Aliens Dark Descent was revealed today at Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest. Developed by Tindalos Interactive and published by Focus Entertainment, Aliens Dark Descent will be coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2023. This new game in the iconic franchise is said to be a “nerve-wracking, real-time action (game).”
"The entire team at Tindalos is dedicated to delivering a gaming experience faithful to the spirit of the Alien franchise, and adding its own, never-seen-before elements to this iconic universe. The gameplay we have developed is unique, inspired from our favorite tactical and CRPG games and packaged in nerve-wracking, real-time action. Translating from film to our game the sheer terror caused by the deadliest species known to man was quite a challenge, but I'm confident most of you will end up in strung-out shape - as Hicks himself would say. "
-Romain Clavier, CEO & Creative Director at Tindalos Interactive.
This new iteration will attempt to deliver the over-the-top action of the second movie from a new perspective, setting, and deep original single-player story. Here’s hoping this one lands somewhere near Alien Isolation territory and avoids being a massive pile of dog shit like Colonial Marines.
Check out the spine-tingling trailer here:
Are you interested in a new Aliens game? Or should they give up already?
Let us know in the comments.
Monthly Gaming Update: June 2022
The month of June is going to be a hot one, in more ways than one! Not only will there be a slew of summer gaming news coming from all directions, like the Xbox Bethesda Showcase and Sony’s State of Play, but we have some big games dropping too!
Mario Strikers: Battle League - June 10th (Switch)
Mario Strikers is Back! Tackle, pass, and score in this action-packed sport where anything goes! Introducing Strike, a 5-on-5, soccer-like sport with no rules—do whatever it takes to win! Get gritty and try to score the most goals by tackling enemies, using items, and pulling off score-boosting Hyper Strikes. It has been 15 years since Mario Strikers Charged came out for the Wii, and it's about damn time we are getting a new entry! The Mario sports games can be hit or miss, but more often than not are still fun to play. I personally loved the original Mario Tennis on GameBoy Color, which was a deep sports RPG. I am not expecting that here, but nonetheless, I can’t wait to smash my friends’ faces with a soccer ball when I get my hands on this.
The Quarry - June 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)
The Quarry is the latest horror choose your own adventure game from Supermassive Games, whose most popular game, Until Dawn, is revered by many as one of the best horror games. The Quarry looks to continue the legacy of interactive storytelling with a stellar cast including, Justice Smith and Ted Raimi. This time around, a group of teenagers have finished summer camp, and hunting season has begun, but they can’t leave yet and have to wait for help, and you guessed it, things start to go wrong. I have never been a fan of the cinematic horror games like these that feel more like watching a movie than playing a game. I may have to give The Quarry a go, though, as it looks proper scary.
Sonic Origins - June 22nd (PS4, Xbox, Switch)
The Blue Blur is everywhere now with the latest movie out and a new game on the way. So why not celebrate with a fresh collection of the original Sonic games (*cough* cause Sega’s not done that a dozen times). Sonic Origins is a collection of the original Sonic The Hedgehog 1, 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD, digitally remastered for current-generation platforms. Including the original versions and the updated Anniversary versions of the games and some slick new animation cutscenes to boot. There is some confusion over the various add-ons that will be available, but if you are a true blue Sonic fan, just get the deluxe edition for the extra $5, which includes everything!
Capcom Fighting Collection - June 24th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)
Fighting Fans rejoice for another Capcom collection. At least this one is packed with Darkstalkers, a personal favorite opposite Street Fighter. Capcom Fighting Collection features 10 arcade classics, including one of my personal favorite oddball puzzle games Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, which is like Tetris but with fighting. All of the games feature online play, quality of life updates, extra features, and a museum packed with concept art and music. Included in the collection will be Red Earth; originally released in arcades in 1996, this fighter will be making its home console debut. Bust out those fight sticks and relive the glory days or, like me, play a butt load of puzzle fighter!
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - June 24th (Switch)
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is the follow-up to Fire Emblem Warriors that puts an action RPG spin on the classic strategy RPG series. Fans of Fire Emblem looking to take a more direct control to combat, look no further as Warriors has you on the battlefield laying waste to thousands of troops. Set in the world of Fire Emblem Three Houses, Three Hopes will have you experience compelling new storylines of the Azure Gleam, Scarlet Blaze, or Golden Wildfire. Join the characters from each house in epic real-time battles across Fódlan, develop your base camp, train, and prepare for battle.
June 2022’s Release Schedule
Samurai Riot - June 1st (Switch)
Loopers - June 2nd (Switch)
Wonder Boy Collection - June 3rd (Switch)
SpellForce 3 Reforced - June 7th (PS4, Xbox, PC)
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - The Hinokami Chronicles - June 10th (Switch)
Mario Strikers: Battle League - June 10th (Switch)
Metal Max Xeno Reborn - June 10th (PS4, Switch)
The Quarry - June 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)
The House of the Dead: Remake - Limidead Edition - June 14th (Switch)
The Hand of Merlin - June 14th (Switch. PC)
Zorro the Chronicles - June 14th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)
Horgihugh and Friends - June 16th (Switch)
Final Vendetta - June 17th (Xbox, Switch)
Omori - June 17th (PS4, Switch)
Fall Guys - June 21st (Xbox, Switch)
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle - June 21st (PS4, Xbox)
Shadowrun Trilogy - June 21st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)
Wreckfest - June 21st (Switch)
Sonic Origins - June 22nd (PS4, Xbox, Switch)
AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative - June 24th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)
Capcom Fighting Collection - June 24th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - June 24th (Switch)
Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei - June 28th (Switch)
Disgaea 6: Complete - June 28th (PS4, PS5)
DNF Duel - June 28th (PS4, PS5)
F1 22 - June 28th (PS5, Xbox)
MX vs ATV Legends - June 28th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)
Oxide Room 104 - June 28th (PS4)
Squish - June 28th (Switch)
Tour de France 2022 - June 28th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)
Fobia - St. Dinfna Hotel - June 30th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)
My Universe: Green Adventure Farmer Friends - June 30th (Switch)
Outriders: Worldslayer - June 30th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)
Rabbids Part of Legends - June 30th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, Stadia)
WWI Isonzo: Italian Front - June 30th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)
Game reviews, I swear they can either prevent a person from buying a horrible game or keep them from buying something they might actually enjoy. It’s a double-edged sword that cuts right into my brain, dividing me on whether I should or shouldn’t buy a game that looks genuinely interesting to ME!
So, I want to provoke some thoughts and share ideas on why I don’t always follow game and user reviews. I’d also love for people to share their thoughts below on whether they rely on reviews before making purchases or not. So let me hear your thoughts, dammit!
Why don’t we take Elden Ring, developed by From Software, as an example? Let us be real here, Elden Ring is a particular game for a specific audience but had a solid release, with millions of copies sold!
Naturally, people who loved playing the Dark Souls series will, of course, love the game. One of many reasons why it came out so strong, in my opinion, is because of the name that is also attached to it, George R.R. Martin.
Don’t get me wrong here; George is a fantastic writer. However, that should not be why people look into Elden Ring or any other game. My reason is that this is a company that built a reputation in the past 10 years for developing games that are very difficult to play. One should think to research a game developer a bit more aside from having a prominent author attached to it.
Let’s talk about user reviews; Elden Ring has been getting review bombed by players who have a hard time playing the game or making arguments about performances. Look at MetaCritic’s user review scores. Many reviews show that critical reviews have given Elden Ring a score of the mid-’90s from PC to consoles throughout. However, the score sits at around 6.8 for PC and a high 7 for consoles. When looking at user reviews, there seem to be many people giving negative reviews for lack of performance. I shit you not; I saw a review that gave it a 2 because it didn’t support ULTRAWIDE…..really bro?
So how do we get through the white noise and figure out what is a legitimate opinion within those reviews? The short answer is that you don’t. Again people will always have an opinion on experiences that will differ from yours. How do we look for something that isn’t biased from one end of the spectrum to the other?
One idea I have (for now) to do legitimate game reviews is by using Twitch effectively! I have used Twitch on many occasions when new AAA games get released. You get the reactions from the streamer, how the game looks in real-time as they play it, and how the streamer plays it. Try going to a smaller streamer’s channel and ask them how they feel about the game, and nine times out of 10, they will give you their opinions on it that can be constructive. Straight from the horse’s mouth and no bullshit. In my opinion, Twitch can allow you to figure out if the game is even worth your time and attention.
Of course, you can always say, “Meh, fuck it, I’ll buy it since it looks interesting.” Avoid everything that people say about the game and just play it. Take the chance and see if it’s your type or not (usually, I do that for early access titles or more miniature games).
I want to hear what all you gamers think of everything I have said! Do you utilize game reviews to determine what you buy? Or do you develop other ways to figure out if a game is worth your time? Again these are my words, not yours, and I cannot wait to see what your responses are in the comments below the article!
Chernobylite Review - An Enjoyable Horror Shooter RPG Mystery Game
What the hell is a Chernobylite? It sounds like a light radioactive beer. It refers to a new radioactive compound born from the infamous nuclear plant meltdown. Chernobylite is a survival horror RPG set in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl 30 years after the event of the devastating historical meltdown. Developed by The Farm 51, a Polish-based development team that traveled to Ukraine to scan the real-world site.
*THERE MAY BE SPOILERS*
Chernobylite was released on PC in July 2021, later coming to consoles in September. Now there is a free Next-Gen upgrade for consoles and PC, and I was asked to check the game out and share what dark secrets I found buried deep in the ruins of Chernobyl. I was interested in this game then, as it looked similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro. I am also always on board for a good horror experience. As some may know, I am a horror game enthusiast and try to play most of them (Fight me, Maria, for top horror game connoisseur, check out her article on The Nightmare Inside).
When I first read the description for Chernobylite, I scoffed at the “horror” part and thought, “Yeah, let’s see.” To Chernobylite's credit, it actually has some very tense moments and amazing sound design that will leave many stopping dead and spinning around to find what nightmare just made such a horrible noise, but not me, at least not after the first few times. I have also been pleasantly spooked by a few good jump scares and have gotten severe goosebumps from some of the truly eerie visions you see. There is a point where you come across a room with a single TV on with a gaggle of dolls all watching the TV. When you turn the TV off, everything goes black, and you hear giggling, and the dolls have vanished *shudder*.
A Brief Lesson in History
Here is some background, you play as Igor Khymynyuk, a physicist that had previously worked at the Chernobyl plant and is now in search of his fiancée Tatyana, who went missing in the disaster. Straight away, something feels… wrong! You start on a train and Igor is looking for Tatyana, who has disappeared. You follow her image, which turns to ash as you approach, and monsters appear. After learning how to move and shoot, you wake up to learn that it was all a dream. Igor is on a mission to infiltrate the old Chernobyl plant with some companions, and of course, things go very wrong. The plant is now guarded by a military sect called the NAR. You barely manage to escape to a refuge in an old warehouse with Olivier, a STALKER ("STALKER" is a backronym for Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers, and Robbers) you hardly know or trust. It is here that Chernobylite starts to define itself.
To survive in the exclusion zone and find out what happened to Tatyana, you need to face each day tactically, preparing yourself, your allies, and your base for what is to come. Similar to Fallout 4’s building, you are tasked with clearing out your base and building a hospitable living environment. If you like crafting, you are in for a treat as just about everything in the game can be crafted, provided you have the materials and lots and lots of mushrooms! (I don’t know why, but many of the recipes require mushrooms, bleh). In order to get the materials you need for all the furnishings of your beautiful hillside apocalypse camp, you need to forage, salvage, and pick clean bodies you come across or make. I can’t remember another game that made me feel like collecting resources was so critically vital to success except maybe The Last of Us, but even that doesn’t feel as crucial in comparison. Thankfully, each mission gives you a preview of the kind of resources you are likely to find.
Let's Mix It Up
Missions and character progression are refreshingly different. While not as open-ended as S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Chernobylite is a more confined experience. You are tasked with various missions, but you can only do one mission per day per character. Not something you typically see in games like this. You can assign missions to your companions to complete while taking on a mission of your choice. After completing your objective, you return to base to see how your companions fared and give out rations. Rations and base upkeep are crucial to keeping yourself and your companions healthy and “happy.” In true RPG fashion, you earn XP for just about everything you do, and when you level up, you earn a skill point. Unlike most RPGs, the way you use the skill point is very clever. Instead of opening a menu screen and looking at a list of skills to unlock, you have to talk to your allies and ask them to train you in areas that they are experts in. Olivier, for example, trains in the use of pistols and stealth. When you ask to receive training, you ACTUALLY do the training! Not just bing! Now you know how to do this. I found this to be a very cool mechanic, which added a lot of realism to an otherwise fantastical supernatural setting.
That training is necessary as Igor being a scientist, is not the greatest shot. In the early hours, it is better to rely on stealth and sneaky takedowns on the NAR soldiers that patrol the exclusion zone. It also affects your psyche when you kill people adding even more weight to your choices and how you deal with your foes. There are a number of factors that affect Igor’s psyche and health, including radiation poisoning. You can craft various items to address these ailments but it costs a lot of resources. I found myself hesitating to take out guards in my way as I knew it would devastate my psyche, which I had little to no treatment for. Then I found vodka!
I decided to see what happens if you drink the bottles of “alcohol” you find and to my joy, it completely refilled my psyche. Meaning I could continue on my now drunken murder spree. After getting a few lessons in shooting, I was satisfied with how much better I was performing in firefights. I went from narrowly surviving a shootout with my measly pistol to dropping multiple soldiers before reloading. Hard work does pay off!
Fellow Couch Soup writer and player of video games Andrew Lucy, had played Chernobylite when it first launched, so I asked him to share some of his thoughts on the game.
Andrew’s Take “While playing Chernobylite on the Enhanced PC Edition, I found myself comparing the incredible atmosphere and graphics to that of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with its constant supernatural elements, music style, First Person Shooter, and storytelling. This game is BEAUTIFUL, and with its intuitive game mechanics, you will not have a hard time picking it up and playing for long periods.
After spending a little time playing this game, I found out that the dev team at The Farm 51 had ventured out to the Exclusion Zone in Ukraine to map out locations in and around Pripyat to give you that haunted feeling of an abandoned place. That kind of research for a game should at least give you a little insight into how much love was put into this game!
Another thing I found out when playing was that there is no Freeplay on the console edition, which was odd to me since it is on the PC version. Freeplay is a mode where you can go to any location in Chernobylite and experiment with the weather, guns, have events happen, and perks! It's more of a sandbox feel, and the mode separates from the storyline, giving you a place to experiment with the game how you see fit.
If you love horror games with shooting mechanics, a dash of intricate game mechanics, and a story to keep you hooked, you will love Chernobylite”.
That’s a Whole Lotta Green
I am glad that Andrew touched on the work that the developer put into creating Chernobylite and that they had 3D scanned the actual environments. Fortunately, they were able to do this before the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia. It is difficult to not be aware of current world events while playing a game set in an already scarred part of human history. The environment looks incredible for a budget-priced game. The look and aesthetics are the first things I noticed about Chernobylite. Its vibrant use of greens contrasts an otherwise desolate world. The Xbox Series X version I played seemed to have a fair amount of motion blur, which can be distracting but not enough to ruin the experience. You can tell where The Farm 51 cut back on some things like facial animations, as most characters have a mask on, but this allowed them to pack so much into the game. There is such an incredible amount of detail in every piece of equipment, computer monitor, and random tools. It is hard to believe this is not a typical $60 or $70 game. Enough to make you wonder why the big publishers and studios are not putting out better quality sometimes.
Geiger Counter Results
Chernobylite is an enjoyable horror shooter RPG mystery packed with science and sci-fi-y to make any nerd, nerd more. The solid gameplay could be akin to a Metal Gear Solid spinoff as you desperately sneak around and evade your foes. Your choices feel impactful and allow for variations in individual playthroughs with some genuinely memorable story beats and hilarious dialogue with some of the not-so-sane characters. A few bugs tend to cause it to crash, and frame rate drops can lead to some jarring moments. If The Farm 51 had a bigger budget and more time, this game would really shine. An otherwise beautiful presentation, fascinating story, and genuine good time make Chernobylite a great game, 8 out of 10 Soups.
When asked for a score Andrew agreed that although not perfect, Chernobylite is a fun game worth your attention. Andrew’s Score: 8 out of 10 Soups
Are you a fan of the begotten wastelands riddled with nuclear waste and radioactive monsters and mutants? Have you played or want to play Chernobylite? Let us know in the comments.
May is a slow month for big releases, but there are still a few worth mentioning or at least taking a look at. Some games of note include a samurai tale straight from a Kurosawa film, Bruce Campbell’s beautiful mug back in a video game, and a vampire game, but not the one you've been waiting for. Here are the games for May.
Trek to Yomi - May 5th ( PS4, PS5, Xbox, Game Pass, PC)
Trek to Yomi is an interactive game inspired by 50s and 60s Japanese cinema and films like Seven Samurai. You are Hiroki, a young and lone samurai who vowed to his dying master to protect his village. Experience Hiroki’s tale through a classic cinematic presentation, complete with black and white film and no color. Using camera angles and striking visuals from the classic films, engage your enemies with streamlined combat centered on traditional samurai weaponry. Any fan of samurai games or movies will enjoy this cinematic adventure, especially if you are like me and couldn't get enough of Ghost of Tsushima in Kurasawa mode. For Game Pass subscribers, Trek to Yomi will be available on day one, Yatta!
(That’s Japanese for hooray)
Evil Dead: The Game - May 13th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)
Shop smart, shop S-mart! The first proper Evil Dead game since 2005s, Evil Dead Regeneration, is here, and it looks amazing (at least for those of us that like graphic horror games). Evil Dead: The Game is inspired by the three films and the Starz series Ash vs The Evil Dead. You can play as a number of characters, including deadites, all with varying abilities for their role type. The game has 4v1 multiplayer gameplay similar to Dead by Daylight but also features some solo missions giving a little more to fans. Bruce Campbell plays a big part in the game and its inception, voicing several different versions of Ash. Many of the original actors return to voice their digital counterparts as well. So grab your boomstick and some friends to fight the hoards of undead when Evil Dead comes to swallow your soul. Groovy! (There, one last reference to the movies)
Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong - May 19th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch. PC) *UPDATE Delayed to June
A new vampire RPG set in the World of Darkness universe (Not to be confused with the forthcoming Bloodlines 2, which is the one I am waiting for). Anyway, Vampire: The Masquerade Swansong has you playing as three different vampires, each with a different set of vampiric skills, as you try to uncover a plot that might expose all of vampire kind. Swansong is a narrative RPG that focuses on storytelling and unique vampire abilities to navigate the world and the people of Boston. This particular journey into the underbelly of the supernatural hierarchy looks reminiscent of Detroit: Become Human, and fans of games that focus on dialogue choices over gunfire may take a shine to this one. As this is not me, I will be biting my tongue instead of necks until Bloodlines 2 appears.
May 2022’s Release Schedule
Dungeon Defenders Awakening - May 3rd (PS4)
Trek to Yomi - May 5th ( PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)
Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters - May 5th (PC)
Elemental War 2 - May 6th (Xbox, PC)
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising - May 10th (Xbox. Switch, PC)
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2 - May 10th (Switch)
Salt and Sacrifice - May 10th (PS4, PS5, PC)
This War of Mine: Final Cut - May 10th ( PS5, Xbox Series X|S)
Evil Dead: The Game - May 13th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)
Instant Sports - May 13th (PS5, Switch)
DEADCRAFT - May 19th (Switch, PC)
Deliver Us The Moon - May 19th (PS5, Xbox Series X|S)
Souldiers - May 19th (PS4, PS5, Xbox) Switch, PC)
Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong -May 19th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch. PC) Delayed to June
Cotten Fantasy - May 20th (Switch)
Dolmen - May 20th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)
Relayer - May 20th (PS4, PS5)
Touken Ranbu Warriors May 24th (Switch)
Sniper Elite 5 - May 26th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)
Kao the Kangaroo - May 27th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)
My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure - May 27th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)
Pac-Man Museum+ - May 27th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)
SnowRunner - May 31 (PS5, Xbox)
That’s it! A bit of a short month, but I am excited for a few of them. Honorable mention to Sniper Elite 5 which is a fun series. Let us know what you'll be playing in the comments.
Miss last month's update? Check out April 2022’s releases right here!
Elden Ring: A Literal Pain In the Ass
After over 100 maidenless hours spent on my first playthrough of Elden Ring, I’ve been given a great sense of triumph and accomplishment. To read my initial thoughts on the first 30 hours of the game, click here. Besides claiming my seat on the throne as an Elden Lord, I’ve also received something that will stick with me longer than any in-game achievement ever will, back pain. Through all the spellcasting, monster-slaying, and dog spotting, my character, Triss, easily got her 10,000 daily steps in. She explored crumbled ruins, dense forests, and scaled the tallest mountain in all of The Lands Between. On the other end of the controller sat a man in his apartment, enjoying a genre-defining adventure while contorted in rotating spots on his office chair or the cheap, uncomfortable couch he found on an online marketplace. I’m no stranger to multi-hour game sessions, but as I reach the decrepit age of 30, the damage inflicted by these long gaming shifts vividly rears its ugly head. Playing Elden Ring has become a literal pain in the ass.
As nerd culture connoisseurs, we all have our personal “Elden Ring.” An experience you enjoy can be so consuming that you neglect your body’s warning signs and basic needs to stretch and move. Between the abundance of entertainment services fighting for your attention (and your wallet!) and the increase in work-from-home positions over the last two years, I know I’m not the only one aching. This isn’t an article meant to shame you for enjoying time-consuming activities. But to remind you that finding a balance between your physical and mental health needs is key to living a happy, healthy life.
So, what are we to do as indoor inclined individuals? Over the years, many new experiences have emerged to help keep gamers physically active while holding a controller in their hand. With the emergence of virtual reality consoles being more accessible than ever, games like Beat Saber, Supernatural, and Pistol Whip combine sweat-inducing action with addictive game mechanics. My favorite exercise-centric videogame, Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch, hit all-time popularity in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For months this title couldn’t be found on store shelves. Two years later, the game is very accessible and still a blast to play on a rainy day. Ring Fit Adventure combines yoga and cardio exercises with the help of placing both Joy-Con controllers into a ring-shaped Pilates peripheral device as well as a leg strap, provided with a copy of the game. Over time, creative minds have even found a way to use a modified version of the Ring Fit Adventure controller to beat a boss in Elden Ring.
Having lived through many gloomy Seattle winters, I’m someone who counts down the days until daylight savings time when the light lingers further into the evenings. With literal brighter days ahead of us, I know that the opportunities to keep my body in motion will multiply. In the meantime, I’ve prioritized limiting my single session playtime, invested in a yoga mat, and stretching utilizing a foam roller. While I won’t be attempting any boss fights using the produce in my fridge, I’m hoping to keep my body limber so that I may comfortably enjoy my preferred hobbies for years to come!
Companies in the entertainment sphere will always compete for your time, data, and wallet. And while I loved every second of my playthrough of Elden Ring, it has really been a wake-up call that I’m not as limber as I once was. If I want to continue being able to enjoy playing games pain-free until I’m much older, some lifestyle changes will need to be made. They don’t have to be earth-shatteringly large commitments from the start, but I know that the longer you wait, the harder it is to break a bad habit. Committing to daily exercise or small changes like including Ring Fit Adventure into my gaming routine should be seen as an investment in myself. It’s easier said than done, but I know we could all benefit from getting off the couch a bit more and staying active.
What is your personal “Elden Ring” these days? What are some of your best practices for keeping your body flexible while enjoying your favorite hobbies? Let me know in the comments below!
Monthly Gaming Update: April 2022
April is a much-needed break in terms of high-profile releases after the past few months of knockout games. There are still some releases worth looking at, especially if you are as excited as I am for a remaster of a certain real-time strategy Gameboy Advance game. April may be your best chance at catching up on some backlog games before May and the slew of information that will be assaulting us around the time of E3 and the usual summer game press releases. Let’s get into those highlights for this month.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga - Apr 5th(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)
LEGO Star Wars is back, and it’s about dang time. Originally slated for a 2020 release date, Lego Star Wars the Skywalker Saga had been severely delayed due to COVID and a few other development setbacks. BUT it’s here, and it looks amazing. Fans of Lego games, shows, and Star Wars have a lot to look forward to as the newest game will have you playing through all NINE Star Wars films with the signature brand of Lego style and humor. This will also be the largest Lego game to date, with dozens of planets to explore, side missions to complete, and lots and lots of collectibles. Skywalker Saga is also breathtaking to look at and may very well be the most comprehensive Star Wars experience you will find.
MLB The Show 22 - Apr 5th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)
I’ll be honest with you, I am not a baseball fan. I do respect sports games and play them from time to time, and MLB The Show has done that, standing up to time as the greatest baseball series ever. Plus, it’s on every console now! Players across Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation can enjoy America's pastime with MLB The Show 22 featuring Shohei Ohtani (I’m not gonna pretend I know who that is). The most amazing thing to me is that MLB 22 will feature full support from Cross-Play, Cross-Saves, and Cross-Progression, meaning you can play your saved games and progress across all platforms. You could be playing on your PS5 or Xbox, then grab your Switch and pick up where you left off on the go! This should be how all multiplatform games are, and I hope the rest of them are paying attention. Anyway... Get your yearly baseball fix when MLB The Show 22 drops on April 5th or a few days early if you grab one of the special editions.
Advance Wars was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2001 and holds a Metacritic score of 92. Now, finally, after much demand, Nintendo is releasing Advance Wars 1 and 2 Re-boot Camp for the Switch. A completely overhauled remaster of both original games, featuring a new take on the original art style and animations. Advance Wars is a beloved strategy game, and fans have been pining for a new entry, enough so that indie developers made their own versions and love letters to the series like Wargroove. I personally loved Advance Wars on my Game Boy Advance back in the day, and I am very excited to get back to the battlefield to command my troops and crush my enemies (maniacal laughter). If you are feeling nostalgic or want a truly great strategy game, then check out Advance Wars™ 1+2: Re-Boot Camp.
Nintendo Switch Sports - Apr 29th (Switch)
Everyone has a relative that bought a Wii to play and probably still plays Wii Sports. Nintendo is going for gold again with Nintendo Switch Sports, a new version of the classic Wii game utilizing the Switch’s Joycon Controllers. Nintendo Switch Sports will include six games, including new versions of old favorites like Bowling and Sword Fights, now called Chambara. Sadly, Golf is not available but will be coming as a free update in the fall. The Switch allows for online play to face people around the world. You also earn points to unlock new customizations for your avatar cause we all know you play better when you look good. Let’s hope this new version can live up to the legacy of Wii Sports later this month.
April 2022’s Release Schedule
MLB The Show 22 MVP Edition - Apr 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga - Apr 5th(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)
MLB The Show 22 - Apr 5th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)
Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - Apr 29th (PS4, PS5, Switch)
Miss last month's update? Check out March 2022’s releases right here!
Mjolnir Perfect: Halo The Series Episode 1 Impressions
Halo The Series orbital dropped on Paramount + yesterday, and from a long-time Halo fan to you, it landed with a wondrous bang! Here is what I thought of this much-anticipated entry into the Halo Universe.
Hint: There will be spoilers
Within six minutes, Halo The Series establishes a brutal and violent universe where the Covenant (a collection of alien species) are an extreme threat to humanity. I don't know why, but the sudden and intense level of gore in a TV-14 rated show surprised the heck out of me. In a post Game of Thrones world, this is a smart move to show fans and newcomers alike that those behind the show are taking this serious. The last thing I would have wanted from a Halo show is “The CW” version that is overly dramatized with no weight or stakes to the conflict.
Halo The Series is an alternate timeline take on the story, setting, and characters of the games and not a retelling. Similarly to how J.J. Abrams' latest Star Trek films used the same characters but told a different story with an alternate dimension scope. Let’s be honest there is no way they could have captured the true Steve Downes (the voice of Master Chief in the games) version of Spartan 117 on-screen. The choice to have John take off his helmet and show his face early helps us as an audience connect with him emotionally. Unlike a video game where we embody the chief and get to know him by being him, we needed to see his face for a television show. Show star and Master Chief actor Pablo Schreiber says it best on the Halo Declassified aftershow, “ … the video game is a first-person shooter, and they treat the character in one way because (of) the nature of the medium. Television is a very different medium and what works for a video game is very different than what works for tv.”
The Series does an excellent job of establishing the universe, the Covenant, the UNSC, and how these all relate to each other while separating itself from the story of the games just enough so that it is unique. In the first episode, “Contact,” Spartan 117, along with Silver Team (an equivalent to Blue Team, Master Chief’s unit in the books and games), fight off a group of Covenant Elites (Sangheili) from a rebel base on planet Madrigal. Madrigal is a colonist planet in deep space that is home to a small group of humans that are fighting for independence from the UNSC. After the Spartans dispatch the attackers with righteous fury (and lots of satisfying and gory headshots), they find that the Elites have uncovered what looks like a Forerunner artifact that, upon touching it, causes Master Chief to have “a vision,” as he explains to Dr. Halsey, the creator of the Spartan program. This is the start of a story that, as a Halo fan, I was really hoping for from any Halo movie or show.
As of now, in this version of Halo, the Spartans are a fairly new set of soldiers and, as such, are essentially brainwashed supersoldiers. After John 117 touches the forerunner artifact, he is snapped from his “programming” and starts to think for himself. Opening the door to not only the Master Chief as we know him, but exploring what subjects of the original Spartan-II program went through as told in the Halo novel Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund.
The Spartan program was started on the planet Reach, and in the show, the UNSC is headquartered there. The timelines are a little blurry between the show and games, but this would indicate that the show is set before the fall of Reach, before Halo, and before Master Chief meets Cortana, which is hinted at as an upcoming event in the show. Operating out of Reach are Dr. Halsey, the scientist behind the Spartan Program, and Cortana, Miranda Keyes, a young Lieutenant in the UNSC and specialist on the Covenant, and Miranda’s father, Captain Keyes, seemingly in charge of the Reach headquarters. A variant from the games here is that Dr. Halsey is Miranda Keyes's mother in this setting. New faces include Kwon, a rebel girl who lost everything, Silver Team Spartans Kai, Riz, and Vannak. Along with a mysterious girl working with the Covenant named Makee.
Let me tell you, right now, everything shown and heard looks great and feels true to the video games. The Spartans presence is powerful as each member gets a spotlight to show how skilled and badass they are. The Elites look incredibly menacing and almost identical to the games. They even refer to the Chief as Demon. The only other race from the Covenant we see in episode one is the Prophets (San'Shyuum) which also look amazing and true to form. I can not wait to see the Grunts on screen. I also think it was smart not to include them in this first episode as they tend to be a bit of comic relief and would have probably undermined the episode’s tone. Fans will also recognize many sounds right from the games, including the energy shield warning and recharge (check video below) and the ever classic Elite grunt “Wart Wart Wart.”
Although I could have used a lot more of the Halo theme and wished it was part of the opening, I dare you not to get goosebumps when you hear the Gregorian chant cleverly placed into a scene. Maybe, they will use the theme more and more as the show progresses. Maybe they will have an amazing revelation that crescendo’s with the Halo theme and every Halo fan and myself will explode with exhilaration! … ehem, sorry I got a little excited. If that is the case, then I am ok that they haven’t used it yet.
Was it just me, or might there have been a Mass Effect reference easter egg? At one point in the later half of the show, an announcement can be heard in the UNSC headquarters requesting Commander Shepherd to report to a Skillian Response Center, which seems like a clear reference to the beloved space epic RPG.
Ultimately I am delighted with what I have experienced thus far, a new and unique narrative that has the ability to pull from the known lore but also play with it and keep us guessing. Rather than try to replicate the game’s story one-to-one or give us something that is unrecognizable as Halo other than in name, I am ready to “Shut Up and Get Behind Me…Sir”
What did you think of the first episode of Halo The Series?
All the video games going straight into your backlog this month! If you thought February was an intense month, here comes March swinging with some out of nowhere heavy hitters. Ghostwire and Kirby, both getting surprise date reveals, have launched March into the stratosphere like a homerun bat smash in Super Smash Bros. 2022 is already shaping up to be one hell of a year with Elden Ring receiving high praise across the board, and we don’t even know most of the games slated for the holiday season. OK, I’m going back to playing Elden Ring before these bad boys drop.
Gran Turismo 7 - Mar 4th (PS4, PS5)
The Granddaddy of simulation racing is back! Gran Turismo 7 is car fans and stans dream come to life. Get behind the wheel of over 420 real-life cars and compete in casual, competitive, and GT career races on real tracks across the world. Showcasing some of the best visuals to date with ray tracing, 4k and HDR support targeting 60 fps. The PlayStation 5 version will feature haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, but not on PS4. We shall see how this PS5 brewed game holds up on the PS4 when it launches. The original GT 2 was one of the first racing games I ever played, and it made me a fan, so let’s see if they can recapture the magic.
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - Mar 24th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)
Borderlands DnD version is here. Wait, Wonderlands is here. This Borderlands spin-off that takes place in the universe as a DnD style board game being played by the characters… ah yeah, it gets weird. Like Borderlands, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands will have you choose from a list of classes to set out on a wild and zany adventure with an over-the-top twist on Dungeons and Dragons but played like a first-person shooter with spells and numbers flying out of people’s heads when you shoot them. Anyone familiar with previous games will be right at home with the rock-solid shooter RPG mechanics, and new players have a lot to look forward to.
Ghostwire: Tokyo - Mar 25th (PS5, PC)
From famed game director Shinji Mikami comes Ghostwire: Tokyo. This game looks like a Japanese horror movie come to life. Tokyo has been overrun by a deadly supernatural force that has made the population disappear, except you. Teaming up with a powerful spectral entity, you will wield devastating elemental powers and use ghost hunting skills to battle the supernatural. Ghostwire is labeled as an Action-Adventure game, but come on. Look at it, it looks terrifying, and it’s from the creator of Resident Evil and the studio that made The Evil Within! It’s going to be spooky, haunting, and beautiful! I have been excited about this since its announcement, and Bam! Now it is here!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Mar 25th (Switch)
Kirby, everyone’s favorite pink puffball that eats everything, is getting his own open-world adventure on Nintendo Switch. Kirby games are notorious for being baby games (super easy) besides Kirby’s Adventure on Game Boy; that game was hella hard! Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks to give Kirby the Mario Odyssey treatment allowing Kirby to explore large, open, and lush environments. We all know Kirby likes to suck up enemies and absorb their powers, but now he can take on huge things like cars, and you know, be a car or a vending machine? Kirby has always been one of my favorite characters to play in Smash Bros. The difficulty of his own games has made them a rather dull endeavor for a grown man to enjoy. Here’s hoping that this one has some challenge to it cause it looks fun.
March 2022’s Release Schedule
Conan Chop Chop - Mar 1st (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)
ELEX II - Mar 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)
Far: Changing Tides - Mar 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Game Pass, Switch, PC)
The Cruel King and the Great Hero - Mar 1st (PS4, Switch)
Which of these will you be playing? Which are getting added to the pile of your backlog? Let us know.
Everything You Need to Know About Elden Ring’s Different Classes
Elden Ring is literally right around the corner, coming out February 25, 2022. (Holy shit!) There’s a lot of hype around this game, and it’s easily one of the most anticipated games of 2022. If you’re as excited as I am, you’re counting the days. With the game almost here, I’ve been getting serious about preparing for my first-ever FromSoftware game. Part of that is figuring out what class to pick. I’ve done a lot of research and gathered all the deets here for easy reference for anyone else trying to figure out what class would be best for their play style. If you aren’t sure where to start, I’ve got ya covered.
First off, what are classes?
Elden Ring’s classes are starting archetypes you chose at the beginning of the game. Each class has different statistics that influence gameplay style to some degree. For instance, some classes are high in Strength, and others are high in Faith or Vigor. The mix of statistics can be the difference between being an expert in incantations or weaponry. Right now, Elden Ring has ten different classes to choose from.
Each class has different stats, which govern gameplay. Here’s what each statistic affects:
Vigor: Affects health, can help you live longer and gives fire and poison resistance.
Endurance: Affects stamina and can help you move more before you become exhausted, perform more defenses, and handle damage. Plus, you can wear heavier armor.
Mind: Affects focus and can help with various focus-related resistances, which lets you ward off Sleep or other conditions.
Strength: Affects damage, boosts attack power, enables you to deal more damage, and is necessary to use heavier armaments.
Intelligence: Affects your ability to use the glintstone sorceries, increases your magic damage and resistance to others’ magic.
Dexterity: Affects your speed and movements, minimizes the time it takes to cast spells and helps with fall damage, among other things.
Arcane: Affects your ability to find items and gives you a certain amount of death resistance.
Faith: Affects your ability to perform sacred incantations and improves various support and healing abilities.
You can choose your character’s gender for each of the classes and customize to a degree. Each class is different, and has a different balance of stats, so I’m breaking them down quickly since we’ve reached the countdown week. There’s no time to spare!
The Samurai has high Mind, Vigor, Dexterity, and Endurance statistics. They start with an Uchigatana, longbow, arrows, and a round shield. If you aren’t familiar with the Uchigatana, the Dark Souls Wiki mentions it’s a weapon forged in an Eastern land and is recognizable for its expert slashing. It’s a good class for those comfortable using ranged weaponry.
The Confessor is a Faith class designed for using incantations in gameplay. If you are used to playing with a magic-based style or want to give it a try, consider this option. This class enables you to use healing spells, fire, and additional restorative effects. You can expect to start out with a broadsword, a kite shield, and Finger Seal.
This class starts without damaging weapons, minimal stats, and no clothes. This would be your choice if you want the highest challenge level possible. Newbies, like myself, should probably NOT play this class...unless we want to die nonstop. However, if you are experienced with Soulslike titles, you can start with this character. Use the club as your starting weapon, and mold your gameplay experience the way you prefer.
This class is high in Mind and Intelligence. It’s adept in the many sorceries Elden Ring offers and is designed for using weapon arts. As a more specialized class, it’s ideal for those who want to play primarily with magic. However, with its fair Dexterity, you can use both daggers and swords or sorceries, so definitely consider this option if you want some flexibility. Starting gear includes an Astrologer’s staff, short sword, and a small shield.
Long-range players unite! Instead of using incantations and sorceries, this class has decent stats in Endurance, Vigor, Mind, Dexterity, and Arcane. It’s ideal for those focused on weapons and equipment who want to wield long-range weapons like bows and is also good for discovering items. Expect to begin the game with a short bow, buckler, knife, and arrows.
This class has fairly high stats but has very little Faith or Arcane. If you’re looking for a challenge, but not as much of a challenge as the Wretch, consider this class. You’ll start off with an Estoc (a sword with a straight blade designed to pierce), catalyst staff, and an iron roundshield. If you aren’t sure if you want to start with weapons or sorceries, this is a good class to pick because it’s versatile due to the fair Mind and Intelligence stats.
This is a good pick if you want to focus on Strength. You start equipped with a leather shield and battle axe, and as a fan of medieval weaponry, I’ve always thought a battle axe sounded cool. Not as cool as a warhammer (Baratheon style, of course), but probably equally as effective. This class has high Strength, Vigor, and Endurance so you’ll start out strong, pun intended. I think this class can summon the Dragonfire incantation (you can summon a dragon’s head and breathe fire all over your enemies). While other classes can equip this incantation later on, I kinda want to start off with it. You can bet every last cent that if I pick this one, I’ll be shouting “Dracarys!” at the screen every time I use that Incantation. I am unashamed.
If you favor long-distance gameplay, the Prophet might be ideal for you. With a focus on Faith, this class can make incantations. It’s more of a specialized class, so if you know what you’re doing and want to use a bunch of incantations, this would be a good choice. You start out with a lot of gear, including a spear, rickety shield, Prophet blindfold, Prophet robe, Prophet trousers, Finger Seal, heal, and a badass Beast Claw Incantation.
With one of the best starting stats of all the classes, the Vagabond focuses on weaponry. It has high Vigor, Strength, and Dexterity. It’s also one of the tank options. The high Vigor stats can sustain a few additional hits from the start. Hit the ground running with a longsword, heater shield, and halberd.
This is a pretty well-rounded class with good Dexterity, Vigor, and Mind. If you want a flexible, weapon-based play style or if it’s your first time playing a FromSoftware game, this might be your best bet. Starting equipment includes two scimitars, swordsman gauntlets and greaves, a blue cloth vest and cowl, and a buckler. It’s one of the classes I’m considering.
The Elden Ring Wiki provides this super helpful class comparison table to help players compare the stats of each starting class before they suit up:
Personally, I’m thinking about either the Hero (for the Dragonfire), Warrior, or Vagabond. If you’re like me–aka a total noob–it’s good to narrow down what classes you want beforehand. That way, you’ll be prepared to make the final call when the game loads up and you’ve seen the characters come to life. Elden Ring’s classes can be improved and upgraded as you progress through the game. Plus, players can choose a Keepsake during character creation, giving you more customization options early on.
Let me know which class you’re choosing in the comments! And don’t forget to mention why. You know, asking for a friend….