, the forced interaction feels like a step in the wrong direction, albeit a minor one in the grand scheme of things. Generally speaking, story sequences often elicit a smile or a laugh, only occasionally feeling like filler made to advance the story. One of the most strange yet likable qualities is the way the game contextualizes you, the player: a spirit that has randomly inhabited Goku (or another character depending on the arc in question) and can be passed to other fighters. It’s unexpected and weird, but you have to give Arc System Works credit for pulling you into the room as opposed to simply breaking the fourth wall.

FighterZ is complex and distinct enough to be enjoyed by fighting game competitors, but there’s no question that it’s been designed to tap into the hearts of Dragon Ball’s most dedicated fans…

Story mode’s only real downfall is how repetitive it becomes–you fight clones of only a portion of the game’s overall roster ad nauseam. Each chapter is presented like a map with locations connected by a branching path. In order to get to the chapter boss, you have to navigate the board and pick and choose your fights along the way. Given that there are optional pathways in each chapter and that you can concoct your own team, it’s not surprising to learn that there are optional cutscenes to unlock depending on these conditions. Despite the rewards being largely enjoyable, after a handful of hours fighting lackluster opponents, the idea of replaying story chapters to see a quirky character interaction is unfortunately one that’s easy to sideline.

Similarly, the game’s basic, small overworld feels unnecessary even though it attempts to add value. Modes are divided among spokes around a circular hub, and you can run around as small versions of the game’s characters, sometimes in alternate outfits. While cute at first, you soon learn to just hit the quick menu button and avoid running around at all as there’s no benefit other than visualizing visiting a different venue for each mode.

The game tries to incentivize you through unlockable avatars for the overworld, but even if this sounds good, you can only earn them through randomized loot boxes. You earn money as you fight and complete story mode milestones and these can be cashed in for a capsule which turns into a random cosmetic item, be it graphics for your fighter profile, the aforementioned avatars, or alternate color palettes for in-combat outfits. The premium currency in the game can be earned when you open a capsule to find a duplicate item. Spending premium currency will simply net you an item that you don’t already own–not one of your choosing. Rather than harm the game, the system feels a bit unnecessary as none of the rewards are critical to enjoying what matters most: participating in explosive battles and enjoying interactions between Dragon Ball’s lovably bizarre characters.

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Though merely a small piece of the overall puzzle, the rare Dramatic Finishes are perhaps the most respectable and impressive nod to fans in FighterZ. Anyone who’s spent years watching Dragon Ball Z unfold over nearly 300 episodes will gasp the first time they trigger one, which will only happen with certain matchups under particular conditions. They have nothing to do with FighterZ’s story, but they have everything to do with the revered history of the series at large.

Any concerns that FighterZ might feel lackluster on Switch are immediately dashed once you begin your first battle. Fights remain ruthlessly kinetic, and the power behind every blow, sprint, and scream is as palpable as ever. There’s an inherent disadvantage to overcome when playing handheld if you favor using d-pads over analog sticks, but otherwise FighterZ is immediately recognizable. It’s partially due to the Switch getting a great port, but it’s also a credit to FighterZ’s efficient and flexible combat mechanics. Even if you’re rusty it’s easy to regain your flow in a matter of minutes. Despite mildly optimized graphics, FighterZ feels every bit the invigorating fighting game it was on other platforms, and it has the distinct advantage of bring portable.

FighterZ is complex and distinct enough to be enjoyed by fighting game competitors, but there’s no question that it’s been designed to tap into the hearts of Dragon Ball’s most dedicated fans, and no doubt those same qualities will win people over who’ve never given the series a chance. Where past games attempted to get there through huge character rosters and deliberately predictable trips down memory lane, FighterZ has bottled the essence of what makes the series’ characters, animation, and sense of humor so beloved and reconfigured it into something new: a Dragon Ball fighting game that can go toe-to-toe with the best of the genre.

Editor’s note (Sept. 29, 2:30 PM PST): Additional text has been added to reflect our impressions of the Switch version of Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Editor’s note (Jan. 30, 12:38 PM PST): Shortly after release, Bandai Namco’s servers were inundated with eager players, to the point that it was at times difficult to get into a lobby at all. This no longer seems to be an issue, though even when servers behave as they should, the hub world at the center of it all proves to make matching up with friends a more complicated process than it ought to be. Rather than simply inviting a friend into a match, you have to coordinate to make sure you both log into the same server, and the same lobby, before finding each other’s avatars and creating a private match locked with a password. It doesn’t take long to get used to, but it’s also another sign that the hub world is an unnecessary complication.

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/dragon-ball-fighterz-review-the-fast-and-the-furio/1900-6416837/

Minecraft: Dungeons – Official Announcement Trailer | Minecon 2018

Fight your way through an all-new action-adventure game, inspired by classic dungeon crawlers and set in the Minecraft universe. Coming to PC in 2019.

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/videos/minecraft-dungeons-official-announcement-trailer-m/2300-6446589/

13 NES Games We Want To See On Nintendo Switch Online

After nearly a year and a half since the Switch’s launch, Nintendo has finally rolled out the console-hybrid’s online service. While it now requires players to pay for online play, you do at least get some nice perks. The most noteworthy among them is access to a library of Nintendo Entertainment System games. What’s more: each game now supports online multiplayer functionality, so you won’t need a second player to be in the same room with you. Even games that didn’t originally come with multiplayer support have been given light multiplayer functionality via the addition of a cursor system where your second player can point at the screen and even applaud.

The release of Nintendo Switch Online’s NES library got us thinking about all the games we want to be added in the future. After all, more are slated to release in the months ahead. We have our own ideas as to what should appear on the service. In this feature, we’ve highlighted 13 games we’d love to see appear on the service and talk about how each would benefit from the added online functionality. For your reference, check out our comprehensive list containing all the games in service’s NES game library.

Like its competitors, Nintendo Switch Online can be purchased in different tiers. A single month costs $4/£3.50; three months costs $8/£7; and a whole year costs $20 / £18. Of course, if you have multiple people in your house who want their own accounts, you can purchase a family plan, which costs $35/£26 per year and allows up to eight people to play online. On top of online play and access to NES games, the service also allows for save data cloud save backup and access to special offers, such as the ability to pre-order Switch-compatible NES controllers.

Which NES games do you want to appear on Nintendo Switch Online? Let us know in the comments below.

Iron Tank

Iron Tank is a strange game that’s evocative of its era. It’s not the kind of game you see anymore, and an idea that only seems feasible when costs for games were low and the industry was more experimental. Players control a tank from a bird’s-eye perspective, while they slowly progress up a map shooting missiles and their turret at other tanks and enemy vehicles, or running over infantry, which is kind of hilarious. In many ways, the game resembles vertical scrolling shooter games like Legendary Wings or 1942 with various power-ups the tank can collect, but with the action slowed down and multiple paths the tank can traverse (plus the lack of scrolling) this game is its own unique beast. While multiplayer was never implemented into the game, it feels like the perfect game to get a boost from the experience. Adding a 2-player option with two tanks on screen would be an absolute blast in this game, especially with some of the bosses and later missions getting especially challenging. The main gameplay experience is fun to begin with, but an NSO multiplayer boost would be a blast to see. | Dave Klein

Bubble Bobble

Cooperative NES games are an obvious choice to highlight the Switch’s added online play, and Bubble Bobble offers one of the best co-op experiences of the era. You and a partner play as adorable dragons who blow bubbles to encase enemies–and then pop them. Each stage is a single-screen, and eliminating all the enemies lets you progress to the next one. You can get the standard ending by playing alone, but to reach the real final boss and truly beat the game, you’ll need to play with a friend. Oh, and the music is an endlessly looping earworm so catchy it might get lodged in your head forever. | Chris Reed

Castlevania

Castlevania is the type of hard-as-nails action-platformer that warrants multiple players working together to complete it. Unfortunately, it was exclusively a single-player affair, meaning that any willing second players were forced to sit on the sidelines. While it would be great to see Castlevania brought to NSO’s NES games library for posterity’s sake, it would be even better if it included the ability for two players to play the game together and switch off play after death. This would benefit the experience as a whole because let’s be real: Castlevania is demoralizingly difficult, so a competitive dynamic between two players would be a great way to keep things going. Those pesky medusa heads and stiff platforming are enough as it is to deal with on your own, so to have a shared bond in that suffering would really elevate the experience. It’s a small tweak that shouldn’t demand too much effort to implement, and it’s one we firmly believe could make this classic vampire hunting adventure even better on NSO. | Matt Espineli

Contra

When people mention Contra these days, it’s usually in reference to the 30-lives code the game popularized. But the reason people remember the code in the first place is because the game is so much fun to play–and replay, and play again. The controls are tight, with running, jumping, and shooting mechanics that feel pixel-perfect. You can equip a nice selection of weapons that help you defeat the alien threat, and each of the eight stages has a unique look and feel to it. Better yet, you can blast through the entire game with two players on screen the whole time, making it an ideal title to bring to the Switch’s collection of newly online games. | Chris Reed

Gauntlet

Gauntlet is probably remembered best by fans for its various entries on arcades. However, the series’ first entry saw an NES port that became one of publisher Tengen’s most popular games. The game itself is a birds-eye view action game, with players stuck in a dungeon they’re trying to progress and get out of as hordes of enemies attack them. In true arcade fashion, every monster killed results in the player gaining a number of points, and dungeons themselves are sprinkled treasure for you to pick up. Monsters have items on the screen which spawn them, and in most dungeons, players are required to kill these monster spawns in order to truly progress. While this is all fun to do for the sake of seeing how far you can get, where the game truly shines is in its multiplayer. Players pick from one of four different characters to control, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. The arcade version supported up to four, while the NES port had to drop this down to two players. Nintendo Switch Online would be perfectly suited for this game, but Nintendo really wanted to up the ante, re-implementing four-player multiplayer into the NES port would be an amazing way to improve the game for the service and allow NES players an experience they’ve only dreamed of. | Dave Klein

Kirby’s Adventure

The loveable pink puffball first debuted on the Game Boy back in 1992 with Kirby’s Dreamland, but it was 1993’s Kirby’s Adventure that would truly turn Kirby into the icon he is today. While Kirby’s Dreamland set the stage, Kirby’s Adventure would first introduce Kirby’s copy ability. The game has a nice, laid back pace to it and which also makes it a great candidate for NSO’s multiplayer, as it’s one of the few NES platform games that doesn’t really heavily on fast-twitch reflexes. If multiplayer were implemented, a second player could control a cret that floats around and drops explosive coconuts on enemies–only with limited ammo. Or, to get really wild, and in the territory of probably not going to happen, the game could take a page out of “Kirby Super Star” and allow a second player helper to be created by the first player. | Dave Klein

Legendary Wings

Legendary Wings is one of the earlier games from the vertical scrolling shooting genre of games. However, unlike most of the time, it also contains horizontal scrolling shooting segments, making it somewhat of a hybrid. While the gameplay is fairly simplistic–shoot all of the enemies as you come across them without getting hit–it’s that simplicity that makes Legendary Wings such a blast to play, with various power-ups you can get to help along the way. And it’s perfectly suited for NSO’s multiplayer features since it technically includes multiplayer. While it’s a fun game to see how far you can get by yourself, we imagine it’d be even better to play with friends online. | Dave Klein

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

With Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 already included in Nintendo Switch’s NES library, it’s only a matter of time before the western version of Super Mario Bros. 2 is also added to the lineup. But while that game is most commonly accepted as Mario’s second adventure, the original Super Mario Bros. 2–known outside of Japan as The Lost Levels due to how long it took to release in other regions–also deserves a spot in the library.

On the surface, The Lost Levels looks and feels very much like the original Super Mario Bros., albeit with a few notable distinctions. For one, the title only supports a single-player; rather than being able to take turns playing as Mario and Luigi, you’ll have to choose one of the plumbers at the outset, and they each now have their own distinct characteristics. The biggest difference, however, is its sheer difficulty. The Lost Levels is much more challenging than any of Mario’s other NES adventures; environmental hazards are more plentiful, and hidden blocks are placed fiendishly around certain levels to knock you into a pit when you least expect it.

It’s this difficulty that would make The Lost Levels such a great addition to Switch’s NES lineup. Despite its lack of multiplayer, you can still virtually pass control of Mario or Luigi between each other after the other player loses a life, making it fun to attempt the game cooperatively. You can also simply watch a friend struggle (likely in vain) to make it to the end. As they say, misery loves company. | Kevin Knezevic

Mega Man (2 & 3)

While we’ve had our fair share of Mega Man ports recently with Legacy Collections 1 & 2, Mega Man is such a classic it’s hard to imagine an NES collection without it. Mega Man 3 actually had 2-player capabilities with the 2nd player being able to give the first player various abilities, such as a super jump. Bringing this back for Mega Man 3–and introducing it to Mega Man 2–would be a fun way to allow a second player to cooperate in an organic way or to totally screw with the first player. Regardless, these are timeless classics that deserve to be seen on the service, and there would be some fun ways to utilize Nintendo Switch Online’s multiplayer functionality to add more value to these already highly recirculated games. | Dave Klein

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II

Beat-’em-ups ruled the roost in the early days of co-op gaming, and one of the best examples of the genre on NES remains Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, the home console port of the 1989 arcade game. Unlike Konami’s first (and notoriously difficult) stab at the license, TMNT II is a straightforward brawler, trading its predecessor’s overworld segments and clumsy platforming for pure, side-scrolling action. At the start of the adventure, players choose one of the four turtles and fight their way through a series of stages filled with waves of Foot Soldiers, Mousers, and other familiar enemies, each culminating in a boss fight against one of Shredder’s tougher minions.

While TMNT II is certainly enjoyable solo thanks to its snappy action and catchy soundtrack, like most other beat-’em-ups, the game is at its best when another player jumps in and fights alongside you, which would make it an ideal title to add to Nintendo Switch Online’s NES library. Whether or not Konami will ever bring it to the service remains to be seen–there are undoubtedly some licensing hurdles that would need to be cleared before the game could be released on Switch–but TMNT II remains one of the turtles’ better video game outings and would be a great title to play online with a friend. | Kevin Knezevic

EarthBound Beginnings

EarthBound–known as Mother 2 in Japan–is often considered one of the best JRPGs on the Super Nintendo, thanks in part to its modern day setting and quirky sense of humor. However, the series had its humble beginnings on the Famicom with its first entry. The game is infamous for having been fully localized for release in the United States but being dropped due in large part to the upcoming release of the Super Nintendo. Mother was eventually released in western territories for Wii U as EarthBound Beginnings. While it’s not the best RPG out there, it would be great if the game was re-released on Switch’s NES game library. Despite not having multiplayer functionality, it would still be a great addition for posterity’s sake, and with enough support, it might just even lead to the release of Mother 3 on the service when Nintendo inevitably adds SNES games to the service. Keep the dream alive! | Dave Klein

Cocoron

Cocoron is a much more obscure game on our list, in part because it was never brought to the States. The game is another NES platformer, this time with players having the ability to customize the main character’s look before playing the game, which also affects what abilities they’ll have. Players can decide the order in which the tackle the levels, and for defeating bosses, will be able to create new allies they can play as. While it sounds like any other platform game, it was actually created by Akira Kitamura, the main designer of Mega Man. Not only that, but composer Takashi Tateishi, who composed music for Mega Man 2 also worked on the project.

It would be great to see games that never came to the states get a release via Nintendo Switch Online’s NES library. A game like Cocoron would be a fantastic start, as it would require little translation work. And wIth the multiplayer functionality, it would be great if two players could each create their own characters and take turns playing after one player dies. While only a minor tweak, it would enhance an already amazing game that has for the most part gone unplayed by western audiences. | Dave Klein

Punch Out!!

Punch-Out!! Is an absolute NES classic, and one of the defining games of the console, with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! being a major selling point for the system in America. While the game hasn’t received many sequels, in part due to its simplistic gameplay being hard to adapt into a more intricate game, the original still stands the test of time with its basic reactionary gameplay holding up to this day. While it’s hard to imagine multiplayer in the game, there are some ways to get creative with it. On a basic level, a 2nd player could cheer along whenever Lil Mac knocks out their opponent. But a versus mode could be added with players attempting to knock each other out. If they’re playing online, they could still both get the same perspective from their boxer’s back. Imagine if players could choose different boxers from the game to play as. Of course, all of that sounds like a dream, but Mr. Dream is a part of the Punch-Out!! Series, so we’re going to go with it. | Dave Klein

from GameSpot – All Content https://www.gamespot.com/gallery/13-nes-games-we-want-to-see-on-nintendo-switch-onl/2900-2284/