Shacknews - Greg Burke

E3 is almost upon us and Shacknews will be back on the showfloor with a booth this year in West Hall of the LA Convention Center. We reached out to our Chatty community, staff and our social media channels to see what everyone is looking forward to this E3. We have you covered from Xbox Scorpio to F-Zero. Here are the top 10 things we hope to be surprised and delighted by at E3 2017.

For more videos, including gameplay and interviews, visit the Shacknews and GamerHub.tv YouTube channels.

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Shack's Top 10, please let us know in the comments section or tweet @shacknews & @GregBurke85 with #Top10.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Like the movie series from which it was derived, Friday the 13th: The Game sees Jason stalking camp counselors until they're all dead, or he is. You get to play as Jason or a counselor, and your objectives shift depending on your role. Counselors must avoid Jason and escape, while the player controlling Jason wins if he or she kills off the kiddies.

This guide will clarify how to win no matter which identity you assume in a match of Friday the 13th: The Game.

How to Win Matches as a Camp Counselor

Given that each match involves nearly half a dozen counselors, you're likely to spend most of your time in Friday the 13th: The Game playing as Jason's prey. Survival should be your top priority, but there are other ways to claim victory.

Survive Until the Timer Expires. This one is straightforward. Every match has a time limit. The rub is that matches usually last 20 minutes—an eternity when you're a counselor with few weapons at your disposal and your opponent is a zombified killer several times stronger than you and your friends. If running out the clock seems like your best bet, find a place to hide, but make sure to communicate with teammates so that everyone has his or her own hiding space that's relatively nearby so others can help if needed.

Call the Police. Easier said than done. Friday the 13th: The Game wouldn't stay true to its namesake if calling for help were as simple as walking into a house and picking up a receiver. No, you'll need to scavenge for parts and repair each map's phone before it's operable. After that, the police need time to reach your destination. Avoid Jason while you watch for them. As soon as they arrive, get to them to win the match.

Escape Via Car or Boat. Just like calling the phone, you can't just hop behind a wheel and race off to safety. You'll need to coordinate with your teammates to get each map's car or boat—your choice—in working order. The most important thing is to focus on the car or the boat. Dividing your attention between both gives Jason more time to find you and introduce you to the business end of his machete.

Kill Jason. Think you can kill Jason by grabbing a gun and planting a slug between his eyes? Think again. As you might expect, taking down Jason Vorhees is a multi-step process, and every player has a crucial part to play. Read our guide on how to kill Jason to learn how to get the job done.

One final note: Just because Jason kills you doesn't have to mean you're done playing. If certain conditions are met later in the match, the game will randomly select a player who has been killed or already escaped to return in the role of Tommy Jarvis, a character from the Friday the 13th mythos who must make an appearance if you want to kill Jason to win. If you've already quit out, you can't be select to control Tommy.

How to Win Matches as Jason

If you're lucky enough to play as Jason, you'll have plenty of ways to satisfy your bloodlust but only one way to win.

Kill the Counselors. Friday the 13th: The Game doesn't get any more straightforward than this. As Jason, you have several preternatural abilities at your disposal, such as sharpened hearing to help you hone in on counselors making noise, and strength great enough to kill players quickly once you have them in your grasp. Haste and recklessness are your only weaknesses. Notice how Jason cannot run; he walks with a steady, powerful gait. Take a cue from Jason: be patient, listen, watch, and wait. They'll slip up. And when they do, you'll be ready.

Refer to our guides to Friday the 13th: The Game for more tips and strategies, such as how to play as Jason.

Shacknews - Kevin Tucker

As shadow turns to light and dusk turns to dawn, the soft embrace of Friday always finds us, warming our hearts and filling our minds with countless concepts of all the things we'd like to see happen during the coming weekend. Not only does Friday punctuate our labor and alleviate our concerns, it also gives us the chance to look back at all of the latest stories featured over at Modojo. So set down your halberd, unclasp your plate, and sit with us as we recap the latest in the realm of mobile and portable gaming.

The Numerous Shadows of Valentia

Players keen on tactical role-playing action have likely already picked up the latest entry to the Fire Emblem series, the admittedly-excellent title Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. It's a game that manages to become both a new entry to the series as well as serve as a remake to the 1992 NES title Fire Emblem Gaiden, which has lead many to wonder about the differences between Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia. As always, we've got the scoop.

We've been working on other guides for Shadows of Valentia as well, including all the top tips players need to understand and cure fatigue, how to recruit Saber and gain access to a ship, and also thoughts on how to choose the best class for Faye.

The guides don't end there, though: Clash of Clans recently received a new update that opened up, among other things, the new Builder Base, a Gem Mine, and the all-new Versus battle mode. Staying on top of the game, we've got new guides on the best Builder Hall 3 base building tips and layouts as well as how to unlock the Gem Mine and get free gems.

The Hard Clank of the Banhammer and the Rise of Magikarp Jump

We have a slew of new Pokemon-centric news for gamers still getting mileage out of Pokemon Go. Early last week, players noticed a brief increase in spawn rates for Larvitar, leading many to wonder where to find the rare Pokemon; on the other hand, some players have noticed that many other Pokemon have mysteriously vanished. In the case of the latter, those players may be on the receiving end of a Niantic shadowban, a condition that removes all but the most common Pokemon from the game. There are a number of ways of how to figure out if you've been shadowbanned, with the number-one indicator being past use of unlicensed third-party apps.

The banning doesn't end there, either: Nintendo has just formally set into motion a 'ban wave' that has kicked countless 3DS systems offline. The takeaway is obvious, despite being both saddening and maddening: if you want to play your 3DS online, don't violate the 3DS terms of service.

Lastly, some of the most electrifying buzz to drop this week surrounds Pokemon: Magikarp Jump, the newly-released free-to-play title available for iOS and Android. The game is admittedly very strange, largely due to the fact that it places its focus around Magikarp, a Pokemon well-known for being almost utterly useless.

In Magikarp Jump, players assume the role of a trainer who wanders into a town that's plainly obsessed with Magikarp jumping competitions, and from there players are tasked with restoring honor to the town's unusual tradition by training the flappy fishes to flop ever-skyward. The gameplay is quite simple, but players can find all they need to know to get started by checking out our guides on how to train Magikarp and win battles as well as our tips on how to fish for Magikarp.

That's it for us this week, folks. As always, keep your browser dialed in to Modojo for all the latest mobile and portable gaming news, reviews, and guides.


Modojo is your homebase for all the must-have mobile and portable technology and gaming news. Want to read about the 3DS, Vita, or Nintendo Switch? Come on down. How about App Store or Google Play titles? We've got you covered. Interested in mobile VR or phones themselves? We've got that, too. We've also got the ineffable influence of our patron saint Robomo, the wise-cracking robot.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Nintendo's stock jumped more than percent early this morning following Capcom's announcement of Monster Hunter XX, an expanded port of Monster Hunter Generations on 3DS, for the company's Switch console (via CNBC). The increase of 5.48 percent elevated Nintendo to an eight-year high, its greatest value since October 2008.

CNBC credits the price jump to excitement in Japan, where Monster Hunter's popularity dwarfs that of western regions.

Monster Hunter XX is a port of 2016's Monster Hunter Generations on 3DS. The game builds on Generations' foundation by offering more quests, items, weapons, and monsters. In fact, Monster Hunter XX has been available on 3DS since March, but only in Japan.

Capcom hasn't announced plans to publish the 3DS or Switch versions of Monster Hunter XX outside of Japan. Historically, Monster Hunter games make their way to the west; they just trail behind eastern releases. The publisher will reveal more news during this weekend's Monster Hunter Championship.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Welcome to This Week @ Shack, our regular roundup of news, commentary, video, and guides.

One of the stranger phenomenons of game development bifurcating into casual mobile games and PC or console "hardcore" games has been the degree of crossover inspiration that regularly happens between the two of them. Those loot boxes you find in every game from Gears of War 4 to Overwatch can be traced directly back to the free-to-play mobile market. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the auto-play element common in many mobile games is starting to migrate as well.

The most notable recent example of this is Injustice 2, which adds AI load-outs for your characters that can be used in battles. It didn't take long for players to realize this was an easy way to grind for experience and loot. An endless playlist keeps your character grinding with only the occasional need to hit a button to continue. (Or, if you get tricksy enough, no button-pushing required at all.)

It's a convenience feature built for those of us without the time or skill to go the more traditional route, and I'm not going to act as if it's some kind of scourge on the gaming landscape. It's a shortcut for progression systems, and doesn't really take away from the pleasure of playing the game itself. It just makes the loot and leveling on a somewhat even playing field. I do think we can all agree that it is slightly weird, though, these games that play themselves so you don't have to. I imagine this would be a hard thing to explain to a non-gamer.

Then again, while writing this my Harley Quinn has gone up three levels, so it can't be all bad.

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Shacknews - Steve Watts

Far Cry 5 appears overtly political–almost too on-the-nose. At a presentation and interview last week, creative director Dan Hay downplayed such comparisons, noting that it centers on a doomsday cult and has been in development for three years, preceding current events that would otherwise appear to have inspired it. While the game may shy away from confronting the modern political landscape, its tone and tensions clearly come from the same place, and interpretation is just as important as intent.

Ubisoft is no stranger to real-world settings that ruffle feathers. Earlier this year the company was embroiled in controversy with the government of Bolivia, which was dismayed by its use of the country for the setting of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. It's easy to understand why, as the premise for Wildlands was a fictionalized Bolivian government cowed by drug kingpins into allowing a de facto narco state. It's a depiction that has an element of truth, skewed just past recognition.

Similarly, Far Cry 5 is a flight of fancy, but only just. Hay's research trips into Montana found residents who, in his words, just wanted to be left alone. This attitude, marked by distrust for government authority, personal autonomy, a spirit of isolationism, and deep ideological divides, is the key element that political pundits missed in their prognostications about the 2016 election. 

Ubisoft Montreal's depiction of the region has been stretched to the point of apolitical. Having gotten a brief description of the key characters in the Eden's Gate cult, I doubt many of them would have voted at all, for any candidate. But we know that the region that inspired those characters actually did vote for President Trump, by a 20-point margin, because it is subject to those factors as tested against the real world. The signs of distrust that Hay and his team saw during their research has been pushed further to make the game marketable as an entertainment product, but it comes from a kernel of truth that's hard to disentangle from the fiction.

Far Cry 5 doesn't appear to be attempting any specific political observation or assertion, but it is using those elements to shade its commentary regardless. The motto of the fictional Hope County is "Freedom Faith Firearms." This proud declaration of fundamental values is virtually a call-and-response to former President Obama's 2008 campaign gaffe, in which he said many people in rural areas grow bitter and "cling to guns or religion." Whatever he may have intended, the statement was widely regarded in red states as a message of liberal condescension. It caused such controversy that nearly a decade later, it's still found on bumper stickers as a rallying cry.

Even now as I write this, I'm watching the returns come in from the Montana special election. It's hard to imagine how Ubisoft could have planned a better media flash-point to precede its announcement of a game set in that very state. A major party candidate allegedly assaulted a reporter on the eve of an election, and yet he won. Pundits will come up with myriad reasons for this over the next few days, not least of which because a significant portion of the votes were already mailed before the assault ever took place. But reporting on the ground found many residents either unfazed or even actively cheering it. These deep divides can make violence seem acceptable or even heroic.

Hay and his team saw this simmering in the heartland before the rest of the country took notice, and built a game world that responds to that spirit. Far Cry 5 is not a direct answer to the era of President Trump, but the tensions that it magnifies and skews are the same ones that led to his surprise victory in November.

Whether or not it intends to make a statement, of course Far Cry 5 is political. In our current social climate, it can't not be.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Twitch and Bandai Namco have teamed up to create a series eSports tournaments for the upcoming Tekken 7, with a $200,000 prize pool over the course of the six-month season. The Tekken World Tour is expected to kick off on June 16, two weeks after the game's scheduled June 2 release date.

The first stop on the tour will be Orlando, FL, for the CEO Fighting Game Championships from June 16-18. Other U.S. stops include Dallas, and Orange, CA. The series will also hit Doha, Qatar, on June 30, the Phuket, Thailand, on July 1. An official website for the Tekken World Tour has already been set up, but while some dates are set, many of the details are TBD. And as with all Twitch sponsored event, all matches will be streamed live when they happen on the official Tekken channel.

"The Fighting Game Community on Twitch features some of our platform’s most vibrant players and fans, with the Tekken World Tour created to celebrate their enthusiasm," Twitch Program Manager Richard Thiher said in an official release. "We’ve also witnessed how the Fighting Game genre has grown from local tournaments in arcades and living rooms to global attractions filling convention centers and stadiums. Tekken has been a major franchise and influence during this evolution. Our partnership with BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America for this new tournament series will help keep Fighting Games at the forefront of eSports, while building toward a sustainable ecosystem for all of the players, fans, and organizers involved."

Twitch has had success with other eSports tournament tours. A Rocket League season three years ago started with a $75,000 proze pool, but by Season 3, it was up to $300,000. 

Shacknews - David Craddock

Injustice 2 players discovered a hack involving PS4's Remote Play option that lets you farm loot boxes without playing the game (via US Gamer). The general idea is to play Injustice 2's Endless Mode by letting the AI control a character and wrack up experience points and loot boxes, which hold a randomized assortment of gear for characters.

Normally you have to press X before each match to instruct the game to begin the next endless match. You watch the AI-controlled superheroes and villains duke it out, a winner is declared, then you have to press X to call up the next match. However, a Reddit user worked out a way to bypass the need to press a button, effectively allowing you to start a tournament and then go do other things while characters beat each other to death and gather experience points and loot boxes on your behalf.

For the hack to work, you need to set up Remote Play communication between your PS4 and PC. Download an AutoHotKey system and program it so that your computer "presses" the Enter key at certain intervals, such as every 30 seconds. Full instructions are available in the Reddit thread, or you can refer to my screen grab of the thread below.

The downside is that if your character loses, you have to manually reset Endless Mode; there's no way to wire up an AutoHotKey instruction (yet). Your best bet is to start a tournament and stay within the vicinity of your PS4 in case you need to get another tournament up and running.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Activision and Vicarious Visions are looking to help Crash Bandicoot relive his glory days with a new remastered collection. The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy brings together the old PlayStation mascot's first three games from the original PSX to the modern day. The publisher has revealed bits and pieces of each game over the past several months. The original Crash Bandicoot was revealed at PlayStation Experience, while footage of the remastered Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back was unveiled at PAX East. All that remains is Crash Bandicoot: Warped and Shacknews recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with the third game in the Crash trilogy.

Just as with the other two games, Warped has been given a visual overhaul for the PlayStation 4 generation. It's evidenced in some of the upgraded effects, like new animations or re-rendered environments. This also includes 4K resolution for PS4 Pro owners. The first sight that greeted me was Crash's idle animation in the old Middle Ages stage, where he was shivering in the cold as rain fell on the ground and splashed along the camera lens.

One of the goals of the N. Sane Trilogy is to embrace Crash's inherent cartoony nature through new animations. This includes new death animations, of which there are over 100. I got to witness just a handful of them, which include the two-headed lab-assistant clubbing Crash and sending him crashing into the TV screen, an enemy wizard turning Crash into a frog, and an enemy frog kissing Crash and turning into a handsome prince. Exploring these new death animations will be a big chunk of the fun with the trilogy, with the team even hinting that some Trophies may be tied to finding certain ones.

After exiting the Middle Ages, it was time to explore one of Warped's motorcycle stages. The motorcycle levels implemented racing to the Crash series, with the idea to outplace Cortex's goons, making sure to hit ramps, speed boosts, and avoid obstacles. While the racing mechanics don't stray from the PSX original, Activision went into these stages looking to nail down the new lighting elements and freshly animated environments.

Finally, it was time to jump into the future, with the "Gone Tomorrow" stage. Mechanical walkers and lab assistants riding UFOs were all over the place, offering still more death animations. This stage shows Warped's versatility in combining different stage elements, going from the traditional "chase" stages to side-scroller and back again.

After completing each stage for the first time, a new option pops up for time trials. This is just as it sounds, with players able to complete stages quickly and share their best times with friends. This would lend itself to online features, but the dev team isn't sharing full details on the N. Sane Trilogy's online element just yet.

When combined with what was previously revealed from the original Crash Bandicoot and Cortex Strikes Back, the N. Sane Trilogy appears to be the old-school games as people remember them. They aren't going to be perfect translations, as the dev team on-hand noted that the voiceover files had to be re-recorded. But gameplay-wise, it looks to be a faithful translation.

Get ready for Crash Bandicoot to make his return when the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy releases on June 30 for PlayStation 4.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Street Fighter 5 is going to give classic Street Fighter 2 players a sense of deja vu in its next DLC as it will bring back a remastered Flamenco Tavern stage, complete with dancers and musicians. And more importantly, Vega players will still be able to climb the cage.

The new stage will be available on May 30, and will cost $3.99, or 70,000 Fight money. Also making its return (for the same price)  with be the Thailand stage, which had been pulled shortly after launch in late April because of some "unintentional religious references."

As for the free part of the update, the Capcom Fighters Network comes out of beta and will officially launch for online players. Capcom has made a bunch of balance and matchmaking changes, and anyone logging in between May 30 and June 13 will get 50,000 in Fight Money. In addition, there will be some non-CFN balance changes coming as well:

Balrog

  • Turn Punch
    • Level 1 - 6 Motion: Added throw invincibility for frames 1-18F.
    • Level 1 - 3 Motion: Changed to upper body and projectile invincibility from frames 3-18F.
    • Level 4 - 6 Motion: Changed to attack and projectile invincibility from frames 3-18F.
    • Level 7 - 10 (Final) Motion: Changed to complete invincibility from frames 1-18F

R.Mika

  • Passion Press: Hitbox was reduced

Dhalsim

  • Stand Heavy Punch: Changed the total frames from 44F to 42F
  • Back Throw: Reduced the distance from the opponent after hit.

For more on what will be coming, including new Targets for Capcom Pro Tour, and new Season 2 character Young Commander Ed, check out the official blog post about the update and DLC.

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