Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Sumo Digital
Release: February 15, 2019
Rating: Mature
Reviewed on: PC
Also on:
Xbox One

Crackdown was a surprise hit back in 2007, giving Xbox 360 players who may have only been in it for the Halo 3 demo a chance to be a superhero. Dismantling Pacific City’s criminal network – or even puttering around town – was a blast, with an arsenal that included high-flying acrobatics, super strength, and a kit of exotic weapons that let you turn traffic jams into smoldering lines of debris. A disappointing sequel followed, which added little and ultimately failed to innovate or capture the spark of the original. Now, a dozen years later, the series is back in an all-new entry that, well, fails to innovate or capture the spark of the original. It’s not bad, but Crackdown 3 is a bland and uninspired time capsule of a game.

The unrelenting drabness is especially frustrating because maneuvering your agent around New Providence’s neon-lined streets is an absolute joy. The character is quick and responsive, and after collecting several hundred agility orbs, you can move with surgical precision. In the rare times that I found myself flailing in midair, I could lean into a variety of thrusts and additional leaps to get back on course. I can’t overstate how great it feels. The problem is that once you get to wherever you’re going – whether it’s the top of a massive tower or a crime lord’s inner sanctum – the action is a predictable last-gen letdown.

Twelve years ago, leaping onto the scene with a rocket launcher and sending bad guys ragdolling into the sky was still a novelty. Games have evolved since then, and simply rehashing the same action all these years later isn’t satisfying. The underlying systems in Crackdown 3 aren’t deep or flexible enough to generate sandbox moments that you want to tell your friends about, either. Part of the reason why the first game was so successful was that it was so surprising. This entry is like hearing the same joke again; when you can anticipate the punchline, it’s boring.

New Providence is a bland network of themed zones and an abundance of ramps connected by maze-like freeway systems. It’s run by a sinister organization called TerraNova, which you take out piece by piece. You can try to head straight for the final boss if you want, but good luck. She’s heavily defended, so you’re better served whittling away her defenses by going after her heads of security, science, and technology. First, you have to bait them out by blowing up their stuff. Sometimes that stuff is shrouded behind force fields, which you turn off by unplugging refrigerator sized-power cores, but that’s really about it. These individual tasks are technically different, but ultimately it comes down to destroying nodes or killing officers. Once you get ahold of a rocket launcher or other explosive weapon it’s trivially easy, and the only incentive to try new tactics is because you’re bored of using the same successful strategies.

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Multiplayer is another throwback experience, reminiscent of the era where every shooter had a competitive mode crammed in. When it was first unveiled, multiplayer seemed to be trying something new: Up to 10 players battle in destructible worlds, showing off the kind of mayhem that’s only possible with current-gen tech. That was the pitch, but the reality is far more mundane. The aggressive lock-on targeting that makes the campaign so easy doesn’t do multiplayer any favors, and most fights immediately devolve into two Agents jumping around in a circle, facing each other and trying to unload their weapons faster. Falling debris doesn’t cause any damage, so when the building you’re on starts to crumble (or when one crumbles on your head), at the worst you’re temporarily inconvenienced. Without any kind of party support, you can’t even goof off in the mode with your buddies. It seems like a cheap afterthought, from the paucity of maps and modes to the way you’re kicked out to the menu when a match concludes.

Destruction was clearly on the developers’ mind, which makes it frustrating that it’s isolated to the lame competitive multiplayer. No matter how much I pummeled the city with rockets and missiles, I barely left a scuffmark. It feels like playing in a sandbox made of concrete. Blowing up cars and lawn furniture is good for a laugh or two, especially with a co-op friend, but that excitement is fleeting. Driving remains an afterthought; your character is so fleet of foot and collecting orbs is so vital that hoofing it is just a better option than wasting time behind the wheel of the poorly controlling rides.

Sumo and Elbow Rocket’s insistence on treating a game from 2007 like a sacred text is strange. The original Crackdown was fresh and exhilarating, and bounding across the city as a superhuman agent was a thrilling sensation. Since then, a lot has happened in the genre. Developers have found ways to incorporate destruction into the action as they weave interesting choices and competent world-building into their narratives. Crackdown 3 aims far lower, and manages to hit that disappointing target.

Score: 6

Summary: It’s not bad, but this long-awaited sequel is a bland and uninspired time capsule of a game.

Concept: Revisit the long-dormant franchise in a new entry that stays remarkably faithful to the original

Graphics: Crackdown’s visuals are clean to the point of seeming sterile

Sound: Hearing the Agency Director’s familiar voice and the throbbing ping of agility orbs all these years later is fun. The rest of the audioscape is dominated by an unremarkable symphony of explosions and gunfire

Playability: Moving your Agent around New Providence is an absolute joy, thanks to the precise and intuitive controls. When the game demands pinpoint platform accuracy, it delivers

Entertainment: Crackdown 3’s campaign is like a thawed-out relic from more than a decade ago. Multiplayer’s environmental destruction is interesting in concept, but its bare-bones nature keeps it from being more than a curiosity

Replay: Moderately low

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The Outer Worlds is full of different possibilities, and depending on the choices players make, their experiences with the story and gameplay could vary greatly. That’s a foundational element of the game’s design; co-directors Leonard Boyarsky and Tim Cain have been iterating on how to accommodate player choice since their days working together on the original Fallout. We talked to the duo about why this concept is so important in The Outer Worlds, and the kinds of decisions players can expect during the journey.

Broadly speaking, Obsidian wants you to play The Outer Worlds your own way, including everything from the narrative to the gameplay. “I don’t remember how we came to this formula back when we started working on Fallout, but we just looked at a bunch of games that were out at the time, and it didn’t seem you were given a lot of options in terms of playing however you wanted to play,” Boyarsky says. “There was some player choice, but it was ‘You can be the good guy this way, or you can be the good guy that way.’”

While the story does have choices and characters at different places along the good/evil spectrum, The Outer Worlds isn’t necessarily about picking a moral alignment and sticking to it. ‘It’s not “here’s the good choice, here’s the bad one,’” Cain says. “Instead, it’s like, ‘You could this or this. This will cause X, this will cause Y. You decide what you care about.’”

“But it’s not always extreme gray areas,” Boyarsky clarifies.

“What if the more evil choice has an obviously better outcome?” Cain says. “What if more people are saved by the evil choice? But it’s evil! But the result is better! Is it a worse choice? I don’t know if you can solve morality with arithmetic, but there are some things in the game where you’re like, ‘I am not sure if this is bad.’”

It all boils down to giving players options that allow them to form an entertaining and consistent vision of their character. If you want to be noble and avoid working with bad people, that’s an option. If you want to kill everybody (well, almost), you can do that too. You can say things that are nice or mean, smart or dumb. The game will track many different variables regarding your actions, so you never know how you might see your choices reflected in a given scenario.

However, don’t expect your choices in The Outer Worlds to send your character down completely divergent paths. While the context surrounding major beats may change, the game is ultimately telling a cohesive story, which means all players must eventually confront the same scenarios. For example, in the first part of the game, you need to find a power regulator for your ship. All players need to do that to progress…but they don’t need to do it the same way.

“Our story structures look like footballs, where there are all these points that everybody will pass through,” Cain says. “With the power regulator for your ship: Did you work with people? Did you buy it? There’s more than one of them out there, so which one did you take? How did you handle the people who were using it? We try to arrange our story by thinking about the points all players are going to pass through, but then we try to remember what the context was so that things in the setting change to reflect the choice you made.”

This may seem familiar to fans of choice-driven experiences, but Obsidian’s path through the choke points is one taken less often. In other titles, those events often serve as a way to reset the action – a way for the game to make something uniform happen for all players regardless of their choices to drive the story forward. “We don’t demand that those dramatic points play out in any specific way,” Boyarsky says. “This is an impactful moment, but is it impactful because you did this, or this, or this? We try to take a neutral approach to that.”

All of this is in addition to the multiple choices you are making on the gameplay front. Which skills do you invest in? How do you prefer to take out your enemies – assuming you even want to take them out at all? “We went into this thinking about hybrids,” Cain says. “There’s a stealth path, but there’s also a stealth/combat path. But what about the stealth/talker hybrid? The person who tries to talk and sneak through situations? That would be the ultimate pacifist playthrough.”

Apart from mixing the standard combat/stealth/persuasion archetypes, players can also elect to pursue a leadership-focused playstyle. This means that your individual abilities may lean more general, but you invest in skills that allow you to leverage your companions’ talents more effectively. You might do one encounter stealthily, and then by changing who you have with you, bypass the next potential encounter with persuasion. This allows you maximum flexibility – though you also lose out on the benefits that may come from maximizing a particular approach. That’s okay! There’s no optimal way to play The Outer Worlds. To play it correctly, you just need to figure out what is interesting and fun to you, and then invest in that.

“Back even before I was working in games, when I first started considering what a computer game could be, playing text games – it just felt like there was this rich world where you could do anything,” Boyarsky says. “From back when I was young, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s what a video game should be.’ So I guess I’ve never lost that crazy idea.”

 

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We still don’t know when Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars game will release, but we now know when we can get the toys that are based on it.

On October 4, Disney and Lucasfilm are releasing new merchandise for three new Star Wars franchises: Jedi Fallen Order, the video game in development at Respawn Entertainment, The Mandalorian, the live-action Disney+ series by Jon Favreau, and the untitled Star Wars: Episode IX by J. J. Abrams.

This massive merchandise release is called Triple Force Friday. For the last few years, most Star Wars collectibles have been released at the same time on Fridays, which have been called Force Fridays, but this is the first time that three new properties are hitting at once. If stores are open at midnight, the merchandise goes on sale at 12:01 a.m.

[Source: StarWars.com]

Earlier today, it was noted on the ResetEra forums that Yosuke Hashimoto, director of Bayonetta 2 and presumed director of Bayonetta 3, had scrubbed all mentions of PlatinumGames from his Twitter profile. Later on in the day, Hashimoto confirmed that he left the studio after being there since its founding in 2007. 

Hashimoto shared in the director role for Star Fox Zero and served as a producer for the original Bayonetta. Long positioned as the successor to Hideki Kamiya, vice president of PlatinumGames, Hashimoto was one of the studio’s most reliable developers. With no announced projects, it was presumed that Hashimoto was working on the third Bayonetta game, as well. It is hard to say whether or not he was, as neither PlatinumGames nor Nintendo ever announced a director for the title. It is possible Hashimoto had moved on to another project.

With Hashimoto gone, however, he obviously is not working on Bayonetta 3, which begs the question of who might be. Kamiya has stated that PlatinumGames was still considering his role on the project last year, which might make him ideal to step in and take over the game if such a thing is needed. It could also be a new director, as the studio has recently shown a preference for bringing in younger designers and giving them shots on new titles. This is the case with the Nintendo-published Astral Chains, which is being directed by the gameplay designer from Nier Automata who handled all aspects of the gameplay for the title.

Nintendo’s only comment on Bayonetta 3 has been a status update that the developers are still hard at work on it during last night’s Nintendo Direct.

Ubisoft has steadily added dozens of operators to Rainbow Six Siege, their team-based tactical multiplayer shooter, over the years since its release. The cast has exploded in terms of skill and character diversity and two new operators, named Gridlock and Mozzie, are representing the land down under in upcoming appearance.

Check out their reveal trailer below.

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Gridlock and Mozzie are an attacker and defender respectively. With Gridlock, players can lock down areas using caltrops and ambush enemies. Mozzie on the other hand focuses mostly counter-intelligence and can hide the team from attackers finding them.

A full unveiling of the characters will take place on February 17 at the Rainbow Six Siege Invitational in Montreal, Canada.

Jump Force has finally launched. Touting 40 playable characters and a handful of others, the Shonen Jump-inspired title has enough prominent folks in it to satisfy a plethora of anime and manga enthusiasts. For those who need to brush up on the lore of the featured heroes and villains, or for those who are completely unfamiliar, but curious – you’ve come to the right place. Below are brief descriptions we’ve compiled to provide some clarity before you jump into the action.

Son Goku – Dragon Ball

The world-famous protagonist from the Dragon Ball series, Son Goku is Earth’s constant savior. Born a member of the legendary alien Saiyan race, Goku, with the help of his family and friends, has repelled the universe’s most sinister beings for decades.

Vegeta – Dragon Ball Z

Goku’s most stubborn rival (and perhaps greatest friend?) and the Prince of the Saiyans, Vegeta is the series’ quintessential anti-hero. After a devastating defeat, he joins forces with Earth’s heroes to combat greater threats to humanity and the universe.  

Trunks – Dragon Ball Z

Trunks is Vegeta’s stylish, time-traveling son. With his iconic bowl-cut and lightning-fast sword strikes, Trunks eventually becomes an integral addition to the battle against the nefarious Android threat and the villain Cell.

Frieza – Dragon Ball Z

Widely recognized as Goku’s first all-powerful adversary, Frieza was responsible for the enslavement and murder of the Namekian people (Piccolo’s race) as well as the utter obliteration of their home planet. He also destroyed Goku and Vegeta’s home planet.

Piccolo – Dragon Ball

An enemy converted into a loyal ally, Piccolo played a major role in the training of Goku’s son, Gohan. His stomach-piercing “Special Beam Cannon” will likely make a bombastic appearance in the game. 

Cell – Dragon Ball Z

An experiment gone horribly wrong, Cell holds within him the genetic makeup of some of Dragon Ball’s most significant fighters. Equipped with a life-sucking tail and unfathomable power, his exhaustive arc foreshadows the coming struggles that await Earth’s guardians.  

Monkey D. Luffy – One Piece

With dreams to become a pirate, Luffy eats the fabled Gum-Gum Fruit and gains the abilities to stretch his appendages like rubber. With his newfound strength, he travels the world with his ragtag group of followers yearning to become the new “King of the Pirates.”

Roronoa Zoro – One Piece

Zoro is Luffy’s first comrade. A master swordsman, he carries three blades and often wields one in his mouth.

Sanji – One Piece

An exiled prince turned wandering vagabond, Sanji is the talented chef of Luffy’s troupe. Sanji chooses to fight only with his lower body in order to salvage his hands for more suitable duties; namely, cooking.

Marshall D. Teach – One Piece

Master of the Dark-Dark Fruit, “Blackbeard” can summon black holes and nullify the powers of other devil fruit wielders. He is a member of the Four Emperors, the strongest pirates in the world. 

Boa Hancock – One Piece

The infamous “Pirate Empress” was a victim of child slavery. Years after being liberated, she becomes a leader among her people. The power of the Love-Love Fruit dwells within her and allows her to turn prospective lovers into stone with a mere glance. She loves Luffy, who constantly rebuffs her advances.

Sabo – One Piece

Sabo is Luffy’s sworn brother. After a long struggle with amnesia, Sabo returns to the foreground of the series to avenge a fallen friend. He consumes the Flame-Flame Fruit and learns to control fire at will. 

Naruto Uzumaki – Naruto

The titular character of the popular anime and manga, Naruto rises to meet the challenges of his adversaries head-on (and without much thought to his own well-being). Shunned and despised by the villagers of Konohagakure since adolescence, his ultimate goal is to one day become Hokage; the sovereign leader of the Leaf Village. Believe it!

Sasuke Uchiha – Naruto

Protagonist and antagonist? Both and neither? Sasuke is a survivor of the massacred Uchiha clan, possessed with remarkable intellect and the all-seeing Sharingan eye. Throughout the franchise, he remains Naruto’s most elusive enemy and unequivocal friend. 

Kaguya Otsutsuki – Naruto

A “final boss” of sorts, Kaguya is an ancient deity and the first to wield the power of chakra; the mystical energy that enables ninja techniques. In the final moments of the series, Naruto and his allies battle her to save the world.

Gaara – Naruto

Gaara fights assailants with the copious amount of sand within the gourd-shaped bag upon his back. He is the host of a malicious tailed beast whose hunger for blood is never sated. 

Kakashi Hatake – Naruto

Leader of Team 7, Kakashi serves as the comic relief in the earlier moments of both the manga and anime. His jutsu-mimicry establishes him as one of the more mischievous ninja in the series.

Boruto Uzumaki – Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

Naruto’s son is the new shining star of the series. Born outside of the confines of the emotional and physical toils that his father experienced, Boruto yearns for acceptance and recognition from his peers but, most importantly, Naruto – the newly appointed Hokage of the village. 

Pegasus Seiya – Saint Seiya

At thirteen, Seiya travels to Greece to train and become a Saint – a righteous servant of the goddess Athena. He receives the powers of the Pegasus constellation and ventures out to find his missing sister and protect the weak. 

Dragon Shiryu – Saint Seiya

The wisest of the Saints, Dragon is notable for his calmness in the face of adversity and for the strength of the piercing abilities linked to his impenetrable armaments (or Cloth). His Cloth is considered by many to be “the strongest fist and shield.”

Ryo Saeba – City Hunter

At the age of three, Ryo’s plane crashed over South America and he is raised amidst a life of guerrilla warfare. He eventually moves back to Tokyo but feels displaced because he has no recollection of his adolescence in Japan. While in his homeland, he founds “City Hunter,” a team of private detectives.

Kenshiro – Fist of the North Star

Creator of the meme-tastic “omae wa mo shindeiru” catchphrase, Kenshiro is the latest successor in a long line of martial artists to obtain the “Hokuto Shinken” – a technique that allows its user to attack an adversary along their vital energy-points (or meridians). 

Ichigo Kurosaki – Bleach

Tasked with the responsibilities of a Soul Reaper (god of death), Ichigo patrols his hometown in an effort to protect innocent civilians from evil spirits (Hollows) while aiding benevolent spirits in their journey to the afterlife. 

Renji Abarai – Bleach

Originally charged with locating Rukia in the human world and bringing her back to the Soul Society (spirit world), Renji partners with Ichigo (his sworn enemy, for some time) to save their mutual friend. 

Sosuke Aizen – Bleach

Betrayer of the Soul Society, Sosuke serves as the anime’s main antagonist for most of its run. 

Rukia Kuchiki – Bleach

Rukia gifts her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo after she is seriously injured in a fight with Hollows. With most of her powers gone, she focuses on healing her allies and seldom attacking enemies with whatever abilities she can muster.

Gon Freecss – Hunter x Hunter

An aspiring Hunter, like his father before him, Gon is the main character of the Hunter x Hunter manga and anime adaptation. As an Enhancer, Gon contains the power to increase his strength with the help of external and internal forces. 

Killua Zoldyck – Hunter x Hunter

In one moment Killua is cheerful and compassionate; in the next, he is bloodthirsty and volatile. Born into a family of ruthless assassins, Killua meets and befriends Gon during the Hunter Exam arc. Despite being susceptible to murderous rampages, Killua is ever-faithful to his friends and often places their safety before his own. 

Kurapika – Hunter x Hunter

Part of Gon’s band of Hunters, Kurapika embodies the last remnants of the Kurta clan. Gifted with eyes that illuminate when in times of emotional duress, Kurapika’s ultimate goal is to become a powerful Hunter and avenge his slaughtered people.

Hisoka Morow – Hunter x Hunter

Hisoka was the antagonist of the Hunter Exam arc. A skilled magician, he employed his arcane powers for the murder and belittlement of those he deemed lesser. He was also a member of the Phantom Troupe, the group of vagabonds responsible for the annihilation of Kurapika’s clan. 

Jotaro Kujo – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Jotaro is the third protagonist in the expansive lore of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. The third chapter, Stardust Crusaders – set in the late 1980s – follows Jotaro and his mission to Egypt to defeat the series antagonist, Dio, and save his mother. His success in this journey stems from his incredible strength and speed. 

Dio – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure 

Dio is the series’ mainstay villain. Originally a member of the Joestar family, Dio schemes to inherit the family title until he is discovered and cast out. He is later transformed into a vampire, allowing him to exist as the sole antagonist in each Joestar iteration.

Yusuke Urameshi – Yu Yu Hakusho

A high school delinquent in his previous life, Yusuke is struck and killed by a car while attempting to save a child. His good naturedness earns him a second chance at life but also leads to abnormal powers because of his strong ties to the afterlife. 

Toguro – Yu Yu Hakusho

Toguro is a demon of immense physical prowess. During the Dark Tournament arc, he serves as the series’ primary villain and decimates his opponents with relative ease, even killing some fan-favorites.

Kenshin Himura – Rurouni Kenshin

In a past life, Kenshin donned the title “Battousai The Manslayer.” By the end of the Edo period, he has left his old life as a merciless assassin behind. A wandering samurai with a deceivingly cheerful demeanor, Kenshin roams the Japanese countryside to atone for his past sins.

Makoto Shishio – Rurouni Kenshin

A replacement for Kenshin after he suddenly leaves, Makoto is eventually betrayed by his employers, doused in oil, and almost burned to death. Later emerging from the outskirts of Japan clothed in layers of bandages, he leads a clan of bandits against the Meiji government. 

Yugi Moto & Yami Yugi – Yu-Gi-Oh!

We begin the classic series with a lonely, friendless Yugi Moto. In an attempt to manifest bonds using a mystical ritual, he unearths an ancient Egyptian spirit: Yami. With this new power (that, of course, brings its fair share of trouble), Yugi makes connections with others and forms long-lasting relationships all while believing in the “heart of the cards.”

Izuku Midoriya – My Hero Academia

Midoriya belongs to the small percentage of people without a super power, or quirk as it is referred in My Hero Academia. When he finally meets his heroic idol, All Might, he is chosen to receive the noble All-For-One quirk; a skill passed down by powerful heroes for generations. With All-For-One, Midoriya motivates and inspires others, just as his mentor did before him. 

Asta – Black Clover

Asta is an orphan. In his rags-to-riches tale to one day become the “Wizard King,” he is forced to accept his magical inadequacies and, instead, strengthen his physical capabilities and willpower. Eventually, Asta acquires magic-nullifying abilities. 

Dai – Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai

Born on Delmurin Island, Dai has the ability to gain super-strength and control magic. These capabilities mainly stem from his illustrious Dragon Knight bloodline. 

Light Yagami and Ryuk – Death Note

An intelligent high school student, Light happens upon a Death Note – a book that can spell doom upon any person whose name is written within its blank pages. With the help of his apple-loving Shinigami (death spirit), Ryuk, Light uses the Death Note to establish his dominance and create a new world order. 

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                                                            

Kane & Galena – Jump Force

These two make up the overarching malevolent duo of Jump Force. Both are originally designed by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball and Chrono Trigger fame.

As you explore Jump Force, you can refer to these short outlines as you navigate the game’s extensive character selection. If this list isn’t enough to placate your Jump Force excitement, check out our (comedic) early impressions of its campaign and gameplay.

Microsoft Times Square Convention Center

GaymerX, a convention designed to bring together people to like and celebrate LBGTQ+ gamers, has held conventions on both coasts in the last few years. A few months before the second GaymerX East convention took place in Time Square, however, a contract issue is forcing the organization to cancel the event two months before its planned April date.

The eastern convention was to take place at the Microsoft Times Square Conference Center , where the previous convention took place in 2017. This time, however, the conference center had changed policies, and the new contract restricted the types of sponsors that would be allowed for an event. Additionally, the contract would not be ready until March, which posed a problem if there were actually issues with it.

“This left us in the difficult position,” writes Katie Kaitchuck, the executive director of Gaymer. “We either wait for the contract – which if its terms were unfavorable would leave us little to no time to renegotiate before our event – or we cancel the event before it’s too late to refund our crowdfunding backers. We’re choosing to do what we believe is best for our community because we value your support so much.”

Gaymer is refunding all the backers from IndieGoGo, where they originally raised money for the convention.

Today is a great day for couples everywhere to spend time together and say how much they mean to each other. But maybe you haven’t found that special person or you simply can’t spend Valentine’s Day with them this year. You know who is always there for you? Video games. Developers and game studios around the world are here to lift your spirits with this collection of Valentine’s Day well-wishes.

https://twitter.com/Naughty_Dog/status/1096091763142471686 

What games are you playing this Valentine’s Day? Something romantic for two? Will you love your team in Apex Legends? Let us know in the comments.

Heritage Auctions

Every few phone calls with my mom, I usually have to explain why throwing away all my old video games left in a box in my childhood home is a bad idea. I tell her things in there might sell for quite a bit of money one day and she scoffs and tells me there’s no way a dusty old cardboard box full of games will sell for a significant amount. While there may be nothing in there that will sell for $100,000, a recent auction proved for the first time that video games can indeed hit numbers that high.

The game in question is Super Mario Bros., the 1985 original platformer that helped launch Nintendo into the realm of being a household name in the west. As Nintendo tried convincing test markets in America to carry the Nintendo Entertainment System, most retailers were skeptical after the Atari crash. This meant that the company would try things in Los Angeles and New York City that wouldn’t really get out to the larger continental United States. One of these things was packaging a reprint of Super Mario Bros. without shrinkwrap and instead using an official Nintendo sticker to seal the box for an extremely limited time in those two cities.

As you can guess, a mint copy of the game with that sticker intact goes for a pretty penny. A lot of pretty pennies, in fact. At a recent auction last week, the game went for the shockingly high price of $100,150 dollars, the first time a single game has sold for six figures.

It’s not that none of these stickered versions have ever been seen, it’s that they have never been auctioned off at this quality. By virtue of not being shrinkwrapped, the boxes have significant wear and tear over the last 30 years, meaning that very few are museum-quality. This one has been sealed and stored for decades and fetched a price to prove it.

The item was bought by a group of collectors, archivists, historians, and other auctioneers. I should see if they want to buy my copy of Shadow Hearts for the PS2.

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

Far Cry New Dawn may not be a huge revolution for the series, but it does introduce enough changes to its progression and unlock systems to keep players on their toes. Like the mutated animals running around Hope County, you’ll have to adapt your playstyle if you want to survive – luckily we’ve got some tips for what to focus on.

As in previous Far Cry games, your main focus will be taking down outposts, doing story missions and side activities, and looting everything in sight. However, here are some things to keep in mind as you get acquainted with this entry’s particular quirks and changes.

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

Be Ready For A Challenge

No, we’re not talking about New Dawn’s difficulty levels – rather, Challenges are simple achievement-style activities that you complete as you play the game, which will give you skill points to unlock perks. There are a number of very simple challenges that you can farm when you first start the game to build up a respectable pool of points. These include distracting enemies with rocks, crafting items, and killing a few enemies with the sawblade launcher, which is one of the first weapons you get in the game.

Get in the habit of periodically checking the list of challenges as you play to get a sense of what you’re close to completing and what you should focus on. A lot of challenges are kill-based, so regularly cycling out weapons will be surprisingly lucrative. Other activities like recruiting sidekicks and rescuing random citizens also net you skill points, so they’re worth the detour whenever they pop up.  

Perk Priorities

To be frank, New Dawn’s selection of perks isn’t great – almost all of them are rehashes from previous games, and they are more quality-of-life upgrades than abilities you will actually get excited about. That said, here are some perks you should unlock sooner rather than later. The Binoculars are a must, as they allow you to tag enemies from a safe distance. The Safe/Lock Pick perk is also worth getting out of the way – you’ll come across numerous safes in Hope County that contain Titanium for crafting weapons, and you don’t want to backtrack or waste explosives to open them. After that I’d recommend unlocking your Third and Fourth weapon slots, and unlock the tiered Silent Takedown perks once you start running into higher level enemies.

Go On A Treasure Hunt

Treasure-hunt missions are back in New Dawn, and they offer the best bang for your buck in terms of rewards – usually they just involve a simple environmental puzzle and/or killing a few enemies (or rampaging bear), and offer up a bounty of crafting supplies and three perk points in return. They’re also pretty fun, so be sure to do them when they pop up, and talk to anyone who has the treasure-hunt icon over their head; they’ll clue you in on a nearby mission.

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

Silent But And Deadly:

Far Cry games have always encouraged players to try to stealthily complete outpost missions, and that’s doubly true in New Dawn. Outpost missions are your primary way of attaining ethanol, which is used for upgrading your home base. You’re going to need a LOT of ethanol over the game, so you’ll want to maximize your efforts by striving for two ethanol-soaked bonuses when you take down an outpost – one for completing the mission without setting off any alarms, and another for remaining completely undetected by the enemy.

The easiest way to do both is by unlocking silenced weapons, particularly a high-powered, silenced sniper rifle. You can disable alarms with a single shot, so lock in the no-alarms bonus while you’re still scouting out a camp, then do your best to take everyone else down unawares. Can’t get your hands on a silenced weapon? We’ve got you covered…

Now That’s A Knife!

Throwing knives are your best friend in the early part of New Dawn. The sawblade launcher is technically your first “silenced” weapon, but its ricocheting blades are unpredictable and can tip off enemies. It will be a while before you can unlock a silenced pistol, but the throwing knife is a powerful alternative – you’ll have to get a little closer, but it will take down most foes with a single hit and can often be retrieved from their corpses. Even if you do lose them, throwing knives are super cheap to craft and can be created at any time by opening up the weapon wheel.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Liberated outposts sport a new option in New Dawn – you can now scavenge them for extra ethanol, which effectively abandons the location and allows the enemies to move back in. These new enemies will be tougher, but kicking them out again offers even bigger rewards.

This new gameplay loop works well, but ramps up faster than you might expect, so don’t push any single outpost too high until you’ve got the weapons to deal the escalating problem. Unlocking the different tiers of the Silent Takedown perk will also help keep the challenge in check, and if the outpost is near a forest, don’t underestimate using animal bait to draw in some four-legged friends – a single bear can wipe out half an outpost by itself, and won’t count against the undetected bonus.

Far Cry New Dawn Review Screens

Wait For That Crate

As you’re exploring the world, you’ll frequently be alerted about nearby supply drops. These are giant smoking crates that parachute out of the sky with loads of goodies. While your battle-royale-fueled instinct may be to dash in and fight any enemies for the loot, you don’t really have to – more often than not, the enemy forces will simply leave after a little while, or get distracted by freedom fighters/roving animals. Shooting everyone obviously works too, but if you’re low on ammo or find yourself under-leveled for the enemies at hand, just give them a minute to get bored.

Find What You Need

Here are a few simple UI tips that might come in handy. If you zoom all the way out on the world map, you’ll get a full rundown of your campaign and side activity progress, along with a handy list of how to earn specific resources. Every location you visit will also have a cache of certain crafting components, and its icon on the main map will tell you how many you’ve found, or display a green checkmark if you’ve already looted everything. Finally, enemy bodies will show up as a small “x” on your compass if you haven’t looted them yet, so be sure to spin in a few circles after completing an outpost to see if you’re leaving any valuable corpse loot on the table.

Get A Big Gun

As noted earlier, the most efficient way to play through New Dawn is a mostly stealth-oriented approach that favors silenced rifles and pistols (and a bow, of course). However, there are times, particularly in story missions, where you need to gun down a lot of high-level enemies. In these cases, a light machine gun is your best friend.

I overlooked light machine guns for most of my playthrough because their bullet damage is far below other weapons – even the most powerful LMG pales in comparison to many of the starting weapons. Then I stopped being stupid and factored in their ridiculous rate of fire, and it all made sense.

Higher-level enemies pack massive health bars and armor that can completely mitigate your stealth-oriented weapons and leave you vulnerable when multiple foes are bearing down on you. A solid LMG, on the other hand, will whittle down their defenses like a hot knife through butter. My personal favorite is the Blunderbuss, a tier-four LMG that’s loud enough to alert an entire army to your presence – but will still cut them all down fast enough to avoid backup.

While we’re on the subject of high-end weapon unlocks, I am a little torn about strategy: I crafted very few weapons until I was able to max out my weapon bench, then mostly focused on tier-four weapons. This will definitely save you a ton of components, and in turn limit the amount of grinding you need to do. However, weapon challenges are also tier-based, so you’ll earn more perks if you use a lot of tier-two and tier-three weapons as well. If you want to spend a lot of time in New Dawn and don’t mind some grinding, feel free to get crafting earlier – otherwise, save your resources for the big guns, and make sure to have something with a high rate of fire when you reach Act III.

Far Cry New Dawn Timber

Timber!

I might be listing this entry last, but it’s one of the first things you should do. If you’re a solo player, you’ll be happy to know that NPC sidekicks return in New Dawn. These characters lend a helping hand as you explore the world, and each sports a unique ability and different weapon type. The first NPC sidekick you unlock is Carmina, and while she plays a major role in New Dawn’s story, she’s worse than useless on the battlefield – in my experience, Carmina would frequently alert enemies to our presence by getting spotted out in the open and/or firing off her assault rifle. That along with her habit of endlessly repeating the same few dialogue lines might be enough to turn you off of playing with a sidekick completely, but that would be a HUGE mistake.

That’s because you would be missing out on Timber, the best darn doggo a silent protagonist could ever hope for. You’ll unlock Timber’s side mission early in the game, and the sooner you complete it, the better. Timber is a huge help in New Dawn; he serves a scouting role, and will automatically identify nearby enemies, even if they’re in buildings – I can’t count the number of times he’s saved me from a tricky foe I missed while scouting out a location. He also seems virtually undetectable in his own right – apparently bad guys don’t care if a pooch is wandering around their base. Unless he starts barking at guard dogs, which he totally will because that’s what dogs do!

Timber will also pick up weapons and items off of dead bodies and chase off pesky wildlife eyeing you for their next meal. Should you get yourself killed, Timber will even revive you by running (well, sauntering more often than not) up and licking you awake – and you won’t have to put up with some sassy quip like other NPCs are prone to repeating. I am not exaggerating when I say Timber is one of my favorite things about New Dawn, so just do yourself a favor and track him down as soon as you can.