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Gold wheel photo
Gold wheel

Ride in style with this blinged-out Mario Kart 8 wheel


Link's sponsored by the Big Tymers
Jun 30
// Brett Makedonski
Somewhere along the way, Link traded Epona for a sleek sportbike. It's unconventional, but probably necessary in the high-octane world of Mario Kart 8. I mean, Epona is literally one horsepower. That doesn't quite cut it. Lin...
Mega Man Tribute photo
Mega Man Tribute

That kickass Mega Man Tribute artbook is getting a hardcover rendition


$59.99
Jun 30
// Chris Carter
A few years back, Udon put out a very cool artbook called Mega Man Tribute, which featured a ton of original art from creators all across the world. Right now used copies are going for roughly $45 online, but Udon is putting ...
Video games on Fallon photo
Video games on Fallon

The Tonight Show's (lack of) video game coverage has been disappointing


Show some Fallout, Fallon
Jun 30
// Darren Nakamura
I have been a fan of Jimmy Fallon for a long time now. I used to have to qualify that statement with something like, "I know it's not cool, but..." These days it's a lot more acceptable to enjoy his playful take on late night...

Team Fortress Spla2n photo
Team Fortress Spla2n

Splatoon's Turf War now modded into Team Fortress 2


Team Fortress Spla2n
Jun 30
// Darren Nakamura
You're a squid now, you're a Demoman now. It might be missing the same ring to it, but that's what's going on in this Team Fortress 2 mod. Two teams of four face off to paint the environment and splat one another. Admittedly...

Heroes of the Storm's Butcher is another great addition

Jun 30 // Chris Carter
The Butcher is an interesting mix of styles, despite his labeled as an assassin. While he is big, he's not necessarily "tanky" in that he's an easy target while being focused. You also have to micromanage him at the start, as he needs to collect "meat stacks," power-ups dropped by enemy minions to charge up his attack power. Using the various talents acquired on your journey to level 20, you can reward yourself for constantly staying on top of your meat meter, with abilities like a higher meat cap and the ability to heal yourself from pickups. Or, you can simply build up your abilities. His standard "Q" is a straight line skillshot, and slows enemies in its path. It's very aggressive. You can chase down enemies, Q them, and a few seconds later, Q them again. Much like wandering with enemy stealth combatants unaccounted for, going solo with the Butcher roaming around isn't a great idea. This is exacerbated by his "E," which is a mad dash that grants him "unstoppable" status and stuns the enemy for a second after reaching his target. I actually found some neat ways to use this, like running away from enemies by targeting minions, or saving teammates who are being chased. It's also a dramatic move, with the target getting a demonic mark on their head and the Butcher giving in to his inner, terrifying bloodlust. It's powerful for sure, but it also has a long cooldown of 20 seconds. His "W" is probably his least interesting ability, as it can mark a target for a limited time which grants him health while attacking said marked enemy. I've found that for the most part in teamfights, the amount of healing involved isn't really sufficient enough to prevent you from dying, and it would have been more interesting if it gave teammates a low leech percentage (though you can spec it to heal more and grant movement speed). [embed]295040:59292:0[/embed] His ultimate (Heroic) powers are much more interesting. Furnace Blast is an area-of-effect (AOE) blast in a circle around him, and Lamb to the Slaughter chains an enemy to a hitching post for four seconds (it chains anyone in the radius at level 20). The first Heroic doesn't sound all that interesting, but it has a cool visual effect and can be used while charging with your "E," making it a bit more nuanced. The hitching post is my personal favorite, as it augments the Butcher's keen ability to kill lone heroes while they're hilariously chained in place. This works even better if you're ganking enemies with a partner like Nazeebo, who has enough time to set up his Zombie Wall. I also had a chance to test out the "Iron Butcher" skin as well as the "Butcher's Battle Beast" mount that's exclusive to his bundle. The mount isn't anything to write home about, as it's mostly just an existing Battle Beast with some iron armor added on top. It's exclusive to the bundle though, so some of you may want to spring for it. As for the Iron Butcher, it's a pretty safe choice, but it does fit the character and the fact that his face is covered does give him a new enough look compared to some of the other skins. While the jury is still out on whether or not the Butcher is balanced (it's the first day!), he certainly feels like it. To really capitalize with the hero you'll need to play your cards right, and with a distinct lack of escape abilities and the meat mechanic, players will need to master his ins and outs to truly perform. For now though, I'm happy with the results, and I'm tempted to work on my fifth master skin with him.
Heroes of the Storm photo
15,000 gold or $9.99
Heroes of the Storm has just kicked off its Eternal Conflict event, which will bring more Diablo-related content into the game over the course of the next few months. Characters, mounts, and a new level are a part of the cele...

The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3's free DLC run isn't over, a new quest debuts this week


Where the Cat and Wolf Play
Jun 30
// Chris Carter
Another week, another free content update for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This time around it's a new quest, entitled "Where the Cat and the Wolf Play." For those who aren't aware, CD Projekt Red has been adding small bits of D...
amiibo for amiigos photo
amiibo for amiigos

Fire Emblem amiibo is first item ever sold on Amazon Mexico


I kind of love this
Jun 30
// Brett Makedonski
Amazon México finally opened its doors to selling physical goods this morning. For more than a year prior, it only dealt Kindle e-books. What was the first item ever sold once the servers went live? An amiibo from Fire...
Mega Man photo
Mega Man

Capcom talks classic Mega Man bosses while we wait for Legacy Collection


Cut Man is a fan favorite
Jun 30
// Chris Carter
Remember when we had a discussion about our favorite Mega Man weapon? Now is the time to shift our focus to Robot Masters, of which there are many in the franchise's storied history. Capcom Unity recently sat down w...
Xeodrifter photo
Xeodrifter

Xeodrifter is officially Cross-Buy on 3DS and Wii U


Submitted to the Wii U eShop
Jun 30
// Chris Carter
Xeodrifter, which initially launched on the 3DS and is now coming to Wii U, will be Cross-Buy when it arrives on the latter platform. It's $9.99 for both, and if you currently own the 3DS iteration right now, you'll get the W...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Splatoon's new mode is like king of the hill with a twist


Mobile gaming
Jun 30
// Brett Makedonski
One of the primary criticisms of Splatoon upon release was its lack of variation in online game modes. Nintendo's been slowly working to fix that, as it has a set of free updates scheduled through August. Another of tho...
Miyamoto photo
Miyamoto

Watch Miyamoto's adorable visit to Jim Henson Studios


Mad respect
Jun 30
// Chris Carter
As we found out after Nintendo's E3 presentation, the puppets that were involved were actually creations of Jim Henson Studios. President Shigeru Miyamoto didn't just contract them out, but actually visited the studios' loca...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm gets the Butcher today, after maintenance


Watch the awesome backstory video
Jun 30
// Chris Carter
The Butcher is coming to Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm today as part of the multi-month Diablo celebration, which start this week. He's a melee assassin hero, who has the ability to slow, mark targets to...
gamescom photo
gamescom

Xbox sounds like it's going big for gamescom


Now's the time
Jun 30
// Brett Makedonski
It's fitting that Microsoft has big plans for gamescom this year; after all, it is the biggest video game trade show in the world. Xbox boss Phil Spencer said last month that the platform-holder has just as much in store for ...
Fallout Shelter photo
Fallout Shelter

Fallout Shelter was released during E3 hype so you wouldn't be pissed off


Bethesda exec talks F2P mobile outrage
Jun 30
// Chris Carter
I was particularly disappointed with the lack of surprise video game releases during E3 week this year. Normally for at least a few presentations there's multiple "look under your chairs!" announcements where games become ava...

Review: RONIN

Jun 30 // Patrick Hancock
RONIN (PC)Developer: Tomasz Wacławek Publisher: Devolver DigitalMSRP: $12.99Released: June 30, 2015 RONIN uses a barebones and cliche story. The main character wants to avenge their father and does so by killing five targets. A photograph with all of the targets together, along with the father, is used as a loading screen, which leads to the assumption that they were close at one time. What happened between then and now isn't ever delved into, and the player is sort of left with little to no story to go off of. Just kill the targets, because dead father. Got it? Every target plays out exactly the same. Two stages of going around and hacking computers, then one stage with the target in it. This repeats every single time, with the exception of the final stage. Even the stages with different objectives play exactly the same way, so it hardly matters. Playing RONIN feels like playing the same mission over and over again, about twelve times.  Each level even has the same three mini-objectives: don't kill any civilians, don't set off the alarm, and kill every enemy. If all three of these are completed, a skill point is awarded. This is the only form of character progression, and is essentially mandatory. The skills add combat techniques like throwing and recalling the sword or deploying a hologram. Certain skills are way better than others. For those who are about to play: get the skill that allows for hanging up unsuspecting enemies, then go for the one that allows teleporting to enemies. They are by far the best skills. [embed]294727:59273:0[/embed] There are two forms of gameplay: free form and turn-based. While outside of combat, movement is free form. Jumping uses the mouse and functions a lot like jumping in Gunpoint, for those familiar with the game. Holding the jump button brings up an adjustable arc, and releasing the jump button sends the player in that arc. However, unlike Gunpoint, this mechanic is incredibly awkward and never seems to work the way it should. When spotted by an enemy, turn-based combat begins. The game pauses and will show where the enemy will be firing, allowing the player to make a move accordingly. The player always moves first, so attacking at a guard who is about to fire works out just fine. The problem is that the only way to move is to jump. If the player is hanging from a ceiling and a guard is about to shoot them, it is impossible to just scootch a little bit to the right. The only option from hanging is to jump down, which isn't always a great option. Jumping on an enemy will stun them, forcing them to recover for two turns. Stunning an enemy also awards one point towards the Limit Break bar. This bar slowly fills up with action points as the player stuns or kills enemies. These points are used to utilize the acquired skills, or to use the Limit Break itself. If the bar completely fills up, the Limit Break is automatically activated, which allows two turns at once. Once used, the bar is completely drained. Most of the time, I would have much preferred to not use the Limit Break and instead use my skills to dispatch enemies. The issue is that jumping takes one action point to use, and if the player doesn't either stun or kill an enemy, that point is lost. Some skills, like throwing the sword, can only be activated mid-air for some reason. This means players have to waste an action point jumping, then next turn they can spend the two points it takes to throw a sword and complete the action. This essentially means it takes three skill points to use the skill instead of two, and can be quite frustrating.  Battles are essentially puzzles to be solved by the player, and there is often only one real solution. Most rooms have one entrance, and from there it is a matter of figuring out how to hop around in the most efficient way. Players with different skills will approach a battle differently, but given a single set of skills, they will solve battles in just about the same way every time. There are also only four enemy types throughout the entire game, so battles are different ways of arranging the same thing. Despite the awkwardness of the jump and frustrating design decisions in many of the levels, every once in a while something beautiful happens. It happens when all the skills are used effectively and players actually feel like a Ronin warrior. These moments occur somewhat frequently, and do a lot of good to help alleviate the otherwise constant frustration of memorizing a level's solution. There are checkpoints throughout each stage, though it's not conveyed to the player where they are. They can be pretty generous at times, usually saving right before a battle. However I did encounter instances where the checkpoint left me in an inescapable position, forcing me to restart the level. At one moment, the game saved just as the alarm was going off, making it unavoidable. The game then crashed immediately afterwards. The option to go back to past checkpoints would be a very welcome addition. The last mission has zero checkpoints, and forces players to do the entire thing all at once. It's a great mission compared to all of the others, largely because it's actually somewhat different, but considering the amount of accidental deaths I've had on it alone, it's an asinine decision. There's also a New Game+ mode, which adds more difficulty to the stages. Behavior also seems to change, as guards that previously shot in a contiguous straight line now had upwards recoil. The problem is, there's no incentive to play New Game+. The standard campaign was already the same mission every time. Why do it again? There are no new skills to acquire, just an added challenge for those who are yearning for more of the same. While I played this game on PC, it is clearly designed for tablets. The user interface is awful, consisting of simple text and gigantic buttons. To perform any action, players must click on big floating circles above the object, whether it be to kill an enemy or ride an elevator. Sometimes players can tap the W key to perform an action, like moving the elevator up a floor, but other times it simply doesn't work, like when entering the elevator. It's gaudy and frustrating to have to click on these bubbles all the time. RONIN strives to achieve the level of masterful design of games like Gunpoint and Mark of the Ninja, but seems to have overlooked what made them so special in the first place. It has its moments of truly feeling like a badass, but they do not make up for the frustration of everything in between. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
RONIN review photo
Where are the other 46?
When I first saw RONIN, I thought I was looking at a mod for Gunpoint. The jumping mechanic appeared the same, the environments were almost identical, and the idea looked just about the same. Turns out, RONIN is not that...

Review: Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3

Jun 30 // Chris Carter
Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 (3DS [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Tecmo KoeiMSRP: $29.99Released: June 30, 2015 In a sense, although Chronicles 3 is a continuation of the existing Chronicles offshoot series, it actually ends up being bite-sized take on Warriors 4, but with a few twists in tow. Players will create their own warrior right off the bat and follow a more personalized story, putting them smack in the middle of famous figures like Shingen Takeda. It's a strategy fitting for a portable, even if it takes some liberties when it comes to gameplay. What this does is it allows Samurai newcomers to instantly acclimate themselves without having to know any background on the franchise whatsoever. Even with the last full iteration, it was tough to glean a lot of ancillary backstory about armies and characters unless you had kept up with the series. With Chronicles you can just jump right in, and it will assist you in filling in the blanks. There's a bit of choice involved in the pre-battle cutscenes, but it's mainly an illusion and more of an excuse to learn more about the cast. This goes double for the story, which doesn't really change, and is more of a predetermined narrative for your character. Having said that, the "bonding" system does allow you to unlock new scenes (and a few levels) the more you battle (or pay to drink tea) with fellow officers. [embed]295006:59270:0[/embed] For the most part, gameplay is roughly the same: there's your standard attacks and combo openers as well as supers. It's fast, and despite claims of being "repetitive," it's still a damn fun approach to beat-'em-ups. Chronicles 3 takes things a bit further though (as it has in the past) and allows you to swap between four characters in the battlefield at will, which is better than Samurai's recent two-character mechanic, and a great way to always keep you in the action. Instead of running back and forth constantly, you can just switch to someone else. The main storyline took me roughly 10 hours to complete, then it's off to individual battles while you grind up your character and earn gold to buy new outfits. Instead of a bunch of different bonus gametypes, you'll have a simple challenge mode at your disposal, which is basically a score attack on a timer. Most of your enjoyment will derive from grinding it out for rare weapons and fighting enemies across the span of the entire campaign all at once. It's fun, but its appeal is definitely limited and your mileage may vary. I would have preferred more modes. Sadly, the 3DS hardware has not been kind to Chronicles. The game looks incredibly generic, especially in comparison to the detail that was put into Samurai Warriors 4's new character models. You can't even make out faces for enemy soldiers a lot of the time, much less the set pieces in the background. As a reminder, this review is based off the 3DS version (the only one that was provided), which does have the added benefit of constantly displaying the map on the bottom screen. The 3D effect enhances the experience a bit, but sadly, also contributes to some slowdown. It's never unplayable, but it does make things worse and I don't recommend using it. Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 is held back by the switch to the 3DS, and I recommend just picking up the past core entry instead. In the meantime, I'll attempt to locate a Vita version to see how it compares to Warriors 4, which was also released on the Vita earlier this year. With some of the performance issues smoothed out, this personal story would be more worth telling.
Samurai Warriors review photo
Not quite as punchy on a portable
Samurai Warriors 4 was a noticeable advancement for the series, and added a number of interesting mechanics like instant character switching and more varied move sets for each character. It even solved a few common compl...

Marvelous photo
Marvelous

Valkyrie Drive reveals new Weaponized Lesbians


New screenshots and character art
Jun 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Marvelous has unveiled a few new characters for Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni, the new project from Senran Kagura creator Kenichiro Takaki, which has been colloquially referred to as "Weaponized Lesbians" around these parts for r...
Australian Bans photo
Australian Bans

Australia bans a bunch of video games


Hobo Simulator will never reach Aussies
Jun 30
// Laura Kate Dale
Four months ago, Australia adopted a new model for video game classification in an attempt to age rate digital games on services like Steam in the country. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a lot of games getting rated and a hu...
Persona 4 Dancing photo
Persona 4 Dancing

Persona 4: Dancing All Night coming to Europe without delay


We shared the same mad potion
Jun 30
// Kyle MacGregor
It looks like Persona 4: Dancing All Night might arrive simultaneously (or close to it) across Europe and America, as NIS has followed Atlus' lead, announcing the rhythm game for a "Fall 2015" launch. In addition to the stand...
Star Citizen photo
Star Citizen

Star Citizen's FPS gameplay put on hold


Money doesn't solve every problem
Jun 30
// Joe Parlock
You know how Cloud Imperium Games and Robert Space Industries raised more money than a small country to make its incredibly ambitious Star Citizen? You know how it was going to have space trading, massive spaceships, dogfight...
Steam Hardware photo
Steam Hardware

Steam Hardware's early stock is sold out


November 10 release date for the rest
Jun 30
// Joe Parlock
Were you hoping to get your hands on one of those early release versions of the Steam Controller, the Steam Link, or a Steam Machine when they come out in October? Well bad news, they’re all sold out. If you pre-order t...
The Last of Us 2 photo
The Last of Us 2

Nolan North lets slip The Last of Us 2 is coming


Nolan North's a pretty fun-gi... eh...
Jun 30
// Joe Parlock
I know most of us assumed it was coming after the massive, massive popularity and success of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, but Nolan “The Voice of Fucking Everything” North has accidentally let slip The Last...
Fire Emblem maker photo
Fire Emblem maker

I'm hooked on this Fire Emblem character creator


Don't mind if I do!
Jun 29
// Jordan Devore
Since Fire Emblem Fates isn't going to release outside of Japan until next year, let's melt some time away with this web-based character creator put together by LuminescentBlade. I want to see your angsty people. [Via Tiny Cartridge]
Clumsy God photo
Clumsy God

In Clumsy God, helping looks a lot like hurting


God moonlights as a surgeon, apparently
Jun 29
// Jordan Devore
The itch.io Twitter is always bringing strange morsels to my attention. Today, it's Clumsy God, a Windows game about a giant heavenly hand helping people recover from an earthquake. "Just be careful not to crush anyone along...
Smash Bros. glitch photo
Smash Bros. glitch

Strike a pose with this silly Smash Bros. glitch


Or freeze your game in the process
Jun 29
// Jordan Devore
Smash Bros. glitches are among the funniest. A new one, captured here by MasterOfHyrule, involves pushing the Home button before the match transitions to the result screen. While the bug varies from character to character, i...
Riding the Rift photo
Riding the Rift

Watch me get queasy with an Oculus Rift!


Don't do a barrel roll!
Jun 29
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: Stream is over. Embedded the replay below in case you missed it.] So I broke down and got an Oculus Rift DK2 after finding one for a decent price on Craigslist. I've been toying around with my Rift for a few da...
Visceral Star Wars photo
Visceral Star Wars

Visceral's Star Wars has hints of Uncharted and 1313


Uncharted writer lost 8 months of work
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Visceral Games' (Dead Space, Battlefield: Hardline) Star Wars game was noticeably absent from EA's E3 showing this year. I thought there was a chance we'd see it, anyhow. Uncharted voice actor Nolan North did give some hints ...
Mega64 nails it again photo
Mega64 nails it again

Entitled terrorists at Mega64 demand Nintendo cancel Metroid Prime: Federation Force


Petitions are so OVER!
Jun 29
// Jed Whitaker
Mega64 never ceases to entertain me and its just-released Metroid Prime: Federation Force petition spoof is proof of that. I mentioned the petition during E3 and some people took it that I was attacking all Metroid ...

'You paint the world with your Soft Body'

Jun 29 // Jordan Devore
[embed]295022:59271:0[/embed] Introducing Soft Body on PS4, PS Vita [PlayStation Blog]
Soft Body photo
Gooey
Well, that headline wrote itself. Soft Body, *ahem*, looks like a cool, free-flowing take on Snake. Here, you're dodging bullets while filling in the world and your snake can split apart to form two bodies, each controlled by...

CEO 2015 highlights photo
CEO 2015 highlights

My favorite matches from CEO 2015


The best of the best!
Jun 29
// Patrick Hancock
CEO 2015, one of the biggest fighting game tournaments of the year, took place this weekend and had some insane moments. My favorite was probably the above match between Armada and Leffen in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Yes, it'...

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