Rare SNES Title Castlevania Dracula X Coming To 3DS Virtual Console

One of the Super Nintendo’s hardest-to-find games is coming to the 3DS Virtual Console tomorrow.

According to the website pricecharting.com, copies of Castlevania Dracula X go anywhere from as low as $125 to $972 for brand new sealed copies. It’s a game I called out as needing to be on Nintendo’s Virtual Console back in 2014 in this feature tracking which rare games had finally made it to the platform, and it thankfully did later come to Wii U.

The game will be available on 3DS tomorrow for $7.99.

Additionally, Mario Party 2 will also be available on the Wii U Virtual Console tomorrow.

[Source: Nintendo]

 

Our Take
I’m a big fan of the Virtual Console in general, though its transfer from Wii to Wii U has left much to be desired. What I would like – and I know this is a lot to as from Nintendo – is that for the Switch, I can just bring all the Virtual Console games I have already purchased over to the new platform. I don’t want to buy Mega Man X for the millionth time.

Beta Test Rare SNES Title Castlevania Dracula X Coming To 3DS Virtual Console

Long In-Development Fan Creation Pokémon Prism Cancelled Due To Nintendo Intervention

Pokémon Prism, a fan-created ROM-hack of classic Pokémon that is essentially an entirely new game, has received its inevitable cease and desist from Nintendo.

Detailed earlier this year in the trailer you can see below, Pokémon Prism had a new story, a new region (named Naljo), 200 Pokémon, 20 badges, customizable trainers, and more mechanics, many of which have never appeared in a Pokémon game.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

This morning, the game’s creator, @Koolboyman on Twitter, announced the game’s cancellation right before its planned December 25 release date, and shared the letter he recieved from Nintendo requesting he cancel the project.

In the letter Nintendo wrote the following passage:

Nintendo understands that you are a fan of its original products and its Pokémon Franchise. Whilst it is appreciated, it unfortunately does not alter Nintendo’s important role to ensure that all of its valuable intellectual property is fully protected and that there is no use made of any of its intellectual property rights without proper supervision and authorisation.

@Koolboyman gained notoriety for his previous ROM hack, Pokémon Brown, which Nintendo additionally requested be pulled offline.

[Source: @Koolboyman, via Polygon]

 

Our Take
Nintendo is fully within its rights to request Prism be taken down. We spoke with Pokémon producer Junichi Masuda earlier this year and asked him if he had any thoughts on the fan-made Pokémon Uranium and he said, “
If they have the skill and ability and stamina to create something like
that, they should definitely get a job at a developer somewhere!” Nintendo
recognizes and acknowledges the fandom and dedication it takes to build these sort of fan projects, but it cannot risk Pokémon Prism, a game it has no control over that uses its trademarked materials, being confused for a true Pokémon game. These sort of projects are impressive, and it’s fascinating to see what fans come up with using the core games they love as a base, but I don’t fault Nintendo, or any other company for that matter, for requesting development be ceased. I hope that @Koolboyman takes, what is clearly a substantial amount of talent, and creates something entirely original. He certainly seems more than capable.

Beta Test Long In-Development Fan Creation Pokémon Prism Cancelled Due To Nintendo Intervention

New Game + Patch Now Available For Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV is getting a host of holiday additions over the coming days, in both free and premium forms, but ahead of those, a New Game + mode has been added to the game.

The patch appears to be available on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game and allows players to restart a Final Fantasy XV game after completion with all of their weapons, magic, and skills intact from their first playthrough.

For more on Final Fantasy XV’s expanded holiday DLC, which begins dropping tomorrow, head here. For our review of Final Fantasy XV, head here.

 

Our Take
I’m surprised New Game + would be reserved to a patch. It seems like such an obvious inclusion for any RPG, or any game with RPG elements. In any case, I am glad the mode is here.

Beta Test New Game + Patch Now Available For Final Fantasy XV

Gravity Rush 2 Demo Coming Tomorrow, Anime Adaptation Coming After Christmas

Ahead of the release of Gravity Rush’s sequel next month, Sony is offering a demo of the game, which will be available tomorrow. It also has plans for an anime, which will bridge the narrative gap between the two games.

The demo has two parts which Sony ambiguously describes with one being for Gravity Rush veterans, and one being for newcomers.

The anime will launch on YouTube on December 26 at 8:00 a.m. PT. You can check out a teaser for it below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Gravity Rush 2 will be available on PlayStation 4 on January 20. For more on Gravity Rush 2, head here.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

Beta Test Gravity Rush 2 Demo Coming Tomorrow, Anime Adaptation Coming After Christmas

Civilization VI Adds DLC Packs & Winter Update

Developer Firaxis has added a mix of premium and free content for Civilization VI. Now available for purchase are the Poland Civilization & Scenario pack and the Vikings Scenario pack, while the winter update is free.

The Poland pack adds the civilization, complete with its first female monarch Jadwiga, who brings her strong religious faith, winged Hussar units, and cloth halls to the table.

Meanwhile, the Vikings Scenario pack adds six new city-states, three natural wonders, and a dark ages scenario.

Each are available for $4.99.

The winter update, however, is free, and it includes numerous tunings and fixes, as well as an alert action for units.

For the full rundown of all of the new offerings, click on the source link after the trailer detailing more on Jadwiga and the advantages of Poland.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

[Source: Civilization VI]

Beta Test Civilization VI Adds DLC Packs & Winter Update

Races and Car Customization Patch Hits Mafia 3

For those of you either still milling about in New Bordeaux or looking for reasons to come back: here’s some enticement. Hanger 13 has just released a patch for Mafia III that includes races as well as car customization and new outfits.

You can check out the trailer for the update here:

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Those are some nice looking cars, eh?

Our Take
Our review of the base game dinged it for not having enough content so it’s nice to see Hanger 13 fixing that hole a little bit.

Beta Test Races and Car Customization Patch Hits Mafia 3

Motion Capture Director Of Uncharted Gordon Hunt Passes Away

Gordon Hunt, who directed motion capture for the Uncharted series and was also a sound director for Soul Reaver 2, Lair, and more, has died at age of 87. Hunt had a career stretching back to 1957, which includes work on classic animated shows like The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and The Smurfs.

Hunt’s body of work when it comes to video games is impressive, with various credits for sound and mo-cap work crossing over several generations of games. Those listed include God of War II, SOCOM, Final Fantasy XIV, and Uncharted.

You can check out the full list of his contributions to the gaming industry here.

Our Take
Hunt’s work in the games industry is impressive and important. We admire his contributions and extend our condolences to Hunt’s family during this trying time.

Beta Test Motion Capture Director Of Uncharted Gordon Hunt Passes Away

Ask Prey's Creators A Question For Our Upcoming Podcast

All month long, we’ve been rolling out features highlighting the next game from the creators of Dishonored, a game called Prey. We’re really excited about this immersive FPS that takes place on an alien-infest space station and we think you should be as well. We’re recording a special edition podcast soon with Prey’s creative director Raphael Colantonio and lead designer Ricardo Bare and need your questions.

So we strongly encourage you to check out our hub of content, think up a question for the creators of Dishonored and the upcoming Prey, and leave it in the comment section below.

Click on the banner below to enter our constantly-updating hub of exclusive content, or subscribe to Game Informer’s podcast now and get ready for the interview.

Beta Test Ask Prey’s Creators A Question For Our Upcoming Podcast

Official Comic Confirms Tracer Is Overwatch's First LGBTQ Character

Earlier today, Blizzard published its newest online comic Reflections, which gives us a glimpse at what our favorite Overwatch characters are up to during the holidays. In particular, Reflections gives prominence to Tracer, who is shown at home with Emily, who seems to be her girlfriend. The two share a kiss in one of the panels, confirming that Tracer is Overwatch’s first LGBTQ character.

As this is featured in the official comics, this makes Tracer’s sexuality canon. The comic also briefly shows what other characters are doing during the break, such as McCree drinking a little too much and Winston joining Tracer and Emily for dinner. We’ve reached out to Blizzard for further comment, and will update this article should we hear back.

You can read Reflections for free by heading here. Editor Jeff Marchiafava recently ranked all of the Overwatch characters in this humorous feature.

Our Take
Tracer is one of the more prominent and well-known characters of Overwatch, who is featured on the official box art and has been used for much of the title’s marketing. It’s really awesome to see that Blizzard hasn’t shied away from these themes, as it brings more visibility and inclusivity to its diverse cast. I’m curious to see what else is in store.

Beta Test Official Comic Confirms Tracer Is Overwatch’s First LGBTQ Character

Science-Fiction Weekly – Ranking The Star Wars Films

My original plan for this week’s column was to review Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but I decided to shift gears after a number of people on social media asked me where I thought this new prequel ranked among the other Star Wars movies. There are technically 12 Star Wars films to consider for this list, but if we throw out the garbage (the Holiday Special and Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure), stick to the live-action format (which knocks The Clone Wars off), and remove The Battle for Endor since it was only on television (but was decent), that leaves us with eight solid entries. Don’t roll your eyes – I said “solid” not “good.”

Before I dive into the ranking that you are about to tear to shreds, I want to point out that I appreciate elements of each of these films. They all strengthen the core Star Wars story in their own unique ways. The Phantom Menace is a movie most people mock for Jar Jar Binks, but without it we wouldn’t have gotten Darth Maul or that awesome scene where Qui-Gon Jinn melts a metal door with his lightsaber. Return of the Jedi delivers one of the coolest space battles in all of cinema, but also a fight in which the Empire is trounced (handily even) by tiny bears.

Additionally, film technology evolves at a rapid rate, and each Star Wars film embraces it for good and bad. Rogue One’s visual effects are top tier, with the exception of a couple of CGi characters who may look worse than anything in Attack of the Clones (let’s debate this in a future column).

All of these things come into play in my ranking, but I’m mostly weighing my picks on the impact they had on me, both when I originally viewed them and today. As always, I appreciate your feedback in the comments section below, but above all else, would love to see your ranking of the films. Without further delay, on to the list…

8. Episode II: Attack of the Clones

While establishing the foundation and tone of the excellent Clone Wars animated series, Attack of the Clones is a mess of a story, struggling mightily to tie a large-scale, green-screen war to a chemistry-free love story. George Lucas has a knack for strong beginnings, and Attack of the Clones is no different with its excellent (and clever) assassination attempt on Queen Amidala via space centipedes. The film quickly unravels from here, but does give us a great look at Coruscant in the process. The sequences that follow are shockingly bad: a bug army, Jedi looking foolish while battling the bug army, Amidala starring in a platforming game, C-3PO losing his head, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets
everywhere,” and floating fruit. Oh god. Make it stop! The bombardment of awful is constant, but there is some good stuff amid the blasts. Jango Fett, Count Dooku (terrible name, great character), Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s playful chemistry, senator Palpatine, every second on Kamino, and less Jar Jar Binks. Attack of the Clones is easily the worst Star Wars film, but there’s still a wealth of great content for fans to appreciate.

7. Episode I: The Phantom Menace

I don’t think there’s much debating Star Wars’ lowest point: Jar Jar Binks. This wacky abomination of CGi completely derails the story when he is introduced. Would the film have been better without him? Absolutely, but the narrative would still suffer from odd logic. Journeying through the center of the planet to reach Queen Amidala’s palace makes little sense, and Lucas ended up putting too much emphasis on a kid being able to do amazing things. The podracing bit was cool character building for Anakin (which would be infinitely better without the announcers), but watching him win the space battle was cringe worthy. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn were fantastic, as were Darth Maul and Palpatine. The Phantom Menace is a rocky ride through a fascinating (and beautiful) new era of the Star Wars universe. Lucas had the right idea; the story just got away from him.

6. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

I went into this film expecting Darth Vader to be the best part, but he ended up being the worst. It was the “Nooooooo” heard around the world, and it was terrible. Outside of this one moment, and that often horrible prequel CGi, Revenge of the Sith is a respectable Star Wars film. I’ll even get the hyperbole train rolling by saying Order 66 is one of Lucas’ biggest successes as a director. That particular sequence is beautifully shot, and the story it tells is as dark as Star Wars gets. Palpatine’s seduction of Anakin to the Dark Side is also disturbingly good. The big payoff of Anakin versus Obi-Wan is exciting and captured nicely in a few moments, but sadly suffers from a need to focus on the environment for goofy action. The film ended the way it needed to, with great, little moments showing the Skywalker twins and Anakin transforming into Vader. On a different day, I may say Revenge of the Sith should be in the five spot instead of Return of the Jedi, but not today. Gasp all you want, but these films are neck and neck, in my opinion. Here’s why…

5. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

The picture above brings back a flood of awesome memories from Return of the Jedi. Luke, Vader, and the Emperor are electrifying. I didn’t want those scenes to end, but they did, and Lucas and company knocked them out of the park. I couldn’t think of a better way to conclude this saga. The redemption of Vader is beautifully told, unlike the rest of the film. Yes, I love the visualization of Jabba’s Palace and Endor as a battleground, but even as a little lad, I had issues with the events at hand. The Rebels send their top brass into Jabba’s Palace one by one to save Han Solo…really? Why not send a trained assassin instead of Leia? As much as I love the idea of Ewoks eating humans for lunch, they took the punch out of the final battle. The Empire looked silly going against them. It was almost like two movies were playing at once; a dark story on the Death Star, and a goofy one on the moon. People say Lucas lost his touch of Star Wars with the prequels, but I think it started in Return.

4. Episode VII: The Force Awakens

I loved The Force Awakens. Loooooved it. Sure, we can criticize it for having a similar story arc to A New Hope. J. J. Abrams went too far with the love-letter approach. Most of the content that doesn’t fall under that umbrella is new, exciting, and damn good. Rey, Finn, Poe…what an ensemble! Each brings something different to Star Wars. I’m also a huge fan of Kylo Ren and Snoke. They specialize in a different kind of evil, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. The Force Awakens is a film I periodically reflect on, mostly because it brings mystery back to Star Wars. Who are Rey’s parents? What is Snoke up to? Why did Luke leave? Even side characters like Maz Kanata are brimming with intrigue. Remove the Starkiller Base angle, and that feeling of “I’ve been here before” would largely be gone.

3. Episode ?: Rogue One

I know, I’m just as surprised as you are. When I first heard Lucasfilm was making a prequel movie about the Rebels who stole the Death Star plans, I thought it was a terrible idea. Although the story ends exactly how we all expected it would, director Gareth Edwards turns it into an enthralling and action-packed affair. The battle scenes are intense, dark, and exactly what I wanted to see as a huge Star Wars fan. Lose the camp. Make the battles have impact, just like the Battle of Hoth. Edwards nailed this tone. Rogue One is a fine story on its own, with a wonderful cast of characters, but its biggest success is how it makes me appreciate A New Hope more. I also view that film differently now. Rogue One doesn’t shy away from painting the Rebels as terrorists capable of evil acts. The only thing I would change: Pull the camera back from the CG characters. They looked like they belonged in Shrek more than Star Wars.



2. Episode IV: A New Hope

Should A New Hope be number one? I debate this question all of the time. When it comes to stories that embrace good-versus-evil or David-versus-Goliath tones, A New Hope is a towering success. You can’t help but root for Luke and the Rebel Alliance. Within the first act, Lucas did a phenomenal job of establishing evil, and making it seem like all was lost. Our only hope was a farm boy, an old man, a princess, and a scoundrel and his wookiee friend. Vader emerged as the ultimate bad guy, using a mystical art with precision to kill his enemies and even his own people. The journey that unfolded was exciting and unique, and filled with suspense and unexpected surprises. It’s the perfect film that somehow was bested by a film that wasn’t quite as good.

1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

That’s right, The Empire Strikes Back is worse than A New Hope, but is still the best Star Wars film to date. How is this possible? The storytelling evolved. What began as a tale of hope turned into a story of no hope. Lucas flipped the script on his heroes, but still managed to grow them as characters. Luke went off on his own to explore a gift from his father. Leia and Han began falling in love. The biggest change of all, Lucas humanized Darth Vader with one line of dialogue: “I am your father.” The Empires Strikes Back kicked off with an exciting battle on Hoth, but slowed significantly to develop its characters. It wasn’t as high octane or as much of a spectacle as its predecessor, but the decision to change the tone payed off handsomely, making The Empire Strikes Back a masterpiece, the kind of which we rarely see.

Beta Test Science-Fiction Weekly – Ranking The Star Wars Films