The crossover of Final Fantasy XIV and Monster Hunter World was announced at E3 this year with surprisingly little fanfare for merging the worlds of two huge games. The lack of celebration around the meeting of the two series may have convinced some that their crossover content would be a light or low-effort, but it turns out that the inclusion of Final Fantasy’s Behemoth into Monster Hunter World is a lot more intricate than one would think.

Rather than simply giving you a mission to fight the hulking purple monster, getting to the Behemoth requires following a questline first. When you first land in Astera with the update applied, the serious handler from various points in the game is standing near the resource center. She says that the A-Lister, the redhaired and headstrong hunter from the game’s story, has discovered a thing in Wildspire Wastes that is not quite an animal. Seems worth checking out, my hunter goes to give it a look.

It turns out to be a cactuar. A lot of cactuars, in fact. The mission has you chase after the little monsters, but most importantly, you can sneak up on one with a net and get it as a pet, which is the very first thing I did.

After some chasing hijinks, I discovered that the cactuars are pouring out of a crystal with a moogle panicking around it. The crystal is picked up by a Kulu Ya-Ku, which absorbs the magic power to get bigger and run off with the Final Fantasy symbol. My hunter volunteered to help get the crystal back and the moogle hid for safety. After all, it’s just a Kulu Ya-Ku, that’s one of the most basic of Monster Hunter World’s monsters.

Whoops.

The crystal-powered bird brain is surprisingly tough. Not only does he get progressively bigger throughout the battle, he never drops the damn thing. That means he has a weapon the entire fight, as well as complete shielding from the front. Even with fully-upgraded high rank armor, he could take me down in two hits, usually by hip-checking me and then jumping from a long distance away. The entire fight is set to Final Fantasy’s Chocobo music, which is one of two really cool uses of the series’ music in the hunt.

Upon defeating the Kulu Ya-Ku, the moogle explains that he ended up here from Eorzea, Final Fantasy XIV’s native land. In a story scene, the Seer from the Elder Crossing in Monster Hunter World’s campaign is brought in to consult as your palico translates moogle talk to Monster Hunter language. 

It turns out that a Behemoth followed whatever brought the moogle to the New World, prompting a lot of shocks and gasp from the gathered audience. The Seer reasons that the Behemoth, attracted to crystals and life stream energy, would almost certainly have gone to the Elder Recess. Obviously the hunters can’t leave a giant otherworldly monster to wreck up the New World, so a mission is set to repel the Behemoth.

The mission begins with you meeting the Behemoth, who might have my favorite monster intro in the entire game.

You’re given eight tries at tackling the Behemoth in this first round, which I presume is Capcom taking mercy on players who didn’t realize what they were getting into. Behemoth is not to be fought alone and a few minutes attempting to do so will convince you of that. The damage numbers popping off him resemble Final Fantasy XIV’s and constant messages pop up on the side telling you what spell the monster is using, much like the MMORPG. 

When I say constant, I mean constant. Behemoth does not let up, ever. Capcom boasted that the hulking brute is the hardest monster in the game to solo and that is absolutely true. The Final Fantasy monster casts elemental magic that chases you down, as well as a high frequency of Meteor and Comet spells. Trying to fight Behemoth without a party means getting one or two hits in every minute if you don’t want to take a lightning bolt to the face. In fact, the game outright tells you that you should bring a party to fight it.

To defeat Behemoth, it’s advised that one player draws aggro, or enmity, and forcing the monster to focus solely on them. A red line appears from the Behemoth’s head to the unenviable hunter, showing that the brute’s attention is drawn and everyone should use this time to wail on it while they have the chance. After enough damage, Behemoth casts Ecliptic Meteor, an instant-faint attack that turns the sky red and is nearly impossible to avoid.

Behemoth retires from the fight after that move, making the hunt semi-successful. Another meeting happens back in Astera, where the moogle teaches you the Final Fantasy XIV Jump gesture, which coincidentally is one of the few ways to avoid Ecliptic Meteor. You can now take on Behemoth in a real hunt for the first time.

The game warns you several times to not attempt this solo, which I imagine is technically possible, but far from a good idea. In my first attempt at fighting Behemoth, I sent out a SOS flare and immediately got a full party, one of whom put the monster to sleep and dropped a bomb on its head. The bomb effects also had Final Fantasy XIV UI elements, which is a neat touch.

One of our party members dropped out, meaning an already tough fight became near-impossible. So we tried our best and lost.

I’m going to get together some friends and try to take him on again with something resembling coordination. But if you’re curious whether you should fire up Monster Hunter World to take on the Final Fantasy content, it is a lot bigger, cooler, and way tougher than I thought it would be. Definitely give it a shot, but be prepared that it’s not a walk in the park.

Blizzard has revealed that two new teams are joining the Overwatch League for the 2019 season. Blizzard and OWL breaks down teams by cities, meaning that the new teams are Atlanta, Georgia and Guangzhou, China, joining the Atlantic and Pacific divisions respectively.

The Atlanta team is funded by Cox Enterprises, a Georgia-based conglomerate that does everything from communications to automotive services. The company is planning to get into esports in a big way starting with this foray into the Overwatch League.

The Guangzhou team is being fielded by Nenking Group in China, which owns Chinese Basketball Association team the Guangzhou Long Lions. The new team is only the second Chinese team in the Overwatch League, which is fairly low considering the Chinese viewership for the 2018 season.

Rumors are that Blizzard is going to want to aim for six more slots over last seasons, bringing the total to 18 teams. Further rumors suggest that international conglomerate McCourt Global is looking to field a team to represent a city in France, though it’s unknown how that has progressed.

ESPN recently reported that getting a slot in the Overwatch League for the slots beyond this year’s 12 teams can cost upwards of $60 million, so this is no small fee these companies are paying to get in.

 

I was rooting for San Francisco as the home team in the last season, but I’m from Atlanta, so now I’m torn. I’m hoping more people get local teams for that home team spirit.

There’s a lot to take in with every annual edition of Madden NFL Football, and only a fraction of it takes place on the gridiron. What’s new in Madden NFL 19? Ben Hanson and I certainly aren’t qualified to answer that question, so we brought in a ringer. Join us as we pepper the ever-patient Matt Kato with a barrage of questions. Better still, he answers most of ’em!

Kato went into the highlights of what the game offers in his review, but this episode of NGT is a deeper dive into some of the various modes that you can explore. He shows off the changes to Ultimate Team, dives into how the new schemes system works, and patiently explains to me and Hanson that, yes, Good Morning Football is an actual TV show that people watch on purpose.

Look for Madden NFL 19 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 10.

Capcom’s most recent financial report was fairly muted, with the company in kind of a transitional state between major titles, but their recent investor conference did yield some interesting questions. One question asked about Resident Evil 2, which Capcom expects to surpass a million copies, and whether the developer plans to create further remakes in the same vein. 

“Further,” Capcom answered, “regarding remakes and rereleases of titles in our back catalog, we expect to explore these further with a variety of properties as a part of our strategy to utilize our library of IP.”

Capcom is certainly no stranger to leveraging its backlog. When the HD update for the Resident Evil remake performed so well earlier this generation, Capcom recommitted to reaching into its history of games for re-releases and, it seems now, remakes.

What game would you want to see Capcom pull out for a full RE2-style remake?

 

C’mon, Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins!

The Top 10 Games On PC

The PC platform has a ton of amazing games to dive into, though it may not be easy to throw into a “generation” basket like our console friends. The pioneer for games as service and live games that are only now becoming standard on console, PC has amazing titles to pick from, some of which have stood an incredible test of time thanks to the ease of updates and expansions. While we’re not ignoring the vast wealth of older games and legacy titles that PC offers (and the inevitable huge collections of games that will forever go unplayed, picked up during an errant holiday Steam sale), these are some of the best games you can play on PC right now.

Please note that while the list below contains 10 entries, we aren’t actually ranking them – if a game has made it this far (and managed to stay here), it’s a must-play, period. As such, we’ll be listing entries in reverse chronological order.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Release: December 20, 2017

The gritty landscape of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds shifts from game to game, but from opening moments, when you’re scrambling to slaughter with a machete, to endgame sniper standoffs, the tension is palpable and fierce. Calculating the bullet drop for your long range shot out of a car window and waiting for a thunder-clap to mask the sound of your house breach are standard fare in a world that never plays out the same. Constant support in the form of new weapons, vehicles, and maps keeps this battle royale on the grand stage of PC gaming.

Click here for our review.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Release: September 14, 2017

The PC RPG (CRPG) has experience a massive resurgence in recent years, and leading the charge is Larian Studios. With an impressive cast of characters, absolute freedom of choice, many ways to solve myriad puzzles, and an engaging story that changes the ending with every twist and turn, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a modern-day milestone that channels the concepts that put PC roleplaying on the map with titles like Baldur’s Gate II. Elemental-based combat lets you control the battlefield, but if you just want to make bizarre characters that can telekinetically assault your foes with furniture or a silver-tongued cast looking to avoid trouble, the choice is always yours.

Click here for our review.

Fortnite

Release: July 25, 2017

Put on your bear suit, dab and dance, and ride a giant freakin’ laser-beam shark. Epic Games’ battle royale (with some horde mode on the side for those who want it) is a zany, colorful, constantly compelling experience. Whether you’re an ace builder with all the skills to build a staircase above your opponent and drop down on their head with a shotgun or a scrappy newcomer that just happens to grab a gun first, there’s fun to be had for everyone. With continually shifting seasonal content and events, the consistent core experience is consistently augmented with Thanos battles, wars, portals, golf carts, and thermal scopes. Every drop off the battle bus is a new adventure and a wild ride, and it’s just a few clicks to get to the next raucous match.

Click here for our review.

Overwatch

Release: May 24, 2016

Hero-based shooters are popular again, with Blizzard’s character-driven suite the example to beat. A colorful, ever-expanding cast of characters and the ability to play competitively, casually, and everything in between allows players to dive in and have fun regardless of skill level. New maps, arcade modes, and special events round out offerings and keep things interesting if the glimmer of the core game wanes. Continual updates that don’t divide the playerbase roll out regularly, and there’s always a new character to explore and master.

Click here for our review.

XCOM 2

Release: February 5, 2016

Strategy (and grand strategy) lives on PC, and XCOM 2 is a great example of a punishing but exhilarating choice for those looking to make all the right moves with real stakes on the line. Missing those point-blank shots against alien monsters can feel like a gut punch, but watching your ace team rally together and land perfect skills after you’ve positioned yourself for an advantageous turn is a great feeling. With an essential expansion to the core game available, this is the go-to tactical experience for those looking to fight back against an impossible threat.

Click here for our review.

Rainbow Six Siege

Release: December 1, 2015

After a lukewarm-at-best launch, Ubisoft’s team-shooter has come around as one of the best. Featuring intense, punishing firefights, interesting interplay between operators and gadgets, and constant support and updates, the game is great to play – and to watch, especially as skilled players show off what’s possible. A strong metagame that’s always changing keeps things fresh, match to match, month to month.

Click here for our review.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Release: May 19, 2015

An incredible RPG, the PC version of The Witcher 3 was instantly bolstered by an influx of mods that let players dismiss any annoyances they may have, like limited inventory space. Making tough decisions that result in often even tougher consequences, exploring a truly vast open world, and growing attached to the awesome cast of characters make for an enchanting RPG experience. With beefy expansions that offer more content than some full games, it’s impossible to ignore this single-player RPG juggernaut, even on a platform dominated by multiplayer offerings.

Click here for our review

Dota 2

Release: July 9, 2013

Dota 2’s “completely free, except for awesome cosmetics that you are definitely going to want” approach to getting players in the door offsets the admittedly steep learning curve, and once you’re hooked, you’re pretty much a player for life. Learning the intricacies behind each character’s last hit timing, making powerful game-altering team plays with powerful ultimate abilities, and coming together as a team to ambush foes, take down towers, and eventually lay waste to the enemy base are invigorating and exciting activities that can take over your gaming life over all other games. For some, Dota 2 just isn’t a game – it’s the only game, and it’s because years and years of refinement and additions have made it one of the top competitive destinations for team-based fun. Just watch out for Techies, those guys love explosives.

Click here for a look at what makes Dota 2 great.

League of Legends

Release: October 27, 2009

When the MOBA surge began, there was League of Legends. As the MOBA surge subsides, League is still there, and there’s a reason it’s one of the most watched, most played games ever – it’s a great competitive team-experience, filled with cool champions and gameplay that’s different every time, even if you do stick to the classic map. Over the years, League has changed to something unrecognizable compared to its early days, but it’s still easy to jump into for a standard match or ARAM (all-random, all middle) brawl. Continually updated with content big and small, League remains one of the best games to play on PC, and is adding a new mode – The Nexus Blitz – soon, creating an even faster game with interesting variance and events each time.

World of Warcraft

Release: November 23, 2004

The MMORPG that took the niche genre into the spotlight, the game continues to attract orcs, humans, and even pandas more than a decade since launch. While content droughts do happen, blockbuster expansions provide a massive injection of content and new ways to play. Legion, one of the best expansions since WoW’s early days, gave players all kinds of incentives to keep playing long after max level depending on their level of engagement with the game. Mythic dungeons, raids, world quests, and continual development through artifact power keep even the most voracious of players logging back in for more. World of Warcraft shows no signs of giving up the MMO throne. Lok’tar ogar!

Check out our review of Legion here.

For more of the Top 10 games, check out our lists for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile publisher Tencent Games is partnering with Mission: Impossible – Fallout to deliver a month-long event based on the movie. The event is available only for the mobile version of PUBG from today until August 30.

During the event, players will experience Mission: Impossible-themed challenges, background music, and customizable parachutes, as well as the opportunity to unlock Mission: Impossible-themed outfits.

 

This seems like a random crossover, especially considering it’s only available on mobile. I guess PUBG does have a lot of opportunities for sick, Ethan Hunt-style stunts.

Overwatch is no stranger to the giant-headed, dead-eyed stare of Funko Pops. Many popular heroes have already been released, but collectors that just can’t get enough of the vinyl models are in luck; Blizzard just announced that six more heroes are now available for pre-order on its online shop.

Hanzo, Doomfist, Torbjorn, Orissa, Ana, and Genji have all shown up with little individualized props. Torbjorn gets a turret, Hanzo has his bow, and Orissa towers over everyone. 

This marks the fourth wave of Overwatch Funko Pops. Although the company might run out of heroes, the number of alternate skins in Overwatch means it’ll probably never run out of merch to sell us.

Blizzard says that the figures should be delivered before November 31 if ordered soon. The oversized Orissa is $15, while everyone else will run you $10.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy, the upcoming tag fighter from SNK and NISAmerica, has an extensive history of women from SNK fighting games to make up its roster. But what’s an SNK fighting game without Terry Bogard? Apparently nothing, as the Fatal Fury hat has turned Fatal Cutie and Terry has joined the fight.

It seems like SNK isn’t being clear on how exactly Terry ended up like this, and I sure don’t want to speculate, but it does appear to be the Terry Bogard, “Are you okay?” and “Buster Wolf!” and all.

Terry was sussed out through a leaked trophy list from the game a few weeks ago, being one of the final two characters left to be revealed. The other character was Mui Mui from Dragon Gal, SNK’s pachinko slot series who has also appeared in a few King of Fighters games.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy releases on PlayStation 4 and Switch on September 7.

EVE Online is an intimidating MMO. On one hand, it routinely creates extraordinary space battles between thousands of opponents, each of whom pilot ships that took hundreds of real-life hours to create. On the other, high-level play often looks like a series of spreadsheets instead of any Han Solo-esque maneuvering. 

Yesterday, the game’s massive scale was put on full display. The Imperium Faction attacked a vulnerability in a Northern Coalition’s Keepstar (essentially a Death Star-scale station), and the Northern Coalition and their allies showed up to defend it.

The largest pilotable ship in EVE is a Titan. Obtaining one of these behemoths takes hundreds of real-life days of work, and in this clash, both sides lost dozens of them. At last count, Imperium was down 27 and Northern Coalition was down 29. The currency in EVE Online can also be roughly converted into US dollars; current estimates have the total damage from the battle at somewhere between $80,000 and $120,000. 

 

Our Take
We can’t know how this will change the larger ecosystem of EVE Online, but it’s always exciting to learn that even the wealthiest pilots won’t hesitate to throw their ships into the fray. 

Phantom Doctrine, the espionage infused, XCOM influenced strategy game, has gotten a new trailer. The video works through a failed missions and how players can work to fix problems, alongside all of the solutions available to them. 

Silencers, mind control, armored vehicles, grenade launchers, stealth and more are at your fingertips. On top of this, players can move in under cover with agents and picking characters who speak the right language or have yet to have their cover blown is important. 

Phantom Doctrine will be out August 14 on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.