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GameStop's Big Tax Day Sale Kicks Off This Weekend

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 02:33

If you've already filed your tax return and have some cash to spend on games and collectibles, GameStop is hosting a big sale next that's worth checking out. GameStop's annual Tax Day sale kicks off on Sunday, February 28. The first batch of deals will be available all week before the sale refreshes for round two on March 7. GameStop's Tax Day sale features some nice discounts on 2020 hits for PS5/PS4 and Xbox Series X/Xbox One as well as Amiibo and Funko Pop promotions.

As always with GameStop sales, some of the game deals are underwhelming, since other retailers such as Amazon and Walmart tend to offer lower prices to begin with. For example, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be discounted to $50 at GameStop. We can't remember the last time Amazon sold Breath of the Wild for more than $50.

That said, there are certainly some solid game deals. Four recent Ubisoft titles are discounted to excellent prices. Watch Dogs: Legion leads the way at $25, which is the lowest price we can recall. You can also snag Immortals Fenyx Rising for $30, Assassin's Creed Valhalla for $35, and Just Dance 2021 for $28.

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Peppa Pig Theme Park At Legoland Florida Announced For 2022

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 02:33

Popular preschool animated series Peppa Pig will be getting its own dedicated theme park within Legoland Florida sometime in 2022, according to Hasbro, which acquired the show and its parent company Entertainment One in 2019. Hasbro shared the news on Twitter.

#PeppaPig theme park coming to Legoland Florida Resort in 2022 (via @CNBC) #HasbroInvestorDay

— Hasbro (@Hasbro) February 25, 2021

According to Yahoo! Entertainment, the park "will feature multiple rides, interactive attractions, themed playscapes, water play areas and fun live daily shows for Peppa Pig fans and their parents. Kids will have the opportunity to play in Peppa Pig's favorite 'muddy puddles' as well." While the United States continues to recover and navigate a path back to normalcy from the coronavirus, Legoland Florida Resort is currently open for guests with "enhanced health and safety precautions." As of this writing, the resort is operating at reduced capacity.

A quick fun fact about this upcoming theme park: It is not the series' first foray into such an attraction. In 2011, Peppa Pig World opened in the United Kingdom. This decade-old forerunner has nine rides including George's Dinosaur Adventure and Grampy Rabbit's Sailing Club. That year also saw the release of the Peppa Pig: Theme Park Fun video game.

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New Pokemon Snap Trailer Showcases Gameplay At Pokemon Direct

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 02:18

A New Pokemon Snap trailer was shown during the Pokemon Direct presentation on February 26. During the presentation, we saw a number of different environments and features, with a good look at what to expect from the moment-to-moment gameplay.

Playing a melody for certain Pokemon can make them happier, giving you the chance to take the perfect shot, and you can also use special orbs to make Pokemon glow. Once you're done, you can share photos with the professor and get a rating based on the rarity of the moment. If you want, you can even use stickers and frames to edit the photos before sharing them online. If your photo becomes popular, it can be featured in the game as well, getting extra attention from other players.

New Pokemon Snap takes place in the Lental region, and it will feature legendary Pokemon as well as some classic monsters you've seen in the series since the beginning. It's the only game that lets you take a picture of Blastoise relaxing on the beach.

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Pokemon Legends: Arceus Coming To Nintendo Switch In 2022

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 02:17

The Pokemon Company revealed Pokemon Legends: Arceus as the big highlight of its latest Pokemon Presents presentation, and the prequel game takes play in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl's Sinnoh region. It also appears to be a big departure from its predecessors in structure, set in a time when there was no such thing as a Pokemon trainer.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus features some of the classic characters from previous games, including Cyndaquil, Rowlet, and Oshawott. The environments appear to be more tranquil and quiet than the other games, but it's unclear if it's going to be using the same format as traditional Pokemon games. Your goal is to make Sinnoh's first Pokedex, so it could be a little more mysterious than other Pokemon games, too.

The game takes place in the "Sinnoh of old," with Pokemon living wildly and a harsher environment from the games set in more modern times. The Mythical Pokemon Arceus is, naturally, at the center of the game's story. You will be able to both catch and battle with Pokemon using a traditional move-based style; however, there will also be new "action and RPG elements" according to the official site. It appears there won't be a Pokemon League and possibly not other trainers, either, due to the time in which it takes place.

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Pokemon Diamond And Pearl Remakes Announced For Switch

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 02:17

During today's Pokemon Presents video event, The Pokemon Company announced remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl for Nintendo Switch. Dubbed Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the upcoming Switch games are "faithful remakes" of the original DS games, which were first released on DS back in 2007.

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are being developed by Ilca, which also worked on Pokemon Home.


Stonefly Is An Intriguingly Difficult Game To Define

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 02:00

Following 2019's Creature in the Well, a dungeon crawler that utilizes pinball mechanics to inform its hack-'n-slash combat, developer Flight School Studio is now making Stonefly. If I had to come up with an elevator pitch for the upcoming game, it would be Studio Ghibli's The Secret World of Arrietty meets Neon Genesis Evangelion.

In Stonefly, you play as Annika Stonefly, a girl who lives on a planet where the human-like people are incredibly small. To survive and overcome the much larger insects that also live on the planet, folks pilot mechs.

"There's a combination of inspiration for the mech designs--a lot of them are [styled after] bugs, but then they have the giant robot anime look too, Evangelion and Gundam are mixed in there for sure," Flight School Studio creative director Adam Volker said.

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PS5 Will Reportedly Allow Internal Storage Expansion This Summer

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 01:36

The PlayStation 5's currently unused internal storage expansion slot will reportedly be enabled this summer. Its use will allow players to add additional space to a console that quickly fills up due to massive game sizes and updates.

According to Bloomberg, a firmware update will enable use of the M.2 SSD expansion slot by allowing the internal fans to run at a higher speed. Overheating concerns were a factor in not enabling the slot at launch, and you cannot play or store PS5 games on an external drive. These more-traditional external drives can be used for storing and playing PS4 games, but users (including me) have seen issues with the console hard-crashing with the drives plugged in.

You'll want to wait until Sony releases a list of officially approved NVMe SSD units before you make a purchase, as they're still quite expensive, and not every model will work. They need to be able to run as quickly as the permanent drive installed in the system, which is how the PS5 is able to load games so quickly, and they also need to physically fit in the slot. The Xbox Series X|S uses a similar drive, but it also comes with a proprietary expansion slot that was enabled on launch day.

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PS Plus Free Games For March 2021 Include Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 00:51

PlayStation has revealed next month's freebies for PlayStation Plus subscribers. A whopping four games are featured in March 2021's PS Plus lineup: Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Remnant: From the Ashes, Maquette, and Farpoint. All of the new freebies will be available to claim starting March 2. Subscribers can also claim one of February's freebies, Destruction AllStars, on PS5 throughout March.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake will be playable on PS4 and PS5 thanks to backwards compatibility. However, the PS Plus version of the excellent 2020 action-RPG won't be eligible for a free upgrade to the newly announced PS5 version. You'll have to purchase it to upgrade to Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Intergrade. If you already know you're going to want to play it on PS5, Amazon is currently selling FF7 Remake for $30. It was one of our favorite games of 2020 and earned a rare 10/10 in our Final Fantasy 7 Remake review.

Published by Annapurna Interactive, Maquette launches on March 2 and will be free for subscribers only on PS5. The first-person puzzle game is set in a recursive simulation where everything appears to be both small and large. Players manipulate objects in the world to solve puzzles.

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Pokemon Direct: Start Time, How To Watch 25th Anniversary Stream

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 00:48

The Pokemon franchise is turning 25 this year, and that's cause for celebration. One of the biggest events happening is a Pokemon Presents stream today--colloquially called a Pokemon Direct--and you can watch it right here. Here's how to watch it and what we know.

Pokemon Presents will begin today at 7 AM PT / 10 AM ET, which is very soon. The stream is being held on the official Pokemon YouTube channel, and we've embedded it below, as well.

So, what will the stream entail? The Pokemon Company hasn't shared much in the way of specifics, but it did say there would be "exciting news to share that you won't want to miss." That could be anything from a new game to an update or merchandise. During the presentation from last summer, we learned about New Pokemon Snap. We also know about a MOBA game called Pokemon Unite, so it's possible we could see either one of those, and there has been some speculation about something related to Diamond or Pearl.

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Mortal Kombat Trailer Is The Most-Watched Red-Band Promo Of All Time

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 00:44

The recent red-band trailer for the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie has broken records. The promo was viewed more than 166 million times in its first week, making it the most-watched red-band trailer of all time.

As reported by Deadline, within four days, the Mortal Kombat trailer had overtaken the Logan and Deadpool 2 redband trailers, the previous record holders. In addition, the trailer trended in 52 YouTube markets and 28 Twitter markets.

Mortal Kombat will be released in theaters and hit HBO Max on April 16, where it will stay for a month before moving to regular on demand platforms. The movie is directed by Simon McQuoid and stars Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero, Josh Lawson as Kano, Sisi Stringer as Mileena, Max Huang as Kung Lao, Lewis Tan as Cole Young, and Chin Han as Shang Tsung. Check out GameSpot's Mortal Kombat trailer breakdown here.

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Studio Ghibli's Anime Classic Spirited Away Is Becoming A Stage Play

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 23:44

Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning 2001 anime film Spirited Away is being adapted for the stage. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a theatrical version of the Studio Ghibli classic will premiere in Tokyo in February 2022.

The stage adaption of Spirited Away will be written and directed by theatre veteran John Caird, with the full cooperation of Studio Ghibli. Caird was the original director of the hugely successful Les Misérables in the '80s, and his extensive credits include many years working for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in the UK.

The movie follows the adventures of a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro as she enters as a strange and sometimes scary fantasy world heavily influenced by Japanese folklore. In a statement, Miyazaki's producing partner Toshio Suzuki said, "We, Hayao and I, both liked John's vision--he is a person we can trust. I am looking forward to seeing Chihiro grow on stage under his direction."

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Newegg Reveals Its Lottery System to Combat Bots And Scalpers

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 23:37

Scalpers utilizing armies of bots to instantly purchase high-demand hardware have become a scourge online, and e-retailer Newegg is attempting to solve that problem by rolling out a lottery system.

Called Newegg Shuffle, the feature randomly chooses consumers who have an account to pick an item that they'd like to purchase on the website. If successfully chosen, the customer will then be notified by email and they'll have a three-hour window to complete the purchase.

"Recent industry-wide scarcity of certain products illuminated the need for Newegg to take a more aggressive stance to weed out bots and place everyone on equal footing," said Newegg's chief technology officer Montaque Hou in a statement. "Our Newegg Shuffle is an important step forward in getting newly released, in-demand products into the hands of gamers and other end users in the most equitable way possible."

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Final Fantasy VII Remake's Amazing Soundtrack Is Now On Spotify And Apple Music

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 22:45

Final Fantasy VII Remake's excellent soundtrack has been released on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, and several other music subscription services, and it's a massive number of tracks to listen to.

At over eight hours in length, the 156-track compilation which consists primarily of arrangements from longtime Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu and new tracks by Masashi Hamauzu and Mitsuto Suzuki, should keep your ears occupied for a while.

It has been a big week for Final Fantasy VII so far. Square Enix revealed that the PS4 remake of the classic RPG series will soon be getting a PS5 upgrade called Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade that adds several next-gen features as well as a new episode of content focused on Yuffie Kisaragi.

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WandaVision Episode 8: 22 Easter Eggs, References, And Clues From "Previously On"

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 21:11

Unfortunately, there were no musical numbers this week in WandaVision, but we did get a whole lot of information about what's actually been going on in Westview. Not only did we get a firsthand look at Wanda's history--including her oft talked about but never before seen origin story back in Sokovia--we also got some actual insights into what Agatha Harkness has been doing as she's been pulling "every evil string."

Of course, there are still plenty of questions to consider as well--specifically about SWORD's director Hayward who has been spinning some interesting lies all his own, the fate of Vision when (and if) the HEX ever does come down, and the future of Wanda's kids who may or may not be in the same precarious boat as their "dad." There's also the issue of Wanda's position in the MCU at large, the nature of her powers, and what they could mean for her moving forward.

With only one episode of the show remaining, let's take a look at some of the biggest Easter Eggs, references, call-backs, and tiny details you should note this week.

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Monster Hunter Rise Fine-Tunes Many Of The Series' Familiar Elements

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 19:01

For all of the innovative features it introduces to the series, Monster Hunter Rise is still very much a traditional Monster Hunter game at its core. Your overarching goal is to embark on quests, then use the various materials you've gathered from those missions to forge better pieces of equipment for your hunter. It's a familiar and compelling gameplay loop, but Rise also fine-tunes the experience in some helpful ways, which Capcom recently demonstrated to us in a video presentation.

Our look at the game took us on a guided tour of Kamura Village, Monster Hunter Rise's primary hub area. Like many other aspects of the game, Kamura has a distinctly Japanese flair. The village is lined with cherry blossom trees, merchant stalls, and thatched buildings, while cat-like Felynes scurry about carrying oversized bundles on their backs.

You'll spend much of your downtime between hunts in Kamura, making use of the village's various vendors and other amenities to prepare for quests, purchase supplies, craft new gear, manage your items, and advance the story. Monster Hunter veterans will be immediately familiar with this routine, but Rise makes things a bit more manageable by introducing some welcome refinements.

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Yakuza Dev Would Like Historical Spin-Offs Localized, But It's Complicated

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 17:48

The Yakuza series of games is notorious for slow localizations, with Western releases often coming years after the game debuted in Japan. Some of Yakuza's spinoffs--most notably the historical games that take Yakuza's main cast back to the 17th and 19th centuries--have never been localized, though at least someone at Sega is thinking about it, Kotaku reports.

After years of silence on the topic of localising Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan! and Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin!, Yakuza director Daisuke Sato has finally broached the topic in an interview with a German gaming site.

"Personally, I would like for [Kenzan and Ishin] to be localized and enjoyed by our Western fans," Sato said. "We were prioritizing regaining our ground with the series in the West from Yakuza 0, so time just flew by without an ideal time to release these games. In my opinion, the action is one of the best in the series, so I’d like to localize them if we get the chance."

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Halo Infinite's Open World Honors The Old While Embracing Brand-New Ideas

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 13:17

343 Industries has released an interview-focused blog post for Halo Infinite, which looks at Zeta Halo, the open-world setting of the upcoming game. Halo Infinite campaign art lead Justin Dinges said that one of the largest challenges of creating the space was honoring the nostalgic feel of Halo, while creating something that feels brand-new.

"With Halo Infinite, we wanted to take this new adventure back to its roots and create a visually pleasing experience that doesn't overwhelm with unnecessary complexity where readability and clear artistic composition prevail," Dinges said. "This is our artistic interpretation of a beautiful world to exist within--rather than something that is purely grounded in photo realism. Both goals have been a true challenge to balance, especially against the expectations of what it means to be a 'next-gen' title."

Part of honoring the appeal of Halo's roots comes from Zeta Halo's layout. As an open world, Zeta Halo invokes the same sensation of Halo: Combat Evolved's opening hours when you could approach problems in different ways depending on what weapons you have, vehicles you're driving, or pathways you uncover.

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Hulu Announces Mike Tyson Biopic Series Iron Mike, Tyson Punches Back

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 12:31

Hulu is working with the team behind 2017's I, Tonya to examine the life of another infamous sports figure. This time, the team is taking on the baddest boxer to ever step into the ring, and the only one to get an iconic NES game, Mike Tyson, in Hulu's Iron Mike.

Iron Mike will be an eight-episode limited series that Hulu says will explore "the wild, tragic and controversial life and career behind one of the most polarizing figures in sports culture--heavyweight champion Mike Tyson."

Tyson himself is not involved with the show and is, in fact, not happy about the announcement. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Tyson had no kind words for the production.

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Bridgerton And Winx Saga Top Neilsen's Latest Streaming Ratings

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 11:11

Did you know Netflix's Bridgerton is a popular show? If not, you may have been living on another planet for the last few months. Nielsen released its latest streaming ratings this week, for the week of January 25 to January 31, and guess who's on top?

Indeed, Bridgerton is once again the single most popular streaming program, though it finally dipped below one billion minutes streamed. Fate: The Winx Saga, a live-action adaptation of the Nickelodeon Winx Club series, comes in second. The math here can be deceptive; people streamed 936 million minutes of Bridgerton, and 918 million minutes of Fate: The Winx Saga. The thing to remember is that Bridgerton has been out for two full months, having released on December 25, 2020. Netflix's dump-and-binge method of show releases often means that shows come and go quickly, but Bridgerton is staying strong. Bridgerton viewers between January 4 and January 10 streamed 1.6 billion minutes of the show. For comparison, Cobra Kai, which is still ranked third, dropped from 2.1 billion minutes for the week of January 4 to 568 million for the week of January 25. That's still nothing to sneeze at, but it demonstrates how well Bridgerton is doing.

Netflix makes up all of the top ten streams but for one. Marvel Studios' WandaVision on Disney+ ranked in at #5. But again, those numbers don't tell the whole story. WandaVision only had four episodes out at the time (we didn't even know yet who it had been All Along!), and Disney is releasing the show week by week rather than all at once. Disney+ is growing quickly, but also has far fewer subscribers when compared to Netflix. That all goes to suggest that a huge portion of Disney Plus's 94 million subscribers are tuning in week to week to get the numbers up as high as they are with so few episodes and a traditional weekly release schedule.

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Overwatch 2: Jeff Kaplan On Expanding Story, Refining Gameplay, And Beards

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 10:47

Despite being released in 2016, Overwatch remains an incredibly popular multiplayer experience, with a healthy community of players returning day after day for online skirmishes. Naturally, longtime players are eager to play the next entry in the franchise, which was originally announced in 2019. Many fans expected 2021 would be the year a new chapter in the Overwatch saga would unfold, but that is not the case.

The community became crestfallen in the immediate aftermath of this news. However, at BlizzCon 2021, the Overwatch 2 team showed off more of the game than we'd ever seen, and the scope of the effort became more apparent. As well as making drastic changes to the player-versus-player experience, Blizzard is creating a large-scale player-versus-environment suite complete with story missions and over a hundred repeatable missions that can be played with friends, and will allow characters to be developed in an RPG-like fashion. It looks to be much bigger than most imagined.

Following the reveal, we spoke to game director Jeff Kaplan about what the team showed at BlizzCon, balancing their vision with the demands of the community, the challenge of keeping the first Overwatch fresh, and its narrative ambitions for Overwatch 2.

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