Shacknews - Steve Watts

Ever reluctant to accept changes in the industry, Nintendo finally announced its plans for mobile game development this morning. It has been a long time coming, with pressure coming from investors and industry-watchers for the storied publisher to follow the shifting market. While the move makes financial sense, and Nintendo could certainly be successful by following the well-worn path created by other mobile publishers, it will lose a piece of its identity if it fails to break from conventional mobile norms.

Nintendo has always prided itself on custom-fitting its own hardware to its software. The synergy between its systems and games has been a selling point, and one reason why fans have known they can count on Nintendo for a rock-solid gameplay loop. For all the calls for Nintendo to put their games out on other systems, including mobile, the hesitance makes sense. Nintendo's strength has always been bolstered by the hardware equivalent of home field advantage.

Stepping into the mobile market, then, marks a big step outside of Nintendo's comfort zone. The risk it runs now is letting the company's discomfort with this new platform influence it into utilizing some of mobile gaming's bad habits.

Almost a year ago, Nintendo received what was possibly the worst advice ever given to it. In a well-meaning letter from Oasis Management's Seth Fischer in February of 2014, the hedge fund manager expounded on the potential to tap the free-to-play market. "We believe Nintendo can create very profitable games based on in-game revenue models with the right development team," Fischer wrote, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. "Just think of paying 99 cents just to get Mario to jump a little higher."

(Take a moment to collect yourself after reading that last sentence.)

Mr. Fischer isn't a game designer, and so it's hard to blame him for giving input that so callously discounts the precision with which Nintendo balances its mechanics. Until very recently, it would have been easy to shrug off his bad advice. Nintendo's experiments with free-to-play had largely bucked the anti-consumer trends that define the term. That is, until the release of Pokemon Shuffle. 

Both Rusty's Real Deal Baseball and Steel Diver: Sub Wars shared one vital characteristic: there was a limit to how much you could spend. Even if you purchased all of Rusty's mini-games without earning a single discount coupon, you would eventually unlock them all and be done spending money. Sub Wars was even more straight-forward, with a single purchase. It was a demo version in all but the name. In both cases, to whatever extent you enjoyed the free content, you could play it to your heart's content. 

Pokemon Shuffle went a different and altogether unwelcome direction, relying on an energy mechanic. In fact, the F2P hook paired with the familiarity of a rather typical match-three game makes it practically indistinguishable from thousands of games on the iOS and Android App stores. It's the vanilla ice cream of video games: plain, easy, uncreative, inoffensive. In fact, Nintendo had previously announced a partnership to make a themed Puzzle & Dragons game, a series which has historically been another match-three with energy gates.

Energy mechanics have been unpopular in the mobile space, specifically because they're so clearly targeted towards monetizing compulsion. "You enjoyed your time with the game? That's nice, but now you have to stop and wait," they seem to say. "Or, well, you could pay us a little money." The barriers feel more artificial and arbitrary, based entirely around the monetization scheme. There has been such backlash against it that it was strange to see Nintendo adopting it at all, much less on one of its dedicated hardware platforms.

That kind of compromise is uncharacteristic of Nintendo, and raises some concern regarding today's news of mobile development. The company's step into mobile games means it will be in unfamiliar territory, and especially susceptible to following the trends of other mobile publishers. If it relies too much on the conventional mobile hooks, its efforts will inevitably be lost in a sea of the same-old. Given its willingness to try a monetization scheme that was already unpopular when Pokemon Shuffle came out, it may even be behind the curve of mobile trends.

Nintendo's entrance to the mobile games business is rife with possibilities. It could breathe new life into series like Pokemon and Pikmin, or revitalize underused ones like WarioWare or Elite Beat Agents. However, in entering a market that is already so crowded, Nintendo needs to keep its independent streak alive, and be a leader rather than a follower.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

It's been a long wait for Final Fantasy completists that have been looking to get a taste of Final Fantasy Type-0. A long-time Japanese PSP exclusive, Square Enix is only now making this game available stateside. In many ways, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a "warts and all" kind of presentation. Hardcore FF fans will find plenty to satisfy the itch, but those less invested may want to leave it behind.

Children of War

Type-0 begins with one of the darkest scenes to emerge from any Final Fantasy game. It's the product of war and devastation, with a young man letting out a cry of anguish in the street as his Chocobo lay dying at his side. It's the kind of conflict that players can expect through the story, which takes players to the Dominion of Rubrum. The Dominion is warding off powerful invaders from the Militesi Empire, led (surprisingly, for followers of FF canon) by an evil Marshall Cid. The Dominion's defenders are the fourteen standout warrior students of the Akademia academy's Class Zero.

If it sounds like Square Enix might have trouble fleshing out fourteen main characters, that's because that mostly turns out to be the case. Outside of a few characters like Ace, Machina, and Rem, it's difficult to make individual members multi-dimensional. The story surrounding them is not any easier to follow and only gets more confusing as it moves forward, especially once the Dominion army begins plotting against one another in rounds of political gamesmanship.

War Games

Type-0 is far more action-focused than most other games bearing the Final Fantasy brand. It trades in traditional turn-based RPG combat for third-person squad-based action. Players control a leader and fight alongside two other AI-controlled members of Class Zero against the Militesi army, which range from human soldiers, to the traditional FF-style monsters, to towering mechs and dragons. In a nice touch, many waves of enemies will have a designated leader. Taking that leader down will automatically cause all other foes to surrender and leave items, further adding to the wartime atmosphere.

Each member of Class Zero specializes in different types of weaponry, from Ace's Gambit-like deck of cards to Deuce's combat Flute. They all offer different play styles of ranged combat or up-close melee brawling, though boss battles appear to favor more of the former. All of the playable characters have access to traditional FF magic spells, like Fire and Cure, which adds some welcome extra dimensions to the game's combat. Variety in battles is definitely a plus, since squads can also attack in unison through formation attacks or summon powerful Eidolons to help chip away at powerful foes.

A Dull Blade

By far, however, Type-0's biggest weakness is the incredibly sharp difficulty spikes. Obviously, not all enemies are created equal, but the jump in power from one boss to the next sometimes rocked me straight out of my combat boots. All too often, it wouldn't happen at the start of a mission, either. Type-0 missions can run fairly long, many times surpassing the half-hour mark. After enduring a marathon of enemy waves, it's frustrating to hit an end boss that'll take out each member of the squad in one or two hits. These missions are structured as a veritable endurance match, featuring numerous enemy waves, a huge boss battle, and then an even bigger boss that would cut through my squad like butter. Just when I felt nearly finished, I had to start over from scratch.

So what's the solution to this? Grinding and lots of it! The trouble with this is that each member of Class Zero has to be leveled up individually, making it extremely time-consuming. Beyond that, though, since each of the Class Zero characters have their own style, this often means having to level up a character that's not necessarily your cup of tea.

There's one other aspect of Type-0 that falls flat and that's the RTS-style war portions of the game. There are several instances in which the Dominion army will have to move in and capture enemy territory, requiring Class Zero characters to travel the overworld map and flank the opposition. Coming to the enemy from behind opens the door for the Dominion army to strike and capture territory before Class Zero moves in and invades the town proper. It's confusing to learn and didn't get any more fun after I understood it.

The Spoils of War

A lot of this game's PSP heritage appears to be on display. While the characters appear to look fine for an HD remaster, many of the environments and menus look awkward and even blurry. The gameplay has several moments of frustration, especially with AI not always knowing when to heal you. This would normally be alleviated by grabbing a partner for co-op, but that aspect of the game was stripped away for the HD remaster for reasons that leave me scratching my head.

The story of Type-0 is an interesting one to witness, if only to see a darker Final Fantasy narrative and a more evil side of Cid. But it's a story that'll likely only satisfy FF completists and few others.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

It shouldn’t be a surprise by now to learn Bloodborne is as brutal, and at times even more so, as previous games developed by From Software, such as Demon’s Souls and the Dark Souls series. Just like those games, there’s some form of multiplayer players can use for their advantage in order to help them succeed the terrors awaiting them.

Bloodborne features two different forms of co-operative play as well as a way to make the life of other Hunters absolutely miserable through PvP. Today, we thought we would highlight what you can and can’t do in terms of Bloodborne’s multiplayer so both new and veteran players know what to expect.

Asynchronous Multiplayer

All From Software games have featured some kind of asynchronous multiplayer whether you realized it or not. Bloodborne offers two kinds of asynchronous multiplayer in the form of messages that are left behind by other Hunters, and graves that mark where other players have fallen.

When you interact with a Messenger that holds a message from another Hunter, you’ll be able to read a message chosen from some pre-determined text. Depending on the message, you can be alerted to a possible ambush, a hidden treasure, or a tip on how to take down an upcoming enemy. What the message will be is completely up to other players to decide, and to help decide whether you should listen to this message or completely ignore it, Hunters will be able to rate these messages.

When you come up to a message, you simply tap either the left portion of the DualShock 4’s touchpad to give it a “fine” rating, while the right portion gives the message a “foul” rating. Rating a message fine gives it an appraisal, letting other Hunters know the message should be trusted. A foul rating means there are some that disagree with the message, with a high volume of foul ratings indicating you probably should steer clear of that particular message.

In our experience, we've come across more helpful messages than ones that are looking to troll Hunters into jumping off a cliff or lowering their guard so they can get a nice hatchet to the back of their skull.

Graves are an equally important message that shows a specific Hunter’s last moments before he succumed to death. The graves first show up as a blood stain, but then pop up as a grave when you’re standing over it. Choosing to view the grave’s message will present you with a red outline of another hunters movements. You’ll be able to see what exactly caused them to die, which is often due to an enemy overwhelming them or simply falling from a high location. Hunters won’t need to do anything to initiate a grave to be shown to other players as they’ll just pop up once you die. These can be extremely helpful if you’re just making your way through a location for the first time. For example: if you view a grave message and see another Hunter went around a corner, looks to the right, and then dies, then you should be cautious of that corner as there’s probably an ambush coming up.

Co-op Multiplayer

Co-operative multiplayer is more a traditional feature that allows Hunters to help one another through direct interaction. In order to initiate co-op, you’ll need to have both the Beckoning Bell and the Small Resonant Bell, which can be acquired in the Hunter’s Dream once your Insight level reached 1.

If you’d like to request the help of other Hunters within a certain area, all you’ll need to do is ring the Beckoning Bell. Ringing the Beckoning Bell will cost you 1 Insight point, although that point can be re-earned if you happen to defeat a boss before exiting the co-op session. Once you ring the Beckoning Bell, another Hunter needs to ring their Small Resonant Bell in order to become transported into your game. So far, we haven’t had any issues in getting other Hunters to join our games as it took a matter of seconds to get a co-op partner.

One thing we learned the hard way was those who ring the Small Resonant Bell, or those who join other co-op sessions, won’t be able to have the game’s progress save to theirs when disconnected. We were able to defeat a particular boss, which resulted in much celebration, and then when we returned to our game, that very boss wasn't defeated. Fortunately for us, we earned Blood Echoes and some Insight Points for my trouble.

Another welcomed feature to co-op that we found was the fact there’s no friendly fire. In a game where nearly everything can kill you just by looking at you, it’s good to know my co-op partners can’t inadvertently be yet another threat I need to watch out for.

Unfortunately, Hunters can kill other Hunters in another way…

PvP Multiplayer

Bloodborne allows Hunters to jump into each other’s games and hunt one another. There are a number of stipulations that you’ll need to adhere to in order to even attempt to hunt one another.

First, you need to have earned at least 30 Insight Points. Considering you can earn Insight by coming across bosses, defeating them, and through using the Madman’s Knowledge, among other things, We're sure this is to make sure those who are taking part in PvP have progressed enough to attempt to take on other Hunters. Unfortunately, this means for several hours into the game, you’ll be unable to fight other Hunters, leaving those who are bloodthirty for the blood of other players to play without quenching that thirst.

The second thing you’ll need is the Sinister Resonant Bell, which can be acquired along with the Beckoning Bell and Small Resonant Bell. Once you have the bell, you’ll be able to invade another Hunter’s game by ringing it, although it still isn’t as easy as that.

Invasions will only happen within an area where a bell-ringer woman appears. This will only happen when a host attempts to initiate a co-op session, or, at times, as a result of events that occur within the game world.

Once you finally connect a PvP opponent, the guest will need to kill the host in order to be rewarded with an Insight Point. If the guest is killed or doesn’t get to the host in time before they beat the stage’s boss, then the guest is returned to their game with no reward.

You’re not alone in thinking the PvP feature in Bloodborne is extremely confusing. When we attempted to initiate a PvP match we have yet to have any success connecting to another person’s game. We have a feeling this may be a result of players not knowing what exactly is needed to inititate PvP games.

Always play Bloodborne online

Even though the PvP feature is a complete mess, Bloodborne’s asynchronous and co-op features are much easier to get into and offer a much more rewarding experience. That’s why we suggest you always play Bloodborne online as being able to receive Messages from other players and ring up a co-op partner at nearly any time really adds to the experience.

And if you want to kill other Hunters, Bloodborne has some AI-controlled Hunters players can come across through their quest. Go kill those and don’t even bother with attempting the game’s PvP sessions.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The console download deals have returned and some of this weekend's deals are every bit as strong as their PC counterparts. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is getting a big discount weekend over on Xbox Live, with Microsoft also offering up a few deals on Evolve and Forza Horizon 2. Sony's strength remains in its PlayStation Plus freebies, but both Microsoft and Sony are celebrating Wrestlemania weekend with some deep discounts on WWE 2K15. 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.

PlayStation 4

Use the code LQ8ERDQH3A to get 10% off of your purchase. This is a one-time use code, so choose wisely.

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.

PlayStation 3

Use the code LQ8ERDQH3A to get 10% off of your purchase. This is a one-time use code, so choose wisely.

Nintendo 3DS

PlayStation Vita

Use the code LQ8ERDQH3A to get 10% off of your purchase. This is a one-time use code, so choose wisely.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

You may have defeated Corypheus, but the Inquisition is far from over. Jaws of Hakkon, the recent DLC expansion for Dragon Age: Inquisition takes you to an all new area of called the Frostback Basin, located in the southern region of Thedas. It's a mountainous area, marked by thick forests in the valley below. The people of this region are called the Awar, and they'll be willing to help you if you can impress them. Along with them is a new enemy faction called the Jaws of Hakkon, who want nothing less than war with the rest of the world, and your skull crushed in. Yep, just another day for the Inquisition. But the best victories are often won through pain and blood. Preferably your enemy's.

You arrive to the Frostback Basin to search out the remains of Ameridan, the last Inquisitor from long ago. In doing so, you uncover a forgotten history, some of which is looking to repeat itself. The Jaws of Hakkon (Hakkonites) want to resurrect a fallen god to wreak havoc and destruction on the world. Your predecessor sought to stop this from happening ages ago, but ended up disappearing. So, you must gather up your forces and hone your skills so that you won't see a similar fate.

The expansion is meant for late or post campaign characters. Enemies here start at level 20, so you should be prepared for some high level battles. Hakkonite groups are generally large, with multiple mages, archers and sometimes a couple one-shot kill assassins. Among the most challenging are the Great Hammer weilding warriors that can take a ton of punishment. Jaws of Hakkon can be played before or after the main campaign is completed, but you'll have to deal with the consequences of a post-campaign game. My game ended with the loss of both Vivienne and Solas, leaving Dorian as my only mage character.

Once those details are sorted out, you can start exploring the expansive Frostback Basin. There are ruins to loot, Fade rifts to close, and enemies to slay. The expansion comes with quite a bit of content, including a number relatively short side quests a handful of War Table missions. There's even a new Rift power that surrounds your Inquisitor with a bubble that protects against projectiles.

As with the main campaign, exploring the breathtaking landscape is my favorite part. The world is covered in gigantic trees, the tops of which you'll be planting new encampments. The Awar are an interesting tribe people that have a unique connection to the spirit world, and use friendly spirits to train mages and while protecting the community. Fans of Dragon Age lore might take to learning more about the previous Inquisitor, whose story has lost much to history. However, all of it is in preparation for the big boss battle against the Hakkon, the war god that wants to snap his jaws on you.

Without spoiling too much, I have to say that the battle with Hakkon is probably the most infuriating boss fight in the game so far. No other creature seems to come close. Not Corypheus nor any of the dragons that are nesting across the land. Hakkon is the worst, and unlike the final battle featured in the main campaign, there's not a lot you can do to prepare for it.

It's not only the fact that Hakkon has extremely powerful melee and ranged abilities. Nor is it how he has damage aura and can freeze characters in place. It's how the room that you fight in will do damage over time on your character unless you're standing on very specific spots, all of which Hakkon will eventually render unsafe. Furthermore, Hakkon is immune to both fire and spirit damage, which made my pyro/necromancer build for Dorian practically useless. As if that weren't enough, he'll summon powerful reinforcements to come in and wreck your team midway through the fight. Oh yeah, and he teleports, and will go after soft characters like rogues even when he's taunted by your tank.

Even with the tactical view and carefully maneuvering your characters, this is one seriously rough fight. It's in an enclosed space without a lot of places to run, not that running would save you anyway. There's a potion you can take to help reduce the damage caused by the room, but it doesn't eliminate it completely.

The sad thing is, I was having a fantastic time with the expansion right up until I Hakkon and his lackeys pounded my team into the ground. Facing him with new characters means having to replay the entire final mission, which is all the worse if your next team isn't powerful enough to defeat Hakkon either.

On the bright side, virtually every other aspect of the add-on is enjoyable. I loved exploring Frostback Basin, meeting new NPCs and setting up tree-top encampments. The Hakkonites are very challenging, and fights are usually pretty intense. Then it all comes to an infuriating conclusion when you have to fight the boss. That's when you realize that the Jaws of Hakkon really do bite.


This review is based on a PC code provided by the publisher. Dragon Age: Inquisition - Jaws of Hakkon is available digitally for $14.99. The game is rated M.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

Not every game gets its due. Whether it takes time and perspective or a cult following to realize it, some games are just plain underrated. Today, Shacknews is highlighting ten such games that deserve more love than they get.

Join Greg Burke for this week's Top 10 list, as he looks through the Top 10 Underrated Games. Perhaps you'll recognize a few favorites or perhaps a few unappreciated gems were overlooked. Let us know in the comments. For more, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews on YouTube.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

When Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma revealed The Legend of Zelda on Wii U back in December during the Game Awards, there was a lot of doubt that it would reach its anticipated 2015 window. That's because this Zelda game was taking the series into the open world for the first time, offering entirely new possibilities. Aonuma has come to realize this himself and has announced that the game, indeed, will not make it to Wii U this year.

In a personal video message on the Legend of Zelda Facebook page, Aonuma cited that designers have found new gameplay possibilities for Link's first open-world adventure. Given the team's newfound ambition, the game is being pushed back into 2016 for polish purposes. Aonuma apologized to fans, but noted, "Our priority is to make [Zelda Wii U] the most complete and ultimate Zelda game."

Given that Nintendo has new hardware lined up for the future, the eventual Legend of Zelda looks to be quite the swansong for Wii U. Look for more information to (hopefully) come later this year. (Just... don't look for it at E3.)

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The month of March is coming to a close and so is this lousy Smarch weather. Whether you're still freezing along the east or sizzling in the west, it's a good time to stay in with some PC games and there's quite a selection to choose from this weekend. The Sega library is on sale all over the place, including over at Steam, the Humble Store, Get Games, and Green Man Gaming, with many of them offering Alien: Isolation for an unthinkable $12.49! Amazon has Ground Zeroes for cheap, while Bundle Stars has the LEGO catalog at a steep discount. Check out the full list of deals below.

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

Amazon

Bundle Stars

Pay $2.99 for Tropico 4 Steam Special Edition, Magicka, S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky, Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword, System Shock 2, Deponia, To The Moon, and Prime World: Defenders. These activate on Steam.

Or Pay $2.49 for Mountain, Over The Void, Sparkle 2 Evo, Danmaku Unlimited 2, Pretentious Game, Luxuria Superbia, Bientot l'ete, The Graveyard, Particula, and Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $2.99 for Tropico Trilogy, Hard Reset Extended Edition, Combat Wings: Battle of Britain, Inquisitor Deluxe Edition, Zeno Clash 2, and The First Templar. These activate on Steam.

GamersGate

GameStop

Get Games

GOG.com

  • System Shock 2 - $2.99 (70% off)
  • Psychonauts - $2.99 (70% off)
  • Other games in GOG.com's Gaming Fun!damentals sale, including Two Worlds and the Earth games, can be found here.

Green Man Gaming

Use the code JBTBG5-7GVTE8-W2YXRV to get 20% off your purchase. Some exclusions apply.

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for Tetrobot and Co., Titan Attacks!, The Inner World, and VVVVVV. Pay more than the average $5.35 to get Costume Quest, Ironclad Tactics, Eufloria HD, Solar Flux, and Toast Time. Pay $10 or more to also receive Shadowrun Returns. Select soundtracks included. All games work on Steam and Steam keys are available with a $1 minimum.

Origin

Steam

As well as regular discounts, Steam has a couple of additional weekend deals.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

Today's Mortal Kombat X livestream revealed that Erron Black, a character from the comic book series, will be a playable character. In addition to his variations and moves, viewers got a chance to see how Liu Kang and Shinnok plays.

Other reveals include some new Practice mode features and a Faction Kill performed by Cassie Cage. There was a short intro for the Faction War, and a confirmation that limited use "easy" fatalities exist. They can be picked up by various means to automatically perform a fatality without having to input the actual combo, which is great for players that have trouble with them.

Here's the breakdown for each character's variations.


Erron Black

Erron Black comes from the Mortal Kombat comic book series, and he carries two revolvers. Dressed as a Wild West gunslinger, he has works as a bounty hunter, and has picked up a few magical items while traversing Outworld.

His standard moves include firing off a few shots from his pistols and pulling out orbs full of magical sand that explode. Erron can also throw down caltrops that can stop enemies from running.

Marksman: In this mode, Erron Black relies on a rifle strapped to his back. Special moves include firing three quick shots while walking backwards to get some distance. He can also swing the rifle like a bat, which works like an uppercut that launched enemies up into the air.

Outlaw: With this mode, Erron uses a sword made from the severed forearm of a Tarkatan warrior (who may or may not be Baraka). He uses the sword to stab and impale his enemies. Furthermore, he can plunge it into an opponent's chest and break it off. The broken sword will constantly damage the enemy, but the trade-off is that Erron will lose use of his sword during that time. Lastly, to get some distance from opponent, Erron will use a variation of the sand blast by grabbing up sand off the ground and throwing it.

Gunslinger: The gunslinger variation is all about the revolvers. Erron goes into a stand-off stance and can do a "dance" move, where he fires a series of shots into the ground aimed at the opponent's feet. The closer the opponent is, the more damage it does. Similar to Marksman, Erron can walk backwards while firing off a couple shots. Lastly, Erron can do a trick shot by tossing a coin up in the air and ricocheting bullets off it.


Liu Kang

The classic character Liu Kang makes a big return in Mortal Kombat X, and he plays pretty much the way fans remember him. In addition to the flying kick, one of his universal abilities is powerful backhand punch that will knock opponents backward.

Dragon's Fire: The Dragon's Fire variation is pretty much the classic Liu Kang style, with a strong focus on fireballs. Liu Kang can throw double fireballs from the ground or air, or he can stand and charge a single powerful blast. He also has access to a double flying kick and his signature bicycle kick in this variation, which can be enhanced for extra effects.

Flame Fist: Fireballs move a little slower in the Flame Fist variation, but Liu Kang maintains the option to throw one big, heavy, one. The bicycle kick is replaced with a flurry of punches. What really sets this variation apart from the others is how Liu Kang can temporarily light his fists on fire to do extra damage, especially if the opponent is blocking. He can has the ability to parry moves.

Dualist: Liu Kang gets in touch with his dual nature in the Duality variation. He can switch between Light and Dark stances. Light plays pretty much like the standard Liu Kang, except that it has a special Tai Chi charge move that replenishes health and ends with a blast. Going into Dark mode turns his fireballs into plasma orbs. These orbs can be stopped mid-air and left as mines to be detonated later.


Shinnok

Shinnok is a fallen Elder God with access to magic and a powerful amulet that he uses to blast opponents.

Impostor: With the Impostor mode, Shinnok can call forth a triple blast from the ground, knocking opponents up into the air. He can also counter enemy projectiles by canceling them. But perhaps the most impressive move is how he can temporarily put opponents in a hold and steal their powers, like Sub Zero's ice ball, and use them for himself.

Bone Shaper: In this variation, Shinnok can summon a giant bone scythe to bash his opponents with. He can use it to scoop enemies up in the air, like a long reach uppercut, or pull them close. He can also slam it in the ground for a quick earthquake move. In this mode his amulet becomes part of a gun that he can use to quickly fire at enemies. He can also summon a bone cage to trap his opponents, which is featured in his X-ray move.

Necromancer: The Necromancer variation calls forth a giant skeletal arm that will crush, flick and grab at opponents. It can come from the air, ground, or sky, so opponents are constantly left guessing where they'll be attacked from.

Mortal Kombat X releses on April 14th for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

This week, the line-up gets a shake-up! Steve Watts is joined by Daniel Perez, Andrew Zukowsky, and Bryan Carr for their latest round of shenanigans. The four talk about proper egg preparation, the best game controllers, UI ruining lovely screenshots, divisive games, and the Mario game that could last us forever.

Thanks as always to those who provided our topic suggestions this week: the man with the briefcase, Hemtroll, Thresher, and ant_hillbilly. If you want see your name in lights, keep an eye on Chatty to suggest topics! And, special thanks to Chatty user dael for contributing music to the show, and to Bryan "Doctor Games" Carr for production assistance.

Off-Topic: Since all you do is talk about food, how do you take your eggs? Segment 1: What is your favorite game console controller of all time? Segment 2: Which game that you have played makes for the most visually impressive screenshots?Segment 3: What games did people either totally hate or totally love, but there didn't seem to be any midground reaction to?Segment 4: If you could only play one game for the rest of your life in which Mario was a character, which would it be? 

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