Darkest Dungeon debuted earlier this year as a successful Kickstarter project that puts you in charge of an unlikely band of adventurers who must wander through the depths of madness and despair in order to prevail. Unlike most games, the setting of Darkest Dungeon is bleak and uninviting, but that only adds to your terror as you explore.

At its heart, Darkest Dungeon is a roguelike with plenty of difficulty settings for you to tailor your experience. The game is available for $12.49 during this sale and it’s worth every penny, as it has been actively updated all year with still more content planned. The soundtrack is pretty great, too.


We’ve been patiently awaiting the release of Owlboy for more than nine years now and it’s finally available. It just released last month, but it’s already 20% off during this Winter Sale.

For fans of pixel art platformers that were the height of gaming in the NES/SNES days, Owlboy is a love letter to gaming designed especially for you. There are plenty of hidden secrets to find and some of them still haven’t been figured out by the community.

The boss fights are plentiful and well thought out and even though the discount on this one is only $5, it’s definitely worth it if you’re a fan of pixel art adventures that have a lot of heart and feature challenging bosses to defeat.

Stardew Valley

Fans of Harvest Moon and games like it should immediately pick up Stardew Valley, which is available for only $9.99 and features an entire village of people waiting to get to know you as you work on your farm, growing crops, exploring the mines, and fishing until your heart’s content.

The game is a farming simulator at its core, but it’s also got some light RPG elements that come into play as you begin interacting with people in town. Just like Harvest Moon, there are certain characters you can woo with gifts and then marry to have them work on your farm with you as your husband or wife.


While Starbound didn’t release this year, it’s continued updates and improvements make it a great title to pick up for people who want to explore space and procedurally generated planets. The game is a must for anyone who was interested in No Man’s Sky, as it certainly addresses the problem of having nothing to do in a galaxy as you planet hop.

The most recent update just debuted yesterday, bringing Ancient Vaults and procedurally generated bosses for you to explore and fight. Elemental damage and new legendary weapons were also added, bringing plenty of new content for old players as well. The game is only $9.99 during this sale, so it’s a must for disappointed fans of No Man’s Sky.

Shadow Warrior 2

Love over the top 80s action movies? Then Shadow Warrior 2 will be right up your alley. The game’s humor is enough to mark it as one to play, but the deep combat and fun weapons you can wield more than make up for this. The first Shadow Warrior was a lackluster shooter, but Flying Wild Hog has more than made up for it with the sequel.

The best part about the game is that it’s playable with up to four people co-op, so you can bring a friend along for the crazy wild ride you’ll experience in Shadow Warrior 2. The game debuted in October so it hasn’t been out that long, which is why it’s only available for 25% off.

Black Mesa

It’s been more than 10 years since Valve released the original Half-Life, but Black Mesa is a loving fan recreation that brings the game into the era of modern day graphics. Half-Life is a story that shouldn’t be missed and this is the perfect way for fans of first-person shooters to grab an old game that you otherwise wouldn’t bother playing.

The best part is the developers of this game have Valve’s blessing to re-create it, so for only $7.99 you can experience the game that made Valve what they are today.

Necropolis: Brutal Edition

Fans of Dark Souls and Souls-like games will find a lot to live in Harebrained Schemes’ Necropolis: Brutal Edition. Don’t be put off by some of the negative reviews you’ll see on Steam as the game released in a buggy and incomplete condition that caused community review scores to drop.

Despite that, Harebrained Schemes has been working on the game and taking community feedback into consideration while developing this procedurally generated Souls-like. There’s even a new playable character called The Brute for you to try. There’s a co-op mode for you to play with friends and the game has continued to receive content updates since it released.

Astroneer is an early access title, but already the game appears to have more going for it than the trainwreck that is No Man’s Sky. It contains some of the same base building promises, but it’s built around drop-in and drop-out co-op play, so you can invite your friends along for the ride. That’s still something that No Man’s Sky is incapable of doing, despite Sean Murray refusing to call No Man’s Sky the single-player game it truly is.

In Astroneer, you can also reshape the terrain to your liking and every other player near you can see the changes you make. You can create your own custom vehicles and modules by snapping components together so you can travel to new planets and moons. This game seems promising and even in this early access mode it has more features than No Man’s Sky did at launch.

Osiris: New Dawn

Out of all the games on this list, Osiris: New Dawn comes closest to what Hello Games wanted to achieve with No Man’s Sky. Players join together to survive on harsh planets as they explore the galaxy and build bases to keep themselves alive to survive and build another day. The resource management system in the game is pretty realistic and while some of the building blueprints take a lot of resources to build, they also grant some pretty big rewards.

The only bad thing the game has going for it is the combat system is a bit clunky, but the two person dev team has been responsive since debuting the game on Steam and they’re continuing to update the game based on player feedback.


You don’t have to leave the planet to find alien life you’ve never encountered before! The world’s oceans are teeming with life we’ve yet to lay eyes on, which is exactly what makes Subnautica so great. It takes place below the waves and players are tasked with surviving in a hostile environment that hasn’t been explored before.

You’ll plunge to the depths of the ocean to gather materials to keep your meager research base sustained and as you continue to build, you’ll be able to acquire new vehicles to help you explore further from your base.

There’s nothing quite so terrifying as not knowing what’s in the water with you as you explore, which is why Subnautica is a must for anyone who loves the survival base-building experience.

sneak peek of the calendar images.

Dark Souls – Artorias of the Abyss

Aussie cosplayer Yeliz went the extra mile with his Artorias of the Abyss costume this year. In fact, I’d wager to say that if you showed someone the pictures and said they were promotional materials from a Dark Souls game, they’d agree with you and say they’re awesome. Yeliz has done an amazing job with all of his cosplays in the past, so if you’re interested in seeing more of his work, be sure to check out his YouTube channel for more.

Final Fantasy XV – Gladiolus

Italian cosplayer Leon Chiro brought Gladiolus Amicitia of Final Fantasy XV to life recently and there’s not a cosplay on this list that has done a better job capturing the essence of the character. While all of the costume accessories and props are spot on matches to the original outfit, it’s Leon’s dedication to replicating Gladiolus’ amazing set of abs that should be given props.

ESO – The Lusty Argonian Maid

The Lusty Argonian maid is a series of innuendo-filled books that you can find scattered around the world of The Elder Scrolls. Fans of games like Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim have been joking on internet forums and reddit for years about the semi-raunchy life of the Argonian Maid, but now cosplayer Jenna Lynn Meowri has brought her to life.

Overwatch – Mercy

Overwatch has certainly taken the cosplay world by storm this year, with a whole host of new characters for gamers to love. Mercy is a popular choice because of her healing abilities, but her outfit presents some unique challenges for cosplayers who want to get it just right. That’s why when you find a Mercy that’s as well as Shappi’s, you admit hands down its the best this year.

Horizon Zero Dawn

It’s a bit odd seeing such a well-done cosplay before the main game is even out, but IbelinnCosplay has pulled off this spectacular look at Aloy. If you’re not familiar with this character, she’s the protagonist of the upcoming PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn. As for the costume itself, the Norweigan cosplayer admits that it took nearly three months to complete the outfit, with the detailing around the skirt taking 40 hours by itself.

Resident Evil 2 – Stage 1 Transformation

This Resident Evil 2 cosplay from Gai is one of the best we’ve seen for that series. The outfit is the stage 1 transformation of Dr. William Birkin, who served as the head of the G virus research and eventually became a victim to his own virus development. The gruesome detail on the arm is everything we could hope for in a modern remake of Resident Evil 2, so kudos to Gai for getting it so horribly right.

We said we “got our feet wet” because we’re far from done with this mode. We’ve only just completed it on Light (easy) and now are going for a run on Moderate. From our time with Survival, it’s become very apparent that this mode isn’t designed for a single playthrough. The harder difficulties are certainly doable with a good enough party and tons of time, but, again, not everyone has the time for that.

What’s important to take away from this mode is that you’ll want to level up your character, get better boosters, weapons, and player buffs before you tackle the higher difficulties. Nobody’s going to laugh at you for playing Survival on easy, especially if you don’t struggle nearly as much as they might when you crank the dial up to Crushing.

4. Save mysticals and power weapons for bosses

Every other stage has a boss battle. These guys are no joke as they can either teleport, send El Dorados coming your way, or throw out a quick Indra’s Eternity. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you have a good game plan as well as some heavy-hitting weapons. Leading up to the boss battle within a stage, you’ll kill a lot of grunts with heavy weapons. Don’t touch those. Leave them on the ground until the boss battle starts, then grab them, unload, and rinse and repeat. This ensures that you have more money for important things like revives, mysticals, or ammo for your guns.

Mysticals are very important too. As tempting as it may be, you definitely don’t want to waste these before a boss battle. Save them. Your El Dorado will be far more useful against a boss than it is a group of enemies that are currently giving you some trouble.

3. Lock & Load booster

This is our favorite booster to use in multiplayer. In PvP, rolling over ammunition with Lock & Load equipped deposits the ammo directly to your clip, instead of requiring you to reload first. We can’t count the amount of times that has saved us. Lock & Load functions a little differently in Survival though. Essentially, it gives you ammo directly to your clip with each headshot. If you’re accurate enough, this could mean near-infinite ammo for you.

2. Designate roles

If you have a team of three (or even two) competent players, it’s probably best to dish out some roles. It doesn’t matter who does what, as long as they know what they’re doing, and stick to it. Figure out what everyone’s strengths are and play to them. Maybe one guy is better at reviving, while the other has impeccable aiming skills. This is even more important on rounds that require you to collect treasures.

During these moments, you’ll probably want to have someone picking off enemies while another person runs around the map, grabbing treasures. If you have three people, then get two people to grab the treasures. Either way you divide it, as long as someone’s taking care of the enemies, this will make clearing that round and getting more stars a simpler task.

1. Practice headshots

Headshots in just about any gun-based game are important, but while playing Uncharted 4’s Survival mode, they’re almost paramount to your progression. In addition to providing a small cash bonus with each headshot kill, you’ll do far more damage than you do with regular body shots. For brutes, armored foes, and bosses, every damage you can get counts. There are even modifiers that negate body shots, making headshots all the more valuable.

Bonus: Pray

If you’re lucky like we were, then the final boss will get stuck. We still don’t know how this happened and we’re not complaining either!


The increase might not seem like a lot, but the execution behind all of this is puzzling. Instead of using the new images to mask the game’s load times, they lengthen them. You would think that while you’re looking at the multiplayer screenshots, the game would be loading in the background, preparing to immediately dump you into the mode after a certain number of screenshots. Essentially, it would be a fancy loading screen. Except that’s not how it works. Instead, the screenshots take place before multiplayer starts loading, for some odd reason.

This makes a simple thing like entering or exiting multiplayer a slightly stressful process.


Winning any game of 3on3 FreeStyle begins with starting off on the right foot. You always want to make sure that your team gets the jump ball so in a worst-case scenario, you’re never the one trying to tie the game. To get the jump ball every time, don’t jump until the ball is about one second into its free-fall. At this point, your character should snatch the ball out of the air, allowing you to gain the upper hand on the opposing team.



This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t do it. Guard whomever the game tells you to. Hold R1 next to them to stick your arms out for a “face up.” This makes it more difficult for them to move around or juke you, and helps burn seconds on the clock while they try to find an open player.

4. Use Lulu for easy blocks and dunks


Lulu is an absolute beast. There’s no denying that. Not only can this powerhouse dominate the court from anywhere in front of the two-point line, but she’s also a great defender who can block shots like nobody’s business. Oh, and she can dunk. Level-up Lulu and make sure she’s on your team for an interesting, easy game. If she’s not on your team, watch out!

3. Play 1v1 matches for quick money and exp


3on3 FreeStyle is an expensive game. Buying a character costs 15,000 credits, which takes quite a while to actually get. Because 3v3 matches take so long and offer such little reward, the best way to get credits is by playing 1v1 matches. Not only are these short, but getting a match together oftentimes takes seconds, whereas 3v3 matches can take a minute or more.

2. Duck and weave


While moving left or right, pressing “O” will give you a quick burst of speed in that direction, allowing you to juke anyone in your way. The best part of this maneuver is that it lets you effortlessly weave in and out of other players, regardless of how big or small they may be. Combine juking with a layup and you almost have a guaranteed two points.

1. Move forward to nail the buzzer-beater


Whether you’re playing by yourself or with two other people, there will be times when the scores are tied with a fraction of a second left on the clock. During these moments of high-tension, either get your teammate to pass the ball to you or get it into the hands of someone who you trust before the timer starts. As soon as the timer begins, run in front of the three-point line and take a shot. Because two-point shots are almost always guaranteed to go in, you’ll get the points and win the match.


One of man’s very first creations was fire, or at least that’s how the saying goes. Whether or not that’s true, we thought it was fitting that fire made the list, in its basic form. While the fire powerup can be buffed to shoot out more fireballs, we haven’t really found a need for this extra firepower. It’s easier to keep track of one fireball, it’s more useful than the powered-up versions, and it just looks cool.

4. Obliterate


Midway through some levels, you’ll find a merchant who will sell you power-ups you can’t find in the Item shop. One of these power-ups is “obliterate.” BUY IT IMMEDIATELY! Even if you have another power-up you want to buy, forget it. Buy obliterate. This is an instant kill to any non-boss monster on the screen. We haven’t had to use it outside of boss battles, but it’s really good for taking out large chunks of their health, or killing off their minions.

3. The monkey transformation


Shantae’s default running speed isn’t slow, but when you’re going through the same levels multiple times, trying to get a very specific item to advance the story, it can be annoying. We’ve found that switching to Shantae’s monkey form is the best for level trecking. Not only is this form significantly faster than normal Shantae, but it can also jump higher and climb walls. In most cases, this will do just fine. Just remember, your options for fighting off enemies are limited, so you might need to switch back to Shantae’s base form every now and then.

2. The faster hair whip


When you first visit the Item shop with enough money to buy something, you might gravitate toward the higher damage item. Don’t get it. The first thing you’ll want to do is buy the faster hair whip. This will increase the damage-per-second (DPS) Shantae is able to do to her enemies. As a former World of Warcraft player, I know that a high DPS can be very useful. That said, buy the higher damage item next, because high, fast damage is ultimately the best option.

1. Mirror


One of the power-ups I wish I had earlier in the game is the mirror. You’ll first encounter it as the “bubble” power-up, a shield that absorbs damage, but as is the case with most things in that Item shop, the second tier unlocks once you purchase the first tier. That second tier for Bubble is Mirror, a long-lasting shield that reflects enemy projectiles. In battles against bosses that use projectiles, this is like bringing a bazooka to a fist fight.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero will be available on PS4, PS Vita, PC, and Wii U on December 20th. A physical release will be availabe the same day for all platforms except the Wii U. Nintendo customers will have to wait an extra week to get their hands on a retail copy.


Let’s face it, one of the worst things about this generation of console are the growing sizes of patches. It’s not uncommon to have to download a patch that’s more than 7 GB to enable features for DLC you might not need or, in some cases, multiplayer in general. The last thing anyone wants to do when they boot up a brand-new game is to wait for a patch to download.

Sure, you might be able to skip the patch or download it in the background, but what if you want to play multiplayer with your friends? Back to waiting you go! Allowing players to download patches before they install a game would save a lot of time and headache.

5. Let us group friends


Do you remember how you met xXCoolDude770Xx, your very first online friend? What about the guy you just met a month ago? No? Well, neither do we. Being able to group friends together under categories of our choosing is something we’re shocked hasn’t been implemented by Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony. It just seems like a very common-sense thing to do. We have our WhatsApp groups for families and friends, so why can’t we have a PSN group for Uncharted 4?

4. Automatic live streaming


Back in 2011, OnLive tried changing the way we play PC games by pushing a cloud gaming initiative. As long as you could run the client (which almost any computer could), you could run the games on the service. While we’re all aware of how well that went, the service had some pretty novel ideas. Not only did OnLive help build the foundation for PlayStation Now, but it gave users the ability to jump into anybody’s game and watch them play. This was shortly before streaming to Twitch and whatnot was popular, and long before the days of PS4 and Xbox One.

The best part about this feature was that it was automatic. You could jump into OnLive’s hub and select someone’s game and just observe. On the players’ end, nothing extra was required. You could enable a microphone so you could interact with your viewers, but you weren’t required to. Hell, you didn’t even have to acknowledge their existence. It was that easy.

While Xbox One and PS4’s method of streaming to YouTube and Twitch are working pretty well, it’d be nice if this process were always-on. It gives consumers an easy way to check in on a game they might want, and who knows, you could build a following.

3. Incremental upgrades


This is one we already addressed in an earlier article, but we can’t stress this enough. Options are good, so long as they don’t divide the player base of a game. Being able to choose your desired frame rate or resolution makes everyone happier, whether you’re the hardest of the hardcore, or someone who’s just trying to flex the muscles of their new TV. So far, we’re enjoying our PS4 Pro and wouldn’t mind if incremental upgrades became a new trend.

2. Bluetooth headset support

FILL headset

Remember when people used to use those one-ear Bluetooth headsets? In retrospect, the sheer concept of it being attached to one ear instead of just using headphones with a microphone is funny, but those were the days. In fact, we used them too, and that’s kind of the point with this..errr….point. We can almost guarantee that most, if not all, the people reading this article have a Bluetooth headset laying around their house somewhere. It doesn’t have to be one of the old ones, either. It may be a snazzy pair of headphones from Boze, Sony, or whomever. The point is this: They’re all too common and make it easier to discuss important topics like Kim Kardashian, elections, and possibly whatever game you’re playing in party chat.

Sony had the right idea when they let PS3 users choose whether they wanted to use a Bluetooth microphone or something else to chat with friends online. When they revealed there wouldn’t be Bluetooth support on PS4, we were kind of taken aback. Now, none of the big three support the feature and that has us bummed. With the popularity of Bluetooth headphones on the rise, this would be a great way to help people get into online gaming.

1. External storage support


This is mostly aimed at Sony. While Playstation platforms do allow you to swap out the internal hard drive (something neither Nintendo nor Microsoft allow in their consoles) the biggest problem with this method is how inconvenient it is. Swapping out a hard drive requires purchasing a new one, backing up your content (which can take hours), switching drives and restoring your content (which can also take hours). Simply saving your content to an external drive as big as you can find saves time and is easier.

@smitegame Twitter handle. Once you’ve followed the account, head to this page on the official Hi-Rez website in order to verify. Once verified, Artemis will be unlocked and you’ll get a brand new skin to try out.

Artemis is fun to play if you enjoy ranged classes as her damage is absolutely beastly during the late game once you’ve leveled properly and purchased the right items. The Stalker skin isn’ that different from the default skin, but there are quests in the game to unlock a new skin occasionally and these are a great way of fulfilling those without spending a dime.

You can unfollow the account later if you don’t want Smite news in your feed and you’ll still keep the skin.

Nu Wa and Water Dancer Nu Wa skin


Nu Wa can bring variety to the mages you have in your pantheon if you’re not feeling the perpetually free-to-play Ra. Her playstyle is much different and she provides ways to mask your movements from enemies on the map, which is helpful in Conquest maps where wards are often the key to victory. Her abilities are mostly area of effect abilities, which require less accuracy than the straight line spells Ra casts.

You can unlock Nu Wa and her Water Dancer skin just by subscribing to the Hi-Rez Smite channel on YouTube. Once you’ve done that, return to the Hi-Rez website and verify that your profile has liked the page to receive the skin. As with Twitter, if you don’t want to see Smite news and updates in your YouTube feed you can unfollow the page immediately after you’ve verified the skin and you’ll keep it.


Solar Eclipse Ra skin


Ra is one of the default heroes that is always available to Smite players. He’s a mage that features high damage and can be a huge pain to fight in late game, thanks to his ability to heal his teammates and put out a lot of burst damage with his ultimate and other abilities. Ra is great if you like being as far away from the action as possible while still doing great damage to help out the team.

Since Ra is already unlocked, all you’ll get for completing this step is the Solar Eclipse Ra skin, which you can see in the image to the left. As I previously mentioned sometimes you’ll get quests to unlock a god skin, so this is great to clear those out of your quest queue. Just like the Smite page on Facebook and verify on the Hi-Rez website. Once verified if you don’t want news and updates, just unlike the page.


Apollo and Apollo Curse skin

apollo-curse Apollo is another Hunter class god, but he brings a lot more mobility to the game than Artemis or any of the other Hunters save Jin Wei. His ultimate ability allows him to hop in his chariot and ride across the map at a moment’s notice and like his sister, he’s capable of putting out a ton of damage in the late game with a few stuns thrown in.

This one is more involved than the other three, so you’ll definitely have to be dedicated to get it. It’s totally worth it though, because you get two for one with this task. Download the Curse Voice program and start it up, playing at least five matches while Curse Voice is running in the background. You should then receive an email to the address you signed up for the service containing the code to unlock Apollo.

Since this is a code it generates, you should be able to redeem it on the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, but you’ll have to play the matches to earn it on the PC version of Smite.

Agni and Curse Agni skin


Agni is another mage god that offers different utility compared to Ra and Nu Wa. He’s speedier than Ra when it comes to getting around the battlefield and he fights a war of attrition that sets his foes on fire for lasting damage even after he’s out of the attack. Combined with his Noxious fumes ability, any of his fire abilities will stun enemies who are caught in it making for the perfect team fight setup.

All you have to do to unlock this god and skin is play 10 matches with the Curse Voice client you downloaded to unlock Apollo. Once you’ve played a total of 10 matches, you’ll receive a code to the email you used to sign up for Curse Voice. As previously mentioned, you’ll need to complete this challenge on a PC, but you should be able to enter the code on the console versions of the game.



Blood Eagle Thor skin


blood-eagle-thorThor is one of the default heroes that’s available in the game. He’s an assassin, which means he’s great at single target damage and absolutely raining hell down on the enemy. He’s also quite mobile thanks to his ultimate, which tosses him up in the air after a brief charge and allows the player to choose where to land.

To unlock this skin, you’ll have to download Hi-Rez Entertainment’s other game, Tribes: Ascend. It’s a fast-paced first person shooter that’s fun to play and also available for free. To unlock the skin, you’ll need to reach level 50 in the game.




Janus and Keymaster Janus skin


Janus is yet another mage to add to your pantheon courtesy of Hi-Rez. His unique abilities revolve around creating portals for you and your allies on the battlefield, making him very useful for getting a team across the map quickly. He can be quite powerful during Conquest maps where navigating the jungle can waste precious seconds between switching lanes.

To unlock this skin, all you need to do is go to the Smite eSports page and sign in with Facebook. After that you’ll be able to choose a platform and the code will be given to you to unlock this unique skin for a unique god.





Odin and Worlds Collide Odin skin


Do you love playing Faceless Void in DOTA 2 and you’re looking for a similar character to trap your enemies? Look no further than Odin. Odin is a Warrior god who is capable of doing some high sustained damage against targets caught in his Ring of Spears ultimate. This ultimate ensnares all enemies inside and prevents them from healing while allies can move and damage freely.

To unlock this god and skin, you’ll need to have access to a PS4. Linking your PSN account with your Hi-Rez account will unlock this. If it doesn’t show up instantly, don’t worry. Some people are reporting that this skin may take upwards of two weeks to show up in the game, but you’ll get a notification when it does.

This god and skin is limited to the PlayStation 4 version of Smite.

Zeus and X Zeus skin


Zeus is a powerful mage with a lot of area of effect utility that mages like Ra lack. His lightning storm ability will make quick work of the enemy team and his lighting bolts he throws from his hands can be charged using his Aegis ability.

In order to unlock this god and skin, you’ll need to download Smite on Xbox One and link your Xbox Live account with your Hi-Rez account. The same process applies as mentioned above, it could take a few days or a week for the skin to show on your Xbox account.

This god and skin is limited to the Xbox One version of Smite.



Bonus Gods using Raptr

Obviously if you’ve made it this far, you’re committed to getting gods and skins free in Smite. Raptr is a companion program that offers rewards every time you get achievements or game with others while the service is open. It also offers a selection of four gods and skins for each of them to purchase with points.

Since this takes some dedication to earn enough points to unlock them, I’ve left them off the traditional numbered list but wanted to include them here. These skins are for the PC version only, unfortunately.

  • Hel and Solstice Skin – 4,000 RP
  • Guan Yu and Guan Fu Skin – 4,000 RP
  • Bakasura and Ravenous skin – 2,500 RP
  • Freya and Valkyrie skin – 2,500 RP

Which MOBA should you play?