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New Darth Vader Game Is Coming To Oculus VR

Vader Immortal is a new series of virtual reality games coming to the just-announced Oculus Quest headset.

Here’s the trailer:

Not much to go on there, other than the fact it looks like you’re playing as some scmuck who gets kidnapped by Darth Vader then forced into some kind of Indentured Sith Apprenticeship Scheme.


The first episode will be out alongside the Quest, which launches in Spring 2019.

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Preorder the Nintendo Switch Fortnite Bundle, Which Includes Fortnite Goodies For No Extra Charge

Nintendo Switch Fortnite Bundle | $300 | Walmart
Graphic: Shep McAllister

There have been a few new Nintendo Switch bundles going up for preorder lately (including, most notably, a Super Smash-themed one), but the Fortnite bundle will be the first of them to ship (it comes out next Friday), and the first that doesn’t cost any extra.

For the standard $300 MSRP of the Switch, you’ll also get 1,000 V-Bucks for Fortnite (which is just enough to buy a season’s Battle Pass, with 50 bucks to spare), and the Double Helix DLC pack, which includes a unique outfit, back bling, glider and pickaxe.

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Pokémon Stars At Milan Fashion Week

Fashion/streetwear label GCDS had a show at Milan Fashion Week a couple of days ago, and Pokémon was all over it.

Both the mens and womens spring/summer line for 2018/19 featured Pokémon designs, from knitted sweaters for the guys:

To boots:

To full-blown Pikachu cosplay:

And they weren’t the only ones! Jeremy Scott’s show had a Pikachu cameo as well:

While it’s an Italian fashion week, these were all from ready to wear collections, and those Pikachu and Jigglypuff sweaters are amazing.


You can see the GCDS stuff in action in this video of the event (the Pokémon stuff is all towards the end):

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What We Liked (And What Bewildered Us) About Nic Cage’s New Movie, Mandy

Some movies just make sense. Mandy, starring a near-feral Nicolas Cage, is not one of them. It begins as a glacially-paced exercise in psych-horror scene-setting before abruptly transforming into a drugged-out, neon-drenched revenge flick. Gita Jackson and I sat down to try to make sense of it all.

Nathan Grayson: Hey, Gita! So, we have now both seen Mandy, an unevenly-paced prog rock album of a film. Nic Cage gets into a chainsaw duel with a BDSM biker monster. It shouldn’t work, but I legit think I’d recommend it to just about anyone at this point. Well, anyone with the stomach for its ridiculous grindhouse violence.


Gita Jackson: I am a born and bred Nicolas Cage apologist. To paraphrase the late Roger Ebert, he’s a fine actor in a good movie and an indispensable actor in a bad one. Mandy hovers between good and bad for me. A friend described it as not a good movie, but a cool movie. It’s certainly beautiful to look at—and sometimes thrilling and horrifying. But Nicolas Cage is just delivering an out of control performance that I adore.

Nathan: Yeah, I’m not sure I’d call it “good,” either, but it’s obscenely captivating. Nic Cage does a lot of the heavy lifting in that respect, but he doesn’t really amp things up until about an hour into the movie. For the first half, he’s practically a supporting character, playing a hapless forester while a cult conjures up maniacal plans and maybe also dark magic to abduct his wife. What did you think of the pacing of that first half? Did the slow-moving fog of pink, smoky visuals and doom-y sound effects work for you?

Gita: This movie operates more like an album than a movie, and in that regard I think it kind of works. I was fond of the titular character of Mandy. Andrea Riseborough imparts a lot of unspoken trauma in her performance. You get the sense that a movie’s worth of shit has already happened to her by the time we meet her, so spending time with her in a dreamy haze felt good to me. It was like settling in for the first track on a drone metal album, where they just let one chord play on and on before breaking your brain with pure noise. Given that it’s separated into three parts, it sometimes felt like, I don’t know, a three song metal EP where each track is like 20 minutes long.


Nathan: It felt like the sort of album that wants you to soak in—or maybe even drown in—the vibe. And oh, more literally, the soundtrack is so goooooooood.

Gita: I loved it.

Nathan: When the movie opened on “Starless” by King Crimson, I just about screamed. That, any famous directors who might be reading, is how you make a movie for me and me alone.

Gita: Mandy is one of the last movies that Icelandic composer with a very long name scored before his death. I know this because my very goth roommate loves him.


Nathan: Jóhann Jóhannsson? Yeah, I believe it was his last. But yeah, those thick, droning guitar chords as Nic Cage’s character walks down that tunnel into the cult compound.

Gita: LOVE IT. The sound editing in general is impeccable.

Nathan: The movie gets away with so much that lesser films couldn’t because of the sound. From the get-go, everything felt foreboding. It was just a couple living in an extremely sweet pad in the woods, but that droning synth and those acid nightmare visuals just refused to let you get comfortable. It was all so hypnotic, too, which worked especially well once the drugged-out cult entered the picture. The cult leader was a rapist fuckhead caricature of ‘80s hyper-individualism, but… if he started an ASMR channel on YouTube, I feel like it’d take off.

Gita: Can we talk about how fucking dope that house was? I want to live in it.

Nathan: I like that Nic Cage kept a giant bottle of booze in a random bathroom drawer.


Gita: There’s a lot of good implicit world building in this. In the helicopter ride in the beginning, Cage turns down a drink. Then when he’s lost everything, the only place he can find booze is hidden in the bathroom. It gives the viewer the pieces and lets them figure it out. Same with Mandy’s scar and the story about her father killing birds in front of her. We know there’s pain in both their pasts. We don’t need to revel in it, but it gives context for the wild ride the movie takes you on.

Nathan: Yeah, the world-building is really sparse, which again fits nicely with the vibe the movie gives off. The little details it lets the viewer pick up build on each other really well, too. The end result is that even though these characters aren’t super fleshed out, you feel the gravity of their situation. When I heard “Nic Cage in a chainsaw duel,” I expected a schlock-fest, and in some ways, this movie is, but there’s very little ironic distance here.

I’ll be honest: I usually hate movies that try to recreate ‘80s pulp but with modern self-awareness. I’m so over the stream of tired references, soundtrack choices, one-liners, and action sequences that come out of movies and games that attempt it—especially when they’re done purely for their own sake. Mandy worked for me because it used some of those aesthetics to create something that didn’t take itself overly seriously, but recognized that characters dealing with situations like these would be left irreparably broken and fucked.


And they were very damaged people before the movie ever began, so when Nic Cage’s character just breaks after seeing Mandy get burned alive, you believe it. And the way the camera just lingered on his face in that moment. Man.

Gita: I almost started crying. It’s horrifying.

It’s amazing that this movie where a man wielding a three foot long chainsaw fights Nicolas Cage got me emotionally invested in its characters.


Nathan: The bit that really drove that home for me was when Nic Cage’s character—who does have a name, Red, but come on: he’s Nic Cage—was fighting one of the acid biker demons, and the biker was like “You have a death wish,” and Nic Cage’s character went from being all tough and cool to crying and being like “I don’t want to talk about it.” And it worked! It was funny, but I also bought it!

Gita: This movie achieves what a lot of those “remember this ‘80s thing” movies want to do, which is building something wholly new out of a bunch of old things. It also does a better job of sparse filmmaking than a lot of other movies that try this. But for everything that is substantive about this movie, it also feels substance-less on the whole. I’m not denying that it’s awesome, but what’s my takeaway? How do I bring this movie forward with me into my life?

Recently I watched the movie Terror Firmer, which is from the production company Troma, which has a reputation for making offensive, shocking movies. To wit, Terror Firmer has a super transphobic joke at the end that takes up almost the entire third act. I’m not going to even try to defend that—honestly, it’s indefensible. But even that movie, that gleefully tries to offend and where a woman fucks herself with a pickle, makes a case for itself and presents an argument in favor of the schlock that Troma produces. At the end of Mandy, I was like “This is awesome, but so what?”

Nathan: After I watched Mandy last night, I fell asleep racking my brain for anything I might have missed that would have better cohered the movie or given it some kind of bigger meaning. But nah, stuff happens and then it ends. And don’t get me wrong: the stuff that happens in the movie’s second half is WILD. Nic Cage boozing himself into oblivion and howling like a dying dog. That DnD-ass axe he forges. The chainsaw duel. The cult leader falling to his knees and begging for his life (“I’ll blow you! Is that what you want?”) while simultaneously trying to buy into his own hype—just before Nic Cage crushes his skull with his bare hands and basically climaxes from vengeance. But then he rides away into the distance, which increasingly comes to resemble a fantasy book cover like the ones Mandy read, and it’s just… cool.

I mean, the lack of overt takeaways kinda works in that the movie’s whole central event is pretty meaningless. A sad sack failed-musician-turned-cult-leader sees a woman on the road and decides he must have her. Red’s entire life gets destroyed because of the whim of some random asshole he’s never met. He gets revenge, but beyond the moment he achieves it, what’s the point? It’s over-complicated masturbation. Afterward, you see him driving away, hallucinating Mandy in the passenger’s seat while he beams like a lunatic through a mask of other people’s blood. I guess, like, what can you take away from a story like that that isn’t super hackneyed or cliched? Crappy, faux-ironic ‘80s pastiche movies might try to add some kind of punctuation mark to all of that, but I think you’re just clutching at straws at that point.


Gita: The best thing I will say about this is that Mandy kind of understands that it’s empty. As you said, the plot revolves around meaninglessness at its core, and it ends on an image bereft of any life at all besides Cage. The most I will give it is that it implies that Cage has lost his humanity—by the end he’s speaking in the same distorted voice as the biker demons, and he’s gained superhuman strength. It wanted to transport you to another world, and for a while, it did that. That’s fine for the most part. But it’s also what’s stopping me from calling this movie Great instead of Good.

Nathan: Absolutely. In conclusion: I give this movie seven Cheddar Goblins out of ten.


Gita: The pure absurdity of the fake in-universe Cheddar Goblin advertisement is beautiful to me. I will never forget the image of a goblin puppet vomiting mac and cheese on the heads of children. If nothing else, Mandy gave me that.

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The 10 Best Deals of September 26, 2018

We see a lot of deals around the web over on Kinja Deals, but these were our ten favorites today.

Head over to our main post for more deals, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to never miss a chance to save. You can also join our Kinja Deals Community Facebook group to connect with your fellow deal hunters.

#1: Storage Sale

Amazon Storage Sale | Amazon
Graphic: Shep McAllister

There’s no such thing as owning too much storage, especially at these prices. A bunch of SanDisk, WD, and G-Technologies flash storage and hard drives are included in today’s sale, including the best price ever on a 400GB (!!) microSD card for an all-time low price. Needless to say, that could hold a lot of Nintendo Switch games.

Most people though should honestly opt for the 200GB for $35.

Need a ton of PC storage? This 8TB and 10TB USB-C external drive is included in the sale, as are 1TB and 2TB SSDs.

That’s just scratching the surface though, so head over to Amazon to see all of the deals.

#2: Logitech Gold Box

Logitech Gold Box | Amazon
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Amazon’s playing the hits today. In addition to a PC storage sale, they’re also running a big Gold Box on Logitech peripherals.

Inside, you’ll find the MX Master Mouse, a mechanical keyboard, and a webcam that can automatically remove the background from your shot (Twitch streamers…hello). For all the deals though, be sure to head over to Amazon.

#3: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Preorder Assassin’s Creed Odyssey | Amazon Prime | $10 preorder credit available on all editions for Prime members

If you need something fun to occupy yourself for most of October while you wait for Red Dead II, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey looks like it could be that game. If you have Amazon Prime, you can preorder it now to get a $10 Amazon credit added to your account about a month after it ships.

It’s not nearly as lucrative as the old 20% Prime discount, but unlike that promotion, this one is valid on both the physical and digital versions, plus all the special editions.

#4: Dyson Ball

Refurb Dyson Ball Animal Upright Vacuum | $200 | Amazon
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Dyson vacuums dominated the nominations in our Kinja Co-Op for best vacuum, but they can be prohibitively expensive. Today though, refurbs of the popular Dyson Ball Animal are down to $200 on Amazon, or about $75 less than usual.

The Dyson Ball includes a brush that automatically adjusts when you move from carpets to hard floors, a ton of accessory hose tools, including a motorized turbine tool to remove pet hair from furniture, and even a curved tool to help you clean the tops of your ceiling fan blades. And yes, it rests on top of a ball for easy maneuverability. This price is only available today, and will probably sell out early, so get your before they’re all sucked up.

#5: L.L. Bean

20% off Boots and Rainwear | L.L. Bean | Promo code RAIN20
Screenshot: L.L. Bean

We know Bean Boots are amazing in the snow, but you can start using them right now in the rain as well. Today only, Save 20% on a variety of L.L. Bean’s most popular boots, as well as select raincoats with promo code RAIN20. There are a ton of styles available, so there’s no reason why you can’t be fashionable when it’s gross out.

#6: Anker Surge Protector

Anker Surge Protector | $27 | Amazon | Promo code ANKERPS2
Photo: Anker

Anker makes a surge protectors now, which is…incredibly logical. Their newest, largest model is down to $27 today with promo code ANKERPS2, and includes 12 AC outlets and three USB ports, plus a flat, swiveling plug that fits nicely behind your furniture. Surge protectors actually wear out over time, so if you haven’t replaced yours in awhile, this is a good opportunity.

#7: All-Clad

All-Clad is best known for its tri-ply stainless steel pans, but they also make really good nonstick frying pans too. This set of two is down to $48 today, or $12 less than usual, and within $3 of the best price ever. The 8-inch and 10-inch skillets are nonstick, scratch resistant, and oven safe up to 500 degrees.

This package usually sells for $60, so get them while they’re still sizzling.

#8: Fortnite Switch Bundle

Nintendo Switch Fortnite Bundle | $300 | Walmart
Graphic: Shep McAllister

There have been a few new Nintendo Switch bundles going up for preorder lately (including, most notably, a Super Smash-themed one), but the Fortnite bundle will be the first of them to ship (it comes out next Friday), and the first that doesn’t cost any extra.


For the standard $300 MSRP of the Switch, you’ll also get 1,000 V-Bucks for Fortnite (which is just enough to buy a season’s Battle Pass, with 50 bucks to spare), and the Double Helix DLC pack, which includes a unique outfit, back bling, glider and pickaxe.

#9: Coalatree Jacket Coalatree Camper Hooded Jacket 2.0 | Kickstarter

Coalatree makes some of our favorite outdoor apparel, and now you can preorder and save on the company’s new Camper hooded jacket.

The Camper 2.0 is extremely water resistant, and will still keep you warm even if it gets wet. It also includes a bunch of pockets, cable routing for headphones, and the ability to squeeze itself into an internal pocket for use as a travel pillow. Oh yeah, it looks great too.


The jacket will come out early next year with an MSRP of $159, but you can get yours for considerably less by preordering from Kickstarter.

#10: Bodum Pavina

Bodum Pavina 12 Ounce Double Walled Tumblers, 2-Pack | $14 | Amazon | Clip the $5 coupon
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Bodum’s double walled drinking glasses keep your beverages hot or cold for longer, insulate your hands from extreme temperatures, and look awesome while doing it. If you want to give them a try, Amazon’s selling 2-packs of 12 ounce tumblers for $14 right now (after clipping the $5 coupon).

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A Game About Going To Art School In A World Made Out Of 90s Screen Savers

Once upon a time I painted a lot. I won some minor awards in high school, and I almost studied art in college. But the closest I ever got was watching Terry Zwigoff’s 2006 satire Art School Confidential. It’s a about a wide-eyed college freshman whose idealism is beaten out of him by the pettiness, cynicism, and insecurity of the institution and its people. I decided to try to become an engineer instead.

Watching the sub-60 second trailer for in-development video game Art Sqool though, I fell in love with the idea all over again. It’s the creation of Julian Glandar and progammer Eugene Burd, the duo behind 2015’s whimsical exploration game Lovely Weather We’re Having. It makes the idea of practicing making art seem both inviting and worthwhile but still an incredibly weird undertaking. The game revolves around collecting different paint brushes that allow you to tackle art assignments generated and graded by a neural network in the hopes of achieving creative fulfillment. Overall, it looks like a super chill reboot of the niche painting game genre, perfect for the stressful times we live in.


“I love drawing on the computer,” Glandar told Kotaku in an email. “A big chunky digital brush with anti-aliasing problems feels so good, and I’ve wanted to bring that tactile experience into a game for a while.” Though he began prototyping such a game a few years back, it wasn’t until last spring when he found himself in Prague for a week suffering from writer’s block while trying to write a screenplay that the muses inspired him to finally make it a reality.

Glandar didn’t go to art school himself, so his portrayal of it is steeped mostly in his assumptions as a fascinated outsider. While he’s critical of art school for being so expensive, revolving around what he perceives as an out-of-date curriculum, and feeding into a larger art world industrial complex based on inequality, in his game he wants to focus on the potential art school holds within the popular imagination.


“In Art Sqool I’m more interested in replicating what I see as the positive element of art school,” he said. “It’s a safe place to be creative and explore ideas, with just a little bit of guidance and structure to help you when you get stuck.” Making a neural network be the player’s teacher was his way of playing into the mystical element surrounding the whole endeavor. What makes something art? What makes something good art? Questions like these have haunted anyone who’s ever been forced to sit down and draw a bowl of fruit with a group of strangers. By putting the potential answers to such squishy inquiries in the hands of an unpredictable AI, Art Sqool has the opportunity to break out of constricting urge toward representational excellence that’s can sap the magic out of related art games like the DS’s Art Academy.

“The lineage of paint games is really bizarre, because there aren’t that many of them and most of them aren’t even games,” Glandar said. “Like, is Mario Paint a game because it’s made by a game company and it comes in a game cartridge and has Mario in it? Is Photoshop a game because it has all the features that Mario Paint does? Is KidPix a game because it’s a fun piece of software for kids?”


He went on, “I think because of how subjective it is, the act of art-making is really resistant to gamification. Which is what makes it appealing. It’s hard to think of too many games where being creative and making art is the central mechanic that moves things forward in a way that feels organic and real.”

Art Sqool has a beginning and end. It even includes quests, collectibles, and scores. In this regard it’s gamier than a lot of its abstract peers in the indie space. But it will also contain a blank sketchbook where players can put that more traditional framework on hold to pursue their own idiosyncratic projects.


“I’m most excited about seeing what other people make with the Art Sqool tools, especially gamers who don’t consider themselves artists and artists who don’t consider themselves gamers,” Glandar said. “It’s a really fun and wacky brush set; whether you’re a mega pro artist or you’re one of those I-can’t-draw people who’s scared of a blank canvas you’ll still be able to make cool images.”

Art Sqool is currently planned for release on PC and Mac early in 2019.

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How to make the McAffogato, the classiest McDonald’s menu hack

Photo: Allison Shoemaker, John Dominis (Getty Images)

It is one of life’s greatest joys to be useful. To perform a service. To fulfill one’s duty. To know the moment in which you, exactly you, must march into the world to accomplish one thing for the betterment of all. Reader, I was permitted to experience that exact joy today. I have walked to a McDonald’s near my home, and I have ordered a menu-hacked Affogato, for journalism.

ICYMI: Yesterday, we shared the story of a Twitter account called UKCopHumour which is documenting a bit of a fad: That of British police officers (and, you know, anyone else who feels like it) ordering a McDonald’s shake and a McDonald’s shot of espresso and using them to make a McAffogato. This account isn’t the first to use the term, though it is certainly the most enthusiastic, and while McD’s didn’t call it a McAffogato, they shared a slightly modified version of this idea in January of 2017.

Naturally, we wanted to try it, and I enthusiastically volunteered.

The most surprising element of this story, at least amongst The Takeout staff, was the revelation that you can, in fact, order a shot of espresso from McDonald’s. This may have been a blindspot unique to us, but not a one of us had ever seen or heard of anyone ordering shots of McCafé espresso. It can’t be that unusual though, because no one batted an eye when I placed my order. The same can’t be said of ordering a McAffogato, though—the Birmingham Mail suggested that this concoction was actually a secret menu item, but I can confirm that, at least in the U.S., it absolutely is not. They did not know what I meant; they had never heard of such a thing; no one had ever ordered it; there was nothing in their P.O.S. system that indicated its existence.


So, taking my cue from both UKCopHumour and McDonald’s itself, I ordered two shots of espresso, a small vanilla shake, and a sundae with no sauce.

Photo: Allison Shoemaker

A couple things: I asked for a vanilla shake with room on the top, and instead it came covered in whipped cream, so I’d either be more specific or content yourself with sipping down the milkshake yourself. I ended up scooping off the top of both the shake and the sundae to make room for the espresso and to make it easier to stir, and I think that was the right call. Also, two shots of espresso came in one cup—not a big deal, but if you’re ordering for more than one person and then parting ways or something I’d make that really clear.


I poured, tasted, stirred a little, tasted again, and then grabbed a straw (for the shake).

First up, the sundae. This was good, and it was definitely the prettier of the two, if that’s a priority for you. The first few bites were tasty. The McDonald’s ice cream is so sweet and not remotely complex, so the espresso really livened it up. However, it’s also pretty thick, and the ice cream-to-espresso ratio wasn’t great, so the taste of the espresso just didn’t linger.

Very espresso-y on top, not so much throughout
Photo: Allison Shoemaker

The same cannot be said of the shake-based McAffogato. That Twitter account is right—this shit is good. It’s basically a DIY coffee milkshake, one that will still give you a jolt. Once I stirred it a little, a lot of the espresso ended up at the bottom of the cup, yet it was still blended throughout. That meant that drinking through a straw was extra espresso-y, while eating it with a spoon was a much milder experience (though still more potent than the sundae version.)

The espresso on its own was not great, but not insanely terrible, either.

There’s no way I’d make these a part of my life in any consistent way, but it’s sort of perfect for a road trip or another circumstance where you need some caffeine but just can’t bear to drink any more terrible gas station coffee. It’s also the best McDonald’s milkshake I’ve had in some time, so if you’ve got a hankering for a milkshake and only the Golden Arches are in sight, I enthusiastically recommend giving it a try.

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Curry I Ate In Japan, Ranked

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

If you know anything about me, it’s that I love Japanese curry. At a party at last week’s Tokyo Game Show, a friend introduced me to someone by way of pointing out that if you Google, in Japanese, “the foreigner who loves curry,” an article I wrote in 2008 was the top hit. He then did this on his phone to prove it.

So as you might imagine, a trip to Japan for me means lots of curry, because it’s the only time I can eat the really good stuff. The Japanese curry situation in America has improved considerably in the decade since I first wrote that piece, assuming you live in one of the few metropolitan centers with a decent curry joint. But even then, Japan is still light years ahead in quality, variety, and (importantly!) customization.


Most curry places give you a great amount of flexibility in how you craft your meal, whether that be through a ticket machine filled with an array of buttons that dispense tickets redeemable for various toppings of the meat and vegetable varieties, or simply through a giant menu like CoCo Ichibanya’s. So while I have my go-to order—tonkatsu and cheese, and don’t knock the cheese until you’ve tried it—this is hardly the only way to eat at any of these establishments.

Here’s a ranked list of the curries I had in Tokyo. Note that these are in no way supposed to be the seven best curries in Tokyo. These are just the seven I ate, in ascending order of goodness.

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

7. Shakey’s (Shinjuku)

It’s a curry and I ate it, so it has to be on here. You may know Shakey’s as Japan’s premier spot for all-you-can-eat cheap pizza. It’s constructed like frozen supermarket pizza, but they constantly bring out new flavors, of which you can try many since the slices are so small (L-R: Beef and onion, corn and mayonnaise, okonomiyaki).


And while this is not the case with all Shakey’s locations, the Shinjuku branch also has a salad bar and, germane to our discussion here, a big pot of curry and an industrial-sized rice cooker. So you also can have unlimited curry. It’s not amazing, but it’s also not bad. You can make a plate of curry rice or you can do the professional and smart thing and dip the pizza into the curry.

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

6. Lahore (Akihabara)

Lahore is supposed to be a good place to go for both Japanese and Indian curries, but the Japanese curry (pictured) didn’t do much for me—it was pretty bland in its flavor, and the katsu wasn’t particularly exciting either. With so many other curry places within spitting distance of this Akihabara outpost, I’d skip it.

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

5. Royal Curry Stand (Makuhari Messe)

If you go to Tokyo Game Show, or any other event at the Makuhari Messe convention center, you’re probably going to want some curry. However, the main cafeteria at the Messe has curry rice that’s generally considered to be the most disappointing plate of curry you’re likely to eat during a TGS trip. If you find yourself with a curry craving during an event here and don’t have the time to escape outside the convention center to a nearby restaurant, consider instead going to the unassuming and easily-missed Royal curry stand inside the main foyer.


Everything’s served in takeout containers and there are no customization options (and no katsu), but it’s actually a surprisingly well-made curry, better than the blandness across the hall.

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

4. CoCo Ichibanya (Makuhari)

Cocoichi, which has branches in Los Angeles and Hawaii as well, is pretty much the McDonald’s of curry in Japan—it’s there, it’s fine, it gets the job done, but there’s most likely better curry right down the street. Maybe it’s better than McDonald’s. Maybe it’s the Wendy’s of curry. Either way, visitors to Japan tend to gravitate towards Cocoichi, and I try to open up their minds and hearts to better places.


Anyway, there’s one right by Makuhari station, so I stopped by one evening. Cocoichi in Japan is, at least, much better than Cocoichi in the U.S., thanks to the sheer number of options and toppings that the Stateside branches don’t have. In this case, I even upgraded the tonkatsu from the standard factory-food one to a handmade one.

And while all Cocoichis let you adjust the spice level of the curry, Japan’s now let you change the sweetness level as well, and you can even request a little squeeze bottle of fruit-enhanced honey. I put this directly onto the katsu, and folks, it is heaven.

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

3. Kare Wa Nomimono (Akihabara)

The name of this place translates to “curry is a beverage,” and they do things a little differently here. You choose between their black and red curries, and then choose three free toppings from a menu. The three you’re seeing here are fried onions, fried garlic, and mayo-corn. Everything else—the cabbage, the lemon, the cream sauce over the curry—comes standard. After a succession of eating similar katsu curries for a few days straight, I came here to change things up a little bit. It’s wonderful.

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

2. Joto Curry (Akihabara)

Originally an Osaka-based chain, Joto has been expanding into Tokyo as of late, bringing its rich, sweet, deep flavor to more curry lovers. This is basically tied for being the best curry I’ve had in Japan. They nail every category: The curry roux is a beautiful symphony of flavors, the katsu is mouth-watering, and the presentation is elegant each and every time. It looks like the curry has been poured indiscriminately on top of the plate, but look again: they expertly leave a tiny gap to rest your spoon in.


And then there’s the grand finale, a raw egg yolk. They give this to you for free in Akihabara (if you want it), although they may charge a small amount for it at other locations. At the top of this article you can see what the plate looked like as they sat it down, and above you can see it right after I punctured the egg. You don’t have to get this to enjoy Joto Curry, but I’d recommend it highly if you like raw eggs on stuff.

Photo: Chris Kohler (Kotaku)

1. Hinoya Curry (Akihabara)

While the photo I took of Joto Curry definitely looks more elegant, in terms of pure taste I have to give the slight edge to Hinoya. This is the place in Akihabara that I take everybody when they say they want the good stuff. The roux is actually very similar to Joto’s in its flavor profile, and the plate is laid out in the same vertical style, and it’s really a judgment call as to which you think is better, but I had to pick a winner, so I did.


Hinoya serves its egg on the side, but it’s easy to pick up the whole thing and splash it wherever you like. The little flakes on the curry here are puffed garlic bits, a shaker of which is sitting on each table alongside the traditional fukujinzuke pickle relish and pearl onions. I ate here three times with three different friends over the course of one week—partially to spread the gospel of Hinoya to more followers, and partially because I never got tired of it. One of those friends proclaimed it “ambrosia,” and I would not disagree.

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Amazon’s $10 Credit For Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Preorders Also Works On Digital Downloads

Preorder Assassin’s Creed Odyssey | Amazon Prime | $10 preorder credit available on all editions for Prime members

If you need something fun to occupy yourself for most of October while you wait for Red Dead II, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey looks like it could be that game. If you have Amazon Prime, you can preorder it now to get a $10 Amazon credit added to your account about a month after it ships.

It’s not nearly as lucrative as the old 20% Prime discount, but unlike that promotion, this one is valid on both the physical and digital versions, plus all the special editions.

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Comparing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Two Main Characters

In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you can choose to play as either a male or female protagonist named Alexios or Kassandra. As an experiment, we decided to see what each of the characters looked like in their reactions to the same two scenarios. Watch the video above to see both characters play out each scene.

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A Ton Of Cool New Stuff Has Unlocked in Destiny 2: Forsaken

Shit has finally gotten real in the Dreaming City, as Bungie has made good on its promises to regularly introduce cool new stuff to the latest Destiny 2 expansion, Forsaken.

Yesterday, the new Dreaming City location changed significantly, with Taken blights opening up all over the place and a couple of challenging missions becoming available. Additionally, there’s a new competitive PvP mode, another new weekly Ascendant Challenge, and yet another new exotic quest that has also begun to drop for players of the new Gambit mode. Even for someone like me, who’s been playing Forsaken nonstop since it came out at the start of September, it’s been too much to get my head around in a single day.


In the buildup to Forsaken, Bungie’s developers were talking a big game about their post-release plans for the expansion. They wouldn’t be repeating the content droughts of Destiny 2’s first year, they promised, and pointed to the new Dreaming City location as the hub for ongoing excitement. They didn’t get too specific, likely because they wanted to preserve surprises for players, so most of us have been taking a wait-and-see approach.

Last week’s Ascendant Challenge was particularly visually striking.

The first wave of stuff unlocked a couple weeks ago in the wake of Clan Redeem’s world’s-first raid completion. Killing the boss of the raid unleashed a curse on the Dreaming City, opening up new story missions and a new strike for all players.


The strike, called The Corrupted, is easily the most exciting and visually arresting strike in Destiny’s four-year history. Players leap through terrifying space-boulder fields in the Ascendent nether realm, chasing a boss from platform to platform while avoiding waves of asteroids.

The new story missions, one each week, have progressed the story of the Taken curse, sending players to some of the best-looking parts of the Dreaming City. While fairly straightforward by current Destiny standards, they each feel like distinct, carefully crafted missions.

Even with that neat stuff unlocked, there was still a vague rumble of discontent among players. Okay, so, a new strike and some new missions. Was that it? As it turned out, that was not it. This week, the Dreaming City entered the final stages of its Taken curse, and a whole bunch more stuff has turned up in the game.

First, there’s yet another story mission, called Dark Monastery. It’s another fun story mission that involves overcoming some unusually large hordes of Taken and Scorn enemies, with some now-expected Ascendent Realm shenanigans at the end, hinting at yet more stuff hidden in that dark parallel world.


Then there’s the new quest for the exotic bow Wish-Ender, which you can access in the Dreaming City’s Confluence area. Wish-Ender was teased in the video Bungie released showing all the Forsaken exotics; it’s the bow that lets you see enemies through walls when you aim it. This quest is probably the wildest thing to appear this week, and requires you to make your way through a dungeon called The Shattered Throne that, at least according to friends of mine who’ve survived it, is in some ways a new kind of challenge for Destiny. The Shattered Throne comes with a suggested power level of 590, which is so far above where I’m at that I haven’t bothered even attempting it. If you want to see how it works, check out this guide by the always reliable Datto:

You can also read a breakdown of the quest written by redditor MattMan7496.

As if one new exotic quest weren’t enough, yet another exotic quest also started dropping on Tuesday: the quest for the hand cannon Malfeasance. The quest starts with a drop from a special boss that can turn up during a match of Gambit called an Ascendant Primeval. The appearance of the boss is apparently random, so whether you get one comes down to luck. Beat the boss, and an item called The Seething Heart will drop and you’ll begin the quest. The rest of the steps will be familiar to those who have done one of Destiny 2’s past exotic quests. They’ve been cataloged by redditor ADT7.

Screenshot: Mtashed

Malfeasance sounds like an interesting weapon, with a few unique perks. One gives you bonus damage against Taken enemies and Gambit invaders, which makes it ideally suited for use in Gambit. (Might this gun prompt people to finally stop using Sleeper Simulant in Gambit? Possible, but unlikely.) It also shoots “tainted slugs” into enemies that, should you stick five of them of them, will explode for extra damage.


I watched Mtashed’s review of the gun, and while it sounds niche enough that I don’t see myself using it all the time, it also strikes me as the kind of gun that’s ripe for a buff. Destiny 1’s infamous hand cannon Thorn was initially garbage, then got a huge buff that turned it into one of the dominant PvP weapons in the game. I could see the same happening for Malfeasance. For now, it’s still a shiny new thing and I therefore want it.

Yesterday we also got a new PvP mode called Breakthrough. I’ve only played a single match, but it was plenty of fun, occupying a middle ground between the sweatiness of the Competitive playlist and the relatively relaxed vibe of Quickplay. Teams of four duke it out to occupy a central control point long enough to unlock the “vault” located back at the other team’s spawn. The team who manages that must then invade and capture the unlocked vault control point to win the round. The defenders can still win, however, by repelling the invaders until the clock runs out. Best three out of five wins the match. Breakthrough shares some aspects in common with previous Destiny PvP modes, and I don’t have a sense of how it’ll fare long-term. I did have a good time with the match I played, though.


Thanks to all this new stuff, along with my regular glut of weekly challenges and Dreaming City bounties and the fact that I’m still working toward getting past the second part of the Raid, I’m more overwhelmed by stuff to do in Destiny 2 than I have been at any point in the past year. Part of me is certain that this is the last, biggest dose of new stuff we’ll get for a while. But Bungie really does seem to be operating on a new level with this expansion, so we’ll have to wait for next week to see.

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Who Are the Eternals, the Cosmic Superheroes Who Could Be the Future of the MCU?

Ikaris goes toe-to-toe with the Hulk on the cover of Eternals #15.
Image: Jack Kirby (Marvel Comics)

We still don’t know a lot about Marvel’s movie plans after Avengers 4, but one teased project in particular got a huge boost last Friday: the Eternals, a quirky ‘70s group of characters created by the legendary Jack Kirby, are getting a movie from director Chloé Zhao. Unfamiliar with what could be the new faces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We’re here to help.

Understanding The Eternals requires a bit of a leap back to before their creation—and even to another comics publisher.

At the start of the 1970s, Jack Kirby left Marvel Comics. This departure came after a creative run which had seen him help bring to life some of the publisher’s most iconic superheroes—but he was steadily worn down by growing discontent with the way he was credited and treated for his work at the company. Finally deciding enough was enough, Kirby jumped ship to Marvel’s biggest rival, DC Comics, and immediately started work on his next great epic: the Fourth World, a cosmic realm of gods and otherworldly beings that gave birth to the New Gods pantheon of characters and one of DC’s most infamous villains, Darkseid.


But while Kirby launched an array of books that kicked off this brave new frontier, his time at DC didn’t last. Just five years later, Kirby found himself unsatisfied with being forced to work on projects he didn’t want to, and decided to return once more to Marvel. And that’s where The Eternals, the first series Kirby created after his return to the company, finally comes in.

So why did you need to know about DC’s New Gods before that? Because basically, The Eternals is kinda Kirby’s Marvel riff on his own work.

Ikaris explains the difference between Deviant, Human, and Eternal in Eternals #1.
Image: Jack Kirby, John Verpoorten, Glynis Wein, and Gaspar Saladino (Marvel Comics)

Launched in 1976, The Eternals followed the titular group of characters: an uplifted subrace of humankind who’d been experimented on by the Marvel cosmics’ all-powerful divine entities, the Celestials, five million years in the past. The Celestials (for non-comic readers, beings like Star-Lord’s dad Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) created two separate races out of their experiments: the Eternals, human-looking, quasi-immortal beings with superpowers; and the Deviants, a grotesque, monstrous byproduct of the experiments that created a race of vengeful beings who would be forever envious of the Eternals.


The Celestials tasked the Eternals with using their superpowers to protect the Earth from the threat of the Deviants, and then went on about their merry cosmic way. Interestingly, it was retconned that a faction of Eternals left Earth and headed first to Uranus and then to Titan, making the cosmic beings that hailed from those planets (the Uranians and Titanians) Eternals rather than separate races. So technically, we’ve already met an Eternal in the MCU: Thanos! (Even if the film didn’t actually acknowledge that comic book factoid about the Mad Titan.) Thanos isn’t a full Deviant in the comics though, but rather an Eternal born with the “Deviant syndrome,” a mutant in Eternal biology that gives him some of the defects of the Deviant subrace.

While each Eternal has different individual powers and abilities, they have a few shared traits. Aside from long-lasting life and regenerative properties, Eternals could also manipulate cosmic energy in a similar manner to the Celestials, and any gathered group of three could merge their forms into a psionic entity known as a Unimind, which amplified the powers of the three Eternals it was made up of. You know, kind of like the gems from Steven Universe.

The Eternals (and Kor the Deviant) officially meet humankind in Eternals #6.
Image: Jack Kirby, Mike Royer, and Glynis Wein (Marvel Comics)

Kirby’s Eternals series would also be short-lived—it only lasted until 1978. It saw the Eternals, lead by Ikaris, make themselves known to the wider world after the arrival of a new host of Celestials on the planet, prompting an attack by the Deviants that drove Ikaris (who had been operating under the human guise of Ike Harris) to reunite with Sersi (who could craft illusions and move objects with her telekinetic powers), Makarri (who specialized in superspeed), and Thena (who manipulated cosmic energy to shoot beams of heat and light).


The Eternals themselves would slink back into their hidden city of Olympia (based, you guessed it, on Mount Olympus) and into the background of the Marvel universe. But their role in the foundation of practically everything we know of Marvel’s Earth, and connections to the wider cosmic diaspora, has made them important tools to be used in other series. The experiments that made them are sometimes seen as the foundation of the existence of superpowers on Earth full stop, and Kirby envisioned the long-lived beings as the Marvel universe’s equivalent stand-in for the ancient gods of Greek, Egyptian, and Roman theologies, as the Norse pantheon was to the Asgardians.

While the characters would exist in their own miniseries again in 1985 and 2006 (which led to another quickly-canceled ongoing series launched in 2007), the Eternals have mostly stayed far in the background in the comics. But, if the rumors that preceded Feige’s confirmation of potential plans for an Eternals movie are to be believed, one major character from the second of those miniseries, by Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr., could be a significant player in the movie: Sersi.

Sersi, as she appeared on the cover of Eternals #2 in 2006.
Image: Rick Berry (Marvel Comics)

Sersi has been around for a lot longer than the 2006 Eternals series. She actually first showed up in the third issue of Kirby’s Eternals series, and eventually became a prominent member of the Avengers after that concluded. It was revealed that Proctor, an alternate-reality version of her boyfriend Dane Whitman (the medieval superhero Black Knight), was hatching an elaborate plot to murder every version of Sersi in the multiverse for rejecting him in the greatest overreaction to being turned down in comics history. The Eternals came to Sersi’s aid, but she was so traumatized by Proctor’s meddling, she peaced out and opened a gateway to a limbo realm between the layers of the multiverse to hang out with Black Knight, never to be seen again…well, until she reappeared in that 2006 series.


In that book, Sersi, like many of her fellow Eternals, has no memory of being part of this fantastical subrace (eventually revealed as being due to a fellow Eternal, Sprite, wiping the collective minds of several Eternals in an attempt to make them become ordinary humans). She also doesn’t remember her time as an Avenger, instead making a living planning parties as a New York socialite—a life she chose to return to after the Eternals were given their memories back during a conflict with an ancient Celestial awakened by the Deviants to judge Humanity. Since then, she and her fellow Eternals have remained fairly obscure in the comics until pretty recently, although not in a good way:

Doctor Strange and Iron Man discover that Olympia has fallen in Avengers #4.
Image: Paco Medina, Ed McGuinness, Juan Vlasco, Mark Morales, David Curiel, and Cory Petit (Marvel Comics)

Because they’re all pretty much dead now.

The current run of Avengers—penned by Jason Aaron, with art from Ed McGuinness, Paco Medina, Mark Morales, David Curiel, Juan Vlasco, and more—opened with a story arc about the return of a race of “Dark Celestials,” a group that had been corrupted by their cosmic balance check, an insectoid swarm dedicated to feeding on the energy of existence called the Horde.


The deaths of several Celestials to the Horde’s cosmic bloodbath—as well as the revelation to the Eternals that they were not designed as humanity’s protectors by the Celestials, but instead a virus that could be cultivated to destroy the Horde—drove the Eternals insane, causing them to kill themselves and each other.

Ikaris passes on the power of the Unimind—the legacy of the Eternals—to Tony Stark before dying.
Image: Paco Medina, Ed McGuinness, Juan Vlasco, Mark Morales, David Curiel, and Cory Petit (Marvel Comics)

Pretty much every notable Eternal (including the original team) is dead, but not before Ikaris granted Iron Man the ability to use the Unimind during the Avengers’ cataclysmic battle with the Dark Celestials.

Obscure as they are, the Eternals have a long and confusing history interwoven through decades of Marvel comics. The basic beats of their gimmick have even been introduced into Marvel’s live-action universe, through the similar “hidden superpowered subrace of mankind” tropes found in the Inhumans (which could also crop up again with the X-Men, now that we live in a post-Disney/Fox deal world). Suffice to say, they’re a perplexing choice as a potential force in Marvel’s grand “Phase 4” plans and beyond.


But obscurity and comic book weirdness have not stopped Marvel Studios before—after all, look at Guardians of the Galaxy. Not only do the Guardians films provide evidence that the Marvel Movieverse can turn barely-remembered comics characters into box office stars, they sow enough seeds between the Celestials and the cosmic diaspora of Marvel’s spacebound characters that there’s already a path for the Eternals to carve into the box office. Who knows, maybe Zhao’s film will herald another wave of unlikely movie heroes?

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Snag a Switch Pro Controller For $60, While It Lasts

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller | $60 | Amazon
Graphic: Shep McAllister

The Switch Pro controller isn’t just one of the best ways to control your Nintendo Switch, it might be one of the best gamepads ever made, period. If you have a Switch and still haven’t picked one up, $60 is a really good price – we rarely see it drop below $64.

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Players Will Soon Be Able To Merge Fortnite Accounts Across Consoles

In a post on the Fortnite subreddit and Twitter today, Epic announced that it’s working to let players unlink their accounts from a particular console and, in the near future, ultimately be able to merge them so their progress carries over no matter where they play the game.

Earlier today, Sony announced a beta for Fortnite cross-play between PS4 and every other platform, reversing the company’s current policy of now allowing Fortnite players on its console to interact online with those on Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. Now, Epic says players will be able to move their account progress between different platforms, starting in just a few days.

Here’s the company’s statement in full, according to a reddit post:

“For players who created an extra account to play Fortnite on multiple console platforms, we’re working on two things:

1) An account-merging feature to combine Battle Royale purchases, coming in November.

2) Enabling unlinking a console from one Fortnite account, and relinking to another Fortnite account. Coming in a few days.”

While Fortnite players, and players in several other online games, have wanted cross-play for a long time now, shared progress has, for some, been an even bigger issue. After Nintendo announced Fortnite for Switch at this year’s E3, players who already had accounts on PS4 learned that in order to begin playing on Switch they would need to create a new account and start from scratch. All of the in-game items and progress they had accumulated was locked to the PS4 version of their Fortnite account, something that wasn’t the case between PC and Switch.


It remains to be seen whether other studios will be able to achieve the same for their games. Bethesda’s Pete Hines said today that there aren’t any plans to make Fallout 76 cross play, and Rocket League’s creators at Psyonix told Kotaku that while they would like to do cross play between PS4 and the other versions of their game, that decision is ultimately up to Sony.

Cross play is easier to address than shared progress from a technical standpoint, as evidenced by the fact that Epic once enabled it by complete accident, but the studio will need some time to make account merging a reality. For example, the Witcher card game Gwent and the shooter MMO Warframe don’t currently let players share progress between various platforms. Neither does Destiny, for that matter.

Still, it’s possible that Sony’s evolving position on cross play could eventually extend to the developers of those games and others, or they might also introduce ways for merging accounts in their games in the future as well.

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The First Episode Of Life Is Strange 2 Doesn’t Hide Its Politics

Screenshot: Life Is Strange 2 (Dontnod)

In certain ways, Life Is Strange 2 is a huge departure from the first game. It’s set in a different city, with wildly different characters. It ditches the Gossip Girl-meets-Twin Peaks murder mystery for a harsher story about two teenagers on the run. But it’s still an over the top teenage angst fest. Life Is Strange 2 still wants to make you cry, but it feels less like crying over Riverdale and more like crying while watching the evening news.

2015’s Life Is Strange was a supernatural Catcher In The Rye with teen lesbians. It was earnest, if clumsily written, like any good teen drama. While it touched on issues teenagers face in real life—suicidality, bullying, coming out of the closet, predatory teachers—it never felt focused on those things. It wasn’t an after school special meant to impart a lesson on teen players. It was first and foremost about Max and Chloe’s relationship, and if you got something out of the rest of it, hey, that’s good too.


Life Is Strange 2 shifts from focusing on characters’ relationships to something more political. Sean Diaz, this game’s main character, is a good kid. He’s on the track team, has close a close friendship with his classmate Lyla, is an aspiring artist, and is trying to ask out Jenn, a girl from his math class. The most trouble he’s gotten into is when his dad found his weed and he got grounded. He has a wonderful, kind father, who raises him and his little brother, Daniel, on his own.

GIF: Life Is Strange 2 (Dontnod)

The first half hour of the game takes place in this family dynamic. Daniel clearly adores his brother, but their relationship is tested by the teenage Sean’s teenage-y moods. Sean’s dad works around the clock as a mechanic and is fixing up a car for Sean’s graduation in his spare time. Their home is warm and full mementos of their life together. There’s a book about hot rods on the coffee table, one of Sean’s childhood drawings framed on the wall, and a postcard from Puerto Lobos, a fictional town in Mexico where Sean’s dad grew up. I knew the premise of the game would involve Sean and Daniel trying to walk to the Mexican border, but I thought I’d get to see a little more of their home life before they left it.


Things go wrong quickly. Without spoiling too much, the characters’ lives are shattered by a violent incident that, as you’d expect, comes to involve supernatural powers. It’s brutal and shocking, and it’s made all the more moving by the sweetness of what we’ve seen of the family’s life. As the scene played out, I slowly began to cry. Those few tears quickly turned into wracking sobs.

At times this game is stunningly beautiful as well.
Screenshot: Life Is Strange 2 (Dontnod)

From there, like the first game, you guide Sean through a series of vignettes as he and Daniel try to flee to Mexico. One night Sean is tasked with finding shelter in a park so he and his brother will have somewhere to sleep. In another, Sean draws a bath for his little brother in a motel room, the first real bathroom they’ve seen in days. In the course of these activities you make big choices that will eventually branch the narrative, as well as smaller choices that change how scenes play out. The game makes sure to tell you that not only will these choices affect the world, they’ll also change how Daniel behaves. He’s nine years old and impressionable, and by default Sean is raising him and imparting his values onto his young mind.


Where the first Life Is Strange came at its politics sideways, this game faces them head on. Sometimes it’s a little too overt. When characters make references to building a wall I wanted to roll my eyes. At other times the politics are more on pitch. Life Is Strange 2 expresses the unease you feel as a person of color in a space populated mostly, or entirely, by white people you don’t know. When Sean enters a rural gas station with his younger brother in tow, both of them now on the run, he looks at the shopkeeper and narrates to himself, “Yeah, we don’t look like we’re from around here. Deal with it.” The shopkeeper’s presence looms in the background as you shop for food for your brother. If you talk to her, she grills you about why you’re even in the store.

As a little sister I really appreciate interactions like these.
GIF: Life Is Strange 2 (Dontnod)

These pointed moments punctuate the tender relationship between the siblings. Sean and Daniel don’t always get along, but Daniel would do anything to protect him. I was surprised by how much Daniel changes his behavior to reflect your choices. If you steal, Daniel steals too. If you tell him scary stories, he won’t be able to sleep. The implications of these choices aren’t clear yet. At the end of the episode I promised not to lie to him, and I’m very sure that’ll come back to bite me in the ass over the course of the season.


This first episode of Life Is Strange 2 is a strong, ambitious start. I’m impressed by how willing the game is to tell a story that reflects our current world, and to tell it from the eyes of marginalized people. That seems like a low bar to cross, but it’s refreshing to play a game that’s transparent about its political intentions. At one point in the game a character looks directly into the camera and says, “Everything is political.” Like a lot of things in Life Is Strange, it’s not subtle. But you can’t say they didn’t warn you.

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Every Car In Forza Horizon 4 Has Its Own Perk Tree, So Of Course I’m Hooked

Back in 2016 I spent a great deal of time farming skill points in Forza Horizon 3 in order to unlock bonuses in the game’s Skill Shop perks tree. In Forza Horizon 4, every single one of the over 450 cars in the game has its own perks tree to unlock. I am filled with glee. A little dread, but mostly glee.

Not that I needed more of an excuse to tool about for hours in my favorite Forza Horizon 4 vehicles. I was perfectly content with the way the previous game handled skill points. I’d perform lengthy stunt combos, stringing together jumps, drifts, hops and wanton destruction. Doing so would earn me skill levels and points, which I would spend in ye olde Skill Shop.

This was very exciting in 2016.

This time around, instead of having a single set of perks enhancing one’s entire Forza Horizon career, we get this:

This is the Car Mastery perk tree for the Jaguar C-X75, one of the vehicles from the James Bond downloadable content for Forza Horizon 4. Being a Legendary class vehicle (as opposed to Rare, Epic or Common), the C-X75 has 16 different perks to unlock.

Kotaku Game Diary

Daily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.

These aren’t random perks, but a group of bonuses carefully cultivated to reflect the vehicle. For example, in the lower left corner of the board is the “Collector’s Item” perk. Its flavor text reads, “Your car is a masterpiece. Get an instant 5,000 Car Collection influence.” So by spending a skill point, drivers instantly gain a nice chunk of influence. Other perks help players build up their skill combos, offering bonuses for specific actions, more time to string together stunts or an increased combo multiplier.


The caveat here, if that’s even the right word, is drivers can only earn skill points for specific cars while actively driving those cars. So in order for me to rack up all of those perks, I had to spend hours driving this:

Woe is me, right?

Let’s take a look at a slightly different ride. This is my Rally Fighter, my off-road/dirt racing vehicle of choice. It’s an Epic, so it only has 13 perks to unlock, but those perks are appropriate to its character. They’re enhancing air skills, destruction skills and speeding up combo multiplier generation. This is a vehicle to weave through trees and knock down fences.

I love this beastie.

Like the previous Forza Horizon games, Forza Horizon 4 is a joy to play. It strikes the sweet spot between arcade and simulation racing so perfectly that it’s easy to get lost for hours doing absolutely nothing. Look at my game map. I need to start racing or doing events or whatever.

Or I could just hop around the hills and master all of those cars. It’s like the developers knew my proclivity for screwing around and added in the Car Mastery system in order to encourage and reward that behavior. Thanks, developers!


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have several hundred cars to master, and at least one to Master Chief.

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