Sucker Punch Productions

There are a ton of open world games where you can roam around murdering people in the face, and there are even a bunch where you can do it with a sword.

But Ghost of Tsushima is the only one where you can go around stabbing people with a sword in a grainy, black-and-white "Samurai Cinema" mode meant to resemble chanbara films of the 1950s and also pet cute foxes. Wow. This game really seems to have it all, doesn't it folks?

Keep ReadingShow less
Screenshot from Fortnite Season 6 Battle Pass - Now with Pets! / Fortnite /

Season 6 of Fortnite starts today. Here's a rundown of all the updates:

One thing that will stay the same is how the usual Weekly Challenges will be broken up into Free Challenges and Battle Pass Challenges. Before Season 5, Weekly Challenges were only accessible to players with a Battle Pass — now, there will be three Challenges for both pass holders and non-pass holders.

However, the Challenges themselves will present new gameplay. For example, you'll have the option to regain health from a Cozy Campfire in a Free Challenge. Other Free Challenges will include Pickup a Legendary Item in Different Matches and Stage 1: Search Chests. Battle Pass Challenges will include Apply Shields, Stage 1: Land at Junk Junction, Dance Under Streetlight Spotlights, and Eliminate Opponents in different locations.

After completing three Challenges, the player will unlock a mystery loading screen that contains a secret Battle Star. After completing four, the player obtains a bonus of 4,000 XP. Completing extra Challenges will gain you extra XP and Battle Stars, helping you to level up more quickly and encounter free loot, including skins, emotes, gliders, and pickaxes.

The new Battle Pass will include 100 levels and over 100 rewards. Battle Passes will cost 950 V-Bucks, available for purchase either directly in-game or earned through playtime. To gain more V-Bucks, prices in USD include: 1,000 V-Bucks for $9.99, 2,500 for $24.99, and 6,000 V-Bucks for $59.99.

Other than the new Battle Pass, the update will include Pets, little creatures that will travel with you on your adventures. Also introduced are Shadow Stones, new consumables that can be found around the map, which will also be updated. Players will be able to find floating islands, growing crops, and approaching storms.

Fortnite will also introduce a new enemy to its Save The World mode: Riot Husky, a zombie-like masked figure who carries around a refrigerator door for protection. Also, there will be a Cram Session mini-event to earn additional rewards. Other updates will fix general issues and bugs to enhance gameplay.

Amber Wang is a freelancer for Popdust, Gearbrain and various other sites. She is also a student at NYU, a photographer and a marketing intern.

POP⚡DUST | Read More ...

Will Smith Celebrates 50th Birthday By Jumping Off a Helicopter

RECAP | The Voice Comes Back for Its 15th Season

Philadelphia Flyers Welcome a New Orange Mascot


ROLE PLAYGROUND | God of War grew up and I'm here for it.

God of War was the pinnacle of the hyper-violent male fantasy in video games, but now it's grown up and tackled the mistakes of it's past in this beautiful treasure of a sequel.

The God of War series has always been such a crazy thing to me. I've always been a lover of Greek mythology, and the series definitely takes some liberties. There's also the gratuitous violence (which isn't a big deal), the weird sex mini-game (which is disgusting), and serious overshadowing of the plot - which should have definitely been much more of a focus. The original games were meant as more of a power fantasy than an actual story with compelling characters.

I was surprised when I first saw the trailer for the new game. Not only was it atmospheric and toned down - evoking more of a Last of Us kind of vibe. There was still that trademark gore, but it lacked the gratuitous nature of the original series. Instead, it looked like it helped paint the bleak and violent picture that Nordic mythology usually paints. The story also diverged from the original, in the sense that it played more of an active part in how the game. It's not a two-dimensional vehicle for violence with some random bits of sentimentality thrown in between.

Of course, there's a lot you can get from a trailer. The final product... totally lived up to the hype.


In God of War, you play as Kratos, decades after the events of the previous series. Your wife has died, and you are burning her and taking her ashes to the highest peak in all of the nine realms. Along the way, you encounter various enemies and even a few allies. It seems Norse gods don't like outsiders, and Kratos, being the Greek God of War, is definitely an outsider. Oh, and you've got a son that you have to take to the top of mountain with you - and you're struggling really hard with being a father.


Where to start? The gameplay is a dream - it's simple, action-packed, and gory in this perfect way. Instead of having a third person camera hovering over the entire battlefield, you are over Kratos' shoulder. You are forced to pay attention to the battlefield and use everything that you had - otherwise you'll die. And it's not just bosses that are difficult, even draugrs - the common mob - can kill you in the very beginning of the game. But the game does give a lot to play with - you have a shield and a powerful axe that you can modify.

Plus, you have Atreus, your son, who fights with you and actually helps. It's crazy, because I'm so used to AI being basically useless in battle, but Atreus is useful.

All of this serves the story really well. As you fight these gods, and work with Atreus, you are going on a very personal journey with Kratos. Early on in the game, you are told that your wife has passed away, and Kratos doesn't know how to be a father. Throughout the game, you see his attempts, and it's heartbreaking. Unlike the previous games in the series, Kratos' family trauma is front and center, and we are forced to experience the consequences of his past and his fear that he'll break his son.

It's poignant and beautiful and completely changes Kratos as a character, or adds to him. And that's what makes this game so great.


The difficulty is punishing at times, it's almost Dark Souls level. I tried playing the game on normal and I struggled hard. Difficulty is great, but I wasn't expecting it from God of War - I appreciate it on some levels, but it also makes enjoying the story even harder. But, this is the only really bad thing I've encountered.


God of War grew up. It's no longer this weird, intense bastardization of Greek myths. Instead, it's a thoughtful exploration into the dangers of toxic masculinity and the struggle of being a single father who feels totally unequipped to actually be a father. It's beautiful, difficult and fun to play. It's definitely worth the $60 asking price.

Keep ReadingShow less

ROLE PLAYGROUND | Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Somehow this game feels both traditional and totally new, and I'm loving it.

It's very easy for a JRPG to become repetitious - it can fall back into the same old tropes and get lost in its faux-grand storyline.

It's not the games aren't trying their best to be original - usually they are, but when you boil everything down it's always the same: Some evil group or person is threatening the kingdom, so a group of ragtag rebels seek to take them down all the while - something eviler lurks beneath the surface.

It's a simple formula, but it's effective. Hell, Final Fantasy has made an entire franchise out recycling that plot over and over and over and over again. But Final Fantasy makes the right changes - they fix up the game play or add a few more elements that previous games have never had before. They attempt to improve.

Level 5's Ni No Kuni II doesn't just attempt to improve - it succeeds. It takes it's simple plot, and packs it with so much fun things to do that you don't even realize that you've definitely played something like it before. Whether your mustering up your troop or building up your town Dark Cloud-style - you'll never stop having fun.

Keep ReadingShow less

ROLE PLAYGROUND | Far Cry 5 is a great action game with a slight tonal problem

After a charged open, the meat of the game doesn't quite match the intensity, but that's not too bad, right?

I'm going to say it: I have barely played the Far Cry series. I own both Far Cry 4 and Far Cry Primal, and both have been recommended to me multiple times, but I have never had the time and I haven't been super interested. The little that I have played has left me slightly impressed - with each game's focus on immersive landscapes and hunting - but I'm mostly pretty ignorant to the series' tropes. Still, nothing about these games really stuck out to me - they always seemed like straight forward action games without a lot of substance.

When I saw Far Cry 5, I was surprised. They shirked their exotic locations and larger-than-life villains for something a little more homegrown - a massive, militaristic cult which has assumed control over Hope County, Montana. It's not a groundbreaking idea, but even I was surprised at the slight political stance that the series seemed to have taken. Of course, after playing the game, I am a little less impressed, but we'll get to that later.

Keep ReadingShow less

ROLE PLAYGROUND | What is wrong with Secret of Mana?

In a world where remakes are getting made left and right, you really need to stand out - Secret of Mana didn’t

The Secret of Mana remake should have been an amazing video game.

After all, it's one of the most beloved JRPGs of its time - it's battle system still holds up as unique and different after all these decades - and it's a fun game that takes you through a fantastical story! It's the quintessential RPG experience, and a remake had such potential.

So what happened? Secret of Mana just tanked. When I played through over this past weekend - i was treated to a broken, garishly designed game that lacked the same kind of fantastic feel that the original captured. While the story still kept me enthralled enough to keep moving forward, the game itself became ever more frustrating and confused.

Still, I can't deny that I played it for hours and at times had at least a little bit of fun. That's something, right? Is it? No, seriously, I'm asking.


Secret of Mana is a remake of the SNES action RPG of the same name, released in 1993. It takes place in a fantasy world that contains a magical essence called Mana - and you control three unnamed heroes as they fight against an evil empire, trying to harness Mana and take over the world.

The remake features new, 3D graphics, a slightly modernized battle system, and a design that almost feels too saccharine for its own good.


The good in this game lies with what wasn't changed - the story. The story is simple, and features many typical tropes that have become iconic in JRPGS. You quest as three unnamed (or player-named) heroes across this unnamed world to retrieve and seal the powers of the Mana Seeds - because if the evil Empire gets them, they will recreate the evil Mana Fortress. Thus, mana will come back to the world and the evil Empire - lead by an evil, undead wizard named Thanatos - will control it all.

It's not groundbreaking. Even for the time, this plot was definitely one gamers had seen before, but that didn't matter! The story is engaging, because it's a typical hero's journey. You are able to gain fun magic powers and fight crazy large beasts and win! It's both an escape and even a form of wish fulfillment for some - and that's why we still continue to love these games.

Sure, a complicated, powerful story is great, but there is something to be said about the power of simplicity.

There are some other fun additions - the small conversations that party members have at the Inns are nice. It adds a level of character to these typical trope-y characters that we're given. Sure, it doesn't add a lot, but it adds enough.

Was this enough to make the game good, though?


No. It wasn't. At all. The game is broken, guys. Like bad. I'll start with the awkward AI and sprite movements. I was on my way to the Dwarf Village, and my party members were constantly getting stuck at turns. Often, I'd find myself asking, "Where the hell did the Sprite go?" It's not the worst thing, but when you're a relatively low level and traveling somewhere new, things get really hairy when your party is about three of four movements away fighting a wall for dominance.

You guys remember how in old games, whenever your sprites were preparing to talk to someone, they would come together and disappear within the protagonists body and then line up. Now, I want you to picture that, but a couple of seconds slower and instead of disappearing, everyone becomes this weird amalgamation of all three characters before making a line. It looked atrocious and made me regret actually getting information from anyone in the game. It's almost as annoying as the battle system.

Listen, the original game was definitely not the perfect system by any stretch of the imagination. But the point of a remake is to fix the game's problems and make them better. That's now what Secret of Mana did - instead, it made the game look pretty(?) and didn't bother to change anything else. This makes battles an absolute slog to get through.

The action bar mechanic is fine, and it definitely works in this action-RPG setting, but it also suffers from feeling a little too dated. Combine that with the delayed reaction from enemies in the game (by about two seconds) when they got hit, and the awkward move from 2D battles to 3D and you've got a mess. Not unplayable, but definitely annoying.

And finally, we have the awkward design elements. I don't know why they decided to go for this sweet and cute chibi-esque design - but it definitely made the game feel less fun and vibrant and more grating and childish. I know that this game is meant for a younger audience, but young kids don't need cheaply designed chibi characters.

I could go on and on, but unfortunately, I don't have a whole month write this article.


Don't waste your time on the remake. It's not worth the $40 that they charge, and that's an incredible disappointment. The game is mired by all of the choices it didn't make. Instead of giving us a remake the changes with the times, we are stick with a 3D-ed, almost carbon copy of the original game with all of the problems and issues that came with plus even more.

A remake is not a carbon copy and needs to change with the times. This game didn't do that - and that's incredibly disappointing.

Here's hoping they'll let someone else try it again further down the road.

Shann Smith is a lover of video games and has played games since he could hold a controller. He is a freelance writer, playwright, screenwriter, and also writes the Video Gay-Mer column on Popdust! If you have any games you'd like him to unpack, hit him up!

POP⚡ DUST | Read More…

ROLE PLAYGROUND | Thirteen years later, does Kingdom Hearts II still hold up?

ROLE PLAYGROUND | Monster Hunter: World doesn't dazzle like I thought it would.

ROLE PLAYGROUND | Nier Automata is an intense experience

ROLE PLAYGROUND | Why is Iconoclasts so good?