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The PlayStation 4 is easily Sony’s most profitable home console to date, so where does the Japanese giant go after winning the 8th generation of gaming? The obvious path to continued success would be to just stick to their strengths, which in Sony’s case is the production of high quality, story-driven single player exclusives that court a more mature audience. But is that all that PlayStation can exceed at, or is there still room for innovation and the potential to reach an even broader audience with their next console? Here are the top 5 things we want to see from the PlayStation 5:


1. PROMOTE MORE ALL AGES CONTENT

Sony has undoubtedly taken notice of the massive success that the Nintendo Switch is currently enjoying, and there are at least two lessons that can be learned from this. The first lesson is that all ages content is a viable path to profitability. While it is unlikely that any platform holder will achieve what Nintendo has in the family-friendly video game market, Sony should not cede this territory completely to Mario and his posse of cute and cuddly mascots. 


Nothing quite matches the pure endearment and nostalgia that gamers feel towards Nintendo’s stable of characters, but many forget just how deep Sony’s bench of kid-friendly properties really is. Ape Escape, PaRappa the Rapper, MediEvil, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, Little Big Planet, LocoRoco, and Patapon are just a few of the more whimsical franchises that could make a big comeback on the PlayStation 5. While some of these titles, such as Jak or Ratchet, are not not quite as innocent as Pikachu or Kirby, all of them fall under the general umbrella of being family-friendly. Sony could easily leverage the cross generational potential of these titles by appealing to both kids and their nostalgic parents. 


The biggest hurdle here isn’t making the games, but the company’s commitment to marketing them properly. Sony has in fact released several family-friendly first party titles on the PS4, such as Concrete Genie, the MediEvil Remake, Everybody’s Golf, Dreams, and Astro Bot Rescue Mission. It has been shown time and again that while Sony is willing to produce these games, they never seem to allocate much of their marketing dollars to any of these titles, which in turn forces almost all of them to fly under the radar. It may be true that these games will never reach the sales heights of God of War or The Last of Us, but Sony must have noticed that the recent Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy, which was a timed exclusive on PlayStation 4 and which features a character that is strongly associated with the PlayStation brand, has gone on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide. Clearly, the market is there.


2. PORTABLE DEVICES AND REMOTE PLAY

The second lesson that Sony can learn from the success of the Nintendo Switch is that people like to take their home console games on the go and are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a device that allows them to do so. To be clear, Sony is no stranger to the portable gaming space, as they have released two handheld consoles, the PlayStation Portable and the PlayStation Vita. The Vita in particular shares many similarities with the Switch, suchas the ability to play console-quality video games outdoors as well as the ability to play on a home TV, via PlayStation TV. While these features are not quite as refined as those on the Switch, the Vita was far more ahead of its time than many realize. Unfortunately, the device was a financial flop for Sony, mostly as a result of its overpriced and proprietary memory cards and the company’s inability to effectively market the product. 


It is unlikely that Sony would attempt another handheld console with its own dedicated library of games, but a companion device built around remote play on the PlayStation 5 would be a fantastic option for those gamers who enjoy the versatility of the Switch, but who also prefer sort of games that are available on PlayStation. Remote play is already a feature that is available on the PlayStation 4, but the experience is unreliable to say the least. It is unclear which devices are best suited for this feature, and even those that work require gamers to take a DualShock 4 with them on the go. Couple this with unreliable wifi connections in public spaces, and the ability to jump into a game like Horizon Zero Dawn for fifteen minutes while on your break at work is fantasy for all but a very select few. Even for those who can connect, devices like smartphones or tablets, which are not build specifically with gaming in mind, are poor substitutes for something like the Nintendo Switch.
Rather than leaving the hardware side of remote play to the whims of third party manufacturers, I think the best option for Sony is to release their own dedicated handheld companion device for the PlayStation 5. Like the Switch, and specifically the Switch Lite, the screen and controls should be built into the device itself as a single unit to eliminate the need for any additional hardware. If at all possible, the device should have the ability to log into one account on the console remotely while allowing family members logged into a different account at home to use the console uninterrupted. 

While Sony has not made any public statements regarding plans to produce such a device, there are signs that they may already be considering something along these lines. Months ago, a patent filed by Sony for a Switch-like device leaked online and was met with widespread excitement from fans, hopefully signaling to Sony that commercial interest for a dedicated handheld device is there. Combine this with Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai, a company created with the specific purpose of developing streaming and remote play technology for video games, and Sony may very well be gearing up for some kind of third foray into the portable gaming market.


3. INNOVATIVE FEATURES THAT MATTER

Few consoles emerge from a generation without at least some gimmicky features or peripherals to their name, and the PlayStation brand is no exception. These experiments occasionally yield true consumer-pleasing features, such as the dual thumb-sticks on the original analog PlayStation controller (later refined to become the DualShock controller) or the PSone’s portable LCD screen, but more often than not end up as little more than cute but forgettable novelties, as is the case for the PocketStation, EyeToy, and many others. This is due in large part to the fact that the way in which players interact with their games has been iterated upon for decades and has arrived at a place in which more refinement just doesn’t seem necessary. The graphics have gotten better, the AI has gotten smarter, and quality of life features have improved, but the core of what it means to play a game is roughly the same now as it was at the launch of the NES, which renders many “new and unique” features tedious or annoying, both to players and to developers.


For the past few months, Sony Interactive Entertainment and PlayStation 5 lead architect Mark Cerny have been touting the new DualSense controller and its advanced haptic feedback technology as a major leap forward in player immersion, claiming that gamers will feel resistance in the trigger buttons when pulling back a bow, or that gamers will feel a noticeable difference when driving on a smooth surface rather than a muddy one. While this technology sounds promising, the most important factor here is whether or not developers will take advantage of these features. In recent memory, Sony has invested in PlayStation Move controllers, a finger track pad on the back of the PlayStation Vita, and both a touch pad and light bar on the DualShock 4. With the exception of the Move controllers, which have found new relevance with PlayStation VR, all of these features have gone underutilized by most developers (the touch pad is little more than a large rectangle-shaped button in the middle of the controller), which begs the question: what is the point of investing in these kinds of features?


None of this is to say that these features are inherently bad, or that Sony should be discouraged from pursuing them. To the contrary, the DualSense controller sounds quite interesting and has the potential to increase player immersion exactly as Mark Cerny has described. We as players are more than open to new and innovative features that can help create previously unknown gaming experiences, but the features have to actually accomplish that, not merely show potential in the abstract. The reality is that most developers design games for multiple platforms, and they generally cannot commit the time or dollars necessary to fully utilize the unique features of a single platform. This means that it will be up to Sony’s first party studios to realize the potential of the DualSense controller and any other unique features that the PS5 may have. It’s easy to see how the feel of the changing texture of the road can be used in the next Gran Turismo game, or how the tension of pulling back a bow can be used in something like The Last of Us. But matters are further complicated when we consider the inevitability of more Sony-produced games going to PC or other platforms, as we are now seeing with Horizon Zero Dawn, Death Stranding, and future installments of MLB The Show. How long will Sony’s first party studios really spend capitalizing on unique features once the PlayStation ecosystem expands to PC and beyond? Only time will tell. 


4. SEPARATE PLATINUM TROPHIES FROM MULTIPLAYER MODES

Long time gamers will know that there is a difference between beating a game and seeing everything that it has to offer. Most games offer much more content outside of the main campaign, including side quests, collectibles, and difficult enemies that can only be defeated after a player spends hours upon hours honing their skills. Trophy hunting is not for everyone, nor should it be, but there is something innately satisfying about extracting every bit of value from a particular gaming experience. Within the PlayStation ecosystem, a “platinum trophy” is the trophy that players earn only after every other trophy for that game has been unlocked. Earlier in this article, we went over how most of Sony’s first party games tend to be very story-driven single player titles. But many of these titles also feature additional multiplayer modes, which means that the game will include trophies tied to the multiplayer. As previously stated, a platinum trophy cannot be earned unless all of the trophies for that game are unlocked, which presents a whole host of problems for players.  


The most frustrating byproduct of tying trophies to multiplayer modes is that the ability to earn the platinum trophy for a game becomes entirely dependent on the existence of an online community which will inevitably dwindle over time. This puts a virtual timer on a given game, and makes unlocking platinum trophies near impossible for people who revisit these games, or visit them for the first time, years after their release. This is bad enough for online-only games like Warhawk, but at least in that case people went into the experience knowing that the game is entirely dependent on multiplayer. The same cannot not be said for The Last of Us, which is a game known primarily for its world, story, and characters, and yet requires the player to participate in approximately one hundred and sixty online matches to earn the platinum trophy. In practice this forces primarily single player gamers to sign up for PlayStation Plus just to have access to the necessary multiplayer matches. Not only is this frustrating for people who don’t like multiplayer, but they must now pay extra money just to have the ability to potentially unlock the platinum trophy for a game that is known almost entirely for its single player campaign. 
The simplest solution would be for Sony to mandate that all games with both a single player and multiplayer mode, whether they are from PlayStation Studios or third party, must separate the multiplayer trophies from single player ones. It’s actually not uncommon for a single game to have different sets of trophies, as downloadable content usually comes with its own trophies rather than adding to the trophy list of the base game. Multiplayer games could simply ship with this separation in place from the start, and maybe even include a second platinum for the multiplayer mode alone. This kind of feature may actually be coming, as Sony has already spoken about how consumers will have the option to download only single player or only multiplayer content of a particular title onto their console if they so choose. This is likely a memory-saving feature to allow for more space on the console’s solid state drive, but it does  indicate that Sony is aware of the difference in priority between single player gamers and multiplayer gamers. Hopefully that awareness will extend to the trophy system as well. 

5. LEGACY   

With digital game purchases on the rise, the further refinement of streaming technology, and even platform holders like Sony and Microsoft putting their first party titles on PC, the next generation of video game consoles may in fact be the last. While Sony is still likely to release a product called the PlayStation 6 sometime within the next ten years, the PlayStation 5 may be the company’s last traditional console, and as such, it should place a special emphasis on the legacy of the brand. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, such as through the revival of long dormant franchises or through legacy backwards compatibility. There are many gamers who grew up on the PlayStation 1 and 2, and who perhaps fell out of gaming during the PlayStation 3 and 4 era, that are now adults with young children of their own with whom they want to share their childhood games. The launch of the PlayStation 5 would be the perfect time to capitalize on this market, as older millennial gamers with misty-eyed memories of the good old days are primed and ready for a shot of nostalgia to the heart.   

Focusing on the past should not be done at the expense of creating new franchises, but there is no denying that the recent string of remakes of popular PlayStation 1 and 2 games is a strong indicator of what the audience wants. People seem to really love the Final Fantasy VII Remake, so why not bring back the Legend of Dragoon or Wild Arms? Everyone is hyped for the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remakes, so why not bring back Cool Boarders or Jet Moto? Call of Duty Warzone seems to be a hit, so why not bring back SOCOM U.S. Navy Seals? Tetris 99 came out of nowhere and people loved it, so how about a new Lumines or Fantavision game packed in free with every PS5? Or what about rebooting long dead, but cult classic franchises like The Getaway or Primal? 


Even if Sony isn’t willing to spend money on reviving some significant number of their old franchises, giving players the option of backwards compatibility would go a long way. It’s already been revealed that PS4 games will work on the PS5, but the mostly credible insider known as HipHopGamer has gone on record saying that the PS5 will feature full, enhanced backwards compatibility with all legacy consoles as well. In addition to this, we did see a few patents leak online a year or so ago that would indicate that Sony was seriously pursuing legacy content on the PS5. Will this be done through remasters? By putting legacy content on PlayStation Now? By allowing for some or all PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 discs to run on the PS5 console directly? We’ll just have to wait and see. The possibilities really are endless for Sony to capitalize on their legacy catalog, and there has never been a better time to get the gang back together again. 


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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By: Keri Engel

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, families are finding themselves stuck at home and adopting new routines. As families juggle working from home and remote learning, many are struggling to keep children entertained and mentally challenged. While schools have been great at adapting on the fly it cannot be ignored that there are high school seniors who need to keep their brains active for college and kindergarteners who should be in school learning reading fluency. Through Continuity of Learning plans, it is the job of educators and parents to fill in these gaps in engaging ways and this is where digital games can help.

This is where the guide Learning with Digital Games: A Guide for Educators and Parents During the Covid-19 Crisis, written by myself and Ryan Schaaf, will be valuable.

The guide is broken up into three main categories: primary, intermediate, and secondary to ensure that the needs of all learners are met. Games are tagged based on subjects, skills, and how accessible the game is to a child. Parents can utilize the labels supported play, guided play, and independent play to plan out how and when to introduce their learner to the game.

Educators and parents see that learners are struggling with the motivation to complete classwork. It is difficult to remain dedicated to school work when surrounded by the comforts of home and the accessibility of distraction. One of the most prevalent distractions for children are video games and why shouldn’t they be? They’re colorful, they’re engaging, they provide challenges and tell stories. If learners can sink their teeth into something that is engaging and enriching then everyone wins.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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What better way to start a 2-week self-quarantine than with a bit of nostalgia? Growing up I was a HUGE fan of River City Ransom for the NES. I’ve missed a few American localizations of other titles in the series, but River City Girls was one that I really didn’t want to pass by.

Series mainstays, Kunio and Ricky (Alex and Jack in US titles), have been kidnapped and this time it’s up to their girlfriends, Misako and Kyoko, to rescue them. It’s a classic beat’em up with RPG elements such as purchasable items, tons of awesome unlockable moves, and leveling. RCG also has a killer soundtrack and plenty of easter eggs and nods to other old games in the genre tossed in for good measure.

I often found myself grinning at the girls’ antics as they pummel their way through several districts of River City in hopes of finding clues about what happened to their beloved boys. Along the way, they meet all sorts of quirky characters, bosses, and shop keepers. Misako and Kyoko both play a bit differently but are balanced, so playing one or the other purely comes down to preference.

The only downside of the game is the ending. It’s a bit unsatisfying and confusing to anyone who’s not SUPER into the series as a whole (including games not brought over to the US, something that’s only discovered by finding and defeating the game’s secret boss.) What IS nice is that you can play a New Game+, adding Kunio and Riki as playable characters.

If you’re a fan of old-school beat’em ups, River City Girls is certainly worth your attention. It looks great, plays great, and has plenty of nostalgia to keep you coming back for more.

Can Kid’s Play This Game?

The game is rated E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes, and Mild Blood. Use your best judgment here when it comes to the kids. The core of the game is centered around violence, though the blood only comes into play with some of the animated character portraits after a boss has been beaten to a pulp. The language is very mild, and the suggestive themes are pretty non-existent except for one or two obscure lines of dialogue. 

The Conclusion

River City Girls is available digitally from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store, Xbox Live, Steam, GOG, and Humble Bundle for $29.99.

This review was written by Rob Kalajian, the founder of A Pawn’s Perspective.

A Steam key for River City Girls was provided free for review by WayForward

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Written by Mike Melkonian of CardboardConsole.com

Concrete Genie is currently available for PlayStation 4 and is playable on PSVR.

In a gaming landscape filled with epic AAA blockbusters, it’s refreshing to see a smaller, experimental game come out of Sony’s Worldwide Studios. Players take on the role of Ash, a young artist living in the now deserted town of Denska, and must use the power of his imagination, as well as a magic paint brush, to restore his hometown to its former glory.

Developed by the small team at PixelOpus, Concrete Genie follows in the tradition of games like Flower and Journey to create a unique and artistic experience that, while not challenging in the way a satisfying game typically should be, provides the player with a solid six hours of eye candy, therapeutic play, and deeply thematic moments of self reflection.

Gameplay

Concrete Genie combines elements from various genres to create a one of a kind single player campaign, but is at its core an environmental puzzle game. Players must paint “genies” (which can be customized to the players liking) on the walls of Denska, and use their unique properties to progress past various obstacles (for example, fire genies can burn down wooden crates blocking Ash’s way, electric genies can power generators needed to operate machines, etc).

There is also quite a bit of platforming in the game, and the animations of Ash scaling the various walls and environments of Denska look strikingly similar to Nathan Drake’s animations in the Uncharted series, to the point where I think PixelOpus is intentionally trolling their fellow Sony studio, Naughty Dog. The game also provides quite the scavenger hunt for all of the missing pages in Ash’s sketch book, and this collectathon will keep players engaged long after the main story is over.

Critiques

Even though this is a game aimed a younger audience, the developers could have provided a *little* more challenge. Players who have ANY experience with games will find Concrete Genie a breeze to get through, and while I understand this may have been an intentional choice, some more difficult side/optional content would have been appreciated.

Is it okay for kids? Absolutely! I think anyone between the ages of 6 and 12 will likely enjoy this game, and I strongly suggest that people play Concrete Genie as a family activity. There are so many themes for a kid to relate to, including some relatively heavy subject matters such as divorce and parental fighting, that it may be helpful for parents to play along and explain the meaning of certain interactions to their kids when it’s needed.

Conclusion

While the simplistic gameplay holds it back a bit, there is no denying the sheer amount of heart that went into crafting this product. It is a truly beautiful game, and at an affordable price, I would say Concrete Genie is a must buy for any PS4 owners with kids, and even those without.



What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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By: James Pisano

So it finally happened.  Microsoft announced their next console during the Xbox E3 2019 Media Briefing.  For now, however, we only know it as Project Scarlett.  Phil Spencer did let us know what we can expect from the upcoming Xbox hardware on a technical level though.

Under the Hood

It’ll have an AMD chipset, with their new Navi graphics architecture and a Zen 2 CPU.  They promised to reduce or eliminate(?) load times, and it will contain a new generation of solid state hard drive, also acting as virtual ram, so this actually is possible.  Microsoft says will lead to a 40x improvement in load times over previous consoles, but that remains to be seen.

Overall, they said Project Scarlett would perform 4x faster than their most powerful current console, the Xbox One X.  They said we would see resolutions and framerates we have never seen before on consoles.

8k resolution, 120 frames per second were quoted, and those are certainly the best we’ve seen in the console market to date.  And we got a quick mention that it will be backwards compatibile across all current xbox consoles.

What Does it Mean Though?

It’s a lot of tech speak, and enough to make most parents’ heads spin. That’s why we’re here to explain what this all means to you. (We also have a list of tech definitions here.)

With a more powerful graphics chip and processor will allow the console to display the beautiful visuals that were promised.  That said, most of our current televisions will look beautiful. But, it sounds like this new console will be and to display resolutions up to 8k. That would be stunning… but impossible on our current televisions. As of the time of this writing, the cheapest 8k television is approximately $4,000. That price will almost certainly come way down by the time the console releases however.  

The solid state hard drive is going to be used to facilitate shorter load times which more engagement, and happier players.

They also shared that Project Scarlett would have total backwards compatability. That means that all the Xbox games you’ve bought so far will not be obsolete as they will play on the new console.

We’re excited for Project Scarlett, and we think you should be too.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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By: Jeremy Davis

Let’s just be up front.  Mega Man 11 is one of the most anticipated platforming games of this decade.  While the blue bomber has certainly fallen from the spotlight he held in the 90s his fan base has never stopped their cry for a revival of the franchise. They have been miserable since the untimely cancellation of Mega Man Universe and Mega Man Legends 3 back in 2011.  There have of course been a plethora of fan-made games to fill the void, Mega Man x Street Fighter (2012) and Mega Man Unlimited (2013) being personal favorites. But, the last official, Capcom-made, game in the franchise was Mega Man 10 in 2010.  

It’s been a long wait. So the question is, is does Mega Man 11 live up to its legacy? This hardcore Mega Man fan might be horribly biased, but for me, the answer is a resounding YES!

I know some of you are embittered fans still riding the disappointment of Mighty No 9. Let me assure them that I have played that too, and Mega Man 11 rights all of that game’s wrongs. True to form; Mega Man 11 is not a thinking man’s video game. Some people are disappointed by the lack of a deep and meaningful story, but I appreciate that Capcom kept it simple and stuck with the established formula. One of Mighty Number 9’s biggest downfalls was its overly self-important plotline.  Mega Man 11 gets you straight into the action with a plot line depth akin to Mega Man 7. Meaning that it is there, but only enough to keep the game moving forward. The game puts all its energy into what made Mega Man famous to begin with, tight controls, clever platforming, and of course the “run, jump, shoot” trifecta.

So with an established return to its classic form, what actually makes Mega Man 11 special? Let’s break it down into a couple questions:

Is Mega Man 11 challenging?  


Absolutely!  Not even taking Superhero mode account, Normal mode, is just great.  By no means is it a cake walk, and those who have played Mega Man 1, 2, and 3 or 9 and 10, “the traditionally hard games”,  will find that the challenges offered here are a new kind of gauntlet. Each level offers new gimmicks never seen before ranging from water that turns into acid baths. to flaming walls of fire that chase you through complex platforming sections. Each level has at least one sub-boss, sometimes several, and 11 has some of the longest levels seen in the classic Mega Man franchise.

If Mega Man 11 is so challenging is it accessible to newcomers and kids? 


It sure is!  For the first time ever Mega Man has a special newcomer mode, let’s call it easy mode. It takes the things that new gamers frequently struggle within Mega Man and puts a twist on them that not only alleviates the pain point but also balances it in a way that doesn’t feel awkward.  Most importantly spikes and pits are no longer instant kills. Spikes just deliver damage and falling in pits summons Beat, the robotic bird, to pick you up and save you. Even as a legacy hardcore gamer, I’ve found it to be kind of fun to play on newcomer mode just to speed run and see how fast I go.

Does Mega Man 11’s new look and feel fit?  

I struggled with this when the game was first announced and we saw the first screenshots.  However, after playing just a few minutes of even the demo I can promise that you will feel right at home as a returning player, and old school and new gamers will both be pleased with the beautiful backgrounds and creative, colorful, and clever stage designs.

 

What’s up with that new Gear System?  

I have mixed feelings here, mostly because I am a bit of a purist.  I have a lot of positive things to say. The ability to slow down what’s going on around you and the ability to crank up your power is a pretty sweet power.  I also appreciate that I almost never felt forced to use the abilities, and I even considered unmapping the buttons that trigger the abilities so I could repurpose them for one button sliding and weapon cycling.  My only real criticism is there are one or two places where you all but must use speed gear. For players who want to try and get through the game without it this its a little bit of a downer. Additionally, I don’t really see how the mechanics will fit in going forward. I hope if/when a Mega Man 12 comes to fruition it doesn’t get shoehorned in just to include it.

Mega Man 11 is just what we needed to reinvigorate the franchise.  It has a slew of alternative play modes, and achievements to unlock. There is plenty of replay value for those who enjoy being in the 100% club.  The robot masters are clever and unlike the disaster that was Mega Man 8’s voice acting, the acting here feels on point, without being over the top or falling short or too campy.

All that said, I wouldn’t be being 100% honest without mentioning a few qualms, but I’ll be first to say some of these might be just me, and I don’t think the average player is going to care.

 

  • One issue with Mega Man games is a lack of female representation.  In the whole history of the classic series, the number of female characters has been limited to just a handful.  Mega Man 9 was “generous” by giving us just one: Splash Woman. I had really hoped this time around it would have had a better split, dare I even dream of an even split.  I personally feel that Tundra Man and Bounce Man especially would have been great opportunities to have had female designs, though honestly there is no reason why any or all of them couldn’t be gender-swapped.  A really inspiring option would have been to go the route Shovel Knight took and just let you pick for each character, but alas not this go round.
  • Music for Mega Man games is usually a bright and shining example of some of the best music in gaming, but this time around it falls a little flat.  It’s not that its in anyway bad, but nothing about the soundtrack really sticks out. If you are able to get ahold of the download code for the instrumental soundtrack variants, I would encourage it, as they are better, but not enough to write home about.
  • They did change the door transitions.  If you are a newcomer to the series you won’t even notice this. But, It was something I had really hoped that they changed back after I played the demo.  Many of you won’t know what that means, which is all the better. It means this complaint doesn’t really mean anything to you. 
  • While Rush Coil and Rush Jet make a return in this game, they really don’t serve much purpose.  This felt odd considering they gave Rush’s abilities their own button.  I would have liked there to be more applications for the classic tools.
  • Finally my most petty complaint…  Tundra Man is awesome, but why did they name him Tundra Man???  Sure his level is an icy landscape, but he is a figure skater. There is nothing about him related to “tundra” outside being ice-themed.   My head-canon is that his name is Axel Man, but I suppose it doesn’t have the same ring to it. I have similar feelings about Torch Man, but they are not as hyperbolic…

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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We’re sharing tips for saving money as a gaming family in our newest guide! We will help you choose a gaming console, where and how to buy games, and we’ll even talk about accessories.

First, we talked about games and how to save money buying them. Then, in part two, we talked about consoles. 

This time we talk about some of the specific hardware options you have.

Video

Table space is an issue when setting up multiple systems at home. Fortunately modern consoles and computers will work with any display with an HDMI port. In space constrained situations a monitor is a great alternative to a television. A small projector and blank wall also works for dark rooms.

Audio

Listening to someone playing games can be distracting. With several people in the same space noise quickly becomes an issue. During gaming sessions this means speakers get turned up and people talk louder. Fortunately, using headphones means speakers are unnecessary.

Windows PCs have separate headphone and microphone physical inputs. Some games have voice chat built-in or Steam has voice chat capabilities. Typically PC games default to “push to talk” mode, where a keyboard key must be held while talking.

Microsoft and PlayStation consoles both use headsets plugged into the controller. When connected the headphones can play game sounds and voice chat. A mix between game and voice is available in the console menus. With everyone wired for sound you are ready for “party chat”. Both the PlayStation and Xbox consoles offer group voice chat which works across games.

The Switch has a headphone jack on the console. Any headphones will work – no microphone required. Nintendo does not offer a system-wide voice chat service on the Switch. A smartphone app is required instead. You may want headphones with a mic however, as individual game developers can add voice chat to their games. Fortnite is one example of this.

Adding an inexpensive gaming headset to any device will cut down on noise. Even if the family isn’t playing the same game everyone can join party chat. It is rewarding to share in the moments of triumph or defeat as a group! And mobile phone headsets work with consoles if you aren’t ready for a dedicated gaming headset.

Bonus Xbox engaged family tip: With the free Xbox smartphone app you can join parties from your phone. No console required! A great way to keep an ear on your kids’ social gaming.

Controllers and Power

PC games will often support Xbox 360, Xbox One, and/or PlayStation 4 controllers. Games even show correct button prompts in game. Steam sells their own controller, which supports advanced customization. This makes it difficult to use for most people though..

PlayStation 4 controllers integrate a rechargeable battery. Controllers use a micro USB cable. The micro USB end can break off if handled roughly. Controllers also include a charging port on the bottom. Look for controller charging stands which use this bottom port.

Xbox One controllers use AA batteries or custom rechargeable battery packs. Using a micro USB cable the controller can charge some battery packs. These cables can break off if not handled with care. Externally charged AA batteries or battery packs are also available.

Switch Joy-Con controllers charge while attached to the Switch itself. Other charging stands are also available. The Switch itself and Switch Pro controller have integrated batteries. They both use the newer USB C standard to charge. Third party chargers have damaged Switch consoles and Nintendo does not cover this under warranty.

Recommendations

Best Console for the Family to Share

If you only buy one video game console for your family consider the Switch. The ability to play multiplayer games with the Joy-Con controllers saves money on accessories. There are many games available for Switch and the library is growing quickly. There are many titles with couch co-op support and innovative experiences such as the cardboard building Labo. Nintendo is also produces excellent family-friendly games exclusive to the Switch. Being able to take the system on the go means family trips can be a little easier too.

Example couch multiplayer family games exclusive to Switch consoles:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Snipperclips

Best Console for Multiple Gamer Families

The Xbox One is the best console for most families. Xbox Game Pass provides a decent library of titles both new and old. Backward Compatibility plays inexpensive original Xbox and Xbox 360 game discs. The Xbox Store gifting feature makes it easy to manage multiple accounts. Xbox One supports multiple external hard drives. Players can play on any console without worrying about saved game management. Some games even work on both Xbox and Windows 10. The downside of Xbox is the smaller pool of multiplayer opponents. For most families this is unlikely to be an issue.

Example multiplayer family games exclusive to Xbox One consoles:

Sea of Thieves

Subnautica

Forza Horizons 3: Hot Wheels Expansion
Carcassonne

Best Console for Multiplayer Outside the Family

PlayStation 4 is the best choice for a console for those who want to play primarily multiplayer games with people outside the family. The larger player base of PlayStation means more people to play with. And PlayStation Now is moving to compete with Xbox  Game Pass. You must do more work to manage game purchases across multiple accounts however. Commit to each member of the family using a specific console however. Switching between consoles is a frustrating experience.

Example multiplayer family games exclusive to PlayStation 4 consoles:

LittleBigPlanet 3

100ft Robot Golf

MLB The Show 18

Wrap Up

Thanks for reading! Please share this article with anyone who needs help saving money on video games. We’re always happy to hear your feedback..

The video game marketplace is constantly changing. Check back for future updates to this guide.

Stay engaged and happy family gaming!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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We’re sharing tips for saving money as a gaming family in our newest guide! We will help you choose a gaming console, where and how to buy games, and we’ll even talk about accessories. Last time we talked about where to buy your games and how to save money buying them. 

This time it’s all about the hardware!

Windows PC

Maintaining multiple gaming PCs can be time consuming and expensive. This may work for families with a Windows computer technician in house. When planning your gaming budget keep in mind the cost of hardware upgrades.

There are solutions to play your office computer in the family room. The Steam Link and Nvidia Shield both support this feature. There are limitations and network requirements however so investigate further if this sounds useful.

Mac

Both Steam and GOG support Mac computers. Maintaining multiple Mac computers is easier than Windows PCs for most people. Many games are not available on Mac though. Available games often run slower or with fewer graphical features.

Nintendo Switch

The Switch costs US$300 and has a strong selection of games. Many games on the Switch allow you to share its standard “Joy-Con” controllers for couch co-op multiplayer sessions. This can be awkward for large hands because the Joy-Con is physically small. The Switch Joy-Con controllers are the most expensive at US$80 MSRP. Nintendo also offers a “Pro” controller similar in design to the Xbox and PlayStation controllers. The Pro controller retails for US$70.

The Switch uses microSD cards for data storage. Smaller size microSD cards are inexpensive at 64GB for less than US$20. Prices rise significantly for the cards with the most storage. Switch physical cartridges also require microSD storage for patches. Families planning large Switch game libraries should consider the cost of digital game storage versus the convenience.

PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 costs US$300 and has the biggest installed base of modern consoles. It is often the best choice for multiplayer gaming outside the family. There is a limited selection of couch multiplayer games and each player must have their own US$60 MSRP controller. PlayStation 4 owners cannot play online games with players on Xbox One or Switch.

The PlayStation allows you to use a single external USB 3 hard drive to expand the internal storage. This drive can be up to 8TB in size. You cannot use a USB hub to connect the external drive. Once formatted it is only readable by the PlayStation. Moving the drive requires ejecting it from the PlayStation settings menu first. PlayStation supports copying games between the internal console and external hard drive storage.

PlayStation uploads saved games only from the primary console. This is a problem for families using multiple consoles! Accessing saved games requires multiple steps on both consoles. PlayStation limits online storage to 10GB of saved data per user.

The PlayStation 4 supports “remote play” – where a PC, Mac, Vita, or PlayStation TV can access the PlayStation in the same house or over the Internet. The feature requires a PlayStation 4 controller and free software download for PC and Mac. Local and remote players can only play the same game together. Remote Play prevents the PlayStation from playing another game.

Microsoft Xbox

Xbox One S consoles are US$300. There are limited couch multiplayer games on Xbox – similar in quantity to the PlayStation 4. The Xbox One is less popular than the PlayStation 4. This can be a problem when trying to play older multiplayer games online since there are fewer potential players. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers cannot play online games together. Some specific titles do support playing with Switch, Windows PC, and mobile.

Controllers are US$60 MSRP. Microsoft offers a custom controller design option as well for US$70 where you can choose various color options to create a unique controller. This can make a fantastic gift!

Xbox also supports two unique controller options. Copilot allows two controllers to both fully control a single game. This is a great option for a younger player who needs a little help. It is also popular with gamers with disabilities. Even more exciting is the Xbox Adaptive Controller. This uses industry standard assistive devices to connect to a controller base, enabling a range of new options for gamers with disabilities.

Xbox supports attaching two external USB 3 hard drives. Each drive can be up to 8TB in size. Attaching two smaller drives is a cost effective choice as well since they are often inexpensive. Once formatted a drive is only readable by Xboxes. You can move the drive between Xboxes by unplugging the drive.

The Xbox supports moving games between drives on the same system and between Xboxes on the same network. This can save money on metered Internet connections. One Xbox can copy games to other consoles.

The Xbox synchronizes saved games to the cloud so switching between Xbox consoles is painless. Launching a game first time on a new console and it downloads the saved game. Updating saved games occurs in the background while playing. Storage for this saved game syncing is unlimited.

A free Windows 10 Xbox app allows remote play with an Xbox console at home. The Xbox can only play one game at a time however.

Mixed Platforms and Cross Play

Playing together using multiple video game platforms has limitations. Most games rely on the video game console or Steam multiplayer services. Only games with “cross play” features can play together across different systems. A “party” – a group of people like a family – playing together is often a separate consideration; not all cross play games support cross parties.

Fortnite, Rocket League, and Minecraft are the most popular games with crossplay. Rocket League plans to add cross-party play in late 2018. These games support Xbox, Switch, PC, and – excepting Rocket League – even mobile devices. Absent from any cross play is PlayStation. Sony has so far not made cross play possible according to developers.

A more limited version of cross play is Microsoft’s “Xbox Play Anywhere” and “cross platform” programs. Xbox Play Anywhere provides a license for both the Xbox and Windows 10 version of the game with a digital purchase. A single account shares the game with all users on the computer. With an Xbox and Windows 10 PC this can save money! However, the small game selection limits the usefulness of Xbox Play Anywhere.

Not all Xbox Play Anywhere titles support cross platform multiplayer. Look for these features on the game’s store page. Some examples of games with Xbox Play Anywhere and cross-play are: Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizons 3, and Ark: Survival Evolved.


That was a whole lot of info right? And we aren’t even close to done! Come check back for part three soon!!


About the Author

Adrian Luff is a lifelong video gamer with three video game obsessed boys and a very understanding wife. He is fortunate enough to have worked in the video game industry for over 20 years building online services for multiplayer gaming. He worked on servers for Battle.net used by the Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft games. He also designed the launch infrastructure for World of Warcraft. Adrian leads a team of engineers building robust systems, infrastructure, and developer tools for Twitch.tv (a division of Amazon).

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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We’re sharing tips for saving money as a gaming family in our newest guide! We will help you choose a gaming console, where and how to buy games, and we’ll even talk about accessories. 

We’ll be paying special attention to saving money when playing on multiple systems in the same house.

That’s because finding enjoyable couch co-op games is challenging. Finding couch co-op games suitable for the entire family is an epic quest! Many games now support multiplayer exclusively online with only one player per system. Families are increasingly purchasing one console per family member. It isn’t uncommon to have a house with several Xboxes anymore.

Video game system prices have dropped in recent years but multiple gaming consoles is still an expensive proposition! Picking the right gaming platform can save thousands over the lifetime of that system.

The Game Stores

The first, and probably most important decision, is where you will by your games. There are several online platforms or “digital stores” selling games online. The games they sell don’t have discs or cartridges. They exist only as files on your computer or console. The online stores use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control how you can use their downloaded games.

These are small details that might not seem important, but you need to know and understand them in order to stretch your budget.

Windows – Steam

Steam is an online store that sells digital games for PC, Mac, and Linux. Steam provides a guide to enable Family Sharing. This feature enables sharing your game library with up to five family members. Only one person at a time can use the library however.

Logging in to Steam kicks other users out after a few minutes. Multiplayer requires purchasing a copy of each game for each player.

Steam games are often on sale. Many games are 20% off at launch, which is appealing on its own.. There are also several Steam sales throughout the year (a Summer sale in May and a Winter Sale in January for example).

You can also buy digital games for use on the Steam platform on other sites. Websites like Humble Store and GreenManGaming sell “game keys” composed of strings of number and letters. You can use these keys to add the game to your Steam library.

The competitive marketplace keeps prices low, but purchasing 4 copies, even at 20% off, is not the most cost effective option.

Windows – GOG

An alternative to Steam is GOG. This is a service that offers DRM-free PC games. GOG games are downloaded as ZIP files or using an optional client named GOG Galaxy. The client downloads, installs, and updates games. It is possible to purchase games from GOG once and copy them to multiple computers since they are DRM free. This isn’t a perfect solution because some games require GOG Galaxy for multiplayer. If that is the case, then each player must have their own copy of the game.

Games using the Steam multiplayer system can only be sold through the Steam store. GOG has made it easy for game developers to use the GOG multiplayer system instead. Usually playing the GOG version of a game means playing with only other GOG customers. That’s fine – maybe even preferable – for family gaming. It will, however, cause frustration if you try to play with friends who own the Steam version of a game. You won’t be able to see those Steam friends!

Editor’s note: GOG used to be called Good Old Games because they focused on keeping older games playable on modern PC operating systems. They recently changed their name to GOG and I had no idea until Adrian corrected me. Just goes to show… I don’t know EVERYTHING. 😉

Nintendo eShop

The Switch is an appealing platform. The same games can be played on the TV at home or on the go. And Switch has a great library of family friendly couch co-op games. But multiple Switch consoles is a budget buster for many families. Nintendo’s DRM restricts digital games to a single console, even when online. Playing together requires that each family member own a copy of the game.

PlayStation Store and Xbox Store

Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles have similar DRM policies. They allow an account to play a purchased digital game on the “primary” or “home” console. Each account picks a single, specific console as home. This can be the same console for multiple accounts. Sony and Microsoft permit the home console to change only a few times however.

Each account can simultaneously play a purchased game on the home console and any other console while online. Buying two copies of a game allows four family members to play – including multiplayer! This is known as “Game Sharing”. This works with two consoles and even four – with two copies of games. 

Buying Multiple Copies of Games

Rewards

There are easy ways to save money on games for any platform. There are free rewards programs available: Nintendo Gold Points, Sony Rewards, and Microsoft Rewards. Each offers about 1% of purchases back as points. You can then redeem points for gift cards or other rewards. Make sure to check the program details as they each have their own quirks.

For example, you earn points using Bing web search and by completing surveys in the Microsoft program. There are many rewards available, including Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass memberships at discounted prices. Many people find they can pay for a year of both Xbox Live and Game Pass membership just by using Bing search daily.

Sales and Wishlists

Look for the weekly digital game sales on your platform of choice. Savings range from 25% to 75% off. Subscribers to PlayStation Plus often save an additional 10% on sale items. Xbox Live Gold members have a special weekly sale. Patience pays off as most games will go on sale at least once a year.

If you don’t have time to track the weekly sales you can still save. Steam, PlayStation Store, and Nintendo’s eShop for Switch all have wishlist features in their digital game stores. Steam will even email you when something on your wishlist is on sale! There are also many third party sites which offer price tracking like IsThereAnyDeal for Steam, TrueAchievements for Xbox One, and TrueTrophies for PlayStation. Each sites offers multiple notification options. These sites require an account to track your wishlist.

Saving on Digital Games

Using specific payment options can also save money.

Sony offers the Sony Card with 5X points (~5%) on entertainment purchases, including those from the PlayStation Store. The credit card company deposits points in the linked Sony Rewards account each month. This discount stacks with the rewards points earned from purchases via Sony’s digital game store. Redeem points for PlayStation gift cards.

Families may already have a Target Red credit or debit card, offering 5% off purchases at Target. This discount applies to gift cards. Target charges an additional 5% on digital gift cards delivered by email however. Saving requires a trip to the store.

Amazon offers the Amazon Prime Store credit card with 5% back on purchases at Amazon. You must be a paying Amazon Prime member to qualify. Amazon offers Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox digital gift cards delivered by email.

Remember gift cards are not subject to sales tax. And the discounted gift cards “stack” with any game sales for more savings!

Gifting Games

Gifting digital games is available on Steam and the Xbox Store. This is helpful as it allows you to maintain a single account with funds. Use this “primary” account to purchase games for the whole family and gift them to your children’s accounts. This also serves as an anti-fraud measure, because you won’t have to add a payment method to your children’s accounts.

Microsoft rewards points are also in a single account when using this approach with Xbox for faster accumulation. Microsoft parental controls also support “request to purchase” on child accounts. However, you can only gift DLC as “request to purchase” does not work. In-game currency such as Fortnite V-bucks require purchasing from the child account. In this situation you can apply a gift card to your child’s account only for the needed amount. Microsoft has said they are working to improve the process.

PlayStation and Xbox Online Services

PlayStation and Xbox require a paid membership subscription to play games online named Sony PlayStation Plus and Microsoft Xbox Live Gold. Each costs US$60 per year. Alternate subscription lengths are also available. Buying a membership for one account will enable online play for anyone logged into that player’s primary or home console. The paying account can also play online from any console while logged into the Internet.

Subscription Services

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft has a Netflix-style service dubbed Xbox Game Pass for US$10 per month. This offers a library of “over 100” games available for download. Game Pass games are available to anyone on the purchaser’s home console. The paying account can also play these games from any console while logged into the Internet.

With Game Pass for the family you have games everyone can play together. Microsoft has stated games they publish will remain in the library. Microsoft adds or removes other games periodically. Game Pass offers a sliding discount up to 20% to buy games in the library based on the game’s age. Game Pass games don’t include DLC but there is a 10% discount to buy it. The Game Pass discount only applies to full price games and DLC.

It is worth mentioning that not all games in Game Pass are family friendly, nor are they all multiplayer titles. Some are older Xbox 360 games that play on Xbox One but lack the high resolution and performance of newer games. There are multiple games from many genres including multiplayer family favorites Zoo Tycoon, Rocket League, and Lego Star Wars. The complete list is available here.

EA Access for Xbox

EA Access is a subscription specific to game publisher EA. It is available for US$30 per year on Xbox One only. Sports gamers can enjoy last year’s version of EA’s Madden, FIFA, hockey, and basketball games. EA also makes Battlefield, Need for Speed, and Plants vs. Zombies series which all have games included. Overall EA Access offers a smaller and older selection of games compared to Xbox Game Pass. Game Pass includes none of EA’s games.

EA Origin Access Basic and Premiere for PC

EA Origin is the PC counterpart to EA Access on Xbox. There are two levels available: Basic and Premiere. Basic is a separate PC-only subscription also for US$30 per year. The game selection is similar to EA Access on Xbox One but includes games from other publishers.

EA Origin Access Premiere is US$15 per month and adds newly EA published games immediately. This can be appealing for gamers who buy several EA titles for PC each year.

Sony PlayStation Now

PlayStation has the PlayStation Now service for US$30 for three months. This offers a library of games for PlayStation 3 plus a few for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 4. The service streams gameplay across the Internet rather than downloading games to the console. For any multiplayer games you will need a great Internet connection to support four or even two players. Instead of streaming games over the Internet it is rumored Sony will add support for downloading Playstation 4 games to a Playstation 4 console. PlayStation families should check back in the coming months for updates.

Xbox Backward Compatibility

One budget-friendly option for families is backward compatibility on Xbox One. Simply insert a supported original Xbox or Xbox 360 game disc into the Xbox One. The console downloads a small update and the games are ready to play. The list of Backward Compatible games is available from Xbox Community Manager Major Nelson’s site.

There are several sources for inexpensive used Xbox 360 game discs. eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon all sell used Xbox 360 games. This can be a cost effective way to expand your family game library. Also, digital copies of almost all backward compatible games are available in the Xbox store.

Game Sharing and Always Online

Game sharing lets you use digital game licenses on two consoles simultaneously. This is key to economical family gaming on both Microsoft and Sony’s consoles. Xbox accounts have a home console. Similarly for PlayStation accounts there is a primary console. Changing the home console is possible only a few times.

The home or primary console can always play games. The second console must be always online and connected to the Internet. If the Internet is not available then the console will not be able to play purchased digital games. If PlayStation Network or Xbox Live are down the second console will also be unable to play. This has ruined Christmas for some people.


That was a whole lot of info right? And we aren’t even close to done! Come check back for part two tomorrow!


About the Author

Adrian Luff is a lifelong video gamer with three video game obsessed boys and a very understanding wife. He is fortunate enough to have worked in the video game industry for over 20 years building online services for multiplayer gaming. He worked on servers for Battle.net used by the Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft games. He also designed the launch infrastructure for World of Warcraft. Adrian leads a team of engineers building robust systems, infrastructure, and developer tools for Twitch.tv (a division of Amazon).

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

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By: Rob Kalajian from A Pawn’s Perspective

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition for the Switch isn’t a new title really. Hyrule Warriors has previously been released on both the Wii U and 3DS consoles.  Similar to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it’s everything we’ve seen before with much more polish and a few new goodies tossed in to entice owners of the previous-gen systems to repurchase the game on their shiny new Switch.

Luckily for me, this is my first time playing the game, so I’m not rebuying anything!

Hyrule Warriors is a Musuo game, made popular by Koei Tecmo Games’ Dynasty Warriors series. The are games where players take control of a hero on a battlefield trying to turn the tide of a conflict and (usually) taking down the enemy commander. The player must wade through hordes of enemies trying to capture key points on the field, stop reinforcements from arriving, taking out enemy generals, and finally unlocking the path to their objective.

Between battles, players can upgrade their hero’s stats and weapons, pay to level up heroes, switch weapons, and create potions that will help them find better items and materials in their next battle.

As players progress through the game they’ll unlock more battles, characters, side-stories, and more, often playing the story from multiple vantage points as the hero, villains, or supporting characters. Just when the players think they’ve completed the game they’ll find out its just part of the story-arc with more and more levels being added. There’s tons of content to play through here, and that’s just the story mode.

There’s also Arcade Mode and Free Play mode that gives players a bit more flexibility with what battles they want to play through and which characters they’d like to focus on. In My Fairy mode, players can even care for fairies who can help them out in their battles!

Is it a kids’ game?

Hyrule Warriors is rated T for Teen for Fantasy Violence and Suggestive Themes. The game revolves around mowing down thousands upon thousands of baddies (and good guys if you’re playing as the baddies) using swords, staves, spells, clubs, crossbows, and yes, even a pistol.

The real issue here is the Suggestive Themes, which pretty revolve around one character. Cia, one of the main villains of the game. She’s a highly sexualized sorceress with a giant bust, plunging (like all the way down) neckline, one completely exposed leg complete with garter, and high heels. Almost every shot of her in any cutscene accents these features, often lingering on them in close-ups before panning away to where the action really should be taking place.

There’s also Lana, another new hero character. While not as overtly sexual she’s still a bit different from the overall Zelda designs we’ve seen in the past with a large chest, exposed skin, and a stance that, while more innocent that Cia’s, is still more suggestive than it should be.

Can kids play it?

Yeah, kids can play it. The game is mostly button mashing, though some basic reading skills are needed so players know where to go, what allies are in trouble, and if win/defeat conditions have changed. The story isn’t very in depth, so players don’t miss out much if they can’t follow along.

Conclusion

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is an excellent game providing hours of hack and slash entertainment with a huge and diverse cast of characters for the Zelda franchise. Unfortunately, a bit of that is spoiled by Team Ninja’s “contributions” the game with the additions of Cia and Lana.

Still, if you’re a fan of Musuo games or Zelda, you’re going to have a great time with this title. Just know what you’re getting into before you subject younger eyes to the amount of flesh on display by the evil, crazy-lady.


Rob runs A Pawn’s Perspective and he has been writing about board games for over a decade. His website, A Pawn’s Perspective, is a great place to find news about board games! Check it out!
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