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The wastelander's guide to building settlements in Fallout 4

Nov 28 // Nic Rowen
Creating your character to be a wasteland real estate mogul  Before you lay down the foundations of your personal empire, you need to get yourself right first. If you want to be serious about your settlements, you'll need a few perks to make it work, including a hefty investment in charisma. This could be tricky if you've already been playing for 50 hours with an anti-social radioactive super soldier and just now want to start rebuilding the Commonwealth, but not un-doable (remember, you can get a charisma-boosting bobblehead at the insane asylum and invest perk points into S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats if you really need to get that number up, among other less savory methods that I'll discuss later). You can also just roll up a new character specifically made to dive into the building and crafting aspect of the game. You'll need six Charisma to get two levels of the Local Leader perk and at least level two of the Cap Collector perk. These will let you make supply lines (ESSENTIAL) and awesome stores in your settlements. You'll probably also want to go deep on Intelligence -- the Gun Nut and Science! perks are practically necessary if you want to build the best versions of generators and defense turrets and Scrapper is a little too good to ignore (it will let you turn all those junky laser pistols and pipe rifles you normally throw in the dumpster into useful copper, gears, and circuitry). I know, it sucks that the way crafting in Fallout 4 works basically pigeonholes you into a certain build. There is still plenty of room for creativity even after those stat demands though and the joy of raising a civilization out of the ashes of history does take the sting out a bit. The basics you probably already know If you want your settlement to grow, you'll need a few things: water, food, beds, and a radio beacon. Each settler you bring in needs one unit of food and water per day and they get whiny if they don't have a nice downy pillow to rest their head on at night, so you'll want to get those things sorted first. Plant a few crops (easily done by raiding other farms for their crops and it quickly becomes self-perpetuating when you can just harvest your own fields for planting supplies), install two or three water pumps, and flop down a few beds. No need to go crazy, it takes a settlement time to grow and you can always add more as needed (and later crafting options can make old ones obsolete so no need to waste scrap on something you won't need). A radio beacon draws a steady flow of new settlers to your homestead. You'll need a power source to run it so build a generator (which will come in handy for other things, anyway). Remember, you can turn a radio beacon off when you think you have enough settlers in one place. In some of the smaller areas like the Red Rocket station near the beginning of the game, you may want to put a cap on the number of people you take in. You'll probably want to defend your patch once you have it all set up. Turrets are the go-to option for this (and why you need Science! and Gun Nut so badly so you have access to the upgraded versions). Each turret, trap, or manned guard tower adds a few points to the defense rating of a settlement. Try to keep that number the same or slightly higher than the sum of both the food and water points to discourage attacks. When an attack does occur, you will be notified on your Pip-Boy and can help your settlers defend their home. Raids on your property can be unpredictable. In my time responding to would-be home invaders, I've seen everything from realistic flanking attacks from Super Mutants pouring over the hills, to packs of feral Ghouls somehow spawning deep inside the walls of a fortified base. Your best bet is to spread out your defenses to cover likely avenues of attack while also covering populated areas where your settlers are likely to take a stand. Building things! You could just work with what each settlement already has, but what is the fun in that? Leave your personal mark on the wasteland with a proud series of ramshackle apartments, abodes, and disturbingly militaristic forts. The tools for building things in Fallout 4 are honestly pretty terrible. Objects float about in weird ways, mechanics are never explained unless you go digging through the help topics in the menu (and even then it's hit or miss), and the way walls and attachments snap (or fail to snap) together will give you no end of grief. But don't let that stop you! With a little patience and a few pointers, you can make some reasonably cool-looking digs for your wastelanders. If someone could make this monstrosity of wires and pressure pads work, you can probably get a few fences to stand up straight. First thing first, lay down a foundation and a floor. Uneven terrain tends to mess with the building tools so you'll want to keep things as level as possible to make things easier on yourself. Try to build up! Many of the settlement areas have limited usable ground space. Small areas strewn with debris and hills do not make for nice buildings, but you can avoid that problem by building vertically. Don't be afraid to slap down ladders and staircases and build on top of what is already there. Not only is it space efficient, but a rad tower fort on top of the local Red Rocket station looks much cooler than a bunch of square boxes crammed together on the parking lot. Set up supply lines from a central hub to make life easier. Trying to cart around tin cans and microscopes between settlements and keeping track of which place has what is a suckers game. With the Local Leader perk you can assign a settler to run supplies between locations and everyone can share from the same pool of salvage (but not hard items like guns or armor). Make a supply chain by assigning one runner from settlement A to take goods to settlement B, and one from B to take goods to C, and so on. That way you can just toss all your junk in any workbench in the line and use all of it anywhere. Provisioners seem to be immortal like Companions, so don't worry about them dying on the road the first time they run afoul of some Mole Rats. Fences can really help with invasions by funneling attackers into kill zones as well as give your settlement a homey, lived-in look (murder and comfort together at last!). Sadly, when you start putting rings around all your settlements they also become material hogs, gobbling up steel and wood like nobody's business. I recommend you pick up an issue of Picket Fences from Beantown Brewery so you can make, well, picket fences. They don't consume steel when crafting them and they look more charming than rusty chain link (granted, they look slightly less so when splattered with Super Mutant blood). Light up the night How you provide power to your settlements is poorly explained in-game but essential for making a great homestead, so be prepared to mess with it. Basically, you have two kinds of powered devices at your disposal. Active devices like laser turrets and water purifiers that require units of power to run (meaning your generator has to be able to match their power draw to keep everything working), and passive devices like lights and traps that can run off the ambient grid. Active devices need a line running directly into them, while passive devices need either a nearby connected pylon or wall socket to work. Power pylons can be used to run line from a generator to far-away devices or a conduit. The maximum length of a wire is fixed, but can be cut short by obstacles, hanging on the ground, and so on. I recommend you build your generators in elevated positions to get the most out of your copper. Pylons give off a radius of electrical power that can be used to run lights, traps, and other things. Plugging a conduit into the wall of a building supposedly provides power to the entire shack, but my experience with them has been mixed. Mostly, they seem to work just like pylons (but are slightly cheaper to make and more compact to string up between nearby buildings). Making complex grids for my settlements has been hands down the single most frustrating and rewarding part of building things in Fallout 4. It's a very fussy system (I can't tell you how many times I broke everything trying to slightly adjust one little wall tile or light bulb) but once you get used to it, you can really make your settlements pop. Capitalism Ho! Shops are wonderful. While having to invest into two ranks of Local Leader and Cap Collector to make the biggest shops (which really is the only way to go) is a drag, what you get out of having a few shops spread among your networked settlements can be well worth it. There are six kinds of shops you can make for your settlements with four tiers of value. Each type of shop will boost your settlement's happiness and pull in caps, but a few stand out as handier to have in your personal base of operations than others. Weapon shops can be a reliable source of ammo without having to make a trip to Diamond City, trade goods shops can help cut down on the time it takes to scavenge for parts, clinics can help you cheaply cure addiction and radiation poisoning at your convenience, and bars are great for ingredients for cheap healing items. Armor and clothing shops are fun too and you'll probably want one of each in your network at some point just for variety, but they're not as overtly useful. You can build the first two tiers of shop with just the second level of the Local Leader perk. They're fine and will do the trick if you want to be a skinflint about it. But if you invest all the way to the third tier of shop by getting two levels of Cap Collector, your market stalls will start to carry surprisingly great gear. What's better is once you have tier-three stores, you'll occasionally run into special vendors in the wasteland that you can invite to work at your locations who will turn them into unique fourth-tier stores that carry special gear. Shops will generate an income you can draw from on their own -- just check your workbench from time to time and you'll notice you have a handful of caps you can pull out. But don't get the wrong idea: shops accrue money slowly, so you won't be diving into a vault of caps like Scrooge McDuck anytime soon. The value of having a nice network of shops is the convenience of being able to talk to a merchant on demand rather than wander around looking for a traveling trader or making a special trip. It lets you make more money off of explorations (you can trade found gear for caps more easily) and enables you to restock and refuel faster to get you back out in the wastes. Advanced DIY tips There are plenty of mechanics involved in the settlement system that the game doesn't go out of its way to tell you. I'll try and shed some light on them here. Did you know the maximum population of your settlements is tied to your Charisma stat? Ten people by default plus one extra per point of Charisma. For most people, this either means a 16 settler max, or up to 20 if you went whole-hog on Charisma. I'm told wearing Charisma-boosting gear can let you break that cap but I haven't noticed it in my game. Spread out your beds. For the longest time my settlers in Sanctuary were complaining about “the bed situation” despite having plenty of cots to rest on. At first I assumed it was a bug (this is a Fallout game), but I stumbled on some other people online having the same problem. Apparently, putting too many beds in one area causes makes your tired and poor wastelanders cranky (maybe they'd like it back in the wilds with the Deathclaws where I found them). I haven't found exact numbers, and testing for it is difficult, but it seems like four beds to one room or hut is the sweet spot. Water purifiers are a godsend and you should put them in any settlement that isn't landlocked. A single industrial water purifier will produce 40 units of water, far more than you'll ever need for a settlement on its own. Plus, extra water goes into your workbench as an aid item. You can pull out a bunch for cheap healing, or sell them all to a trader who wanders into your settlement for a stack of caps. Equip gear on your settlers for protection and convenience. Instead of scrapping or selling every spare gun you pick up, try placing it in a settler's inventory and have them equip it (use the triangle or Y button on the console controllers) and a single piece of ammunition for it (it will last them forever, thanks to Lex for the tip!). I know this might be really obvious, but I keep hearing from people who missed it! Not only will they be able to help next time a Super Mutant wanders into the neighborhood, but you can coordinate their outfits to help you keep track of what jobs people are doing. Or just give them a creepy uniform look if you want to make your own apocalypse cult. Each settler assigned to work on crops can sustain enough plants to generate six points of food. This means you only really need three or four full time farmers, which frees up the rest of your population for things like guard duty at watch towers, scavenging for supplies, or manning the tills at your shops. Speaking of guard posts, while they initially seem like a terrible deal (only a measly two defense for a manned post), if you set up multiple posts and assign a person to one of them, he or she will walk between up to three of them like a patrol and provide the defense benefit of each. So one person on guard duty watching three posts can actually provide a decent six defense; better than a level-one turret. Folks assigned to scavenging benches generate a small amount of junk for the workbench on their own. What they gather is fairly inconsequential, but something is better than nothing if you don't have them assigned to anything else. Interestingly enough, they tend to walk around with their weapons drawn, seemingly looking for a fight. Not sure why they do that, but I like to put the best of my spare weapons on them so they can be ready to draw down on any intruders. Build a bell! In the miscellaneous resources menu you can find a bell that will summon settlers to your location. This will save you loads of time when trying to assign jobs or equip folks since they can hide like ninjas when left to their own devices. I didn't find this until embarrassingly late in my game and it would have saved me a lot of time. In a nice little touch, settlers will congregate at a bar after hours if you build one. When the workday is over, everyone just wants a nice slice of grilled brahmin and a drink, I suppose. So maybe spend a little extra time laying out chairs and making your bar area look nice. Hey, you can always cheat I've really enjoyed building up my settlements, tinkering with the crafting tools, and spending entirely too much time equipping all of my little serfs with laser pistols and shotguns, but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't also been a chore. It just takes too long to collect all the knick-knacks and scrap you need to make things. I don't want to have to root around in some raider-infested warehouse looking for power coils and broken light bulbs for hours just to wire up some patio lights in my fifth fully-loaded farm house. Or maybe, like I mentioned earlier, you built your character to tame the wastes with hands made of concrete and a bulletproof hide. You didn't give any thought towards a useless dump stat like Charisma when you started the game. Now you're stuck looking at the unappealing idea of tossing multiple perk points into your stats just to start building decent settlements. So might I recommend cheating? If you're on PC, this is easy. Open up the console command line and go to town. If you are like me and playing on the PS4 (or Xbox One for that matter), you'll have to get a little more creative. There are two super easy exploits you can pull in the console version of Fallout 4 that will make building your settlements much easier. The first is the vendor scam, where you can clean out a vendor's entire stock (including all their junk and tasty shipments of fiber optics and oil) with some tricky re-selling. First, see what ammo a vendor is selling. The near-useless .38 is always a safe bet. Transfer most of that ammo type to a companion or drop it on the ground or you'll lose your own stash of it in the process, but keep 15 or 20 bullets in your inventory just to make the trick work. Next, click on the entire stack of that ammo from the vendor like you were going to buy it all. Hop over to your side of the trade window and sell back a single round of that ammo type from your tray, then sell the rest. If it worked right (it can be hinky and isn't always 100%) you should still have a phantom round left to sell. Mash on that until the vendor owes you a hundred caps or so, then flip back to their tray and “buy” the stack of ammo from them again. Weirdly, it will still count as you selling it and they'll owe you caps. The effect compounds and you can hit this multiple times until they owe you some ridiculous amount like 10k and then clean out their inventory for free. Now I'm delighted every time I bump into Trashcan Carla because I know it's another shipment of fine asbestos coming my way. This may be one of those things that's easier to watch than explain, so check out this video for a demonstration. [embed]323060:61293:0[/embed] When it comes to boosting your special stats, Dogmeat can help you with that. Head back to Sanctuary with him and check out your old house. In Shaun's room you should find a “You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L!” book on the ground that will immediately let you boost a stat of your choice. Once the book is in your inventory, find a nice level place (one of the cleared houses works fine) and get Dogmeat ready. Drop the book on the ground, call Dogmeat to pick it up, and JUST as he goes to snag it, pick it up yourself. The timing can be tricky since Dogmeat will grab stuff from different ranges (and generally act like a fool), but when done correctly, you should have a copy in your inventory while Dogmeat drops one at your feet. Drop them again and pick them up and one will let you boost another stat. You can do this again and again to raise your S.P.E.C.I.A.L points as much as you like. I'd recommend a light touch (completely overpowered characters quickly become boring), but this is a great option if you decide to get into crafting with an already developed character who doesn't have much in the way of Charisma or Intelligence. Exploits like this are going to be something players will have to come to or avoid on their own. Personally, I don't recommend cheating like this right off the bat. It can ruin the experience. But if you're 30 or 40 hours deep into the game and pulling your hair out because you built your character wrong at the start or just can't find enough oil to keep your turrets up and running, it's nice to have a safety net like this available. 
Settlement guide photo
A beacon in the wasteland
Okay, so you've been playing Fallout 4 since launch and you've wandered the wastes, scoured the ruins of Boston, and swam in the glowing sea. You've had a lot of adventures. Now you're thinking about settling down, and checki...

Quick tips for making friends in Yo-Kai Watch

Nov 15 // Ben Davis
The main thing you'll want to do when trying to befriend a certain Yo-Kai is figure out which type of food is its favorite. This can be a bit difficult, as there's no way to know for sure without throwing a bunch of different things at it and seeing which one it likes best. Plus, there are a ton of food types to choose from (rice balls, bread, candy, milk, burgers, ramen, vegetables, meat, and more). Some of them are easy to guess: for example, Mochismo, the Yo-Kai based on mochi, likes rice balls; and Chummer, the shark Yo-Kai who can be seen eating grass, likes vegetables. For everyone else, it might be simpler to just look up a guide rather than waste a bunch of food trying to figure out what they like the most. The best guide I've come across can be found here. When using food during battle, press the Y button to use the food on an enemy rather than a member of your party. The food will usually be eaten by the center enemy in battle, so if you're looking to befriend a different one, either defeat the middle Yo-Kai first and then use a food item, or place a pin on the enemy you want to focus on. Strangely enough, it can sometimes end up that a Yo-Kai other than the one you threw food at will ask to be friends after the battle, which can be annoying, but it happens. Another good tip for making friends is to try and find a Yo-Kai with the Popularity skill. This skill makes foes more likely to become friendly after battle, so it's always a good idea to have someone with this skill on your team while hunting for new pals. Yo-Kai with the Popularity skill include Cupistol, Casanuva, Shmoopie, and Pinkipoo. But make sure you don't have Casanono or Pookivil on your team, because their Unpopularity skill might scare potential friends away. Cupistol and Shmoopie can be found relatively early on, so they will probably be the best bet for players just starting out. Cupistol is a rank D Yo-Kai who can be found in the Downtown area around Graduate Street to the north. Look around the trees there for a rank D to appear on your watch. Cupistol will also sometimes appear along with Happierre, a rank C Yo-Kai who can be found in the trees in that same area. Make sure to bring lots of bread when trying to befriend Cupistol. Shmoopie is a rank C Yo-Kai who can be found in the grassy patches of Mount Wildwood. I believe this one always appears alone, so no need to worry about accidentally befriending someone else. Shmoopie likes hamburgers, so stock up on those before hunting for him. The other two, Casanuva and Pinkipoo, can only be found later in the game. Casanuva can be evolved from a Cupistol if fused with the Love Buster item. Likewise, Pinkipoo can be evolved from Shmoopie when combined with the Love Scepter. They can also be found in the wild. Casanuva likes to hang out in Nocturne Hospital, sometimes alone and often as a counterpart with Betterfly or Compunzer. Pinkipoo can be found in the final area of the game, which is maybe a bit spoilery so I won't get into it here, but you'll know it when you see it. Both Casanuva and Pinkipoo enjoy the same food as their unevolved forms (bread and hamburgers, respectively). The final tip is a bit more unreliable, but if you get lucky it can really help. Occasionally during battle, a floating wisp will appear which can be hit with a pin for various rewards. Sometimes, a bunch of hearts will pop out of the wisp, which means foes will be much more likely to become friendly after the battle. It's not something you can count on, but if you ever see a wisp during a fight with a Yo-Kai that you really want, be sure to hit it with a pin just in case! Of course, even after doing all of this, there's still a chance that the Yo-Kai will not want to be your friend, which can be frustrating. But these tips should increase your chances significantly. I found that after obtaining a Casanuva, I was spending way less time grinding for friends, so apparently the Popularity skill works well, especially when combined with food. Just keep at it and eventually you'll have all the friends you could want!
Yo-Kai Watch tips photo
Just be my friend already!
Yo-Kai Watch recently released in the west earlier this month. I've been having a blast with it, but I've also been having some difficulties as well. So far I haven't been able to find any good guides to help walk me through ...

Where to find companions in Fallout 4

Nov 10 // Jordan Devore
A few notes: Thankfully, companions can't die. If they're taken out in combat, they'll squat down and wait for you to a) heal them with a stimpack or b) kill all nearby enemies. There are lots of dead dogs in this video game, but rest assured, you won't have to dig a grave for your beloved Dogmeat. If you stick with the same companion, over time, you can gain their loyalty and a unique perk. That deathclaw in the first picture isn't going to hurt me, but he's not my buddy, either. I wish! If you'd like to know more, head to the Museum of Witchcraft at the top right of the map. There will be spoilers in this post, of course, but I'll try to keep them to a minimum. This little guide is intended for people who either want a specific type of companion (say, a super mutant) as soon as possible and don't know where to look, or just have a desire to catch 'em all. Codsworth (Mister Handy) The family robot survived the bombs! Drop by your old neighborhood (Sanctuary Hills). Dogmeat (uh, dog) You can't miss him. One of the first areas you'll encounter after emerging from Vault 111 is a place called Red Rocket Truck Stop. Just follow the path straight out of Sanctuary Hills. Preston Garvey (Minutemen supporter) You'll bump into Preston early on in the main story. He needs a help clearing out the nearby town of Concord. Later in your journey, once you've helped rebuild the Minutemen, he'll be a seemingly never-ending source of cookie-cutter quests to find and help the other settlements scattered across the Commonwealth. Paladin Danse (dude in power armor) He's your way into the Brotherhood of Steel. Go to the Cambridge Police Station and take on a few quests. Eventually, he'll want to tag along with you. Curie (Mister Handy with a French accent) She's associated with a quest in Vault 81 called "Hole in the Wall." To access the vault, you'll first need to cough up three fusion cores (the "ammo" for power armor), and those don't come cheap. With that in mind, after using most of the energy in a core, set it aside -- the vault gatekeeper will accept mostly-used fusion cores, so don't hand over fresh ones. (Tip: Keep Curie around at least until she asks for help with something. It's a neat little quest.) Nick Valentine (detective; best character in the game) Over the course of the story, you'll end up in Diamond City. There's a detective agency in the back of town, but the owner has gone missing. Head over there and see what's up. Piper (journalist) There's also a news reporter in Diamond City. You'll bump into her on your way in.  Cait (rapscallion) It took me about 50 hours before I randomly decided to enter the Combat Zone, so Cait was one of my last recruits. Go inside, kill a bunch of raiders, and then speak with the ghoul. Strong (super mutant; milk lover) He says a lot of weird stuff, but that's what makes him so endearing. Keep an eye out for Trinity Tower and a side quest called "Curtain Call." John Hancock (cool ghoul) There are some entertaining characters in Goodneighbor, so make sure to stop by sooner than later. After you've helped some of the locals (one side quest is "The Silver Shroud"), report back to Hancock in the settlement's Old State House and he'll yearn for adventure again. Robert MacCready (one of the annoying kids in Fallout 3; he's now a man) While in Goodneighbor, visit The Third Rail. Head all the way downstairs, and swing by the VIP room. Bring caps (and/or charisma). Deacon (man of a thousand faces) One of my other favorite companions. He's hilarious. Deacon belongs to a major faction in Fallout 4 called The Railroad, and finding their secret base is a pain in the ass. It starts with the quest "Road to Freedom," which has you follow the Freedom Trail, a winding path that goes from Boston Common to the Old North Church. (Tip: If you're going to do the trail proper, follow the red markers on the street at Boston Common, not the nearby lanterns. Chris and I both had trouble with this at first.) X6-88 (???) Supposedly! NPCs won't shut up about him, but I haven't been able to locate him inside The Institute (you'll access it through the main story). Probably for the best that I don't find him.
Fallout companions photo
Meet your new BFF
Seeking a friend for the end of the world? Good idea. The Commonwealth is a nasty place. Even if you can handle super mutants and deathclaws, it's best to bring a buddy along if for no other reason than to have someone help h...

Very Quick Tips: Fallout 4

Nov 10 // Chris Carter
General tips: It helps to research the perk chart first before you start putting points into anything. That way you can attain your desired choices right away without having to grind out stats. Consult the below video for some help. If anything "big" happens that seems monumental in terms of the story, check that room far and wide for bobble heads and comic books -- that's often when they show up. Don't forget to level up! That sounds obvious, but it's easy to forget when you're in the heat of battle. Check your Pip-Boy and look at the bottom of the screen to see if you have any points to spend. [from Dtoid's Jordan Devore] Get the perk Lead Belly (2 END) as soon as you can. Drinking water without repurcussions will help conserve simpaks. That way when you get into the thick of it without anything to drink, you'll have plenty of healing power. [embed]318561:61034:0[/embed] Lock picking is the same it's always been, but it's important to know the basics. If you hear or feel a vibration in any way, ease off. Tilt the sticks ever so slightly and gently try to get as far as you can with the tumbler before you commit. Confused with hacking still? Note that when choosing a password, common letters in the real answer will show up on screen. For example, if you choose CAT, and the answer is DOG, you will have zero likenesses, which will help clue you in and eliminate similar phrases. Take your time with these sections -- there's no need to rush. When you're engaged in combat and you're out of Action Points, initiate V.A.T.S. anyway, cancel, and then start shooting -- your sights should be mostly lined up with the target. It's also a good idea to regularly press the V.A.T.S. button if you are entering an unfamiliar area and you aren't sure where enemies might be. [from Dtoid's Jordan Devore] Advanced tips (light mission spoilers but nothing major): If you're turning in a Minutemen mission to Preston Garvey and he's chilling at one of your settlements, make sure to sleep on one of your beds for the "well-rested" XP boost before talking to him [from Dtoid's Jordan Devore] If you're on the "Freedom Trail" mission, look for the red markings on the ground, not the lanterns. Walk around the perimeter of the park the mission starts you off at, and follow the red lines on the ground to the north. If you get lost and lose a line, just backtrack and try your best to follow the cracks. Have you broken down yet and thrown your controller against a wall? Here's the solution. Not long into helping the Brotherhood of Steel, you'll acquire smoke grenades that you can use to call in a Vertibird to your current position. Once it lands, you can hop in the vehicle and travel to a different location or, better yet, just sit inside the Vertibird while it remains stationary and use its turret to cheese fights against giant enemies. This method requires some planning, but it works particularly well against super mutant behemoths and a specific mirelurk in one of the side missions. [from Dtoid's Jordan Devore]
Fallout 4 photo
Boston cream tips
Fallout 4, like its predecessors, is a lot to take in from start to finish. The open world and leveling mechanics can seem daunting, as any wrong move can leave you without proper equipment to take on particular tasks. Here's some tips to help you along the way.

The easy way to earn XP and mini medals in Dragon Quest Heroes

Oct 26 // Jordan Devore
[embed]317559:60858:0[/embed] Head to that level and zoom around to the different nodes. Doing so will cause a group of enemies to spawn and a metal slime may be among them -- if not, zoom to the next location. Once you've done that everywhere, select "Evac" from the start menu and try again. If you're struggling to kill metal slimes before they flee, try to land a critical attack. One should be enough. There are items that increase those odds, like the Raging Ruby, which is also used in mini medal grinding. You can also try raising the Deftness stat in your characters' skill trees. For farming mini medals, there is a very specific approach as outlined in this video. [embed]317559:60857:0[/embed] To recap, you will want Bianca outfitted with a Raging Ruby (lower damage, more criticals +5%), Ace of Spoils (extra spoils +10%), and Allure Ring (mini medal drop rate +2%). That last item is the most important one, and it's earned from the Yangus and Jessica quest line. With Bianca in your party, head to the "Caliburgh - Captain" map. Zoom to the Geargate warp and look for a group of red she-slimes. Swap to Bianca and use her R1 + Triangle attack, which launches a volley of homing arrows (note: you don't need to charge this move -- just press triangle once!). Keep using that attack until the enemies in that area are all dead, and then walk back the way you came to force the group to respawn. You'll do this over and over again and wrack up mini medals as well as some bonus XP and gold. This method is a slog, but it's by far the best option. If you're having trouble maintaining Bianca's mana, in the short term, just evac and start the map again. In the long term, make sure to unlock Powersaver and Critical Surge in her skill tree. She'll never run out of mana again as long as your attacks don't repeatedly miss. A note on new game plus: After the credits roll, you can tie up loose ends or begin a new-game-plus run, though I'd hold off. By starting fresh, you'll gain 50 skill points, but some of the best weapons and items in the game won't carry over. Your Battle Records progress for certain trophies won't transfer, either. It's inefficient. If you want that Platinum trophy, you can and should stick to a single playthrough. A note on those ridiculous post-story bosses: Bjorn is the easiest and should be your first target. Shoot him in the head with the turret on the left, and prioritize shooting down his boulder and fireball attacks. Eventually, you'll be able to hop on his head and stab him in the eyes for a bit. Nokturnus is no joke. Familiarize yourself with his moves above all else. The best advice I can give is to make sure your characters have Artful Dodger and Ace Evader in their skill trees. Without those upgrades, it's very hard to avoid his one-hit-kill attack from above. Atlas is unlocked after you beat all of the Veteran versions of the main story bosses (They're called Grudge Matches on the level select screen.) He has a stupid amount of hit points, but there's an easy way to bring him down: Terry! Equip him with a Mighty Armlet (critical hits on weak points +5%), Wrecklace (Coup de Grâce damage +7%), and Titan Belt (damage to weak points +6%). During the fight, use Terry's Falcon Slash (R1 + Circle) to create copies, then repeatedly spam Gust Slash (R1 + Square). This will rapidly build up his tension meter, at which point you can become invincible, activate his Coup de Grâce, stun Atlus, then repeat the process. You'll need to have Terry at a high enough level for him to kill the boss in time, but otherwise it's easy. (This tactic is super useful in most of the game, by the way.) Zoma is the biggest jerk of them all. He should be your final target. You won't win unless you have a high-level party and equipment to offset his magic. I gave my characters a Bunny Tail (reduced freeze time +40%), Lucky Dragon's Wing (magical resistance +20%), and Raging Ruby (lower damage, more criticals +5%). That finally did the trick.
Dragon Quest grinding photo
And tips for those final bosses
Dragon Quest Heroes made my weekend disappear. I had already invested enough time in finishing all of the side quests that I figured I might as well strive for full completion, but a few optional bosses stood in the way. They...

Downwell tips and tricks to get down the well well

Oct 20 // Steven Hansen
Advanced - Killing enemies without touching the ground builds combo. Use your Gunboots to control your descent and stomp on enemies (except bright red ones) whenever possible to refill ammunition. - Time voids. There are magic bubbles built into the walls of the well. Stop in them to grab chunks of 100 gems, hearts, and battery for your Gunboots (more ammo). As long as you crash land in the bubble, and not outside of it, it doesn't end your combo. - Stop & shop. The merchant's shop also has a time void. Buy batteries, health, and expand your health. Any heart you get when maxed out fills a little four-block white bar below your HP meter and filling that will also expand your max health. - Junk that isn't blocks or platforms can be stomped on for a brief pause in downward momentum, ammo refill, and a couple gems. All the detritus in the first area, the candles in the second area, and so on. - Turtles won't die to bullets, so you can empty your clip into them to really slow things down, then bop them for a refill if you need a reprieve or to take stock of what's below you. - End your combo at 25. All this talk of maintaining combos. This is because at 8 you get a 100 gem bonus, then a battery bonus, and finally, at 25, a heart bonus. Hearts are the most precious commodity, so forget the style points, just keep killing your combos at 25 and stock up on hearts. - The Knife and Fork upgrade (eat dead bodies for health sometimes) is great and so is the one that creates a blast whenever you stomp on enemies. Anything that shoots bullets upwards can be extra helpful starting in world 3 or so. - The Laser and Shotgun kind of suck at first with limited ammo, but they are powerful and, thus, probably the best late-game for controlling your fall. - Levitate Style for life. Playing the game unlocks new styles, like the 6HP, tubby Boulder style, but Levitate offers the easiest body control (comboooos), though you might reach a point where the fast-falling boulder helps shave seconds off your best time -- worry about getting to the end once, first. - There's a wall jump! It requires pretty perfect timing and can help in a pinch. Or at least for snuffing out candles in wall well rooms, picking up a couple gems like searching the couch for pennies.
Downwell guide photo
Tips, tricks, highlights, scores & stats
Downwell is one of the best games of the year and it's only $3. If the stellar reviews and word of mouth are enough to convince you that this game is excellent, you're in luck. And while it's pretty great to just learn how the game works through repeated, vicious deaths, here are some tips to get good quick. The Basics - Go down the well

Life is Strange: Episode Five Achievement guide

Oct 20 // Brett Makedonski
Polarized: Finish Episode 5: Polarized This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. All you have to do is finish the episode. Incandescent: Take optional photo #1 in Episode 5: Polarized Once you're back in the classroom, go talk to Kate Marsh once you have control of Max again. Comfort her. Afterward, take a photo of her. Night Vision: Take optional photo #2 in Episode 5: Polarized Max will eventually find herself in an art gallery. From the point where you gain control of her, walk forward and to the right until you can go down some stairs. There's a woman staring at some photos and there's a camera behind her. Feel free to borrow it to take a picture of her from behind. Framed: Take optional photo #3 in Episode 5: Polarized We're back in a familiar place. Rewind time after Mr. Jefferson attacks an investigator. Ask Jefferson for a final photo to unlock this Achievement. Camera Obscura: Take optional photo #4 in Episode 5: Polarized Max has to think quick to keep the Two Whales Diner from a'sploding. After that's done, turn around and take a picture of the very dead whale next to the restaurant. Blowup: Take optional photo #5 in Episode 5: Polarized This photo is immediately after the previous one. Turn around from the whale and check out the car on top of the roof. You have to find the right angle for this prompt to appear. Try working your way around the left of it. Iris: Take optional photo #6 in Episode 5: Polarized We're right back at the etching in the classroom that started it all in episode one. Look at it once and watch it change. Look at it again. Third time's a charm and that's when you'll be able to take a photo of it. Sensor: Take optional photo #7 in Episode 5: Polarized Everything's getting mega trippy. You'll find yourself in a hallway maze. After briefly becoming Victoria, you'll transform back into Max. When this happens, take a right toward the showers and snap a picture of the giant squirrels. That's right -- giant squirrels. On Display: Take optional photo #8 in Episode 5: Polarized This might be the weirdest optional photo in the entire game because you don't actually hit the photo prompt. When in the backward hallway (you'll know what I mean), don't go into the bathroom. Instead, walk past it and up to this skeleton in the corner. The "Journal" button will appear, so hit that. That's what unlocks this Achievement. Light Meter: Take optional photo #9 in Episode 5: Polarized This one is very easy to miss. It can be found in the dreamworld flashlight section. It's during the locker area. Sneak past everyone and go to the part where Samuel's searching for you. Head down his row of lockers and take a right. Somewhere over there is Warren's locker -- his incredibly creepy locker. Snap an unsettling picture. Silhouettes: Take optional photo #10 in Episode 5: Polarized Time for the last one...bottles?! "This might be hell," as Max so eloquently puts it. So, go around the junkyard section of the flashlight dreamstate and collect bottles. There are five in total and they aren't too tough to find. After grabbing all of those, you need to take a picture of them all lined up on the workbench. The workbench is at the opposite end of this area, so just work your way through it. It kind of sucks. Selfie Awareness: Take all optional photos in Episode 5: Polarized The penultimate Achievement will unlock as soon as you nab your last optional picture. All that's left to do for full Gamerscore is to wrap up the episode!
Life is Strange photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
Here we are, friends. It's time for the conclusion to Life is Strange's five-episode arc. I'm writing this prior to playing, and I have no idea what to expect. Well, that's a half-truth -- I expect to be an emotional wreck by...

Heroes of the Storm 101 for new players

Sep 20 // Nic Rowen
General tips When you first start, focus on not dying more than getting kills. Heroes might not be as prone to hopeless snowballing as other MOBAs, but it can still happen if you have a teammate who is constantly feeding the enemy easy XP and free lanes. Don't be that teammate! Kills and #BigPlays will come with time, there is no need to dive towers and chase people all over right away. Play the objectives! Heroes is unique in that it has a variety of maps, each with a different gimmick. One may have you collecting gems or coins and depositing them in a central area to summon NPCs that will attack enemy forts, others may have you rushing to an area to defend, attack, or claim a certain objective for other benefits. It's almost always a good idea to prioritize objectives over pushing a lane or grabbing a mercenary camp or whatever else you might be doing (you'll learn when it's a good idea to break that rule with time). Watch the mini-map. The mini-map is your friend. The mini-map is life. The mini-map will show you where the objectives are on a map, where your friends are, any revealed enemies, any active merc camps, and so on. It's also the best way to quickly communicate in a random quickmatch (where you'll likely be cutting your teeth). Ping the map when you need your teammate's attention, pay attention when they signal for backup, and keep an eye on those sneaky, sneaky assassins who keep popping in and out of the fog. Play around with different characters. Try to make a point of touring every free character you can. Not only is this a great way to earn gold (as Chris pointed out, you gain a tidy sum for each character you take to level 5 and it's a fairly quick process), but it will also give you an idea of what each other hero is capable of. Important to know when sizing up a fight, and something that is much easier to learn by doing rather than just watching. Character tips Stick with Honest Jimmy. Jim Raynor is the tutorial character for a reason; he's super easy to use. That said, he's also surprisingly strong. He has a simple, but useful toolbox that lets him score high hero damage and push lanes while staying fairly safe. He's one of the cheapest characters to buy with gold as well as being included in the $5.00 starter pack if you don't mind making a small investment. You can learn the ropes, and the maps, with him and eventually move to more nuanced characters. Don't get too strung out about top-tier picks or “playing the meta.” You're new, the people you're going to be matched with will likely be new as well. Nobody in your cohort is going to know how to properly take advantage of the best characters anyway. Hell, I've been playing a ton of Gazlowe (supposedly one of the worst characters) and I've been topping the scoreboard for siege damage and team XP in most games (sometimes even hero damage!) Can Gazlowe hang in a competitive meta? Probably not. But down in the slums with all the other newbies, he plays just fine -- as does almost every other character. That said, you should probably stay away from the Lost Vikings, Abathur, and Chen. These are not bad heroes, but they're more complex and require advanced knowledge to properly use. Grow into them later (Murky has a rep for being a tricky character as well, but honestly he seemed pretty easy to use to me, so your mileage may vary depending on play style). Playing with others This is probably the most “duh” tip ever, but the game is much more fun when playing with people you know! You don't need to fill out a full five man team, even having just one or two wingmen can let you be a more complex and tricky with your teamwork, setting up coordinated attacks, or trading off lanes while someone heals or secures an objective. A little simple teamwork goes a long way! If you have a dependable partner or two, try to play complementary characters that can support each others efforts. Have a friend who likes aggressive melee characters like Thrall or Sonya? Try pairing up as the monk, Kharazim, who can heal nearby characters in melee range and deal respectable damage in his own right. You can be bash brothers chasing down foes together far more effectively than you would on your own. Diablo and E.T.C are walking meat slabs who can bully other players with multiple stuns and repositioning attacks when they roll together. It might not be complicated, but other new players will probably have trouble dealing with the pair. Even better if you have another friend playing a high-damage clean up character like Jaina to take advantage of the chaos. When all else fails, just play Li Li. She's dead simple to use and can drag otherwise hopeless teams through nasty brawls with her prolific healing. Hey, if you and your friends are all new, you might occasionally need a crutch to lean on as you learn. Again, these are fairly basic tips, but they might just make your entry into the world of Heroes and MOBAs a little bit smoother than it would have been. I've been completely blown away by how much I've enjoyed my time with Heroes so far and would encourage you to try it for yourself if you've been interested but haven't taken the plunge yet. Of course, if you have some more knowledge bombs new players should know, or some tips for more advanced players, please feel free to share!
HotS tips photo
By a noob, for noobs
As you might have read, I recently got into Heroes of the Storm in a big way. I'm super late to the party, and our own Chris Carter has already written a great list of quick tips you should definitely read if you're intereste...

More Quick Tips: Pokemon Shuffle Mobile

Sep 17 // Darren Nakamura
First things first: the time-sensitive stuff If you read nothing else of this guide, this is what you should take away. Enter the code 65607110 under Settings > Code for Lucarionite. This code expires on September 30, 2015. Lucarionite will let you Mega evolve Lucario, which is a huge help throughout the game. I'll explain why in detail later. Your first long-term goal should be to capture Groudon. Groudon is currently part of a special event set to expire on September 25, 2015. Opportunities for both of these are likely to show up in the future, but obtaining them now will be a great help for getting through the early, mid, and late game. Matches The game explains the basics of making matches, but leaves a lot of nuance for the player to discover. Moving a Pokémon on the board almost always involves swapping two Pokémon. On a board with few disruptions, you can frequently make matches on both ends of the swap. Taking the above into account, double-ended matches do not occur simultaneously. The Pokémon being dragged into place matches first, while the one swapped back by default matches second. This can come into play if you want to control how surrounding tiles fall. In general, by swapping from the bottom up, you can increase your chance of getting lucky as the dust settles. When matching a single Pokémon both horizontally and vertically, precedence is given to the larger match (for example, a match of four will clear before a match of three). When the horizontal and vertical matches are equal in size, the horizontal match will take precedence. This can be very important when matching certain Mega evolutions. Abilities Short descriptions of abilities are given, but some could use more explicit explanation. With a few exceptions, abilities are usually activated for only the first Pokémon matched in a single combo. Exceptions include powering up a Mega evolution and activating a Mega ability. These will occur no matter how far down a combo the match occurs. Power of 4 (Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Kangaskhan, and more) will activate every time a match of four is made for the first match of a combo with the corresponding Pokémon. Most other abilities activate some fraction of the time, with bigger matches (fours and fives) increasing the chance the ability will activate. Before playing a round, take the time to familiarize yourself with your Pokémon's abilities. When making a double-ended match, it's better to take a chance on a random ability like Opportunist than waste a first-match-in-the-combo on Block Smash when there are no blocks around. Types The Pokémon Shuffle type chart follows the X/Y type chart. Here are some important notes. Unlike classic Pokémon, Shuffle has players building teams of four specifically to fight a single type at any given time. Instead of taking a team that covers a wide set of types, you want a whole team of Super Effective (double damage) Pokémon for the task at hand. Fighting-type is the only type Super Effective versus Normal-type. This is partially why obtaining Lucarionite for Mega Lucario is so helpful. Thus far, Lucario is the only Fighting-type that can Mega evolve. Ground-type is the only type Super Effective versus Electric-type. This is partially why capturing Groudon early is so helpful. With Groudon, you can build an all-Ground team after Stage 101. Without Groudon, you can't have an all-Ground team until Stage 136. All other types have at least two types that are Super Effective against it, so it is much easier to build an appropriate team. Some levels feature weak Pokémon as a fixture and are easier to complete if those Pokémon are brought along as part of the team. Togekiss is easier to beat with Togetic along. Milotic is basically impossible without bringing Feebas to the party. Don't forget this is an option; several stages use the trick. Mega evolutions Mega evolutions are a big part of Pokémon Shuffle, but strategy is key. Several of the early Mega evolving Pokémon (Audino, Kangaskhan, Lopunny) are Normal-type. They are not Super Effective versus anything. Due to its higher base attack power, Mega Lucario is preferable to the Normal-type Megas unless fighting Poison-, Flying-, Psychic-, Bug-, or Fairy-types. If you hit the Optimize button repeatedly when building a team, it will cycle through different Mega evolving Pokémon. It is up to you to determine which one is actually most appropriate for a given level. In shorter stages (10 moves or less), it is often advantageous to leave out a Mega evolving Pokémon entirely. Since it takes time to Mega evolve, it is generally better to bring a Super Effective regular Pokémon as opposed to a normal damage Mega. Sometimes it can even be better to switch a Super Effective Mega out for a different Super Effective Pokémon with a greater attack power. Mega abilities are not created equal. Mega Gengar is great for stringing together big combos, but terrible for taking out unbreakable blocks. Mega Aerodactyl is great for taking out blocks, but useless in stages without those disruptions. Don't just take what Optimize gives you. Grinding In general, you won't want to grind, but here are some tips for when you should. Usually, the path to greater power is to capture stronger Pokémon. A single Pokémon's power can increase up to 20 points by leveling up to MAX, but base attack power can range from 30 to 90. Capture Pokémon with a base attack power of 60 or above instead of grinding your 40s and 50s. You can reasonably make it up to Mega Glalie (Stage 120) without grinding or using items. If you haven't already, this is a good time to switch to Expert stages to catch some of the upper tier Pokémon. Moltres, Blaziken, and Entei would specifically help against Mega Glalie. Getting S ranks on Main stages unlocks Expert stages. I can be worthwhile to go back to previously completed stages in order to bump the ranking. Experience is awarded in proportion to the number of moves a level contains. Buneary (Stage 21) is the best stage for grinding experience until Ampharos (Stage 130). Snorlax (Stage 183) technically awards the most experience of any main stage, but it is much more difficult to complete than Ampharos. An uncompleted stage still awards experience, but it's less than if the stage were completed. Meowth (Stage 37) can be played repeatedly to grind for coins. You only keep the coins if you beat him, so you have to be able to balance matching coins and attacking, but not attacking too quickly. Spending You can still play Pokémon Shuffle Mobile without spending a dime, but you'll have to be smart about it. Check in every day for 500 coins. Make sure to play the Special stages during the weekends for Meowth's Coin Mania. When making coin matches, a match of three is worth 100, a match of four is worth 300, and a match of five is worth 500. It is more profitable to get one match of four than two matches of three. Patience is the greatest asset in Pokémon Shuffle. You will be tempted to use a Great Ball often, but it is almost always better to save those coins. Even something as low as a 10% capture rate means (on average) ten tries to get it, or five hours of waiting. A single Great Ball on Mobile costs 3500 coins, or seven days of checking in. One thing I keep in mind when going for captures with low percentages is a comparison to a standard six-sided die. If you have a 17% catch power, that's like rolling a 6 on the die. It's not exactly likely, but if you roll the thing enough times you're bound to hit it eventually. The best time to use a Great Ball is when it triggers Super Catch Power on a particularly difficult battle. If you can't consistently beat a stage and you get Super Catch Power, it's probably worth it. Save your coins for the competitive events. These are often the only ways to get certain Mega Stones, and they are only awarded to a fraction of participants. Attack Power+ is an easy way to make sure you're in that group. When you do spend your coins, spend them wisely. Some stages are only difficult because of disruptions. Use a Disruption Delay on these. Some begin with a huge obstacle but get easy once that is cleared. Use a Mega Start (and an appropriate Mega Pokémon) on these. Determine the main problem of a level and use the tool best suited to tackle that problem. For the Main and Expert stages, you should not need items at all until you start going for S ranks. Be patient with your captures, be smart with your matches, and wait for that one really lucky run. So there you have it. Now that I have this all written out, it might not really be a set of "Quick Tips," but you should now be better prepared to take on the addiction that is Pokémon Shuffle. Good luck!
Pokemon Shuffle tips photo
Let's diglett deeper
Earlier this year, Pokémon Shuffle released on 3DS and Chris Carter handed out some tips for success in the free-to-play match-three puzzler, despite the fact that he didn't care much for it. He's so magnanimous. Pok&e...

Very Quick Tips: Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows

Sep 17 // Chris Carter
General tips: Although Plague Knight's explosion is mostly meant for horizontal movement, you can actually trigger an up-explosion as well. It gives you a lot more control and is generally a whole lot safer. Note your invincibility frames during your explosion attack. You can briefly avoid damage with the initial blast, but anything that hits you directly after is fair game. Don't recklessly use the explosion to avoid constant damage. Additionally, getting hit allows you to start charging an explosion, and since Plague Knight flinches quite a bit, you'll want to remember this. You can also charge during screen transitions and in-game animations. The best time to use health potions is either the start of a level you are confident with, or right before a boss fight. Don't waste precious temporary health slots on a blind run of a stage until you learn the layout. If you find a potion on the way to a boss and are at the maximum allotment, drink one to pick it up. Attacking mid-air delays your descent, but you'll need to attack more than once to cue the slow. You can also combo into more explosions to nudge over to a ledge or avoid enemies on the ground. Collect the Cipher coins -- seriously. If you avoid everything else, including cash, just get the Coins. They're vital to opening up more upgrades in the shop. Though the standard equipment is enough to complete the entire game, the host of options available might suit your personal playstyle better.
Shovel Knight tips photo
I can dig it...wait
Much like Shovel Knight, the Plague of Shadows expansion was pretty top-notch. Since the new anti-hero controls rather differently than the titular hero, I figured I'd share a few tips in regards to the changes.

God, I love these stupid The Phantom Pain tricks

Sep 13 // Nic Rowen
Saving time: It's a smart idea to return to Mother Base every once and awhile for a shower. Not only does it wash the blood and stinky murder mess off Snake, but it refreshes his max HP and reaction time when spotted. But if you don't want to make a trip to Mother Base, there is another way to get a quick refresher while in the field! Find a shallow pool of water, get prone, and roll around left and right. After a few spins, Snake will be clean and refreshed. If you're anything like me, you probably need to resupply your silencers and C4 packs at least once or twice a mission, but you're also shitty, impatient, and hate waiting the minute or two a supply drop takes. Fortunately, you can skip that wait and go straight back to sabotage and murder. Simply call a supply drop directly on top of Snake's position, whip out your Phantom Cigar, take a single time bending puff, and seconds later you'll be hit out of the time skip by a supply crate landing on your head. I wish I knew about this one sooner -- If you're looking to extract, and have the fulton upgrade that lets you steal cargo, check and see if there are any large supply containers in the area. Hop on top, slap on the fulton, and look for the button prompt to grab on. You'll be sucked out of the combat zone along with the cargo. No waiting for Pequod to bring in the chopper. Fun with the cardboard box: As you probably know, the cardboard box is ridiculously elaborate in The Phantom Pain. But, aside from using it as a method of quick travel, slapping distracting pin-up girls on the side, and generally sneaking around, it has a few undocumented uses. For example, you can also use it as a ghetto sled! Find a nice big hill, stand up with the box on, take a quick run, and hit the dive button. Snake will belly slide down the hill wearing the box. It looks stupid as hell, but it's actually a pretty great way to quickly infiltrate an outpost after scouting it out at the top of a hill! Did you know that the cardboard box also confers a very small amount of armor? Getting shot while wearing it will flash the armor/vehicle hit warning instead of direct damage to Snake. Obviously it can't take much punishment for you, but if you're on the brink of death and can't afford to hide and wait for your health to regen, it might just make the difference! The box will also soak up the effects of a stun grenade. Toss it front of you, put on the box, and Snake won't even blink when it goes off. It may look dumb, but you can use this to incapacitate groups of enemies at short range -- just the thing if they're just about to creep up on your position. 'Useless' equipment: The water pistol seems like a stupid gag item, and it mostly is. However, there are some not so obvious uses for it. You can silently disable electronics with the water pistol, super handy if you're out of C4 or don't want to raise a ruckus while you take out enemy coms equipment. But who the hell is going to wander into a war zone with just a squirt gun? The water pistol can also extinguish fire pits and other pesky light sources, which is actually surprisingly handy during a night op. Speaking of electronics, did you know you can use power lines to zap fools? Shooting out a line so the live wire touches a trooper will fry them, you know, if you wanted to make it look like an accident. Snake should be able to take out an insurance policy on individual troops before each mission, that would be a fun way to fund Mother Base. There are other ways to kill guys while making it look like an accident. You probably know that you can hold guys up and tell them to lie down with their hands on their heads, but have you ever tried it in some shallow water? The poor bastards will lie down as instructed and if you don't fulton them away or otherwise reposition them, they'll drown! Yay, humor murder! Ever wonder what you're supposed to do with those small 10-15 second sound clips you sometimes find while looking for '80s synth pop? Turns out, lots of things! If you turn the speaker on so enemies can hear, there a few tricks you can pull. Turn on the farting/pooping soundtrack while hiding in an outhouse to turn away suspicious guards, while playing one of the lullabies will put nearby soldiers to sleep. I'm sure there are more secret uses for these tapes, so experiment with them! The more I play The Phantom Pain, the more I'm impressed by the attention to detail and thought that went into every part of it. I'm sure this list just scratches the surface of the weird little tricks to be found. If you've discovered anything interesting, useful, or just plain stupid, be sure to share in the comments!
MGSV tricks photo
Russian soldiers hate them!
So, Chris Carter already provided a handy list of quick tips alongside his review of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. These are essential, life saving tips that will let you complete missions easier and build the le...

Very Quick Tips: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Sep 01 // Chris Carter
[embed]307495:60220:0[/embed] General tips: Use night vision often when you're searching for a human target, even if it's daytime. The core reason is because it's hard to see in-game models at times, especially with the dynamic lighting engine. Using night vision will highlight humanoid character models with a bright hue, allowing you to extract them with ease. Always upgrade your Fulton device as soon as you can -- it will help you for core and side ops alike. Pick a favorite weapon, upgrade it constantly, and remember it. You can use the loadout system (similar to Call of Duty) to set your preferred gear. It's easy to get overwhelmed and forget that you're using one of eight rifles, then go into battle with the wrong one. If need be, you can call for entire loadouts to be dropped in mid-mission. Once you get to R&D level 17, buy the flare grenade. It allows you to instantly call chopper support under duress, without having to use your iDroid. Since the game doesn't pause while looking at your device, it can get sticky. When you start Mission #5: Over the Fence, the wolf pup near the first objective marker on the hill is of the utmost importance. He's easy to miss, but if you tranq and Fulton it, he'll grow up to become an entirely new buddy for you to use. You can lock in your crew with the L2 button when assigning Mother Base operations. Use this method to prevent your preferred squads from down-leveling after shifting people around using the auto-sort option. As a general rule it's important to spread the wealth, but favoring R&D for tough missions so you can acquire new tools is never a bad idea. When searching for a target that has a wide circular array on the map, create multiple marks on your iDroid to set your own perimeter. In other words, "draw" bits of the outside of the circle with multiple letters, so you can clear the entire surface area. Marks will automatically erase when you reach them, so you'll know where you've been. Spend your cash upgrading the main stations of Mother Base, first and foremost. Construction takes a long time, but they pay dividends, and you'll want to start working on them as soon as possible. In the same vein, make sure you grab every resource you can on the field to ensure that you can constantly grow Mother Base -- don't just rush past open doors. Go back to the open world often! Fulton everyone you find and actually do those Side Ops. They're not necessarily required, but they'll reward you with tons of new weapons to use in the story, and your backup will be that much more advanced. As a last resort, press triangle while prone. This will bring you into a special "play dead" stealth mode, and you can even avoid being seen if the enemy is right next to you at night. This is especially useful in the "no alert" missions. You can change the type of support called with the R1 menu while using your binoculars. Along with the flare grenade mentioned above, you'll be able to instantly call in your chopper for everything but extraction. It's particularly useful during some boss fights to instantly call in a bombardment after locating an enemy. Play with headphones if possible! Listen for hit songs playing in the background, and follow the noise to the tape. Don't be ashamed of using the chicken hat sometimes if you need it. Some missions will checkpoint you right before a particularly difficult part, and there's no need to bang your head against the wall over and over. Much like The Witcher 3, calling your horse while it is not in sight will cause it to "teleport" to your side. Try to swing the camera away from it before you call it for instant access. In Side Ops #144, the target is laying on the ground in the open in the large base. This one took me forever to find, as I kept going inside, expecting it to be there. Without spoiling anything, to unlock the true ending, you'll need to complete all available main missions after the story seemingly ends abruptly -- yep, all those retread ones with higher difficulties. Alternatively, I have spoken to people who have unlocked the ending with a combination of story and Side Op mission completions. Try to beat all the core ops you can, and if some are outright frustrating you, switch to Side Ops.
Metal Gear Solid V tips photo
Kaz Be Not Proud
Metal Gear Solid V, from a gameplay standpoint, is one of the most complex titles in the series. While it was fairly easy to understand the limited amount of gear you were provided with in past entries (everything was basical...

Very Quick Tips: Mega Man Legacy Collection's Challenge Mode

Aug 25 // Chris Carter
General Challenge Mode tips: When you're playing Challenge Mode, pause the game with the select button instead of start -- the latter will still run the timer. In Mega Man 1, never forget the Magnet Beam -- it can severely cut down on your times, and instantly skip most platforming pit sections. Try to look at what games are featured in a specific playlist, and remember that any entry from 3 on has the slide ability, and 4 on has the charged shot. If you need help remembering what game you're playing, turn on screen borders -- the artwork will clue you in. Memorize the locations of items within the menu. Selecting a subweapon takes time, and you can shave off seconds on a constant basis if you remember where everything is. Make flash cards if you're serious about going for the top spot! Did you die early on in a challenge? Press select and restart -- the timer doesn't reset on its own. In megamixes featuring multiple areas, memorize the last section after completing it once, so you know when you can rush and not worry about losing health that you may need for the next area. Additionally, remember that subweapon energy replenishes after each zone. Sometimes getting hit is okay, and it may even allow for a quicker clear time. If you're looking to not die, getting hit by a bullet is generally less damaging than a collision -- so get hit by a projectile, then use the subsequent invincibility frames to run through enemies. The best times will be posted by players who don't die once. The Mega Man 1 pause glitch still works, you just need to use a different button (L1, LB) to initiate the in-game pause rather than the Mega Man Legacy-specific menu.
Mega Man tips photo
Mega Bustin' makes me feel good
People often cite the Mega Man series as an example of "difficult" retro games, but there's an astounding amount of rhyme and reason to the level design therein. With a few tips you'll be breaking down time trial record walls like it was nothing.

The sexiest way to play Curses 'N Chaos

Aug 19 // Patrick Hancock
Curses N Chaos Guide photo
So really, it's the only way
While reviewing Curses 'N Chaos, I've come across a lot of different strategies. Ultimately, though, only one proved useful. So before you go out trying to kill monsters like a n00b, please watch this pro-level video from the top player on the pro circuit, me.

Life is Strange: Episode Four Achievement guide

Jul 28 // Brett Makedonski
Dark Room: Finish Episode 4: Dark Room This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the fourth episode. Easy peasy. Ambient: Take optional photo #1 in Episode Four: Dark Room The first photo op takes a while to get to. It's available as soon as Max has control of her camera again. Take a picture of Chloe while she's working hard at her computer. Time-Lapsed: Take optional photo #2 in Episode Four: Dark Room Fortunately, we don't have to wait as long for the second photo as we did for the first. Once in step-douche's garage, go take a gander at the bird's nest that's hiding behind the plank. Move the plank to the side and take a picture for Max's Arcadia Bay Wildlife Series. Make sure to move the plank back when you're done; drill sergeant David doesn't like people messing with his stuff. Balance: Take optional photo #3 in Episode Four: Dark Room You know that ominous totem pole in the corner of the Blackwell Academy courtyard? Well, now there's an ominous pile of stones in front of it. Go ahead and take a picture of the "Blair Witch" rocks for this episode's third Achievement. Rangefinder: Take optional photo #4 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one's also in the Blackwell courtyard. Go talk to Samuel -- he's sitting on the bench -- about animals, squirrels in particular. He'll throw a nugget of food, which attracts one furry friend. Use the box of food next to Samuel to lure another squirrel over. When they're snacking together, take a picture of them. Gamma Value: Take optional photo #5 in Episode Four: Dark Room Once in the boys' dorms, take the hallway to the right and look out the window. There are some footprints that Max finds photo-worthy. Dioptic Power:Take optional photo #6 in Episode Four: Dark Room Before long, you'll end up on the beach. This episode's sixth photo is the third beached whale from the right. Snap a picture for some of the saddest Gamerscore you'll ever earn. Fisheye: Take optional photo #7 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one requires some quick reflexes and possibly a rewind or two. Off to the left of the barn is a bird posted up on the fence. Take a quick photo of it. If our feathered friend flies away, reverse time until he sits still long enough for a picture. Manually Exposed: Take optional photo #8 in Episode Four: Dark Room The next one's owlfully easy to find. There's an owl hanging out in the corner of the loft in the barn. Once you're up there, do what Max does best. Slideshow: Take optional photo #9 in Episode Four: Dark Room This one's inside the End of the World Party. Go around the outside of the pool and up to where the VIP booth is. Go into the unmarked door. When in there, take a photo of Justin at the sink with his lower half lined up with the skeleton graffiti. Tripod: Take optional photo #10 in Episode Four: Dark Room In the pool area of the End of the World Party, move off to the right side and look up and out the windows. Find a place where you can line up a nice double moon shot. Wait. Double moon?! Shutterbug: Take all optional photos in Episode Four: Dark Room This one will unlock as soon as you pick up the last optional photo. Two Achievements for the price of one!
Life is Strange photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
We're inching ever-closer to the conclusion of Life is Strange. As we get nearer to knowing what the narrative holds for Max and Chloe, we find a bit of familiarity in the Achievements. Like always, episode four Dark Roo...

Very Quick Tips: Heroes of the Storm

Jun 05 // Chris Carter
General tips: Regeneration globes drop from the mage minions in each creep wave. It took me forever to realize this, but you can use it to your advantage with characters like Kael, and the Mana Addict skill. Do you see the eye above your character when you're hidden? If it turns red, you've been spotted by some source. You do not need to kill creeps to get XP for your team, nor do you need to last-hit them for more rewards. You just need to be near them. Likewise, you don't always have to go after objectives, even though you should in most quick matches where you can't communicate. For instance, it's advantageous to lane for the first tribute spawn on the Cursed Hollow map, and have one player poke the enemy team while everyone else lanes. That way you're outleveling your opponent's team, and giving up one tribute isn't a big deal. Tactics like this require communication however. Ever wonder what the "Bribe" statement is for neutral mercenary camps? Only certain heroes can do this if they buy that ability when leveling up or at the start, like Falstad and Brightwing. Right clicking  on your profile in the top right-hand corner of the main menu can yield a ton of information that's worth reading, like win rates on certain maps and your affinity towards specific heroes. Additionally, you can sometimes locate hidden heroes that haven't launched yet in the Hero Collection screen. Abathur can  be tricky when controlling a stealthed unit. Almost nothing will actually break the cloak, but any ability, including the shield, will sort of show their location to enemies. Any skillshot or AOE can take a unit out of a cloak, and you can see said cloak a bit by way of a shimmering effect. Likewise, Rehgar's chain heal can jump to an "empty" spot -- be aware of every ability that can expose a stealth character. If you see someone with a flaming health bar, it means they're on a killing spree. Depending on that character's build, they may have the skill that adds ability damage for consecutive kills. Death with reset some of this progress. You can swap your active abilities (the bar right above your core Q through R keys) by holding down left click and dragging them. Destroying a keep (the big fort) in a given inner base will spawn super minions (catapults) in that lane. If you hold alt while left clicking, you can bring up an extended ping menu with options like "on my way" and "need assistance." If you want an idea of who top players use, check out the Heroes of the Storm Logs website. Players often use this to decide "tiers," but it's just one piece of data to use when choosing a main, or a new character to try. Want to try out a hero you don't own? Go to the shop, click a hero, and hit "try." For a better shop view, click the hero while in the "Play" section of the game to get an easier, bigger layout with gold and real money prices. "Random" may also grant you access to a hero that you cannot play yet due to your rank. On Quick Match, players will often fight over the "vision" points on maps at the start (especially in Blackheart's Bay). Be aware of this meta-skirmish and plan accordingly -- get behind your warrior/tank and be cautious. If your team looks like they're going for it, think about helping them out, or go to the very bottom and just start laning to get a head start on XP. Laning isn't always sexy, but it pays off, especially if you're outleveling the opposing team. Be patient when buying heroes. Buy ones that cost very low amounts of gold, and level them up -- levels one through five are extremely easy to do. You'll in turn have more chances to earn gold with those cheap character levels, which can buy you more characters as you level up your player level. Before you know it you'll have tons of gold. Exercise restraint and only try to buy heroes on sale with real money. Eventually, they will all go on sale. Speaking of XP, when you hit player level 10, you'll get a free 7-day Stimpack that boosts XP gain. Think about hitting this landmark when you'll have more free time ahead of you -- in other words, if you're about to go on vacation, don't pull the trigger on level 10 just yet. If you're redeeming the retail Starter Pack, redeem your Ronin Zeratul skin first, as it will unlock the Zeratul character. You can give your other unlock to a friend.
Heroes of the Storm tips photo
Make Uther proud
Heroes of the Storm might have some streamlined mechanics when it comes to the MOBA genre as a whole, but it's anything but "dumbed down." While I'll refrain from educating players on MOBAs as a whole (the 15-minute tutorial does a good job of that), here are some tips I've compiled over my long sessions of play.

Life is Strange: Episode Three Achievement guide

May 26 // Brett Makedonski
Chaos Theory: Finish Episode 3: Chaos Theory This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the third episode. It shouldn't give you any trouble at all. Parallax View: Find optional photo #1 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Break into Victoria’s room after finding out that she snuck off campus. She has a glow-in-the-dark action figure sitting on her desk. Shine your flashlight on it for a few seconds, then take a picture of it. Lenscrafted: Find optional photo #2 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Awww, it’s our little squirrel friend again. He’s sitting on the bench to the right after exiting the dorms. Coming close will cause him to scurry away, but rewind time to get him to pose for a picture. The Reflex: Find optional photo #3 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory After meeting up with Chloe and entering the school, take a quick detour to the science room. Max wants a photo of the fish, so turn on the light in their tank and snap a quick pic. Histogrammar: Find optional photo #4 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory While you’re still in the science room, let’s grab another photo. Head toward the back and take a picture of the skeleton with a cigarette in its mouth. Smoking kills, kids! Bokeh: Find optional photo #5 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory In the principal’s office, take a picture of Chloe behind the bronze hawk. It’s not easy to line everything up; it pretty much has to be arranged exactly like this screenshot. Pinholed: Find optional photo #6 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory After getting dressed in Rachel’s clothes, stop off in the upstairs bathroom for a quick selfie. RAW Strength: Find optional photo #7 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Just like the squirrel, our bird friend is back too. Before eating Joyce’s breakfast, scare the bird from the top of the cabinet, off of the fireplace, and out the window. Then, it’ll land on the fence in the backyard. Go take a picture of it. Viewfinder: Find optional photo #8 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Try taking a picture of the big rig across the street from the diner. The trucker standing outside will stop you. Talk to him, rewind the conversation, and casually bring up the make and model of his semi. He’ll be so impressed that he’ll let you take a picture for real, as long as you also bring up Rachel Amber. Cross Processing: Find optional photo #9 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Immediately after the last photo, move around the side of the diner. There’s an unfortunate birdie being swarmed by a million ants. Snap a picture of the carnage. Flash!: Find optional photo #10 in Episode 3: Chaos Theory Toward the end of the episode, Max will discover that her abilities range beyond what she previously thought. After a bit of revelatory dialogue, pick up the camera on the kitchen counter and snap this episode’s final picture. Camera Eye: Find all optional photos in Episode 3: Chaos Theory This one unlocks as soon as you nab all ten photos. Bonus Achievement!
Life is Strange guide photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
We're at the halfway point of Life is Strange, and while the story is moving right along, the Achievement lists remain similar. Ten optional photos to snap in every episode, and Chaos Theory is no different. This guide s...

Very Quick Tips: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

May 19 // Chris Carter
General tips: If you come across a bulletin board, always take all of the quests. They don't force you into completing them right away, and most of the notices highlight extra points of interest on the map. There's no real downside to it. Save often. Death can mean loading up a recent checkpoint, which is often fair, but I've encountered a few 10-15 minute losses before. Try to keep at least 3-4 saves handy with different tiers -- like when you enter a dungeon, keep at least one save available before you head into it. Sometimes calling your horse, Roach, can be a pain. Keep calling it by double-tapping the left analog stick and try turning around. Often times that's all you'll need to get it "unstuck" as turning will allow it to teleport. If you look straight at it, it won't break the rules of the game to get to you. Take lots and lots of food. If you use an auto-inventory slot on a certain food item it will automatically replace it with something else. Get in the habit of buying food bits often on the cheap. If you're not sure which sword you're using (steel or silver), remember that the empty scabbard will match up with whatever you have equipped. Remember, steel is on the left, and silver is on the right. It's confusing at first but you'll get the hang of spotting it. [embed]292348:58570:0[/embed] Mutagens are an easy way to buff existing abilities. The simple way of looking at it is to line up the color of the Mutagen with abilities. Red is for melee, blue is for Signs, and green is for alchemy. If you have that color correspond to each skill in a quadrant of the skill tree, you'll add a bonus effect. Meditate often if you aren't playing the top two difficulties that remove the healing bonus. It will save you tons of gold, not having to heal using items or food. Seriously -- even if you are only missing a tiny sliver of health, just meditate for a few seconds to pop your bar back to 100%, so you're always read for what's next. Don't forget your Signs (spells). Even if you don't use them often, try to always have Quen queued up and use it to shield yourself before (and during) every fight. Actually do the quests you come across. You'll need to level up to complete the campaign, and your gold will slowly drop over time if you don't complete tasks. This can lead to some disastrous results if you don't have enough cash to repair your gear or buy healing items. In combat, you can dodge out of stuns pretty easily. Don't just sit there and remain reeling after a hit -- try to hit the Circle (B) button often to cancel it out and get your bearings.
The Witcher 3 tips photo
Geralt can't catch a break
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an improvement upon its predecessor in a lot of ways, and despite the fact that it's a tad more streamlined, there is a learning curve involved. Here's a few quick tips to get you started.

NERO collectibles guide part two: The Hospital and The Desert

May 14 // Brett Makedonski
Chapter Three: The Hospital Piece 1: This chapter's first piece is down the stairs at the beginning. It's right next to the text "He needs his mom. He needs comforting." Piece 2: This is the first collectible in the game that NERO really makes you work for. It's locked behind a door that can only be opened by solving a puzzle. This room's off to the right after entering the hospital. The puzzle is completed by lining up the three holes in the bookshelf and throwing a light orb at the activation switch. Piece 3: Now that we're properly in the hospital, we see that there are a ton of optional rooms to go into, and even multiple floors. We'll tackle everything on the ground floor first before moving upstairs. Keep an eye out for signs denoting rooms, as it'll help you find the right place for collectibles. The third piece is pretty simple. It's in the left side of the restaurant. The restaurant is right by the words "Work needs me. We have bills to pay." Piece 4: Move past the open courtyard to find a receptionist's desk. The fourth piece is behind it, by the phrase "There is nothing, nothing left to be done. What's the point?" Piece 5: Staying on the lower level, you'll find a room marked "Pharmacy" which is near "I try to be collected, to not cry when he looks at me for strength." Piece number five is in the pharmacy. Piece 6: This one's in the men's bathroom, which is a bit past "I try to be collected, to not cry when he looks at me for strength." Piece 7: Now we've cleared out the ground floor and can move upstairs. I took the stairs by the restaurant, but there are many paths leading up. The next collectible is sort of near the text "Tell David not to fear, I will be there waiting for him in a better place." But, it's kind of off on its own without anything too describable nearby it. Piece 8: Find the room marked "Women's Ward" and move through it to find the eighth piece. Piece 9: Here's another that requires some work. This one's also in the Women's Ward, and it's locked behind another door. Solve the puzzle to be granted access to the ninth piece. Piece 10: Still on the upper floor, there's a room called "Supervised Observation" that houses this piece. Piece 11: Make your way around the upstairs to the Men's Ward. Work your way through here to find a side room with the penultimate piece of the puzzle. Piece 12: After opening the gates, go down the stairs to find the final piece resting in the room that also contains the chapter's final puzzle. Chapter Four: The Desert Piece 1: At the beginning of the level, there's an anchor made of rock to the right. The first piece is up against it. Piece 2: Continuing down the path from the rock anchor, veer a bit to the left to find this piece in plain sight across from the giant glowing artifact. Piece 3: Now get close to the artifact, as the third piece is right alongside it. It's near the text "I never meant for any of this to happen. I'm so sorry." Piece 4: Moving forward, there are some monkey statues that are covered in moss. The next piece of the puzzle is right in front of the central one. Piece 5: You'll eventually come across the words "It's all my fault. I should've seen it coming." The fifth piece is a bit beyond that down a short path to the left. Piece 6: You don't have to go far to get to the next collectible. It's just beyond the fifth one, and it's in between the trees with glowing cracks in their branches. Piece 7: This one has quite the picturesque view! It's on the cliffside immediately behind "I could have done better. I should have done better." Piece 8: The eighth piece is hard to miss. After crossing the rope bridge, it's just waiting right on the other side, ready to be collected. Piece 9: After opening the gate, this one's right on the other side by the words "It wasn't meant to end like this." (I redacted some text from the narrator on this screenshot that could be considered a spoiler. I did this on the last image too. Although, if you've made it this far, you probably don't care much about spoilers.) Piece 10: We're getting awfully close to the end. The tenth piece is up the path and to the left of the previous one. It's a little ways before "Why should the ending be more important than the moments leading up to it?" Piece 11: Before going inside the lighthouse, this piece is just beyond the stone ramp leading up to the entrance. Piece 12: Finally! The last piece! As you're ascending the lighthouse's spiral staircase, this one will be about halfway up out on a balcony. Pat yourself on the back for finding all 48 pieces and putting together all four puzzles. In case you missed it, here's part one of the NERO collectibles guide, which covers The Caves and The Desert.
NERO guide photo
Let's put together a jigsaw puzzle!
Well, we have 24 of NERO's puzzle pieces in the bag, which means there are 24 to go. The second half of the NERO collectibles guide features The Hospital and The Desert.  No sense wasting any time; let's jump right into it. If you don't know the drill, part one of the guide has all the details.

NERO collectibles guide part one: The Caves and The Forest

May 14 // Brett Makedonski
Chapter One: The Caves Piece 1: In a house off to the right at the very beginning. The text near the house reads "These brigands had dozens of hideouts scattered throughout the oceans." Piece 2: Off to the right of the first puzzle. It's behind an orange plant and a tree with three branches coming out of the ground. Piece 3: Shortly after the first puzzle. Right in front of the text "small waterfalls and underground rivers kept the caves humid for mushrooms to fluorish." Piece 4: In the room where you get the light ability. Down the right-hand path from "One of those contraptions was blocking the passage in a dark room filled with crystals." Piece 5: Shortly after the text saying there are two paths up ahead. It's to the right of the multi-tiered waterfall. Piece 6: Take the left-hand path. The sixth piece is directly behind the text that reads "A giant torso of an ancient god made of stone was crying water to the lower room." Piece 7: This one is in the room with the three monkeys puzzle which is necessary to progress. It's off to the right side of the door. Piece 8: You'll soon come back out to another empty village. The eighth piece is in the house with the words "An opening in the rocks gave enough light and several ponds of fresh water served the brigands well." You have to go around the side of the house, though. Piece 9: There's a ramp leading down to a puzzle with nine circles. The next piece is right on the other side of the ramp. Piece 10: Just to the right of "Long and dark was the road David walked to meet his fellow brigands, but the sense of love they felt for each other helped." Piece 11: The eleventh piece is up on the balcony under the text "There was something magic about that place, something romantic about the songs the brigands sang in the evenings." Piece 12: The Caves' last piece is in a puzzle room where the far wall has three circles with rotating dots on it. This piece is to the right of that behind a large stone. Chapter Two: The Forest Piece 1: This one is right at the beginning of the level, behind and to the left of the words "In a remote area of the world, existed a place filled with wonders and beauty." Piece 2: This piece is a bit in no man's land. It's far out in the field behind the text "Right in front of the tree, David had decided to found the village." It's nestled among three giant glowing mushrooms. Piece 3: After opening the gate, you'll see the words "They already gave their assessment, they won't save him, so I will at least try to." It's in the nook behind this and between the buildings. Piece 4: Shortly after the last piece, walk to the base of the waterfall to find this one. If you're having trouble, it's behind the words "It is taught that even today those glowing animals are still lighting those houses, giving the village a sense of false life." Piece 5: This one can be found while walking through the village. It's behind the text "The villagers built an elaborate stone bridge in order to cross the small river ending at the waterfall." Piece 6: After a mandatory puzzle that opens a gate, there's a clock puzzle a bit ahead and to the left. Along the left-hand side of the clock puzzle will be a little nook containing the next piece. Off in the distance is the text "That site had a strange attraction and for the villagers it was also connected to something even darker." Piece 7: After the words "That site had a strange attraction and for the villagers it was also connected to something even darker," follow the path under an arch. Hang a left before the words "He's sounds asleep, how long have you kept watch?," and the next piece is resting in a field. Piece 8: This piece is right behind a very large tombstone puzzle. The text in front of the puzzle reads "He asks for you, you know. He wants you to read him the giant jellyfish story this time." Piece 9: From the last piece, keep walking directly backward from the giant tombstone. This piece is at the entrance to a canyon which leads to another puzzle. Piece 10: After the tree falls, the tenth piece is just to the left of the text "The treatment just needs more time." Piece 11: Eventually, you'll find yourself in a cemetery. Take the right-hand path by the text "A statue representing a goddess was placed beneath the open mausoleum, it is said that the ghostly figures would gather there by night," and the next piece is hiding in an open stone structure. Piece 12: Progress just a bit further through the graveyard until you see the words "Strange to say and to see, the mausoleum was the only bright and lively part of the cemetery." The Forest's last piece is directly behind this text in another stone building. Good job! That's half of the game in the books. Here's the guide to the second half -- The Hospital and The Desert.
NERO guide photo
Let's put together a jigsaw puzzle!
NERO is an experience in exploration that beckons for the player to scour every inch of its world. Scattered across the game's four levels are 48 puzzle pieces, and they're hidden in every nook and cranny imaginable. Parts of...

The Destructoid Wii U Game File Size Guide

Apr 30 // Chris Carter
GameFile Size 1001 Spikes 122MB Affordable Space Adventures 1GB Armillo 1.7GB Art Academy: SketchPad 524MB Assassin's Creed III 17GB Batman: Arkham City 19GB Ben 10 Omniverse 2.8GB Bayonetta 11GB Bayonetta 2 14GB Bit.Trip Presents: Runner 2 966MB Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker 1.2GB Castlestorm 294MB Citizens of Earth 3.7GB Darksiders II 9.3GB Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut 13GB Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze 10GB Dot Arcade 83MB Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two 7.3GB Dr. Luigi 108MB Edge 110MB Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Revenge 2 15GB Hyrule Warriors 7.6GB Kirby and the Rainbow Curse 2.8GB Lego City Undercover 21GB Mario Kart 8 6.3GB Mario Party 10 3GB Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games 9.7GB Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars 418MB Metroid Prime Trilogy 6GB Mighty Switch Force! HD 330MB Monster Hunter Ultimate 3 6.0GB Mutant Mudds Deluxe 31MB Need For Speed: Most Wanted 6.1GB NES Remix 387MB NES Remix 2 100MB New Super Mario Bros. U 2.3GB Scram Kitty and his Buddy On Rails 89MB Ninja Gaiden III: Razor's Edge 5.3GB Nintendoland 2.7GB One Piece: Unlimited World Red 11GB Pokemon Rumble U 537MB Pikmin 3 4.5GB Punch Out!! 4GB Pushmo World 507MB Rush 175MB Shovel Knight 173MB Splatoon 1.8GB Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed 5.7GB Steamworld Dig 89MB Super Mario 3D World 1.6GB Super Mario Galaxy 2 1.6GB Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 15.7GB Tank! Tank! Tank! 1.5GB Tekken Tag Tournament 2 16GB Toki Tori 135MB Toki Tori 2 536MB Wii Party U 5GB The Wonderful 101 10GB ZombiU 5.6GB
Wii U File Size Guide photo
From MB to GB
With the rise of digital distribution, hard drive constraints are becoming more problematic than ever. It's never fun purchasing a game only to find out you don't actually have space for it. Here is a constantly-updated list ...

The Destructoid Xbox One Game File Size Guide

Apr 29 // Brett Makedonski
GameFile Size 1001 Spikes 235.82MB Alien: Isolation 24.41GB The Amazing Spider-Man 2 9.89GB Angry Birds Star Wars 1.81GB Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition 267.8MB Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China 3.25GB Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag 22.29GB Assassin's Creed Unity 39.36GB Battlefield 4 37.1GB Battlefield: Hardline 45.33GB Blue Estate 4.14GB Boom Ball for Kinect 506.32MB Borderlands 2 23.34GB Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel 13.84GB Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 48.97GB Call of Duty: Ghosts 42.21GB CastleStorm 641.14MB Chariot 2.69GB Child of Light 2.31GB Contrast 1.94GB Costume Quest 2 1.11GB The Crew 15.97GB Crimson Dragon 6.83GB D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die 8.81GB Dance Central Spotlight 1.4GB Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin 12.2GB Dead or Alive 5: Last Round 9.4GB Dead Rising 3 26.9GB Defense Grid 2 1.44GB Destiny 24.2GB Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition 31.55GB Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved 5.88GB Disney Infinity [2.0] 9.61GB Divekick: Addition Edition 3.6GB DmC: Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition 20.09GB Don Bradman Cricket 2.26GB Dragon Age: Inquisition 41.96GB Dragon Ball Xenoverse 9.89GB Duck Dynasty 8.93GB Dying Light 20.78GB Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires 23.16GB EA Sports UFC 17.74GB The Escapists 323.88MB The Evil Within 34.14GB Evolve 26.61GB Far Cry 4 26.6GB Fibbage: The Hilarious Bluffing Party Game 319.84MB FIFA 14 9.82GB FIFA 15 12.67GB Fighter Within 11.05GB Final Fantasy Type-0 HD 22.35GB Flockers 5.86GB Forza Horizon 2 38.21GB Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious 15GB Forza Motorsport 5 40.54GB Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 1.1GB Funk of Titans 1.71GB Game of Thrones - Episode 1: Iron From Ice 2.56GB Game of Thrones - Episode 2: The Lost Lords 1.55GB Game of Thrones - Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness 2.35GB Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved 260.5MB Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Director's Cut 2.35GB Goat Simulator 878.25MB The Golf Club 3.9GB Grand Theft Auto V 46.76GB Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition 816.86MB Halo: Spartan Assault 2.49GB Halo: The Master Chief Collection 59.11GB Hand of Fate 4.22GB Happy Wars 1.7GB How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition 3GB #IDARB 402.78MB The Jackbox Party Pack 1.47GB Jet Car Stunts 351.24MB Just Dance 2014 22.81GB Just Dance 2015 15.8GB Kalimba 2.66GB Kickbeat: Special Edition 859.59MB Killer Instinct 19.02GB Killer Instinct Classic 441MB Killer Instinct 2 Classic 581.09MB Kinect Sports Rivals 10.88GB LA Cops 1.2GB Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris 2.58GB The Legend of Korra 2.9GB Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham 7.33GB Lego Marvel Super Heroes 6.48GB The Lego Movie Videogame 6.85GB Lego The Hobbit 8.76GB Life is Strange - Episode 1: Chrysallis 2.91GB Life is Strange - Episode 2: Out of Time 2.58GB Limbo 212.46MB LocoCycle 13.21GB Lords of the Fallen 5.95GB Madden NFL 15 15.07GB Madden NFL 25 12.52GB Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 1.2GB Max: The Curse of Brotherhood 3GB Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes 4.79GB Metro 2033 Redux 7.85GB Metro: Last Light Redux 9.24GB Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor 28.43GB Minecraft 668.64MB Monopoly Deal 744.68MB Monopoly Plus 1.03GB Mortal Kombat X 34.66GB Murdered: Soul Suspect 11.83GB NBA 2K14 43.89GB NBA 2K15 46.61GB NBA Live 14 9.37GB NBA Live 15 14.88GB Need for Speed Rivals 16.58GB Never Alone 2.92GB Neverwinter 10.5GB NHL 15 21.25GB Nutjitsu 261.89MB Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty 7.51GB OlliOlli 533.62MB Ori and the Blind Forest 7.68GB Outlast 3.68GB Peggle 2 2.55GB Pier Solar and the Great Architects 2.29GB Pinball Arcade 3.83GB Pinball FX2 420.03MB Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 17.5GB Pneuma: Breath of Life 10.47GB Pool Nation FX 12.03GB Powerstar Golf 4.09GB Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 22.2GB Project CARS 18.13GB Project Spark 2.86GB Pure Pool 599.75MB R.B.I. Baseball 14 1.12GB R.B.I. Baseball 15 4.86GB Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV Show 14.22GB Rayman Legends 3.4GB Resident Evil 14.68GB Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 1 6.96GB Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2 4.05GB Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 3 3.69GB Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 4 3.82GB Riptide GP2 203.8MB Risk 2.79GB Rocksmith 2014 5.68GB Roundabout 2.97GB Rugby 15 2.76GB Ryse: Son of Rome 36.96GB Saints Row IV: Re-Elected 12.07GB Saints Row: Gat out of Hell 6.65GB ScreamRide 4.41GB Shadow Warrior 6.78GB Shape Up 7.4GB Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments 12.45GB Shiftlings 2.3GB Shovel Knight 243.11MB Sixty Second Shooter Prime 292.45MB Skylanders: SWAP Force 15.72GB Skylanders: Trap Team 19.08GB Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition 17.83GB Sniper Elite III 23.18GB State of Decay: Year-One 3.91GB Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones 396.68MB Stick it to the Man! 1.78GB Strider 3.09GB Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut 1.81GB Styx: Master of Shadows 6.48GB Sunset Overdrive 26.06GB Super Time Force 930.45MB Tales from the Borderlands - Episode 1: Zer0 Sum 2.53GB Tales from the Borderlands - Episode 2: Atlas Mugged 1.41GB Terraria 503.66MB Tetris Ultimate 498.3MB Thief 19.25GB Thomas Was Alone 465.46MB Threes! 331.28MB Titanfall 19.73GB Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition 14.47GB Tower of Guns 1.15GB Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark 11.19GB Trials Fusion 8.44GB Unmechanical: Extended 986.44MB Valiant Hearts: The Great War 1.32GB Volgarr the Viking 291.15MB The Walking Dead: Season One 4.65GB The Walking Dead Season Two 4.48GB Warframe 6.98GB Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate 19.61GB Watch Dogs 14.44GB White Night 1.83GB The Wolf Among Us 4.95GB Wolfenstein: The New Order 43.27GB Wolfenstein: The Old Blood 37.14GB Worms Battlegrounds 1.88GB WWE 2K15 21.84GB Xbox Fitness 390.76MB Zombie Army Trilogy 10.25GB Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition 1.62GB Zoo Tycoon 2.64GB Zumba Fitness: World Party 24.15GB
Xbox One File Size Guide photo
From MB to GB
With the rise of digital distribution, hard drive constraints are becoming more problematic than ever. It's never fun purchasing a game only to find out you don't actually have space for it. Here is a constantly-updated list ...

The Battletoad fight in Shovel Knight Xbox One is so much better than the PSN's Kratos

Apr 28 // Chris Carter
[embed]290962:58324:0[/embed] Unlocking the Battletoads is as simple as following the exact same unlock method for Kratos in the PSN version of the game. Just follow my instructions here or watch the recap video above and you're good to go. Now, onto the fight. Spoilers, obviously. [embed]290962:58325:0[/embed] My God, I was not prepared for this. I thought it was just going to be a single battle with Rash, Zitz, and Pimple, but it's so much more than that. It's a three-tiered adventure that takes you through multiple elements of the classic NES game, including, yes, that infamous underground racing section. Oh, and it has a tiny little hub zone that you can return to in addition to an armor reward. I mean, Yacht Club Games just went above and beyond with this Battletoads cameo. Kratos was a cool fight that paid proper homage to the character but it was over very quickly. Having these dudes linger here like they're part of the game's world is amazing. You can go back and chill with them, enjoy a few Easter eggs, or replay a minigame! Unfortunately, it's tough to recommend the Xbox One version over the PSN one overall due to the fact that the latter hosts Cross-Buy and Cross-Save functionality. You're literally buying three games for the price of one on Sony platforms, which Microsoft can't really compete with at the moment unless they really kick it into gear with Windows 10. Still, this is basically the same exact game, so it does top the Wii U, 3DS, and PC editions due to the new ass-kickin' Battletoads boss battle. Maybe Nintendo can get a Fire Emblem character involved? Who knows, but seeing as how Sony and even Microsoft were willing, it would be disappointing to see them go silent on the matter.
Battletoads Shovel Knight photo
Watch it here
Shovel Knight is the gift that keeps on giving. It was already pretty loaded for a digital release, packed with secrets and replayability, but Yacht Club Games has been busy with other stuff too. For starters, the PSN ve...

Here's how to unlock Kratos in Shovel Knight, and a look at the full boss battle

Apr 21 // Chris Carter
The unlock:  [embed]290778:58265:0[/embed] Basically, you'll need to access the Hall of Champions first on the world map -- you can get there in roughly 30 minutes, and it essentially marks the mid-way point in the game. Go up the first ladder, and head all the way to the right. Blow through the false wall, go to the end of the corridor, and use your downward strike. The scroll to unlock Kratos is in that room. The fight: [embed]290778:58266:0[/embed] The phrase "epic" gets thrown around entirely too often these days, but this is one badass boss. I may have beaten him on my first attempt, but I had a decent loadout and he put up one hell of a fight. I wouldn't exactly call it a system selling encounter, but it was really fun. He also gives you a special item that you can see at the end of the video. The reward: [embed]290778:58267:0[/embed] If you take the item back to the blacksmith in the second town, he'll forge it into a special armor called the Armor of Chaos. It's a brand new set of armor that allows you to use Kratos' Blades of Chaos in-game.
Kratos in Shovel Knight photo
Progression spoilers
You've seen the teasers for Kratos' reveal for the PSN version of Shovel Knight -- no surprises there. But how you actually unlock him is another beast entirely, so beware of spoilers ahead for a rather cryptic meth...

One crucial tip for locating the new boss in Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin

Apr 07 // Chris Carter
Spoilers: The Dark Souls II re-release features a new character and boss, Aldia, Scholar of the First Sin. In order to face him as an encounter, you must have defeated Vendrick before you fight Nashandra, who can be considered the former "final boss" of the base game's story. If you don't kill Vendrick first, you won't get to see the new boss -- period. You'll have to replay the game to find Aldia. I actually made it all the way through and expected to face him, only to find out that I did it wrong. Alternatively, you can use a bonfire ascetic to restore the checkpoint [credit to community member Stairmasternem. Just tried this out and can verify. You will, however, have to fight the Throne Watcher & Defender again, as well as Nashandra and Aldia one after another. Due to the effects of the ascetic they are harder, so it's not recommended]. Killing Vendrick is much easier if you acquire any number of Giant Souls, four of which can be readily found in the world, and one of which needs to be obtained from from the Ancient Dragon, one of the toughest fights in the game. My advice? If you can't kill the dragon just get four -- Vendrick's attacks are easy enough to dodge.
Dark Souls II tip photo
Don't miss it
It goes without saying that there are minor spoilers involved (mainly just names that don't have any context) for Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin herein. This tip is mostly for returning players who want to experience the new content -- I don't want people to miss out on it for making a simple mistake.

Bloodborne photo
Not even gravity can stop him
This guy. This guy right here. It was late at night and I was already on edge in one of Bloodborne's unnerving Chalice Dungeons. I had hoped to quickly find the lever so I could proceed to the boss, get my ass kicked a few t...

Here's the full rundown on all the Wave 4 amiibo madness today, including GameStop's plan

Apr 02 // Chris Carter
GameStop rundown: So you may have heard that GameStop will be putting everything up online at 3PM EST today. Based on a memo I've obtained from a source (in the gallery below), that isn't going to happen exactly as planned. At 3PM EST, web-in-store will go live. What does that mean? Basically, you can go to a local GameStop location, give them your information, pay-up-front, and they'll order it for you. According to this memo online orders will not go live at exactly 3PM, and employees are instructed to direct people to stores. Sleazy as all hell, I know. Online orders will go live "sometime after that," but an exact time isn't given. A source has estimated "4 or 5 PM EST." For convenience and quick ordering, a $77.94 pack will be provided that includes all of the standard figures, sans the Splatoon 3-pack, which will retail for $34.99 as a separate purchase. As an added tip some stores have Wario listed in their systems for in-store pickup -- this is the only amiibo so far in Wave 4 that has this option. It may be a common figure, but it doesn't hurt to call your store and ask, as you might be able to lock him in before the flood gates open at 3PM EST. Ordering tips and potential rarity: You can pre-order them by way of web-in-store or online, both of which ship to your house. According to the memo there will be no "traditional" in-store pre-orders (outside of Wario), it will all be online. I don't have confirmation on the stock and I don't know if it will sell out in minutes, but it never hurts to be prepared. So here are some words of wisdom for online orders. Log into now and check your account. Make sure you don't need to take the time to reset your password (I had to today), your default address is correct, and if you want, store a payment method in the system. This last bit isn't recommended but it can get you checked out faster if you want to try to grab more stock after you order your favorites. You can not only try the default link, but the mobile site as well if anything goes out of stock. You can try it on your phone or manually bookmark It's weird, I know, but Shulk and the New 3DS XL were showing on up on mobile with working links after they sold out on the core site. Because Ness is exclusive, aim to get him first if you are "quick-ordering" before they sell out. You could always trade him for someone you want. Based on Japan availability, Robin and Lucina are the next rare ones in line. This also lines up with the fact that past Fire Emblem figures were already rare, and since they both work with Codename S.T.E.A.M., there will be some sort of demand for them. I haven't heard any substantial rumors about the rarity of other figures. As for other stores, it's all up in the air but we'll keep you posted. Word is that Amazon will be going live today and there's always Best Buy, Target, and Toys"R"Us. For more tips follow this guide.
amiibo wave 4 tips photo
Read carefully if you're pre-ordering online
[Update: I went in-store to scope the situation out and see what I could get at GameStop. I waited two hours as the fourth person in line. The first two got the $77.94 Smash amiibo bundle. The third only got th...

Bloodborne farming photo
I get by with a little help from my pigs
Depending on how far you are into Bloodborne, you've probably come to realize that this late-game area, accessible using the "Mergo's Loft: Middle" warp from the Hunter's Dream, is one of the best spots to quickly earn Blood...

How to locate the final hidden boss in Bloodborne, and achieve the true ending

Mar 26 // Chris Carter
[Read this for basic tips, and this for an advanced walkthrough of all the other optional bosses in the game.] Spoilers below for the video and the text: [embed]289570:57927:0[/embed] You'll need three umbilical cord items to trigger the ending. To my knowledge, there are four in the game. The easiest one to get is from the Wet Nurse boss near the end of the main story. You'll encounter this boss as part of the normal progression loop. You can snag another one from the Old Workshop, by watching this video. A third can be obtained from the NPC in the clinic. The first three minutes of this video will show you the route. When you reach the end of the line the NPC should be lying on an operating table, talking about a great deal of pain. Kill the character and grab the cord. If the NPC is not lying on the table do not attack or kill them -- come back later after defeating more bosses until they are in the right location and not hostile. The last known cord that I can confirm is from another NPC. Find Arianna in the Cathedral Ward and tell her to return to the chapel. Later in the game she will give birth down the ladder behind the lamp -- you can get a cord here. Contrary to what I've seen online in the past few days, you do not need the Yharnam Stone from the Chalice Dungeons to trigger the true ending. You only need to consume three cords before you fight the boss in Hunter's Dream, after defeating the Wet Nurse. Make sure you refuse the final choice. Here's how to obtain the other two endings: All you have to do to initiate the other two endings is either accept the final choice (a cutscene plays) for the first ending, or deny it without consuming the umbilical cords and defeat the boss for the second. Note that with all three endings the game will automatically start a New Game+ -- you have been warned.
Bloodborne secret ending photo
Spoilers, obviously
It's been quite a week since I first obtained Bloodborne. I'm currently on my fourth playthrough and I'm finding out that I missed quite a bit on my first run. Specifically, there's multiple endings, one of which involves a c...

Life is Strange: Episode Two Achievement guide

Mar 25 // Brett Makedonski
Out of Time: Finish Episode 2: Out of Time This is the only Achievement that's earned through story progression. Just finish the second episode. It shouldn't give you any trouble at all. Field of View: Find optional photo #1 in Episode 2: Out of Time Simply take a photo of the bunny in Kate's dorm room at the beginning of the episode. Full Exposure: Find optional photo #2 in Episode 2: Out of Time In the courtyard right outside the girls’ dorm, there’s a garbage can with food in it. Take it out for a squirrel to eat. When the squirrel scurries over, take a picture. Processor: Find optional photo #3 in Episode 2: Out of Time This one takes a bit of placement. Position yourself by the fire hydrant outside of the Two Whales Diner, and look up at the giant sign above the building. Move around while looking at the sign until the prompt to take the picture pops up. Image Stabilizer: Find optional photo #4 in Episode 2: Out of Time Go around the far side of the outside of the diner so that there’s a fence between you and the ferocious dog. Snap a picture of the puppy from the safety of the chain link. Compressed: Find optional photo #5 in Episode 2: Out of Time Someone wrote “Firewalk with me” on the mirror in the diner’s bathroom. Snap a photo of it. Pixelated: Find optional photo #6 in Episode 2: Out of Time This is another slightly obscure one. There’s a school bus in the middle of the junkyard. On top of it is the number 142. Move toward it and a bit to the left until the prompt comes up to take the picture. Dynamic Range: Find optional photo #7 in Episode 2: Out of Time While on your junkyard beer bottle fetch quest, a doe will cross Max’s path. Follow it just a bit into the woods and take a picture of it. Colorized: Find optional photo #8 in Episode 2: Out of Time After again proving your superpowers in the bottle shooting gallery, take a picture of Chloe as she aims her gun at the heavens. Meter Made: Find optional photo #9 in Episode 2: Out of Time In the science room, talk to Warren about his science mixture. Neither Potassium or Sodium are the right answer; go up to Ms. Grant to find that out. Return to Warren and tell him to add Chlorine. Snap a picture of him with his new pink concoction. Resolution Revolution: Find optional photo #10 in Episode 2: Out of Time As you walk into the photography room, Alyssa will be standing in front of the window. Just like the last Achievement in episode one, take the final picture behind someone as she peers off into the distance. Lab Master: Find all optional photos in Episode 2: Out of Time This one unlocks as soon as you snap the last optional photo. Click, pop, Achievement unlocked!
Life is Strange guide photo
Point camera, earn Gamerscore
The second episode of Life is Strange has an Achievement set that falls right in line with the first episode's. Again, exploration is key, and taking some quirky photos will earn you some easy Gamerscore. The rules and p...

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