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RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is Coming to the Nintendo Switch

RWBY: Grimm Eclipse Definitive Edition will indeed be coming to the Nintendo Switch. This is awesome news for those who have never played it or those who want to hunt Grimm on the go. The original RWBY: Grimm Eclipse was released on April 1st, 2014. The game is a hack and slash, like Dynasty Warriors. In those seven years since then some outfits and Team JNPR were added as DLC and that’s about it. Since then there were two mobile games that were released: RWBY: Amity Arena (which was a Clash Royale style game) and RWBY: Crystal Match (a RWBY Chibi match three game). Amity Arena shut down their servers on January 28th, 2021 and Crystal Match seems to have not had an update since 2019.

Until recently, it looked like the only RWBY game there was to look forward to was the one being made by Wayforward (The studio behind Shantae) and Arc System Works (The studio behind the Guilty Gear franchise and the Blazblue franchise). Then on March 25th, 2021 Nintendo dropped the RWBY: Grimm Eclipse Definitive Edition trailer. What separates the Definitive Edition from the original? All the DLC comes with the Definitive Edition for free and there is a new costume set too Power Armor.

From personally experience, this is a fun game to play with friends. Just kick back, relax, and slay some Grimm, and just have fun! RWBY: Grimm Eclipse Definitive Edition come out on May 13th 2021.

Matt’s Rules For Dark Souls

By: AAOG’S Community Manager Matt Turiano

Hi I’m Matt and I have played a lot of Dark Souls over the years, so I wanted to write out some of the wisdom I’ve gained over the decade or so these games have been coming out for new players. So in no particular order here are some of Matt’s rules for Dark Souls. I say some because I am absolutely going to think of others as soon as this goes up. 

You are going to die: This is the one everyone knows, hell prepare to die is the tagline of one of the games. But it’s true and bears repeating, you are going to die a lot, you will lose all your souls and you’re going to die again trying to get them back. Death is a setback, you are an undead, or unkindled, and that means you are to storm the fortresses of the games boss like an undying scourge. You will die and come back more knowledgeable than before, every death teaches you more about the game, about your enemies. Death to you is merely a setback.

Don’t get greedy: There will be times when you are sure that a boss or tough enemy has one last hit, and you will swing instead of blocking or dodging. And you will die for your greed, the enemy is going to start a combo and knock you out of your attack or a strong attack is going to deal way more damage then you thought. Don’t get greedy, take your time and be methodical. 

Anything Can (and will) Kill you: Never underestimate low level enemies, a group of low level hollows can take down an endgame character who isn’t paying attention. “Oh I’m just gonna run through this area and grab that item I missed,” wrong you’re going to get ganked by 10 hollows with broken swords. 

Find Every Item: This rule might be more about me than a dark souls rule but it’s my list so it goes on. Go out of your way to find every item, you never know what weapon or ring is going to introduce you to a new fun play style. Plus all the lore is on item descriptions, so if you really want to understand what’s going on with the game story better pick up every scrap of armor in the game. Or just do what I did and watch a lore video. 

Go places your not ready for: This rule breaks two of my rules and combines the other two. In the beginning of DS1 you have two opportunities to run into zones you are not ready for yet, and you can get some great gear early there. Why would I suggest this clearly greedy activity? Because you are going to die anyway, just make sure you don’t have a lot of unspent souls and run in and grab everything you can before you die. This can make the early game a lot easier, and is just part of my normal run.

Shields are Useful but…: Shields are great aren’t they, they block damage and save you from archers. But they can also lock you into a less fun play style, I encourage people to try two handed weapons or trying dual wielding in Dark Souls 2 and 3. Some of the most fun runs I’ve had are with dual wielding maces or Cestuses. 

Dark Souls is a Multiplayer game: This might feel silly to mention, but I think it’s easy to forget that when you play online you are playing with other people. Some players like to solo all the bosses in the game and more power to them. But to me Summoning is an intrinsic part of the game, there are whole covenants in the game based around helping other players fight bosses. There is also invading which isn’t my favorite part of the game, but if pvp is your bag their are plenty of builds and covenants for you as well. 

That’s all I’ve got for you today, so good luck, have fun, and Vereor Nox.

Ghost of Tsushima – ACT I – My thoughts so far…

It’s been an interesting year for video games, to say the least. No one expected that we would be spending three whole months indoors while this pandemic tore through the world. One thing is for sure, video games proved to be one of the many things that kept everyone from going mad.

There were three games I was highly anticipating: The Last of Us Part 2, Resident Evil 3 Remake, and Final Fantasy VII Remake. Resident Evil 3 was a fun horror-action game that I got addicted playing for a whole three weeks. Even after S-ranking the game on all difficulties, I still found satisfaction in beating the game over and over again. However, despite the fun factor, Resident Evil 3 Remake didn’t really entice me as a gamer and a big fan of the franchise. (They did Nemesis dirty in this game, man…)

The Last of Us Part 2 came out, and was probably my most anticipated game of the year. And though, I enjoyed playing the game, I couldn’t help but feel that it left much to be desired. It was an error on my end, because I’ve set my expectations way too high for the game. When it didn’t live up to the hype, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed.

Check out my LAST OF US PART 2 Review here

Which leaves Final Fantasy VII Remake. I actually have not played it yet. Why? It’s a long-winded story about stubbornness, Amazon Prime mishaps, and my desire for an artbook, that turned out to be a big letdown. But we’ll get to that story some other day.

So out of the three games, I’ve played two. Out of the two, none really wowed me to Batman: Arkham levels of hype. Then from out of nowhere, Sucker Punch reminded me, that they had a game coming out this year also.

I am Vengeance. I am the Night…

Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world samurai action, adventure game developed by Sucker Punch, the same studio responsible for the action-packed superhero game, Infamous, on the PS3. Honestly, I forgot that this game was coming out this year. I thought it was delayed for another year due to the quarantine. But my brother reminded me that it existed and he offered to go half on buying the game when it came out. So, we agreed, and while he was killing Mongul invaders in the living room, I was killing Clickers in my room. Though the game looked promising, and I have love for the samurai genre in general, I was a bit skeptical on starting the game because it was a brand-new IP. And considering the last game I played from Sucker Punch was the lackluster Infamous: Second Son, I didn’t really have any expectations for this game.

I have not beaten the game in its entirety yet, but my God… I think this is going to win Game of the Year.

GAMEPLAY

This game probably has the best swordplay combat in any game I’ve played in a while. This game is not an over the top hack-and-slash along the lines of say, Devil May Cry or God of War, where every attack was super flashy and over-the-top. It could easily have gone in that direction. Unlike its contemporaries, Tsushima’s combat is reserved and refined, often favoring precise attacks over broad strikes, which fits its samurai aesthetic. The game doesn’t shy away from flashy moves, despite its more reserved gameplay. In fact, you are given four different stances to unlock, each with its own purpose:

-Stone Stance: effective against Swordsmen

-Water Stance: effective against Shielded Enemies

-Wind Stance: effective against Spears

-Moon Stance: effective against all Brutes, with either Swords, Shields, or Spears.

This isn’t even the complete skill tree.
You have three categories as shown on this image.
That’s crazy!

The cool thing about these stances is that you can switch between them mid-combat, like Dante’s style-switching from Devil May Cry. This allows the player to be creative with their combos and adapt to multiple enemies at any given time. Luckily, there is a dodge button, that helps the player get out of tight spaces and reposition themselves in an advantageous position; and also, a block button, which blocks enemy attacks. Enemies also have unblockable attacks which keeps the player on their toes, enforcing the idea that blocking can only get you so far. You have to fight strategically rather than hacking away mindlessly. Later on, you unlock the ability to Perfect Parry attacks which is the most satisfying thing when you execute it, even more so when you do it against boss characters. My brother asked me why I don’t just stealth kill enemies, and simply put, it’s cause of this perfect parry move. It is Jin Sakai’s version of Dante’s Royalguard Style.

Boss fights are a blast because you are forced to adapt to certain enemy attacks in quick succession. I found that switching stances during boss fights help even out the odds because each style had its unique advantages such as range and speed. If you love samurai films, you’d probably find comparisons from the duel in Harakiri.

One of the many reasons I love the combat in Tsushima is how akin it feels to fighting games. You can’t just go in and mashing buttons. I mean, you can. No one will stop you. But the sheer satisfaction of executing precise attacks and taking down enemies without taking a single hit is satisfying beyond belief. It makes you feel like a true swordsman.

I wanna be ninja…

I mentioned that you can stealth kill enemies in this game. Stealth is an option in this game, very much like in Uncharted, and The Last of Us, but what I like about the stealth combat in this game in particular is how it is connected to Jin’s code as a samurai. There are two ways to approach a group of enemies. The first is the Standoff—Jin challenges the enemy group’s strongest warrior (or whoever is the closest enemy) to fight a one on one battle. Jin waits for the enemy to attack before delivering one quick killing stroke. One strike, one kill. Then combat against the rest commences. It’s a straight up homage to Sanjuro and I love it. The second approach is the “Assassination” technique. It’s a skill that you unlock which allows you to stealth kill an enemy. Jin learns it from Yuna, who tells him that he needs to bend his moral code of facing your enemy head on, to prevent countless lives from being killed. In fact, in one mission, Jin gets a flashback of his uncle teaching him the ways of the samurai and how attacking someone from behind is against that code, after stealth killing an enemy. Both methods have their advantages, but stealth killing is the only method that questions you whether or not you are still a samurai.

STORY

Ghost of Tsushima follows the story of Jin Sakai, a samurai under the mentorship of his uncle, Lord Shimura. After fighting a losing battle against invading Mongol forces, Lord Shimura is taken prisoner, and Jin Sakai is left for dead. After being nursed back to health by a thief, named Yuna, Jin embarks on a journey to rescue his uncle. However, his honor as a samurai is challenged when he is forced to adapt and bend his honorable code to fight this new breed of enemy.

Ghenghis and Kublai eat your heart out.

The entire first act revolves around you gathering allies to storm the Mongol stronghold stationed at Castle Kaneda. You accomplish this by going on these side quests with their own contained story arcs. For example, you recruit Lady Masako by helping her look for her family’s killers. As the story progress, you realize that Mongols were not entirely responsible for their deaths, but traitors from Tsushima itself. One of the constant themes of the overall story is betrayal, whether it be a betrayal of trust, or betrayal of one’s belief or code.

What really helps the main story are the various random encounters with bandits and Mongols as you journey around the map. It is an open-world game and you can choose to get through the main story, or take your time exploring a majority of the first island helping those in need and discovering secret shrines and locations that help upgrade Jin’s arsenal, strength, and combat skill. As with any other open world game, I opted to go the slow route and discover as much as I can before progressing the story. A neat mechanic in the game is that your “legend” increases the more you accomplish side quests, and help random hostages you encounter on the main roads. This gives you skill points that you can use to unlock new moves and skills for Jin.

This game is obsessed with legends and tales, and has a great appreciation and respect for Japanese folklore. A good number of side-quests revolve around finding bards who tell stories about great warriors of the past and the mission would then be about looking for a legendary bow that can take on an army; a teacher who knows the legendary art of the sword; there’s so much to do and learn about this small Japanese island.

These watercolor inks just make it so much cooler…

There are locations that also progress character growth and share insight on Jin’s thoughts. For example, finding a hot spring would not only increase your health, but it will allow the player an option to “reflect on” certain topics such as his uncle’s teachings, philosophy, people he’s met, etc. There are hidden spots where you can compose haikus about grief, compassion, war. These brief moments of “ma” (a Japanese term for “emptiness” or “negative space”) become small windows to Jin’s character.

The story is Jin Sakai and his journey to self discovery. The game takes its time to build, like the many duels Sakai has been a part of.

KUROSAWA MODE

And action…

There is one more thing I want to talk about.

It’s the Kurosawa Mode.

Named after the legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, this special mode turns the game into a Kurosawa film. It is only fitting as you can definitely see the director’s influence on this game. Though Kurosawa was more than capable of creating surreal and expressionist images with color, it’s in black and white where he truly shines.

The game looks stunning. The vibrant colors create a nice contrast to the darkness that has befallen Tsushima in the form of a Mongol invasion, There has been real care put into developing the wind and how it affects the landscape. The lighting provides a serene atmosphere that feels like you’re living in a fantasy and mythic world.

Kurosawa Mode takes away all the color. It turns everything black and white. Film grains also give the illusion that you are watching an old film reel. It is nostalgic, to say the least. I found great joy in how faithful this mode is to Kurosawa’s films. I mentioned how the wind mechanics were particularly well crafted, and that’s because Kurosawa was a master at capturing smoke and wind in his films. The way that fog sluice across the screen doing slow and quiet moments in the game provide an air of mystery, and during stand-offs, creates another layer of tension.

Come on, uncle. There’s no such thing as color…

I think this is the mode that made me fall in love with this game. The first thing I did was turn this on, put the language in Japanese, and turned the difficulty to “Hard mode” (it was the hardest difficulty available when I started, they have since added “Lethal” mode). The Photo Mode provide you with tools to create Kurosawa-esque compositions and short tracking shots. It gives you options on how much smoke, fireflies, leaves– every particle you can think of– to use, and how they moved across the scene. Kurosawa would be tickled.

The only downside to Kurosawa mode is that it makes gameplay difficult even on normal difficulties, because a lot of combat uses color indicators to counter enemy attacks. There are side quests that rely on you to find specifically colored flowers. I would not recommend Kurosawa mode on hard difficulty unless you want a true samurai experience. Another small thing that bothered me about Kurosawa mode is how the characters’ mouths were not in sync with the Japanese voice actors. It seems that the character models are locked onto the English settings and the Japanese voice lines were dubbed over. It’s a bit of a pet peeve at times, but if you’ve watched old Asian films with bad English dub, I think you’ll get used to it quickly. (Sub v. Dub I guess…)

See that, Nobu? All the light touches… belongs to my uncle.
*Neigh*
Well, it doesn’t belong to me…

All in all, I think that this game is turning out to be my personal pick for Game of the Year. But, I still have much to do before I can say that with confidence. Act One ended with a big twist that I didn’t really see coming and looking back at it, it should have been obvious.

I have a feeling that this game will be the new golden standard when it comes to samurai games.

A Mega Update in Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO is a game that has been downloaded over a billion time, was named “Best Mobile Game” in 2017 by the Game Developers Choice Awards and “Best App of the Year” in by TechCrunch. Maybe you played it but eventually deleted it or maybe you never stopped playing. Recently Niantic, the developers of Pokémon GO released their Mega Update. As the name implies, Mega Evolution is now in the game. Here’s a question though: How does it work and who can Mega Evolve? Well, allow me to explain.

Mega Evolution works a lot differently in Pokémon GO than it does in any of the main games. Instead of your Blastoise holding Blastoisite, you now have to give it Blastoise Mega Energy. If you have not Mega Evolved your Blastiose, or any other pokémon for the matter, it will cost you 200 Blastoise Mega Energy. Now, how do we get said energy? To get Mega Energy for Blastoise, Charizard, Venusaur, and Beedrill you must complete special missions in the month of September. The more you Mega Evolve a pokémon, the lower its Mega Energy costs. Now it IS pokémon specific. So I would recommend having your second or third strongest one to be Mega Evolved. Mega Evolution is very powerful, so there is also a time limit for how long a pokémon can be Mega Evolved. Also, there are new raids: Mega Raids. In those all participants face the same pokémon, however, it is Mega Evolved

That pretty much covers all the news involving this Mega Update. From how it works, who can Mega Evolve, to what you can expect to face in the Mega Raids

‘Gotham Knights’ revealed at DC Fandome

After years of waiting, rumors, and forum discussions and speculations, WB Montreal Games–the developers behind the underdog classic Batman: Arkham Origins— announced their new “Batman” video game at DC Fandome:

Gotham Knights.

The initial trailer reveals to us that the game takes place after the Death of Bruce Wayne. He sends a video and a set of instructions to his sidekicks giving them a final mission to continue his legacy. If the gameplay and new graphics didn’t whet anyone’s curiosity, the involvement of The Court of Owls certainly piqued interests.

Though a fairly new addition to Batman’s historic Rogues Gallery, the Court of Owls became a fan favorite after Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s 2011 run. WB Games Montreal have been teasing fans of the Court with cryptic messages on Twitter for quite some time. The Court of Owls have been the topic of many “Top 10” lists of villains fans would like to see in a Batman: Arkham video game, and fans are ecstatic that they made it in.

The surprises don’t end there. DC Fandome dropped a demo trailer showcasing seven minutes of actual gameplay and teases a boss fight with Mr. Freeze

By far, the best Mr. Freeze design, I’ve ever seen…

The game allows the player(s) to play one of four of Batman’s sidekicks– Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, and Red Hood– each sporting a unique skill set, gadget, and combat style. Their movesets appear to be completely different from their Arkham moveset, so fans would have to learn new combo routes and strategies. Detective mode seems to be a missing feature. However, it may still show up once the game nears release.

Each character drives their own Batpod inspired bike, but it is unclear if they serve any other purpose other than traversing Gotham’s city streets. Hopefully, the devs learned restraint after Arkham Knight‘s overuse of Batman’s sweet ride.

Gotham Knights is expected in 2021 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

“Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League” revealed at DC Fandome

The surprises don’t stop coming from DC FANDOME 2020.

Rocksteady unveiled their new project Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League this weekend. Check out the trailer below:

All doubts I had is just gone. Pack it up and take my damn money!

Like I said in my earlier article, I wasn’t really all that thrilled about a new Suicide Squad game. But the fact Superman is in it, made me want to reconsider.

BRAINIAC

Can we get Jeffrey Combs to play him again?
There’s just something about the Re-Animator being an Alien Knowledge-Seeking Destroyer of Worlds that just seems right….

The cinematic trailer opens up with a big reveal: Brainiac.

It seems that he will be the “big bad” of the game, as a giant Brainiac ship has made its home among the Metropolis cityscape. The scene looks very reminiscent of Injustice 2‘s take on a Brainiac invasion. Fans were wondering why Task Force X would be targeting the Justice League when it was announced. It didn’t occur to fans that Brainiac was the answer.

I call that a win-win.

METROPOLIS

Metropolis seems to be the main setting of this game.

[Insert mandatory “Inception BRRRR” here]

Rocksteady presents us a gorgeous and sunlit Metropolis– despite the Brainiac invasion. It is a rich and colorful environment that contrasts Gotham’s dark and decrepit streets. The sun never rises in Gotham, but the sun never sets in Metropolis.

I am hoping that the game’s final version of Metropolis is just as gorgeous as the one seen in the trailer, and as expansive, if not bigger, than the Gotham City map in Arkham Knight. The city is just stunning to look at. It’s almost as if they were making a Superman game at one point, then the execs said, “No, make Suicide Squad…” and Rocksteady shrugged and added the Suicide Squad in…

THE SQUAD

Guardians of the– who…?

The Suicide Squad roster is composed of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, and Captain Boomerang. They’ve become the face of the group ever since their resurgence in popularity prior to 2016’s film adaptation.

The trailer introduces us to the Squad as they lounge about the rooftops awaiting further orders from Amanda Waller. We get a real sense of chemistry between the characters that was sorely missing in the 2016 film. Deadshot boasts about never missing a target, while the rest of the gang mock him for repeating the same Snapple fact for the umpteenth time. Captain Boomerang is a sarcastic yet charming Aussie through and through that contrasts Deadshot’s uptight personality. King Shark, oddly enough, gave me Drax-like vibes, providing an awkward yet satisfying dumbwitted yet endearing aura about the character. Harley is just.. well, she’s Harley.

No word yet if other, and more disposable, members of Task Force X will make an appearance but the possibilities are endless at this point.

Harley and Deadshot console King Shark after Boomerang ate the last slice of Pizza…

No gameplay was shown, but based on the cinematic trailer, it is looking to be an action/shooter experience with a possible option for 4-player co-op. We get a glimpse at what we can expect from each character’s skill kits. Everyone seems to have a traversal gadget that allows them to move along the city rooftops: Harley has a grappling hook; Deadshot’s got a jetpack; King Shark looks like he may have an enhanced jump; and Captain Boomerang either has a Boomerang that allows him to teleport to it’s location, or some sort of speed force ability. As for combat, they all seem to have projectiles guns of some sort, and different melee styles. Honestly, I’m getting Fortnite vibes mixed with Sunset overdrive from this trailer.

SUPERMAN

Superman is here!

And his name is JOHN CENA!!!! {DUDUDUUUUU!!!!)

Yes. I, too, am tired of evil Superman stories. But I shall allow this. I feel that the concept of Task Force X being a countermeasure to superheroes-gone-rogue has been mishandled by the 2016 film and I just want to see it done right. Besides, what better threat than the most powerful superhero of them all.

Keep in mind, that this story takes place in Rocksteady’s “Arkham-verse.” Yes. You heard that right. This game is a spiritual successor to the Batman: Arkham games– which is why I’m more excited about this game than the Gotham Knights game. Batman, at this point in time is no longer around, unless of course this takes place before the events of Knight, instead of after. The Justice League has been brainwashed by Brainiac, and no one else is capable of taking down the Justice League. Hell, not even Task Force X, but that’s why it’s a suicide mission after all.

When Superman appears on screen, he’s shot in the typical superheroic way to convey that he’s a symbol of hope and peace. King Shark even hammers the point down by giving the best line in the trailer.

Drax the Destroyer? Nah… Just Destroyer.

“Look! It’s Superman! The Mighty Superman has just rescued that pilot…”

I don’t know about you guys, but I was cracking up when King Shark said that line. It has a very childlike and fanboy-ish delivery to it, as if King Shark actually idolizes Superman. He just stares at him with awe before Supes goes full Homelander on that poor pilot.

EDIT: I just learned that Samoa Joe is the voice of King Shark. Perfection, I tell you. And it explains the Samoan Tribal tattoos.

I feel that this game might make a lot of great and dark jokes at the expense of the Justice League in the same manner as Harley Quinn’s TV Show, albeit more subdued and grounded.

Superman as a boss battle is enough to get me to pre-order the game, regardless of how it turns out. I am curious to see what Rocksteady has learned and how they are going to apply that in these boss battles against the Justice League. Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern… If this game is half of what I expect it to be, I think I’ll be satisfied.

All in all, this game is looking to be an interesting one. No word yet, when the next announcements for this game will be made. It seems that DC hasn’t given up on this IP just yet. With this game and a new movie in the horizon, I feel that Suicide Squad just might make an explosive comeback.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is set to release in 2022.

2022… Yeah…

but why tho?

Master Roshi joins DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ

Dragon Ball FighterZ will be getting a brand new fighter this Fall. Who you may ask? Well, it’s none other than the old, panty-sniffing, badass pervert master of Kame House himself, Master Roshi.

ArcSys, Bandai… Y’all killin’ me with these short trailers….

Not much is known regarding his gameplay… because barely anything was shown. The only glimpse of gameplay fans were given was a short auto-combo that led into his (possible Level 3 super) Evil Containment Wave. The cool thing about it, is that it seems to trap the opponent in the small bottle if Roshi manages to use it as the finishing blow.

Roshi has been a highly requested character since Day 1 and fans were shocked that he wasn’t part of the first season of DLC, let alone the main roster. It’s nice to see the old geezer finally make it into the game. Considering that Season 3 has done much to revitalize the game–with new gameplay mechanics, balances, and game modes–Roshi will be a welcomed addition to shake up the current meta. (UI Goku is killing it right now…)

Roshi is set to join the roster September 2020 and will be the 3rd DLC character of Season Pass 3.

Two slots remain… Please, give me Raditz…

Rocksteady announces new “Suicide Squad” game

Batman: Arkham fans went ballistic when Rocksteady studios announced their new project on Twitter: Suicide Squad. Fans rejoiced for a new DC game from Rocksteady after a five year hiatus. No one knew what was going on behind the scenes, but we knew something big was coming.

The video game developer posted the announcement on Twitter but not in the way fans anticipated. Instead of seeing staple Suicide Squad members like Deadshot or Harley Quinn on the announcement poster, Rocksteady opted to go the extra mile and revealed the game’s poster with an image of the Suicide Squad’s target: Superman.

Y’all complained about Arkham Bosses being too easy…
Now, we suffer.

The mad lads. They’ve done it.

Fans have been anticipating some Superman content from Rocksteady for a while, after the planned Superman game was cancelled and easter eggs relating to the Last Son of Krypton were littered across Arkham Knight. Some fans, including yours truly, were disappointed that Rocksteady was developing a Suicide Squad game rather than a new Batman: Arkham game.

Many believed that due to the poor reception of the Suicide Squad live action film, any related media, including this one, would suffer a lack of interest and enthusiasm from the general audience. But the fact Superman seems to be this game’s big final boss raises some eyebrows and have put some doubts to rest.

At the very least, it puts a big, goofy smile on my face.

More information about the game is set to be announced on August 22nd at DC Fandome.

Why N++ Strikes a Chord With Me

Hello again! I’ve decided to take a small break from my anime reviews to talk to you all about basically the game that I play. Yes, I got briefly back into The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth but that was a small excursion from my usual habit of religiously devoting hours a day to a momentum platformer called N++.

If you don’t immediately recognize it, then you’ll probably recognize its grandpa, N.

Nv1.4

N is a flash game in which you play as a ninja that has to pass through collections of five levels (called episodes), avoiding mines, rockets, turrets, and drones to reach the exit. You die in one hit, and your controls are very floaty. N later was updated into Nv1.4, and then even later into Nv2.0, and then it finally got an official sequel titled N+. You can then reasonably assume that N++ came after that.

However, I was two when N was released in March of 2004. N+ was released for the handheld consoles DS and PSP, which I never had. N++ itself was released for PS4 in 2015, and for the PC in 2016. Now this was a more reasonable time for me to discover the game and begin to play it. I have basically played PC games my whole life (PC master race, woot woot), and I was already known to be very into arcade style games. But no! 14 year-old me in 2016 was completely oblivious still, and during the time that I was unaware, an expansion to the game came out in 2017, making it N++ Ultimate Edition. However, it was later the same year that I finally discovered this series, as I bought it on steam in December of 2017, as a 16 year old.

Shout-out to my friend Liam for showing me this game when I went to his house once. Thanks, man.

But! This article isn’t exactly about the history of the N series. It’s about how this travels through all the right pathways in my brain, and has made its mark on me as a person. Oh, and how if any of what I’m about to describe sounds relatable to you, you should absolutely check it out. Without further ado… let’s begin!

N++ looks like quite the upgrade, doesn’t it?

Now is when I have to figure out what is most important to say about N++. I think I’ll mention things in the order you would notice them as a new player. The game is ferociously minimalist; the UIs are purely utilitarian, the main menu just has the normal game playing in the background, the music is constant and goes through a “radio” selection of songs, the visuals consist of lines and basic shapes, and there’s no story (except on the technicality that there are two paragraphs under the “story” option on the main menu, but that doesn’t really count).

When you play the actual game, your level selection is just a grid. A series of boxes. Your tutorial is wordless, unless you navigate to the “help” option in the main menu, which I would say is very much optional. The actual tutorial, the Intro tab, has lines of gold to incentivize you to learn your movement options and that’s that, maybe with level titles as hints.

That, of course, is when you will notice the main draw of this game. The movement.

You spend the majority of the game in the air.

My best word to describe it would be smooth. My second best word would be floaty. My third, fourth, and fifth are high skill ceiling. I have never played a game with better controls. Yes, as implied with “floaty”, the ninja feels very light, and can stay in the air quite a long time. Also, since the physics play a lot into momentum, you have to spend a good amount of time figuring out how long it takes to cancel out your inertia. If you’re going full speed to the right, you have to press left much sooner than you think if you want to make a tight turnaround.

But that is what gives this game such a high skill ceiling. Being good at that stuff isn’t necessary for playing the base game. There are a few times it will make you have to do tight maneuvers, but only in the later levels, by which point you should be plenty capable of doing what it asks of you, and what it asks of you is not nearly the limit of how tight you can get it. Getting good at this game feels good. You have so much room for improvement at all times, it’s crazy. I’m 1,500 hours in and I can still feel myself getting better. The way you can jump off slopes, the angles you can get when hitting the corners of blocks, how close you can get to different hitboxes without touching them… the speed you can obtain when playing perfectly. It’s ridiculous. And the whole game is built around making attaining that level of skill feel natural and engaging.

Speaking of the base game (even if I said it at the beginning of the last paragraph…)

The level select. Kind of intimidating, isn’t it?

So, slight spoiler alert. The biggest thing that separates N++ from its predecessors. The — here’s where the spoiler is — secret challenges!

The base game is compsoed of 385 episodes, each of which has 5 levels, making 1925 levels just to beat the base game. That’s not including co-op, which essentially doubles this number. But then, there are 240 secret levels. Well, what’s 240 more levels in the face of the previous 1925? That doesn’t sound like a huge addition to the game.

To which I say: no no no no, you don’t understand… to get these secret levels, you have to complete secret challenges.

There are 4 tabs. The Intro tab, the N++ tab, the Ultimate tab, and the Legacy tab. N++ and Ultimate each have one secret level per episode, and to get the secret level for the episode, you have to complete secret challenges for each level within the episode. That’s right. 1200 of the levels from the base game have at least one secret challenge. Many — most — have multiple. That takes a single level and turns it into sometimes more than five separate experiences. This, once again, nearly doubles the content in the game.

To see these challenges, you also have to collect all the gold in a level, though that is a less hidden goal. Each of the secret levels also have their own secret challenges, except these levels are known to be chock full of them, so they are each maybe four to five experiences on average.

I have also, up to this point, failed to mention the no-death runs of episodes, and also the hardcore stories, each of which are 25 levels in a row. Oh, and of course, no-death runs of the hardcore stories are also rewarded with completion points.

By now I hope you are appreciating the full breadth of content this game has. It is insanity. And this… this is all the official stuff!

Userlevels get crazy!

I’m personally drawn to the game largely by two other factors. First and most intended, userlevels.

As if the normal game wasn’t enough, you have virtually endless content in the form of user made maps, and some of the people making levels are unbelievably good at it. Admittedly, this game is… a bit buggy, which is its whole own discussion, but it basically never inhibits gameplay. It is very apparent, however, in the menus. To make it quick, the Best & Top Weekly tabs are broken, as well as the Tracked & Favorited By Friends tabs, oh and the Made By Friends tab. So. Many tabs here are completely defunct.

But what is here is great! You can either scroll through Newest to see what’s been going on as of late, or you can pass through Featured to see what the devs of the game themselves have vetted and decided are userlevels worth showing off. They are meant to be representative of the highest quality that the mapping community has to offer. I would tend to agree that they hold to this standard, and that is not biased by the fact that I am now on the review team, thank you very much… ahem, anyways.

Behold some userlevels I think help illustrate my point:

I think now would be a good time to end this article. I should leave things for you to discover, right? Well, I’ll briefly mention that the highscoring scene is fiercely competitive and yet has the least toxic competitors I have seen, period. I myself have obtained a 0th (the leaderboards like to be fancy and have 1st place be marked with a 0), and the experience was entirely positive. The guy I took it from even congratulated me, and I’m certain he actually meant it.

The last thing is that the devs accidentally left a way for you to add in custom color palettes (palettes being a feature that also separates N++ from its predecessors, which is great for me since its classic colors are very very boring in my opinion). I have had a blast not only creating my own palettes, but feeling like a part of the community by helping other people with theirs. It’s really fun and taps into my creativity in a way that really blindsided me.

And now, I play no other video games unless I am with friends. 1,500 hours in and I see no signs of stopping. I have found my game. I hope I have convinced some of you to give it a try (and if you do end up trying the game because of me, why not join the N++ discord and let me know?).

I don’t have a very good way to end this article so I’ll just leave it like this:

PLAY THIS GAME!

It really is

Diaries of a Warcraft Widow Volume II: 6 Things to Do While Your Partner Games

@Diablo via @Geekologie

I’ve written before about the surprise of finding myself in an inter-geekery relationship. If you’re in a relationship with diverging geeky interests, you might not ever be one of those couples who shares a hobby. But the time intensive nature of gaming can leave you with plenty of time to hang out together, even if you’re not actively doing the same thing.

So pull a chair up to the gaming station and do these things while your partner is busy farming in WoW:

  1. Read

Why not indulge in your own nerdy hobby while your partner games and crack open a new book? It’s a quiet, immersive activity to do when you need to occupy yourself for awhile.

  1. Reddit*

Open Reddit on your own device and read the most ridiculous r/AskReddit and r/RelationshipAdvice posts out loud to your partner while they play. Not only will you find yourself in hysterics over the ridiculous responses, some great conversations can be prompted by Reddit.

  1. Netflix*

The beauty of having a triple monitor set-up is that you can throw up a small window for Netflix (or your streaming service of choice) in the corner when not in an action-ridden part of the game. This way you can both watch something together without shorting in-game hours.

  1. Color

Coloring books are one of the best quiet, relaxing activities. They pair well with other activities going on in the room because they require so little extra mental effort.

  1. Crafts

Knit socks. Scrapbook. Whittle. Small craft hobbies are entertaining and portable. If you’re seriously invested in a particular craft, why not set up a craft station next to your partner’s PC and make a hobby den?

  1. Dip Your Toe into the Gaming World, Too

Just because you are not a “gamer” doesn’t mean there aren’t games you’ll enjoy playing with your partner. More narrative games—like the recently released The Last of Us Part II, The Long Dark or Firewatch—are similar to a choose-your-own-adventure movie. Throwing on a narrative game in single-player mode and playing it together is a great way to learn about gaming without the pressure of competition. You don’t have to be invested in each other’s hobbies to be in love, but sometimes it’s nice to share.

*Not applicable for raid nights.