Age of Mythology: Retold launches for PC and Xbox on the same day | Digital Trends

Age of Mythology: Retold launches for PC and Xbox on the same day | Digital Trends

Xbox Game Studios

Microsoft and World’s Edge gave us our first glimpse of its upcoming remaster of real-time strategy game Age of Mythology: Retold during Friday’s New Year, New Age livestream. They also confirmed that it will launch on PC and Xbox later this year.

Age of Mythology: Retold’s segment of the livestream began with Art Director Melinda Rose introducing the gameand  teasing that it will contain all-new 3D character models, animation, textures, and UI. Rose also highlighted the details of the character models for units like Medusa, Pegasus, and Cerberus. Each time players upgrade a unit, their design will change slightly. We then got a look at its key art, as well as confirmation that Age of Mythology: Retold will be released later this year. It will launch on both PC and Xbox at the same time and is the first World’s Edge game to do so.

Age of Mythology: Retold is a remaster of the 2002 fantasy RTS Age of Empire spinoff by Ensemble Studios. It was first teased in October 2022 by Microsoft, but we hadn’t heard much about it since then. Over the past several years, Microsoft has made a concerted effort to revitalize Age of Empires with several remasters, console ports, and the release of Age of Empires IV.

During this livestream, World’s Edge revealed that this has allowed the series to surpass over 50 million players. Age of Mythology: Retold is aimed at adding to that number, as are other things revealed during the New Year, New Age livesteam, like the Victors and Vanquished expansion for Age of Empires II, new civilizations for Age of Empires III, a spring update for Age of Empires IV, and Age of Empires Mobile.

Age of Mythology: Untold launches on PC and Xbox later in 2024. Like all first-party Microsoft games, it will be on Xbox Game Pass from day one as well.

Editors’ Recommendations






All Starcraft 2 cheats and console commands | Digital Trends

All Starcraft 2 cheats and console commands | Digital Trends

After so many years, we’ve all just about given up hope for a sequel to Starcraft 2, so we might as well have as much fun with this entry as possible. While there is significant depth on the multiplayer and even some great expansions, dedicated players have no doubt hit a wall in terms of how much fun they can have through normal means. That’s when triggering some handy cheats can breathe some new life into this master class of an RTS. We’ve gathered all the necessary resources to build you the definitive list of cheats and console commands for Starcraft 2.

How to enter cheats

Blizzard

Unlike console games that require long codes or hidden button combinations to trigger cheats, PC gamers have a much easier time. You can start cheating in Starcraft 2 by simply opening the chat window and pressing the Enter key. This will open a window where you simply enter one of the cheats below, hit Enter once more, and see the effect take place.

Note that while all the cheats we will cover are included in the game from the developer, and thus won’t get you banned for using them, they will prevent you from earning any achievements.

All Starcraft 2 cheats

  • WhatIsBestInLife – Instant Victory
  • LetsJustBugOutAndCallItEven – Instant Defeat
  • TookTheRedPill – Disables Fog of War
  • Bunker55AliveInside – Disables the need for Supplies (Food)
  • TerribleTerribleDamage – Enables God Mode
  • SpectralTiger – Adds 5,000 Minerals to the Available Resources
  • RealMenDrillDeep – Adds 5,000 Gas to the Available Resources
  • WhoRunBartertown – Adds 5,000 of each Resource to the Available Resources
  • SoSayWeAll – Allows the use of all Tech
  • IAmIronMan – Instantly allows all Upgrades
  • CatFoodForPrawnGuns – Enables Fast Builds and Fast Upgrades
  • HanShotFirst – Disables cooldowns on Spells
  • TyuHasLeftTheGame – Disables Victory Conditions to allow Continued Play
  • NeverGiveUpNeverSurrender – Enables Continued Play after a defeat
  • ImADoctorNotARoachJim – Enables Fast Unit Healing
  • MoreDotsMoreDots – All Units and Buildings are Free to Build (No Cost)
  • WhySoSerious – Adds 5 million Credits
  • LeaveYourSleep – Opens all Missions (Ability to Jump to Missions)
  • EyeOfSauron – Allows access to all Cinematics
  • StayClassyMarSara – Allows access to all UNN TV News Broadcasts
  • HoradricCube – Opens all Research Options
  • Jaynestown – Adds 5,000 Terrazine to the Available Resources

Editors’ Recommendations






65 PS5 games just had their prices slashed — from $16 | Digital Trends

65 PS5 games just had their prices slashed — from $16 | Digital Trends

Sony

Best Buy just slashed the prices of dozens of PlayStation 5 games — you wouldn’t want to miss these discounts if you’re looking for your next title to play, or if you just want to keep adding games to your collection. However, similar to most PS5 deals, we don’t expect these offers to last long. If you see a PS5 game that you like among the ones we’ve highlighted below, or by browsing through all the available bargains yourself, it’s highly recommended that you push through with the transaction immediately if you want to make sure that you get it for cheaper than usual.

What to buy in Best Buy’s PS5 games sale

Leon and Ashley in the Resident Evil 4 remake.
Capcom

The cheapest PlayStation 5 games in Best Buy’s sale are a pair of racing titles — go street racing in Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All, which is

from $30 after a $14 discount, or engage in motorsports in Grid Legends, which is also

with the same savings. There are many other popular titles that have gone cheap — pull off heists in Grand Theft Auto V for

after a $20 discount on its original price of $40, explore a futuristic world as a cat in Stray for

for savings of $11 on its sticker price of $40, and fight through hordes of zombies in Resident Evil 4 with a

from $50 for $18 in savings.

If you love stealth action, check out where the genre began with Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1, which includes Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, for a

from $60 for savings of $20. Meanwhile, for those who love crawling through dungeons and gathering loot, there’s no better game for it than the hack-and-slash RPG Diablo IV, which is

following a $17 discount on its sticker price of $70.

With more than 60 discounted titles in Best Buy’s PS5 games sale, there’s surely something that will interest every type of gamer. However, there’s a catch — we’re not sure how much time is remaining on these offers, so you should go ahead with your purchases as soon as you can. Once you miss out on these savings, there’s no telling when you’ll get another chance at them.

Editors’ Recommendations






Penny’s Big Breakaway review: platformer keeps its momentum going | Digital Trends

Penny’s Big Breakaway review: platformer keeps its momentum going | Digital Trends

Penny’s Big Breakaway

MSRP $30.00

“Penny’s Big Breakaway isn’t one of the genre’s greats, but it’s a very unique and fun 3D platformer.”

Pros

  • Unique control scheme works
  • Clever yo-yo mechanics
  • Encourages gameplay mastery

Cons

  • Unmemorable characters
  • Bad boss fights

Penny throws a yo-yo in Penny's Big Breakaway.
Private Division

At the end of the first world in Penny’s Big Breakaway, the titular character and her sentient, aggressive yo-yo are presented with their first boss-like encounter: a giant rolling ball of penguins. I had to run for my life, swinging with and riding on my yo-yo at pivotal movements so I wasn’t smushed by the ball of a boss, proving to myself that I understood and had started to master its dual-stick control scheme.

While that all probably sounds ridiculous if you’re unfamiliar with Penny’s Big Breakaway, this encounter is where this platforming adventure from some of the developers behind Sonic Mania started to sing. Evening Star nails the game feel, creating a fluid, momentum-driven platforming experience that controls in a unique, yet intuitive manner. No other platformer looks or feels quite like Penny’s Big Breakaway. While this studio’s first outing doesn’t nail things like its narrative or arena-based boss encounters, the developer pedigree behind Penny’s Big Breakaway is evident in this well-designed, surprise-launched platformer.

Moving on from mania

In Penny’s Big Breakaway, players follow the titular character, a performer forced on the run after her sentient Yo-Yo tears off King Eddie’s clothes during an audition. Throughout the adventure, Penny tries to evade Eddie and his compatriots, and meets an eclectic cast of characters along the way. In subtle ways, I could tell that the story of Penny’s Big Breakaway is processing the feelings of the developers who had to “break away” from Sega for unknown reasons, which resulted in this game instead of Sonic Mania 2.

Penny rides her yo-yo in Penny's Big Breakaway.
Private Division

While that meta theme did catch me by surprise, little else did narratively. Penny’s Big Breakaway is a vibrant and colorful game with a large cast of characters, but outside of Penny, none of their designs stand out as that memorable. Some don’t have the simplicity of characters like Sonic or Mario, and each character individually feels like they could have been designed for different games.

Its script certainly got a few chuckles out of me – one of the villains repeatedly calling Penny “Miss Felon” was my favorite running gag – and flavor text throughout each level does give the stages a sense of place. Other than those bright spots, I probably won’t be thinking much about Penny and her friends now that the credits have rolled on Penny’s Big Breakaway.

However, story and characters aren’t why most people come to a game like Penny’s Big Breakaway; how good the platforming feels and how well-designed obstacle course levels are is what they seek. Thankfully, when it isn’t locking players into an arena for a boss fight, Penny’s Big Breakaway nails that.

Expert platforming design

Penny’s Big Breakaway‘s gameplay is all centered around using a magical yo-yo. While you can run and jump like you normally would in a platformer, the yo-yo is used for a variety of different offensive and movement skills. By using the right stick on a controller, you can send out the yo-yo in any direction; this will grab, interact with, or break any objects it comes into contact with. You can also use it to dash or swing in midair by using the right stick while jumping or use the trigger to ride on the yo-yo if an incline or jump gives you enough momentum to move forward. I had to learn to use and mix together all of these abilities to complete linear levels across 11 different worlds.

Penny rides a yo-yo zipline in Penny's Big Breakaway.
Private Division

These unique controls initially take some getting used to; I dashed off the edge of almost every stage in the first world. After some time with the game and being forced to use these skills in high-pressure situations, Penny’s Big Breakaway gets a lot more intuitive. It isn’t as fast-paced as Sonic the Hedgehog, but it incorporates momentum into a robust moveset. There are some pretty wild level shortcuts that even I’ve found by stringing moves together across seemingly impassible gaps.

As players spend more time with and get better at the game, I’m excited to see what other shortcuts or neat platforming tricks are discovered. Penny’s Big Breakaway encourages players to get better in many different ways. For instance, penguin enemies all chase Penny and slow her down after touching her rather than dealing damage; this encourages players to keep moving and to learn how to use the different yo-yo skills to shed themselves of the penguins.

Due to the skateboarding game influences on the yo-yo dual stick controls, Evening Star implemented a combo system. Accrue enough points by the end of a level, and you unlock concept art. Three unique challenges and three collectibles are also strewn about each stage. These tend to require players to show mastery of the movement mechanics, so you get better by completing or obtaining them. Completing the challenges gives you a chance to earn more points in the end-of-level Busker Bonus, while found collectibles can be spent to unlock difficult Star Globe stages that put your skills to the test.

Penny glides through the air with her yo-yo in Penny's Big Breakaway.
Private Division

Add in the Time Attack mode, where players can speedrun for the best times and compare their times to other players on a leaderboard, and Penny’s Big Breakaway is a game begging players to get good at it. Having such fun momentum-based gameplay comes with the downside of making Penny’s Big Breakaway less interesting when players have to stop, wait, and deal with level gimmicks that don’t emphasize the best parts of Penny’s moveset. Frequently, this happens in boss fights.

Horrible bosses

The giant penguin ball I mentioned in the intro set the bar high for end-of-world encounters, but unfortunately, none of the others live up to that standard. Many of the boss fights after are more traditional and try to shoehorn the yo-yo mechanics into gimmicky fight-specific challenges, like playing pool with parts of a boss after damaging them.

These arena fights just aren’t nearly as engaging as the normal platforming stages, and poor checkpointing means I had to replay large, repetitive chunks of these fights for a mess-up late in the encounter. Good boss fights recontextualize and enhance the basic mechanics of the game, and the penguin ball encounter toward the start of the game understands this. That makes it all the more unfortunate that most of the other bosses that follow don’t build on that.

Penny faces a boss in Penny's Big Breakaway.
Private Division

Penny’s Big Breakaway was hard to put down, but looking back, frustrations with these boss fights are what caused me to end my play session and come back later. The same goes for stages where they needed more room to play around with all of the gameplay tools as they were too focused on a singular gimmick or obstacle. Those are real momentum-killers for a game where it’s vital to keep moving.

Thankfully, those issues are only speed bumps on the road Penny is rolling down on her sentient yo-yo. When Evening Star Games lets unique platforming mechanics and fluid platforming shine and reinforces them with the scoring system and enemy design, Penny’s Big Breakaway shines. Although I’m not sure that Penny and her yo-yo have the staying power of Sega’s iconic hedgehog, Penny’s Big Breakaway is an easy recommendation to hardcore platforming fans eager to see what the Sonic Mania devs are up to now.

Digital Trends tested Penny’s Big Breakway on PC.






All Fallout 4 cheats and console commands | Digital Trends

All Fallout 4 cheats and console commands | Digital Trends

Cheat codes have somewhat become a thing of the past in modern gaming, with mods coming in to take their place. Most Bethesda games, such as Starfield and Fallout 4, enjoy plenty of mod support, but also have plenty of ways you can tweak the game using some old-fashioned cheats and console commands. Even as big as Fallout 4 is, it has shown its age at this point, so why not try out a few cheats to keep things exciting in the wasteland? Here are all the cheats and console commands you can use, and how to activate them.

How to enter cheats

Bethesda Softworks

Cheats on PC are able to be activated at any time with the simple press of a button. Just hit the ~ key to open up the console menu, where you can enter any of the cheats below to trigger their associated effects.

Player cheats

  • tgm — Toggles god mode.
  • tcl — Toggles collision.
  • tfc — Activates free camera.
  • tfc 1 — Same as above, but freezes all animations.
  • tm — Toggles menus and UI on and off, including the console.
  • csb — Resets blood splatter/explosion dust/etc. screen effects.
  • fov [first-person FOV] [third-person FOV] — Change the FOV. Enter 0 for either to reset to default.
  • showlooksmenu player 1 – Opens up the character customization menu.
  • player.setrace [race id] — Changes your race.
  • player.resethealth – Sets your health to full.
  • player.setlevel <X> – Sets your level to the level you enter.
  • player.setav <variable ID> <X> – Sets the entered stat to the number you enter.
  • set timescale to [insert number here] — Speeds up or slows down time.
  • player.addperk <perkID> – Adds whichever perk you select to your character.

Item cheats

  • player.additem 0000000f [insert number here] — Adds bottle caps equal to the number you specify.
  • player.additem 0000000a [insert number here] — Adds bobby pins equal to the number you specify.
  • player.additem <itemID> <X> – Adds the specified amount of the chosen item directly to your inventory.

Other item IDs:

  • Stimpack – 00023736
  • Med-X – 00033779
  • Rad Away – 00023742
  • Stealth Boy – 0004F4A6
  • Fusion Core – 00075FE4
  • Mini Nuke – 0010E689

World and NPC cheats

  • coc [cell id] – Teleports the player to an area.
  • unlock – Unlocks any door you have targeted.
  • activate – Forces the activation of whatever object you have targeted.
  • tai – Turns off or on the AI for NPCs
  • tcai – Turns off or on the combat AI for NPCs
  • tdetect — The AI won’t detect you anymore.
  • killall – Kills everyone in the immediate area around you, excluding companions and any NPC marked as vital.
  • kill <targetID> – Kills the NPC with the associated ID.
  • resurrect <targetID> – Brings back to life the NPC whose ID you’ve typed in.
  • coc qasmoke – Teleports you to a debug area.
  • sgtm <X> – Changes the game speed, which affects gameplay directly — 1 is the default, 0.5 is half speed, and 2 is double.
  • fw <weatherID> OR sw <weatherID> – Changes the weather either instantly (fw) or gradually (sw) to the type you enter.

Editors’ Recommendations






2XKO is the League of Legends fighting game’s title | Digital Trends

2XKO is the League of Legends fighting game’s title | Digital Trends

Riot Games

Riot Games announced the title of its free-to-play League of Legends fighting game, which it had previously referred to as Project L: 2XKO.

The title — 2XKO — was revealed in a new minute-long trailer that shows some fights involving Yasuo, Ahri, Ekko, Darius, and Illaoi. This was followed up by a “Year in Preview” video outlining what we can expect from 2XKO this year. In that video, executive producer Tom Cannon explains that the 2XKO development team has grown massively, that a demo of it will be playable at EVO Japan 2024 in April, and that Riot plans on sharing a lot more about the game through the rest of 2024 ahead of a PC and console release next year.

The title 2XKO seems to be a reference to its main hook: this is a 2v2 fighting game. Riot Game is positioning 2XKO’s four-player 2v2 battles as the flagship mode for the fighter, which seems like it is otherwise building on the legacy of tag-team fighters like the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Its tag mechanics and Fuse system stand out from anything else in the fighting game scene right now and are reminiscent of the team-based nature of League of Legends.

Year in Preview 2024 | 2XKO (Project L)

Riot Games first teased 2XKO at EVO 2019 and has only given sporadic updates on it since then. That’s clearly changing in 2024. Riot Games could use that kind of win this year, as it laid off over 500 developers in January and is sunsetting its Riot Forge label following the release of Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story on February 21.

Riot Games plans to fully launch 2XKO on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S in 2025

Editors’ Recommendations






PlayStation VR2 PC compatibility is being tested by Sony | Digital Trends

PlayStation VR2 PC compatibility is being tested by Sony | Digital Trends

When ILMxLAB learned about the PlayStation VR2, Director Jose Perez III thought it was a “no-brainer” for the studio to bring the Oculus Quest game Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge to the new headset.
“We’re always looking at how we can push the fidelity of the work that we’re doing,” Perez III tells Digital Trends in an interview. “PlayStation VR2 is ridiculously powerful; we got really excited about what we could bring to that. We started talking with our friends at Sony because we had a great relationship with them for Vader Immortal, and it was really a no-brainer. Then, you put the headset on, you start feeling the haptics, and you start seeing what you can do with the visual fidelity and lighting, and it’s like, ‘Oh, this is awesome!'”
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge – Enhanced Edition | Official Trailer | PS VR2
PlayStation VR2’s launch and its first wave of games are nearly upon us, and Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge Enhanced Edition is one of those titles. This is a make-or-break time for VR, which is still struggling to move into the mainstream but could become more popular if Sony’s headset can offer a compelling and accessible virtual reality experience. Ahead of its release, Digital Trends spoke to Director Jose Perez III and Producer Harvey Whitney from ILMxLAB to learn about the process of crafting one of these critical “no-brainer” launch games and PlayStation VR2 will ultimately stand when it comes to the future of VR gaming.
The power of PlayStation VR2
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge was originally released for Meta Quest VR headsets in November 2020. It’s set on the planet of Batuu, which people also explore at Dinsey parks, and follows a Droid Technician who gets caught in the middle of a grander fight against the First Order after crash-landing on the planet. At the time, it was meant with decent reviews and only got better as its story was completed and expanded with the Last Call DLC.
After getting the “Enhanced Edition” of the game for PlayStation VR2 greenlit, ILMxLAB actually had to go and make it. As the team was dealing with new hardware for the first time, producer Harvey Whitney thought it was good that the team’s first project on PlayStation VR2 was an enhanced version of an existing game.
“Early on, knowing that we already had the content that was created for the original, that changes things quite a bit,” Whitney tells Digital Trends. “We’re not redeveloping the story and coming up with all of that. We just had that opportunity to work as a team and ask, ‘What do we really push here, and where are the changes that we want to make, and what we can do to really take advantage of this hardware?'”

The VR space is full of different headsets with unique specs, with the much higher specs of the PS VR2 standing out. The PlayStation VR2 sports some impressive specs compared to its VR peers, displaying content in a 4000×2030 HDR format at a 90Hz or 120Hz frame rate. Plus, games have the PS5’s power, spatial, and brand new Sense controllers to take advantage of, rather than the 2013 console and 2010 motion controls that limited the original PlayStation VR.
PlayStation VR2 supports Roomscale, Sitting, and Standing play styles, which added more complexity as Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge supports all three. Thankfully, Perez III that bringing Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge to PlayStation VR2 was relatively manageable because of how impressive the system’s specs were.
“A lot of the development processes are similar [to other VR platforms],” Perez III says. “We’re still working inside of Unreal, and we’re doing a lot of those same processes. But we don’t have to look at performance quite as much as we do on some of the other devices, so we’re able to open up a lot of things or not be as concerned about certain things. That comes with better hardware.”
Better hardware, better games
Looking at the biggest games of the PlayStation VR2 launch window lineup, the visuals of titles like Horizon Call of the Mountain and the VR modes of Resident Evil Village and Gran Turismo 7 are impressive. In our discussion, Whitney also made it quite clear that one of the real advantages of working on this remaster was not having to worry about strict limitations on the visuals or even the audio. “We got lucky in the sense that there’s a lot more to PlayStation VR2 that we hadn’t had previously,” Whitney says. “We could really push the graphics and make it shine. But then there were also some other things that came into play. We totally redid the audio, it sounds amazing.”

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth review: fighting for the future | Digital Trends

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth review: fighting for the future | Digital Trends

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

MSRP $70.00

“Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a phenomenal second chapter of what’s shaping up to be an all-time great game trilogy.”

Pros

  • Phenomenal story
  • Strong performances
  • Impactful combat tweaks
  • Some excellent side-content
  • A legendary soundtrack

Cons

  • Repetitive open-world structure

When we last left the heroes of Final Fantasy VII Remake, they had defied their predetermined fates by killing the concept of destiny — literally. It was a triumphant victory but a short-lived one. As soon as their journey begins in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, it’s clear that Cloud and company are facing off against a much tougher foe that threatens to doom their futures. It’s not Sephiroth; it’s themselves.

Despite having definitive control of their lives, the heroes of Gaia still struggle to overcome their own anxiety. Cloud believes he’s destined to become like his arch nemesis, and Barret is left panicking over how his smothering behavior will ruin his daughter’s life. The city of Midgar has fallen into collective despair, as its residents are convinced that there’s simply nothing anyone can do to save a dying world. The planet has fallen victim to a nihilism epidemic where hope is as scarce a commodity as Mako.

That narrative defines Rebirth, the emotional second chapter of Square Enix’s ambitious Final Fantasy VII remake trilogy. Rather than continuing the total meta-deconstruction of its predecessor, Rebirth is a more personal sequel about heroes who are terrified to become true masters of their own fate. For them, and perhaps players themselves, the inevitable feels inescapable — and that’s bad news for a certain flower peddler, whose future depends on everyone else getting their act together.

In another brilliantly self-reflexive action RPG, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth uses gaming’s most iconic bit of dramatic irony to fuel a deeply moving tale of self-doubt and personal rediscovery. It’s a bigger, at times less focused adventure, but one that leaves the kind of life-affirming imprint bound to make it another instant classic.

The unwritten future

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth picks up where Remake left off. Having escaped Midgar and the grip of fate itself, Cloud and his eclectic eco-terrorist pals set out on a world-spanning journey to hunt down the nefarious Sephiroth. The story sticks much closer to the original 1997 release’s script this time. The crew follows a familiar sequence of events, from marching in a military parade to racing Chocobo at the Gold Saucer, Gaia’s opulent amusement park. For those who felt like Remake spit in their memories, Rebirth offers a more faithful chapter that’s bound to be more of a nostalgic crowd-pleaser.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t mess with the original RPG. It’s very much still a self-aware remake that’s grappling with its legacy and the weight of overprotective fan expectations; it’s just doing so more inside the lines this time. Sequences like Barret’s face-off with Dyne, an old friend gone rogue, are given much more emotional depth here. It, and moments like it, are expanded to better tell a more emotionally resonant tale of heroes struggling to fight the grief, failure, and trauma of the past that threatens to define their future.

The slow-burn narrative pays off in tremendous fashion for those patient enough to see it through to the end.

What’s especially impressive is how Rebirth is able to deliver such fully realized character arcs for every party member. This time, the core quartet is joined by Red XIII, Yuffie Kisaragi, and Cait Sith, who are all playable in the sequel. That sounds like a mosh pit on paper, but every single hero gets the time they deserve. Each character has a significant moment to face their past while building a relationship with one another. That’s a testament to Rebirth’s expertly penned script, which turns the hodge-podge center of the original RPG into a self-contained story that functions apart from Remake.

Credit also goes to the voice cast, who turn in terrific performances across the board. Briana White gets more room to establish Aerith as a pure beacon of hope that’s imperative to protect. John Eric Bentley is terrific as Barret, deftly moving between moments of comedic relief and genuine heartache. Newcomer Paul Tinto especially steals the show as the feline prince Cait Sith, making Final Fantasy VII’s strangest character feel as human as anyone else.

Aerith stares at floating lanterns in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
Square Enix

Those human touches are crucial because Rebirth’s story can initially feel harder to grasp on to than the hyper-focused Remake. It hops around several plot threads over the course of 70 hours and takes its sweet time tying them together. Zack Fair, the Crisis Core star who miraculously escapes his fated death at the end of Remake, finds himself at the center of a gripping mystery that’s key to understanding the entire sequel on a thematic level, but it takes a long time to get there. That can feel exhausting in the moment, but the slow-burn narrative pays off in tremendous fashion for those patient enough to see it through to the end.

Rebirth doesn’t dance around the fact that most players and their mothers know the fate of our heroes in the original story. Instead of obscuring that history, it builds an incredibly tense story around it, one that puts players in the same headspace as Cloud and his companions. The end feels inevitable from the start. Even if the future is technically unwritten, why hope that anything could ever change? Rebirth’s ultimate power comes in how much it rallies players to overcome that pessimism and how it teaches them to keep pushing forward no matter what the outcome is. It’s a vital work for our current era of climate anxiety, a time where it’s easy to give up the fight and succumb to impending doom.

Finding synergy

Our heroes aren’t fighting their personal demons alone. Among its wealth of loaded themes, Rebirth is also a tale about disparate friends forming a strong support system. Those bonds are crucial to weathering the emotional battles of the Final Fantasy VII universe, so the sequel bakes that into its gameplay. While the core action RPG formula is largely unchanged from Remake, Square Enix makes several small tweaks here that give the entire sequel a greater sense of camaraderie.

Cloud rides Caith Sith in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
Square Enix

Look at its combat system, for instance. Rebirth features the same excellent action as its predecessor, cleverly paying tribute to the original’s turn-based combat with action-freezing commands that can be executed from a menu in the middle of fast, real-time fights. It’s still powered by a deep RPG system that has players creating perfect Materia combinations for each ally. Skills have been tweaked — they’re no longer tied to weapons, but broader character folios that grant permanent buffs — but the winning formula remains.

What’s changed, though, is how characters now interact with one another rather than fighting as lone wolves in the same arena. By holding down a bumper, each character can access a selection of abilities to perform duo attacks with active allies. Those can entirely broaden each hero’s playstyle. When I have Cloud active, I can have Barret shoot a bullet at his buster sword and deflect it into my foe. The more I work with my partners, the more efficient and versatile we are together.

With destiny dead, players have full control over their team.

That’s brought to an even greater conclusion with synergy abilities, which act as tandem limit breaks. When Barret and Cait Sith both have enough energy, they can team up and turn into a rotating merry-go-round of death. Those devastating bonus attacks can seriously turn the tides of battle, all while granting crucial support skills to allies. You don’t just master individual characters in Rebirth; you build party relationships that make everyone stronger.

Every small detail has some thematic significance. Compare the way party composition is handled between Remake and Rebirth. In the former, players never got to choose who was on their team. There was always a pre-selected trio in each encounter — a fitting decision for a game where our heroes were fighting for their free will. With destiny dead, players have full control over their team (except for a few key story missions that call for specific heroes). That makes Rebirth feel like a less restrictive adventure, offering players the freedom to build their characters through meticulous RPG customization.

The look and feel of Gaia

Freedom isn’t just core to combat; the entire shape of Rebirth comes from that concept. Where Remake placed players in linear halls that reminded them how little control they had over their claustrophobic fate, Rebirth smartly opts for more of an open-world approach. The vast planet is split up into six distinct biomes, each of which is a freely explorable space filled with checklist-driven map activities, sidequests, and minigames galore.

The almost overwhelming sense of adventure creates a perfect match for its now-dated predecessor, whose overworld ambitions feel smaller today than they did in 1997. Regions like Junon aren’t just empty fields loaded with blank space (a sin Final Fantasy XVI is guilty of). They’re richly detailed, with bits of environmental storytelling woven in that give a better sense of how the evil Shinra Corporation’s planet-draining operations are littering the natural world. It helps that Rebirth is a visual feat that takes full advantage of the powerful PS5. Every detail, from the dazzling neon lights of the Gold Saucer to the hilariously realistic dolphins of Junon, breathes new life into the world outside of Midgar.

A pirate ship shooting minigame appears in Final Fantasy Vii Rebirth.
Square Enix

The almost Like a Dragon-esque approach to open-world design has its pros and cons. A lot of effort went into crafting meaningful side-content that builds out the eclectic attitude of the original. Some of those activities will keep players engrossed in entirely optional content. A wildly detailed piano-playing minigame has already won players over in Rebirth’s demo alone, but the real star is Queen’s Blood. That’s the RPG’s Gwent equivalent, an in-world deck-building card game that gets its own massive side plot. It’s absolutely fantastic, playing like a mix between Marvel Snap and Splatoon 3’s Tableturf Battles. More crucially, it allows Square Enix to paint a broader picture of life on Gaia. I learned so much about its various cities and their local eccentrics by chatting before a thrilling round of cards.

The enormous collection of content also gives composers Mitsuto Suzuki and Masashi Hamauzu plenty of opportunities to create memorable compositions that slot in along old classics. The result is astonishing. Rebirth features over 400 musical tracks and hardly a dud in the bunch. The soundtrack effortlessly swings between heart-wrenching orchestral ballads and gleefully weird synth ditties that play whenever I have to escort a dog through the woods. I don’t think I’m being overly effusive when I call it one of the all-time best video game scores.

Open-world exhaustion

While there’s a lot to love about Rebirth’s awe-inspiring scope, its weakest moments come from those open-world ambitions. It can be an exhausting journey at times that refuses to quit while it’s ahead. When I got to my fourth open area, the formula started to wear thin. Every single biome features the same exact checklist of simple activities. I can activate towers, find some hidden crystals, do a button-pressing memory minigame to gain summon data, fight through a list of simulated battles, and more. That formula doesn’t change much from area to area, which turns exploration into a repetitive chore by the time you reach the lush jungles of Gongaga — and there’s still so much more game after that point.

Its glut of content can feel hollow at moments …

A handful of charming but weak minigames further compounds that strain. Some are easy enough to skip, like a clunky 3D brawling minigame in the Gold Saucer. Others, unfortunately, are tied to great side stories. Intergrade’s dreaded reimagining of Fort Condor returns here, and it’s as frustrating as ever, but Rebirth one-ups that with a truly terrible robot tower defense minigame. I had already felt exhausted by the time I reached it, as I’d felt compelled to check off as many open-world activities as I could. That minigame was the straw that broke the camel’s back, crushing my will to see it all.

I’m of two minds when it comes to Rebirth’s bloated structure. Its glut of content can feel hollow at moments, dragging out a riveting story with hours of repetitive diversions. But even then, there’s a function in that structure. When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out, I remember having several conversations where friends told me they refused to beat it. They simply weren’t ready to leave a world they loved so dearly, so they’d dedicated as much time as they could to completing every shrine or finding every Korok seed. As long as they never fought Calamity Ganon, they could stave off the inevitable credits roll forever.

Cloud flies on a Chocobo in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
Square Enix

I had that same feeling playing Rebirth, but not because I didn’t want to put down a game I loved. I feared what awaited me in its final chapter. An ever-present dread hangs over Rebirth, even in its brightest moments. The possibility of a grand, traumatic failure looms like thick smoke from a Shinra reactor. I was determined to change that outcome, but what if I couldn’t? Would I be ready to accept that I can still be powerless in a world without fate? Maybe I’d never have to face that reality if I dedicated my life to Chocobo Racing or perfecting my Queen’s Blood deck.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth leads both its heroes and players on a quest for self-acceptance. That’s not something you can rush. One can only face their worst fear when they’re ready to accept that their life does not need to be defined by a singular success or failure. The future is unwritten. After all, we still have a trilogy to finish.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was tested on a PS5 hooked up to a TCL 6-Series R635.

Editors’ Recommendations






One year later, PlayStation VR2 has yet to impress me | Digital Trends

One year later, PlayStation VR2 has yet to impress me | Digital Trends

Giovanni Colantonio

One year ago, I took my first step into virtual reality with the PlayStation VR2. One year later, I haven’t walked much further.

I spent a long time watching the VR sect of the gaming medium from the sidelines, curious about this new form of interaction, but never taking the full plunge. Impressed with the PSVR2’s specs and confident in Sony’s first-party capabilities, I bought it at launch in February 2022. After a week of use, I wrote that I “anticipate it’ll be a very supplemental gaming style for me in the future, not something I’ll want to do for hours every day.”

That’s a very generous reading of what ended up happening.

Following that article, my use of PlayStation VR2 became much spottier due to a dearth of content. I’d pick it up occasionally for work when new VR games like Crossfire: Sierra Squad or Arizona Sunshine 2 would come out. That would elicit a spurt of interest, but a lack of consistent additions to its lineup has left it sitting on my shelf most of the time. Now that I have a Meta Quest 3, I doubt I’ll be playing much more on it unless Sony can get its first-party support for it together.

PlayStation VR2, one year later

After a year of using PlayStation VR2, I’m disappointed in my $550 purchase. There was a honeymoon phase when it initially launched as I explored the headset’s launch lineup, all of which was new to me. It was a bit uncomfortable to use for long periods, and it lacked exclusives outside Horizon Call of the Mountain and VR modes for Resident Evil Village and Gran Turismo 7. I hoped this would improve over time as I got used to wearing it and more games started to come out.

A red robot bird attacking.
Sony

Regarding comfort, I’m getting less nauseous playing VR games now than I was a year ago. That’s an aspect of the VR experience that does improve with time. Unfortunately, I still don’t find the headset itself comfortable. I mess around with it a lot each time I put it on, but after 30 minutes, it always starts to hurt my nose and forehead. I might be willing to fight through the pain if the games were good enough to justify it, but they haven’t been.

The most woeful aspect of PSVR2 one year later is the lack of first-party support. Last year, it only got two new Sony-published games: Horizon Call of the Mountain and Firewall Ultra. The former was a great introductory experience, but the latter was a buggy multiplayer shooter that left a bad taste in my mouth. Horror exclusives like The Dark Pictures: Switchback and Resident Evil 4 VR aren’t my cup of tea, and outside of that, I only had a solid Before Your Eyes VR conversion and the entertaining, but extremely repetitive Synapse.

I enjoyed some other VR experiences throughout that time, like Rez Infinite, but overall, the headset’s 2023 game lineup didn’t do enough to elicit continued interest from me. My headset became a novelty to put on every few months, not a permanent addition to my gaming rotation. The situation didn’t seem so hot for developers making games for PSVR2 either.

First person gameplay from Firewall Ultra.
Sony Intreactive Entertainment

First Contact Entertainment, the studio behind the Sony-published Firewall Ultra, shut down in December 2023. “After almost 8 years of working with the most amazing team I’ve ever had the pleasure of being part of, I’m sad to announce that we will be closing our company First Contact Entertainment by the end of the year. The lack of support for VR within the industry has eventually taken its toll. As a AAA VR game developer, we are just not able to justify the expense needed [going] forward,” the developer wrote on Facebook.

If that’s the sentiment from a Sony-backed developer, I’m not optimistic about year two of PSVR2 exclusive support.

PlayStation VR2 vs. Meta Quest 3

My opinion on PSVR2 shifted even further this year when I tried out the Meta Quest 3. After obtaining the headset with a copy of Asgard’s Wrath 2, my interest in VR reignited a bit as I once again entered the honeymoon phase with a new piece of hardware. While I wasn’t a fan of how often Meta asks for my data while using the thing, it’s a decidedly more comfortable headset than the PSVR2. It’s smaller, making it a bit easier to adjust on my large head. It also doesn’t feel like it’s pressing into my face as much, meaning my Meta Quest 3 play sessions have lasted longer.

I tried Journey to Foundation on both headsets for a head-to-head comparison. I did find that it looked a bit better on PlayStation VR2, so if performance and visual fidelity are what you mainly care about with VR, Sony’s headset still has that going for it. That said, VR games generally look a bit dated visually, so I didn’t mind the slight visual downgrades Journey to Foundation received on Meta Quest 3.

Horizon Call of the Mountain is missed, but Meta Quest 3’s game library feels much more impressive than the PSVR2’s. When it comes to traditional games, I enjoyed Out of Scale: A Kurzgesagt Adventure, but what impressed me the most were mixed reality experiences. I’ve had a blast with Pillow, a minigame collection you can play lying down, and Demeter, a Moss-like platformer where the stages are laid out in your own room. VR is at its best when it’s playing with perspective, not when it’s showing you yet another way to reload a gun.

Demeter gameplay on Meta Quest 3.
Novelab

Considering all the buzz the Apple Vision Pro has been getting, mixed reality and spatial games will likely become the new hotness for VR headsets. That’s something PSVR2 is just not equipped for, and the system doesn’t currently have enough exclusives or first-party support to put much faith in Sony’s more old-school VR approach. Right now, the only PSVR2 exclusive on the horizon is the flight combat game Aces of Thunder, which is lackluster heading into year two of the platform’s life span. Sony has a lot of work to do if it wants to reinvigorate my interest in its VR offerings or it needs to admit its lack of plans for support outright.

The Meta Quest 3 is a cheaper, more comfortable headset. It has a vast library of games and other VR and MR content, and I have more confidence in Meta’s first-party support. Even then, I’m still not playing with it nearly as much as I play my on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch. My assessment that VR would stay a supplemental gaming experience for my last year was accurate. I’m just more disappointed now that I understand just how niche the use case for the PSVR2 is within my own VR usage, just one year after launch.

Editors’ Recommendations






Everything you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online | Digital Trends

Everything you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online | Digital Trends

Much like Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, the Nintendo Switch makes it easy to jump online and play with friends. The service, known simply as Nintendo Switch Online, has seen big changes over the years, and it now offers plenty more than access to online multiplayer. One of the biggest draws is its growing collection of games from N64, NES, and other iconic platforms — making Nintendo Switch Online a great way to access the best titles from past generations.

Nintendo offers a few different options when it comes to paying for Nintendo Switch Online, with both individual accounts and family accounts up for grabs. From its library of retro games to a smartphone application and special offers, here’s a complete look at Nintendo Switch Online.

Individual/family subscription models

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The standard Nintendo Switch Online comes in two subscription types: Individual and family. An individual subscription covers one user, and a family subscription covers up to eight. A one-year individual subscription costs $20. One-month and three-month subscriptions are also available for $4 and $8, respectively. It’s obviously most cost-efficient to purchase a year out of the gate if you plan on using the service semi-regularly.

Family subscriptions, meanwhile, cost $35 per year. To take advantage of this bulk subscription, you need to be linked to a family group. You can create a family group on the Nintendo Account website. Essentially, you and seven friends can get access to all Nintendo Switch Online features for less than $5 a piece.

Both subscription types are available for purchase on the Nintendo Switch eShop. Nintendo Switch Online is accessible via the orange navigational menu when you first open the storefront. Keep in mind that subscriptions automatically renew unless you opt out in the eShop menu.

Prepaid scratch-off cards can also be purchased at participating retailers for one-year Nintendo Switch Online memberships, as well.

Nintendo Switch Online is (mostly) required for online multiplayer

enemies get splashed in Splatoon 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Before Switch Online launched, Nintendo offered free online multiplayer for games like Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Now, you have to have a subscription to use the online features of first-party Nintendo games and most third-party games. The one major exception is Fortnite, which can be played online without a subscription. Other free-to-play games like Rocket League can be played without a paid Switch membership.

Nintendo Online is only needed for multiplayer over the internet, however. Those without a subscription can still use the Switch’s Local Wireless Play feature between two Switch consoles, with up to three players on each console.

You need to use the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app to chat

If you want to talk to your friends while playing online games, you need the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Yes, it’s annoying to have to use two devices to take part in a traditional online multiplayer experience, but we don’t make the rules. Fortnite, again, is the exception to this rule, as it allows voice chat on the console itself. Since this is a cumbersome solution, we recommend using Discord or a different communication app that you probably have already.

Adds the ability to save to the cloud

Nintendo Switch cloud backup screen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the biggest knocks on the Switch since launch was that there was no method for backing up your saves. If your console died, well, you were out of luck. With a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you can back up your saves to the cloud, ensuring that you won’t lose progress even if your console breaks.

Cloud saves work with most Switch games, but there are a few outliers. For instance, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Pokémon Let’s Go, Splatoon 2, Dark Souls Remastered, and Dead Cells do not support cloud saves. Nintendo has said that this is to maintain competitive balance in games like Let’s Go and Splatoon 2. Nintendo doesn’t want cloud saves to disrupt competitive rankings. In a game like Dark Souls, in which it autosaves pretty much after you do anything, reverting to a previous save from the cloud could potentially undermine the developer’s design.

For more details about which games work with cloud saves, check out the official Nintendo website.

Cloud saves can disappear after your subscription lapses

As a feature exclusive for Switch Online subscribers, it makes sense that cloud saves won’t last forever if you cancel your subscription. Once your subscription lapses, you won’t be able to access your cloud saves. After six months, they’ll be deleted entirely.

Subscribers get access to classic NES and SNES games

Collage of classic NES games.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the major perks of the Switch Online program is the library of free classic games. For the first year of the service, Nintendo gave subscribers a steadily growing list of NES games. Nintendo sweetened the pot at the start of year two, adding SNES games to the program.

The games included save states, too, as well as multiple display settings (4:3, Pixel Perfect, and CRT Filter). Some of these games even have multiplayer, both local and online.

Though by default you can only play these games with an internet connection, you can download them to play offline for up to seven days at a time. If your subscription lapses, you’ll lose access to these games, just like you would with PlayStation Plus and Games with Gold offerings.

Here’s a list of the most pouplar  SNES games included with Nintendo Switch Online. Keep in mind that Nintendo plans to add more SNES games to the program in the future, but there is no set schedule for new additions to the SNES library.

Bombuzal Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics Star Fox
Brawl Brothers Kirby Super Star Star Fox 2
Breath of Fire Kirby’s Dream Course Stunt Race FX
Breath of Fire II Kirby’s Dream Land 3 Sugoi Hebereke
Claymates Kunio-kun no Dodgeball da yo Zen’in Shūgō Super Baseball Simulator 1.000
Demon’s Crest The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
Donkey Kong Country Magical Drop Super Mario All-Stars
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest Mario’s Super Picross Super Mario Kart
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! Natsume Championship Wrestling Super Mario World
Doomsday Warrior Operation Logic Bomb Super Punch-Out!!
Earth Defense Force The Peace Keepers Super Metroid
EarthBound Pilotwings Super Punch-Out!!
Earthworm Jim 2 Pop’n TwinBee Super Soccer
F-ZERO Prehistorik Man Super Tennis
Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War Psycho Dream Tetris Attack
Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem Puyo Puyo 2 Tuff E Nuff
Harvest Moon Shin Megami Tensei Valis IV 
The Ignition Factor Shin Megami Tensei II Wild Guns
Jelly Boy Shin Megami Tensei If… Yoshi’s Island
Joe & Mac Spanky’s Quest  

Here’s the list of NES games. Nintendo added multiple NES games per month during the first year of service. Now that SNES games have arrived, however, the monthly updates are no more. We have received new SNES games periodically, but not on a month-to-month basis.

Adventures of Lolo Double Dragon II: The Revenge Kirby’s Adventure Pro Wrestling Super Mario Bros. 3
Adventures of Lolo 2 Dr. Mario Konami’s Ping Pong Punch-Out!! Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
Atlantis no Nazo Eliminator Boat Duel Kung Fu Heroes River City Ransom Tecmo Bowl
Balloon Fight Excitebike Kunio-kun Rygar Tennis
Baseball Famicom Wars The Legend of Zelda S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team TwinBee
Blaster Master  Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light Mappy-Land Shadow of the Ninja Vice: Project Doom
City Connection Ghosts ‘n Goblins Mario Bros. Soccer Volleyball
Clu Clu Land Gradius Metroid Solomon’s Key Wario’s Woods
Crystalis Ice Climber Mighty Bomb Jack Solomon’s Key 2 Wrecking Crew
Dig Dug II Ice Hockey Mother Star Soldier Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Donkey Kong The Immortal NES Open Tournament Golf StarTropics Yoshi
Donkey Kong 3 Journey to Silius Nightshade Super Dodge Ball Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Donkey Kong Jr. Joy Mech Fight Ninja Gaiden Super Mario Bros.
Double Dragon Kid Icarus Ninja JaJaMaru-kun Super Mario Bros. 2

N64 and Sega Genesis games for Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack members

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack list of N64 games.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

During the September 2021 Nintendo Direct, a long-awaited announcement was made. Nintendo revealed the Expansion Pack for the online subscription service featuring N64 and Sega Genesis games. Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is available for $50 per year ($30 more than the standard membership). This serves as an enhanced version of the subscription service, offering more benefits.

Below are the new N64 and Sega Genesis games as of February 2024:

N64

  • 1080 Snowboarding
  • Banjo Kazooie
  • Blast Corps
  • Dr. Mario 64
  • Excitebike 64
  • F-Zero X
  • GoldenEye 007
  • Harvest Moon 64
  • Jet Force Gemini
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
  • Mario Golf
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Mario Party
  • Mario Party 2
  • Mario Party 3
  • Mario Tennis
  • Paper Mario
  • Pilotwings 64
  • Pokémon Puzzle League
  • Pokémon Snap
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Pokémon Stadium 2
  • Sin & Punishment
  • Star Fox 64
  • Super Mario 64
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Wave Race 64
  • Win Back: Covert Operations
  • Yoshi’s Story

Sega Genesis

  • Alien Soldier
  • Alien Storm
  • Alisia Dragoon
  • Altered Beast
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines
  • Columns
  • Comix Zone
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • Crusaders of Centy
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Ecco the Dolphin
  • Flicky
  • Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
  • Golden Axe
  • Golden Axe II
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Landstalker
  • Light Crusader
  • Mega Man: The Wiley Wars
  • M.U.S.H.A.
  • Phantasy Star IV
  • Pulseman
  • Ristar
  • Shining Force
  • Shining Force II
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball
  • Space Harrier II
  • Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Strider
  • Super Fantasy Zone
  • Sword of Vermillon
  • Target Earth
  • The Revenge of Shinobi
  • Thunder Force II
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Zero Wing

DLC at no additional cost for Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack members

Squid Kid from Splatoon 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack members also gain access to certain first-party DLC packs at no additional cost. The full list is as follows:

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pass
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Happy Home Paradise DLC
  • Splatoon 2 — Octo Expansion DLC

Keep in mind, you’ll have access to these packs so long as you remain a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack member. If your membership expires, you’ll no longer be able to access these expansions.

Exclusive games

Board littered with pellets in Pac-Man 99.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Nintendo Switch Online subscribers gain access to exclusive games that release periodically. One of the most popular is Tetris 99, a battle royale game that requires you to outlast 98 other opponents. Likewise, Pac-Man 99 is of the same vein. Collect pellets, consume ghosts, and dish out attacks to the other players. Another noteworthy inclusion was Super Mario Bros. 35. We say “was” because it has since been removed from the service, and was only present in celebration of Mario’s 35th anniversary. This, too, was a battle royale, in which players aimed to survive against 34 opponents while making their way through various Super Mario Bros. levels.

Exclusive NES and SNES wireless controllers

Exclusive NES wireless controllers packaged on a table.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You can also get retro NES and SNES controllers if you’re a Nintendo Switch Online subscription-holder. These devices connect to the Switch and feel more like traditional, old-school controllers, rather than something like a Joy-Con. These are great for players looking to immerse themselves with older games, with controllers to match! The NES controller pack is $50, while the SNES controller is $30.

N64 and Sega Genesis controllers

Yoshiaki Koizumi holding the N64 and Sega Genesis controllers for Nintendo Switch.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Finally, Nintendo also announced N64 and Sega Genesis controllers for Switch. These, much like the NES and SNES controllers before, are only available for Switch Online members. They will both work wirelessly with the Switch and will cost $50 each. It’s unclear when these will launch, but it will likely be around the same time the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack comes out.

Member-only offers

Splatoon 2 characters wearing exclusive gear.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Member-exclusive promotions for Switch Online include a lot of perks beyond the retro controllers. If you’re a subscriber, you can get a free Tetris 99 download (and if you’re a hardcore Tetris fan, this alone makes it worth the cost), a free Nook Inc. silk rug in Animal Crossing, and Splatoon 2 gear. Additionally, the company will regularly roll out new perks, so members should check for new benefits.

Editors’ Recommendations