Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

What happens after a god killer runs out of gods to kill? What happens when someone like Kratos finishes slaughtering an entire pantheon and his mission is over? The answer, apparently, is settle down in the woods and raise a family. Life seems to be pretty great for Kratos, but then one day turns everything upside-down.

God of War tells the story of a whole new phase of Kratos' life, one in which he's not fighting for himself, but fighting for his family. Shacknews recently had a chance to go hands-on with the first part of Kratos' new journey and soak in this new status quo.

Kratos' life as the Ghost of Sparta has ended and he did indeed settle down to raise a family. But the opening minutes of the game leave Kratos in an unfamiliar position. He must now raise a little boy by himself. His early utterance of the phrase, "Everything is different," encapsulates his demeanor going forward.

The dynamic between Kratos and son Atreus. is quickly established through an early father/son hunting trip. Atreus is just learning how to wield a bow and arrow, with his only other weapon being the hunting knife that his mother passed down to him. He's still at an innocent age, not knowing what it's like to kill anything. In fact, as a deer he shot with an arrow laid dying on the ground, Kratos walked him through his first kill to the end. Atreus is quickly established as a sickly boy. He's showing less signs of sickness, but he still has occasional coughing fits. But worse than that, he has anger issues, something he clearly gets from his father.

It doesn't take long for the classic God of War action to kick into high gear. Over the course of the demo, there are a couple of early boss battles that set the tone for the game going forward. They perfectly capture the theatrical, over-the-top action that the series is known for. What pleased me greatly was that it was a more polished version of that same 3D action I've become accustomed to. On top of that, I didn't see a single quick-time event through my entire time with the demo, which includes the boss battles and elsewhere.

Segueing into the action, God of War centers around two different kinds of combat: hand-to-hand and melee combat with Kratos' new weapon, the Leviathan Axe. Given that the series is now delving into Norse mythology, it's all-too-appropriate to make the comparison to Thor's hammer Mjolnir, in the sense that the Leviathan Axe can be thrown and called back at will. It deals damage as a melee weapon, but also deals damage when chucking it at a foe and if it catches any enemies on the path back to Kratos' hand. The Leviathan Axe has several uses on top of combat, like freezing switches in place, which helps solve platforming puzzles or trigger locked treasure chests. Some enemies are resistant to the Axe, requiring Kratos to use his fists. Using hand-to-hand combat allows Kratos to use visceral finishers, which aren't quite as gory as previous God of War games, but still every bit as effective. Kratos' attacks can be upgraded through XP and various currencies found over the course of the game.

In fact, that was the one part of the demo that was difficult to follow. There are numerous currencies and collectibles, so much so that it can be hard to keep track of it all. It certainly adds replay value for anyone looking to collect everything, but there's a lot of "everything" to find. A lot of is collecting for the sake of collecting, but there are some items that upgrades that will actively help Kratos in combat. This includes Runes, which can give boosts to the Leviathan Axe. For example, the first Rune I found allowed Kratos to strike his Axe against his shield to stun nearby foes.

But what about Atreus? Atreus doesn't fight directly, but he also doesn't need active protection. Those concerned about God of War becoming a giant escort mission can rest easy. Atreus stands to the side, similar to someone like Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite. He'll yell out to Kratos if an attack is coming at him from the side or behind, but he'll also be a little more helpful with his bow and arrow. Atreus can fire at enemies to cause a distraction, allowing Kratos to move in with his fists or his Axe for a killer combo. This is particularly helpful against defensive bosses or against larger numbers of foes.

Atreus is also helpful in the field. Kratos will frequently come across Norse writings or art, which contain lore secrets or hints as to what's coming. While Kratos can't read any of them, Atreus learned how to translate these markings from his mother. Add this to the list of collectibles, but one that should satisfy those more curious about Kratos' new status quo.

While I walked away from the God of War demo with a better idea of what Kratos' new world looks like, there are still a lot of interesting questions out there. The biggest one involves Kratos and the Norse pantheon, as players will quickly discover over the early hours of the story. There's a reason Kratos has settled down, but can anyone ever truly escape their past, especially when outside forces aren't willing to forget?

There's a lot to discover in the new God of War. And there's certainly a lot to kill, as Kratos and Atreus run into a large variety of hostile creatures, living and dead. In fact, sometimes they're both, as one sequence saw Kratos take down a group of cannibals and then take them down again when their corpses are suddenly raised. Kratos has a lot of challenges ahead of him in his father/son adventure. God of War arrives on PlayStation 4 on April 20.

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

Not too long ago, Novaquark opened up their massive sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe to more players via the Supporter Packs. There’s a lot available in the alpha, but the team has added a face that will be familiar to many. As an effort to boost the visibility and tap the potential of Dual Universe, Novaquark has added a former EVE Online designer to the roster.

The new addition, Hrafnkell Oskarsson, was a part of the original team at CCP Games. If you didn’t catch the news, CCP took the EVE franchise into virtual reality with EVE Valkyrie but abandoned VR ambitions late last year. Sumo Digital, the crew behind games like Forza Horizon 3 and the upcoming Crackdown 3, purchased Valkyrie devs from CCP. The announcement for the new addition to the team included this statement:

EVE Online, the game that Oskarsson originally designed (together with Reynir Harðarson), is one of the most acclaimed online multiplayer virtual games, well known for its emergent gameplay and impressive large-scale player-driven stories. While very different from EVE Online, Dual Universe shares a cultural heritage with it, and the experience of Oskarsson will be invaluable to help build this next generation of a persistent emergent universe. Together they will allow users to leave their mark, make a difference, contribute content and have social interactions, all to bring a sense of meaning back to gaming.

The founder of Novaquark also shared a statement on Dual Universe’s potential:

“Competitors in the MMO genre tend to rely on simplified models to connect a few hundred, sometimes a few thousand players together in the same arena or instance, which are often not persistent and not interconnected,” says Founder and CEO Jean-Christophe Baillie. “The experienced content is made by the company, and the players ‘consume’ it. We have a new proprietary technology to change that and let millions of people together inside the same persistent, never stopping, virtual universe, where they are free to modify the world and create their own stories as they see fit.”

Specific tiers of the packs include alpha access to the game, but ultimately opens another path of early adoption for curious players while netting the development team additional funding. If you’d like to make a pledge via the Supporter Packs, you can do so on the official website.

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

Midwinter Entertainment, the new development team featuring former Halo and Farmville devs, has revealed their flagship game Scavengers. Details are scarce, but this debut will be a survival shooter set in a freezing post-apocalyptic setting.

Co-opetition. See that word. Remember it. I personally never heard that before Scavengers was announced, but that’s what the devs are calling their ambitious undertaking. With a mixture of PvE and PvP elements, it sounds like the Midwinter team is working on a connected shooter similar to Destiny and The Division. It’s all speculation at this time, so take it with a grain of salt, but the team stands to make a significant leap in a genre that doesn’t have a lot of competition yet. Anthem is another title that seems to be headed down a similar path, but that game’s development is getting a bit turbulent.

The game will be built with Unreal Engine and, revealed in a blog post on, "will build on the game design principles that made Halo 5: Guardian’s Warzone a revolutionary new mode for Halo players, by allowing teams of players to compete with one another while exploring a large game map populated with hundreds of free-roaming and highly sophisticated AI enemies, with distinct factions, weapons and behaviours."

The portfolios of the team working on Scavenger will play a part in the game’s potential success, as will that team’s awareness of missteps by Bungie and Massive Entertainment/Ubisoft, but another element could be the platform that powers it.

Consider this the second major title revealed to be taking advantage of SpatialOS. The first involved a dev team that secured $10 million in funding for PUBG-like, 1000 player game. This cloud-based computational platform from Improbable may be one of the sleeper topics of gaming in 2018, a year completely dominated by the battle royale genre thus far. Considering some well-known developers are staking their careers on it, expect Shacknews dive deep into the technology in the near future. Stay tuned for more details on Scavengers as well.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The 2018 Capcom Pro Tour began much like the 2016 circuit did. Final Round 2018's Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition tournament concluded with a meeting between Seonwoo "Infiltration" Lee and Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi. And just like in 2016, the event ended with Infiltration standing tall as the winner.

If there was a story to Grand Finals, it was Infiltration's new bag of tricks. He showed off just how much he's learned with Menat, not only withstanding Tokido's best Akuma play, but also flustering him as the Evo 2017 champion tried to adapt.

But he Grand Finals were close throughout, as Tokido constantly worked to adjust to Infiltration's Menat. He would end up resetting the bracket.

If this story looks familiar, it's because these two same competitors met in the Grand Finals of Final Round 19 in 2016. Infiltration won there and went on to terrorize the Capcom Pro Tour that year, right up until he had an uncharacteristically bad Capcom Cup.

Infiltration's funk continued all the way through all of 2017, mainly because of the Season 2 nerfs to his main character Nash. But he proved to be a major wild card at Capcom Cup 2017, coming within a hair of winning the Last Chance Qualifier and nearly turning that entire tournament on its head. Now that he's won Final Round and found a new main character in Menat, with a solid backup in Juri, it looks like the old Infiltration is back. That's bad news for the rest of the Capcom Pro Tour field.

Infiltration and Tokido first renewed their rivalry in the Winners Finals. The two players largely went toe-to-toe, as Infiltration often flustered Tokido with his Menat play while Tokido worked to adapt to this unfamiliar matchup. In the end, Infiltration was able to outlast his nemesis and advance to Grand Finals.

Tokido's road to Grand Finals from there wasn't easy. Hyungsuk "Verloren" Kong was not an easy out, but Tokido was just able to hold on against his Cammy.

The Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition Top 8 began in dramatic fashion, with Infiltration taking the stage wearing a Monster Energy T-shirt. However, he quickly pulled it off and threw it into the crowd to reveal a Panda Global jersey. Yes, Infiltration is now playing under the Panda Global umbrella, with the move officially announced just minutes later.

The acquisition is a major coup for esports squad Panda Global, who had recently made news for parting ways with top North American player Victor "Punk" Woodley.

Infiltration takes home 60 percent of the Final Round 2018 prize pool for Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition and will start this year's Capcom Pro Tour at the top of the standings.

Shacknews - Asif Khan

Welcome to the new Shackcast, the official Shacknews podcast of Shacknews. On the twenty-fourth episode of the Shackcast, the gang talks about a lot of topics ranging from their charity efforts at Extra Life United 2018, video games they are playing, Wendy's french fries and a whole lot more with your host Asif Khan and special guest co-host Greg Burke

Please consider joining or donating to Team Shacknews on Extra Life.

Download this episode (right click and save)

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Tune in on Google Play

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Special thanks to Pepper Market for the unofficial and unpaid sponsorship of this episode of the Shackcast.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The 2018 Tekken World Tour kicked off at Final Round 2018 over the weekend. The first Tekken 7 tournament victory of the new season goes to Korean Tekken legend Bae "Knee" Jae Min.

The Grand Finals was a rematch of an earlier match, with Knee facing Hyunjin "JDCR" Kim. While Knee dominated the first bout between the two, JDCR made things closer this time around. It wasn't by much, though, as Knee quickly settled down and was able to claim victory with Devil Jin.

Knee cruised to the Grand Finals by making short work of the killer Echo Fox duo of JDCR (2-0) and Jinwoo "Saint" Choi (3-0). While Saint and JDCR are normally jockeying for position along the top of the standings, there were absolutely no answers for Knee today. Knee capped off the Echo Fox sweep with some unparalleled Paul play.

That soon led to these same two Echo Fox powerhouses going at it for the right to face Knee again in Grand Finals. This has been a long-running rivalry, with this latest round going to JDCR. Saint showed spirit in fighting back to tie the series, but JDCR was never in any real trouble in the final game and won it easily.

Knee will begin this season at the top of the Tekken World Tour standings. He takes home the lion's share of the prize pool, which includes a $5,000 bonus.

Shacknews - Joe Stasio

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Let’s start by saying: we’re so very sorry for not getting a show out last week. The irony here is that last week’s news was the perfect fodder for an episode of The Cartridge Family and yet no episode was delivered. Despite our absence, the family is back in town this week to make good on their past misdeeds and so, without further ado…

Of course, the boys catch up on all things Nintendo Switch (we missed a Nintendo Direct, for shame!) before going over the latest headlines in gaming. We follow things up by discussing our experiences dealing with game sequels and then pivot to the requisite beatdown, courtesy of Mr. Buffa. Thanks for listening and be sure to subscribe so you never miss a future episode.

On Today’s Show- Joe Stasio- Chris Buffa- Andrew Zucosky

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Read Only Memories is a unique twist on the point-and-click adventure game, taking cues from the cyberpunk aesthetic and style of the classic Hideo Kojima-helmed Snatcher. Since its initial release on PC, it's been ported to most systems, including the PlayStation Vita, but until now it hadn't been given a mobile port. Now, mobile players have a chance to strike out on their own to explore Neo San Francisco while on the go. Read Only Memories: Type-M is an excellent, downsized version of the game that works well as a mobile title. If you've heard a lot about Read Only Memories and want a chance to finally sit down and play it, this is your best shot, since you can take it with you.

Turing Tests

This neon-tinged, sprite-laden adventure is a futuristic tale that saddles you, a freelance writer, with an advanced AI named Turing who's trying to get to the bottom of what's happened to their creator, Hayden. They're an extremely intelligent bot, who even knows which pronouns it prefers: they/them/their. After a violent scuffle, Hayden has been taken away from his home, leaving poor little Turing to fend for themselves. You're asked to help figure out what's behind Hayden's disappearance to make things right. That transpires by way of Turing making an appearance at your apartment and essentially telling you that you were the best person for the job. 

Puzzled, you go along with the little robot to try and figure out what's happened to your old acquaintance. You've got your work cut out for you as you travel around Neo San Francisco chatting with people to glean more information about Hayden and his disappearance, solve puzzles, and deal with Turing's weird little idiosyncrasies. There are a lot of them, as this scruffy little AI has a bad case of thinking they know everything, which can be frustrating in situations where logic isn't the only answer to the problem. 

Gameplay consists mainly of speaking with other NPCs and exploring your surroundings as you go. Movement around the world consists mainly of clicking the next highlighted area on the map and traveling there. You don't need to worry about getting lost, since all movement in that regard is done for you. All you need to concern yourself with is speaking to the right character at the right time, finding out the information you need to know to solve a puzzle, and investigating your surroundings.

Random Access Adventuring

Like the classic adventure games of yesterday, you can look at, speak to, use, and otherwise inspect items strewn throughout each area. Sometimes you may need to pick up items and add them to your inventory for later usage, such as a badge you take from your police acquaintance to help you return to the scene of a crime and so on. It's fairly standard fare, with clever enough puzzles, but there's nothing innovative here to speak of. What makes the game feel so satisfying is its dedication to weaving a tale that's at once relatable while being wholly futuristic. 

I’ve never been a big fan of Turing, especially when they were voiced in the other versions of the game. Rather than behaving like an ally, they’re constantly negging you and behaving like they’re too good for you, though you’re the one whose help they sought out to begin with. Turing is the only character who really grated on my nerves, though, as there’s a wide variety of personalities to interact with otherwise. There aren't fully-voiced scenes in the game, 

The overarching narrative and character are only a small part of the equation, at least for me. What makes Read Only Memories: Type-M worth playing is its spot-on representation of the classic '90s aesthetic. Its color palette is especially endearing, as are the pixelated illustrations, which ended up being my favorite part of the entire thing.

Hack Into Fun

Read Only Memories: Type-M translates fantastically to mobile devices, and it's an excellent example of how to create a cyberpunk-influenced adventure game that encompasses the full spectrum of the genre. It has its own road bumps, none of which are related to its mobile status, but overall it's a point-and-click adventure that you won't want to miss, as long as you can tolerate Turing. 

This review is based on an iOS code provided by the publisher. Read Only Memories: Type-M is available on iOS and Android with the first chapter as a free-to-play download with a $5.99 unlock for the rest of the game. The game is rated M.

Shacknews - Asif Khan

There is still time to vote in the Shacknews Slow Jam. I played all of the games last night on a live stream. Check out the VOD.

RomSteady will be posting the winner on Monday after all the votes have been tallied. What are you waiting for? Vote for Shacknews!

Seriously. Go vote for the best game of the Shacknews Slow Jam.

Shacknews - Greg Burke

On episode one hundred of Shack's Top 10 we are taking a look at the top 10 Rare games. Not hard to find games, Rare games. Rare has pioneered several genres of console games and is back with a vengeance with the upcoming release of Sea of Thieves

Games mentioned: GoldenEye 007, Battletoads, Perfect Dark, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Killer Instinct, Blast Corps, Banjo-Kazooie, Sea of Thieves, and Donkey Kong Country. You will have to watch the video to see which Rare game takes the number one spot.

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

This is our 100th Top 10 video at Shacknews! Take a look at this special message from Greg.

What were your favorite Rare games? Let us know in the comments section!

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. 

In case you missed any of the over 100 episodes, check out our Shack's Top 10 YouTube Playlist.


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