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  2. Reaching Rank 10 in the Persona 3 Mitsuru Social Link is the only way to start a romance with Mitsuru and unlock the ultimate Empress Persona, Alilat--if you’re playing the male route. Like with Fuuka and Yukari in Persona 3, the female protagonist only becomes very good friends with them. This guide explains how to start the Mitsuru Social Link and the best choices to pick for each protagonist. We’ve only included the conversations where a dialogue choice matters. For any that we didn’t include, you can pick any dialogue option and get the same result. How to start the Mitsuru Social LinkMitsuru is only available after November 21, and you need max academics (genius level) to start the relationship, regardless of which protagonist you chose. You can raise your academics by studying at night or in the school library, but raising academics to the max level takes more than twice as long as it does to max out charm. If you don’t want to neglect your other Social links, you may have to save this relationship for New Game+, where your stats carry over. Once you do start Mitsuru’s Social Link, you have very limited time to finish it. December 31 is the cutoff date for making a significant choice that determines what ending you get. If you go for the true ending, you’ll have some extra time in January to work on finishing the Social Link. You can find her during the day on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at Gekkoukan High near the office. An easier Social Link that you can start much earlier in the RPG involves the old couple at the bookstore. Head to the mall to start the Hierophant Social Link. How to romance MitsuruIf you’re playing as the male protagonist, you automatically start a romantic relationship with Mitsuru by progressing her Social Link. There’s no specific moment where you confess your passion or decide to remain friends. That’s true for your relationships with Aigis, Fuuka, and Yukari as well. If you want to do their Social Links, you don’t have a choice in the romance department–but you also don’t get penalized for having multiple girlfriends. The female protagonist can’t romance Mitsuru. Best gifts for MitsuruIf you want to rank up faster, you can give Mitsuru gifts to help boost your relationship. She prefers: DollsBrand fashion itemsMitsuru Social Link choicesAs with Persona 3’s other Social Links, make sure to bring a Persona of the matching Arcana to get an extra relationship boost for every correct answer.That’s the Empress Arcana for Mitsuru. Most Empress Personas start at a higher level, so to save money, it’s probably best to keep one on hand rather than summoning from the compendium when you need one. Leanan Sidhe and Yaksini are the ones you’ll likely encounter or be able to fuse first. Mitsuru Social Link rank 1No choice matters here, regardless of your protagonist Mitsuru Social Link rank 2--Female protagonist Mitsuru seems nervous Is this your first time? (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 2--Male protagonistMitsuru seems nervous Is this your first time? (+2)Mitsuru Social Link rank 3--Female protagonistMitsuru seems dejected. Anyway, let’s eat (+3)Perhaps he's just maturing... Does that make you happy? (+3)I can't explain why, though... Love?That’s anxiety (both give +3)Sorry for subjecting you to my incoherent ramblings... Please forget what I just said Okay, I will (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 3--Male protagonistMitsuru seems dejected. Ask her to treat you (+2)Perhaps he's just maturing... Does that make you happy? (+3)I can't explain why, though... Maybe you’re in love?Maybe you’re just anxious (both give +2)Sorry for subjecting you to my incoherent ramblings... Please forget what I just said Agree to forget about it (+2)Mitsuru Social Link rank 4--Female protagonistSoon, we'll be looking back nostalgically on these times… You seem troubled (+3)What are your thoughts on marriage? To be with your true love (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 4--Male protagonistSoon, we'll be looking back nostalgically on these times… Did something happen? (+2)What are your thoughts on marriage? It’s the result of love (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 5--Female protagonist...You can have 'bored' written all over your face without having to consider the feelings of others. Both give +3You may be more suited to ride a motorcycle than me... Motorcycle? (+3) Mitsuru seems happy. Can I ride with you sometime? (+3)Mitsuru's Social Link has the steepest requirements and unlocks late. You might have to wait until New Game+ to max it out. Mitsuru Social Link rank 5--Male protagonistI find it interesting that so much thought is put into the design and construction of a movie theater I’m glad you enjoyed it (+3)She's also more suited to ride a motorcycle... A motorcycle? (+3) Mitsuru seems happy. Let’s go for a ride? (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 6--Female protagonistMitsuru is looking at the bookshelf. Not feeling well? (+3)It's the best solution for everyone involved It’s the first I’ve heard (+3)So, I won't run from my destiny You should reconsider! (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 6--Male protagonistMitsuru is looking at the bookshelf. Can I get a book for you? (+3)It's the best solution for everyone involved That’s news to me (+2)So, I won't run from my destiny You have to reconsider! (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 7--Femle protagonistWhen you're with me... what do you think? I enjoy myself (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 7--Male protagonistOr, is that being selfish? Let’s do it! (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 8--Female protagonistMitsuru is trembling with anger. How dare you!? (+3)Please excuse me. Both give +3Mitsuru Social Link rank 8--Male protagonistMitsuru is trembling with anger. Say something to the guy (+3)Mitsuru is leaving. What will you do? Both give +3Mitsuru Social Link rank 9--Female protagonistI'm so sorry about what happened the other day. It must have upset you You were cool! (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 9--Male protagonistI'm so sorry about what happened the other day. That makes me happy (+3)Mitsuru Social Link rank 10--Female protagonist...I can't wait until then. Both choices give +3Mitsuru Social Link rank 10--Male protagonist...I can't wait until then. Both choices give +3 View the full article
  3. Maxing out the Persona 3 Fuuka Social Link is the only way to start a romance with Fuuka and unlock the ultimate Priestess Persona, Scathach--if you’re playing the male route. The female protagonist just becomes good friends with Fuuka and learns how to summon Scathach. This guide explains how to start the Fuuka Social Link and the best choices to pick for each protagonist. We’ve only included the conversations where a dialogue choice matters. For any that we didn’t include, you can pick any dialogue option and get the same result. How to start the Fuuka Social LinkFuuka is available after June 15, but you must have reached courage level 2 (ordinary) to start the Social Link. This applies to both protagonists. Reaching level 2 courage requires 30 points, so you should be able to reach that by the time mid-June rolls around without sacrificing your other stats as well. Head to Wild-Duck Burger on Thursdays to get +3 courage and Club Mandragora in the evenings for +2 courage After you do begin Fuuka’s Social Link, you can find her during the day on Monday, Friday, and Saturday on the second floor at Gekkoukan High. If you’re playing as the female protagonist, Fuuka is available on Thursday instead of Friday. If you're looking for another Social Link with easy start requirements in Atlus' RPG, check out the old couple at the bookstore to start the Hierophant Social Link. How to romance FuukaIf you’re playing as the male protagonist, you start a romantic relationship with Fuuka just by leveling up her Social Link. Unlike later Persona games, there’s no diverging path where you confess undying love or decide just to be friends. That’s true for your relationships with Aigis, Mitsuru, and Yukari as well. If you want to do their Social Links, you don’t have a choice in the romance department–but you also don’t get penalized for having multiple girlfriends. The female protagonist can’t romance Fuuka. Best gifts for FuukaIf you want to rank up faster, you can give Fuuka gifts to help boost your relationship. She prefers: Brand fashion itemsBook coverPlants, especially the mini-cactus and bonsaiFuuka Social Link choicesAs with Persona 3’s other Social Links, make sure to bring a Persona of the matching Arcana to get an extra relationship boost for every correct answer. For Fuuka, that’s the Priestess Arcana. Apsaras and Unicorn are the cheapest options and the easiest to fuse. Fuuka Social Link rank 1No choice matters here, regardless of your protagonist Fuuka Social Link rank 2--Female protagonistFuuka is muttering things to herself... Do you need any help? (+3)Fuuka Social Link rank 2--Male protagonistMaybe I should give him some food. What do you think? Sure (+2)Fuuka Social Link rank 3--Female protagonistSo, you can relax a little too Let’s do our best (+3)D-Does that make me seem weird? Both choices give +3I guess... I'm no match for our leader… Both give +3Fuuka Social Link rank 3--Male protagonistEverything I make still tastes terrible… I believe in you (+3)Fuuka Social Link rank 4--Female protagonistIf only there was something I was actually good at... You’re good with machines (+3)I want to find something that only I can do... Something that people would rely on me for... Both give +3Fuuka Social Link rank 4--Male protagonistNot to mention that I'm kind of embarrassed about it all. I mean, it's not a very feminine hobby Oh I don’t think so (+3)Fuuka Social Link rank 5--Female protagonistD-Do you think I can make something that difficult...? Let’s make it together (+3)Whenever I try that… You did your best, too (+3)Fuuka's Social link is one of the earliest you can start and has a comparatively low stat requirement. Fuuka Social Link rank 5--Male protagonistW-Well, h-how does it taste? Both give +3You've taught me so much. Thank you for everything… I’m glad I could help! (+2)Fuuka Social Link rank 6--Female protagonistH-How is it…? You really did your best! (+3)Fuuka Social Link rank 6--Male protagonistJust for a little while...? Okay (+3)Fuuka Social Link rank 7--Femle protagonistSeriously... I'm hopeless at everything... Just try harder next time (+3)But what should I do with this...? It's so much rice... It would be such a shame to waste it all. Both give +3Fuuka Social Link rank 7--Male protagonistNo choice mattersFuuka Social Link rank 8--Female protagonistNo choice mattersFuuka Social Link rank 8--Male protagonistWhy are you always so positive? All three give +2I want to be with you I want to be with you too (+3)Fuuka Social Link rank 9--Female protagonist...It's very good Both give +3Fuuka Social Link rank 9--Male protagonistNo choice mattersFuuka Social Link rank 10--Female protagonistThat reminds me, I bought a chocolate plate, too. Can you write something on it? Both choices give +3What should you write? All choices give +3 The technology she used must be revolutionary. Both choices give +3Fuuka Social Link rank 10--Male protagonistWith you by my side... I don't think I'll be confused anymore I’ll be by your side (+3)...Sorry, I'm not very feminine, am I...? Both give +3 View the full article
  4. Maxing out the Persona 3 Yukari Social Link is the only way to start a romance with Yukari and unlock the ultimate Lovers Persona, Cybele--if you’re playing the male route. The female protagonist just becomes good friends with Yukari and learns how to summon Cybele. This guide explains how to start the Yukari Social Link in Atlus' RPG and the best choices to pick for each protagonist. We’ve only included the conversations where a dialogue choice matters. For any that we didn’t include, you can pick any dialogue option and get the same result. How to start the Yukari Social LinkYukari is available from April 28 on, but you might have to wait depending on which hero you’re playing as. The female protagonist can start the Social Link immediately, but the male protagonist needs rank six (max) charm. If you visit the cafe every day and attend photo club, you may be able to max out the charm stat by the end of summer, but just bear in mind this likely means excluding other stats and social pursuits as a result. After you do begin Yukari’s Social Link, you can find her during the day on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday in your classroom at Gekkoukan High. If you're looking for an easier Social Link to start with, pay a visit to the bookstore and kick off the Hierophant Social Link. How to romance YukariIf you’re playing as the male protagonist, you start a romantic relationship with Yukari just by leveling up her Social Link. Unlike later Persona games, there’s no “big moment” where you profess your feelings. The two of you just grow closer. That’s true for your relationships with Aigis, Mitsuru, and Fuuka as well, and even though you don’t have a choice in the matter, you also don’t get penalized for having multiple girlfriends. The female protagonist can’t romance Yukari. Best gifts for YukariIf you want to rank up faster, you can give Yukari a gift or two to help boost your relationship. She prefers: Fashion items (Purse, watch, perfume, bag)Flowers (Roses, glass vase)Yukari Social Link choicesAs with Persona 3’s other Social Links, make sure to bring a Persona of the matching Arcana to get an extra relationship boost for every correct answer. For Yukari, that’s the Lovers Arcana. Pixie, Alp, and Tam Lin are the cheapest options and the easiest to fuse. Yukari Social Link rank 1No choice matters here, regardless of your protagonist Yukari Social Link rank 2--Female protagonistHey, what's your favorite flower? Roses, no question (+3)I like Gerbera (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 2--Male protagonistHey, I think I'm gonna go with gerberas, but which color should I get? Pink’s cute (+3)Oh, you've never seen my room, have you? Well, what good are you? That’s messed up (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 3--Female protagonistNo choice mattersYukari Social Link rank 3--Male protagonistNo choice mattersYukari Social Link rank 4--Male protagonistSorry Are you all right? (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 4--Female protagonistSorry Are you all right? (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 5--Male protagonistYukari is trembling. It doesn't seem like she really means what she's saying Try to cheer her up (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 5--Female protagonistNo choice mattersIf you're playing as the male protagonist, you'll have to wait much longer before you can start Yukari's Social Link. Yukari Social Link rank 6--Male protagonistThanks for your help back then. I really appreciate it Any time (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 6--Female protagonistD-Did it make you mad? No?*chuckle* ...I wonder why Isn’t it because we’re friends? (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 7--Male protagonist“We could have lunch outdoors. Maybe we'll even see a deer or something. Whaddya think?” Sounds good (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 7--Female protagonistNo choice mattersYukari Social Link rank 8--Male protagonistHey, how 'bout you pick one out for me? AlrightYukari Social Link rank 8--Female protagonistOh, I know. How 'bout you pick a pair for me? Let’s get a matching set! (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 9--Male protagonistYukari is quiet Um… (both give +3)Yukari Social Link rank 9--Female protagonistI-I'm thinking about looking for a boyfriend You won’t have a problem with that (+3)Yukari Social Link rank 10--Male protagonistWhat am I saying!? Don't get the wrong idea, okay? Both choices give +3Yukari Social Link rank 10--Female protagonistHm... I don't think I've ever asked you this before. What kind of music do you like to listen to? Any choice except “I don’t listen to music” gives +3 View the full article
  5. Marvel Snap’s newest season pass, Savage Land, brings us a new card: Zabu. Zabu is a 3-Cost card with 2-Power and has a powerful Ongoing effect that reduces the cost of 4-Cost cards in hand by 2. This essentially allows, on turn six for example, to play up to three 4-Cost cards with Zabu on the board due to their reduced cost from its continuous effect. This Ongoing effect can also be multiplied with Onslaught, Mystique, or Onslaught’s Citadel location. The only downside of this reduction is the 4-Cost cards are capped to costing at least one energy. They will never reach 0-Cost territory through Zabu’s usage specifically. Season Pass cards are always especially powerful, since they, like Zabu, can only be unlocked for the time being by purchasing the roughly $15 Premium Pass. This guide will cover a few of the best Zabu-based decks, and even if you are not the type of player to purchase Marvel Snap’s season passes, these decks will still be worth checking out in the future when you do obtain the inevitable Zabu due to the game’s card rollout system. Negating Negatives Negating Negatives is all about playing powerful cards that do have major deterrents such as allowing your opponent to draw cards, decrease your board’s power, or destroy your own cards, but negating these downsides to only have the upsides. Maximus, Typhoid Mary, Red Skull, and Attuma are powerful cards for their costs, but they provide major downsides. By using Zero’s On Reveal effect that removes the abilities of the next card you play, we can keep those cards such as Typhoid Mary or Attuma on the field without their effects activating. Zero will also negate Red Skull’s effect that grants each card on your opponent’s field at the same location +2 Power each. Armor is a great counter to decks that run Shang-Chi since we have many cards such as Typhoid Mary, Attuma, Red Skull, and She-Hulk that are susceptible or can be destroyed through Shang-Chi’s On Reveal effect to destroying cards with 9-Power or more. Negating Negatives Deck ListZabu will reduce the cost of Typhoid Mary, Shuri, and Attuma for this deck. Each of these will become 2-Cost cards instead. One tactic on turn four is to use Shuri’s effect which will double the power of the next card played. Then on that same turn four, play the Attuma that is powered up through Shuri’s effect on the location you have Armor on. You will have a 20-Power Attuma that will not be destroyed since it shares a location with Armor. After turn five, play Taskmaster right after Attuma, and since Taskmaster copies the power of the last card you played, Taskmaster will now be a 20-Power card, as well. Turn five, and you already have two 20-Power cards on your board with one of them protecting from destruction effects through Armor. Cosmo is able to negate On Reveal effects from activating, so playing Maximus on Cosmo’s location will not allow your opponent to draw two extra cards, while you have a 3-Cost 7-Power without any downside. Cosmo is also a perfect counter to decks opponents use that rely on On Reveal effects such as Wong, Iron Heart, and Odin. Make sure you do not accidentally use Shuri on your Cosmo location or that when you play Attuma or Typhoid Mary, play Zero beforehand or play Attuma at a location with Armor present. We circumvent all of the negative aspects of these formidable cards by creating scenarios with zero downsides for us. Faithful FlipperFaithful Flipper hinges on the usage of Mister Negative. Mister Negative flips the cost and power of all cards in the deck. Many cards such as Bishop, Mystique, Ironheart, Rogue, Jubilee, and Wong are more potent with their high costs switched with their low power. Silver Surfer, Mystique, and Ironheart all become 0-Cost cards through Mister Negative, while each has 3-Power due to the swap. There are a few different routes for this deck. Ideally, you want to play Psylocke on turn two, then on turn three, you will have four energy, so you can play Mister Negative. Mister Negative swaps the cost of all cards in your deck. Wong will become a 2-Cost with 4-Power and you can play Jubilee and/or Ironheart on top of Wong’s location to trigger both of their On Reveal effects twice due to Wong’s double On Reveal effect. Sera can be swapped out for White Tiger instead, then playing White Tiger on Wong’s location will create two 7-Power Tigers at other locations. If White Tiger’s stats have been swapped due to Mister Negative, White Tiger will be a devastating 1-Cost card with 5-Power. Faithful Flipper Deck ListThe 4-Cost cards in this deck that are reduced by Zabu are Jubilee, Wong, and Mister Negative. If you manage to play Zabu on turn three, then on turn four you can play both Mister Negative alongside Jubilee to synergize. Have all of the cards cost/power swapped, then Jubilee will grab one of those swapped cards from your deck. Other cards you can substitute are Bast, Patriot, and Iron Man by swapping out Psylocke, Rogue, and Sera. By including Patriot, you can boost the Broodlings from Brood, since they have no abilities. Brood, Patriot and the broodlings will all also be powered up through Silver Surfer’s On Reveal due to them being all 3-Cost cards/units. Having a 0-Cost Iron Man with 5-Power due to Mister Negative can make your location soar. Even just having Iron Man solo at a location, would already be a 10-Power location with ease. This deck can take many different paths due to the combination of Zabu with Mister Negative. A proficient, ferocious, downright deadly duo that complements each other super well that can aid you in climbing the Ranked Ladder. Ruthless RocksRuthless Rocks’ ace card is Darkhawk. Darkhawk’s effect is that it gains +2 power for each card in the opponent’s deck. By combining Korg and Rock Slide, they will stuff the opponent’s deck with extra cards–in this case, Rocks, which are 1-Cost cards with 0-Power. Essentially pretty useless, if your deck is not using Patriot to power them up. The 4-Cost cards in this deck that are reduced by Zabu are Shuri, Moongirl, Darkhawk, Spider-Man, Rock Slide, Wong, and Absorbing Man. Plentiful 4-Cost cards will be reduced by Zabu. Adding in Mystique, then those 4-Cost cards will be reduced even further. Ruthless Rocks Deck ListFor example, on turn four with Zabu already on the field, we can place Wong and then play Rockslide on top of Wong’s location. That will throw four Rocks into the opponent’s deck. Korg placed on Wong’s location will throw in two more Rocks. The opponent will have added six Rocks in their deck just from Korg and Rock Slide, which would have Darkhawk at 13-Power without counting the non-Rock cards. Using Shuri before playing Darkhawk, we can get to more than 20-Power on Darkhawk. Absorbing Man copies the last card you played, if it had an On Reveal effect. Spider-Man prevents your opponent from playing cards next turn at the same location it is played. Using Absorbing Man after playing Spider-Man will allow you to create two locations the opponent cannot play cards the next turn. Forcing your opponent to lose two locations either early on or late in the game due to Zabu reducing both Absorbing Man and Spider-Man’s card costs. Since we already have so many 4-Cost cards already, America Chavez will always be drawn on turn six. America Chavez is a strong powerhouse, but more importantly–having America Chavez in the deck allows us more opportunities to draw into Zabu and our 4-Cost cards. Hopefully, these deck lists and strategies have given you more insight into Zabu’s abilities alongside how to make its effect work in tandem with other cards such as Mystique, Mister Negative, Darkhawk, and Shuri. Be sure to check out our excruciatingly detailed best Pool 1, Pool 2, and Pool 3 deck guides and/or our tips and tricks for beginners in Marvel Snap. View the full article
  6. Yesterday
  7. Humble Bundle has launched the Survival Instinct Game Bundle, which bands together a total of $170 value across seven games for $15. See at HumbleAs opposed to other recent bundles, the minimum tier of $15 includes Steam codes for all seven games. Whether you're looking for a survival challenge or just want to spend time with friends gathering resources and taking down zombies, you're bound to find a new experience to spend dozens of hours in. The Survival Instinct Game Bundle is led by State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition, which includes all add-on packs to date, as well as acting as the definitive experience for newcomers. If you're looking to venture into the wild and survive winter, the gorgeous vistas of The Long Dark are also included with its Survival Edition. For those looking for more challenging experiences, Devolver Digital's SCUM and Chernobylite: Enhanced Edition are bound to scratch that ich. And for some experiences that might have flown under the radar, you'll also get your hands on Volcanoids, SurrounDead, and Starsand. Just make sure to have plenty of supplies at the ready before embarking on any of them. While you're taking a peek at the Survival Instinct Game Bundle, you should also check out the Hidden Gems From 2022 bundle, which compiles up to seven games for only $23. View the full article
  8. Just about every week brings something new to Destiny 2, whether it's story beats, new activities, or interesting new combinations of elements that let players devastate each other in the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what's going on in the world of Destiny and a rundown of what's drawing our attention across the solar system. Phil Hornshaw, a good friend and fellow clanmate of mine, lit the braziers of GameSpot's Iron Banter for some time before moving on to the next chapter of his journey. For those who might not know, this is uncharted territory for me as I spend most of my time on the video side of things. So to say that I'm nervous about grabbing the baton for Iron Banter is a massive understatement. Although I would be lying if I didn't say that I'm very excited because now I get to be your liaison in the Tower, talking shop and Destiny 2. Bungie's world has consumed me and my time in video games for years. I have seen every color and shade that these games have adopted and have forgotten countless eras of what the game used to be. From my first Exotic drop ever (Patience and Time) to my first busted Crucible meta (Thorn and The Last Word), I have lived through Destiny's extreme lows and manic highs and saw Destiny 2 stumble and recover its footing in eerily similar fashion. However, there is a larger reason I wanted to resurrect Iron Banter: By this point, we're at that phase of the content cycle that any Destiny player is familiar with. Going into February, you can hear the rumble of the Destiny content machine gradually growing into a distant roar, can't you? The hype machine is coming to life again, and I'm here for it. I'll have so many hot takes and ramblings to share with everyone as the weeks come, especially in the early days of Lightfall, but right now all I can feel is this overwhelming sense of anticipation. It's enough to make me shiver with excitement. It's not often a video game can elicit this kind of emotion from me. It's hard for me to recall at what point I went from casual to obsessed, but there was a distinct shift in how I viewed the game from a casual player to a hopeless obsessive very early on in Destiny's lifecycle, but there is a standout memory. It was the flavor text on the exotic of The Last Word: "Yours, not mine." - Renegade Hunter Shin Malphur to Dredgen Yor. Suddenly Destiny turned into something more than just an excuse for me to drink a beer after class and run around blindly in the Crucible. I realized I was fascinated by the history and all the complex relationships woven across characters, factions, and enemies--especially names of foes we had never seen at the time or the urban legends of characters and mentors we had yet to meet. Fit checkFor those who might not remember, Destiny and Destiny 2 were both bare in the beginning but offered a ridiculous amount of mystery and potential. We all had no choice but to put our trust and faith in Bungie to develop the sequel into what we all felt was the original goal and vision. Many friends I know have fallen off the game with each expansion and have refused to return for one reason or another. However, just as many have started for the first time or have returned and are hooked, just like me. Of course, it hasn't been a smooth journey--not even close. I'm probably one of the more skeptical players, especially as time passes since burnout and fatigue can seep in between major expansion drops. I've often had debates with my clanmates where I'm accused of sounding like another complaining Reddit post. Just the same, I've had many eras of being what I call a "Bungie apologist." Trying to convince disillusioned friends to return--even if the state of the game left much to be desired. It isn't easy to collate over eight years of Destiny playing into one brief introduction here. How do I summarize years of living through the (several) rises and falls of Destiny and Destiny 2? Months of hilarious, distinct, or frustrating Crucible metas? Weeks of seasonal fatigue or incredible "blink, and you'll miss it" story quests and events? I felt like a blueberry waking up for the first time in the Cosmodrome, but in 2023, where there is no linear throughline. I'm just staring at all the possibilities of discussing things and going, "Where do I even start?" All I can do is reiterate how I feel: it is a very good time to be a Destiny fan right now, and I'm thrilled to share this journey with you. View the full article
  9. Fallout 4's depiction of the nuclear post-apocalypse is a reasonably realistic one--in that it's hell on Earth--but there are a few inconsistencies in the opening minutes that Neil DeGrasse Tyson would have a field day with. Modders have patched up those plot holes, so now you can start a new game of Fallout 4 and experience the effect of nuclear armageddon in all its destructive glory. Just don't expect to be touring a new frontier after that. Made by UnrealSeptim over on NexusMods (via PC Gamer), the More Realistic Intro mod ensures that your character won't survive long enough to take a cryo-nap that lasts 210 years. "Are we really expected to believe that our character just happened to make it into the vault at the exact same time as the bomb fell? And are we also supposed to believe that just being a few feet underground would keep our character completely safe from the resulting blast wave? No. Nuclear bombs do not work that way," UnrealSeptim's notes read. As science has proven, you're going to have a really bad time if a nuke goes off, as depending on where you are in the blast radius, there's a good chance that you'll be vaporized by the heat, blinded by the light, or you'll quickly succumb to severe radiation sickness as your organs begin to shut down. In less-depressing Fallout news, work on Amazon's Fallout TV series is continuing. Fallout 5 is currently in development, although it won't be emerging from Bethesda's vaults for quite some time, and there's even a Doom-style Fallout 2 shooter that you can download right now. View the full article
  10. There's a lot to look forward to in February, but if you're a fan of first-person shooters, Mick Gordon soundtracks, and action, then Atomic Heart might be the highlight of the month for you. Out on February 21, you can grab an 18% discount on Atomic Heart through this Fanatical preorder deal, dropping the price to just $49. See at Fanatical Set in alternate history Russia, the Soviet empire has risen to power thanks to a loyal army of robots that see to the nation's every need. Or that's how it used to be, until a robot uprising put the Russian populace at the top of the endangered species list. With secret experiments unleashing mutant creatures, terrifying machines, and superpowered robots, it's up to you to explore a fallen utopia and save the day. You'll need more than just a quick trigger-finger to survive, as you'll have to scavenge for resources, upgrade your skills, and use your environment to your advantage if you want to take the machines offline. You'll have access to combat abilities granted by your experimental power glove and a cutting-edge arsenal, to help even the odds. It's also worth mentioning--again--that Atomic Heart has a Mick Gordon soundtrack, so expect some heavy metal while you reduce the robots around you into Soviet scrap. Atomic Heart will also be available through Xbox Game Pass on both console and PC, so if you need to top up your subscription, there's a great deal on at the moment. You can grab two months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just $9, down from $30. That's a huge saving, and it'll also provide access to an EA Play membership, Xbox Live Gold membership, and the ability to play games remotely with Xbox Cloud Gaming. While it can't be stacked with existing memberships, you can use this deal to renew your membership once it expires. Disclosure: GameSpot and Fanatical are both owned by Fandom. View the full article
  11. It's not easy for a game to stand the test of time. As technology evolves and the scope of knowledge in the world grows, so too do our expectations. Even the most innovative games' popularity will generally dwindle over time, as newer releases build on their predecessors' successes to bring a better, fresher experience to the table. However, a select few--games like Tetris, Scrabble, and Chess--are so pure and perfected in the fundamentals of their gameplay that they're essentially timeless in their appeal, and have maintained their popularity over the years as a result. Magic: The Gathering is an example of such a game. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the original trading card game. And it's not just still around on the fringes of society; it has boomed in popularity in recent years. With a string of well-received new card sets, the post-COVID return of high-level competitive play, and the release of an incredibly user-friendly new digital client, there has never been a better time to get into MTG. That said, getting your feet wet in the game can be an intimidating endeavor at the start. There have been over 20,000 unique Magic cards printed since its inception in 1993. It's a complicated game, to be sure, with an incredible level of depth to its strategy. There have even been full-length books written on how to use a single card! Even Hall of Fame players and pros would surely tell you that they're never done learning, and that there's always room to improve. The original Magic set, Alpha, was recently reprinted to celebrate the game's 30th anniversary.However, if you're willing to take the plunge, you might just discover the most rewarding, endlessly replayable gaming experience of your life. Here's where to start. Welcome to Magic: The Gathering. What is Magic: The Gathering?When Magic: The Gathering, created by game designer Richard Garfield, was first unveiled at Gen Con in '93, it was an immediate success. The concept--cards of varying rarities, randomly assorted in "booster packs," that can be played with in near-limitless combinations-- was revolutionary at the time. Without Magic, the Hearthstones, Pokemons, and Yu-Gi-Ohs! of the world would look a whole lot different, and might not exist at all. In Magic, you take on the role of a "Planeswalker"--a powerful mage, capable of traversing the many "planes," or dimensions, of the Multiverse (the fictional universe where the Magic story takes place). To defeat your opponent, a fellow Planeswalker, you must cast spells and summon creatures powerful enough to outmatch theirs. Dragons have been a regular creature type in Magic since the beginning.Contrary to popular belief, Magic is not a tabletop RPG like Dungeons & Dragons (though both games are owned by Wizards of the Coast). There may be plenty of elves, dragons, and sorcery at play, but where D&D is all about imagination and teamwork, Magic is a cutthroat, competitive card game through and through. The gameplay and strategy of Magic is are frequently described as a combination of poker and chess. Like poker, variance and hidden information are both central to the game, so some knowledge of statistics, bluffing, and concepts like "expected value" is key to success. And like chess, there are near-infinite different ways any given game can play out, so thinking a few turns ahead, and having a plan for how to take down your opponent, are both crucial skills. The art and flavor text on Magic cards often add to or help explain what's going on with the lore.As for the story, it's been being continuously written for the past 30 years, so the lore is incredibly deep and complicated by this point. It follows a handful of recurring Planeswalker characters as they traverse the many worlds of the Multiverse--fighting wars, saving civilizations, making and breaking allegiances... the typical fantasy goodness. Whenever a new major set of cards is released (which happens about four times a year), the story is expanded upon, with the backdrop of whatever particular plane that set takes place in. You can piece together what's going on just by looking at the art and reading "flavor text" (short, italicized story blurbs you'll find printed on some cards). Or, if you're the type to get deep into lore, you can check out the regularly released, free-to-read story content published by Wizards of the Coast. Luckily, you don't need to know anything about the story to start playing, so the amount you chose to engage with that side of the game is entirely up to you. The RulesLearning the rules of Magic: The Gathering is the part of the process that all too often scares new players away. The official comprehensive rulebook for the game is almost 300 pages long, after all! Needless to say, what follows is not an exhaustive explanation. But don't think you need to know every single corner case and minutia before playing your first game. Understanding the basics is all you need to get started; the rest comes naturally with time and practice. The BasicsIn a typical 1v1 game of Magic, each player starts at 20 life with seven cards in hand, drawn from their respective decks (there are exceptions, which we'll get to in the "Formats" section). After rolling a die to see who goes first, players then take turns, drawing one card from their deck at the start of each of their turns. The first player to get their opponent's life total to zero wins the game. Getting your opponent's life total to zero isn't the only way to win, but it's the most common.Sounds simple, right? Well, it basically is! Where it gets more complicated is in the specifics of the cards themselves, how they function, and how they interact with each other. To understand what the process of winning a game of magic actually looks like, let's take a look at the different types of cards. Card TypesThere are seven main different card types in Magic: The Gathering, which you'll find noted underneath the art on every card. There are two different classes of card types: "Permanents" and "non-permanents." Permanent cards stay on the battlefield after you play them, whereas non-permanents have a one-time effect, after which the card goes to your graveyard. We'll start with the permanents. LandsForestLands are arguably the most important card type in Magic. They're how you pay for the spells you cast, so without them, the rest of the cards in your deck are useless. For this reason, most decks will consist of between 40-45% lands; you want to have a few in your opening seven-card hand to ensure you'll be able to play out the rest of your cards. Grizzly BearsYour lands pay for your spells by providing a magical energy source, known as "mana." The mana cost of any card is listed in the top right corner. (Grizzly Bears, for example, costs one green mana, plus another mana of any color). The specific color of mana added by your lands depends on the type of land ("Plains" tap for white mana, "Islands" for blue, "Swamps" for black, "Mountains" for red, and "Forests" for green). To add mana, you must turn your land sideways. This action is known as "tapping." You'll see it represented by a circular right arrow symbol on cards. Your permanents stay tapped until the beginning of your next turn, so once you tap a land for mana, you can't use it again until your next turn. In a game of Magic, you can play one land card per turn. Since they're permanent cards, they'll stay on your side of the battlefield for the duration of the game once you play them. So, the later into a game you get, the more expensive cards you'll be able to cast. On turn one, you'll only have one land in play, so you can only play something that costs one mana. But if you've managed to play a land every turn by turn five, you can play something that costs five. Getting there is no guarantee, however; not drawing enough lands, and therefore being unable to play your spells, is referred to as getting "mana screwed"--a common complaint you'll hear from salty players. As we noted at the top, variance is a big part of the game. Dimir GuildgateThe basic lands--Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests--all only tap for the one color that they produce. Non-basic lands, however, can often tap for two or more different colors of mana. Lands like this typically come with some sort of drawback. Dimir Guildgate, for example, enters the battlefield tapped, so you can't use it until the following turn. CreaturesAfter lands, creatures are the next most important card type in Magic: The Gathering. Attacking with creatures is the simplest, and most common way of getting your opponent's life total from 20 to zero. Armored WarhorseOnce per turn, during your "combat phase," you can attack with any number of your creatures. The amount of damage that a creature deals and the amount of damage that it can take before dying are each determined by its "power" and "toughness." These stats are listed on the bottom right corner of any creature card. Armored Warhorse, for example, has 2 power, and 3 toughness. So if you land a hit on your opponent with it, their life total will drop by 2. However, if your opponent has creatures of their own, they will have the option to block your attacking creatures. Blocking prevents all damage to your opponent, regardless of the relative size of the creatures in combat. A 1/1 creature can block a 10/10 creature and still prevent all damage to the defending player, for example. When a creature blocks an attacking creature, they will both simultaneously deal damage equal their own power to the other creature's toughness. So, if a 2/2 creature blocks another 2/2, they will both take 2 points of damage and die. But if a 2/3 blocks a 2/3, both creatures will only take 2 damage to their 3 toughness, and therefore survive. (Damage dealt to creatures wears off at the end of each turn). SoulmenderJust like adding mana with your lands, attacking with a creature requires tapping it. A tapped creature cannot block, so when you decide to attack with a creature, you know you won't be able to block your opponent's creatures with it on their turn. Some creatures, such as Soulmender, have non-attack abilities that require tapping, so it's up to you whether you want to attack your opponent or use your creatures' abilities. However, whenever a creature enters your side of the battlefield, it will have what's known as "Summoning Sickness" until your next turn. (Think of it as being a bit wobbly and disoriented, having just been cast into existence by a sorcerer and all). Being Summoning Sick simply means being unable to tap. So when you cast a creature, you'll still be able to block your opponent's attacking creatures on their following turn, but you won't be able to do any attacking or ability-activating of your own until your next turn. EnchantmentsNext up are enchantments. Being permanents, enchantments will sit on the battlefield indefinitely once you cast them, unless removed by some other effect. Glorious AnthemMany enchantments will sit on your side of the battlefield, and offer any number of positive effects to you in the game. Glorious Anthem, for example, grants a +1/+1 buff to all your creatures, making your 2/2 cards into 3/3 cards, and so on. PacifismThen there's the enchantment subtype known as "Auras." These enchantments target specific creatures on the battlefield. Some, such as Pacifism, have a negative effect, and are meant to be cast on your opponent's creatures. There are also Auras that can be used to make your own creatures better, by increasing their power and toughness or granting some other type of ability. Eidolon of InspirationSome enchantments, such as Eidolon of Inspiration, are also creatures, and count as both card types. All the same rules around creatures apply. ArtifactsArtifacts tend to function a lot like enchantments: They stick around on your side of the battlefield, and give you some sort of positive effect. ManalithA common theme among artifact cards is mana production. Manalith, for example, taps to add a mana, just like a land. So if you play it on turn three, and play a land on turn four, you'll have access to five total mana, instead of just four. (Playing cards that increase your mana production is called "mana ramp"). Marauder's AxeSimilar to enchantment auras, artifacts have a common subtype of their own, known as "Equipment." Think of these as weapons on your side of the battlefield that can be used to buff your creatures. Marauder's Axe, for example, increases your equipped creature's power by 2. Unlike auras, equipment cards can be moved around your creatures as you please, by paying the "Equip cost" (two mana of any color, in the case of Marauder's Axe). Chief of the FoundryLike enchantments, you'll commonly run into creatures that are also artifacts. Some of them, such as Chief of the Foundry, will benefit you for playing as many artifact creatures as possible. (You'll hear cards like this referred to as "synergy cards"). PlaneswalkersThe last permanent card type to cover is Planeswalkers. Think of these as another player on your side of the battlefield, working alongside you to help take your opponent down. Serra the BenevolentMany Planeswalkers' last ability will require removing many loyalty counters, to give some massive, game-winning effect. This often comes in the form of an "emblem"--a permanent effect on the rest of the game. In the case of Serra, it makes you essentially un-killable as long as you control a creature. Just like players, Planeswalkers can be attacked by opposing creatures. When a Planeswalker is dealt damage by creatures (or any other effect), it loses that many loyalty counters. Planeswalkers with zero loyalty counters go straight to your graveyard. Players can choose to send some number of their attacking creatures at an opposing Planeswalker, and others at the player. Attacking and blocking rules remain the same. That's it for permanents! Now, for the two non-permanent card types. SorceriesAny non-land card you play in Magic is considered a "spell." But sorceries are the real spells of the game in a traditional sense: They are cast for a one-time effect--for your benefit and/or your opponent's detriment--before the card goes to your graveyard, having done its job. EviscerateSorceries come in all different varieties, and can have any number of unique effects. One of the more important types of effects in the game is known as "removal spells"--cards that destroy opposing creatures. Eviscerate is an example of such a sorcery. DivinationOther sorceries are less about affecting the battlefield, and more about getting you up on resources. Cards, being the most important resource in the game, are something you can always use more of. Divination gains you this advantage by drawing you cards. Demonic TutorThere's no end to the types of different effects that sorceries can have in a game of Magic--everything from taking extra turns, to gaining control of an opponent's creature, to searching up cards in your library (Demonic Tutor being the most iconic example of such a card). It all comes down to mana cost, rarity, and color--more on that below. InstantsInstants are just like sorceries, except for one key difference: Unlike every other card type we've covered thus far, it doesn't need to be your turn to cast one. Instants can be cast at any time--even during your opponent's turn. Giant GrowthThis is important in a number of different ways. Giant Growth, for example, increases one of your creature's power and toughness. So, your opponent might attack you with their 4/4 creature during their turn. You block with your 2/2, cast Giant Growth, and suddenly your creature is a 5/5. Your creature survives, and theirs dies. (Cards like this are known as "combat tricks"). CancelAnother common type of instant is known as "counter spells". When a spell is countered, it goes straight to the graveyard, rather than entering the battlefield if it's a permanent, or applying its effect if it's a non-permanent. So, if your opponent casts something during their turn, and you respond by casting Cancel, you will have entirely negated their play. Like sorceries, there's a near-limitless number of effects that an instant can have. But having the option of casting them at any point opens up a whole world of strategy. Instants are why bluffing exists in Magic, for example. The Golden RuleWe've laid out the basics of how a game of Magic works, and how the different types of cards function and interact. However, as you go forth and continue learning and getting a lay of the land, it's important to remember one of the "Golden Rules" of Magic: The Gathering. As stated in the official rulebook: "Whenever a card's text directly contradicts [the] rules, the card takes precedence..." This fundamental is at the heart of what makes Magic such a vast game, with near-infinite new situations to discover and problems to solve. The rules themselves are fairly simple; it's the cards that break these rules that open up endless possibilities. A few examples: ExplorationThe rules state that you may play one land per turn. But with Exploration in play, you may play two. Howling MineEach player draws one card at the start of their turn. But with Howling Mine in play, each player draws two cards instead. GingerbruteA creature has summoning sickness the turn it's played. But a creature with "haste" is unaffected by summoning sickness, and is able to attack and tap for abilities as soon as it enters the battlefield. There are countless exceptions to the rules like these--far too many to list here! The best way to discover them is to start playing. Soon, the card effects and creature abilities that alter the fundamentals of the game will become second nature. ColorsThe five different colors in Magic: The Gathering are central to both the gameplay and flavor of the game. Source: mtg.fandom.comIf you look at the back of any Magic card printed from its inception, you'll see what's known as the "color pie": white, blue, black, red, and green (or "WUBRG," as it's known), in that order. Each color is most closely related to the two adjacent colors (known as "allied colors"), and most at odds with the two across (known as "enemy colors"). Each color in Magic has its own distinct identity, strengths and weaknesses, strategic overtones, and recurring mechanics. Whenever a new set comes out, the whole picture of each color might shift and evolve somewhat, but the colors' core philosophies have generally stayed consistent over the years. What follows is a brief description of each. For a full picture, including a complete list of mechanics in each color, check out head Magic designer Mark Rosewater's article, Mechanical Color Pie 2021. WhiteWhite is all about law and order, peace, and fairness. In their view, the path to morality and righteousness is clearly defined, and not to be strayed from at any cost. Wrath of GodSome common White strategies include life gain, swarming the battlefield with an army of small creatures, and symmetrical effects on the game (they are obsessed with fairness, after all). Wrath of God is a classic example of such a card. Serra AngelCommon White creature types include Humans, Soldiers, and Angels. The most common creature abilities you'll see in White include "vigilance" (creatures with vigilance don't tap when they attack), "lifelink" (when a creature with lifelink deals damage, its controller gains that much life), and "flying" (creatures with flying can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or "reach"). BlueBlue is the color of logic, trickery, and the accumulation of knowledge. They seek to understand the world and all the mysteries hidden within it. UnsummonGiven their emphasis on knowledge, card draw is a common theme you'll find on blue cards. The color is well suited for controlling strategies; blue decks will often function largely at instant speed, playing nothing on their own turns, and waiting for the opponent's turn to counter their spells and gain card advantage. "Bounce spells"--cards that return cards to their owner's hand--are another common effect in blue. Snapcaster MageBlue creature types include Merfolk, Wizards, and Spirits. Blue creatures often have flying, as well as occasionally "flash" (creatures with flash can be cast at instant speed). BlackBlack is--you guessed it--the most evil color in Magic. Their philosophy is summed up by individualism, manipulation, and sacrifice. ReanimateBlack strategies often revolve around forcing opponents to discard cards, sacrificing your own creatures for a benefit, and using your graveyard to your advantage. Cards that bring creatures back from the graveyard to the battlefield, such as Reanimate, are a particularly iconic, powerful Black strategy. Black also gets the most cards that destroy opposing creatures, so most Black decks will have plenty of cards that do just that. Lord of the AccursedCommon Black creature types include Zombies, Vampires, and Demons. Common Black creature abilities include lifelink, "menace" (creatures with menace can't be blocked by fewer than two creatures), and "deathtouch" (any amount of damage dealt to an opposing creature by a creature with deathtouch is enough to kill it). RedRed is the most unpredictable and chaotic of all five colors in Magic. They are all about freedom, self-expression, and emotion. And, of course... fire. Lava SpikeRed is without a doubt the most aggressive color in the game. A common Red strategy that's been around since the beginning is known as "burn." These decks are single-mindedly interested in getting the opponent's life total to zero, with cheap, aggressive creatures, and burn spells, such as Lava Spike. Red decks can also use their burn spells to kill opposing creatures, to clear the way to larger threats later in the game. Goblin GuideGoblins, Barbarians, and Phoenixes are common Red creature types. Haste, menace, and "first strike" (creatures with first strike deal damage combat before creatures without first strike) are the most common Red creature abilities. GreenLast is Green. Green's philosophy is centered around nature, growth, and abundance. More than any other color, mana is at the heart of what Green is all about. Llanowar ElvesMana ramp is one of the most common strategies you'll find in Green decks. The game plan is fairly straightforward, yet effective: Play cards that accelerate your mana--be it with cards that search up lands from your deck, or "mana dork" creatures like Llanowar Elves--and play a giant monster ahead of schedule. Green's creatures tend to have the best power/toughness-to-mana cost ratio of all the colors, so some Green decks prefer to simply cast an army of cheap-yet-beefy creatures and employ a more aggressively slanted strategy. Aggressive MammothCommon Green creature types include Elves, Centaurs, and all types of beasts. Reach, deathtouch, and "trample" (attacking creature with trample deal excess combat damage to defending player), are the most common abilities. MulticoloredWhile each individual color in Magic has its own identity, that doesn't mean you're bound to playing only one color at a time. Most Magic decks, in fact, include two or more colors. Finding the unique ways that each color interacts with the others is a huge part of the fun of deck-building. Sphinx's RevelationAs noted earlier, the "allied" colors tend to work fairly well together naturally. White's life-gain and symmetrical board effects pair nicely with Blue's card draw and counter spells, for example, while Red and Black's similarly sadistic core philosophies are a match made in heaven. Sprite DragonHowever, pairing together two "enemy" colors can lead to just as viable a strategy. Black and Green can work together to use the graveyard and mana ramp in conjunction to devastating effect, while Blue and Red can assemble a critical mass of non-creature spells with cards like Sprite Dragon to defeat the opponent in short order. Niv-Mizzet RebornThere's no limit to what colors can go together in Magic. Putting all five colors together in a single deck can even be a viable strategy, so long as you have the mana base to support it! Experiment with all the different combinations to find which combinations' strategies click most with your particular style of play. Types of DecksWhile there's a near-infinite combination of different cards that can be combined in Magic to game-winning effect, overall strategies can be broken down into four different types of decks: AggroViashino PyromancerAggro decks care about one thing, and one thing only: Getting your opponent's life total to zero, as quickly as possible. This is typically done with a critical mass of cheap, efficient, aggressively slanted creatures, alongside a slew of removal spells to help clear out blockers, and maybe a few burn spells to seal the deal. Aggro decks often need fewer than average lands in their decks, since the rest of their spells tend to be so cheap. There have been winning aggro decks in every color in Magic, but Red and White are the most common. MidrangeSiege RhinoMidrange is just what it sounds like: A healthy mix of versatile, flexible effects that can serve as either aggressive or defensive, depending on the texture of a given game. Unlike aggro decks, midrange decks are less concerned about how quickly they can kill their opponent, and more with having the tools at their disposal to handle any type of situation. They can take their time whittling away at their opponent's life total since they have the resources to play a long game if necessary. Most decks you'll run into in Magic will be some shade of midrange. Any combination of colors can function as a midrange deck. ControlCryptic CommandOn the opposite end of the spectrum is control decks. Control decks want the game to go long. A typical control play pattern is to spend the first handful of turns countering the opponent's spells, removing their creatures from play, and drawing some cards, before eventually running your opponent out of resources and cinching victory with a game-winning finisher. Control decks are all about inevitability; speed is the least concern when you know you have the long-game locked up. The vast majority of control decks are Blue, frequently paired with either White or Black. ComboSplinter TwinCombo decks are their own type of beast entirely. These decks are looking to assemble some combination of cards whose interaction essentially breaks the rules of the game. The rest of the deck is generally geared toward finding the necessary pieces, and protecting the combo once assembled. PestermiteA classic example of such a deck is the infamous Splinter Twin combo. Splinter Twin is an enchantment aura that lets enchanted creature tap to make a token copy of itself with haste. The creature Pestermite can untap a permanent when it enters the battlefield. So, throw a Splinter Twin on a Pestermite, and when the token copy enters, you can untap the enchanted Pestermite to make infinite copies of Pestermite with haste. An instant win. Not all combo decks are quite so straightforward; many require many more moving pieces than just two cards to "go off." However, playing against a good combo deck is one of the more fear-inducing experiences in Magic. FormatsSo, you know the card types, colors, and types of decks available in Magic: The Gathering. Now, how do you build a deck? What cards are available to choose from? Well, that depend on the type of format you choose to play! The particular format dictates the list of cards legal to play with, as well as rules regarding deck construction and gameplay. We can't cover them all here--there are over 20 official formats, plus even more created by fans--but you can find a full list with descriptions at Wizard of the Coast's website. There are two main types of formats in Magic: Limited, and constructed. We'll start with constructed. ConstructedConstructed is any format where you come to the game with a deck built ahead of time. These decks are generally (but not always) 60 cards, with roughly 24 of those being land cards. You are limited to four copies of any one card in your deck, with the exception of basic lands. Fable of the Mirror-BreakerThe card pool you have access to for building your constructed deck depends on the specific constructed format that you're playing. In Standard, one of the most popular constructed formats, you're limited to only cards from the most recent round of sets that have been released. When the fall set is released each year, the four oldest sets legal in Standard rotate out. With the format in such a perpetual state of flux, the "metagame" is ever-evolving, so you need to stay on top of updating your decks with new cards as a result. Black Lotus--the rarest, most expensive card in MagicOther constructed formats, however, have a much wider range of cards legal to play with. In Modern, for example, most cards printed since 2003 are fair game. With so many more cards to choose from, the power level of the format is much higher than something like Standard. The ultimate example of this is with Vintage, where every card printed since the very first set (with a few exceptions) is legal. These decks are sometimes capable of winning in the first turn or two of the game. However, given the rarity of some of the cards legal in Vintage, a tournament-legal deck can cost literally tens of thousands of dollars to get your hands on. Needless to say, the barrier to entry gets higher the further back you go. Muldrotha, the Gravetide--a popular CommancerThe most popular casual format in Magic is a little different than other constructed formats, however. Enter: Commander. In Commander, you build a 100-card deck, with a "Commander"--any creature with the "legendary" supertype--at the helm. Commander decks must be only the colors of their Commander, and can only have one copy of any non-basic land card ("singleton," as it's known). While most games of Magic are played 1v1, Commander is specifically meant for up to six players at a time, with each player starting at 40 life. Alliances and politics end up being a big part of the game, so things can get wild and complicated fast. It may not be a sanctioned tournament format, but if you're looking for a casual game night-type format to play with friends, Commander is a great option. There are plenty of pre-constructed decks to choose from for sale to get you started, too. LimitedIn limited Magic, you open booster packs--packs of 15 cards, including one basic land, 10 commons, three uncommons, and one rare or mythic rare--and build a deck out of what you open from scratch. Your limited deck will consist of 40 cards total--typically 23 non-land cards, and 17 lands (you can add basic lands from outside the card pool). Most limited decks are two colors, with a mix of creatures and non-creature spells. The type of strategy you choose to employ is up to you, though you'll want to let your card pool guide you. If you open a particularly powerful rare, for example, you may want to let that steer your deck building. The two most common forms of limited are "Sealed Deck" and "Booster Draft." In Sealed, each player opens six booster packs, and builds their deck from the pool of 90 cards that they open. It's super simple, and a great place to start for new players. It's also the format played at "Prereleases"--events that happen the week before a new set is released, where players get their first chance to get their hands on the new set of cards--as well as other high-level sanctioned tournaments, so you'll want to have the format in your back pocket. Booster Draft is a bit more complicated. In a draft, eight players sit in a circle, each with three booster packs. Each player opens their first pack, picks one card out of it, and passes the rest of the pack to their left. Players continue picking one card out of each pack passed to them until there are no cards left. The second booster pack is picked the same way, except passed to the right; the third pack is passed to the left again. Titania's CommandDraft adds a whole new level of complexity and strategy to the limited experience. Unlike sealed, you're not just putting together a deck from a pile of cards: You need to think about the cards you're passing around the table, as well as to paying attention to the cards being passed to you, to determine what colors might be "open." If you get passed a particularly powerful Green card on pick five, for example, you can assume the players to your right probably aren't drafting Green, so you might want to abandon whatever you've been drafting so far and move into that color. It's all about paying attention to the data points and letting the information you have access to help guide your picks. Whichever type of limited you opt to play, it's a great place to start for new players. Not only does it help get you used to deck building and rules interactions, it levels the playing field. Each player has access to the same number of cards, opened from scratch. So unlike in constructed, you can't get a competitive edge just by having the money to spend on the best, most competitive cards ahead of time. Where to PlayPlaying a game of Magic: The Gathering used to mean organizing a kitchen table play session with friends, or heading to a local shop for a tournament. But now, it's as simple as opening an app on your phone. This is no doubt the biggest reason for the game's recent popularity boom: It is simply more accessible than ever. MTG ArenaMTG ArenaMTG Arena is the newest and most popular digital client for Magic: The Gathering, having largely replaced the original Magic: The Gathering Online (which is still available to play, but slightly archaic compared to Arena, and much less user-friendly). It's free to download on Windows, macOS, and mobile. When you create your account on Arena, you’ll go through a five round tutorial, where you’ll learn about some of the basic rules and mechanics of the game. After defeating the final boss (a malevolent draconic Planeswalker known as Nicol Bolas, who’s a regular character in the game), you’ll move on to the “Color Challenge." Here, you’ll get the chance to try out five different pre-built decks--one of each color--and will be rewarded with new cards to update your decks with every time you win. This a great (and free!) way to get a head start on building up your digital collection. From here, there are any number of ways to play on Arena--from Drafts, to Standard, to regularly updated special events and tournaments. It's a great way to familiarize yourself with the rules of the game and by far the easiest way to play Magic in 2023. TabletopArena might take the cake in terms of convenience, but there's still nothing quite like live, paper play. It's the "gathering" part of Magic: The Gathering. The best way to play in-person is at your local game store, or "LGS." Here, you'll find all sorts of events--casual Commander nights, Prereleases, high-stakes tournaments, and more. It's a great way to meet other players, learn the ropes, and support local businesses all at once. Check out Wizards of the Coast's store locator to find the closest shop to you. ResourcesNow that you know the basics, it's time to start playing! Check out the links below for some further reading and information. Good luck, and have fun! Limited Resources--the most popular Magic podcast, hosted by hall-of-famer Luis Scott Vargas and longtime Magic commentator Marshall Sutcliffe. They focus mainly on Limited play, but frequently touch on the fundamentals of the game, as well."Level One: The Full Course"--this series of articles, written by Magic pro Reid Duke, is, as it promises, a full-course on Magic strategy. It's a deep dive, but once you have the fundamentals down, it's a great place to look to level up your game.Feeling confident and ready to compete at the highest level? It won't be easy, but anyone can do it. Check out Wizards of the Coast's guide to getting there right here.View the full article
  12. NFL QB Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals is a big fan of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series, and specifically Ness. Ahead of this weekend's Conference Championship games, Burrow confirmed during a press conference that, instead of watching game film on flights to away games, he likes to play Smash. Now, Burrow does spend time watching game tape--but by the time he's on the plane headed to the next destination, he's finished and ready to play Smash. His favorite character to play as? None other than Ness from the EarthBound series. "I'm a Ness main," Burrow said at a press conference. "Nobody knows what the means. That's OK. Some nerd stuff around here." There are no football games on this Saturday, and Burrow said he plans to spend the downtime playing more Smash. What a guy. Burrow, 26, was three years old when the first Smash Bros. game was released in 1999. He played college football at LSU and won the Heisman Trophy in 2019. He led the LSU Tigers to the National Championship in 2020. Later that year, Burrow was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Known for his swagger and style, Burrow is heading into enemy territory this Sunday, January 29, when his Bengals take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs for a shot to get to the Super Bowl. The big game takes place on Sunday, February 12. As for the Smash series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the most recent entry in the series. As of September 30, the game had sold 29.53 million copies. View the full article
  13. On January 25, Activision released a community update for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2, which revealed that DMZ mode would receive a new map location, difficulty scaling for the AI opponents, and more. However, some players are voicing their disappointment over the surprise announcement that Season 2 would also include a complete seasonal wipe. Season 2 is set to bring a fresh start for DMZ, as the incoming wipe will include a reset of everyone's current Faction mission tier progress, removal of all Contraband weapons and keys from player inventory, and introduce brand-new Faction missions. Basically, players will be starting from scratch like it's day one again. Other extraction shooters like Escape From Tarkov feature seasonal wipes, but Infinity Ward never mentioned that DMZ would include them. This might not be a surprise to players familiar with the extraction-style games, but not everyone is aware, sparking some upset on social media. "This is something they should have made clear from the start, not everyone is familiar with extraction shooters and invested their time on that mode not expecting that to happen," tweeted one user. A post on Reddit has sparked a debate on whether DMZ needs seasonal wipes. One Redditor commented to say that they've enjoyed DMZ, but unlike Tarkov, DMZ doesn't offer the base building or upgrading features. "Start all over again? What's the point?" DMZ's upcoming wipe also brings a bit of frustration for some of the players who struggled with the difficulty of higher-tier missions, which were made even more complicated by the mode's brutally powerful AI. Completing individual missions earns various rewards like XP, operator skins, and weapon blueprints, but many players were dedicated to the tedious grind of completing all the mission tiers to unlock additional insured weapon slots, which they will now lose with the new season. One Redditor said, "Not gonna lie, I'll have zero interest chasing missions (especially mid/late season) for a 4 hour insured slot." However, DMZ's Faction grind will hopefully be less of a struggle in Season 2. Activision has confirmed that the new season will include mission difficulty tuning and balancing to the game's overpowered AI. Currently, the AI can beam players across the map like they have hacks enabled, but the developer is adjusting the accuracy of AI at range, plus making changes to the various types and amount of AI spawning into the match. It's also worth noting that DMZ is technically still in beta, so the mode is expected to keep evolving over the course of Modern Warfare 2's seasons, but hopefully more communication can be made in regards to such impactful changes moving forward. Additionally, the new season of DMZ will also include some spawn tuning for players and increased game stability. Season 2 is also bringing major changes to Modern Warfare 2 and battle royale. Players can expect several changes to the UI, audio adjustments, and more quality-of-life changes. Make sure to check out our breakdown of all the rumors and leaks surrounding Season 2 of Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2, including the season's potentially leaked Japanese theme and return of the Ronin operator. View the full article
  14. Greninja is a fan-favorite Pokemon (for very good reason) and now, the wait to add Greninja Pokemon to your team in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is over. Right now you can tackle the 7-Star Poison Greninja Tera Raid and bring it home for yourself. Greninja's Water/Dark typing is good defensively, fantastic offensively, and they have a great stat spread and move list that makes them a welcome addition to any team, whether you are building a team to tackle the Elite Four or the competitive ranking system. When can I catch Greninja?This Tera Raid takes place in two waves, just like Charizard and Cinderace. The first event takes place as follows: January 27 - 29February 10 - 12You'll also be able to catch 4- and 5-Star Bronzong and Lucario during the event, which are both Pokemon that have advantageous typing against Water/Dark/Poison Greninja. Before you beginFirst, before you can even think about fighting Greninja, make sure you've taken care of all the 7-star Tera Raid prep work I detail in our How To Catch Charizard guide. Once that's done, you'll need to build a Pokemon that can counter Greninja. There are a few frontrunners for this, including Lucario, Clodsire, and Bronzong, but my recommendation is Slowbro. A Stored Power Slowbro will help you survive for a very long time, then take out Greninja with massively damaging, supereffective damage. You can find a high level, multiple "Best" stat Slowbro on Casseroya Lake.You don't even have to worry about what Tera type Slowbro is. I used a Grass Tera type and simply didn't Terastalize, and I was totally fine, although if you have a Psychic Tera type Slowbro, that will bump your Stored Power damage up to double, which is a nice benefit, but the tradeoff is that you lose resistance to Hydro Pump. Building a Pokemon to beat GreninjaYou can catch a Tera Slowbro in the northwestern region, swimming around on Casseroya Lake. Once you have caught them, you'll want to visit the Hyper Trainer in the icy city of Montenevera (northern section of the map) to increase every stat besides Attack to maximum. Once you have your Pokemon, you can max out the remaining stats at the Hyper Trainer in Montenevera.To do this, you'll need Bottle Caps, which you can get from high-level raids, fighting in the academy tournament, and in auctions in Porto Marinada. Slowbro EVs for fighting GreninjaOnce your Slowbro's IVs are maxed out (again, except for the Attack stat, which we won't be using), it's time to max out the EVs. We want to max out HP and Special Attack, which will take 26 HP UPs and 26 Calcium, which can be purchased at the Chansey Supply in Mezagoza (East). You can use one final Iron to give yourself a tiny boost to Defense to round out your EVs. Max out your EVs with items purchased from the Chansey Supply in eastern Mesagoza.After that, use Exp. Candy XL (another Tera Raid bonus item) to reach Level 100 and then the last thing you need are the moves. Slowbro Moves for fighting GreninjaStored Power (TM41)Iron Defense (TM104)Nasty Plot (TM140)Slack Off (Learned at Level 33)Slowbro learns Slack Off naturally, which you'll use to stay healed up during the fight, so now you need to obtain the rest of the moves via TM. Pick up the Stored Power in the starting area, just west of Los Platos.Stored Power can be found just west of Los Platos in the starting area. Nasty Plot can be found in Area Zero on the ledge above Research Station No. 2. Teleport there, run outside, turn around, use your Legendary mount to climb the cliff, then you'll be able to hop up onto another small ledge to grab the TM. You can also get Nasty Plot by completing Professor Raifort's history lessons, passing the final, catching all four of the legendary Pokemon, then talk to the Professor. The Iron Defense TM can be found in northwestern East Province.Iron Defense is found in East Province (Area Three) just east of the fast travel point with the same name. It's on a raised mesa in the middle of a pit. With all your moves, IVs, EVs, and leveling up taken care of, the last thing you need is your item. I recommend the Leftovers. There are a few that can be found around the world, but you can also buy them pretty inexpensively. Cascarrafa's upper level has the Delibird Presents where you can buy the Leftovers held item.Head to the Delibird Presents shop in eastern Cascarrafa, located in the western part of Paldea. Pick up the Leftovers for 20,000 yen, then equip it and it'll be time to fight. Fighting GreninjaYou can certainly fight Greninja online, but this build is good enough to beat him with CPU trainers helping. By fighting solo, it will matter much less if your teammates get knocked out, as that won't reduce your timer the way it would if a player's Pokemon would. Look for this black and purple Poison icon when searching for the Greninja Tera Raid, which can appear anywhere.Greninja will start the fight with Double Team and Toxic Spikes, so you'll be poisoned if you faint at all (as will your teammates) but this won't really matter, since we have Leftovers and Slack Off. It's a bit more straightforward to fight Greninja alone, but you can still certainly use this build in online co-op.Begin by using Iron Defense three times, keeping an eye on your health and using Slack Off instead, if you reach roughly 50% health. Once you've done Iron Defense three times, switch to Nasty Plot, using that three times, too. After that, go to your Cheer section and use "Go All Out" one time, then start using Stored Power. Once you have used both Iron Defense and Nasty Plot three times, just keep healed up with Slack Off and deal damage with Stored Power.If Greninja removes the stat bonuses for your Pokemon, you'll need to start over, but don't worry if the timer is getting low. Once you are all set up, Stored Power does a ton of damage. You'll need to plink away a bit if Greninja puts up the shield, but once you've staggered it, you'll be able to knock it out in just 2 or so hits. Meanwhile, you'll be taking very little damage, and you'll have the ability to passively and actively heal. Using this method, you can catch Greninja on your first solo attempt. Greninja comes with perfect IVs at Level 100, and the Mightiest Mark.Additionally, if you can get one or more CPU Pokemon with Intimidate, it will make it even easier. On my first solo attempt, I was teamed up with Tauros, Arcanine, and Staraptor for a whopping three intimidates before the fight started. Good luck! View the full article
  15. The Nintendo Switch is now one step closer to being an all-in-one portable machine with the launch of the nOS. This new app may not bring a web browser or Netflix to your console, but it does give you a few new tools to use between games. The nOS, or "new operating system" as developer and publisher RedDeer Games calls it, adds the bones of an operating system to your Nintendo Switch. The nOS lets you take notes, make to-do lists, and crunch numbers. The nOS adds a calculator, limited gallery of pre-selected images, notebook, to-do list, MS paint-like app, and simple puzzle minigame within a separate piece of software on your Nintendo Switch. One drawback is that despite being positioned as an operating system, these utilities can only be accessed through the app itself; there's no way at the system level to jump directly into taking notes or adding to your to-do list. It's now available on the eShop for $40, although a limited-time sale drops that all the way down to $2. nOS's puzzle mini-game has three separate difficulties. | Provided by RedDeer.GamesThe app, while incredibly bare bones, positions itself uniquely in Nintendo's ecosystem as few other games like it exist, making it one of the few options available for adding extra functionality. One of the only ways to get a reliable and functioning to-do list on your Switch is to download nOS, which says a lot about how little Nintendo has added to the Switch since it launched. Other apps for note taking, for example, are out there. The Nintendo Switch released with lackluster entertainment options in 2017. It didn't have many standalone apps like the ones included here, no streaming platforms like Netflix, and no web browser. That sort of functionality hasn't improved much in the last six years. Everything within the nOS worked as expected after several hours of pre-release usage. All sections of the game could be accessed via controller buttons or the touchscreen and the nOS used very little battery during that time. The puzzle and painting applications were nothing more than simple distractions that held my attention for a few minutes. This type of functionality is mostly targeted at folks who don't use other devices for tracking tasks or taking random notes. The nOS makes the Switch a more acceptable option for flights, car rides, or other scenarios where you may not want to switch between devices for something as simple as some statistics accounting for Fire Emblem Engage. A trailer for nOS on YouTube is full of comments wishing this were an actual operating system for the Nintendo Switch. It's unlikely that'll ever happen though now that we're six years into the consoles lifespan and Nintendo has never said it'll be anything more. View the full article
  16. Despite launching in 2014, The Elder Scrolls Online shows no signs of slowing down. ZeniMax Online Studios has been pushing out yearly expansions since the game’s release--and that trend continues in 2023 with Necrom. The highly anticipated DLC arrives on June 5, but right now you can reserve a Steam code for The Elder Scrolls Online Collection: Necrom for just $51, down from $60. Preorder at FanaticalThe great thing about the ESO Collection: Necrom is that comes with much more than just the latest expansion. Beyond Necrom, you’ll also get the base game and every previously released expansion chapter. This includes High Isle, Blackwood, Greymoor, Elsweyr, Summerset, and Morrowind. In other words, you’re getting eight games in one, which is a pretty great deal at this new price point. Preordering through Fanatical will also get you a bunch of other content, such as the Sadrith Mora Spore Steed and Pony pair (which will be available immediately), along with the following when Necrom launches: Sadrith Mora Formal Attire costumeApocryphal Bookwyrm petx1 Unfeathered cratex3 Treasure mapsx2 Experience scrolls (+100% for 1 hour)If you’re unfamiliar with the Necrom Chapter, it’s bringing some big changes to ESO when it drops in June. This includes the new Arcanist class, a new zone (Telvanni Peninsula), a new story, and new Warden and Arcanist class companions. And if you’re really excited about Necrom, consider picking up the Deluxe Collection from Fanatical, which is discounted to $68 from $80 and includes tons of additional in-game cosmetics. Disclosure: GameSpot and Fanatical are both owned by Fandom. View the full article
  17. Forspoken may have just launched on January 24, but Amazon is already running a great deal for the magical RPG. Head over to Amazon right now, and you’ll be able to save $10 on Forspoken--making this the lowest price (and first discount) we've seen. While you won’t need a special coupon code to receive the new price, you will need to click the coupon box on Forspoken’s store page. See deal at AmazonOnce you’ve clipped the coupon, the $10 discount will be automatically applied at checkout, dropping the game’s price from $70 to $60. The biggest downside to this promotion is that it only works on the PS5 version of Forspoken. But if you own Sony’s latest console and have had your eye on the new game, this is currently the cheapest way to pick it up. Amazon isn’t advertising an end date for the promotion--but we have a feeling the deal will sell out before the weekend is over. Be sure to swing by and check out the savings while you can. Forspoken launched to mixed reviews on January 24, with some critics liking its magical parkour and combat while others felt the story was bland and its world less than memorable. Our Forspoken review gave it a 5/10, praising Forspoken for its frantic movement system and solid soundtrack while noting its lackluster environments and frustrating characters. “Frey zips through the environment with stylish flips and jumps, moving so quickly that she skids to a halt,” wrote critic Jordan Ramée. “This does create an enjoyable fluidity to movement and it's exhilarating to feel the world speed past you. The quiet hum of Forspoken's excellent soundtrack worms its way into your ears while you're racing through the empty, yet beautiful, landscapes. I'm absentmindedly humming its main theme even now.” View the full article
  18. If you grew up playing Goldeneye 007 on your Nintendo 64, you probably messed around with some cheat codes for a bit of extra fun. Those were simple times--back when cheat codes could be entered easily on a cheat menu and then enjoyed without much hassle at all. With the game's re-release on Switch and Xbox, however, things aren't quite so straightforward. The Switch still technically allows for some codes to be entered this old-school way, though it takes a lot of finagling to translate the appropriate buttons from the N64--unless you have one of these. But the Xbox doesn't provide any ability to enter codes this way, and both versions of this re-release are designed to have the cheats unlocked by completing levels under specific conditions. So if you want to get them all unlocked, we've got the necessary conditions listed below. All Goldeneye 007 cheats007 mode - Complete all missions on 00 Agent difficultyAll characters (multiplayer) - Complete the story on Agent difficulty or higherAll guns - Complete Egyptian on 00 Agent difficulty in under 6:00 minsAztec level - Complete all main levels on Secret Agent difficulty or higherDK mode - Complete Runway on Agent difficulty in under 5:00 minsEgyptian level - Complete all main levels on 00 Agent difficulty or higherEnemies with rockets - Complete Streets on Agent difficulty in under 1:45 minsFast animation - Complete Statue on Secret Agent difficulty in under 3:15 minsGold PP7 - Complete Cradle on Agent difficulty in under 2:15 minsGolden Gun - Complete Egyptian on any difficultyGrenade launcher x2 - Complete Surface 1 on Secret Agent difficulty in under 3:30 minsHunting knife x2 - Complete Jungle on Agent under 3:45 minsInfinite ammo - Complete Control on Secret Agent difficulty in under 10:00 minsInvincibility - Complete Facility on 00 Agent difficulty in under 2:05 minsInvisibility - Complete Archives on 00 Agent difficulty in under 1:20 minsLaser - Complete Aztec on any difficultyLaser x2 - Complete Aztec on Secret Agent difficulty in under 9:00 minsMagnum - Complete Cradle on any difficultyNo radar (multiplayer) - Complete Frigate on Secret Agent difficulty in under 4:30 minsPaintball mode - Complete Dam on Secret Agent difficulty in under 2:40 minsRC-P90 x2 - Complete Caverns on 00 Agent difficulty in under 9:30 minsRocket launcher x2 - Complete Bunker 1 on 00 Agent difficulty in under 4:00 minsSilver PP7 - Complete Train on 00 Agent difficulty in under 5:25 minsSlow animation - Complete Depot on Secret Agent difficulty in under 1:40 minsThrowing knife x2 - Complete Bunker 2 on Agent difficulty in under 1:30 minsTiny Bond - Complete Surface 2 on 00 Agent difficulty in under 4:15 minsTurbo mode - Complete Silo on Agent difficulty in under 3:00 minsFor more on Goldeneye 007, check out this weird way to get modern controls for the game on Switch. View the full article
  19. The first month of 2023 is almost over, but Xur remains a reliable fixture on the calendar with his collection of fine arms and armaments. Back in the Solar system for another weekend--and just in time for the Trials of Osiris--here's where you can find Xur and what Exotics he's selling this week. This week you can find Xur in The Tower, in the Hangar. For his weapon, Xur is offering SUROS Regime; Hunters can pick up Sealed Ahamkara Grasps; Titans can grab ACD/O Feedback Fence; and for Warlocks, Xur has Apotheosis Veil. Xur LocationXur's location in the Tower.Spawn in using the Courtyard transmat zone in the Tower to find Xur this week. Head left and down the stairs to enter the Hangar section, then hang another left. Make your way to the north end of the area and look for a staircase that will take you onto a catwalk, where Xur is waiting. Xur is present every weekend in Destiny 2, starting with the daily reset at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET each Friday. His exact location is always a mystery when he first arrives, as he is not listed on the map, and for novice players, he can be easy to miss. However, there are a set number of locations where he takes up residence, including the Tower Hangar area, on Nessus in Watcher's Grave, and in the Winding Cove area of the EDZ. View the full article
  20. As January winds down, there's still a few weekends left before Trials of Osiris gets shaken up by all the massive changes coming to Destiny 2 in its Lightfall expansion. The event will be on break next week for the final Iron Banner of Season 20, so now is as good a time as any to chase that Flawless winstreak in the high-level PvP activity. Once you're done paying a visit to Xur, here's where you'll play Trials of Osiris this weekend and what weapons you can earn. Map: TBC Reputation Rank 4: Upgrade Module x 2Reputation Rank 7: Enhancement Prism x 3Reputation Rank 10: Trials Weapon (Changes for each rank reset)Reputation Rank 13: Upgrade Module x 2Reputation Rank 16: Trials Weapon (Changes for each rank reset)Flawless Reward: TBCTrials weapons now carry the Alacrity Origin Trait. It gives you increased aim assist, reload speed, stability, and range on your Trials guns when you're the last living member of a fireteam or running solo. You can also choose to swap to the Crucible Origin trait, One Quiet Moment, which greatly enhances your gun's reload speed when you reload while out of combat. As always, Trials becomes available from Friday's daily reset at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET until the weekly reset at the same time the following Tuesday. During that time, you can also pay a visit to Xur to see what Exotics he's selling. Make sure to pay a visit to Saint-14 in the Tower to pick up a Trials card, which will dictate certain bonuses (such as whether you get bonus rewards at certain milestones or if a loss will be forgiven). Trials of Osiris is a weekend PvP mode that runs from the daily reset on Friday until the weekly reset on Tuesday, giving you four days to take part. Your goal in the Trials is for you and the other two players in your fireteam to achieve a "Flawless" run, in which you win seven matches without losing any. Go Flawless and you'll earn a trip to the Lighthouse and receive some special rewards, including the new Adept weapons. These have additional stat bonuses, making them among the most coveted items you can get your hands on. Thanks to a bunch of changes to Trials this year, though, the mode is a little easier to get into than it has been. The Trials of Osiris now features matchmaking, so you can jump into matches even if you don't have a full squad of three players to take it on. Your Trials Passage--the card you purchase from Saint-14 that grants you access to the mode and tracks your wins--now does not track your losses--so you can keep playing and earning rewards even if you lose out on a Flawless run. Bungie has also adjusted Trials so that you earn rewards based on the number of rounds, rather than matches, you've won during your session, and added a reputation system that's similar to the Crucible and Gambit, making it easier to earn some of the Trials of Osiris's unique loot. Finally, you'll earn Trials Engrams for participating in the mode, which you can cash in with Saint-14 during the weekend you receive them. You can tune those engrams to yield specific pieces of loot, or take your chances with random drops that will expand what's available in your loot pool. So even if you're just jumping into Trials alone, there are plenty of ways you can earn great new gear. View the full article
  21. Diablo III's upcoming Season 28 will introduce a whole new way for players to progress their characters, but not without some sacrifices. The new system, called the Altar of Rites, is a talent-tree-like system where players will make choices on account-wide character buffs and Legendary potions that will last the entirety of Season 28. Unlocking the first node is the same for all players--kill streak timers and reward bonuses are doubled. From there, players will have to make some hard decisions as they go down the branching talent tree, with each node being progressively more expensive to unlock. There look to be some truly wild buffs further down the tree, ranging from 15% increased damage across the board to the ability for pets to pick up and salvage common, magic, and rare items, Torchlight-style. The Legendary potions also look to put a major spin on moment-to-moment gameplay, such as one potion granting a random shrine or pylon effect whenever consumed or the ability to always receive two Primal items whenever a single Primal item drops. However, unlocking most of these upgrades won't be easy. Players will need to sacrifice increasingly rare materials at the altar to gain access to the various upgrades, all the while learning more about Sanctuary's "tumultuous past," Blizzard writes in a blog post on the subject. Unlocking every seal and Legendary potion offered through the Altar of Rites is its own reward, but Blizzard is throwing a cherry on top. Completing the talent-tree will unlock a unique Wings of Terror cosmetic item that looks to be inspired by Diablo himself. There is no release date just yet for when Season 28 will start, but fans can test out the new system and all the various class changes on the game's public test realm starting January 31. Diablo IV, meanwhile, is slated to arrive on June 6, following reports of a difficult development cycle. That will likely make Diablo III Season 28 the last season before the arrival of the next game in the series, as most seasons typically last around five months. Amidst concern from fans that Diablo IV may follow in the footsteps of the free-to-play Diablo Immortal, Blizzard has clarified exactly how Diablo IV's battle-pass system will work, stating there will be no way for players to increase their characters' power by spending money. View the full article
  22. Don't count on a new XCOM anytime soon. Jake Solomon, who directed XCOM 2 and Marvel's Midnight Suns, explained that he's got his hands full with the latter at the moment. As such, he claims he has no idea what the future holds for the XCOM series. Solomon spoke with VGC recently about Midnight Suns. But, of course, Solomon was asked about returning to XCOM in the future too. "I personally have no information on that right now and I say that because, truly, yesterday I was working on Morbius' abbey outfits and recolors, so I am not working on it," he explained. "I don't have any secret agenda, I don't know anything about XCOM at this point." Developer Firaxis Games has worked on the last four games in the strategy series--and five out of the last six. The latest entry in the franchise was 2020's XCOM: Chimera Squad, which we gave an 8/10 in our XCOM: Chimera Squad review. Last year, Solomon said the XCOM series was "definitely not dead." But for now, it seems like Solomon and Firaxis are focusing on Midnight Suns. In fact, the strategy game just received Deadpool DLC called The Good, The Bad, and The Undead. For more, check out GameSpot's Midnight Suns review. View the full article
  23. After years languishing in apparent legal limbo, the fan-favorite N64 game GoldenEye 007 has finally returned to modern consoles. The developer of the original game, Rare, has since been acquired by Microsoft, so both the Nintendo Switch and Xbox consoles received the game simultaneously as part of some kind of 007 custody agreement. Unfortunately, like many divorces, one parent has their **** together and the other one clearly doesn't. The Switch default controls are, in a word, terrible. I wasn't sure if I would replay the entire game from my youth, but I liked the idea of at least revisiting it on a handheld, so I fired up the Switch version first. I started the Dam level and figured I'd find my bearings as I explored. Immediately I moved right in front of a guard, and mashed buttons wildly until I found the one that shot him. I crossed the bridge, awkwardly dispatched a few more guards, and then found myself staring up at the sky, somehow? I made it through the stage mostly by just hip-shotting my way through legions of Russian guards thanks to the generous aim-assist of Agent (aka Easy) mode. You see, on Switch, the default controls are virtually the exact opposite of every single thing you'd expect. The left stick looks and moves forward and backward, and the right stick strafes and looks. The D-pad also strafes. Either shoulder button aims down sights, but only the ZL button fires your weapon. The ZR button, the one you'd traditionally imagine firing a gun, does absolutely nothing. The B button reloads and opens doors and the A button changes weapons. X looks up and Y strafes left, for some reason? What is this? What even is this? I briefly cycled through the other control options, but they were all different flavors of bad. The core problem seems to come down to the ZR button simply being off-limits for button mapping. The game is running in an N64 emulator, so it's assuming you're using an actual N64 controller and mapping the Switch buttons to specific N64 inputs. As a result, every control configuration has to place the fire button on ZL or a face button and then organize the rest of the controls around that. Maybe these controls, the ones that feel like they were designed as part of some cruel social experiment on gamers, are actually reminiscent of the ones found on the original N64; I don't know. Frankly, I don't want to know. The Nintendo 64 controller was a bizarre three-uddered monstrosity by itself so of course a modern controller doesn't map cleanly onto its interface. The real question is why you would even try. For the sake of curiosity I went ahead and downloaded it onto my Xbox as well and to my shock, it works just fine. The buttons are mapped to the places you would imagine they would be mapped to. I changed my weapon by tapping the Y button. I aimed down sights and shot using the correct shoulder buttons. It's a little clunky, as you'd probably expect from any modern port of a very old game, but it functions. Compared to the Switch port, it's Call of Duty. There is a weird, backwards hacky way to get modern(-ish) controls into GoldenEye 007 on Switch. That option wasn't available to me, as the button remapping wasn't available on my Split Pad Pro controller. I wouldn't fault anyone for trying it out--especially if the Switch is your only option, and you're aching for that sweet nostalgia. Switch is also the only one with online multiplayer, so you'll need to find some kind of acceptable solution if you want to frustrate your faraway friends by picking Oddjob in every match. But if you have a choice, and don't mind the lack of online play, just do yourself a favor and play the Xbox version. It may not be as accurate to the original, but it feels correct. No extra work or hoops required. View the full article
  24. Fire Emblem Engage's lead voice actor Brandon McInnis has revealed how he was unable to secure a deluxe version of the game that he stars in due to GameStop overselling that edition. As the voice of main character Alear, McInnis wrote about GameStop taking preorders for the deluxe edition without guaranteeing customers that it would have sufficient stock. "GameStop just called to let me know that my preorder of the Divine Edition of Fire Emblem Engage sadly won’t be fulfilled because corporate had them selling preorders without guaranteed stock. I voice the lead in the game," McInnis tweeted. This isn't a case of "don't you know who I am?" as McInnis wasn't looking for special treatment. Instead, he wanted to shed light on GameStop's business practices so that other customers won't risk losing out on special editions of games. The Divine Edition of Fire Emblem Engage is a particularly nice version as well, and comes with a steel book case, an art book, poster, and cards. The good news is that McInnis eventually got his hands on that deluxe version, after buying the game digitally and then purchasing a physical copy from an eBay reseller. "It irks me that people gave money to GameStop believing they’d get a copy of something special to them and were duped," McInnis added. Fire Emblem Engage released earlier this month for the Nintendo Switch, and has earned a mixed reception from critics and fans alike. "While Fire Emblem Engage certainly builds on the deep and rewarding tactical combat, the predictable story and repetitive side activities feel like a step backward for the long-running series," Jake Dekker wrote in GameSpot's Fire Emblem Engage review. This new entry returns to a traditional narrative structure compared to what Three Houses offered in 2019." View the full article
  25. Actor Freddie Prinze Jr. has played Fred in two live-action Scooby-Doo movies. He's starred in films like She's All That as well as I Know What You Did Last Summer. And he's even voiced a Star Wars character: Kanan Jarrus in Rebels. But nothing tops his experience as the Iron Bull in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Prinze appeared on Pop! Talk on YouTube (via TheGamer) and discussed his career. During the interview he brought up how much fun he had being a part of Dragon Age: Inquisition. "But the Iron Bull is the one. Like, that's the voice that is my favorite character that I've ever played ever," he said. "And it's from a video game, like it's not from a big movie that made $100 billion. It's not from Scooby or She's All That. It's a giant, bull-looking, massive buff guy, and they wanted this like linebacker, bro voice." He added that "it just didn't feel right." Prinze went on to talk about learning various voices from his dad's best friend, Charles Fleischer. For those unfamiliar, Fleischer is a standup comedian who might be best known for voicing Roger Rabbit. Prinze says he was the one who helped develop his vocal range as a tool. That led Prinze experimenting with Iron Bull instead of just going straight to a bro voice. Ultimately, he ended up mixing together thundering Pete from Mickey Mouse with Winston Churchill. For more on the BioWare RPG, check out GameSpot's Dragon Age: Inquisition review. View the full article
  26. Turn 10's new Forza Motorsport game that was detailed during this week's Developer Direct event is not coming to Xbox One, as least not natively. The game will be playable on Xbox One, but it will be available as a streaming title through the cloud. In a support page post, Microsoft said the new Forza Motorsport was built "from the ground up" to take advantage of the "full power and performance" of the Xbox Series X|S systems, not Xbox One. "While there will not be a native Xbox One version of the game, Xbox One players can stream Forza Motorsport through Xbox Cloud Gaming included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate," Microsoft said. The new Forza Motorsport title will be available natively on Xbox Series X|S and PC. Like all other Microsoft first-party games, it will be available through Game Pass, too. In terms of performance, Forza Motorsport players on Series X can expect a 4K/60fps experience, while Series S players are getting 1080p/60fps. Performance on PC will depend on a player's setup. The PC system requirements have not been announced. Given the age of the Xbox One--it launched in 2013--it makes sense that Microsoft would be moving away from the platform these days, at least in terms of native support. This week's surprise-launch, Hi-Fi Rush, also did not have an Xbox One release. And native Xbox One releases for the new Fable and Avowed are supposedly not planned. Additionally, marquee 2023 titles like Starfield and Redfall could be cloud versions, too. In a June 2021 blog post, Microsoft said those titles "require the speed, performance, and technology of the Xbox Series X|S," and thus may not come to Xbox One natively but instead release via the cloud. Microsoft's cloud games are streamed on external servers and beamed to supported machines, so in this way, a console from 2013 can play a 2023 game with the same or similar quality. The major potential catch is that, because games are streamed, it requires a stable and consistent connection. Microsoft's cloud streaming platform is already up and running and allows players to stream games to any supported device, including the Xbox One, mobile phones, and tablets, among other devices. All of this is nothing new for Nintendo Switch players, who have been getting cloud versions of games like Control, Hitman 3, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey, among others. View the full article
  27. It has been almost a year since Square Enix published Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, a chaos-obsessed spin-off of the original Final Fantasy, and a sequel could be greenlit one day. During a recent Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin celebrating the launch of the game's third and final DLC this month, Different Future, producer Tetsuya Nomura confirmed the obvious method for getting Square Enix to potentially commit funds and staff to a Stranger of Paradise sequel. "When Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin first came out, there was a lot of negative bashing, especially online," Nomura said via Noisy Pixel. "However, I'm pleased to say that everyone watching this livestream has grown very fond of Jack and his friends. So much so that some would love to see a sequel. And if you do want that to happen, then it would certainly help if one person watching this spread the news to 10 other people. If word of mouth about the game spreads through the DLC's completion, proving that this is a title that has really resonated with everyone, there may be a time when we can meet again." While it's not a "yes", it's not a "no" regarding Stranger of Paradise's future. Despite a rough launch highlighted by game-breaking hair and a lukewarm critical reception, the game has a fanbase that appreciates the more action-packed take on the Final Fantasy universe. The game has received some interesting DLC since launch, fleshing out the Team Ninja-developed game with new levels, stories, and challenges. There won't be a shortage of Final Fantasy games in the future either, as Final Fantasy XVI launches on June 22 and will be followed by Final Fantasy VII Rebirth in Winter 2023. View the full article
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