Shacknews - Jason Venter

Sega has announced that Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is slated to arrive in the west on March 20, 2018. The PlayStation 4 exclusive will retail for $59.99/CA$79.99 in North America, £49.99 in the United Kingdom, €59.99 throughout the remainder of Europe, and for A$89.99 in Australia. It’s a multi-national sort of affair.

As the star of the series since its first installment (though the games like to give multiple leads their own sprawling segments), Kazuma Kiryu will once again assume the lead role. Yakuza 5 ended with him in a tight spot indeed, so hopefully the next chapter will conclude with everyone finally finding some of the peace Kiryu has so long pursued.

“In Yakuza 6, Kiry will find out exactly how much people are willing to sacrifice for family – be those ties through blood or bond – when he investigates a series of shadowy events that involve the ones he holds closest to his heart,” says the press release. “He’ll journey to familiar grounds in Kamurocho and the new setting of Onomichi, a beautiful, sleepy port town in Hiroshima Prefecture, in order to find the answers he seeks.”

Yakuza 6 employs the new Dragon Engine to present the “ultimate iteration” of the blend of violence, combat, vices and “distractions” for which the series is known. Visits to the popular hostess clubs and arcades are implied.

If you have been following the Yakuza series since its first North American release on PlayStation 2 in 2006, you might be interested in picking up the announced “After Hours Premium Edition,” which includes a hardcover art book, two bar glasses (with 280ml capacity), two ice stones, two coasters with Tojo Clan branding, plus an outer box in which to store it all. The pricing for that deluxe edition is $89.99/CA$119.99/£79.99/€89.99/A$129.99 in the regions noted above.

Even if you’re not ready to pay that premium, you can preorder the standard version to snag a launch edition that includes a hardcover art book you can also use to hold the game disc. After treating one of its finest properties roughly for years (the exceptional Yakuza 5 didn’t even make it west except as a download), Sega is finally ready to put Kiryu and his family in the spotlight. Are you planning to come on board for the final chapter?

Shacknews - Chris Jarrard

Another week comes to a close and brings with it a weekend full of hot game deals. Highlights for the last weekend before Gamescom 2017 include deals on the Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War Series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Titanfall 2. Below is a list of the best game deals and a few pieces of gaming hardware at low prices.

Humble Store

Dawn of War Franchise Sale - Up to 75% offDawn of War III - $44.99Dawn of War II: Master Collection - $13.74

EA Origin

Mass Effect: Andromeda - $19.99Titanfall 2 - $19.99Fifa 17 - $9.99Need For Speed - $9.99Mirror’s Edge Catalyst - $4.99Star Wars Battlefront Ultimate Edition - $4.99

Steam

Capcom Collection SaleStreet Fighter 4 - $19.99Resident Evil 7 - $35.99Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - $14.99Dead Rising 4 - $23.99

Bundle Stars

Summer Sale 2017 - Additional 10% off with code: SUMMER10Sonic Mania (Pre-Order) - $15.99Rocket League - $11.99Overcooked - $8.49

Amazon Gamescom Sale

20% Off Select Items With Code: GAMESCOM20(Prices are before 20% discount)Steelseries Rival 300 Mouse - $44.99Corsair K70 LUX RGB Mechanical Keyboard - $129.99Coolermaster Masterkeys Pro L White with Cherry MX Reds - $99.99

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

This September will welcome the 2nd entry in the Total War: Warhammer series. The games blend the strategy pedigree of the Total War franchise with the unique fantasy lore of Warhammer and the playable races take center stage. The Dark Elves were previously revealed as one of the four playable races and now we have a new group of challenges to welcome into the fray. The Skaven, who were prominently featured in Vermintide, will be bringing their treacherous ways to the massive battlefield in Total War: Warhammer 2.

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

Shacknews - John Keefer

22 Cans studio chief Peter Molyneux has been silent of late. Be it from learning his lesson on overhyping his games or just not having too much to say, the legendary designer has kept a low profile. But his company has finally launched a new PC title on Steam, and Molyneux wants his fans to take a hike. 

The Trail: Frontier Challenge isn't really new as it was a mobile game last year, but it has been reworked for PC and is literally a game about hiking in the backwoods and mountains. 

“PC players are looking for a completely immersive and uniquely challenging experience, and I think they will be pleased with what we’ve created," Molyneux said on the Kongregate blog when the conversion was first announced last month. “The gameplay has been developed to be far more strategic; for example, players will now have to balance what they carry in their packs against how fast and far they can travel. Bigger items are heavier and slow you down; smaller items are lighter so you can travel faster.”

If you tried the mobile game, the PC version has a few differences. Weather will affect how fast a player can move, and depending on severity, can require extra food. Better clothing and gear can help negate effects such as cold and mud. Players will also be able to take on a profession, either Explorer, Hunter, Lumberjack, Cook, or Tailor, with each having its own skill tree.

The Trail Frontier Challenge is on sale for 10% of on Steam now for $13.49.

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

Earlier this summer it was revealed that Pokémon Gold and Silver would be coming to the Nintendo 3DS eShop as Virtual Console titles this September. In a surprising turn of events, Nintendo of Europe confirmed that physical boxes of the re releases will also be available in retail establishments.

Gameindustry.biz caught the following tweet from Nintendo of Europe’s official account:

Despite missteps with Pokemon GO, the popularity of the pocket monsters is at an all-time high with excitement even spilling over into Ark: Survival Evolved. Pokemon X, Y, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire all sold over 3.1 million units within nine months and Gold/Silver are certainly going to move units in a big way this September.

The original games had link-cable-only features like battles and trades that will translate to the wireless functions of the 3DS and they’ll also have Pokemon Bank and Time Capsule functionality. While there will be a physical box for those that collect, there will be a digital code inside in place of the usual cartridge.

While this is a great moment for Pokemon fans, the real heavy-hitter is still over the horizon. Whenever Nintendo decides to bring the series to the Nintendo Switch, it is all but guaranteed to move consoles. We do know that they’re working on a game, at least, so stay tuned for more information.

Shacknews - Chris Jarrard

Originally released in the summer of 2014, Spintires arrived on Steam with little fanfare as a log transporting simulator featuring a lineup of Russian trucks. Using its game-changing mud physics, Spintires became a legitimate hit with PC gamers and has sold more than a million copies. Despite the success, the game was plagued by controversy between its lone developer and publisher and fans wondered what would become of any future updates or installments. Thankfully, publisher Focus Home Entertainment has announced the follow up to the cult PC hit, called Mudrunner, will be arriving for the PC and consoles.

Spintires started many years ago as a tech demo developed by teenage Russian Pavel Zagrebelnyj for Intel’s 2009 Level Up game development competition. Zagrebelnyj’s entry ended up taking home the award for Best Threaded Game and finished 2nd for Best Optimized for Intel HD Graphics. The 15MB demo looked amazing, featured unmatched mud and vehicle physics, and ran well on modest hardware. While the demo only had one map and one truck, the underlying tech allowed for seemingly endless possibilities for terrain traversal.

Zagrebelnyj partnered with UK-based publisher Oovee and launched a Kickstarter in 2013. The game finally released on Steam June 13, 2014. The full game featured multiple terrains and an assortment of big Russian trucks and equipment. Before the end of that year, Zagrebelnyj claimed that Oovee had failed to pay him for development and locked him out of providing updates. This conflict continued between the two for more than a year, including the removal of the game from sale on Steam, before an agreement was announced. Zagrebelnyj ended up working for Saber Interactive, the studio behind the upcoming Quake Champions.

Saber Interactive has been announced as the team working on Mudrunner and Pavel Zagrebelnyj has been confirmed as the project lead. Mudrunner promises to build on the foundation of Spintires, with improved graphics, new terrain, and new vehicles. Focus Home Entertainment announced that owners of Spintires on Steam would be receiving a 50 percent discount on the price of Mudrunner when it releases in October. They expect to open up preorders for the game later today. No date for the console version has been announced.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is the next big thing in the series, but that doesn't mean developer Naughty Dog has forgotten Uncharted 4. Coupled with the release of the new game on August 22 will be a multiplayer update for Nathan Drake and pals that will include villain Asav as a playable character.

In addition to the bad guy, the update will add an all new Survival Arena mode, which is a modification of Survival mode, but with the addition of 100 new waves with new enemy types, new Siege zones, and all-new wave modifiers. Since things will get much more hectic, the mode will allow two extra players to join in on the mayhem.

New skins are coming for Nadine and Chloe, including new character models and outfits pulled from the Lost Legacy. 

When Uncharted: The Lost Legacy launches next week, it will included all of Uncharted 4's multiplayer content, and yes, you will need a PlayStation Plus membership to play it. And if you just can't get enough Lost Legacy content, you can download a new batch of special stickers for iOS devices from the App Store, featuring Nadine, Chloe, Asav and other interactions to take your messages to Uncharted territory (sorry).

Check out the video below to see everything that is coming next week. Uncharted: The Last Legacy is actually pretty good.

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

This upcoming Monday, the 21st of August, marks an extremely rare opportunity for a chunk of the US to experience a total solar eclipse. If you’re worried that you’ll miss for any particular reason or just fancy an alternative eclipse, Dunkin Donuts is taking this opportunity to show off a donut eclipse made possible with Apple’s ARKit.

Reported by UploadVR, the Moonchkin application cross references the phone’s location with star maps to figure out the exact location of the sun. It then drops a moon-sized donut hole over the bright star and boom: Delicious solar eclipse. The application isn’t available to consumers yet so, for now, all we have to experience is the video of the feat.

If you’re curious, the writer researched just how many calories a moon size donut hole would yield. It amounts to 8,212,017 which could fulfill the daily caloric intake of about 2000 average sized humans. A pure diet of donut holes is certainly not recommended by Shacknews, though.

This is nothing incredibly groundbreaking, but just another cool way augmented reality can impact our experiences. This is a cool marketing move by Dunkin and, hopefully, the application and Apple’s ARkit will be made available to users in the future. Also be sure to check out a more productive use of AR in the mean time.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Some game mashups can be pretty entertaining, but when you combine two different game types already set in demon country, you get a project that looks cool as ... well, hell.

YouTuber Dollom has spent a lot of time modding Diablo 2 and showing the results off on his YouTube page. But now, he has built a tech demo that has merged Doom 2 into the Diablo 2 engine, dubbed Doomiablo, complete with enemies, weapons, and sounds. There is even a duel mode.

It is still very much a work in progress, but the concept is mesmerizing. Seeing Doom guy in an ARPG and collecting loot off demon bodies is a concept that should have fans of both games intrigued. 

Dollom is soliciting feedback for suggestions on things to implement in the comments section of the embedded video below, so if you have some ideas help him out. An obvious quirk is that Doom 2 had no monetary system and you only used what you found. If gold is implemented here, will there be a store to buy a BFG? Can Doom Guy's armor be an elite unique? Will there be a Doomiablo version of the Horadric Cube?

So many questions, not to mention whether Bethesda and/or Blizzard will be happy with the bastardization of their IPs, no matter how interesting or fun. In the meantime, enjoy the trip to hell. In the end it may only be a nightmare.  

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The original Niddhogg was best described as something far better than it looked. It looked primitive, like something pulled out of the 70s. But the concept of sword fighting and foot racing turned out to be such a crazy fun idea, it still holds up strongly today. So it's hard to imagine what can be improved on in a sequel.

Still, creator Mark "Messhof" Essen gave a sequel the old college try. Like any other sequel, it offers up the gift of "more." However, that's partly what dooms Nidhogg II, because it was never about "more." It was about making the most out of less. And because of the inevitable progression towards "more," the sequel winds up feeling "less."

For those unfamiliar with the Nidhogg formula, the concept is simple. Kill the opponent to gain momentum and then sprint to the finish line, to ride to glory inside the gullet of a giant worm. The original's frantic pace is fully retained here and it still feels as fun as ever. There are still those moments of fist-pumping in victory or letting out a profane shout just as I get stabbed at the edge of the final screen. It's an insanely entertaining tug-o-war, so it's safe to say the spirit of the original Nidhogg is still firmly in place.

That's when the differences start to set in, because Nidhogg II looks noticeably different. The old-school Atari aesthetic is gone, in favor of a look that harkens closer to the 16-bit era. On the surface, the character models look like an eyesore, but the actual purpose is to allow for some customization. Players can choose how their characters look by swapping out heads, torsos, legs, and accessories. It's a cool idea, but the options feel limited and there's no way to save a favorite layout. The final visual product still veers towards the unsightly side, but the effects that go into the kills and weapon shots are at least more visually appealing. It ends up like watching claymation figures fight each other.

The visual overhaul also extends to the game's numerous maps. Some of them, like the Beach and Wilds, feature some gorgeous renderings of outdoor environments. Some of the stages are even visually upgraded versions of the original. The trouble is, sometimes the environments get a little too animated and make it tougher to focus on what's what. That last screen on the upgraded Castle stage looks cool, with a drawbridge covered in 16-bit flames, but it's a little too busy to maintain focus on who to kill or even where to jump.

The formula looks to evolve by packing in some new weapons. The original swords are still there, but players will now randomly spawn in with other instruments of death, like a bow and arrow and a dagger. This adds an element of RNG to the mix, because the weapons don't feel particularly balanced. The dagger, for example, is weak, while the two-handed broad sword is a powerful (albeit slower) piece of work. Sometimes, scoring a kill feels less because I was a skilled player that knew how to wield a sword and more like I got a lucky shot in or I had the better weapon.

In a series that feels minimalistic at its core, Nidhogg II's biggest improvement winds up being an unheralded feature. Netplay in the original was a total mess. Things feel far more stable this time around, even if the actual online menu still feels bare bones. Strong online play at launch was one of the original game's biggest failings, but that's not the case this time around. Offline play remains Nidhogg's biggest strong suit, though, with solid 1v1 and Tournament modes in place, especially with options to make the weapon spawns less random.

Nidhogg II is a case where bigger isn't always better. It's like trying to improve on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sure, it's possible to add things to it, but the PB&J isn't something that really needs improving. That's how I felt coming away from Nidhogg II. It's a good attempt at improving on the original, but the end result didn't leave me feeling the same magic that I did when playing the first game. But with that aside, for those looking for chaotic dueling action, it's hard to argue with either Nidhogg game.


This review was based on a PS4 digital download purchased by the reviewer. Nidhogg II is available now on PC and PlayStation 4 for $14.99.

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