Role-playing games can be intimidating, with complicated systems and massive worlds that unfold over dozens of hours. Some developers attempt to overcome that entry barrier by simplifying the genre’s core components to create a more accessible game. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is not one of those games. It embraces its complexity, providing dizzying and impressive depth few modern RPGs can match. I love that unapologetic approach, but developer Monolith Soft has trouble keeping the excitement high in areas like combat and story. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is like a Rube Goldberg contraption designed to make toast or flip a light switch; though entertaining, its elaborate machinery ultimately achieves something mundane.

It has familiar elements fans of the series will recognize (including some explicit connections I won’t spoil), but the expansive world of Alrest is welcoming to uninitiated players. The setting and story are propelled by a fascinating central concept: the relationship between blades and drivers. Blades are magical beings – human, animal, and otherwise – born from special crystals, and they are bound to the driver who awakens them. The whole world revolves around this dynamic in various ways, and the story uses it to raise unexpected questions about identity and legacy.

Those pockets are interesting, but the overall narrative is a stock quest full of cookie-cutter characters. You control Rex, an idealistic young driver paired with a blade named Pyra. All you need to know about Rex is that he says stuff like, “We’ll beat them with the power of friendship.” Rex and his companions are trying to reach the World Tree at the center of Alrest, but the journey contains few surprises. The answers to most of the big mysteries are foreshadowed in advance, and events shake out pretty much how you expect. That isn’t necessarily terrible; even with only a handful of standout moments, the tale gets the job done and the ending is satisfying.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Alrest itself is more of a draw than the events happening within it. Each of the continents is an enormous beast floating in a sea of clouds, a concept Xenoblade fans know well. Towering monsters and gorgeous views make exploring new locations fun, and the main zones have distinct otherworldly vibes. The visual style has changed for this entry, but the fantasy world still feels vibrant and unique. With open-world environments full of possibilities, I enjoyed searching for hidden areas and making note of high-level monsters to take down later.

For all the time I spent exploring, I poured just as much (or more) effort into managing my progression. As strange as it sounds, this is where Xenoblade Chronicles 2 shines brightest. A staggering array of systems, points, and unlocks are artfully connected, letting players dig deep into how their characters develop. You can spend points in skill trees, improve weapon techniques, and manage an entire mercenary squad – all of which feels rewarding. However, the biggest draw is awakening special new blades, which come with their own unique designs, abilities, and quests. Though I’m not a fan of the loot-box-style method (minus the real-world currency) of getting good blades, I can’t deny the thrill of a legendary crystal yielding a bizarre new ally for me to power up. All these systems may sound convoluted, but once all of the layers have been introduced, the end result is an expansive and engaging progression model that always gives you a goal to aim for.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is brilliant behind the curtain, but its myriad mechanics don’t always translate to fun gameplay. The battle system is the biggest offender, emphasizing long encounters rather than tactically interesting ones. Even as you earn additional allies and abilities, the game rarely challenges you to develop new strategies, allowing the rhythm of combat to grow stagnant. That isn’t to say you don’t have tactical options; combat revolves around timing your special attacks and chaining together elemental combos, so you have plenty to consider. The big payoff assaults are cool, but you need to build your strength in increments to make them happen, like small gears making large gears turn. To facilitate that build-up, even trivial encounters drag on too long, making your characters seem less powerful.

The lack of imagination in your missions is another issue. Whether they are formal sidequests or incidental tasks on skill tree, objectives like “collect 20 pieces of wood” or “kill five crabs in this region” are constant, and often have multiple similar steps before you can claim your reward. Some of them are even nested fetch-quests, like “collect these three things, but each one requires you to collect other things first.” You can’t ignore them, either, since you need to engage in some side content in order to keep pace with enemies in the main story. The big exceptions to this problem are the special blades’ unique quests. The objectives are similarly dull, but they are often framed by entertaining story scenes, making them some of my favorite missions to pursue.

Beyond the major points, a few minor problems got in my way that wouldn’t be worth mentioning individually, except the aggregated effect of them all occasionally makes the overall experience feel rushed and unpolished. This includes technical problems like sound glitches and crashes, but also an absence of basic amenities like button mapping, a useful map, and multiple save slots. Plus, you need to use your gold to buy simple tutorial refreshers (like “Basics of Battle”), since they are not archived for your reference – a move that seems especially ridiculous given the depth and scope of the game.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a sprawling RPG with numerous interconnected pieces, so no part of the experience is isolated. It takes about 100 hours to finish, and not all of that time feels well spent, with bloated quests and repetitive combat. On the other hand, the vast world and intricate upgrades are a joy to dive into. Everything evens out in the end, but the wild swings between its highs and lows make it impossible for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to maintain altitude above its peers.

EA and DICE have just released notes for Patch 1.03, which they say covers issues they found as they wrapped up development on the game.

To begin with, each phase of Galactic Assault now includes more reinforcements, a big change to help balance. It also includes a number of big and small bug fixes, like collision issues or doors not opening for Villains in the Heroes vs. Villains mode. The patch notes also mention that Boba Fett cannot just hover high in the sky above a capture point, which raises the question of how that got into release in the first place.

The patch also fixed the issue with the post-match MVP screen, which will now recognize players based on scores rather than specific honors like had previously been implemented. The former method lead to things like this screenshot taken by @Campster of one player getting all the accolades at the end of the match.

You can find the full patch notes here. Star Wars: Battlefront II was released earlier this month on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Zen Studios has announced that Pinball FX3, the premiere virtual pinball game, is coming to Switch on December 12.

The Switch version of Pinball FX3 boasts a single-joycon mode where the Switch can be held vertically, like a pinball table itself. Zen Studios says the suggestion for this came from Nintendo themselves. It will also have HD rumble support across all 30 tables, with more to come.

The game was originally announced for November 1, scheduled for release just a little over two weeks later on November 17. The delay was short, however, just in time for the game’s December 12 release.

Check out the launch trailer for the game below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Bandai Namco has announced a My Hero Academia game for PlayStation 4 and Switch, teased earlier this week with the image of an egg in a microwave.

The announcement came from Weekly Jump, the manga magazine that publishes My Hero Academia. Details on the title are sparse, with Bandai Namco promising a full reveal at Jump Festa, a convention/festival centering around said manga magazine but typically includes anime-related video games, like the Tales Of series.

Bandai Namco recently affirmed support for the Switch in the new year, promising multiplatform support and a trio of exclusives.

The title One’s Justice refers to the dichotomy in the series between the two powers All For One and One For All, making the title a little less ridiculous than it sounds.


Our Take
While this game is obviously not one of the Switch exclusives, it does seem that PS4/Switch is a viable path for Japanese publishers. As a fan of the manga, I’m really hopeful for the game.

I thought I was done with Xbox’s achievements. I no longer hunted down games with easily obtainable points. No longer stuck with bad games just to get the big 50- or 100-point achievements upon completing them. No longer felt the desire to stay a good 100,000 points ahead of my friends, who clearly didn’t take achievements seriously enough. And then those sneaky bastards at Microsoft decided to implement an achievement leaderboard onto Xbox One’s dashboard.

I’m now back into achievements just as much as I was when Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford threw down the gamerscore gauntlet in 2008. I haven’t quite sunk to the level of playing bad games yet (as I have plenty of good ones to get to first), but I am no longer retiring games as soon as they are completed. I first dive into the achievement list to see if if any points are there for the taking, or what kind of effort is required to land the triple-digit lunkers.

The leaderboard is a stroke of genius on Microsoft’s part. A feeling of satisfaction washes over me when I look at the rankings and see my name in the number one slot. Conversely, I start pulling out my hair when I fall out of the top slot, or, as I witnessed two weeks ago, fall to eleventh place. IN NO UNIVERSE SHOULD I EVER BE IN ELEVENTH PLACE FOR ACHIEVEMENTS!

I find myself plotting out ways to earn a couple of hundred points in a night. The leaderboard has also opened up a new line of dialogue between me and my friends. That dialogue is usually taunting and showboating. The leaderboard, which may seem as arbitrary as the points themselves, is breathing new life and fun into the hunt for points. I once again find myself grinning when I hear the achievement sound ring out. Thanks, Microsoft. I feel like I should punch/hug you for making achievements meaningful again.

Rather than keeping all of my achievement-unlocking secrets to myself, I decided to put together a list of the games that deliver the easiest points. Should you find yourself obsessing over them like I do, or locked in a gamerscore battle royale, I hope this guide serves you well. It’ll be updated whenever I find a new game that you need to know about.

6180 The Moon

16 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3-4 Hours
Price: $3.99

If you’re respectable at platformer games, 6180 The Moon is a fun little game to venture into. While the challenges are difficult, checkpoints are in great abundance, and progress is inevitable if you stick with it. For each planet that is unlocked, the player nets a nice 50- or 100-point achievement. There are only two challenging achievements:

Gravity Free (40 Points)
M2 is the easiest stage to unlock this achievement on. It may take a few tries, but you should be able to make it to end without hitting the jump button.

Faster Than Light (40 Points)
As the difficulty ramps up, light is needed to make progress easier. While this achievement can technically be unlocked on numerous levels, VR3 is the one most people have had success with. Run along the barriers and you should be able to make it without the light.


12 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3-5 Hours
Price: $19.99

This relaxing underwater journey doesn’t pump out points, but if you go out of your way to explore and collect, you’ll earn huge 150 and 125 achievements. The video guides below will walk you through the challenging achievements, such as the locations of the hidden pools, statues, and shells. You’ll earn 100 points for completing the game, and 50 if you mediate and switch fish until you land on a predator. Just watch this beast until it feeds to get the points. Also make sure you ride a creature and flip to earn another 50, and leap out of the water for the same amount.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

(Please visit the site to view this media)

(Please visit the site to view this media)


12 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3-7 Hours
Price: $7.99

Most of ACA’s NEO GEO games can be completed in a short amount of time for a huge bounty in points. Even dabbling in bonus modes usually nets you 50 to 80 points. The easiest games to rack up points in are Fatal Fury, Metal Slug 1 and 2, Neo Turf Masters, King of Fighters ’94 and ’95, World heroes, Galaxy Fight: Universal Warriors, Nam-1975, and Aero Fighters 2. All of the games are $7.99 and have 12 achievements.

Air Guitar Warrior (Kinect and GamePad Editions)

22 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3-5 Hours
Price: $14.99

Riding on the back of a shark is dangerous, but rewarding. In Air Guitar Warrior, performing this feat will net plenty of achievements if you’re willing to work your way through the campaign. The game is fun, silly, and short. If you have a Kinect (you know, that camera thing), you can buy the game twice to double up on the achievements. If you defeat Zeus, you’ll earn 100 points. The only achievement that takes some serious time is reaching level 30, but it’s only worth 30 points.

Another World

12 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3-4 Hours
Price: $7.99

I played the living hell out of Another World when it originally
launched in 1991 under the name Out of This World. To much surprise,
time has not affected this game in the slightest. The cinematic visuals
are just as stunning now as they were back in the day. The same goes for
the gameplay. Yes, it can be frustrating and demanding of precision,
but in a fair and challenging way. It’s another game that can easily be
digested in one sitting. And yes, you’ll reach the required 100 deaths
for an achievement well before reaching the game’s final act. If you’re
aiming to get all 1,000 achievement points, you’ll want to use this
guide. A few of the achievements push you to do something at a specific
time. Here they are:

Secret UFO: 100 Points
From the outset of play, when you
free yourself from the cage and grab the gun, wait around for a 15 to 20
seconds for a UFO to fly across the top of the screen and deliver 100

Explorer: 50 Points
A little ways after freeing yourself
from a cage and downing a few guards, you’ll find yourself in a small,
dome-shaped structure with a window on the right side. Walk over to it
trigger a cinematic view and the achievement.

Free Fall: 75 Points
During a chase toward the end of the
game, you’ll be reunited with your companion. He’ll throw you across a
large gap. Purposely drop into the gap to unlock the achievement.

Batman: Arkham Knight

106 Achievements
1,840 Points
Time Requirement: 10-15
Price: $59.99 (DLC additional costs)

Thanks to an influx of achievement-heavy DLC, Batman: Arkham Knight has quietly become one of the easiest games to rack up gamerscore in. Completing the main game alone can net you between 500-600 points, depending on how thorough you are. Each single-player DLC campaign can be completed in under half an hour for fast 30- or 50-point achievements. To get all of the points, you’ll need to play the AR challenges extensively and net 21 stars in all categories.

The Bunker

28 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 1-2 hours

Price: $19.99

The Bunker is an interactive live-action story that doesn’t require must input from the player to reach 1,000 gamerscore. The first achievement in the game is obtained after a four-minute sequence in which the player simply needs to click one button to lift a Bible. The only challenge comes from collecting objects like toys, cassettes, and a puzzle piece. Any time the game pauses to let you scan the environment, do a thorough scan for toys. The puzzle piece you need is in the vent. When you are in the vent, DO NOT press forward to move deeper within it, instead, look to your right to find the puzzle piece. Most of the collectibles hand out small 10-point achievements, but the story beats, which happen automatically give you 25 per chapter, and 100 when the game ends for each ending. To quickly get both endings, select one, watch it, skip the credits, then press “continue” on the main menu to play through the last section of the game again. It’ll take about 10 minutes. Select the other ending.


22 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 5 to 7 Hours
Price: $14.99

Contrast pumps out 100 point achievements when any stage is finished and delivers a huge 200 point gift when the game is completed. Smaller 25 point achievements are peppered along the critical path. The toughest achievements are tied to the collectibles. If you can find all of the collectibles in a level, you’ll get a 50 point achievement. Here are some of the tricker ones:

To the Heroes Among Us: 25 Points
In Act 1 do not enter the Ghost Note Theater. Instead, walk past it down the road and activate the gramophone to create a shadow path up to the a switch that activates the Extra Life 2012 logo and achievement.

The Cyclops’ Bottle: 25 Points
In Act 2 activate the carousel and then ascend to the rooftops using the shadows. Keep working your way to the left across the moving shadow path to the final rooftop and an opening that leads to a row of tables with umbrellas over them. The bottle should be glowing brightly on one of these tables.

Costume Quest

18 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 8-10 Hours
Price: $14.99

I’m having a good time with Costume Quest 2. The combat is repetitive (especially in the early stages), but the humor and charm keep the game interesting. The story is also a fun ride. Achievements don’t necessarily come quickly, but are all in 50 or 100-point chunks. Most of them are tied to stuff you’ll complete on the critical path. Only three should be difficult to get:

45 Card Pickup: 50 Points
You’ll have to find all of the cards, many are hidden in chests, some are dropped by monsters, others are only obtained through trading with NPCs. You’ll have to be thorough and willing to backtrack to get this one.

Creepy Card Shark: 50 Points
To earn these points you’ll need to use every Creepy Treat Card in the game. You’ll have to start doing this from the outset of play. This can be extremely difficult if you are going for the Hardcorn Mode achievement, as one of your characters won’t be able to attack.

Hardcorn Mode: 100 Points
If you keep a character dressed in the Candy Corn costume for every battle you enter, you’ll earn 100 points. The battles are balanced in a way that you can win every fight with just two people attacking. I recommend keeping the costume on the second character. Just make sure you don’t accidentally change the costume in the overworld.

Cubot: The Complexity of Simplicity

10 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 1-5 Hours
Price: $1.99

All of Cubot’s achievements are earned by completing the levels, meaning you’ll earn all 1,000 gamerscore simply by finishing the game. The box-pushing puzzles are challenging, but fun. I recommend using the guide below if you happen to get stuck on one particular puzzle.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Energy Cycle

10 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 20 minutes
Price: $2.99

If you don’t mind cheating, you can complete Energy Cycle in under 20 minutes. All you have to do is watch the excellently made walkthrough video below for the solutions to each of the game’s 28 puzzles. You don’t even need to click the orbs in the same order as the person in the walkthrough. You can approach them however you want. This is the fastest game to earn another 1,000 gamerscore in.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Every Artifex Mundi Game

15-20 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3-4 Hours
Price: $9.99

Artifex Mundi has been pumping out old-school, point-and-click adventure games on mobile, tablet, and PC for years. That catalogue of games is slowing finding a new home on Xbox One, and so far, all of the games deliver fast and easy achievements. The assistance of guides can speed up the process, but the games are fairly straight forward and come with in-game hint systems. Always play on the Expert difficulty to get huge game completion points. The games out right now are: Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink, Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart, and Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek.

Every Telltale Game

48-50 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 5-8 Hours
Price: $4.99 an episode

No, this is not a joke. Completing any Telltale game nets the player 1,000 achievement points. Each season of a game is five or six episodes lasting approximately five to eight hours. All of the achievements in every Telltale game are tied to story moments, so you can’t accidentally miss one. The games in the series you should play first: The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: Season 2, Tales from the Borderlands, and Batman. If you like what you see The Wolf Among Us is worth a look. Game of Thrones is the longest of the bunch (and the least satisfying). Minecraft: Story Mode is shorter, but still not complete as of this writing.

Fibbage: The Hilarious Bluffing Party Game

10 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 20 Minutes and Up
Price: $6.99

To earn Fibbage’s achievements quickly, you’ll either need a number
of technology-savvy friends (the preferred method) or a number of
tablets and phones at the ready. I unlocked 650 of the points using one
phone and a tablet within 20 minutes of playing. The achievements
outline exactly what you need to do. To unlock the additional 350
points, you’ll need to play an 8-player game, win the Thumbs Cup, fool
every other player with a lie in a three-player, and play every question
in the game. In 20 minutes, I only managed to play four percent of the
questions. That one will take some time to unlock the 100-point

Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious

25 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 2 to 4 Hours
Price: $9.99

Complete the first race in this game and you’ll earn a nice 100-point achievement. Over the next two to four hours of racing, the game doesn’t ease up on spitting out the points. Every new car that is unlocked nets you a 40-point achievement. The skill-based achievements also come quick. This is one of the easiest games on Xbox One to get 1,000 points in. Just complete the core races and you should get every achievement. You don’t have to worry about the secondary feats and collectibles.

Gemini: Heroes Reborn

21 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3 to 5 hours
Price: $14.99
I played through this game purely to complete it and walked away with 840 achievements. Most of them are handed out for story missions and completing gameplay tasks that occur naturally as the game unfolds, such as catching 10 rockets. The most time consuming achievement is “Throw All Things,” worth 90 points, which requires you TK throw 1,000 objects. I only complete 43 percent of this one. The achievement “Secrets, Secrets” will also require a guide, but is only worth 40 points. To unlock the secret achievement, simply start the game again after finishing it.

Mr. Pumpkin Adventure

13 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 1 hour
Price: $3.99
This puzzle adventure game is short, beautiful, and strange as all get out. Most of the puzzles involve finding and item and figuring out where to place it. Some of the machines in the game hold minigames, which can be tricky. The game also offers two endings. I recommend making a save when you are given a blue and red pill. If you select the blue pill, you will rocket off to one ending and 100 points. If you use the red pill, you will be taken to an eighth chapter that contains another 100 point conclusion and the remainder of the scraps you need for another 100 points.

Never Alone

15 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 4-5 hours
Price: $14.99

Game Informer’s Joe Juba wasn’t a fan of Never Alone, but I found it to be a charming experience that bears its heart and takes players on a colorful adventure through the tundra. It also spits out big-point achievements from start to finish. This is a game that you can unlock 1,000 points in in one sitting. There are only a couple of achievements that you may have to go back and get after the first playthrough. Enjoy the game first and foremost, then go back and mop up the points later. The big thing: Listen for owls. When you hear one, find it. Always check to the left at the start of each level for an owl. Here are the achievements that may give you a little trouble:

Dendrologist: 50 Points
Within the opening moments of The Forest level you’ll hear an owl that you need to find. Don’t worry about it until you find yourself circling back toward the beginning. You’ll end up on a ledge with a tree across a small gap to the left and ice that must be broken below you. Don’t drop down to break the ice. Jump across the gap, hit the tree, and continue on to find the owl.

Insightful: 200 Points
After you finish the game and find all of the owls, which should mostly be accomplished in the opening playthrough, go into the video player. You don’t have to watch every video all the way through, but for whatever reason, just clicking all of the videos and backing out doesn’t seem to work, either. I had to watch five or six of them fully before the wonderful 200 point achievement popped up.

Ori and the Blind Forest

50 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 8-25 hours
Price: $19.99

Without going for any achievements in my initial playthrough, I walked away with 725 or the 1,000 points offered. If you want to unlock most of them, do not venture to the lower sections of the volcano before getting everything you can from the other areas. Once you engage the final boss, there’s no turning back. A completed game can no longer be accessed. Most of the achievements I unlocked came from the critical path, including a nice 100-point achievement for completing the game. You’ll need to play the game numerous times to unlock all of the achievements, as some are tied to feats like “complete the entire game without dying” and “complete the game without using an Ability Point.”

The Park

1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 45 minutes-2 hours
Price: $12.99

The Park’s achievements require a keen eye and off-the-beaten path exploration. The first achievement “The Mist” can be obtained by leaving the park. It takes a few minutes, and you’ll earn 100 points for doing this. From this achievement on, most of the achievements are tied to objects in the environment. The video below walks you through all of them within 45 minutes!

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Pneuma: Breath of Life

11 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3-4 hours
Price: $19.99

If you can tolerate an annoying narrator for a few hours, you should be able to unlock all 1,000 points from Pneuma: Breath of Life. I didn’t look at any guides for Pnuema, and walked away with all but two of the achievements. Here are the two you’ll need to keep an eye out for:

Spirit: 50 points
In chapter 2, you’ll need to activate five torches. To do this, you’ll need to deploy a number of techniques, like looking at them, looking away, and walking backwards. At this point in the game you should be acclimated with these techniques. Just hunt down the torches. Some of the torches in the world do not count for the achievement. You need to find ones that can be interacted with. The final two torches are right after the bridge with the eye that you need to interact with. Once they are activated, a pillar will appear with a message that gives you the achievement.

Soul: 50 points
This achievement is a pain in the butt, requiring you quit the game and bounce around to different chapters. The best advice I can give is to watch this video for the solution.

Rare Replay

200 Achievements
4,000 Points
Time Requirement: 15 minutes to 100-plus hours
Price: $29.99

No, Rare Replay doesn’t deliver an easy 4,000 points, but you can add a few hundred points without playing any games. All you have to do is launch a game and you’ll earn 15 gamerscore just for firing it up. You can do this for all of the games in the collection.


10 Achievements
1,000 POints
Time Requirement: 4 to 30 minutes
Price: $2.99

The first playthrough of this casual platformer can be completed in roughly 30 minutes, which will net you roughly 500 points. The hardest achievement to get is finishing the game in just four minutes. You’ll need to memorize the locations you need to hit and run through it mostly without error.

Slice Zombies

17 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 4-5 hours
Price: $9.99

After just one game, I unlocked six achievements. Around 700 achievement points can be unlocked in under an hour. The only difficult achievements are the 140-point “The Winner Takes All,” rewarded for completing the game, and “Champagne and Caviar,” unlocked after collecting 15,000 coins.

The Swapper

10 Achievements:
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 3-4 Hours
Price: $14.99

The Swapper’s achievements are next to impossible to unlock without using a strategy guide. The game offers 10 achievements, all tied to 10 incredibly well hidden terminals – often tucked away behind solid walls. The video below shows off the location of each terminal, and the methods needed to reach them, all while not spoiling any puzzle solutions.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Tekken 7

43 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 5-6 Hours
Price: $59.99

Don’t be intimidated by the huge list of achievements: you’ll get most of them from playing the story mode and Treasure Battle, two of the most exploitable modes in Tekken 7. The story mode takes about two hours to complete (less if you skip all the cutscenes) and the most of the fights aren’t difficult. Be sure to take on the final challenge at the end, then do 10 Character Stories. Then head over to Treasure Battle, where you can pick Akuma, spam your fireball for about 60 straight matches to earn treasure boxes and rank up to Warrior, and get a lot of other achievements. In training mode, just do a 10-hit combo (the character King has one 10-hit string on his move list), then perform many of the basic maneuvers in the game. Finally, you’ll have to play 10 online matches and earn a win in Ranked, Player, and Tournament modes. These may be tough depending on who you go up against, but that’s still over 900 points you can get without really trying.

Thomas Was Alone

15 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 2-3 Hours

Price: $10.99

Outside of getting stumped on a few puzzles, I had no problem flying through this wonderful platformer. You won’t have to go out of your way to unlock the achievements awarded for jumping 1,600 times or dying 100 times – you should get those roughly halfway through the game. The only achievement that warrants unconventional play is “Part of the Problem.” To earn this one, place a character on Laura and put your controller down. After a minute or so, the achievement will ring out. To earn the Thomas Was Not Alone achievement, you’ll need to complete the bonus levels, which are unlocked after the credits roll. As for the collectibles, here are the levels you’ll find them in:

Mr. Lonely
Spawn – 0.3, 0.5

Three Amigos
Array – 1.8, 1.9

The Golden Fleece
Origin – 2.4, 2.9

True Romance
Associations – 3.4, 3.8

Lone Survivor
Purge – 4.4, 4.8

Defying Gravity
Invert – 5.1, 5.4

A Noble Quest
Iterate – 6.2, 6.7

Design – 7.1, 7.10

Generation – 8.5, 8.10

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Y+1, X+1 – 9.2, 9.10

Whispering Willows

19 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 1 Hour

Price: $9.99

Most of Whispering Willow’s big achievements can be missed, and take a fair amount of exploration to uncover. I recommend playing the game to completion on your own, and going through a second time to mop them up using the video guide below, which walks you through the entire game in under an hour.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Your Toy

22 Achievements
1,000 Points
Time Requirement: 1 Hour

Price: $14.99

This short puzzle-horror experience delivers most achievements along the critical path, but you will have to restart the game for a few of them – such as dying three times (for 40 points), and finding the key in the cave’s first light (for 60 points). The video below by Achievement Land shows you how to solve every puzzle.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Like many fan games, the development of Super Mario 64 Online started with mutual love for a franchise.

Kaze Emanuar, a prominent ROM hacker based in Argentina, was approached by the streamer and fan-game developer known as MellonSpeedruns, who prefers not to share his real name. A Mario fan since he was five years old, Mellon found the multiplayer offered in titles like Super Mario Galaxy lacking and wanted to create a true multiplayer experience for open-world Mario fans. 

“I tried doing some prototypes in Unity, but [they weren’t] successful,” Mellon says. “After a while, I remembered that the SM64 modding community was strong, and that I could do way more with that game. I then decided to contact Kaze and show him a prototype of an online version of Mario 64 I made with signs.”

(Please visit the site to view this media)

The fan-made creation attracted attention online through videos showing Emanuar and other beta testers playing together. Soon, the game garnered a following and saw a generally positive early build launch. Emanuar, Mellon, and the other fans were eager to keep building on the project. 

Shortly after Super Mario 64 Online’s release, however, Nintendo hit Emanuar with multiple copyright strikes. YouTube videos that linked to instructions on how to access the fan game were taken down, and Patreon closed his crowdfunding page after the company received a copyright claim from the Japanese game publisher.

“I’m dead,” Emanuar wrote in a Twitter post on September 19. “Nintendo just took 20 of my videos and my Patreon down. Nintendo Creator program is not available in my country :(”

Emanuar’s situation is a regular risk of fan-game development, one of the more perilous methods of displaying an appreciation for a specific video game or series. Sometimes spanning years of multiple people’s lives, fan games are regularly lost in an instant due to copyright law violation, many times leaving their creators with nothing to show for their effort in the end. Despite this, fan games continue to be made year after year, with creators knowing full well the penalties they can incur are as major as the benefits the projects can bring.

Fan or Filcher?
While every medium has fan-made creations, fan games require far more time to create, many times shifting what would be the work load of several dozen developers onto a few passionate fans with no direct funding for the project. Mods, which alter or improve a game with fan made codes or additions, are similar in this regard, but are smaller in scale compared to recreating a game from the ground up.

To cut down on this burden, many fans turn to ROM hacks of games available online, which provide the original code and data from a game to be used for the new creation. However, this practice presents several legal issues. Whether hacking an original ROM to modify a game or re-writing a title from scratch, fan games are released independently and without the consent of the original game or series’ creator while retaining its name, characters, designs, or other recognizable features. As such, these projects are frequently deemed a violation of copyright and trademark laws, which puts the creators in danger of legal action on the part of the IP’s owners. In addition, U.S. copyright law requires IP holders to actively move to shut down infringements on their properties or run the risk of losing their ownership. 

Nintendo, the creator of several popular franchises with dedicated fan bases, regularly sees itself in this position. Since August 2016 alone, three high-profile fan games have spawned from properties Nintendo owns: Pokémon Uranium, Another Metroid 2 Remake, and Super Mario 64 Online. Each gained large fan followings and attracted attention from major news outlets.

While Nintendo’s Creator program has allowed for content creators in countries throughout North America, South America, and the Caribbean region to profit from video content related to their games in recent years, fan-made games overstep the limits of the program through the use of their copyrighted assets. This forces Nintendo to file copyright claims in order to hold onto their creation, as was the case with Emanuar’s videos.

We reached out to Nintendo of America for comment, but it did not provide one. However, in a recent statement given to Polygon following the takedown of Emanuar’s YouTube videos and Patreon, the company stated the following:

“Nintendo’s broad library of characters, products, and brands are enjoyed by people around the world, and we appreciate the passion of our fans. But just as Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of others, we must also protect our own characters, trademarks and other content.”

The consequences of copyright infringement can be far-reaching. While Emanuar says his Patreon’s donations were made independent of Super Mario 64 Online, it was hit with a copyright claim by Nintendo for funding YouTube content, which included access links to the fan game. As such, Patreon took down the page and halted any further donations, forcing Emanuar to start up another page and regain contributors from scratch.

A Fleeting Frontier
More often than not, fan games are wiped out completely by copyright takedown orders, leaving creators with either bits and pieces of years long endeavors or nothing at all. The most recent example of this is Pokémon Uranium. A highly anticipated, fan-made project nine years in the making, Uranium was started with the intent of carrying the Pokémon series into more mature territory with darker themes like death and nuclear horror. New Pokémon were created for the entry to use alongside fan favorites, and the team hoped to build on the project long after release.

“Pokémon is very much a franchise that revolves around children,” says Cody Spielvogel, the current community manager of Pokémon Uranium. “I think the freedom and the ability to flip the script, and provide something that people don’t expect from the regular franchise, is what draws people to [Uranium].” 

But shortly after release in 2016, the game and its developers were hit fast and hard with takedown orders by Nintendo. Videos and sites with download links to the game received copyright claims or were taken down, and the original development team left Uranium completely to avoid further legal penalties, leaving the project’s fans and supporters with an unfinished dream.

In the year since, Spielvogel and other fans have pieced the project back together, mirroring and altering the game enough to avoid more takedown orders. The current lead developer Unknown Entity, who prefers not to share his real name, reverse engineered some of the game’s code to provide patches for bugs and is currently trying to finish unreleased content with the original developers’ blessing. Though the project could be taken down again at any time, he continues the work largely for the fans.

“I’m really still here because no one else will do this,” he says.

Spielvogel also sticks around because of the fans who continue to support the project and the motivations behind it.

“None of us came into where we are now with the sole intention of hurting Nintendo or affecting sales or bringing malice to the company in any way,” he says. “We did it because we love the franchise and we love that people are taking these creative strides to make a world of their own.” 

Up next, what motivates fan game creators and the benefits their projects can bring them.


Aliens and supersonic hedgehogs, oh my! Earth Defense Force 2017 and Sonic Adventures 2 are coming to Xbox One backward compatibility today, according to a tweet from Major Nelson.

Earth Defense Force 2017, which came out on the Xbox 360 in 2007, pits players against a hostile army of alien invaders in a version of 2017 that is almost as bad our own. Our own Joe Juba called named it as one of his favorite cult classics. Sonic Adventure 2, originally released on the Dreamcast in 2001 but later ported to Gamecube, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, is a classic entry in the Sonic franchise. If you haven’t had enough Sonic this year, this is the perfect chance to enjoy one of Sonic’s best adventures.

Capcom will be holding a livestream on Twitch celebrating Mega Man’s 30th anniversary on December 4, promising that you won’t want to miss it.

Back in December, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya said to look forward to December for Mega Man news. “I want to say Capcom has not forgotten about Rockman,” Tsuchiya said.

While there is no indication what, if anything, Capcom has to reveal during the livestream, but there were a few hints inside Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 that indicated there may be something up Capcom’s sleeves for the Blue Bomber.

The livestream will be on Capcom’s CapcomUnity Twitch channel on December 4, 11:00 AM PT/2:00 PM ET/7:00 PM GMT.


Our Take
Hopefully Capcom has a new announcement or two, especially with so many developers successfully reviving IPs we once thought were dead. Though, if they do revive it, ideally they do it in a way that pleases fans.

Giant Sparrow’s strange fiction indie title What Remains of Edith Finch will receive a limited physical release and vinyl soundtrack, courtesy of iam8bit.

In a tweet, the limited run retailer revealed a physical version of the story driven indie title for PlayStation 4 is available for preorder and set to ship in early 2018. Copies of the game run for $29.99 and include reversible cover art, and the product will not be region locked. 


The company also plans to release a vinyl disc version of the game’s soundtrack. The record’s jacket features art by Giant Sparrow’s Holly Rothrock, and the disc comes in a smoky wood color. The vinyl is set to release Spring of 2018 with a preorder price of $28.

Released digitally on April 25 on PC and PlayStation 4 as well as on the Xbox One on July 19, What Remains of Edith Finch has received acclaim from critics and fans alike for its story and experimental takes on gameplay. The game is currently in the running for best Narrative in The Game Awards. (Full disclosure: Game Informer is on the voting jury). Be sure to check out our full review of the game.

[Source: iam8bit]

Outpost Games, a technology and development company that is behind the Hero streaming feature, has announced that their multiplayer survival game is going into closed beta on December 11 – 17.

Hero, which Outpost Games has designed to let streamers and the audience get feedback, is being deeply integrated into island survival sim SOS.

In SOS, players
are tasked with retrieving a valuable relic in order to claim one of three
seats on an escape helicopter. In order to escape the island, players will need to
use the power of both voice and personality to build bonds with other
contestants and navigate the dangerous terrain.

Additionally, December 9 and 10 will be available for a special Vets vs. Threats mode that pits veteran players against newly recruited performers. 

You can sign up for the beta at the game’s official site.