Nintendo announces Dr. Mario for Android, iOS

Nintendo is bringing its Dr. Mario puzzle game series to phones. Dr. Mario World is scheduled for release during “early summer” on Android and iOS devices, Nintendo announced Thursday.

Dr. Mario World will be free to download with optional in-app purchases. The puzzle game is being developed by Nintendo, Line, and NHN Entertainment, a developer and operator of mobile games. Those three companies will co-develop and jointly operate Dr. Mario World, Nintendo said in a news release.

Nintendo said Dr. Mario World will be released worldwide in approximately 60 countries.

The original Dr. Mario was released for the NES in 1990. Nintendo ported the game to multiple platforms and released a handful of sequels over the years, including Dr. Mario 64 for Nintendo 64, Dr. Luigi for Wii U, and Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure for Nintendo 3DS.

Earlier today, Nintendo announced it was delaying another of its upcoming mobile games, Mario Kart Tour, to summer.

Source: Polygon.com

Anthem’s Fragmented Launch Risks Ruining What Makes Online Games Great

Remember when games used to just, come out? They had a release day. On that release day, or potentially the night before, you’d go to the store, hand a person some cash, the same amount as everyone else, and walk out with a game that you could then go home and immediately start playing. That was nice.

Anthem’s release is not that. Instead it’s so convoluted EA released a chart to try and help people make sense of when people can play the BioWare-developed shared-world shooter. How early and how long you can play Anthem for in mid-February depends on things like which video game-playing machine you own and how much money you’ve agreed to have auto-debit from your bank account each month.

If you buy Anthem on PC and have an Origin Premier subscription for $15 a month you can start playing the game on February 15. If you only have an Origin Access subscription for $5 a month you can start playing on February 15, but only for 10 hours. You can also do that on Xbox One with a $5 a month EA Access subscription. Everyone without some sort of subscription, or if playing on PS4, will have to wait until February 22 to start playing.

It’s needlessly complex and a bit frustrating. The release of a new online multiplayer game feels a bit like a concert. Which is great. Concerts are fun. Except when you feel like you’re getting nickel and dimed to get the best experience, or when your friends are in the pit but you’re stuck off on the lawn.

To put it another way, part of the excitement around Anthem is getting to be part of a new community exploring a new world. It’s never fun when right out of the gate that sort of shared experience starts getting divided into tiers and gated based on the platform you’re playing on or how much money you’re paying.

This isn’t a new trend for EA, or other companies, but it’s certainly becoming more common and more complicated, especially as its subscription service tiers multiply. Things like EA Access, Origin Access, and even Origin Premier can be great on their own, providing a way for people to try out different games from an expansive library of demos and back catalogue titles available to all subscribers. When they become tools for further stratifying the audience for a particular game, however, they mar a game’s launch. If EA is using early access to get people to spend money on these services because selling Anthem for $60 isn’t profitable enough on its own, ann easier way might just be to charge $70 and let everyone start enjoying the game together at the same time, no charts needed.

Earlier today, one player tweeted at the Anthem Twitter account and asked why players on PS4 didn’t have any options for getting a headstart like everyone else. Jonathan Warner, the game’s director, responded by saying that EA Access not being an option for PS4 owners is out of BioWare’s hands and strictly negotiated between EA and Sony. “If it were up to me we would ALL play on the same day,” he wrote.

Source: Kotaku.com

Nintendo’s Next Mobile Game Is Dr. Mario World

Nintendo has announced a new expansion to its mobile games business. Following the release of its latest earnings report, which brought news that Mario Kart Tour has been delayed, the company revealed a new partner and game: Dr. Mario World.

Very little has been shared about the game so far; we don’t have any screenshots, just the logo below. Nintendo describes it as an “action puzzle game” and says it’s due out early this summer. It’ll be free-to-play and available on both iOS and Android devices.

Dr. Mario World is being co-developed by LINE, a Japanese company known for a variety of things, including the development of games that have proven successful in Asian markets. Those include Disney Tsum Tsum and Cookie Run.

No Caption Provided

Nintendo had previously suggested it was looking for additional partners with which to develop mobile games as it seeks to make them a more prominent part of its business.

Source: GameSpot.com

A New Dr. Mario Game Is Coming To Phones

Nintendo just announced a new mobile game partnership with Japanese company Line, which will involve a new Dr. Mario game coming to iOS and Android.

It’ll be called Dr. Mario World, and is being co-developed by both companies, with further assistance coming from NHN Entertainment. It’ll be out worldwide in “early summer 2019″.

The game is described by Nintendo as a “puzzle” title, of course, while thy also say it’ll be “Free to download with optional in-app purchases”.

The announcement comes just after Nintendo also announced a delay for the Mario Kart phone game, which is now also scheduled to appear in the summer.

Source: Kotaku.com

Downwell Review – Polished Boots

Update: Three years on, Downwell continues to be a gripping, fast-paced action game that thrives by pushing you into taking huge, exciting risks. The new Switch version of the game is on par with other versions but carries a few unique pros and cons. Playing Downwell in the Switch’s standard handheld mode means that the vertical play area of the game is dramatically reduced in size, which makes it hard to follow the game’s frenetic action. On the other hand, the console’s unique capability to remove the Joycons and position the screen as you wish allows the game’s built-in tate mode (which optimizes the play area for vertical screens) is perfect for an undocked Switch, provided you have some method of safely propping up the body of the console at a 90-degree angle (like the Flip Grip). Downwell’s play area perfectly covers the whole screen in this method, and it’s a wonderful way to experience the game. — Edmond Tran, February 1, 2019, 10:00 AM AEST

Original text, published November 6, 2015: Jumping into a bottomless pit is terrifying. Gravity shows no mercy and no matter how prepared you might be, you’re probably going to hurt yourself. Downwell’s premise embodies this fear. Downwell is a game about diving into the unknown and learning to adapt to the consequences, and it’s a thrilling, action-packed descent.

In Downwell you control a character using only three inputs: left, right, and an all-purpose action button. Pressing the action button while on the ground makes your character jump. Pressing the action button while mid-air causes your character to fire a limited number of bullets downwards, and these bullets can break destructible floors, eliminate enemies, and let your character hover for a brief period. There is only one objective: get to the bottom. And when you die, you start from scratch. The basic systems are straightforward, but the benefit is that it makes the game especially easy to pick up and play. Eliminating the need to think about moving in any other direction, or even switching between two separate buttons to jump and fire, successfully allows players to completely concentrate on the task at hand.

No platforms, no problem.
No platforms, no problem.

Each level is randomly generated, and there’s no way to stop and look ahead to gauge what enemies or traps may appear. There are pickups that increase your health, ammo capacity, and give you new kinds of weapons, but there’s no guarantee which pickups you might stumble across. End-of-level character upgrades give you useful abilities, such as causing blocks to explode into bullets and the ability to consume dead bodies for health, but are also chosen from a randomly selected pool.

These rogue-like elements are nothing new, but Downwell’s unique contribution to the mix is its use of gravity. The only way to progress through the game’s stages is to keep dropping down, and as it turns out, gravity makes your character fall pretty damn quickly. Downwell’s design focuses on dealing with the situations caused by unseen dangers below you as you fall into them at great speed. Your character is vulnerable from the top, and if you don’t manage to deal with an enemy once you’ve dropped past, it’s usually safer to keep jumping down before they bear down on you. The narrow, vertical stages leave little room to manoeuvre, and death comes quickly if enemies trap you. Aside from avoidance, jumping on heads and shooting is the only way to deal with enemies, but certain types can only be defeated by one or the other. Learning and correctly responding to these dangers as you speedily free-fall through the stages is a mentally taxing, but satisfying task if executed successfully.

Trapped platforms appear early on to make sure you keep moving.
Trapped platforms appear early on to make sure you keep moving.

The speed of the game is frustrating at first, and it’s tempting to try and take it slow, descending one platform at a time, making sure all enemies are clear, and taking a short breather before moving on. It’s also tempting to hold out for your favourite weapon module, one whose damage spread and ability to slow your descent matches your preferred playstyle. This works for the first few levels, but past the game’s first world, this calculated approach only causes even more frustration. Terrain traps are introduced, which cause damage if your character lingers too long, a time-based mechanic forces a race to the end of the level, and solid platforms to rest on become increasingly scarce. But once you start to become familiar with the game’s array of obstacles and learn how to better react to situations, playing Downwell at a quicker pace becomes incredibly enjoyable. Keeping up with your character’s fast falling speed and making snap decisions on how to deal with enemies while speeding past platforms can occasionally lead to disaster. But managing to hurtle through a large stretch of a level while dealing with everything that comes your way without even touching the ground is a joyus feeling, when you pull it off.

“…managing to hurtle through a large stretch of a level while dealing with everything that comes your way without even touching the ground is a joyus feeling, when you pull it off.”

Your character begins each run with a small amount of health and bullet capacity, and one method of improving these traits is to find pickups in side-rooms that occasionally appear throughout the stages. The caveat is that each pickup also acts as a new weapon module. This clever design decision results in some interesting choices: To replenish health in a near-death situation or upgrade your weapon capacity for later levels, you must change your weapon to something you may not necessarily be comfortable with. While learning to be familiar with how to use all the weapons can be a nice side-benefit, at times the weapon available may turn out to be completely unsuitable for the kind of trials that may lie ahead. Never knowing if a decision you make is going to severely hurt you is initially annoying, but you soon come to appreciate the additional layer of unknown to the game’s equation, which positively magnifies Downwell’s ever-present sense of danger.

First you get the combos. Then you get the money. Then you get the upgrades.First you get the combos. Then you get the money. Then you get the upgrades.
First you get the combos. Then you get the money. Then you get the upgrades.

Downwell’s biggest incentive to keep playing fast and risky is the game’s combo system: Every enemy the player kills before touching the ground counts towards a combo multiplier, which can eventually reward you with increased ammo capacity, and large amounts of currency to spend at sporadically-placed upgrade stores. Because your character has a limited number of shots in the air before running out of ammo, and jumping on enemies refreshes that ammo, maintaining a long combo becomes a challenging feat of perception, quick decision making, and adept execution. Leaping on an enemy while avoiding another, shooting a gap in the floor and falling through it, then stabilizing yourself and manoeuvring to a position where you can stomp onto another enemy to refresh your ammo is an action-packed thrill. Learning the skills and vocabulary of the game gives you the confidence to risk chaining large combos, and it’s at this level where you can experience Downwell’s most exhilarating moments again and again.

“Learning the skills and vocabulary of the game gives you the confidence to risk chaining large combos, and it’s at this level where you can experience Downwell’s most exhilarating moments again and again.”

The idea of plummeting into the unknown is terrifying, but Downwell is a game where the systems coerce you to take big risks, and enjoy the reward and thrill of pushing your limits to achieve a new personal best. The difficulty and diligence required to master Downwell does not make it an easy task, but its straightforward controls, utilitarian lo-fi presentation, and steady stream of exciting moments make the journey a consistently enjoyable and engaging experience, no matter how many times you may die on the first stage.

Source: GameSpot.com

Downwell Review – Polished Boots

Update: Three years on, Downwell continues to be a gripping, fast-paced action game that thrives by pushing you into taking huge, exciting risks. The new Switch version of the game is on par with other versions but carries a few unique pros and cons. Playing Downwell in the Switch’s standard handheld mode means that the vertical play area of the game is dramatically reduced in size, which makes it hard to follow the game’s frenetic action. On the other hand, the console’s unique capability to remove the Joycons and position the screen as you wish allows the game’s built-in tate mode (which optimizes the play area for vertical screens) is perfect for an undocked Switch, provided you have some method of safely propping up the body of the console at a 90-degree angle (like the Flip Grip). Downwell’s play area perfectly covers the whole screen in this method, and it’s a wonderful way to experience the game. — Edmond Tran, February 1, 2019, 10:00 AM AEST

Original text, published November 6, 2015: Jumping into a bottomless pit is terrifying. Gravity shows no mercy and no matter how prepared you might be, you’re probably going to hurt yourself. Downwell’s premise embodies this fear. Downwell is a game about diving into the unknown and learning to adapt to the consequences, and it’s a thrilling, action-packed descent.

In Downwell you control a character using only three inputs: left, right, and an all-purpose action button. Pressing the action button while on the ground makes your character jump. Pressing the action button while mid-air causes your character to fire a limited number of bullets downwards, and these bullets can break destructible floors, eliminate enemies, and let your character hover for a brief period. There is only one objective: get to the bottom. And when you die, you start from scratch. The basic systems are straightforward, but the benefit is that it makes the game especially easy to pick up and play. Eliminating the need to think about moving in any other direction, or even switching between two separate buttons to jump and fire, successfully allows players to completely concentrate on the task at hand.

No platforms, no problem.
No platforms, no problem.

Each level is randomly generated, and there’s no way to stop and look ahead to gauge what enemies or traps may appear. There are pickups that increase your health, ammo capacity, and give you new kinds of weapons, but there’s no guarantee which pickups you might stumble across. End-of-level character upgrades give you useful abilities, such as causing blocks to explode into bullets and the ability to consume dead bodies for health, but are also chosen from a randomly selected pool.

These rogue-like elements are nothing new, but Downwell’s unique contribution to the mix is its use of gravity. The only way to progress through the game’s stages is to keep dropping down, and as it turns out, gravity makes your character fall pretty damn quickly. Downwell’s design focuses on dealing with the situations caused by unseen dangers below you as you fall into them at great speed. Your character is vulnerable from the top, and if you don’t manage to deal with an enemy once you’ve dropped past, it’s usually safer to keep jumping down before they bear down on you. The narrow, vertical stages leave little room to manoeuvre, and death comes quickly if enemies trap you. Aside from avoidance, jumping on heads and shooting is the only way to deal with enemies, but certain types can only be defeated by one or the other. Learning and correctly responding to these dangers as you speedily free-fall through the stages is a mentally taxing, but satisfying task if executed successfully.

Trapped platforms appear early on to make sure you keep moving.
Trapped platforms appear early on to make sure you keep moving.

The speed of the game is frustrating at first, and it’s tempting to try and take it slow, descending one platform at a time, making sure all enemies are clear, and taking a short breather before moving on. It’s also tempting to hold out for your favourite weapon module, one whose damage spread and ability to slow your descent matches your preferred playstyle. This works for the first few levels, but past the game’s first world, this calculated approach only causes even more frustration. Terrain traps are introduced, which cause damage if your character lingers too long, a time-based mechanic forces a race to the end of the level, and solid platforms to rest on become increasingly scarce. But once you start to become familiar with the game’s array of obstacles and learn how to better react to situations, playing Downwell at a quicker pace becomes incredibly enjoyable. Keeping up with your character’s fast falling speed and making snap decisions on how to deal with enemies while speeding past platforms can occasionally lead to disaster. But managing to hurtle through a large stretch of a level while dealing with everything that comes your way without even touching the ground is a joyus feeling, when you pull it off.

“…managing to hurtle through a large stretch of a level while dealing with everything that comes your way without even touching the ground is a joyus feeling, when you pull it off.”

Your character begins each run with a small amount of health and bullet capacity, and one method of improving these traits is to find pickups in side-rooms that occasionally appear throughout the stages. The caveat is that each pickup also acts as a new weapon module. This clever design decision results in some interesting choices: To replenish health in a near-death situation or upgrade your weapon capacity for later levels, you must change your weapon to something you may not necessarily be comfortable with. While learning to be familiar with how to use all the weapons can be a nice side-benefit, at times the weapon available may turn out to be completely unsuitable for the kind of trials that may lie ahead. Never knowing if a decision you make is going to severely hurt you is initially annoying, but you soon come to appreciate the additional layer of unknown to the game’s equation, which positively magnifies Downwell’s ever-present sense of danger.

First you get the combos. Then you get the money. Then you get the upgrades.
First you get the combos. Then you get the money. Then you get the upgrades.

Downwell’s biggest incentive to keep playing fast and risky is the game’s combo system: Every enemy the player kills before touching the ground counts towards a combo multiplier, which can eventually reward you with increased ammo capacity, and large amounts of currency to spend at sporadically-placed upgrade stores. Because your character has a limited number of shots in the air before running out of ammo, and jumping on enemies refreshes that ammo, maintaining a long combo becomes a challenging feat of perception, quick decision making, and adept execution. Leaping on an enemy while avoiding another, shooting a gap in the floor and falling through it, then stabilizing yourself and manoeuvring to a position where you can stomp onto another enemy to refresh your ammo is an action-packed thrill. Learning the skills and vocabulary of the game gives you the confidence to risk chaining large combos, and it’s at this level where you can experience Downwell’s most exhilarating moments again and again.

“Learning the skills and vocabulary of the game gives you the confidence to risk chaining large combos, and it’s at this level where you can experience Downwell’s most exhilarating moments again and again.”

The idea of plummeting into the unknown is terrifying, but Downwell is a game where the systems coerce you to take big risks, and enjoy the reward and thrill of pushing your limits to achieve a new personal best. The difficulty and diligence required to master Downwell does not make it an easy task, but its straightforward controls, utilitarian lo-fi presentation, and steady stream of exciting moments make the journey a consistently enjoyable and engaging experience, no matter how many times you may die on the first stage.

Source: GameSpot.com

One Of 2016’s Best Anime Movies Is Finally Getting A Home Release (US)

Eleven Arts has announced that A Silent Voice is finally getting a physical disc set release in North America. The anime movie is releasing in a deluxe package that includes the Blu-ray, DVD, and digital versions.

First premiering in Japanese theaters in 2016, the home release of A Silent Voice will be available for purchase in North America on April 2, according to Crunchyroll. The disc set includes both the original Japanese version of the film and the English dubbed version.

A Silent Voice rapidly gained popularity in Japan when it first released, and its emotional story captured American audiences when the film released internationally the following year. The movie is a condensed version of the story told in the seven volume manga of the same name–titled Koe no Katachi in Japan–that was created by Yoshitoki Oima. A Silent Voice follows the changing relationship between Shoko and Shoya, a girl who’s deaf and the male peer who used to cruelly bully her in elementary school. Shoya reaches out to Shoko when the two are in high school in an effort to make amends, as well as come to terms with his own guilt, and the two eventually spark an unlikely friendship that begins to grow into something more.

While you wait for A Silent Voice to come out, there are plenty of other options for anime you can watch. If you’re looking for something new, we’ve put together a guide of series to both watch and keep an eye on during the current Winter 2019 season. For older titles, consider looking at our guide for anime series from the Fall 2018 season or a list of our favorite anime from 2018. Sentai Filmworks also released several new home release disc sets in January 2019, including a cool-looking special steelbook collection for Land of the Lustrous–one of 2017’s best anime.

Source: GameSpot.com

Nintendo’s Internal Data Shows That Smash Bros. Ultimate Is Pretty Balanced

We already suspected that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s roster was pretty evenly matched, and now we’ve got data from the game’s lead creator to prove it. r. In a new column for the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai shared some data on the wins and losses of many of the game’s 74 fighters.

Take King R. Rool, for example. The big lizard l is regarded by many as a “noob smasher,” a character who’s easy to exploit against less experienced players, but Nintendo data shared by Sakurai doesn’t show him as overly dominant. “His win rate is over all 51.9%,” Sakurai wrote. “In VIP matches it’s 48.9%.” VIP matches are what the game in North America refers to as Elite Smash, a ranked mode reserved for players who have reached a high enough GSP (Global Smash Power).

Sakurai spends much of the column touting what he sees as the overall parity between the game’s 74 fighters. “Firstly, one on one victory rates,” he writes. “No fighter is below 40%, and no fighter is above 60%.” He goes on:

“As for one on one matches among VIP players, the lowest win rate for any character is 43.7%. The highest win ratio is 56.8%. Looking at just this data we can see some variation within, though if we think of it in terms of the highest and the lowest of the 74 characters, we could say it’s a uniformly narrow margin.

If we integrate all the one on one data, all fighters fall within 40% and 54% win rates, and that those with a win rate of 45% or higher make up 90% of the total.”

Sakurai also revealed who players are currently favoring. “Moreover, there’s big variation in usage data,” he writes. “The highest is about 20x the lowest. The most-used character is Cloud. The most commonly used character in VIP matches is Ganondorf. However, in said VIP matches Ganondorf’s win rate is only 47.9%, which puts him low in the battle rankings.

On the whole though, the director seems extremely happy with where the game is at right now, and hesitant to make any big changes in the immediate future.

“If we look just at battle data, it seems like there’s no reason to tune the game at all,” he writes. “However, if we don’t tweak things just a little bit, there are probably some people out there who are going to feel stressed out. So for now I’m waiting for opinions of the team in charge of adjustments.”

Source: Kotaku.com

Alita: Battle Angel is the first great live-action manga adaptation

By all accounts, adapting an anime or manga into a live-action blockbuster is a Sisyphean task, at least when it comes to Western media. Death Note, Ghost in the Shell, Dragonball Evolution — the list of flops goes on.

A part of that failure to launch could be attributed to the fact that there’s no way to smoothly translate the anime/manga aesthetic from page (or animation) to screen. The first footage from Alita: Battle Angel, Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga Battle Angel Alita, seemed to suggest that Rodriguez and writer-producer James Cameron tried to solve the problem by being as literal as possible. Actress Rosa Salazar’s eyes were enlarged to the size of dinner plates, looking a little more Gollum-like than presumably intended.

I’ll settle the big questions about Alita: Battle Angel first: Yes, the big eyes are not easy on the, er, eyes (in fact, they are now even bigger). No, they did not need to be that big. But yes, I still love them.

Absolutely everything about Alita: Battle Angel is unapologetically outsized — there is interplanetary war, there is a sport called “motorball” that’s basically jai alai with robots, there are slo-mo shots of objects of varying degrees of deadliness flying out of the screen — and it’s delightful.

Rosa Salazar stars as Alita in Alita: Battle Angel 20th Century Fox

The instant that the 20th Century Fox logo abruptly becomes a haggard “26th Century Fox” to signal the passage of time sets the tone for everything that comes next. Rodriguez is more focused on show than he is on story, as Alita: Battle Angel hits every required beat in an arc of self-discovery — including a slightly bizarre take on puberty as it applies to robots — with the kind of force (or lack thereof) that recalls a kid finishing their homework before being allowed to play video games.

In this instance, the video game equivalent is letting Alita (Salazar) cut loose. After being found on a scrap heap, cyborg Alita is reconstructed by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz), and wakes without any memory of her past life. Bit by bit, she acclimates to living in Iron City, a metropolis populated by scavengers and survivors (think Mos Eisley and multiply that by 100), learning that she’s not meant to eat orange peels and nursing a crush on the simultaneously appealing and eminently forgettable Hugo (Keean Johnson). Though it’s fun — Salazar gives the usual “baby robot” schtick her very all — it’s peanuts compared to the moment when Alita’s true purpose comes to light.

As implied by the title of the film (and to only slightly paraphrase an actual line), Alita’s built for battle, and watching Salazar hand a bunch of grown men their asses is a thrill. Rodriguez seems to be one of the only directors working who has figured out how to coherently stage a blockbuster action sequence; Alita: Battle Angel is a whirlpool of CGI, and yet every character and action is easy to track instead of disappearing into a mishmash of shapes and similar colors. It’d be easy to ascribe that to the fact that motorball, given its finite number of players and clean course, naturally lends itself to a more easily comprehensible shoot, but even when Alita bursts past the bounds of the motorball course, the film remains crisp.

Rosa Salazar (Alita) and Keean Johnson (Hugo) star in ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL 20th Century Fox

That the story isn’t particularly interesting is occasionally a drag, but, again, that’s not the point here. Sure, each character only gets one defining characteristic (Alita loves to fight, Ido loves to be a dad, Hugo loves Alita, etc.), but it’s enough. Alita: Battle Angel is pure visual spectacle; it’s not trying to be anything more than it is.

As should be expected from any project even remotely in the vicinity of Cameron, Alita looks incredible. Iron City — and Zalem, the aerial city and mecca that floats above it — is packed to the gills with life. The other characters, for being emotionally flat, are still colorful enough to make an impact: Waltz spends most of the film decked out in an L.L. Bean catalog and carrying a giant rocket hammer; Hugo is repeatedly referred to as “Meat Boy” (on account of being human); and Jackie Earle Haley crops up in the film’s rogues’ gallery in a rig that sizes up his frame to match his charisma, as does Jeff Fahey in a cameo that must in some way have been inspired by Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Alita: Battle Angel sheds (or ignores?) any need for coherence anywhere except in what’s projected up on the screen, and actually benefits from that commitment to action. As Alita’s circumstances grow more dire, so do the consequences, pushing the limits of the film’s PG-13 rating about as far as they’ll go. The sight of the gargantuan cities is juxtaposed with individual violence as limbs are ripped from bodies, and the faster the blood gets pumping, the more galvanizing are the heights to which Alita climbs.

Alita: Battle Angel hits theaters on Feb. 14.

Source: Polygon.com

Hearthstone Balance Changes Nerf Classic Mainstays

Blizzard has announced the next set of balance changes coming to Hearthstone, and they’ll have a big impact on the mainstays of multiple classes. This update is aimed almost entirely at the Basic and Classic sets–that is, the cards that never go out of Standard play rotation–and the company says it’s because they’ve just proven too persistent over multiple expansions.

“We’re changing these particular cards because each one has been highly prevalent, regardless of what strategies have been popular or what other cards have existed around them,” the note on the Hearthstone blog states. “When Basic and Classic cards become this ubiquitous, they take away some of the flexibility players have when building decks, ultimately stifling the diversity of decks we see when playing Hearthstone.”

These sweeping changes impact four class cards: the Rogue’s Cold Blood, Shaman’s Flametongue Totem, Paladin’s Equality, and the Hunter card Hunter’s Mark. Each one is having its mana cost raised by one, except for Equality, which is being raised by two. The actual card effects are going unchanged in each instance, but Blizzard hopes that by raising the mana cost they’ll be less “auto-include” cards and encourage more diversity in those decks.

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5

Finally, one more change was announced, this one hitting a non-Basic/Classic card. The Hunter’s Emerald Spellstone, from the Kobolds & Catacombs set, will go from five mana to six. The Spellstone cards change their effect throughout a match as certain conditions are met, and this one had a big reward for fulfilling relatively easy conditions. Blizzard says it’s raising the cost to make it more of a mid-to-late game threat rather than an aggressive early one.

Blizzard tends to announce changes like these, impacting Basic and Classic cards, in anticipation for a new Standard rotation. When the first expansion of 2019 comes out, the three released in 2017–Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, and Kobolds and Catacombs–will all rotation out of Standard play. That also makes the change to Emerald Spellstone more forward-facing for Wild play, where it will still be playable after the changeover.

Source: GameSpot.com

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