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This Week in Gaming News: Fortnite iOS, Remasters and Apologies

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Top 5 Gaming News

Welcome to the first of a weekly column where I look to round up the most important happenings in the gaming world over the last week (disclaimer: I decide what’s important), and deliver them in somewhat bite-sized fashion and top it off with a nice dose of my own opinion on it all. Sort of like one of those Mars bars you used to get in a kids’ party bag, topped with extra sugar. Tasty, right? Then let’s dig in. Here is the top five biggest gaming news.

Fortnite Battle Royale on Mobile is Available to All (Unless You’re on Android)

Bro, you must already know this, right? For those who’ve been in a coma until right this second, I’ll give you 10 seconds to reacquaint yourself with the internet, during which time you’ll realise that Fortnite is everywhere. See? Now, the game being everywhere is literally the case, as Fortnite for mobile left its beta state this week and became available to play on iOS without requiring the chain letter-style invite system it launched with in March.

There aren’t enough thumbs on one human for this UI

Nobody will be surprised to learn that it most definitely isn’t perfect at present – in fact, I’d personally call it a near-unplayable mess of terrible touch controls, lag, and the inability to turn on inverted aim (yeah, I’m one of those freaks). But hey, it’s Fortnite – the game so popular it’s caused disgruntled mothers to go on British morning television to complain that their kids are playing it too much, and disregarded girlfriends to sign a petition to get it banned because it’s ‘brainwashing’ their boyfriends – and it’s on mobile, so anyone with an iOS device can play it during those toilet breaks and commutes where they can’t play it on their console or PC for a few minutes. Because they’re brainwashed don’t you know.

Rare Cancels Sea of Thieves ‘Death Tax’

There are only two things in life that are inevitable: death and taxes – we all know this. But death and tax at the same time?! Come on, Sea of Thieves. Leave it out, yeah?

Oh, they did.

This ghost ship really isn’t as cool as it should be

For those who aren’t aware, Sea of Thieves currently has a very messy, verging on pointless, respawning system. You die, you show up on a ghost ship with other dead dudes, and then you respawn on your ship a few seconds later. It makes being killed arbitrary, but also allows for you to be spawn killed over and over again by dastardly dawgs with nothing better to do (which, when talking about Sea of Thieves, is likely true). To make death feel a bit more weighty (y’know, like death does), Rare proposed a ‘Death Cost’, which was described by the developer thusly:

“Death Cost – This new feature has the Captain of the Ferry of the Damned deduct a small gold fee when you die. Rates are dependant on the cause of death, so the more avoidable the death, the less patience the Captain will have when we enable this feature!”

Naturally, the internet internetted all over this proposal, with the chief concern on forums being that those PvP spawn-killing griefers I mentioned earlier would seemingly be able to drain all your gold in a matter of minutes as you died and paid over and over again. Rare denied this was the case, saying that death to other players would not incur a tax, but by golly if Reddit isn’t a place occupied by people who are hard to please.

So they’re only sorry for the messaging then?

So, the ‘Death Cost’ is gone before it was even here. It shows that Rare are willing to listen to the community, but perhaps also that they were more concerned with how they relayed this to players rather than agreeing that the proposed system is a bad one. It matters not either way, and Rare will have to come up with a different solution to the respawning skulduggery. 2017 was a turbulent year in terms of online games upsetting players, but if Sea of Thieves‘ ‘Death Cost’ reversal has proven anything, it’s that some developers do listen, and that if you’re going to make a game with ‘Sea’ in the title, you should probably expect a little salt.

We Now Know Lots About Dark Souls Remastered

It turns out Dark Souls Remastered isn’t going to be a complete remake like February’s Shadow of the Colossus, but it’s not all bad – well, not until you start playing and get killed over and over again anyway. While the remaster hasn’t had a complete graphical overhaul (who really expected this anyway?), it will feature 4k resolution and 60fps on Xbox One X, PC and PS4 Pro, 1080p/60fps on Xbox One and PS4, and 1080p/30fps on Switch (720p when in handheld mode), as well as some improved lighting and upgraded textures. More in the camp of ‘standard remake fare’ than anything else, then, but that 60fps will make a huge difference in how the game feels and plays. And, yes, it’s been successfully tested in Blighttown – it’s cool, you guys.

We can now praise a slightly prettier sun!

Series veterans probably had a wishlist as long as Bed of Chaos’ arms when it came to quality of life improvements, and the announced changes are impressive, if not quantitative. The main changes of note are:

  • The maximum number of players online has increased from 4 to 6 for even more gank potential.
  • Password Matchmaking is now available, as in Dark Souls 3.
  • 3v3 and 6-player deathmatches have been added.
  • Multiple consumable items can be used at once instead of one at a time.
  • Covenants can be switched at Bonfires.
  • Button configuration is available – switch jumping to the left analog stick, quick!
  • The online network has been changed from P2P to dedicated servers.

The bonfires are much more… fiery in the remaster

There are numerous other additions from less fiddly item-switching mechanics to changes to summoning and PvP healing, and From Software certainly seems to be ably straddling that tightrope of keeping the core game intact and pure (one major change would almost certainly usher in the age of internet fire) while adding minor-yet-important updates. No, it isn’t redone in the Dark Souls 3 engine, but Dark Souls is often cited as being beloved because of it feeling distinct to the other games in the series, and this remaster will certainly keep that notion intact.

‘Middle Earth: Shadow of War’ is Removing Microtransactions

Well, well, well. Look who finally turned up to the corporate apology party. Turns out that when money-grabbing microtransactions are no longer lucrative – or your game has become largely irrelevant – it’s the perfect time to say you’re sorry and take them away. Warner Bros. issued a quite astounding apology this week for all of that exploitation they did, and announced that they were going to completely remove the market from Shadow of War a whole six months after the game’s release.

The official statement reads:

The core promise of the Nemesis System is the ability to build relationships with your personal allies and enemies in a dynamic open world. While purchasing Orcs in the Market is more immediate and provides additional player options, we have come to realize that providing this choice risked undermining the heart of our game, the Nemesis System. It allows you to miss out on the awesome player stories you would have otherwise created, and it compromises those same stories even if you don’t buy anything.

I wonder how many of these Orcs were paid for…

There you have it, a multi-billion dollar corporation apparently takes six months to realise that offering players the chance to skip through parts of their game actually undermines the hard work the developers put into creating it. What an epiphany! That, or they knew all along that they were purposely undermining the system because that’s the entire point of offering players the ‘choice’ to buy Orcs instead of playing to earn them. Either way, it’s finally made a largely-praised game that many people would likely have boycotted into a viable experience – at a greatly reduced price from when it launched. Naturally, anyone who actually pumped money into the game up to this point might be a little cheesed off, but for the rest of us, we can hopefully now appreciate a good game for the right reasons.

Spyro The Dragon Reignited Trilogy is Confirmed

Unlike the aforementioned Dark Souls Remastered, Spyro has undergone quite the visual makeover. Activision announced the remake this week with a new trailer and a release date of Sept. 21st as a celebration of the original game’s 20th anniversary and sweetpurpledragonfirebreath does it look absolutely gorgeous.

Watch this in motion – it’s so smooth

Once again, the chaps and chapesses over at Toys For Bob – of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy fame – are handling development of the 3D platformer, and once again the original games have been remade from the ground up. As well as the improved visuals, the Reignited Trilogy will feature updated controls and an enhanced rewards system.

There’s not much more information announced for the game, but what more do we really need to know? Why not just check out the trailer and I’ll catch you all next week.

Crotchety Englishman who spends hundreds of pounds on video game tattoos and Amiibo in equally wallet-crippling measure. Likes grammar a lot, but not as much as he likes ranting about the latest gaming news in his weekly column.

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The Asus GX701 Gaming Laptop Competes with the Most High-End Desktops

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Asus GX701 image

As the gaming industry soars to new heights with more powerful technology—and manufacturers such as Asus, Razer, and Alienware—that brings the most beloved, pixelated characters to life on screens of various sizes, gamers often find themselves torn between what kind of hardware to utilize to get the most out of their gameplay.

Naturally, an individual’s desires and expectations vary from person to person, but for those who are consistently on the lookout for the best hardware on which to play their games on max settings with little to no frame drop, options tend to be far more limited—and expensive. Those limitations tend to be further strenuous for those PC enthusiasts who would also like to play their favorite games on the road.

Enter the gaming laptop, where manufacturers attempt to take some of the most powerful hardware and condense it into a mobile framework for those consumers with the budget and drive to use them. While historically it has been difficult for gaming laptops to even come close to competing with high-end desktops—something that is still up for debate among the tech community—the technological landscape has evolved to the point that manufacturers are on their way to narrowing the gap between laptop and desktop.

When investing in any piece of technology, however, there are various obstacles of which consumers should be aware while researching what hardware (or pre-built machines like a gaming laptop) do the best job of overcoming those hurdles. Everything from ventilation to CPU clocking and general performance based on the games in which one is interested must be taken into consideration.

In the search for finding a machine that can play the most graphically intense games on max settings without sacrificing frame rate, Goomba Stomp decided to put the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 to the test.

Hardware Specifications

Before delving into how the Asus GX701’s hardware performs, it’s important to note the laptop’s hardware specifications.

The CPU is the i7-9750H Six Core Processor that clocks between 2.6GHz and 4.5GHz. Next is the graphics card (GPU)—the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB GDDR6 with Max-Q Design (which basically means it’s a watered down version of the standard RTX 2080 GPU due to its smaller size to fit in the laptop, sacrificing a small amount of power). Couple the CPU and GPU with the 32GB of RAM and the 1TB NVMe SSD, and the Asus GX701 is a mighty powerhouse on paper.

Hardware Performance — CPU

i7-9750H Six-Core Processor (CPU)

Functioning as the laptop’s brain, the i7-9750H Six Core Processor decodes the actions it’s instructed by the RAM to process. Even operating towards its base end of 2.6GHz, the Asus GX701’s CPU rapidly produces the output users command it to execute, resulting in swift completions that turn into web pages, game activation, reduced loading times, and more.

With a max operating temperature of 100 degrees Celsius, gamers can rest assured this CPU will give them a decent amount of wiggle room when it comes to putting the laptop under heavy loads. For titles that are CPU-intensive, however, such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Black Desert Online, and the Total War franchise (where thousands of soldiers and other objects must exist on the battlefield), it should be noted that the i7-9750H does get hot to the touch above the keyboard.

When its heat rises (often above 90 degrees Celsius when under a load), the fan kicks up to compete with the high temperature, often becoming loud. While the noise is both obnoxious and disconcerting at first, one becomes used to it after extensive use; though, the nagging sensation at the back of one’s mind can be enough to leave one paranoid that the machine is going to overheat and shut down. Despite this paranoia, the Asus GX701 never shut itself off during any of Goomba Stomp’s gaming sessions and continued exhibiting rapid outputs when receiving input commands while performing several tasks at once.

Hardware Performance — GPU

RTX 2080 Graphics Card (GPU)

The RTX 2080 is one of various state-of-the-art graphics cards available to gamers. Released in September 2018, this 8GB GPU is just one step behind the RTX 2080TI. To put this card to the test, Goomba Stomp cranks Black Desert Online up to max settings, with its vibrant colors and overwhelming amount of assets (including other players in the game) and without losing any frame rate in the process. Doing so produces vivid images that are crystal clear at the maximum range available in Black Desert’s world. Everything looks real, and frame rate never drops below 60 frames per second (FPS), allowing for beautiful aesthetics and smooth gameplay.

Moreover, using Total War: THREE KINGDOMS and Total War: WARHAMMER II as the examples in which Goomba Stomp employs max settings in a strategy title and the “Extreme” setting for unit size (number of soldiers in each individual unit in an army), the frame rate does not drop. The i7-9750H works hard, heating up to 90-95C, but does not overheat or experience any catastrophic failures that result in the game crashing (even with the maximum amount of units allowed on the battlefield at once).

While playing these two titles does cause the i7-9750H to pick up the pace, resulting in temperatures that made the area above the laptop’s keyboard almost too hot to touch, the GPU has no problems rendering images while working in conjunction with the CPU to maintain high FPS. Indeed, for the likes of Total War, the RTX 2080, even with Max-Q Design, is overkill.

Ventilation

Gaming laptop photo (GX701)
Gaming laptop (Asus GX701) Vents

Something that all gaming hardware requires is proper ventilation, allowing devices to suck in cool air and blow out hot. To that end, a machine’s architecture must allow for vents that permit efficient intake and exhaust. Historically, gaming laptops have lagged in this regard, often relying more on decent thermal paste and powerful fans in lieu of sufficient vents.

To remedy this shortcoming, the Asus GX701 has four vents—one on each side and two on the back. When the laptop is under a heavy load, one can feel hot air being expunged from the system through these vents. Despite the amount of hot air that gets blown out of the system, the CPU still manages to get hot to the touch.

However, as mentioned above, since the laptop has not shut itself off to protect itself and the games played have yet to falter, these vents appear to be enough (when working in conjunction with the fan and thermal paste) to keep the machine within normal operating temperatures.

Software – MyAsus

MyAsus is a program that allows users to receive product information, as well as notifications that certain apps, drivers, or features have an update available. If the software detects any available updates, it will automatically notify users and prompt them to either download and install the update or postpone it for a certain amount of time (10 minutes, one hour, or four hours).

While this app seems useful on paper, its execution is a travesty at best. When receiving a notification regarding updates and choosing the option to “update now,” Goomba Stomp experienced a frustrating issue in which MyAsus drifted into a perpetual cycle of trying to begin the update process—the swirling icon next to each update indicating the system was processing the information never went away, and the updates never proceeded to be downloaded or installed.

Anytime Goomba Stomp opted to “postpone” the update for an hour or more, MyAsus pretended to not receive that command and would send another reminder 10 minutes later that updates were found. Therefore, the most useful facet of MyAsus was the ability to uninstall it and clear up a negligible amount of space in the Asus GX701’s memory (thus relegating it to the past tense). Despite MyAsus being a preinstalled program, it was removable and ceased to be annoying once discarded and virtually burned, never to plague Goomba Stomp’s gaming laptop again.

Miscellaneous Features

The most prominent miscellaneous feature is the ROG (Republic of Gamers) Armoury Crate application. This program allows users to adjust the keyboard’s colors and color animation settings, giving those with an interest in the laptop’s aesthetics the power to choose what look suits them best. From a static color pattern to a reactive mode in which keys don’t light up unless pressed, the RGB (red, green, blue) system provides several minutes of entertainment all by itself, until one figures out which pattern(s) they wish to use.

Moreover, Armoury Crate serves as a hub for ROG fans to browse online deals for video games (a store), a logistical manipulator that allows users to observe their apps and free up memory space at will, and a hardware monitor for users to track their fans’ RPMs as well as CPU and GPU stats (temperature, voltage, etc.).

Overall Impression

For those with the budget and desire to possess a high-end gaming laptop that travels well and can compete with some of the most powerful desktops on the market, the Asus GX701 is a prodigious choice. With hardware that rivals almost any modern gaming rig, any game one plays will be a smooth, gorgeous experience.

However, bear in mind that the CPU does run hot, often idling between 50-60 degrees Celsius and heating up to 85-95 Celsius when under a load. Nevertheless, the ventilation, fan, and thermal paste work well together to prevent the laptop from overheating so users may continue enjoying their virtual worlds. Moreover, to assist with remedying the paranoia that abounds in one’s mind when dealing with the hot CPU, Goomba Stomp also invested in a cooling pad, which helps keep the CPU five-to-ten degrees cooler while under load.

Considering the horrendous perversion that is MyAsus being a troublesome and irrelevant preinstalled software is the only real drawback Goomba Stomp experienced, it’s safe to say the GX701 is a phenomenal machine, despite its burdensome cost and large size.

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‘Black Widow’ Teaser Trailer: A Shot By Shot Analysis

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After years of speculation, we finally got official confirmation of a Black Widow movie from Marvel Studios at the San Diego Comic Con during the summer this year. This was a big deal for fans of the first female Avenger; as a woman who has been a fan of Marvel movies since first seeing Iron Man in 2008, I personally think that this has been a long time coming. Black Widow will hopefully be as influential as Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman when it comes to female-led superhero movies (that are actually good). And we now have a Black Widow teaser trailer to break down, so let’s take a look.

Spoiler warning for a key plot point in Avengers: Endgame.

Just like in Budapest

The opening shot is of Budapest, the capital of Hungary, which holds significant meaning to Natasha Romanoff a.k.a Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). In the first Avengers film, whilst fighting against the Chitauri, she quips to Clint Barton a.k.a Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) that the situation is “just like Budapest all over again.” Hawkeye retorts with “you and I remember Budapest very differently.” It was probably intended as a throwaway line, but fans became curious as to what exactly did go down in this mission. It is mentioned again in Avengers: Endgame, so it is clearly an important mission where something big happened. This opening shot may well be a flashback to this moment, or it could be that Natasha finds herself back in Budapest once again during the movie.

Flashbacks

The Black Widow teaser then has Natasha reflecting on her past, saying that she used to have nothing, as the Red Room ballerina flashbacks from Avengers: Age of Ultron are shown. The Red Room is where we see the girls dancing; it’s a Soviet training facility where Natasha was groomed to become a spy and killer. The premise of the movie is vague at the moment, but the theme of facing the past is prevalent. I would not be surprised if Natasha returns to the Red Room in the film.

Superhero Family

More flashbacks are seen of the original Avengers film, as Natasha narrates that having nothing changed when she got the job as an Avenger and gained a family. We see Clint and Nick Fury, two of the most important people in Natasha’s life, as well as a small flashback from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is clear that Natasha’s feelings towards her fellow Avengers changed significantly the longer she was with them. They were her family, something she had never had before. As a character who was originally portrayed as manipulative and cold, it is encouraging to see her given more depth and made to feel more human.

Nothing Lasts

Black Widow teaser

Natasha goes all stereotypical brooding protagonist as she looks in the mirror and narrates that “nothing lasts forever.” The film is said to be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and deals with the fallout of the Avengers becoming fractured; Natasha is clearly affected by the split in the family dynamic.

Black and Red

Not really much of an analysis here but this is a super cool variation of the Marvel Studios logo made to look like the Black Widow symbol. Awesome. Moving on.

On the Run

Black widow teaser Scarlett

A voice (it sounds like General Ross to me, but I’m not sure) says that he heard that Natasha had to leave in a hurry. She responds with, “it’s never easy these days,” and we see Natasha navigating her way through a crowded train station. Following the events of Civil War, she is likely to be on the run after helping Captain America with his plans. She is pretty much a fugitive at this point.

Young Ross

After a convoy of armoured cars is shown, we then see General Thaddeus Ross looking a lot younger then we have seen him before via de-aging technology. This is likely to be a flashback of some kind to long before any of the Avengers came to light, as we don’t even see him looking this young in his first appearance in The Incredible Hulk.

Yelena Belova

Black Widow teaser Yelena

After Natasha says that she is done running from her past, we see her stalking through the corridors of an apartment when she comes face to face with Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). Belova is a character from the comics, as well as a fellow Black Widow who was trained in the same Red Room as Natasha.

The two have a brief scuffle here. Whilst it looks like they are enemies at first, it becomes clear that they seem to be practising their sparring skills, or at least fighting one another with no intention of using lethal force. Natasha refers to Yelena as “sis;” their time in the Red Room must have brought them closer together, close enough to consider one another family. In the comics, Yelena is the one to take on the mantle of the Black Widow after Natasha’s death. Knowing what we do after Endgame, it is possible that Belova could be set up as a possible successor.

New Look

Natasha is next shown looking awesome in a new outfit. Her suit certainly seems more armoured than the usual attire, and amoured suits are always an improvement from the skimpy cat suits that a lot of lady heroes have to wear. I’m also living for those warrior braids she’s got going on.

Rooftop Run

A glimpse at an action-packed rooftop chase shows Natasha chasing someone off screen before leaping to what looks like a tall chimney pot. She isn’t alone either…

It looks as though Yelena is clinging to the chimney as well, while Natasha holds onto someone unknown. Could this be a friend or foe? It looks a little bit like another fellow Black Widow named Melina (more on her later).

Operations Base

The next shot in the Black Widow teaser shows two silhouetted figures — one looks like it could be Natasha — in a dark room with screens showing red dots. It looks like it could be depicting locations across the world, or possibly even tracking agents. This may be the base of operations for the Soviet facility where Natasha and her fellow Widows were trained. This is also suggested by Natasha’s narration, as she says that she has to return to where it all started, heavily implying this could be related to the Red Room. This is a very vague shot, so it is interesting to wonder what exactly this scene could be.

White Widow

We get another new look for Natasha, as she does a superhero landing down from a helicopter in a white outfit, obviously intended to camouflage her in the snow-laden military base she finds herself in. This outfit is similar to one that she wore in the comic series Black Widow: Deadly Origin. Deadly Origin explores her past as an assassin, so it is likely that there will be more inspiration taken from the comic.

Taskmaster

Black Widow teaser Taskmaster

The Black Widow teaser next offers a glimpse of super-villain Taskmaster, as he readies his bow in a scene that looks like he is ambushing the Widows. Taskmaster is a well known villain in the Marvel universe, but his identity in the cinematic universe is yet to be confirmed. There are already some fan theories floating around as to who is underneath the mask.

Melina

We next see Melina (Rachel Weisz), the Black Widow mentioned earlier. She is a seasoned assassin, and also part of the Widow family.

Alexei Shostakov

This is followed by a shot of Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour), otherwise known in Marvel comics by his hero guise Red Guardian. In the comics, Alexei is the second person to take up the mantle of the Red Guardian, who is basically the Russian version of Captain America. Natasha and Alexei were actually once married in the comics, but it is unclear as to whether the two will have a romantic connection in the film, as a character named Rick Mason (O-T Fagbenle) is said to have a romantic interest in Natasha.

Red Guardian

Black Widow teaser Red Guardian

Natasha narrates that this will be a hell of a reunion, as we see Alexei donning his Red Guardian outfit and proudly announcing that it “still fits.”

Family Dinner

The Black Widow family sits down for a spot of dinner around a table in the next shot. Alexei says “Family, back together again” as Yelena rolls her eyes, Melina mocks Alexei for putting on weight, and Natasha does her best to console him with a somewhat disingenuous smile. You know, typical family stuff. This group are clearly close (or were close at some point), but I can’t help but feel that someone around the table may not be entirely what they seem. That’s a gut feeling on my part, though.

Natasha has always had trust issues, but she may have loosened up a bit following her time with the Avengers. It would make sense to challenge her character development by having someone close betray her. Again, though, that is just speculation at this point. Also, does anyone else find it weird that these people probably spent a LOT of time in Russia together, and Natasha is the only one without a thick Russian accent? No? Just me? Let’s move on then.

Fight Club

The Black Widow teaser trailer continues with a quick shot of Alexei in his Red Guardian outfit again, this time fighting with an unknown enemy. He still seems to have what it takes, as he brutally headbutts the bad guy.

Avalanche

A helicopter attempts to escape a massive avalanche at some kind of military base. It is possible that this where the Red Room is located, and the film may focus on the Widows teaming up alongside Red Guardian to bring down the facility once and for all. Hopefully, Taskmaster will have a role to play in this as well, and I really hope it is a good one. Marvel villains have a tendency to fall a bit flat outside a few exceptions (Thanos and Loki), and I hope Taskmaster doesn’t end up falling under the category of yet another underwhelming Marvel bad guy.

Freefall

Natasha leaps from a collapsing platform in the CG-heavy but super cool final shot of the trailer, as she manoeuvres herself around bits of falling debris while being shot at by falling bad guys. It’s empowering to see a badass female character in such an action-packed scene. I just hope she has a parachute.

Where It All Began

I love this little reference to Natasha’s debut in Iron Man 2 here in the title card ending the Black Widow teaser trailer. It makes you realise how far the character has come since she took out those guys in the corridor with such ease.

Black Widow

Black Widow will hopefully tie up any loose ends within Natasha’s narrative. The movie could be quite poignant, and maybe even a little emotional following her death in Avengers: Endgame. I think any fans of her character will agree that as long as the film does justice to her and is a fitting farewell, then we will be able to let her go and move on to the next generation of Marvel heroes. What I really do not want to see is some kind of resurrection for her. She died heroically in Endgame, and I feel that her legacy would be tainted if they were to suddenly revive her. This was only a teaser trailer, of course, so hopefully the full trailer will give us a little more context.

Black Widow will be released in May 1st, 2020. Check out the new poster below.

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‘Shovel Knight: King of Cards’ and ‘Shovel Knight Showdown’— Everything You Need to Know

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Shovel Knight Showdown

8-bit retro aesthetic indie games aren’t exactly new, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that matches the quality found in Shovel Knight. The indie darling was one of our favourite games of 2014 and ever since it released on the Wii U, we’ve been huge fans of Yacht Club Games following their every move including the four additional campaigns which continued to deepen the Shovel Knight universe. Of those four campaigns, only two have been released (Plague of Shadows and Specter of Torment), with the last two releasing later this month. It’s been five long years but the journey comes to an end as fans will finally have a chance to play Shovel Knight: King of Cards and Shovel Knight Showdown which comes out on December 10th, 2019 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, & PC each for $9.99 USD. Here’s everything you need to know about the release.

With Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove now complete, it is also getting a physical release on Nintendo Switch & Xbox One on December 10th as well. The PlayStation 4 version will follow suit in early 2020. 

Additionally, Yacht Club is releasing new amiibos the same date including the Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove amiibo 3-Pack that includes Plague Knight, Specter Knight and King Knight as well as a new Shovel Knight Gold Edition amiibo.

Shovel Knight amiibo

Shovel Knight: King of Cards

Shovel Knight: King of Cards is the final campaign in the Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove saga, and it’s bigger and grander than ever! Step into the regal shoes of King Knight, the Gilded Goon himself, as you shoulder bash and spin jump through all those who would oppose your reign! Travel through 4 new worlds and more than 30 all new courses, all on a journey to best the “Three Kings” who lord over the land.  Discover what it takes to become a true monarch, meet a friend or two, and amass a King’s ransom in items and loot! Plus, try your hand at Joustus, King of Cards’ very own collectible card game, with over 120 unique cards! Refined platforming, exquisite visuals, story with heart, action-packed courses, glorious new bosses and more await in Shovel Knight: King of Cards!

Shovel Knight Showdown

Shovel Knight Showdown is the ultimate platform fighting experience, where you can duel with up to 4 players and scramble after gems as your favorite heroic or villainous knight from the Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove saga. Gather your pals for endless multiplayer clashes, or choose from more than 16 playable characters in Story Mode, each with their own unique story to tell. Master every move, explore a vast array of items and locales, and discover new revelations in Shovel Knight Showdown!

Earlier this year, developer Yacht Club Games also revealed the next entry in the wide-ranging franchise, Shovel Knight Dig, taking the famously retro series into 16-bit for the first time. The full reveal trailer and info on that can be seen here.

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