Game Informer’s Ben Hanson, Kyle Hilliard, Brian Shea, Suriel Vazquez, and Imran Khan share new gameplay impressions of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate before diving in and discussing the full career of its creator Masahiro Sakurai. After some great community emails, Ben Hanson, Jeff Cork, Jeff Marchiafava, and Leo Vader look back at gaming in 2018 by listing all of the things they’re thankful for in games like Red Dead Redemption II, God of War, Insomniac’s Spider-Man, and much more.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Playlisten to episode 425 on SoundCloud, or download the MP3 by clicking here. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show.

Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below…

2:35 –  Super Smash Bros. Ultimate impressions
15:35 – Unpacking Masahiro Sakurai’s career
47:50 – Community emails/PlayStation skipping E3
1:14:15 – 100 jokes about gaming in 2018

With several promising blockbuster games on the horizon, from Anthem to Darksiders III, it can be easy to get caught up in the bigger releases from large publishers. However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore some of the smaller gems. We’ve gathered a handful of under-the-radar games that we think deserve your attention.

From drinking your way through the depths of Hell to an alternate history where the Berlin Wall never fell, these six upcoming indie games have interesting premises and gameplay hooks that look promising.

Mosaic
Release: Summer 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Krillbite Studio, the creators of horror game Among The Sleep, have something quite different in the works. Whereas Among The Sleep was told from the perspective of a toddler, this time you play as a tall, lanky man in a mundane world who is making his daily commute to work. While it’s not a horror game, there is something unsettling nonetheless about Mosaic’s world, with its dimly lit, blue-hued environments and dream-like state. This adventure game puts emphasis on atmosphere and story where you begin to notice strange happenings. Its visual style resembles the likes of Playdead’s Inside, with a lot of clever lighting and a world that resembles a dull corporate dystopia.

Afterparty
Release: 2019
Platform: PC, Mac

What would you do if you unexpectedly died, found yourself in Hell with your best friend, and realized the only way to escape eternal damnation would be to out-party the devil? In Afterparty, you get a chance to find out. Playing as Milo And Lola, you roam through the underworld in an effort to find out how to take down Satan in the ultimate drinking game. It’s a bizarre but curious premise, which intrigued me right away when I first heard of it. Plus, it’s made by the creators of Oxenfree, so expect natural dialogue and hopefully compelling characters to bring this world to life.

Felix The Reaper
Release: 2019
Platform: PC, Mac

Felix the Reaper is a puzzle-adventure game with a playful twist on death. You play as Felix, a love-stricken Minister of Death employee who dances his way through obstacles. Although Felix looks like a giant marshmallow wearing headphones, he’s surprisingly swift on his feet. You have to guide him through different levels and avoid light, which is lethal to him. Thanks to powers granted to you by the Ministry of Death, you can control the sun so that he can dance safely through. With upbeat music reminiscent of the Persona series and all of Felix’s comedic-but-rhythmic twirls and flips, this title looks like a fun and lighthearted experience.

ITTA
Release: 
Platform:

With visuals similar to Hyper Light Drifter and Swords & Sworcery, ITTA is about a young girl and her cat who venture on an otherworldly journey. It features twin-stick shooter combat as you fight foes with your father’s old revolver as well as melee weapons. ITTA looks to be a minimalist experience and some mysteries may require a keen eye to uncover.

Griftlands
Release:
Platform:

Griftlands is a sci-fi RPG described as a “pirate/mercenary sandbox,” where you attempt to make a fortune for yourself in a post-apocalyptic world. You control a group of mercenaries who have several different quest lines, and the world will mold and dynamically change depending on your good or bad actions. As for battles, these are played out in a turn-based fashion with a focus on subduing your enemies rather than outright killing them. Although it’s not exactly clear how this will manifest in the game, Griftland’s Steam page says that “everything is negotiable,” from money to even morality. 

For more indie gems, read our top picks from shows like GDC, E3, and PAX West.

Sensational Sports Sales

All the major sports title may have already been released, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re late to the game. In fact, with many of them on sale for Black Friday and having updated since launch (oftentimes addressing maddening bugs, etc.) and some added content, now’s a great time to pick up some of these titles.

Many of these can be found on the digital storefronts for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well as regular retailers*, but check before clicking or heading out. Some of these also might be console-specific, only be digital, have different start/end times for their sales, have different sale pricing, etc.

Furthermore, some are offering deals on titles’ special editions and in-game currency, so if you’re interested in playing a game’s fantasy collection mode like Ultimate Team, for instance, and want to pay for some premium currency, it can pay to get those too.

*Full Disclosure – Game Informer is owned by Gamestop.

F1 2018

FIFA 19
A new update is coming for the title addressing issues like A.I. defending, and an interesting addition in general this year is the different exhibition modes – including playing without any cards or rules.

Forza Horizon 4

The changing seasons is a big feature for this iteration, and since these change for all players in the world, developer Playground Games has added seasonal events as well as free cars for everyone.

The Golf Club 2019
This year the game features the PGA Tour license, and it’s already added a free DLC course – Atlantic Beach Country Club. This brings the number of official courses to seven. Of course the course creator lets you make and play an unlimited amount.

Laser League

Madden NFL 19
Madden didn’t have the best start, but developer EA Tiburon has been releasing more and more updates trying to get a handle on the bugs and tune gameplay (here’s the latest update). Along the way Ultimate Team – this year with a new power-up system – has been getting regular content.

MLB the Show 18

NASCAR Heat 3

NBA 2K19 (on sale for both home consoles)
NBA City Edition uniforms have been added as well as the new NBA rule that the shot clock resets to 14 seconds after offensive rebounds. A slew of other fixes have also been included in the game’s updates, as well as MyTeam content.

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 (on sale for both home consoles)

NBA Live 19

Like last year, NBA Live 19 is holding Livestrikes which let you complete challenges for exclusive in-game content, including apparel from BAPE and Mitchell & Ness. The game has also been updating its player likenesses.

NHL 19

OOTP Baseball 19
The simulation game is adding a free fantasy card mode called Perfect Team which is currently in beta (click here for our impressions) and is hopefully out before the end of the year.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019
A post-launch update fixed annoying tendencies from the A.I. attackers, and the MyClub fantasy mode has been adding Featured players doing well in real-life, ways to get other players, and challenges.

Rocket League GOTY Edition

UFC 3

A decade ago, Electronic Arts and Visceral Games entered the world of survival horror, surprising everyone with the violent tale of Isaac Clarke – an engineer who faced unimaginable terror and barely came out alive.

This article originally appeared abridged in the November 2018 issue of Game Informer.

In 2008, Electronic Arts was known primarily for its annual sports, racing titles, licensed games, and recurring franchises like Battlefield and Medal of Honor. Horror was not in its repertoire, and it shied away from making new game concepts. This made its decision to go up against survival horror’s biggest players like Resident Evil with a brand-new, unproven original universe a huge surprise. When Dead Space was announced, it was treated with qualified praise. The game was undeniably promising, but EA and Visceral had no track record for scary games, and players did not have the confidence the studio could deliver a truly terrifying experience.

In the face of players’ hesitancy, Dead Space proved it was more than capable. It released to critical acclaim (Game Informer gave it a 9.25) and experienced commercial success, selling more than two million copies and inspiring multiple sequels and spin-offs. Protagonist Isaac Clarke’s terrifying journey through the USG Ishimura hit a high bar for gamers. Taking on the monstrous necromorph threat while battling the inhospitable elements of space, provided an instantly engaging and consistently scary journey.

Michael Condrey, who co-founded Sledgehammer Games and recently co-directed Call of Duty: WWII, is credited as co-director on Dead Space and worked on the series from its inception. “Dead Space was an incredible experience for everyone involved, and a highlight in my 20-plus year career of making games,” Condrey says. Condrey helped develop the world and its lore, as well as its gameplay mechanics.

“We started a new team with a small core of less than 15 developers and pitched the concept through several stages of EA’s greenlight process.” Condrey says. “Within a short time, we had a playable prototype experience that began to capture the tension that would later become synonymous with Dead Space.” Resident Evil served as a major inspiration for the team, in both its early horror-focused forms and the later more action-focused format used in Resident Evil 4. “Initially, until we had a more developed prototype that people could play and experience for themselves, the creative northstar of ‘Resident Evil in Space’ and ‘survival-horror meets Alien’ captured the spirit of the art and design targets for the team,” Condrey says.

System Shock was another influence for Dead Space based on its similar atmosphere and horror elements. The comparisons were so strong that after Dead Space’s release, rumors surfaced that it originally began development as a System Shock sequel. “System Shock is an undeniable classic, and part of a highly acclaimed EA-owned franchise that had gone dormant,” Condrey says. “While we were inspired by both the original and its sequel, Dead Space was never officially attached to the System Shock franchise in any capacity.”

Rich Briggs was a producer on both Dead Space and its sequel, but you probably know him best as the face of the man who violently transforms into a necromorph in the opening moments of Dead Space 2. “I’ve always been honored to be the first person killed in Dead Space 2,” Briggs says. “I, evidently, had the perfectly shaped head to let it transform into a necromoprh. By nature of my skull, I was the natural fit.” Briggs says the original game was in development longer than the typical EA-published game. “It was a game that I think was a long time coming and it took a long time to convince people it was the right game to make at the right time, but we were really excited by the fan response and it was a ton of fun working on.”

As the world was developed during pre-production, it morphed and evolved. “In total, the game was in development for nearly three years, the longest time I’d had to develop a game up to that point,” Condrey says. Since it was a small team, EA was comfortable giving it space. “The time allowed us to take some risks, learn from some misses, and innovate in ways we hadn’t been afforded on shorter development cycles,” Condrey says. “The development also spanned the console transition from PS2 to PS3, and the added time also allowed us to push on engine technology advancements in important areas like rendering and audio that were key to delivering on the gritty and visceral atmosphere.”

One of Dead Space’s most defining mechanics is the way you attack the necromorph threat. Instead of aiming for their heads, you used Clarke’s Plasma Cutter weapons, frequently in combination with the time-slowing stasis ability, to aim for the limbs and dismember the creatures. “The combination of the two together opened up a host of amazing combat and puzzle- based mechanics that exceeded our initial hopes, and became a cornerstone,” Condrey says.

Dead Space was more than just fighting scary monsters in space, though. One of the reasons it stood out was because the world in which Dead Space takes place is a fully realized one. “Topics like religious zealots, depletion of natural resources, and the exploits of a rogue state beyond Earth’s laws, were key to capturing a relatable version of a future conflict that players would embrace as plausible, and provoking,” Condrey says. “The series Black Mirror captures a similar dark imagination for me today.”

 

Notwithstanding the success of the Dead Space series, the franchise went dark following the launch of Dead Space 3. The third entry was critically the weakest of the main trilogy; EA said it did not sell as well as it hoped. Despite leaving EA to found Sledgehammer Games before the second and third entries released, Condrey says he would love to see it return. “I can’t believe that October marked 10 years since the game released,” Condrey says. “I love thinking about what a new hardware generation return to the Dead Space mythos might mean for gamers. The original game remains near and dear to many of us, and I’d want the return only if it is treated with the same passion and care that the team brought to the original game.”

You can watch us revisit Dead Space in a recent episode of Replay below.

The super mutants pressed their attack and my health worsened. As I weaved in and out of dilapidated buildings searching for a temporary safe zone to heal up and find a weapon that could handle this threat, the mutants’ numbers grew. They closed in on my location; their machine-gun fire intensifying, and their grenade tosses becoming more accurate. I couldn’t win this fight, but I was determined to go down in a blaze of glory, hopefully picking off a few before I collapsed. I aimed my firearm at the door, but they didn’t enter. For a moment there was silence.

When the rattling of machine guns returned, I realized the bullets weren’t flying my way. I peeked outside of the door to see the mutants were now exchanging blows with an agitated Grafton Monster. I dashed up a set of stairs to a rooftop to watch the chaos unfold. From this vantage point I realized I wasn’t alone. Another player decked out in power armor arrived to clean up the mess. I assisted how I could, and when the last mutant body hit the ground, engaged in small talk with my savior. I handed him a rare sniper rifle as a thank you for the assist. We waved at each other and went our separate ways.

In this singular moment, Fallout 76 shows us why it can be great. The injection of other players into Fallout’s tried-and-true framework creates unpredictable cooperative scenarios and the chance to make new friends. My journey through West Virginia’s wasteland was filled with fascinating developments just like this one, but the greatest danger I faced wasn’t from an irradiated beast or the bloodlust of another player – it was the stability of the game itself. From server dumps and hard crashes to bosses getting stuck in walls and enemies magically appearing out of thin air, Fallout 76 struggles to deliver an experience that players can trust. For an online game of this ilk, this can (and likely will) lead to disaster.

The excuse of “all Bethesda Game Studios games launch buggy” is not a safety net or a get-out-of-jail-free card. Unlike Bethesda’s single-player titles, players cannot load earlier saves to undo the potential harm that is inflicted when the game misfires. If something terrible happens, you have to live with it. Given how unstable the servers are and how frequently glitches occur, your playthrough can be upended within seconds.

There’s no shortage of gear or weapons.

In a fight against a level 50 scorch beast, my team brought out all of its heavy weaponry – gear that was obtained over 60 hours of play. We saved these armaments for an encounter just like this one, unloading mini nukes, chain guns, and missiles against the difficult adversary. Its health fell to half, and we could almost taste victory, but then the beast disappeared into a wall, reappearing occasionally for a few seconds at a time. We laughed at the silliness of this buggy encounter, but knew we would be rewarded for our efforts soon. The beast then regained all of its health, and our laughter subsided. We wondered if this was another glitch. We again pressed on, thinking we could achieve victory. The server then crashed. Not only did we fail the fight, all of that time we spent building up an arsenal ended up going to waste because the game malfunctioned numerous times in different ways.

I went into Fallout 76 thinking that not having NPC humans to interact with would hurt the story and in turn affect the enjoyability of exploration. The solidarity of being one of the lone survivors in the wasteland is actually kind of cool, and although narrative content is delivered at a slower pace, is usually interesting. You basically take on the role of an archaeologist who studies the final moments in people’s lives. You learn what they were doing right before the bombs fell – often hearing their voices on audio recordings. Being a detective in an irradiated graveyard is a different hook for Fallout, but it works well, and gives this entry a decidedly different feel. Yes, it is disappointing that player choice has been stripped from the equation, but the world-building is as deep as ever, even without crafted characters populating it.

Sections of the world are stunning in design.

As interesting as the victims’ stories are, the missions don’t always follow suit, and are often massive time sinks that send players all over the wasteland to fetch items. Since fast travel comes with a sizable fee of Caps (the in-game currency), you sometimes find yourself walking great distances just to drop off an item or log into a computer. In one mission, the game does a great job of poking fun at the frustration of going to the DMV. You’re tasked to get an ID card, but the robot who is running this place isn’t satisfied with your paperwork and needs to you to fill out a different form, then get a birth certificate, then a marked envelope with your address, and so on and so forth. This mission is nicely crafted and hilarious, but ends up looking foolish, since some of the missions before it are just as tedious in design, sending the player back and forth between the same locations over and over again. The critical path campaign does a nice job of taking players to interesting locations in West Virginia, but the side content is where the best stories unfold.

While most missions pit players against Fallout’s familiar assortment of enemies, West Virginia’s folklore is used to bring some great new threats to life, such as the Mothman and Flatwoods Monster. Hunting these legends down is a fun side activity. I also enjoyed the optional events, which bring players together to take on waves of enemies or to solve specific problems in a set amount of time. While you can see other players on the map at any time, the events glow like beacons, and bring people together, often rewarding then well for victory; meaning there’s good incentive to do them. The game isn’t shy about spitting out activities, and always rewards the player well for completing them.

The scorchbeast is one of the game’s more difficult foes.

If your intent is to stick to the critical path, prepare for some wild difficulty spikes and lengthy missions. A dungeon consisting of enemies at level 10 may conclude with a boss at level 32. The game doesn’t give any indication that the spike is coming, and you may find yourself in a no-win situation. Toward the end of the game, a nuke is dangled in front of you, but you seriously have to work to launch one. Crafting the best power armor also requires a ridiculous number of resources and rare Black Titanium.

While I enjoyed the quiet moments of exploring on my own and making interesting discoveries I would later share with friends, the game is better (and more forgiving) when played with a full team of four. Not only are you gaining benefits from a shared card in the excellently designed S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system, but you are better prepared for huge swings in difficulty. Sharing resources and camp spaces with friends makes a big difference, and it’s just a good time wandering the wilds with other people. Trying to read terminals or listen to holotapes when friends are talking in your headset is difficult, and some of those enjoyable side stories will likely be lost because of it, but my favorite moments in the game were the emergent stories created by my groups.

Don’t be surprised if your headset is filled with people complaining about hunger and thirst. Managing those meters is a constant pain that becomes slightly more manageable later when a fully furnished camp is pumping out clean water and crops. Camp construction works well and is almost identical in design to Fallout 4, with the addition of players being able to blueprint their creations and move them to different locations. The Cap cost to move camps is a bit high, but having that option is handy, especially if you want to drop off junk at your stashbox or change out supplies before taking on a mission.

Fallout 76 isn’t designed to be the next installment in the core Fallout series, but Bethesda wants it to feel like a direct extension of it. Combat, menu management, exploration, and all of the gameplay loops are just like Fallout 4’s, which is a good thing. These systems still hold up and deliver a great degree of fun. Yes, there’s a little bit of clunk and rust to combat, but it is reliable to a degree. Even VATS, which no longer freezes time, can be used to effectively pick off difficult foes. The problems that arise are often glitches, like enemies popping into existence, or the framerate chugging and letting a foe get on top of you. I also ran into a bug where I could only spawn at Vault 76, which meant I would have to pay a huge Cap fee to fast travel back to my last location.

Don’t think for a second that the gameplay mechanics will create enjoyable PvP encounters. Most of my battles against other players ended up looking like circus routines with groups of players bouncing around wildly. Outside of the PvP event zones, there’s no great benefit to player battles, either, other than being a jerk to other wanderers.

We have to wait to see if Bethesda creates a robust endgame for Fallout 76, but right now the goal is to launch a nuke, take down a difficult boss, and gain gear that will hopefully be used for something bigger at a future time. Yes, the nukes are a sight to behold.

Before we can even think of what might come next, Bethesda needs to make the core game more stable and fair. While I found it to be mostly enjoyable from an exploration standpoint, the frequency of server crashes, freezes, and technical issues is unacceptable. The foundation for another fun Fallout experience is in place, but you end up watching it crumble before your eyes as you play. The game just wasn’t ready for showtime.

If you’re not sure what should grace your table this Thanksgiving, why not get inspiration from video games? There, it doesn’t hurt if your eyes are bigger than your stomach, recipes only take seconds to make, and you don’t have to clean up afterward! Here are video games’ most feast-worthy foods guaranteed to elevate this year’s dinner – and a few of the more dubious digital dishes you should avoid.

Starters

Mulberry Seafood Salad – Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

Unfortunately, I’m told you must have some greenery in a “proper meal.” So, what better healthy Thanksgiving feast option than a salad where the veggies are drowned out by appetizing seafood and berries? It’s so good, it’s not even available as a recipe. You unlock the chef’s creative genius it by eating seafood salad three times. This appetizer will bestow a huge experience boost as well as increase your max health.

Coleslaw Salad – Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

There is a lot of great-looking food in the Yakuza series, but not many fit into a traditional Thanksgiving meal. What makes the coleslaw salad a great choice is that its name implies healthiness. I mean, it is a salad, right? A lovely, mayonnaise-slathered salad.

Mutton Stew – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I am a sucker for a good, hearty stew, and it turns out Geralt is, too. One comforting bowl regenerates the highest possible amount of vitality of any food. Can you imagine how crowded your dining-room table would be this Thanksgiving if your soup could heal wounds?

Mushroom Stew – Minecraft

This pixelated treat is all the rage in Minecraft, and – while I don’t deny the healing benefits – producing it is a bit questionable. To craft mushroom stew you need a bowl and a mushroom…and that’s it. What are you doing to this mushroom? Milking it? Has anyone ever seen mushroom milk? You’d think that no one would be interested in the glop you can squeeze from a fungus, but in all fairness, milk only became a common drink after someone decided to consume the liquid that came out of a cow. 

Avoid: Trash Can Apples – BioShock Infinite

Really, any produce is questionable if you find it just lying around, but if you have the option to pick it out of the trash can, probably just avoid it altogether. In the game, this particular piece of fruit comes in fresh and rotten varieties, and it is very hard to tell the difference.

Sides

Sweet Potato – Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Muramasa: The Demon Blade lets you cook a sweet potato by wrapping a yam in leaves and setting them on fire. A+ for easy prep. On a busy Thanksgiving, any dish that takes such little time and effort and still comes out delicious is a blessing.

Stuffing – Stardew Valley

Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of cooking recipes in a farming simulator. Pam won’t divulge her secret stuffing recipe until you have seven or more hearts of friendship with her. If you won’t teach someone to make a dish until you are borderline in love with them, it has to be amazing. In fact, this recipe is two Thanksgiving dishes in one since one of the three ingredients is cranberries.

Bread – Persona 5

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a good roll. Persona 5 has a lot of varieties of bread on offer, including the totally-not-worth-the-effort bread from the school store. Full disclosure, I may have some hard feelings after the salesperson repeatedly gave me attitude because it wasn’t Friday. If you want to pass over the low-hanging fruit, go for the bread chain, which can only be found in dangerous circumstances, like after completing a difficult request or in a treasure chest in a Palace. The effort is totally worth it though, since one bread chain fully heals every member of your party.

Meldacio Meat Pie – Final Fantasy XV

You really can’t go wrong with anything Ignis cooks up in Final Fantasy XV. Every pixel looks positively mouth-watering. The Meldacio Meat Pie boosts magic, attack, and maximum health – it’s also Prompto’s favorite meal. If you really do want to include it in your Thanksgiving meal, you can! There’s a real-life recipe that recreates this scrumptious dish.

Meat-Stuffed Pumpkins – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Last year’s game of the year introduced players to an amazingly fun cooking mechanic that rewards exploration, both in the world and in the kitchen. Autumn’s best gourd, the pumpkin, is grown in Kakariko Village, the not exactly well-hidden home of a ninja clan. Somehow eating the squishiest parts of the gourd confers toughness. If you stuff it full of meat and throw it on the cooking fire, it will transform into a worthy Thanksgiving side dish.

Mashed Potato – Guild Wars 2

One of the most common Thanksgiving sides, mashed potatoes are surprisingly rare in video games. The unprocessed tuber and baked potatoes pop up a fair bit, but a good heaping of proper mashed potatoes? They’re practically nowhere to be seen. Thankfully on this Thanksgiving, Guild Wars 2 can handle all your virtual need for the delightful smashed starch

Avoid: Dog Food – Wolfenstein Series

Wolfenstein serves up one of the most undesirable food offerings in all of video games: dog food. Wolfenstein 3D’s low-resolution bowl of brown mush was reimagined in The New Order as a graphically detailed bowl of crunchy bits. If I have to tell you to avoid consuming puppy chow, your Thanksgiving dinner may already be beyond saving. 

Protein

Plain Plump Bird – Red Dead Redemption II

Thanksgiving isn’t called turkey day for nothing, and Red Dead Redemption II lets you celebrate the right way. Start your meal like the pilgrims, by shooting or running over a turkey. Once that’s done, all you need to do is rest at a campfire and roast up the main course in your feast. If you want to spice up your meal, there are mint, oregano, and thyme variations in the game.

Kaiser Turkey – Monster Hunter: World

If you’d rather have a squad of cats cook your turkey, head over to the canteen in Monster Hunter: World. The cooking cutscene’s presentation is unrivaled, and the Palico chefs provide only the best of culinary experiences. To relish the exquisite turkey dinner, all you need to do is go out and fight a monstrous enemy. Why let a fight to the death keep you from a delicious meal?

Turkey – Castlevania Series

If it’s the old classics you’re craving, look no further than the turkey in the Castlevania series. You get the sense that someone in the castle is big into munchies, to the point where they have tucked away foods in the walls. Turkey provides a copious amount of health, bested only by steak. 

Roasted Ham – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine

Variety is key to a great feast. You may have guests that prefer a good ham over the turkey, and that’s fine. Luckily, the Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine DLC expanded the menu to include the roasted ham. The sun-soaked land of Toussaint takes its feasting seriously, and if it can grace the table of the discerning Duchess Anna Henrietta, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser on your Thanksgiving.

Avoid: Grilled Radroach – Fallout Series

This culinary experience is not ideal for one major reason: You’re eating the flesh of a giant, mutant roach. Just because it won’t radiate you after you’ve grilled it doesn’t make it okay.

Avoid: Trashcan Chicken – Streets of Rage

Just to hammer home my earlier point, don’t eat food that comes out of the trashcan. That’s a major faux-pas for a feast. On top of that, chicken – while also a bird – is not turkey.

Desserts

Sweet Roll – The Elder Scrolls Series

Keep a close eye on these after you bake them, because these treats have a reputation. You know what I mean. These pastries are so popular, Bethesda made an official video on how to make your own.

Stardrop – Stardew Valley

Here’s the in-game description for this fruit: “A mysterious fruit that empowers those who eat it. The flavor is like a dream… a powerful personal experience, yet difficult to describe to others.” How can you pass that up?

Chocolate Cake – Portal

Erroneously, you’ll hear people say that this tantalizing chocolate cake, smothered in rich chocolate icing and topped with fresh cherries, is beyond your grasp. Don’t believe them – GLaDOS wouldn’t lead you astray.

Butterscotch-Cinnamon Pie – Undertale

In testament to this pie’s deliciousness, it soothes a child who finds himself in an underground realm populated with monsters. And what’s not to love? It’s butterscotch, it’s cinnamon, and it’s pie – everything delicious, all wrapped up in one dessert.

Sweet Potato Souffle – Don’t Starve

Souffles are not easy to make. They are delicate, they are touchy, and they take concentration. Despite that, Don’t Starve – a game about surviving in the wilderness – has a souffle. What could possibly make it worthwhile to make this fancy French dessert under those circumstances besides it being just unbelievably enjoyable?

Avoid: Baker Family Special – Resident Evil 7: Banned Footage Vol. 2

The Jack’s birthday DLC game mode has you running all over to satiate the titular birthday boy’s appetite. Most of the offerings are fit for a party. However, the Baker family special – despite its fancy name – is created by combining garbage and sugar. No amount of desperation absolves serving that to your guests.

Diving Into Artifact Draft

Valve’s new card game Artifact launches on November 28, just in time for you to soak in the complexity after a bout with some serious Thanksgiving feasting.  We’ve taken a look at one of the best formats in the game – draft – and picked a few cards you won’t want to miss.

The drafting format is interesting – 2 cards at a time, 5 packs, limited to picking one hero per pack.  While picking out the high power rare heroes from Dota 2 is often the easy part, there are a number of cards you may pass over on first glance. Here are some of my favorites from each of the four colors (and the item pool) that you don’t want to ignore. 

Red

Bronze Legionnaire – The reason this unit is great is because of the armor. Bronze Lego can slice down standard creeps, other units, and even heroes sometimes without even getting a scratch. Best utilizied as an early game drop that can keep hard harassment on the opponent until the bitter end. Even if your opponent does deal with it, you’ve probably gotten the better end of the trade in terms of resources.

Stonehall Elite – This is basically a bigger, meaner version of the Lego. Not only does it shred through enemy creeps, it grows with each kill, making it a huge threat to the enemy tower after the blockers run out. Also extremely dangerous next to enemy heroes should its eyes wander (via the arrow targeting system) when it lacks something to slaughter. You want as many of these as possible!

Keenfolk Golem – Yes, the other two big red creatures are awesome, the Ogre Conscript and Marrowfell Brawler, but this guy is the one to talk about because it can seem terrible at first glance – it costs you your hand! In practice, this can be quite negligible, but it may require a bit of finesse on your part. Whether it’s a desperation play to save a lane and win you the game or just a power toss into the third lane (dumping your hand in lanes one and two to ignore the disadvantage), or perhaps just well set up to take advantage of the huge freaking golem. Keenfolk Golem is also incredibly useful as a surprise finisher – tossing your hand won’t mean much if it’s the final play of the game.

Red has plenty of other major power cards like Time of Triumph, but they’re more obvious and easy to spot. Red sports a number of amazing heroes with Axe, Legion Commander, and one of the better “free” heroes that you can place into any deck if you don’t manage to draft any other red heroes, so going red is a very nice place to start, especially for beginners, as your heroes can outbrawl most opposition without too many tricks or spells.

Green

Mist of Avernus – You can play this on the first turn and see immediate, powerful effects, and they keep happening for the entire game, unless your opponent has a way to remove improvements. Your opponent will have to either play into the lane hard or abandon it, either way you’re going to gain more control of the board. This is easily one of the strongest cards in the game and should push you into green early if you get one or even crazier, two or three.

Unearthed Secrets – Drawing more cards is great, and you can get this permanent effect going on the first turn of the game. While a couple cards may not make a big difference, this can draw you an absurd amount of cards of over the course of a game, for an incredibly minor investment.

Emissary of the Quorum – This is one of the few cards in Artifact that, if it goes unanswered, can just straight up win you the game. While Emissary comes with impressive stats, the ability is the real killer, as it can buff your lane every single turn with powerful permanent boosts. It won’t take long to destroy a lane’s tower (or even an ancient) with this thing on the board.

Green also boasts many other obvious cards that should catch your eye, like some of the biggest critters in the game with Thunderhide Pack and Thunderhide Alpha. There’s also Cheating Death which is silly and lets you break the rules, letting your heroes and creeps survive after death – sometimes. Green also has a lot of great heroes for draft like Lycan, Drow, Magnus, and more – even their subpar heroes are pretty good like Enchantress or Treant.

Black 

Iron Fog Goldmine – Get as many of these as possible and pick them early. Stack up gold, buy insane items from the secret shop, golden tickets, or stuff you can draft like Helm of the Dominator. This is a staple black card and the more you can get ticking on turn one the better. 

Slay – If you’re just coming to the game, killing a creep may not seem that great. That may be true for the standard melee creeps that come trundling out each turn, but Thunderhides, Ogres, and giant golems all count as creeps too. If you hold on to your Slays to take out big 7+ mana targets, you will be gaining a nice advantage on those turns. Alternatively, you can use them at opportune moments to gain crucial tower hits or save your fragile heroes from death.

Steam Cannon – Possibly black’s best card, being able to shoot an armor-piercing ball into any lane every turn is an absurdly powerful effect. Put this puppy down in lane one and then use it to shoot down heroes in lanes two and three, killing them before their turns start and denying them the ability to play cards.

Black has tons of ways to make gold, move around the board, and do damage, making them one of my favorite colors to draft. Powerful heroes like Phantom Assassin, Tinker, and Bounty Hunter, maybe Necrophos get the job done – stay away from Bloodseeker and Lion, as they are both terrible. Black’s “free” hero is one of the better ones and is completely playable if you don’t get any of the good ones.

Blue

Dimensional Portal – One of blue’s best, you’ll immediately add three creeps to the lane. On turn 2, this is a huge lane presence, and is a great way to “sneak” in other creatures on the perimeter that you’ve created as well, like Red Mist Pillagers. You get a ton of bang for your buck with this one.

Thunderstorm – Sometimes, this can just kill an entire lane of both enemy heroes and creeps. Definitely worth the price.

Aghanim’s Sanctum – Recharging your mana may not seem that useful, but blue has plenty of ways to take advantage of doubling up on mana every turn, whether you’re making more spells with Ogre Magi (multiple magis in one lane in draft!), drawing cards with Foresight, and more. Just make sure you draft some things to take advantage of the extra mana.

Blue has fragile heroes that often come with powerful spells or abilities, including ways to spam lanes with swarms of additional creeps with Prellex or Venomancer. Be on the lookout for Kanna as one of your best hero options, with Ogre Magi and Zeus other great picks. Avoid Crystal Maiden and Outworld Devourer at all times. Blue can do all kinds of crazy combo stuff if it gets going, but features heroes that are very easy to kill – I advise trying other colors first unless you get handed some incredible stuff.

Items

Stonehall Cloak – This thing is amazing. Attach it early and watch your hero HP soar. You’ll be able to brush off even the most incredible spells and attacks wearing this. You may be tempted to go with Stonehall plate instead for the armor, but armor can be pierced – try piercing 30 HP.

Helm of the Dominator – It’s expensive, but this can swing games easily, especially against big green decks. Taking control of the pick of the litter every 2 turns is very, very powerful.

Horn of the Alpha – 25 gold, but if you can stick this early (or even late) your opponent is going to have a lot of trouble dealing with a free giant creep every 2 turns.

Claszureme Hourglass – When the game goes late, those two cards you draw a turn are everything, and locking them out of play is very strong.

If you’re reading then, then I really hope you’ve finished playing Red Dead Redemption II. As you can tell from our review, we really love the game and it contains a lot to digest and talk through. In the video above, Ben Hanson, Joe Juba, Javy Gwaltney, Matt Bertz, and Leo Vader share their full thoughts on the game’s story and ending. This is your official spoiler warning! The conversation went on for so long that we decided to post the audio in the feed for The Game Informer Show podcast as well, so you can click here to subscribe and listen to the full discussion that way if you prefer. We’ll also have a full, new episode of The Game Informer Show podcast going live on Thursday.

We hope you enjoy the discussion, and let us know what thought of the game in the comments below.

 

 

 

Red Dead Redemption II is one of the best games we’ve played all year. Outside of its lengthy, moving story campaign, there’s a huge amount of things you can do. We decided to put together a list of 101 such activities, distractions, and things worth investigating for those of you who have beaten the game or simply want a break from the massive story campaign.

The majority of these entries are spoiler-free. The ones that aren’t are herded at the very bottom in a single section and have a spoiler warning in bold right before you hit them. With that in mind, happy trails, friends.

  1. Get a haircut: Arthur’s hair sure is shaggy. Why not stop in Valentine and give him a trim. If you’re feeling fancy, maybe apply some pomade or give our hero a handlebar mustache? He can pull it off. Probably.

  2. Become a master chef: Sure you can hunt down deer, wolves, birds, and other animals for their meat but why stop at some plain steak? Gathering herbs from the world will allow you to spice up those meals and even give you stat boosts. Become the Gordon Ramsay of the West.

  3. Be a Bully, Part The First: Try antagonizing everyone in the camp. You might get some surprising results when you push someone’s buttons too much.

  4.  Stick up a stagecoach: See that stagecoach on the road there? Why not ride over and aim your shotgun at the driver’s face and let him know that this is a robbery! If he’s wise, he’ll give you everything in his pockets. If not, well, his mistake to make!

  5.  Steal a stagecoach: Ok, let’s say the aforementioned robbery doesn’t go well. You’ve hidden the bodies in the reeds like a smart murderer. Why leave the stagecoach there, ownerless and road garbage? After you progress a little of the way through the story, there’s a fence at Emerald Ranch that will buy coaches off you for easy money.

  6.  Royal Flush, baby: Why not try your hand at some poker in one of the saloons and impress your opponents with your mad skills. Granted, if you suck, you can always just stand up, shoot the winner in the face, and take back your money! Everybody wins! Well, actually, just you. You’re the one doing the winning. Nobody else.

  7.  Gimme the loot: Like the original Red Dead Redemption, there are treasure maps to find and buy that can lead you to some goodies. There’s gold in them hills, so get to it, partner.

  8. Fend off a robbery: One of the random events in the world involves you getting robbed on the road by one of the gangs that runs around. You can let yourself be robbed, if you’re in a pacifistic mood, or you can show them why you’re the fastest draw in the West.

  9. I call it Vera: Being a Western, you bet your horse there’s a bunch of guns for you to add to your arsenal. However, you can also visit the local gunsmith to customize every weapon, down to what color the metal is and what you want engraved in the stock. Why not make that revolver real special by making the handle nickel-plated?

  10. Be a real dastard: Did you know you can lasso people and then hogtie them? Why not leave at least one of those foolish bandits standing after a battle, hogtie him, put him on some tracks and wait for the train to come while you twirl your mustache all evil-like?

  11. All the scorched horses: Head over to that one place near Saint Denis where horses are literally becoming immolated. No, really.

  12. Take a bath: Being an outlaw is hard, dirty work. Literally. Get knocked down in a fist fight during a thunder storm and you’ll probably find yourself covered head to toe in mud. Townspeople will even comment on your smell if you let it stick to you, the jerks. No biggie. Just find a hotel. Most of them offer baths where you can rub the stink off you.

  13. Seaman: Fishing in Red Dead Redemption 2, like most of its systems, is surprisingly complex and deep with different baits working for different fish throughout the world. But you’re already a master horse breaker and deadly gunman, one in dire need of a hobby. Why not relax from all the murder and mayhem by becoming an immaculate fisherman?

  14. Slow ride, take it easy: Saint Denis is a haven of technology innovation at the turn of the century. One of those miraculous devices is a trolley, making public transportation a breeze. Let your poor horse rest a bit and take a ride around town to soak up the Frenchiness of the city.

  15. Into the wild: Sometimes you just need some space, away from the loud, obnoxious folks at the Van der Linde camp. Luckily, there are deserted mountains to the north. Bundle up and take off, exploring the frozen woods by day and pitching a campfire at night to cook any game you’ve caught.

  16. House call: There are various homes throughout the world (look for smoke rising from chimneys) that you can enter while their residents are sleeping and burgle their cabinets for pocket watches, gold, and anything else you can find to sell to a fence. Just make sure to be quiet or your sneaky home invasion might suddenly turn into an unexpected murder.

  17. The weirdo trade: Algernon Wasp is located in Saint Denis and tasks you with tracking certain feathers and orchids. That might sound like a dull task but you get something really cool for completing it, so indulge this wacko.

  18. Jet Set Radio Past: There’s some curious graffiti on the walls of Saint Denis buildings. The first one is near the trapper in the market. Keep looking around the city for two more of them and the map will spawn a mysterious new X somewhere in Saint Denis. Go there and get ready for something special.

  19. You’ve got to love yourself a fire: There are bandit camps throughout the world that spawn independently near you from time to time. You’ll know they’re bandits as you creep up on them because of conversational clues. You’ll often want to invade these camps for the goods they contain but instead of wasting bullets and putting yourself in danger, why not lob a fire bomb dead center in the middle of the place and watch the fireworks.

  20. Smoke signals: One of the easiest ways to spot areas worth exploring is smoke rising in the sky. If you’re galloping across the plains and see a pillar of smoke, that means that something—a camp, an event, a group of idiots that need to be shot, a sidequest—is nearby for you to investigate.

  21. I am a scientist: You don’t have to hunt animals if you don’t want to (outside of one mission). It’s a pricier choice, with you having to often buy food from stores, but it’s doable. However, you can still study them if you don’t want to hurt the animals you come across in order to complete your compendium.

  22. Herbology 101: You’ll also need to sniff out and pick every plant you come across in the world to complete that big book of yours.

  23.  Take a train ride: Train rides exist in cities as one of the game’s few fast travel methods. However, you can also just relax and enjoy the scenery if you want…or, and this is a bonkers idea but WHAT IF…

  24. Drive a train: Yep. You can literally throw the conductor through the window and steal the locomotive for yourself to ride around the world and ring the bell as much as you want.

  25. The not-so-great train robbery: You can also just rob any train you see too. Besides going from passenger to passenger and holding them up, all trains also have special cargo compartments filled with valuables. You just need to plant some dynamites on the safe to blow it. Oh, and get ready for armed resistance too. Most trains have guards ready to fight you tooth and nail for the riches, not to mention the lawmen and bounty hunters who will be riding in as reinforcements.

  26. Die savagely: Sometimes someone says the wrong thing to you and you lose your cool a little bit and suddenly there are some dead people on the floor, a smoking revolver in your hand, and the cops are on the way. Whoops. Building up your bounty and getting into intense shootouts in the middle of Saint Denis or Valentine can lead to some great emergent stories, like the time one of our editors shot a lawman as he came up the stairs and he crumpled dramatic, stumbling down the stairwell Gone With The Wind style. Hold out as long as you can and see just how high you can get that bounty up to.

  27. Who burgles the burglars: Several stores throughout the world have seedy underground operations going on — like moonshine trading — that you can crash in on to steal their profits for yourselves. Keep an ear out for NPCs in the open world that you help in emergent events, like freeing someone from a paddy wagon. They’ll often clue you in on these criminal enterprises.

  28. Top of the food chain: There are ‘legendary’ animals all over the map that represent the toughest beasts to bring down. You’ll be able to find them on the map by looking where the animal drawings with crowns are. Head there to track and square off against the animals that put the king in kingdom.

  29. Jurassic Park: To the Northeast of Flatneck Station, you’ll find a bizarre site: an old woman excavating for dinosaur bones! Talk with her to start a quest to find 30 bones littered throughout the map. You’ll need to use your hunter vision to find them all.

  30. It’s time to du-du-duel: While most duels in Red Dead Redemption II are random and happen whenever an NPC is irate with you, you can try to jerryrig such sequences. The easiest way to bait an NPC into a duel is cheating at poker (and getting caught) or knocking characters off horses and insulting them until they whip out their pistols.

  31. Couldn’t drag me away: Like the aforementioned Stagecoach fence, there’s also a horse fence in the world that you get access to after you progress through the story a bit. That fence is located north of Clemens Point, after you complete a certain mission in Chapter 3. You can bring whatever horses you lasso there, both those on the plains or those you’ve stolen from towns in the dead of night.

  32. Fancy yourself a collector: The weapons at the gunsmith aren’t the only ones you can find in Red Dead Redemption II. Littered throughout the world, in both missions and locations, are rare weapons you can’t purchase. A lot of them, too. To find one of the rarer ones, complete the Gunslinger missions for Calloway (who you can find in Valentine).

  33. Spirit tracks: When night falls, head to the northwest part of Lemoyne and find the sign that says Lemoyne. See those tracks? Okay, wait until 3:00 AM (you can check the time by hitting down on the D-pad) and ride along the tracks. You should see something very interesting.

  34. Press all the buttons: This might sound dumb but listen, Red Dead Redemption II has a habit of burying a lot of relevant information under its tutorials. So take some time, go to a clearing somewhere, and just press all the dang buttons to see what might happen. For example, one of our editors (the tall, lanky dumb one) didn’t realize until he already beat the game that you could use iron sights on any weapons by holding down on the D-Pad.

  35. The latest in fashion: Hold on to your pelts, especially the good ones. While it might be tempting to sell them, the trapper in Saint Denis can make great frontiersmen gear for you to wear, including a raccoon hat!

  36. The KKK won’t take my baby away: Members of the Ku Klux Klan roam Red Dead Redemption II’s map, especially in the south. You can stumble upon them having rallies or trying to raise crosses to burn. Why not let them know what you think of their prejudiced and regressive philosophies with a stick of dynamite or a hail of bullets?

  37. Poke the bear: There are certain animals in Red Dead Redemption II who do not take kindly to your presence. Messing with alligators or bears in particular culminates in one of the most disturbing animations we’ve see in games – one that’s worth triggering at least once for just how shocking it is.

  38. Arabian nights: The best horse in Red Dead Redemption II, when it comes to stats, is easily the white Arabian breed. You can buy one for a hefty price in Blackwater but why not be a true cowboy and track one through the mountains around Lake Isabella. Get ready though, this well camouflaged steed will put up a fight for its freedom.

  39. The sickest of stunts: The physics and systems in Red Dead Redemption II are the promising foundation to a lot of hilarious, accidental deaths. Experimenting with riding your horse around jagged, rocky territory or pushing people to get a sense of how weighty and manipulated the physics can be. For some examples of sick stunts, watch this collection put together by our mischief maker lads Kyle and Leo. 

  40. Make it an Olympic sport: The lasso is a great tool even when you’re not hogtying people. Maybe there’s a bandit who’s giving you a surprising amount of trouble that you want to make an example of. Tie him up and drag him with your horse while he kicks and curses you. If you’re on a mountaintop, you can drift around the edge, let go of the lasso, and send him flying in a downright diabolical maneuver.

  41. Lend me your ear: The soundtrack is kind of astounding. Listen as you go from region to region to hear how the music changes to encompass the vibe of each place.

  42. Wrath like the cold rain: There are seven gangs in Red Dead Redemption II that are out and about to commit various misdeeds. Why not show them why the Van der Linde gang is the king around these parts? Take down all the hangouts and put these fools in their place.

  43. Canonized: It’s real easy to become a notorious outlaw but why not experience the flip side of that and become a saint of the West by doing good deeds and staying your violent hand. Bring bounties in alive and help people to boost your honor rating.

  44. Howdy partner: Piggybacking off the last point, a quick way to raise your honor in small increments is to greet everyone you come across politely. No really. It makes you a better person. We’re not joking.

  45. Unchained: Chain gangs play a surprisingly large role in Red Dead Redemption II’s open-world. You can come across them in the world and shoot of their locks if you feel so inclined, with the NPC giving you some helpful information about locations worth investigating. There’s also a sidequest on the outskirts of Rhodes involving two prisoners that’s absolutely worth doing.

  46. Hammer in the morning: The Appleseed Timber Company is a camp of lumberjacks and construction workers that are near Monto’s Rest. You can go there to sell any extra expendables you have (like whiskey and medicine) for a higher price than other sellers but you can also interact with the camp in ways that lets you help build it up. Be sure to return to Appleseed from time to time to see how it changes.

  47. Got a dime, buddy: There are a handful of homeless NPCs in Valentine, Rhodes, Saint Denis, and the world at large. Giving them money not only boosts your honor but they all remember Arthur and will comment on their relationship to him. The beggar you find in the wilderness will give cryptic statements on Arthur’s future.

  48. Bonding time: A handful of main story quests will often give you the chance to ride back to camp or do some other activity (like fishing) with whoever you’re with after they’re complete. While it might be tempting to skip these events so you can go explore the world on your own, you should do them as a number of them are funny and poignant.

  49. Science experiment: So you’ve shot someone in the middle of nowhere. It happens. But what happens next is probably far more interesting. Stick around and keep an eye on the body. The game has a shockingly advanced (and stomach-turning) decaying system. Blech. Neat but yeah, woof.

  50. A lesson in respecting personal space: Find a horse that isn’t yours. Stand behind it for a few seconds.

  51. Every dog has his day: While horses and other animals in the wild might not take too kindly to your presence, dogs and cats in the various towns will adore you and even let you pet them. Whatever you do, do not harm them (you monster) or you’ll have all sorts of hell at your doorstep.

  52. What lies beneath: There’s something going on in the basement of the gunsmith in Rhodes. Swing by there and circle the building for a bit.

  53. The show must go on: In Blackwater, Saint Denis, and on the outskirts of Valentine you’ll find various theatrical shows you can attend. Be sure to catch at least one from every location. Arthur can also boo or cheer on the performers, if you’re feeling like a particularly vocal critic.

  54. So many little dots: If poker isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of dominos boards throughout the world, including one at camp.

  55. Step into the Twilight Zone: Near the bottom of Saint Denis, you’ll find a local crackpot named Marko Dragic around a pond. Be sure to do his quests. All of them. Trust us on this.

  56. Rootin, tootin: You’ll find a couple of big-talking gunslingers throughout the world who want to challenge you to a shooting contest, often involving you blasting a certain number of bottles or birds before they can. Oblige them and use Dead Eye to put them in their place.

  57. Window shopping: Yeah, you can go over to the shopkeep in general stores and flip through a catalog to buy whatever items you want. However, you can also walk around the store and literally buy things off the shelves, making the whole experience much more immersive.

  58. Trials of fire: There’s a whole collection of challenges for you to take on if you want (kill three enemies with throwing knives in rapid succession, rob four stores in a single day). As a whole, they’re hit or miss, but some of them are very fun, particularly the bandit section. Complete them all for a special reward.

  59.  The Good, The Bad, and the Clever: Wanna use your brains instead of brawn to make a fair amount of cash? Northwest of Fort Wallace, there’s a place called Widow Rock. You should find some cave paintings and Arthur will jot them down, kickstarting a quest that requires you to find certain objects throughout the world and culminates in something special.

  60. Strike a pose: There’s a photo studio in Saint Denis where you can pose Arthur in his best (or worst) digs and take some great pictures.

  61. Extra, extra read all about it: Throughout most cities there are newspaper boys on the corners selling editions that keep up with the exploits of the Van der Linde gang and the world at large. Why not take a breather, buy a copy, and see what other people think about the gang’s adventures and misdeeds?

  62. Hair of the dog: True to both The Old West and Rockstar’s open-world games, there are bars everywhere in Red Dead Redemption II. Get Arthur hammered to witness goofy antics.

  63. And the law won: Maybe you want to take a break from being an outlaw for a bit. Luckily for you, there are bounties in every city for you to chase down. On the wanted dead or alive bounties, bring them back alive to earn a big honor boost.

  64. The photographer’s assistant: Southeast of Strawberry, you’ll find an odd looking fellow with a camera. Talk to him to engage one of the most extensive (and weirdest) side quests in the game.

  65. Arthur Morgan, super sleuth: Why be a cowboy when you can be a detective? Available after Chapter 2, this mission is accessible from a cabin on the outskirts of Valentine. Head there to moonlight as a detective on the case of a vicious killer.

  66. Create a fashion ensemble: Your horse can carry three outfits. Typically it’s a good idea to have one winter jacket for whenever you ascend into the mountains but the other two outfits are free game, so why not go wild and have clothes for all occasions on-the-go?

  67. Get in (or out of) shape: Arthur can gain or lose weight depending on how much he’s eating, with stat bonuses/hits applicable to both conditions. Chomping down on a bunch of deer meat at the campfire is a quick way to make Athur bloat if you want to see the differences.

  68. Dirt in the chamber: One of the central gameplay mechanics involves making sure your weapons are maintained by cleaning them with gun oil. However, at least once, you should watch one of your weapons degrade over time to see the visual effects of not cleaning them. It’s another testament to just how much thought Rockstar put into the little details.

  69. The first rule of Fight Club: Sure this is The Old West but you don’t need to settle all your disputes with bullets. Sometimes knocking the lights out of that fellow who just insulted you is more satisfying.

  70. Bandito: Wear your bandana around town to hear unique comments from everyone, even when you’re not committing a crime.

  71. You talking to me: Find a mirror. You’ll see Arthur has a prompt for talking to himself. Hilarity ensues.

  72. Tweedledum and Tweedledee: One of the stranger encounters in Valentine, near the general shop, is an amusing questline involving two brothers trying to impress a woman they both love. Arthur gets roped in. Definitely worth doing for the laughs.

  73. Gotta Collect ‘Em All: There’s a fellow at Flatneck station who needs help finding all the collectible cards that come with the cigarette packets you find throughout the world. Lend him a hand and you’ll net a fair amount of cash.

  74. Dear diary: Arthur keeps a journal where he recounts EVERYTHING he comes across in the game, offering not just summaries of quests from his perspective but also drawing interesting locations and animals he sees. Be sure to stop and read it every now and again.

  75. The refuse of the past: There’s an old man sleeping outside of the train station in Rhodes on a bench. Chat him up. He needs you to recover some precious items from his old plantation. Oblige him for one of the most interesting excursions in the game.

  76. Put some hair on that chin: Is Arthur’s beard not growing fast enough for you? For some zany hair growth buy the hair tonic for the general store and grow yourself a beard much more quickly.

  77. Six pieces, sixteen pigs: You might be disappointed to learn alligators won’t eat bodies. However, pigs definitely will. If you’re morbidly curious, drop a body near a gathering of pigs, and watch as they surge like porcine piranha toward the new meal.

  78. The Macgyver School Of Thought: Sometimes you want to fish but you don’t want to fish, if you know what I’m saying. If you want to catch a bass or something but without the fuss of using a rod, just use your bow instead or (better yet) throw a stick of dynamite in there! Presto!

  79. Deck Out My Ride: Stables aren’t just useful for housing your various horses. You can customize them to a ridiculous degree, from stirrups to blankets to even dying their manes and tails.

  80. Giftwrap: Certain weapons, specifically rifles, come with the option to stick a wrap on the stock. Outside of the visual boon, you also decrease the degradation effect for that weapon, meaning you won’t have to clean it as much.

  81. Evel Knievel: Are you standing on a ledge above your horse? Jump off the ledge for a special surprise. Just don’t miss!

  82. A thousand words: While it’s not easy to find initially, there is actually a photo mode in Red Dead Redemption II. Progress past chapter one and you’ll get access to the camera in your inventory, which you can use to take standard shorts and selfies.

  83. Be a Bully, Part The Second: So you’ve been rude to everyone in camp (including young Jack), why not try win strangers over with your smarm out in the open-world? Arthur’s rudeness can be very amusing. Just don’t be surprised when someone pulls a gun on you because of an off-color remark.

  84. Secret shopping: While the tailor offers a ridiculous number of outfits, it doesn’t have all of them. Be sure to check out general stores for clothing in various places for area and honor-specific outfits.

  85. The easy way: There are a lot of cheats for Red Dead Redemption II, if you want to spice things up a little with infinite ammo or all unlocked outfits. You can find a whole list here.

  86. The outer limits: There’s an interesting sci-fi oriented quest that begins in a shack north of Emerald Station. If you find some corpses inside, you’re in the right place. Search for a hidden note to find the next step.

  87. Bring me a dream: There are 20 dream catchers hidden throughout the game among the tree branches of dead trees. Find all 20 and you’ll unlock a useful item for the bow.

  88. Cave o’ bones: Want to see something spooky and furry?  Chill around Roanake Valley at night. Chances are you’ll hear a howl and see something quite horrifying. Follow it, if you dare.

  89. From the land of the ice and snow: Tired of being a cowboy? Why not try the Viking life? In an old tomb to the northwest of Annesburg, you’ll find a useable Viking helmet (cool), axe (YES), and comb (ok, sure why not?).

  90. You did know me: In the west section of the bayou, near the Kamassa River, you’ll find a shack with a painting inside of it. Return to it often during the game, with every chapter. The payoff is worth it.

    WARNING: Spoilers ahead. These particular events relate to main story events in the game or take place in the post-game. Don’t read unless you’ve beaten the game or don’t care about spoilers.

     

  91. Time goes by: Arthur can make certain choices during the main game that will have consequences in the post-game when you play as Marston. There’s on in Saint Denis involving donating to a charity, for example. The homeless people Arthur interacted with during the main game will also remember him. Explore to find all these callbacks.

  92. Vacation, all I ever wanted: Chapter 5 takes a diversion to an island off the coast of Cuba called Guarma. Be sure to enjoy the sights as much has you can while you’re there. There’s no going back.

  93. Calm before the storm: Whenever you see white quest markers in camp, or with your gang member’s names attached to the, be sure to do so before you go on with the story. People have a habit of not hanging around long in Red Dead Redemption II so foregoing those quests means you could lose them forever.

  94. The simple life: Once Beecher’s Hope is built you can perform chores around the ranch like shoveling manure or feeding the horses hay.

  95. Reunited: After the main game, some of the members who have survived the events of that story are still alive and well in the world. The credits sequence after the post-game gives clues to where in the world they are.

  96. Blood on memory lane: Want to relive the incredible mansion shootout (you know which one) or some other level from the game? Go into the story menu and click on the various chapters to get the chance to replay any of them and try and get a gold medal for each one.

  97. Man’s best friend: While it might be tempting to ride and own a whole stable of horses, be sure to enter the last mission with a horse you’ve bonded to a maximum level with for a special cutscene.

  98. An old flame: One of the side stories you can do is have Arthur reconnect with an old love, Mary. After the first mission, the rest of these are optional, so be sure to do them because if you miss one in a chapter, they fade from the world.

  99. Now it’s a party: Certain missions end with the camp throwing a party. You might be tempted to leave and have Arthur hit the hay so you can start the next part of the game. Don’t do that. Be sure to hang around until the celebrations are over to see some special character interactions.

  100. The fallen: While there are several gang members living after the events of Red Dead Redemption II’s main story, several weren’t so lucky. See if you can find their graves.

  101. Hey, I remember this place: Though you’ll have a ridiculous bounty if you go there before the epilogue, you can visit places from the first Red Dead Redemption including the McFarlane Ranch (No Bonnie, sorry) as Arthur if you want a hit of nostalgia.

For more on Red Dead Redemption II, read our review here or our  feature on quality of life changes we’d love to come to the game.

Battlefield games have always been about teamwork, and that isn’t changing in the series’ return to World War II. It hardly matters how good your kill-death ration is; lone wolfing or selfishly sniping by yourself in Battlefield V isn’t helping your team’s cause as much as you think it is. Whether you want to win lightning rounds of Team Deathmatch or the long-form engagements of Grand Operations, your team needs to work together to hold important control points and advance the attack. Here are some tips to help your war cause. 

Use Squad Commands

Some players in squads disregard their teammates and simply use them as spawn points to get into the action more quickly. Don’t be that person. A good squad is one with a common objective. If you’re playing as the squad leader, be sure to highlight the next objective you want your squad to attack or defend using the right bumper when looking at the control point. When your team plays the f-ing objective you highlighted, you earn a LOT more experience points, so ignoring them not only hurts your team, but your bottom line as well. If you’re in a squad and your leader isn’t issuing commands, use the commo rose to request one. If your calls go ignored for a period of time, the game will automatically promote you to squad leader so you can make the directives.

Don’t Forget Squad Reinforcements

Every point your team earns applies to the squad reinforcement system, but the game doesn’t do a good job of explaining how squad leaders access these rewards. When you’re safe behind cover, simultaneously press LB and RB to access this menu. Here, you’ll see four rewards to choose from, the availability of which depends on your point balance. The cheapest option – resupply – is a great option for calling in resources behind enemy lines. Spending points on one of the two vehicles allows you or your team members to spawn into it from the redeployment screen after their next death. And the V1 rocket? So worth it. We’ve seen well-placed rockets generate upwards of 5,000 points. 

Spam Supplies To Teammates

The medic and support classes both possess valuable resources in the form of ammo and med packs. In my experience, dropping down crates was less useful than spamming packs to nearby teammates in need of supplies. You can rack up a ton of points this way. 

Always Be Fortifying

It’s easy to ignore Battlefield V’s new fortifications system; if you never press down on the D-pad to pull out your building hammer, you’ll never notice all the places you can improve defenses around a contested control point. This is a grievous error. When the destruction begins and your strong defensive positions are compromised, fortifications may be all you have to withstand a focused enemy advance. 

If you spawn into a base that you know could eventually become a hot zone, like the main hangar in Aerodrome, I recommend taking a minute and building up some defenses. It’s an easy way to rack up some points, and your teammates will be thankful when they need to retreat into a well-fortified position. Any class can contribute to building, but the support role can build faster and has access to more formidable defenses like gun emplacements. 

Calling For A Revive Is Worth It

In previous Battlefield games, waiting for a revive felt like it doubled your spawn time if no one came and you had to wait again in the redeployment screen. Battlefield V is much less punishing, which makes calling for a revive when soldiers are nearby worth it. If the soldiers around you are jerks and ignore your desperate pleas for help, don’t fret. Your respawn time on the redeployment screen is almost nil, and you’ll be back in the trenches in no time. 

Anyone Can Revive, So Just Do It

Just because you’re not playing the medic class doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for helping up a fallen comrade. Don’t be foolish about it – it’s your teammate’s own damn fault if he ran haphazardly into an open space with no cover and got himself killed. But if a downed soldier is in a spot where you can revive him without risking your own life, do it. Revives are often the determining factor in overcoming a staunchly defended area. 

Hemmed In By Snipers? Pop Smokes!

Those snipers are so goddamn annoying, aren’t they? If your team is having trouble making headway toward a hotly contested control point, equip some smoke grenades and start tossing. They can give your team the cover they need to cross that death valley and hug up against cover well in advance of the previous stalemate position. Smoke grenades are also valuable for providing cover when several teammates are downed out in the open.

Enemy Tank Approaching? Turn Your Focus There

The assault class is the role best equipped for dealing with menacing tanks, and if you want any chance of winning, it’s in your best interest to make short work of these metal killing machines. I always get into the habit of dropping anti-tank mines on the road leading up to control points. A lot of time, tank drivers are wholly focused on looking for people to shoot, so these undetected mines are a great way to get free points. If they cruise past this defense, get out your panzer and make short work of them. 

Playing As The Recon Class? Spot! 

One of the biggest changes Battlefield V to the class balance is removing the ability for everyone to spam spotting and mark every enemy. While every class can make an indicator that points to a general region where enemies are holed up, only the recon class can 3D spot and mark individual targets. Put this ability to good use between rifle rounds and your teammates will be thankful.

Stick With One Gun A While

Each weapon in Battlefield V has its own tendencies, and with the removal of random bullet deviation, you can truly master the way a gun fires. This makes it valuable to take the time to learn the nuances of a particular weapon rather than continually swapping. Doing so also unlocks several special assignments that lead to new weapon skins and spendable company coins. 

Pick And Equip Your Favorite Scope

One nice quality-of-life change is you don’t have to be stuck with ironsights before unlocking a new scope; several are available for each weapon right off the bat. When you are equipping a new weapon, don’t forget to customize it and select your favorite scope style. 

Check The Redeployment Screen For Vehicles

It’s easy to get into the habit of immediately spawning on a teammate in Battlefield V, but it’s worth it to check back at the redeployment screen every once and a while to see if there is an unused tank waiting to turn the odds in your favor. Whenever these become available, they should immediately be put to good use. You rack up more damage for rockets placed into the back and side of the tank than you do the front, so aim accordingly. 

Keep Assignment Slots Full

Every player can have four active special assignments at one time in addition to the rotating schedule of daily assignments. Don’t miss out on this free XP, keep these slots full. The more you play with a particular class or weapon,  the more special assignments become available for you to activate. 

Tinker With Specializations

Everyone has different tendencies when playing Battlefield, and weapon specializations are a way for you to tailor each weapon to your liking. Maybe you would prefer a faster aiming time, increased range, less bullet spread, or less recoil? The specializations are where you can pick and match between these valuable upgrades. Make a choice you regret? You can always respec any weapon in the game.  

Customize Both Axis And Allied Soldiers

Battlefield V’s new Company hub is a one-stop shop for outfitting your soldiers in various classes. But the changes you make to your appearance, weapons, and gadget loadout don’t apply across all the armies. Don’t forget to customize your Axis soldiers as well as your Allied ones.

Do you have other tips for success in Battlefield V? Share them in the comments section below.