Claim Your Nintendo Switch User ID Ahead Of The Launch On March 3

Nintendo has been making strides in collecting all of its disparate console and handheld user accounts under one umbrella, and – in theory – the account you complete for the Switch should be the last Nintendo account you have to make.

If you set up an account with your Wii U, 3DS, or for any of Nintendo’s mobile games, then you’re halfway there. The last step, for the Switch, is to set your User ID. You can do that by going to your Nintendo account, logging in, scrolling down to User ID and hitting the affiliated edit button. From there you can select your User ID screen name. It’s a good idea to go ahead and grab the name you want before someone else does.

The Nintendo Switch launches on March 3, and right now we’re still unclear how the console’s online component will work.

[Source: accounts.nintendo.com]

Beta Test Claim Your Nintendo Switch User ID Ahead Of The Launch On March 3

Star Wars Han Solo Film Has Begun Filming

Today brings word that the next Star Wars film is underway. The untitled Han Solo-focused movie began filming on February 20 at Pinewood Studios in London, and today brought us a shot that shows some of the cast and crew gathered together in the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit.

The new film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca,  and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, along with other cast members Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The movie is being co-directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan. 

It’s a safe bet that Star Wars fans will be watching the Han Solo movie very closely, and may be more ready to critique actors who are reinterpreting such iconic roles as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. At the same time, it’s certainly exciting to think about new adventures with those characters in which we should get a new glimpse at their earlier lives before the original trilogy storyline. 

[Source: StarWars.com]

Beta Test Star Wars Han Solo Film Has Begun Filming

Trailer Reveals Bretonnia Faction For Total War: Warhammer

Total War: Warhammer’s release last year offered ample evidence that the Total War franchise still has some exciting new avenues to explore, as expressed through a sprawling fantasy military adventure. You can read our full review of the initial release. The strategy game has continued to expand, and next week on February 28, players can add a new army into their battles, and all the expanded unit options come without any additional charge once you own the game. 

The Bretonnia race looks like it’s inspired by Arthurian legend, replete with strong notions of honor and chivalry. Add in magical effects like spectral knights and pegasi, and fans of the game should have a fun new faction to discover (or defeat) in the coming months. 

A stirring trailer offers an early look at the Bretonnia faction in advance of next week’s launch. The video is notable for using the in-game engine to express its cinematic style. 

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Beta Test Trailer Reveals Bretonnia Faction For Total War: Warhammer

The Coolest Pokémon Sun And Moon Cards We Pulled From Booster Packs

Pokémon Sun and Moon were enormous successes for Nintendo when they launched on 3DS in 2016, and the makers of the Pokémon Trading Card Game hope to capitalize on that popularity with the new Sun & Moon expansion. The expansion boasts hundreds of new cards featuring the new monsters that debuted in the latest games, as well as new cards featuring classic monsters in either their original or Alolan forms.

We were sent a box of 36 booster packs, as well as the three theme decks that feature the three starters from Sun and Moon (Litten, Popplio, and Rowlet) all the way up to their third forms. We pulled the ones that were either the coolest or most powerful from the packs we opened. 

Scroll to the gallery below to see our favorite cards we opened from the Sun & Moon expansion. For our favorite cards that we pulled from the more retro-facing Generations and XY Evolutions expansions, head to this gallery.

 

On the next page, we highlight more of the best cards we pulled from our Sun and Moon booster packs.

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Beta Test The Coolest Pokémon Sun And Moon Cards We Pulled From Booster Packs

Four Things To Know About Halo Wars 2

Adapting what has been primarily a PC genre to the console can be a challenging task riddled with uncertainty.  And while the original Halo Wars was regarded as a triumph in bringing real-time strategy mechanics to the Xbox 360, Creative Assembly (Total War, Alien: Isolation) was charged with building upon the series’ proven formula for Halo Wars 2.

Kyle Hilliard and Ben Reeves bring you four things to know before deciding if the game is right for you, and break down the main modes of play.

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For more Halo Wars 2 coverage, check out Ben Reeves’ review.

Beta Test Four Things To Know About Halo Wars 2

Celebrate Release Of Psychonauts In The Rhombus Of Ruin With Making-Of Documentary

Today sees the release of Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin on PlayStation VR. The new game from Double Fine acts as an interlude of sorts, telling the story of young hero and psychic, Raz, and the mission he undertakes between the end of the first Psychonauts, and prior to the beginning of the forthcoming Psychonauts 2. No doubt in celebration of the game’s release, the documentarians at 2 Player Productions are once again highlighting Double Fine’s working life through a brief film that explores the making of the virtual reality game. 

Like the filmmakers’ previous work, the short documentary offers a rare and candid look into the challenges and conversations that go into game creation, and we also get some intriguing insight into the origins of the characters and settings of Rhombus of Ruin. 

Check out the full video below. Psychonauts: Rhombus of Ruin is available now on the PlayStation Store, exclusively for PSVR, at the cost of $19.99, or $17.99 for PS Plus members. 

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Our Take
I always look forward to seeing new projects from 2 Player Productions in their ongoing partnership with Double Fine. It’s rare that we get such a close look at development, filmed over an extended stretch of time. 

Beta Test Celebrate Release Of Psychonauts In The Rhombus Of Ruin With Making-Of Documentary

Science-Fiction Weekly – Horizon Zero Dawn, Power Rangers, BioShock, The Predator

Horizon Zero Dawn isn’t out for another week, but reviews are already hitting, and they are mostly glowing. Roughly 50 writers weighed in on Horizon, leading to an average score of 88 on Open Critic. Game Informer’s Jeff Marchiafava nearly hit that cumulative score on the head with an 8.75 out of 10 rating.

In his review he complained about open-world tedium and ritualistic looting, but raved about almost everything else developer Guerilla Games threw at him. To quote:

Just when you’ve mastered the basics, Horizon’s massive
world opens up. Aloy’s first journey out west provides a remarkable sense of
discovery; the new desert landscape is teeming with different, deadlier
machines, along with new settlements to explore and beautiful vistas to behold.
Horizon’s mysteries really sink their teeth in here; while it may lack the
power and meaningful choices of narrative-driven series like The Witcher and
Mass Effect, Guerrilla has crafted compelling lore for its post-apocalyptic
world. Unlike most open-world games, I looked forward to finding new audio logs
and emails that detail the old world’s collapse, and the modern-day conflicts
between the isolationist Nora tribe, sun-worshipping Carja, and combative
Oseram give Aloy’s quest more meaning and complexity. Most importantly, Horizon
isn’t afraid to delve deep into heady sci-fi topics, and the myriad mysteries
it sets up are all answered in a marathon of revelations and explanations
toward the end of the game. Despite its flaws and foibles, Horizon’s story
unexpectedly became one of the major driving forces of the game for me.

I’ve put roughly 10 hours of my own into Horizon, and I’m having a blast with it. I’m most impressed with the combat mechanics. Aloy is a bona fide destroyer of machines, gifting the player with an empowering sense of barbarianism. Meleeing a robo-raptor to death is always exciting and a true test of skill, as is sniping an equally menacing foe from afar. The hunting evolves nicely as the adventure unfolds, forcing Aloy to incorporate traps and bait into her techniques. Leading a lumbering beast along a path to a trap location is immensely satisfying, as is the showering of loot once it falls.

I’m also enjoying Horizon’s narrative, which bounces chaotically (in a good way) between primitive society politics to advanced science fiction. Aloy is the key piece of a mystery that is unfolding in the world, and Guerilla does a nice job of rewarding the player with little tidbits as new areas are explored. There’s a lot to love about this PlayStation 4 exclusive. I’m more bullish on it than Jeff, but I do share similar thoughts on the need to constantly harvest items. The process of it isn’t bad, mind you, but it is a constant distraction in an otherwise outstanding experience. Even if you don’t love open-world games, you should give Horizon a look for its combat and story.

If you are in the market for a new board game, you may want to take a quick gander at the recently launched Terminator Kickstarter campaign by Space Goat Productions. With 24 days remaining, the funding goal has already been smashed. The Terminator board game is played simultaneously on two boards, one set in 1984, and the other in 2029. One player takes control of Skynet, and the remainder of players are the resistance. Both boards play differently. The future is about resources, whereas the past focuses on characters and missions. Successes in the past eliminate things in the future. That’s a great hook for a board game, and Terminator should make it to production unless something terrible happens during development.

That’s it for the games. Again, we’re not seeing much movement in the science-fiction space, but at least we get Horizon next week.

In a Reddit AMA, director Gore Verbinski talked about his plans for the cancelled BioShock film. This universe is a great choice for the silver screen, but I don’t think the story would work as well in a condensed, non-interactive form. The journey develops in meaningful ways over time, and having a direct hand in dictating those events is what the big plot twist is all about. Yes, it would still resonate in a way, but I don’t think it would be as powerful. Verbinski came close to getting Bioshock off of the ground. Closer than I thought. Here’s what he had to say:

“It’s an R-rated movie. I wanted to keep it R rated, I felt like that
would be appropriate, and it’s an expensive movie. It’s a massive world
we’re creating and it’s not a world we can simply go to locations to
shoot… We’d be building an entire underworld universe. So I think the
combination of the price tag and the rating, Universal just didn’t feel
comfortable ultimately. At that time also there were some R rated,
expensive R rated movies that were not working. I think things have changed and maybe there will be another chance, but
it’s very difficult when you’re eight weeks away from shooting a movie
you really can see in your head and you’ve almost filmed the entire
thing, so emotionally you’re right at that transition from architect to
becoming a contractor and that will be a difficult place to get back
to.”

One film that looked like it might run into development hell, but has recently started production is Shane Black’s The Predator. Filming began in earnest yesterday, and Black celebrated the event with an image of part of the cast. For a gritty film like The Predator, launching with smiles and vibrant lighting is a little weird. It almost looks like a cosplay shoot at a convention. Crossing my fingers for this one, but I’m already seeing that kid as narrative trouble.

Finally, if you were one of the people who said negative things about the first trailer for the Power Rangers reboot (I saw your tweets), you’ll love what you see from the second trailer. The camp is back in a big way, and it looks like the film delivers awesome, large-scale CGI battles. I also like what I’m seeing of Elizabeth Banks and Bryan Cranston’s characters. This is a day-one film for me. Where do you stand on it now?

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Beta Test Science-Fiction Weekly – Horizon Zero Dawn, Power Rangers, BioShock, The Predator

Everything We Know About Princess Zelda In Breath Of The Wild

In most Zelda games, the titular princess is nothing more than a goal for the player to acquire. She is a princess in peril, and Link is her knight in shining armor. She has grown beyond that simple role recent releases, however, and has become a more realized, fleshed-out character. In Skyward Sword, she had a long history with Link, performed her own fated duties, and went on her own adventure in tandem with Link’s – something shown in detail during the game’s credits.

If Zelda’s assorted appearances in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s trailers and promotional material are any indication, it appears she will continue to play a larger role in the story. We spoke with Eiji Aonuma specifically about the character, and what we can expect from her.

“I think it is really important for the players to feel like they are Link,” Aonuma says. “Whether the player will feel like they are the main character is a very important element in this game, and if the player is looking at the storyline from an outsider’s perspective, then they may not feel that real connection with those characters. So that deep involvement is necessary to feel a deeper relationship with the characters. Especially when Link is growing, or the characters are growing, and can feel that growth with them, then you will feel an even closer relationship with them.”

There is a moment from the game’s most recent trailer showing a distraught Zelda throwing herself into Link’s arms as she bursts into tears. “[Laughs] I don’t want to get too deep into it, but I do want you to know that Zelda does have a lot of emotions and expressions, different kinds of expressions in this game, and for the trailer we chose one that was very extreme,” Aonuma says. “Once you start playing  Breath of the Wild, I want you to explore and see these different sides of Zelda, different emotions that she evokes.”

Aonuma was unwilling to go too deep into the game’s story, but did offer a tease regarding some of the emotional states Zelda will experience. “This is a little bit of a secret, but Zelda will actually get mad at you at Breath of the Wild. She will scold you,” Aonuma says. “Since this game is open, players will be able to play at their own will, and it’s a very freestyle type of playing, I can’t guarantee every player will see it. Especially if they are heading toward the goal a little too quickly, then they may miss these things – like Zelda getting mad at you – but if you walk around in the world and if you encounter different environments and elements, then these are things you will probably experience.”

In the game’s assorted trailers, we’ve seen Zelda interacting with Link in different ways. We’ve seen her under Link’s protection.

We’ve seen her dressed in blue, just like Link, riding horseback.

We’ve also seen her, in the those same clothes, in what appears to be a moment of muted distress.

We’ve seen her upset, apparently shaken by something.

And we’ve also seen her in what might be considered a more traditional dress, performing some kind of ritual while Link sits, possibly injured, to the side.

In tandem with these images, we’ve also seen Link and Zelda running through the mud, maybe attempting to escape a guardian?

The clip of Zelda and Link running is very brief, but you can see it here.

Hers is the voice that wakes Link, saying “Open your eyes. Wake up Link,” in the beginning of the game, and we’ve also heard an older man’s voice saying “You must save her – my daughter,” while Zelda appears on-screen.

Her full role in the game is still a mystery, but the evidence – as well as Aonuma’s quote – point to her having an active role in the story. You can find more images of Zelda in the gallery below. And for all our online coverage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, click the banner below.

Beta Test Everything We Know About Princess Zelda In Breath Of The Wild

Blizzard Teases New Overwatch Character

For the wildly popular Overwatch, the introduction of a new character is a big deal. Not only is it a new set of abilities to explore in the competitive shooter, but it also means that every other character has to adjust to the potential heroic abilities introduced by that hero. As such, the story of an eleven-year old robotic genius named Efi Oladele is definitely something that fans of the game should be watching. 

Blizzard today released an enigmatic in-game story snippet on the Overwatch website, which you can read here in its entirety. The story is an interview with a young girl from Numbani named Efi Oladele, who has been granted a “genius grant” for her work in robotics and artificial intelligence.

Does this mean that Efi is our newest hero? Blizzard isn’t being explicit on the point, but there is some interesting info to digest. First, while Efi is only a child in this interview, there’s no indication that this interview happened in the same time-frame as the in-game world; it’s possible that she could be older in the game, which would be significant, because otherwise, the game has just introduced a child hero to be repeatedly killed in-game, which might rightfully rub many people the wrong way.

In addition, if Efi is the new hero, the interview suggests that her abilities might be tied to drones, as the girl regales the interviewer with how much she loves creating small robots to do tasks for her. 

Of course, it’s also possible that Efi isn’t actually the hero being teased, and that the actual character has something to do with the artificial intelligence that she helped pioneer. 

Overwatch just completed its third season of competitive play on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The last new playable character to be introduced was Sombra, who showed up in November. 

 

Our Take
It’s a good bet that this isn’t the last time we’ll be hearing from Blizzard about the new character coming to Overwatch. We’ll be following the trail of breadcrumbs closely. 

Beta Test Blizzard Teases New Overwatch Character

Elder Scrolls Online: Homestead Update Now Live For PS4 And Xbox One

Since its console launch in June 2015, The Elder Scrolls Online has quickly become one of the most popular MMORPGs around, with tons of free updates along with premium add-on content. While we eagerly await the highly-anticipated Morrowind expansion, publisher Bethesda is keeping us sated with the Homestead Update, out today for PS4 and Xbox One.

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The free update has been live on PC and Mac for several weeks, and it brings some new quests and the ability to purchase and customize living spaces. There are around forty homes to purchase (with either in-game currency or real money), and homes can be decorated with over two thousand unique items, from shelves and furniture to assorted miscellaneous baubles… Yes, including sweet rolls.

For more on The Elder Scrolls Online, check out GI’s coverage of the upcoming Morrowind expansion, due out June 6.

Beta Test Elder Scrolls Online: Homestead Update Now Live For PS4 And Xbox One