Shacknews - Asif Khan

Samsung just announced their brand new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones during their Unpacked live stream event at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona. The phones definitely take aim at Google Pixel 2's stunning camera as well as the iPhone X's AR functionality. Check out the announcement video here.

The Samsung Galaxy S9's dimensions are 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm, weighing in at 163 grams. It features at 5.8 inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2960x1440) display with 570 ppi. 

The Samsung Galaxy S9+'s dimensions are 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm, weighing in at 189 grams. It boasts a 6.2 inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2960x1440) display with 529 ppi. 

Both new phones feature front-facing cameras with 8 MP AF sensors, a 80 degree field of view, and F.17 apertures. The rear cameras differ between the S9 and S9+ models with the Galaxy S9+ showcasing two camera sensors, similar to iPhone X.

Samsung is definitely taking aim at Google Pixel 2 with their updated camera technology.

Front & Rear Cameras will support VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization), AR Emoji, Grid lines, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Motion photo, Location tags, Full view, Filters, Timer, Floating camera button, Stamps, and Quick launch features.

Apple's Animoji are clearly an inspiration for Samsung's AR Emoji.

Video recording support includes the following features: 

  • 4K video recording at 30 fps or 60fps
  • QHD video recording at 30 fps
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
  • 720p HD video recording at 30 fps
  • Super Slow-mo video support 720p at 960 fps
  • Slow motion video support 1080p at 240 fps
  • Hyperlapse video support 1080p
  • VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization)
  • Digital zoom up to 8x (Galaxy S9) or up to 10x (Galaxy S9+)
  • High CRI LED Flash
  • Continuous autofocus video
  • Face detection
  • Tracking AF
  • Take 9.1-megapixel still photos while recording 4K video
  • Playback zoom
  • Video location tags

Both the S9 and S9+ smartphones will feature 10nm 64-bit Octa-Core processors with 4 high performance cores running at 2.8/2.7GHz depending on the market with the other four cores running at 1.7GHz. The Galaxy S9 will come with 4 GB of RAM and the S9+ will ship with 6GB of RAM. Both phones will have 64, 128, and 256GB storage options with an option to expand and additional 400GB of storage using a SIM card.

The S9 family of phones will be available in four colors: Coral Blue,Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple, and Midnight Black

The new Samsung phones will both run on Android 8.0 (Oreo) and are IP68 rated for water resistance. The Galaxy S9's battery capacity is 3000 mAh with the S9+ getting an added bump up to 3500mAh. Both phones will feature fast wired and wireless charging. 

But wait, there's more! Samsung's latest and greatest smartphones feature an improved Bixby virtual assistant. Bixby's new AR functionality includes vision allowing for translation of signs, shopping features, and image detection.

Shackers can preorder the Samsung S9 and S9+ smartphones March 2 at prices starting from $720 in the U.S. for the standard S9 and $870 for the S9 Plus, depending on your carrier. They are expected to begin shipping on March 16.

Shacknews - Joe Stasio

I remember back in middle school when Papa Roach was dropping dimes right and left, my peers were scribbling his poetic rantings in their notebook while moms nation-wide were deeming him too controversial for young Johnny’s virgin ears. I never liked Papa Roach. It’s okay if you do. I never liked Assassin’s Creed. It really is okay if you do. If you’ve ever used the internet, you know that it’s often challenging to articulate these kinds of thoughts without ruffling feathers. Today, the boys get together and air their collective grievances in regard to a few popularly well-liked video games.

Beyond that, it’s business as usual with the fam. We discuss the latest headlines in gaming, mention a few select notable game releases, and take a stroll down memory lane during Buffa’s infamous Beatdown segment. After the outro, enjoy our brief but interesting Yume Nikki Game Club. All this and more on today’s show. Thanks as always for listening.

Subscribe to The Cartridge FamilyApple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher

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

Shacknews - Kevin Tucker

Players have been hotly anticipating the next dose of the Warhammer Vermintide series of action since developer Fatshark announced work on Warhammer: Vermintide 2 back in August of last year. In the months since, we've been given a number of good looks at the studio's latest effort, and it's safe to say that players should expect to see the game's gorgeous world get spattered with all manner of blood and viscera.

Now that the Warhammer: Vermintide 2 closed beta test is underway, the Shacknews team has finally been able to give the fantasy-fueled first-person title a run through, and so far things are looking good — very good. As far as graphics are concerned, Vermintide 2 is a very polished game. Don't take our word for it, though — witness proof of this claim firsthand by checking out this video of the Warhammer: Vermintide 2 closed beta test running at 1440p and 60 frames-per-second at ultra settings.

Those who want to see how Warhammer: Vermintide 2 will run on their system should dive into the closed beta test soon, as it's set to end this coming Monday, February 26. After that, players will have to dive into the game the old-fashioned way by picking it up when it releases for Windows PCs on March 8.

Shacknews - Blake Morse

Fans of old school and retro FPS titles who also happen to own an Xbox One are in for a treat. Turok and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil will both be getting an Xbox One remaster and are available for pre-order now. The remasters were originally developed by Nightdive Studios for a Steam release back in 2015 and will digitally launch for Xbox One on March 2.

Titular character Turok first made his dinosaur hunting debut as a comic book character back in 1954, but it was the character's revival in the 1990s that led to the creation of the Nintendo 64's classic series. Turok 1 was hailed as a shining example of what could be done visually on the N64. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil quickly followed suit a year after the first game's release and won its own round of accolades.

Along with the pre-order announcement, Nightdive also released a brand-new teaser trailer which can be checked out below:

Turok and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil are available for pre-order now for $19.99 each and will launch for Xbox One on March 2.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Nickelodeon is joining forces with video game publisher Outright Games to bring one of the channel's most adorable preschool brands to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC this fall. It's PAW Patrol, the popular Canadian CG-animated TV series little kids are totally in love with. And when I say "little kids," I also mean myself. Just look at those adorable little pups in their uniforms, just like people! This fall, a brand new game called PAW Patrol: On a Roll is debuting with fan-favorite characters and missions for players of all ages.

The game will follow rescue pups Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Skye, Rocky, Zuma, Everest, and Tracker as well as their best human pal Ryder as they work together to protect the community of Adventure Bay. Their motto, "No job is too big, no pup is too small!" will help guide them through 16 rescue missions where players will be tasked with using special abilities to rescue their friends and members of the community.

There are eight different locations planned to explore including Jake's Mountain, an undersea paradise, Farmer Yumi's Farm, and a selection of additional places to investigate to make sure everyone in Adventure Bay is safe and sound. Nickelodeon and Outright Games stated that the game, as well as the TV show, focuses on problem-solving, so the video game will combine puzzles and platforming for a unique experience that should appeal to kids and parents. When I say "kids and parents," I actually mean myself. This game appeals to me. I love dogs.

"PAW Patrol is a series the entire family can enjoy, so we are creating a video game that children and parents can have fun playing together," said Terry Malham, CEO of Outright Games. So if you have kids, I guess you should pay attention or whatever. I'm too busy checking out when and if I can preorder it. Just look at those widdle paws!

Shacknews - Blake Morse

For as long as Psyonix's Rocket League has been rocking players' worlds with its addictive competitive vehicular-based soccer hybrid, they've also kept toes tapping with their curated lobby music. Now, following last year's successful collaboration with electronic house music label Monstercat on Rocket League x Monstercat Vol. 1 playlist, the two companies are ready for another mash-up. Monstercat and Psyonix will be releasing Rocket League x Monstercat Vol. 2 playlist as part of Rocket League's Spring update. This newest playlist will be a shorter, more EP length one and will be followed by three more playlists throughout the year to keep things fresh. 

Earlier this year Monstercat revealed two new brands for their music to help distinguish between the ethereal tones of the eclectic electronic music genre. Both "Instinct" and "Uncaged" brands will appear in the new Rocket League playlists throughout the year. Monstercat will also be getting some in-game love through new flags planned to launch with each new playlist. 

No further details are available yet as far as artists, tracks, and how long each playlist will be available, but more info should be coming in the next few weeks. 

Shacknews - Kevin Tucker

Niantic's successful AR-based mobile title Pokemon Go is no stranger to fresh updates and community events, and now there's a special treat in store for fans looking to catch powerful new Hoenn-region creatures. The latest Pokemon Go event known as the Legendary Week is now underway, and players dropping into the game should find the addition of two powerful Hoenn-region Legendary creatures in their local Raid battles.

From now until March 5, which is more like a week and a half, trainers will be able to battle and capture the Legendary creatures Kyogre and Groudon in addition to Rayquaza by participating in local Raid Battles. These powerful creatures encompass several different enemy types, and taking them down will require players to put extra consideration into their offensive and defensive strategies.

Niantic also has plans to offer specific bonuses depending on which Legendary creatures are defeated the most times. According to an update made over on the official Pokemon Go blog, "[if] Rayquaza is defeated more than Kyogre and Groudon combined, Pokémon that typically prefer windy weather (for example, Bagon) are more likely to hatch from Eggs from March 5 to March 16. If not, Pokémon that prefer sunny or rainy weather (like Trapinch or Lotad) are more likely to hatch."

The Pokemon Go team will also be rolling out new special boxes starting tomorrow, February 24, the likes of which should help players fill out their supply of Raid Passes.

Shacknews - Blake Morse

While it's still a few weeks before the cinematic reboot of Tomb Raider hits theaters across the nation, fans of the franchise got an extra treat last week when Mattel revealed that the latest iteration of Lara Croft would be getting the Barbie treatment. The new Barbie is based on the likeness of on-screen Lara Croft, Alicia Vikander and comes with the heroine's signature pickaxe as well as a map and journal. The doll does not come with any weapons, like Lara's bow and arrow or dual pistols, but I'm pretty sure she could still take out a disgruntled Ken with a pickaxe to the dome. 

From the Barbie website: "Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished mysteriously. Leaving everything she knows behind, she embarks on a journey to his last know destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island. Lara ventures into the unknown armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith, and stubborn spirit. She must push herself beyond her limits. Can she survive this perilous adventure, and earn the title of Tomb Raider?"

Lara isn't the first iconic hero to get the Barbie treatment, everyone from Wonder Woman to Star Trek's Lt. Uhura have had special edition figures made in their likeness. The Lara Croft Barbie is now available for pre-order on the Barbie website for $29.99 and will be available on March 9 which will be followed by the release of the new Tomb Raider film on March 16.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

With EA announcing its plans for EA Play 2018 earlier in the week, it seems like a good time for the publisher to hold a big sale. Most of EA's best games are discounted across both current-gen and previous-gen consoles. That's games across Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and... well... FIFA is on sale on the Switch, so that's something, right?

Meanwhile, Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege continue to be discounted, given that their esports are riding all-time highs at the moment, so celebrate while everyone's in a good mood! Check out the full list of deals below.

Here's our selection of this weekend's console deals:

Xbox One

The following games are a part of Xbox One Games with Gold/Deals with Gold. An Xbox Live Gold Subscription is required to receive these discounts.

The following deals are available to all Xbox One users.

PlayStation 4

The following deals are available to all users. PlayStation Plus members may be eligible for additional discounts.

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Wii U

Xbox 360

The following games are a part of Xbox 360 Games with Gold/Deals with Gold. An Xbox Live Gold Subscription is required to receive these discounts.

The following deals are available to all Xbox 360 users.

PlayStation 3

The following deals are available to all users. PlayStation Plus members may be eligible for additional discounts.

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Nintendo 3DS

PlayStation Vita

The following deals are available to all users. PlayStation Plus members may be eligible for additional discounts.

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is an example of some of the impressive feats that mobile gaming can pull off. It’s also some of the most fun I’ve ever had with a game based on a popular franchise tailor-made for smartphones. The concept is simple: Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is meant to downsize a 100-hour RPG that’s absolutely massive into an easy-to-digest episodic version that players can try a bit of, then purchase the rest of the episodes as they see fit. It’s also supposed to be cute, to boot. I was a bit skeptical when the game was initially announced, because typically ambitious endeavors like these aren’t at all what we expect, and hardly ever do they reach the potential set out for them to aspire to.

On the Road

I’m pleased to report that my time with Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition was everything I had expected and then some. Having massively enjoyed the full-fledged PlayStation 4 version after a lifelong love affair with Final Fantasy as it is, I was pleased to start playing the first episode of ten, seeing that not only did the game follow the path laid out in the main game perfectly, but it did so with just as much gusto and panache as the full-sized version.

If it weren’t for the fact that I were playing on my iPhone X and staring at the decidedly less attractive leads Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus as veritable chibi bobbleheads, I may have lost myself in the experience and forgotten that this wasn’t a full release in some segments. From the very first chapter, the spectacle, music, excellent English voice acting, and the storyline is intact. It’s nearly identical to playing the console version in many ways, minus much of the complexities, but as an abridged version it’s actually a pleasant and engaging experience.

Playing in landscape mode with touch controls can be a little frustrating, but that’s par for the course when you’re playing with a larger phone, and I preferred playing on the iPhone X to my old iPhone 7 Plus, but you can either tap and direct Noctis and crew where to go or hold down your finger continuously where you’d like then to head to. Otherwise you’ll interact with your environment with a series of taps, whether it’s a speech bubble above Cindy’s head at Hammerhead while waiting on your car, the Regalia, to be fixed or engaging in battle with enemies. It’s a simple and fairly responsive system that has the occasional hiccup, but is generally without a hitch.

Take Your Battles to Bed

Battle is one of the few areas where there are less complexities to take heed of, but that’s to be expected when trying to translate Final Fantasy XV’s systems into touch-based mechanics. You’ll only control Noctis directly, and he’ll automatically continue attacking enemies while you occasionally dodge, parry, and team up with the rest of the guys for special attacks as well as your own set of skills to wipe out enemies. They’re quite fun, and while simplistic, there’s a sense of depth to combat that lingers despite how much less involved it is than the console version’s.

Originally when I had played through the preview build, I was met with some issues that forced me to stop playing. I was no longer able to access my game and thus I could only play one part of the game. Fortunately, since then I've been able to conquer the game without any issue or save problems, which I was delighted to see. I really didn't want to have to start over a few more times to regain all the progress I've lost. I've not seen any other save issues since my time with the preview, but as is the case with any mobile game, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your save data.

After my time with the game and playing through the smaller version of classic moments I enjoyed actually hoping Square Enix goes ahead with more translations of its larger games like this one. There's a wide variety of fans out there who may not have the time to spend on playing the full-sized versions. These are the same folks who have difficulty hanging around at home long enough to enjoy console releases. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is exemplary of the kind of game that can be crafted when a company cares enough about a property to give it a proper mobile adaptation.

I'm hoping to see more bite-sized chunks of my favorite stories released in this manner for when I just don't have the time to sink into the version I want to. There's definitely a market out there for these types of releases, and I'd love to see it grow beyond the cheaply-made mobile cash-grabs out there. 


This review is based on an iOS download code provided by the publisher. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition via the App Store and Google Play Store and is free to play for the first chapter. The game has been rated 9+ by the ESRB.

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