Shacknews - Asif Khan

Gamers love Rocket League, but many of our readers are still quite skeptical about the viability of VR and AR HMDs. You're in luck, because Hololens AR software developer Javier Davalos whipped up a Rocket League proof of concept demo just for the fun of it. Please take a look. Savage.

Shacknews - Donovan Erskine

Bethesda has partnered up with Titan Comics, an independent publisher from Britain in order to start a line of comics based on their new FPS Quake Champions. Titan has stated that these books  “will delve into the bloody backgrounds of the Champions of Quake: Ranger, Visor, Nyx, and more.”

Veteran artist Alan Quah will be doing the artwork. When speaking about the upcoming series, Quah expressed how excited he was to get involved with the Quake franchise. He went on to describe them as "Exciting characters with crazy elaborate techs and environments that I will love drawing—I couldn't have wished for more!"

More details about the series are likely to be found on titan-comics.com, The Quake Champions comic series will hit physical and digital shelves this August.

Shacknews - Donovan Erskine

Google has constantly innovated upon their different programs in order to keep up with the way business is handled in modern times. Docs and Drive are just a couple of examples of the company adapting to the way we share information in the digital age. Google’s next move in simplifying the online workplace comes in their new digital whiteboard - titled “Jamboard.”

There’s a ton of bells and whistles that separates the Jamboard from the standard whiteboards you’ll find in classrooms and offices. Starting with the 55 inch 4K screen. When a person writes or draws on the screen, those markings will be shown on other Jamboard devices in real time. Allowing for coworkers to get together and collaborate physically, while also being hundreds and hundreds of miles apart.

The fun part is that the Jamboard provides an awesome variety of tools that allow you to use different fonts, colors, shapes, and even emojis. You’re also able to share screenshots, photos, and even use the built-in webcam to video chat with colleagues.

The Jamboard is definitely a more cost-efficient option compared to Microsoft’s counterpart, The Surface Hub, which costs $9,000 for the 55 inch 1080p model and $22,000 for the 84 inch 4K model. The Jamboard is available for purchase in the United States as of today.

Shacknews - Greg Burke

This week on Shack's Arcade Corner, we take a look at Joust. This classic arcade game was made by Williams Electronics and was released in 1982 riding the momentum from the massively successful Defender which hit arcades the year before. Joust put players in control of knights riding some mythical flying beasts around. Enemies could be killed by colliding into them from above. The game also featured 2 player functionality that allowed players to choose if they would cooperate or duke it out.

The arcade cabinet could only hold 92 kilobytes of data which created some difficult engineering problems for Williams Electronics to solve. Joust was truly a breakthrough in gameplay with never before seen collision detection mechanics. While the game has been ported to several consoles, there is nothing like playing the original arcade cabinet. Please take a look at this episode for more information about this timeless arcade classic.

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 Arcade Corner, please let us know in the comments section or tweet @shacknews & @GregBurke85 with #ArcadeCorner. 

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

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

While the Nintendo Switch represents Nintendo's console future, its early lineup features a jump into the fighting game genre's past. Fighting games don't get more classic than Street Fighter II, which is why Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers looks like such an enticing package for the old-school gamer. However, the classic fighting is pretty much all this game has going for it, as most of its newer features are a Hadoken that doesn't find the mark.

Ultra Street Fighter II is the classic game as many remember it, collected in two distinctly different time capsules. Those familiar with the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix game released on Xbox 360 back in 2008 will recall the Udon-illustrated visual upgraded version. That version of the game is fully intact, with sleekly painted artwork, re-recorded voiceovers, remixed stage tracks, and a 16:9 widescreen presentation. Those looking for a more classic experience have the option to switch to retro graphics, which utilizes a pre-HD era aspect ratio, old-school music, and stages as they were originally designed. There's also the option to switch the voiceovers to their original garbled grunts and shouts.

Both presentations have their unique charms, but both contain the traditional Street Fighter II combat I remember. Most of this review was conducted using the Joy-Con grip, where the left analog stick is pretty much the only way to play. Execution wasn't a problem, but anyone looking for a more D-pad heavy experience will have to jump to the Pro Controller. Either way, the Street Fighter II experience is preserved perfectly here, with options to turn games into best-of-five rounds or mess around with the timer.

Capcom also sought to add some supplemental game modes, but they mostly fall flat. There's a cooperative mode called Buddy Battle, where two players can join together (or one with a CPU partner) to take on SF2's baddest bosses, including new additions Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. It's a 2-on-1 scenario with the team of two sharing a single life bar. This is a novelty that wears thin quickly. The chaos of three fighters sharing a screen gets to be too much at times and having the advantage in a handicap match is only so much fun for so long. On top of that, once the mode is finished, that's it. No special endings, no bonuses, just a simple "Game Over" screen and back to the main menu. It's a throwaway mode that players will likely try once and never select again.

Then there's the motion-controlled Way of the Hado mode. This is the mode that wants to make players at home feel like Ryu, but it controls so clumsily, it makes you feel more like Dan... if his arms and legs were broken. The idea is to take the individual Joy-Cons in each hand and perform certain motions to perform Ryu's special moves, with the goal to help him get through waves of Shadaloo goons. The game all-too-often fails to recognize the special move motions to the point that you'll eventually do the Cabbage Patch on an endless loop in hopes of landing something, anything, on an enemy. Many times, inputs are delayed and just trying to shoot any kind of projectile can be harder than fighting a real-life M. Bison. It's honestly on par with the worst the Wii generation had to offer. It's an exercise in frustration and one that doesn't merit a second look from anyone.

Ultra Street Fighter II works best as a reminder of all that is great about the classic game over its various incarnations. The visual options encapsulate a sense of timelessness, showing how far it has come in its 25-plus years of existence. There's even a classic art book ("Street Fighter Artworks: Supremacy") of the series' evolution, long out-of-print, available to browse page-by-page. The game shows true potential to be a great digital museum exhibit, not unlike what Capcom has done for Mega Man. Even the bare bones main menu lends itself to that kind of presentation. Sadly, that's where the cool extras end.

Ultra Street Fighter II tries to add a robust package around its tried-and-true Arcade mode, but much of that package doesn't pan out. All that leaves is the Arcade and Versus modes and for as great as Street Fighter II is, it's a game that also shows its age after a while. Fighting games have come so much farther since SF2 pioneered the genre, so it's hard to imagine going back and especially for a hefty $40 price tag. Thanks for memories, Street Fighter II, but I'm hoping that this is indeed the Final Challenge.


This review is based on a Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher. Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers will be available in retail stores and the Nintendo eShop on May 26 for $39.99. The game is rated T.

Shacknews - David Craddock

A leaked piece of art showing Mario and friends hobnobbing with Ubisoft's Rabbids of Rayman fame has all but confirmed Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, the Nintendo/Ubisoft crossover you never knew you wanted because you never wanted it and would never ask for it in a billion million years. Neither Nintendo nor Ubisoft has confirmed the game, rumored to be a turn-based RPG, and probably won't until E3. But I can't stop thinking about it, which bugs me because it means whatever black magic was woven into that ridiculous artwork is working.

The prospect of Mario teaming up with the Rabbids is, in a word, bewildering. Some crossovers write themselves. Mario and Sonic were rivals for years, then Sega bowed out of the hardware business and the two mascots set aside their differences to compete in Olympic events and beat the stuffing out of each other in Smash Bros. A trio of Ninja Gaiden characters threw their hats into Dead or Alive's 3D ring because they're all ninjas under Namco's umbrella, so why not?

To be fair, some crossovers seemed outlandish only to produce some of the most memorable games of all time. Who would have thought that Square Enix's cadre of JRPG heroes would form unbreakable bonds with Donald Duck and Goofy? Mario and the Rabbids, though, seems way out of left field. Super Mario is a bonafide superstar, whereas the Rabbids are has-beens who had their 15 seconds of fame in minigame collections on the Wii. Crossovers work when the characters involved share a few traits in common but clash in other ways. Mario and his friends have worn lots of hats in the decades since Miyamoto spun them into existence, but the Rabbids were and still are unremarkable. They look like rabbits and run around screaming. That's pretty much it.

Mario and the Rabbids are going to party like it's 2006. Maybe.

Nintendo is the Disney of video games. Their characters and worlds appeal to tens of millions of people. Those characters and worlds have collided and will continue to collide with other properties, and some what-if scenarios would work in ways that Mario and the Rabbids just don't. In that spirit, I've been thinking about Nintendo mashups I'd like to see, and moreover, ones on the same wavelength.

Mega Man X + Metroid

Capcom's Blue Bomber has been an honorary member of the Nintendo family since the 1980s, when his paper-rock-scissors platformers could only be played on the NES. With Mega Man X, Capcom stepped up its already rock-solid level design by crafting larger stages and stashing weapon and armor upgrades in cubbyholes. To uncover them, you had to stray far off the beaten path by climbing walls and making long jumps to areas you didn't know existed, and probably would have never found if not for Nintendo Power.

Nintendo offers just such a medley of action and exploration in its Metroid series. It's been dormant for too long, as has Mega Man. A Metroid/Mega Man crossover built on a foundation of 2D platforming and level design, with dozens of secrets and upgrades, could breathe new life into both franchises.

F-Zero + Burnout

The first time I played Burnout, I thought, "This is like F-Zero, but in a modern setting!" Then I thought, "Wreaking cars and watching them explode and flip end over end in slow motion is pretty awesome." Like Mega Man and Metroid, F-Zero and Backburner have been spinning their tires for years. A crossover game could feature tracks that play to the designs of both games and vehicles. You could trick out Burnout vehicles with F-Zero parts, and create balletic wipeouts with F-Zero's futuristic cars in Crash mode.

Super Mario + Chrono Trigger

Your first reaction to this idea might be as strident as my reaction to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. The appeal here lies in Chrono Trigger's time travel mechanic. Super Mario RPG proved that Square Enix could take the Mushroom Kingdom and its inhabitants and deftly put them at the heart of an absorbing story and intricate battle system. Let the JRPG developer do the same here—only let players recruit iterations of Mario and his friends and foes from different Super Mario games, complete with authentic art styles for each character and items from their games.

How cool would it be to team up with Mario circa Super Mario World and add his Cape Feather to your arsenal before jumping ahead a couple of generations and pairing Chrono with Super Mario Galaxy's leading man to run up, down, and all around planets? Jumpman and his hammer could even make a cameo. The possibilities are staggering, and Square Enix can be trusted to tell a fun tale.

Super Mario + Rayman

I don't dislike Ubisoft or the Rayman property. I simply see no merit in the Rabbid characters. A Mario and Rayman team-up, however, writes itself. Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends redefined level design and raised the bar for artwork in 2D platformers. I'd go so far as to say that between New Super Mario Bros. U and Rayman Legends, both premiere platformers on Nintendo's Wii U, Rayman ate Mario's lunch.

Yet no platforming connoisseur can deny that for all its blandness, New Super Mario Bros. U was solid. A cross between the two properties standing on the shoulders of Nintendo's penchant for solid platforming and Ubisoft's knack for coming up with endlessly creative level gimmicks and flows could very well produce the perfect platformer.

The Legend of Zelda + Assassin's Creed

Sneer at Hyrule Warriors if you must. The rest of us will be having fun. Hyrule Warriors took a staple of classic Zelda games, Link's items, and let you spam them Dynasty Warriors-style without fear of running low at a pivotal moment during boss fights. The game worked because Link is ultimately a soldier. In more recent games such as Breath of the Wild and Skyward Sword, Princess Zelda worked behind the scenes to get the really important work done while Link hit things with his sword.

Enter Assassin's Creed, a series predicated on creeping around in the shadows to do the dirty work that the people in the spotlight either don't want to touch or have no idea is even happening. This mash-up would cast you not as Zelda, but as her alter ego, Sheik. The princess-turned-hitwoman could find herself in a future where she, along with one Creed's protagonists (or a new character), slips into virtual worlds to solve some mystery or learn some important fact.

Nearly every 3D Zelda game has dabbled with stealth sections, such as the Forsaken Fortress in Wind Waker or the Yiga Clan's hideout in Breath of the Wild. Those sections also put a cartoonish spin on violence that would make a Zelda/Assassin's Creed crossover more palatable for Nintendo's family-first focus.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's digital subscription service that lets you play hundreds of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, will launch on Thursday, June 1, for $9.99 a month. The service will offer a 14-day free trial, and Xbox Live Gold subscribers can sample the service starting today.

You'll need an Xbox Live Gold subscription on top of a sub to Xbox Game Pass to use the service. As of today, there are already over 100 games available to play. The main difference between Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now is that you download rather than stream the games on offer. "For gamers, this means endless play of full-fidelity gaming experiences without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues," explains Parimal Deshpande, director of Xbox product marketing, in the announcement published on Xbox Wire.

Announced back in February, Xbox Game Pass is off to a strong start. Some of the titles you can play starting today (if you subscribe to Xbox Live Gold) include all three BioShock entries, Halo 5, NBA 2K16, Resident Evil 0, Gears of War Ultimate, and the first three Gears of War games on Xbox 360.

"Our commitment to an exciting catalog goes well beyond launch," says Deshpande. "Each month, Xbox Game Pass will add a new set of games to the catalog so there is always something new to play across a diversity of experiences, genres, ratings and more."

You can view the full list of games, and sign up for services such as Xbox Live Gold or your 14-day free trial of Xbox Game Pass, on Xbox.com.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

When it comes to games that require you to progress to get better skills or gear, leveling up is very important. Injustice 2 is no different, so the quicker you gain XP, the faster you will level. Injustice 2 matches offer experience points, as does most of the single-player content. But doing it efficiently and quickly will get you leveled up fast. Here's how to do it.

Bonuses Through Equipment

Lots of Injustice 2 items give XP bonuses. Some are straight adds to the base XP, while other will give XP if you meet certain conditions. Granted mixing and matching may not give your character the most dapper look, but if you are trying to level fast, you will need to sacrifice the GQ image for equipment that grants the most experience. If you are lucky, you can find a good piece that looks good with your set, while granting solid XP at the same time..

Getting Good in Matches

Most matches in Injustice 2 will grant some form of XP, but the better you perform, the more XP you will get. Using a variety of moves and combos will grant you better experience than using the same move or single moves repetitively. Combos that do a lot of damage or meter-burning special moves, couple with a super move, will give you the most experience once the match concludes.

Single-Player Story Mode

You can choose you difficulty level in the single-player story mode content, and the higher the difficulty, the more experience you will get. Of course, you need to be up to the task, as higher difficulty could mean more failure, frustration and a stagnant XP level. But just be aware that max difficulty will give the best XP

Opening Your Wallet

Source Crystals are a big part of Injustice 2. Once you hit level 20 with one character, you have the option of using 10,000 Source Crystals to get another character to level 20. Seeing as you tend to get them rather slowly, you can spend real cash to get crystals and save time on leveling in game. Here are the source crystal prices:

  • 2,000 for 99 cents
  • 11,000 for $4.99
  • 23,000 for $9.99
  • 50,000 for $19.99
  • 150,000 for $49.99

For more on Injustice 2, check out how to unlock Brainiac and Darkseid, along with the finer points of special move cancels.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Ubisoft has released yet another tease for Far Cry 5 leading up to this Friday's announcement, and it sheds a little (but only a little) more light on what's going down in the fictional Hope County, Montana.

In a scene reminiscent of The Last Supper, we get an apparent cult leader surrounded by willing supplicants who are armed to the teeth. The religious zealotry is evident in both the church in the background and the word "sinner" carved into the back of a kneeling victim. And while these individuals could easily be mistaken for alt-right extremists, it appears they have a pretty different 'Murica in mind, since the stars on the flag have been replaced by the cult's symbols. Their own flag is also flying above the American flag, implying devotion to one over the other.

Further digging into the picture reveals a variety of weapons and enough ammo for a small war, the possibility of airplanes as a plot point and a wolf that looks like it would be just as comfortable eating human flesh as the steak that has been speared by a knife on the table. Heck that steak could even be human. Who knows? Ubisoft definitely isn't telling yet.

The image is the latest tease after a teaser video that showed off the sprawling vistas of Montana. Looking closely at the video, though, something ominous happens in each scene. The placid mountain vista is interrupted by a scream, sending birds flying. The peaceful sound of a running river is interrupted by a gunshot. A man running through a field of high grass is dragged down by an unseen force (maybe the wolf). And in the final scene, as the strains of Amazing Grace waft in the background, an armed man is banging the head of another individual into the church bell.

For the love of God, Ubisoft, just tell us already. We'll join the cult, we promise, but only after they pry the weapon from our cold, dead fingers.

Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich - John Keefer

The most recent update to Final Fantasy 15 has included a survey from Square Enix, seeking to gauge what interests fans when it comes to DLC. Just be warned that the publisher isn't committing to actually including the choices with the most votes in the game, but that they "may be included in future updates."

Note that there could be spoilers ahead if you haven't finished the game.

The survey, which can be found under the "Special" area of the main menu, includes selections for additional playable character, such as Cor, iris and Lunafreya, to more story content, such as Cor's activities, Ardyn's past or Ifrit's betrayal. There is even a choice for a harder difficulty mode.

All of the previous Final Fantasy XV updates have been free, and any other DLC planned would likely follow the same format. Gladiolus got a story update in March and Prompto is expected to get one in June. Ignis will also get a story update, and a co-op multiplayer expansion called Comrades is also planned.

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