Discord is well known as one of the most popular chat apps in the world and likely the primary universal one for gaming. It has become a common place for gamers to congregate and voice chat in and out of games and manage their friends lists across a number of different digital services. It now seems Discord is going to compete with some of those digital services directly.

The chat app is pursuing a store is aggressively curated, hoping to invoke a small town bookstore feel. In the same way employees of locally-owned bookstores write little suggestion cards on new releases and old favorites, Discord wants to create a digital games store that has games their staff likes. The store is launching with the following games:

  • Dead Cells
  • Frostpunk
  • Omensight
  • Into the Breach
  • SpellForce 3
  • The Banner Saga 3
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
  • Hollow Knight
  • Moonlighter
  • This is the Police 2
  • Starbound

This is not to say Discord isn’t in it to win it, because they’re also launching an exclusivity program for indie games. The “First on Discord” initiative helps bring indie games to fruition in exchange for an exclusivity window of 90 days. Other publishers and stores like Humble have tried similar methods to varying degrees of success depending on the games in question.

DIscord’s Nitro subscription is also going to add a game library of curated choices, as well.

Perhaps most importantly for people who are using multiple digital distribution services, Discord is also launching a library aggregation service for the games on your harddrive. Discord will, at your request, scan for games on your PC and pull them all into one convenient location. So whether you’re using games on Origin, Steam, or any number of the other publisher-specific launchers, Discord can theoretically just bring it all together into one virtual bookshelf.

A lot of these features are just going into beta and plan to grow from here, so the company is warning that it is starting from humble beginnings. In a blog post, Discord also mentioned that they have hit a milestone of 150 million users for the service, which is certainly a good foundation to build from.

 

It is interesting to see another competitor go into the digital distribution arena by directly focusing on one of the most common complaints with Steam. It will be even more interesting to see how successful they will be at it.

Compulsion Games’ psychedelic survival game We Happy Few is nearly out! You know what that means, right? It’s time to take our Joy pills in the form of a new episode of New Gameplay Today. It’s like our video content is the thing from the game, get it? Eh, never mind. 

Brian Shea played the game for review, and he was kind enough to take Leo and me on a tour of Wellington Wells and a few of its surrounding locations. It’s like a mod version of Haze met Condemned or something. Look, you can just watch the video; I don’t know why you’re even reading this part if I’m being completely honest.

We Happy Few is available August 10 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 

We Happy Few tells the story of a society hopped up on literal happy pills, trying to avoid anything that interrupts its collective high. Similarly, playing We Happy Few is often intoxicating, but the high is interrupted by small issues that prevent it from attaining pure bliss. Thankfully, an intriguing world full of fascinating mysteries and enjoyable missions make Compulsion Games’ dark, open-world title worth the journey down the rabbit hole.

Players explore Wellington Wells, a British archipelago devastated by the war and cut off from civilization in an alternate version of 1964. The government mandates that citizens take Joy, a hallucinogenic drug that instills an overwhelming sense of bliss in its users. Those who have rejected Joy are exiled, and those who dare enter the city noticeably sober are chased and beaten by citizens and police alike.

You control three characters, each with their own campaign, as they reject the drugs and try to escape to the mainland. Each character feels separate thanks to distinct skill trees and unique attributes; Arthur can blend in and run fast, Sally is an influential chemical genius who can craft the highest-tier concoctions and walk outside without suspicion, and Ollie is a brash brute with the ability to hit harder, carry more items in his inventory, and tinker with mechanical creations. Each character’s story is compelling, and by the time they wrapped up, I was fully invested in their individual struggles.

 

Tense stealth sequences, frantic chases, and desperate fights help the main and side missions create exciting scenarios; sneaking into the belly of the beast past tons of hostile NPCs on your way to revealing a massive conspiracy is thrilling. However, the missions are too often fetch quests, and getting a single item frequently turns into an annoying chain reaction of favors for multiple NPCs. As missions push you to retrieve items and help people from the various islands, you continually bounce between society and the outskirts; this can be problematic, since you must conform to your current area in both appearance and mental state to avoid angry mobs.

When the inevitable misstep occurs and you’re thrown into combat, fighting is a simple-yet-enjoyable experience with first-person melee combat that keeps you blocking or attacking with an eye on a stamina meter. Weapons break after steady use, but I always had a realiable supply of backups so I never felt strapped for a weapon after the initial moments. You can also upgrade weapons to augment their attacks with elements and ailments. For example, one late-game weapon I crafted was not only indestructible, but delivered stunning electrical damage and upgraded damage.

Weapons aren’t all you find. We Happy Few is a loot-fest that practically requires you to scrounge everywhere you visit. Finding a huge cache of resources never ceases to excite. However, some missions require you to have certain crafting items in your inventory to progress. On a few occasions, my progress was halted for hours as I struggled to stumble upon the object I needed. While you’re able to continue with side missions and other exploration while you scour for that item, it slams the brakes on your progress for the mission you were working on.

This issue of not being able to find essential resources carries into additional mechanics introduced in the second and third campaigns. Without spoiling anything, Sally has something at her house she needs to tend to regularly throughout the campaign. Ignoring her obligation slowly eats up inventory space until she returns home to complete her duties. Similarly, Ollie’s blood sugar drops rapidly and he must regularly take glucose injections or his stamina is dramatically cut and he hurtles insults at random passersby, inciting fights. While these are fun ideas, the execution often makes for unfun situations.

Interrupting the enjoyable flow of the missions to regularly trudge back to Sally’s residence is irritating, and I often struggled to find the necessary ingredients to craft the items needed for both Sally and Ollie. Dropping weapons to free up Sally’s shrinking inventory space, or playing through part of Ollie’s story with half stamina because I can’t find any syringes emphasizes the restrictive mechanics rather than the things the game does well.

We Happy Few also suffers from technical issues, ranging from NPCs falling through the floor to showing they lack contextual awareness by yelling at you to get out of their house when you’re not in a house. On multiple occasions, I was in the middle of a fight and an enemy got stuck torso-deep in the floor. I never encountered any game-breaking bugs, but these problems broke the immersion on multiple occasions.

While We Happy Few is dragged down by irritating missions, scarce-but-necessary resources, and technical blips from time to time, it’s a fun adventure that combines an eerie atmosphere and a gripping narrative to great effect.

After an extended stay in Steam Early Access and multiple transformations, We Happy Few finally gets its full release this week. You can dive into the adventure completely blind, but if you want some spoiler-free guidance, we’ve got you covered.

Below are tips and strategies I developed over the course of my playthrough. For more on We Happy Few, check out my review, as well as our episode of New Gameplay Today.

Dress For The Occasion

So much of We Happy Few is about avoiding trouble. A big part of that is how NPCs perceive you. With conformity being king, it’s important to change your clothes in order to fit in. You learn early on that a torn suit helps with those outside of town, but the inverse is also true. Other outfits carry additional bonuses as well, so don’t be afraid to build your wardrobe and dress appropriately as you enter a different district.

Live And Let Live

A good strategy for any game involving skill trees is to plan for the long game and establish a path to the skills you really want. While most paths in all three of We Happy Few’s characters’ trees yield helpful skills, the most useful skills involve having citizens and police looking the other way. Skills that let you go out in town past curfew without attracting negative attention simply for being out, or ones that make townsfolk look the other way when you’re sprinting or climbing around make for much better exploration and traversal experiences.

Take Time To Smell (And Pick) The Roses

It’s easy to get objective oriented in We Happy Few, but things will go much smoother if you take time to go for a stroll through the Garden District and pick a ton of flowers. Rose of Gilead and Rowan Berries, in particular, are extremely helpful for crafting healing balms, so definitely stockpile them.

Unlatch The Hatch

Each district has a hatch that connects to a series of tunnels throughout Wellington Wells. Not only do these hatches give you access to safe shelters where you can sleep, craft, and store items, but they also serve as fast-travel points. Once unlocked, you can fast travel to discovered hatches from nearly anywhere on the map, so I recommend finding them as soon as possible. They are marked on your in-game map once you’re in the district, so set a waypoint and power up that bad boy.

Unload The Weight Of Your Burdens (And Inventory)

Each shelter gives you access to your Pneumatic Stash. You can store anything from your inventory aside from quest items, but the best use is to store all your crafting ingredients. Not only do crafting items add up quickly in terms of weight in your inventory, but they can also be used from anywhere, even if they’re in your stash. This means there’s no reason to keep them in your active inventory, so unload them into your Pneumatic Stash each time you visit a shelter. The only crafting item I recommend keeping on you is a canteen, as there are a few missions that require you to have one in your active inventory.

Open Up Shop

In the second campaign, you control a brilliant chemist who can craft powerful concoctions neither of the other characters can. It’s important to remember that while you can use these creations to help you on missions, some of these chemicals and crafted items hold high values at shops. Part of this campaign involves spending a lot of money for items you commission at the shop, which is largely unattainable unless you start selling your creations at a shop. If you unlock this character’s skill that lowers shop costs and sell a bunch of created items, you can afford the expensive item in that quest with ease.

Update: While writing the story, actor Ben Schwartz confirmed the news.

The original story is as follows:

While the live-action parts of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie have already started filming, Paramount has yet to make a public announcement about who might be voicing Sonic himself. According to a report by Variety, that may soon change, with their sources telling them that Ben Schwartz will play the blue blur.

Schwartz might best be known as Jean-Ralphio in the TV show Parks & Recreation, as well as voice work in Netflix’s Bojack Horseman and Disney’s DuckTales. He would presumably be doing the voice for Sonic after the live action scenes have been filmed.

As a side note, Jim Carrey confirmed to an audience at the Television Critics Association that he will be playing Dr. “Eggman” Robotnik in the movie, but he won’t be just supplying his voice. Eggman will be entirely played by a live-action Carrey during the movie.

You might have heard already, but Dead Cells is great. The action rogue-like is receiving a wave of positive critical reaction after coming to consoles and coming out of early access on PC. Switch owners, however, are reporting that the game does not maintain a fluid framerate, which is feedback developers Motion Twin are hoping to rectify.

On Nintendo Switch subreddit, a post was put up yesterday warning Switch owners sensitive to framerate fluctuations about Dead Cells. The post got over 500 upvotes, so it ended up getting quite a few eyes on it. In response, Motion Twin posted a statement in the comments responding to the issues people are having. 

While the developer was aware of the framerate drops, they didn’t think it was a significant enough issue to significantly delay that version of the game. They admit that dismissing the issue wasn’t the right call and are now planning to focus on bringing that version up to snuff, which may take some time as they’ve moved past the more obvious fixes that could be done. Any fixes now have to be done by digging deep into the Switch version to solve the framerate issue.

“This leaves us with the big time consuming changes as well as exploring new possibilities which might really help, or not, we won’t know until we start,” Motion Twin wrote. “Of course on console all updates must be certified before reaching you guys, which adds extra time between now and a potential fix. So to be clear we’re looking at November at the absolute earliest, if the god of game dev comes down from the clouds ad [sic] blesses our guys right now. This is however as soon as it is physically possible for us right now.

“We apologize to everyone who was expecting a higher port quality and to anyone who has been disappointed by the performances on the Switch so far,” they concluded. 

Dead Cells is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC now.

 

The Switch version does have framerate drops, but I haven’t noticed it to be too bad. That said, it would have been smart of them to release comparison footage before the versions dropped so that they didn’t end up in this situation.

After spending 100 hours in Monster Hunter: World, I finally put the game on the back burner three months ago. It wasn’t easy; it had become part of my nightly routine to jump into a hunt before bed. The loop of getting better gear and defeating monsters that had at one point destroyed me made me keep coming back. I loved seeing the progression, whether it was getting the drop I needed to create a cool new weapon, or watching my dodging improve thanks to learning enemy patterns. But one day, I just didn’t load the game up. That turned into days, and finally into months. To be fair, I had other games to play; Monster Hunter: World and I needed this break. Flash forward three months and the recent events, such as the Summer Twilight festival and Final Fantasy: XIV crossover, made me load up the game. Who can resist their Palico turning into a Moogle? Now that I’ve gone down this path, I’m back in my nightly Monster Hunter: World routine. It’s safe to say, we’re back together. 

I love when games give you reasons to revisit them, especially RPGs, which tend to be one and done. These days, we have expansions, events, additional modes, and even more to prolong our journey. Taking a break was a good thing; I needed time to miss the experience. Sometimes the best thing you can do is wait for when the desire to play hits you again. I knew back at E3 when I got to learn more about the Final Fantasy XIV/Monster Hunter crossover event, it would probably bring me back, but what I didn’t expect was to still be playing after trying that content.

While I’m high rank, I still don’t have everything I want, nor is my character as strong as I want her to be. I went back and upgraded my light bowgun to the Cataclysm Trigger, the most advanced stage in the Nergigante tree, and then got shiny new armor (rarity 7 and 8)  so I could endure getting roughed up by high-level monsters. With some new equipment, I was ready to step back into the ring, but I soon realized I needed a new challenge. This lead to me finding a new weapon to master. I love my bowgun, but I want to be more up-close, in the action, so I’ve been trying the great sword and getting back to the dual blades. All of this is to say, yes, I’m back down the rabbit hole. I think I will always find some new equipment I want to make, and I just love the positive community.

The jump to the Final Fantasy content after being off for a few months hasn’t been easy, though. The special assignments for the Final Fantasy hunts are far from a walk in the park. That crystal Kulu-Ya-Ku fight? That jumping slam can really catch you off guard. I never thought I’d look at a Kulu-Ya-Ku with such disdain. That disdain quickly found a new target when I hit the Behemoth quest. I didn’t expect him to be a pushover, but he’s become a thing of my nightmares. Unless you have four friends to plan your party around and really coordinate with, you don’t have much of a shot. Screw his thunder bolt and ecliptic meteor attack. The latter being instant death is extra salt in the wound. So, now I have a new foe in my life, and I am determined to bring him down so I can wear that slick, new Drachen armor. Because, really, Monster Hunter is all about your character’s style (check out my girl’s eye patch) and crafting new things to up the coolness of your appearance, and this is what keeps me logging in. 

The conversations, failures, and triumphs I’ve had with others have made the experience for me. I’ve been trying to document it with pictures of my crazy antics and they just make me smile. Hence, the photos of my character and her cat Kirby. Feel free to do the same and share your favorite moments or best gear in the comments. 

You can find detailed impressions on the Final Fantasy crossover here, or learn how the crossover came to be here.

In just a few months, Child of Light and Valiant Hearts: The Great War will hit the Nintendo Switch. The two hand-drawn games originally came out back in 2014 and were received well, and now they’ll get their names back in the spotlight for another go with Switch versions on the way. 

In a blog post today, Ubisoft confirmed that the two titles will come out about a month apart. Child of Light hits on October 11, while Valiant Hearts: The Great War launches on November 8.

For Child of Light on Switch, two players can work together, one playing as lead Aurora, while the other controls her firefly companion Igniculus using a Joy-Con controller. 

Valiant Hearts is fully playable with touch controls. Ubisoft boasts “allowing you to interact with the characters and world like never before.” Switch owners will also receive an interactive comic book called Valiant Hearts: Dogs of War, focused on Walt the dog and his sister Cassie as they deliver important messages and help soldiers during World War I. 

To add to the excitement, Child of Light director Patrick Plourde took to Twitter, teasing a sequel. While no specific details were revealed, he did post, “Sorry for the silence,” with Child of Light running on Nintendo Switch. If you look carefully behind the Switch, you can see a doc that appears to say Child of Light II. I’m sure we’ll hear more in the coming months. He did hint in another tweet to stay tuned for information on more cool projects set in the Child of Light universe.  

 

If you watched the Super Smash Bros. Direct this morning, you might remember that the Simon Belmont trailer started with everyone’s second favorite Mario brother himself in over his head in Castlevania. After fleeing from some monsters, Luigi comes face to face with Death himself, who slashes Luigi and takes his soul likely for banishment purposes. I mean, his name is Death.

In true Sakurai form, Luigi was not seen elsewhere in the entire Smash direct, because he was dead. It’s sad, but sacrifices had to be made. At least that was the common thought, but Nintendo has put everyone’s worries to rest.

It turns out sacrifices didn’t have to be made and Luigi is fine! Either that or Nintendo is denying plain facts, that Luigi is gone and they are pretending otherwise, like the 1993 political comedy Dave. Heck, the Luigi in the trailer might be a body double in the first place.

For now, all we have to go on is Nintendo’s word, but I’m watching closely. My suspicion is this is an inheritance scam. It continues the pattern of Smash Bros. newcomer reveals that sacrifice characters, like Mario and Mega Man in Ridley’s trailer or DeDeDe in K. Rool’s trailer. The Inkling reveal is the least deadly trailer of them all.