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Finally: A Super Mario Theme Park is in The Works

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Humanity has been spoiled for choice when it comes to theme parks, really: at least when compared to every other species on Earth, none of whom have theme parks unless we take a very generous view of beaver dams. We have theme parks devoted to Disney, to Warner Bros, to Asterix and to Dolly Parton.

But there’s always been a gap in our theme park canon, one that is apparently soon to be filled, as leaked documents have revealed that a new theme park called Universal’s Fantastic Worlds will have a section devoted entirely to the world of Mario.

Comcast’s concept for Fantastic Worlds will include a number of themes, potentially including classic monsters, Jurassic Park and Dreamworks, but what is getting hearts thumping around the world is the possibility that within our lifetime we will see Super Nintendo World.

Leaked concept art reveals design elements of the new theme park.

While the leaked documents indicate that Super Nintendo World will be coming to Orlando, America’s theme park capital, there is already a Super Nintendo World under construction in, appropriately enough, Japan.

The trailer for Osaka’s Super Nintendo World shows Mario entering through a green pipe – visitors will then presumably get the chance to collect giant gold coins and murder tortoises by the dozen.

What exactly will Super Nintendo World consist of? To speculate is thrilling. Fighting an animatronic Bowser? Racing Peach and Yoshi in real-life Mario Kart? Performing basic plumbing tasks?

We can’t wait to find out.

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The Original GameBoy Lives On in Playdate

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Just when you thought Nintendo Switch was the future of handheld gaming, an Oregon-based publisher went ahead and announced Playdate – that is, a modern, handheld system with black and white graphics, WiFi, USB and a crank. Yes, a crank. A small yellow rotating analogue controller flips out from the side. Apparently, it’s revolutionary, despite looking like a slim retro GameBoy.

Playdate will debut in early 2020 and includes a 12 game subscription. That’s a game a week for 12 weeks. Playdate is priced at $149 USD, and stock is expected to be extremely limited.

Playdate is said to fit perfectly in a pocket. It has a black-and-white screen with high reflectivity, a crystal-clear image, and no backlight. Charging is through USB-C, and audio comes via a headphone jack.

Playdate includes a full season of games, and each release will be a surprise. Several well-known game designers are said to be working on the software. Just one game has been revealed so far. It’s called Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, from Keita Takahashi, the creator of the classic Japanese game Katamari Damacy.

playdate gaming device

As you probably guessed, this game uses the crank. It controls the flow of time, as players Get Crankin’ to his date with Crankette while avoiding an ever-increasing series of ridiculous obstacles.

Playdate comes from Panic, the publisher behind the 2016 game Firewatch and the upcoming Untitled Goose Game. After more than 20 years designing software and publishing games, Panic was ready to try something new.

An in-depth look at Playdate and interviews with the developers will be featured in Edge magazine issue #333 which hits newsstands later this month.

If a new take on retro gaming is your thing, follow the link below to join the mailing list to be notified when pre-orders open later in 2019.

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Minecraft Earth the Next Big Craze Following Pokémon Go

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Minecraft is turning ten this year and to celebrate, creator Mojang is launching Minecraft Earth – a brand new augmented reality game for smartphones. Expect Minecraft Earth to reach Pokémon Go levels of mass hysteria when it launches later this year.

The debut trailer doesn’t reveal much beyond the game’s playful tone. Over on its website, Mojang revealed a sliver of info stating “this is Minecraft like you’ve never experienced it before, allowing you to give your day-to-day life a Minecraft makeover!”

Minecraft Earth will allow users to explore their neighbourhoods, discovering mobs (Minecraft’s name for living creatures) and using them to populate your builds. There will also be aspects of resource gathering and challenges to complete.

minecraft earth augmented reality game

Mojang is encouraging collaboration, with users able to craft structures together. We’re unsure if this means all users can explore your creations or only those invited or on a friends list.

Also, the popular Survive mode is coming to Minecraft Earth in some shape or form. So maybe expect to see members of the public consuming digital apples and running from Creepers that only they can see.

Whatever happens, expect Minecraft Earth to take over schools, parks and pretty much all public spaces when it arrives towards the tail end of 2019. You can sign up via the link below for a chance to be one of the first to play the private beta taking place over the coming months.

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minecraft enderman in minecraft earth

minecraft build in real life

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Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Review: Hit or Miss?

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The year was 2012. Master Chief embarked on a new mission in Halo 4, and the Mass Effect trilogy was coming to its polarising conclusion. Around the same time, WWII shooter Sniper Elite V2 was gaining traction with gamers thanks to its gruesome, yet oh so satisfying x-ray kills. Sadly, where Halo and Mass Effect hold up well by today’s standards, Sniper Elite V2 does not. Even with a fresh lick of paint.

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is the same game from 2012, enhanced with visual upgrades and additional content. Unfortunately, neither address the issues with gameplay. The controls are clunky and occasionally unresponsive. Sometimes stealth mechanics like taking cover and knife kills don’t work at all. The audio mix is all over the place. Even with improved lighting, textures, 4K and HDR support, the game still looks mediocre at best.

It’s hard to pinpoint why this partially broken remaster exists. Since V2 first released, the Sniper Elite franchise has spawned two direct sequels, a spin-off zombie series and recently, two more games were confirmed for the near future. Looking back, Sniper Elite 4 was one of the better games of 2017. The far inferior V2 Remastered feels like nothing more than a cash-grab from the developers while they work on the inevitable Sniper Elite 5.

video game screen grab

Still, this game does have several things working in its favour, so let’s take a look at those. The x-ray kills are always satisfying. It never gets old watching enemy skulls shattering and organ exploding in slow-motion. The pure spectacle of it can elevate the gunfights to an art form even if it is less visually impressive than the games that followed. Moving forward, Mortal Kombat has some serious competition for the most gruesome franchise award.

Set towards the end of World War II, amidst the ruins of Berlin, the story follows elite sniper Karl Fairburne on a mission to prevent Nazi V2 rocket technology from falling into the hands of the Red Army. It doesn’t get much deeper than this. Each mission plays out through the standard tropes of a war game: Eliminate a high profile target, destroy enemy equipment, rinse and repeat. The campaign is lengthy, offering around 7 to 10 hours of single-player content.

Multiplayer is expanded to support up to 16 players (8 on Switch) across all modes. They include the usual Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, plus more unique modes like Dog Tag Harvest and Distance King. The main problem is not many people appear to be playing online, reducing your chances of finding a decent game.

world war two video game image

Where Sniper Elite V2 Remastered shines is in its co-op. The entire campaign can be played with a friend, which does wonders for breathing life into the barren landscapes. The Overwatch mode expands the comradery as one player takes the sniper role while the other is the spotter, moving through the battlefield, ticking off objectives. Overwatch is one of the strongest features of the game although there’s not much incentive to return once the maps have been completed.

All the DLC of the original game is included as standard. The noteworthy content is the Assassinate the Führer mission where you have the opportunity to take out old Adolf in any way you see fit. A shot to the groin rupturing his testicles in x-ray vision is always a suitable option.

The Sniper Elite franchise has a lot going for it. The core gameplay is fun and unique, and the re-occurring co-op modes are great ways to spend a few hours with a friend. Though, this remastered version falls short of what’s expected of a game in 2019 and doesn’t even appear to try and fix the existing problems of the original release. Go play Sniper Elite 4 instead, It’s great! Or hold-out for the recently announced VR game.

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is available now for PC, PS4, XB1 and Switch.

Man of Many received a digital copy courtesy of the publisher.

sniper elite remastered footage

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