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Entertainment Unfiltered

MAY 2019

GAMBIT MODERN RETRO CREEPY BRAWLERS LANDS ON THE OG NINTENDO

E3 2019 SPECIAL EVERYTHING WE CAN EXPECT

MOVIES YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

PLUS! 5 GAMES YOU WILL NEVER GET TO PLAY!


MAY 2019

GAMBIT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Jorge Luis Brodt

MANAGING EDITOR

Trevor Dawson

NEWS EDITOR

Bryan Simmons

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Margoux Poupard Samir Roy Miles Hamilton

SALES & MARKETING

Diana Brodt

DESIGN/LAYOUT

SG Media

PUBLISHER

SG Media

CONTACT

info@gambitmag.com

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editor's note It is that time of year again, when the GAMBIT team packs it's bags and heads to E3 for all the video game news that you can shake a stick at. So, while you enjoy your flight/cruise, sit back and relax as we bring you more video game content than, well, you get the idea, In this issue you will find a ton of news on upcoming projects as well as a bunch of reviews on some wicked interesting  indie games that you probably didn't hear about during all the AAA releases with marketing budgets that put us to shame. I mean, when is the last time you saw and ad for a game about a horse sneaking into a hospital. As for the team? We are are working harder than ever to expand the daily content on the website (www.GambitMag.com) as well as growing our video content with the return of our show The Daily Game. This show breaks down all the weeks news and tells you what it all means from an insider perspective. Once again, we want to thank all out readers that have kept us going with support. GAMBIT content will always be free in a world that is increasingly being blocked off by paywalls. But if you do want to support the show outside of just reading and sharing, you can always head over to our Patreon and support us on there so we can continue to expand our offerings.

Jorge-Luis Brodt GAMBIT Editor in Chief


CONTENTS pg. 08

pg. 14

5 GAMES YOU'LL NEVER PLAY

DRAGON MARKED FOR DEATH

This month we take a look at 5 video games that you'll never get your hands on

this gorgeous, sprite-based action-RPG comes out strong on the Nintendo Switch

pg. 40

pg. 51

E3 2019 FEATURE

RIOT EMPLOYEES WALKOUT

We take a look at the game's that we can expect to see at this year's show

A group of employees for Riot games staged a walkout in protest

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5 GAMES YOU'LL NEVER PLAY There exist games that you will never be able to play

Gotham By Gaslight Batman games are all top-notch titles the past few years thanks to the Arkham series of titles. But before those days the Dark Knight had it pretty bad in the world of video games. His 2D games were mostly all bad and his 3D adventures are considered some of the work games of all time. Gotham By Gaslight was an interesting take on the character, coming from a graphic novel that caught fire, even getting its own animated film. So, the idea of a steampunk Batman was perfect, especially since everyone's weird uncle was into sterampunk around the time.

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Mega Man Universe Mega Man Universe is a product of bad timing. The game allowed you to create your own Mega Man levels based on the classic series and let you run through them using various Capcom throughout history. It's essentially Super Mario Maker, only with Mega Man stuff. The game was canceled and Capcom issued an apology to fans, but if it did come to market I feel it would have done gangbusters as a digital only title. After seeing the success of Super Mario Maker, I bet Capcom was kicking themselves, if only a little. In a lot of ways you might say that Nintendo took a few notes themselves from Mega Man Universe as rom hacks of Mega Man games are just as common as ones for Super Mario Bros.


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Dirty Harry Dirty Harry is fantastic film of machismo fetishism that helped launch an entire generation of films about dudes with guns taking the law into their own hands, or at the very least, pushing it right to the edge. A video game was made back on the NES, which is mind-boggling as everyone with a Nintendo wasn't even old enough to see the film. In the days of the Xbox 360 and PS3, a Dirty Harry game made a lot more sense. The rise of openworld games allowed for WB to pluck its dirt cop from the screen and dump him into a huge game that probably would have sold buckets. What sucks is that the game was never actually a game. It didn't even get to a prototype phase as far as we could tell. WB simply had their animation team render a crude (and now very creepy) looking trailer to build hype.

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StarCraft: Ghost StarCraft: Ghost would have been something new for Blizzard, or at very least a return to their roots with a console release. Sure, Diablo hit the PlayStation, but before their string of PC classic they had some fun releasing games on home consoles. But then the Warcraft adventure game happened and they began canceling games left and right. They said it was because games like Ghost, while cool, didn't quite live up to their standards of quality, something I wish they would think about again after the mess that was Diablo 3 and whatever Diablo Mobile is going to be. The game looked fantastic in screens and in action, so it's a shame that it never came out. Fans are still clamoring for it even in 2019. Nova would go one to feature heavily in StarCraft 2, but I'm still waiting for her solo adventure to see the light of day.

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DRAGON MARKED FOR DEATH Dragon Marked for Death is a nice surprise in the gaming landscape of 2019. While more and more games are trying to impress you with their stunning graphics, more often than not obscuring their bland and linear gameplay, Dragon Marked for Death is a pixelated powerhouse that is challenging alone, but so much better with a group of friends. Look, I’m over 30, so when I see a video game using those classic pixels it already has my attention. I’m also a fan of the use of color in video games, especially in an industry that seems to love games of various shades of brown. So right off the bat, Dragon Marked for Death ticks off the boxes to get me invested. But once you dive past the pretty pixels, just what can one expect. First thing to note is that the game isn’t new to Switch, only that this version is the physical release to the digital edition that launched in January with the extra DLC. Usually studios don’t release a physical version if they first went the digital, so that means that people must have loved this one


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enough to warrant such a move. And if I’m being honest –they were right. Inti Creates knows what they are doing in this 2D space with such games under their belt as Blaster Master Zero (it’s been on my “want” list for ages now), Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (loved it on Xbox One) and the Mega Man Zero series back on the GBA. I mentioned Mega Man Zero not because I really liked those games (I totally did), but because Dragon Marked for Death feels, in a lot of ways, like a continuation of that series only with RPG elements for added depth. If that combo sounds like fun, you are probably going to want to give this game a chance. But the big feature here isn’t the action or RPG elements, but it’s the co-op focus the game thrives on. Gameplay is where it’s at, but only because the story is pretty boring and stock. Your village is razed to the ground and you want some bloody revenge. Along the way you help out a bunch of people who don’t like you until you accomplish your goal. It’s fine. It gets the job done, but you aren’t going to be remembering the story after you've finished playing. Let’s be honest, you probably aren’t playing this for the story in the first place. Hell, I can’t remember the details and I just finished the game prior to kicking off this review. The fun comes from your choice of character and how you like to play. You have a handful of characters to choose from, each that acts like a different character in an MMO or MOBA style game. I played mostly as the well-rounded dragon lady because she was super cute, but each has their own unique styles and gifts that can make the game easier or more challenging. It’s a nice way to not only mix up the game, but it gets you to come back more than once because playing as another character is quite a different experience.


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The combat basics stay essentially the same across the heroes as you’ll be mashing attack buttons and building up your special meter. You can then unleash you super when things get tough or when surrounded by a bunch of enemy fodder. Yes, it’s all pretty simplistic, but you are working in a 2D space, so I can cut it some slack in that regard. Still, because of the basic layout of combat, Dragon Marked for Death isn’t going to be the sort of title that you’ll grind away at four hours at a time. And the basic nature of combat also carries over to the mission layout as well. There is a basic hub section that you can explore, but it’s pretty bland and tedious, only serving to slightly extend your playtime. The bulk of the action is done at the bar where you pick up missions. It’s all a bit confusing at first because the game makes it look like there is a lot too do around the hub area. I would have rather had a more linear progression like a classic 2D game, but this is fine. Dragon Marked for Death is fine, which is becoming the through-line in this review, and sometimes that can be worse than being bad, because at least bad can be funny. You take missions, kill some wickedly cool enemies, find items in chests, score loot and then face off with a huge boss at the end. The levels you jump into are well-designed and allow for a good bit of freedom for what essentially is a 2D sidescroller. The bosses are the stars of the show in my opinion, as you’ll have to learn how each plays until you lock in their patterns. It’s a lot of fun and you aren’t punished too heavily when you die as you’ll get a few continues from right where you left off. You are still going to die a bunch, but Dragon Marked for Death never feels cheap or like it’s simply out to get you. But outside of the bosses and learning their patterns, the combat is pretty uninteresting. Again, it’s fine. You’ll just wish you had more options in dealing with enemies. Combos are limited and defense


is left to you jumping away from and attack. It’s fine. You’re just going to wish it was a deeper system. I figured it would become that because of the RPG system, learning new combos and moves, or abilities, but it just doesn’t really happen. In that regard, Dragon Marked for Death is a very classic 2D affair with you mashing buttons to win most engagements. What isn’t fine is the strange reliance on the timer system. I can’t call to mind any other game, outside of fighting games, that use a timer for something like this. Stages are pretty big and you get an alloted time to complete them. It’s old-school to a fault here as the timer only serves to take away the fun. I had the timer clock out on me during boss fights because I was trying to take my time and learn the boss. It also means that exploring a stage is a hassle because you have to worry about the time. You’ll have to think about how much time you might waste figuring out how to snag a chest you see, and that’s no fun at all. And chests and killing enemies is important because each drop items and crafting bits. But the worst thing is the items themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but when I pick up an item I expect it to be in my inventory after I pick it up. So, if I pick up a health regen I should be able to open my bag and use it right away. That isn’t the case here and takes a lot of getting used to. You have to finish the level and then go to your home and move the items you want for the next mission. So many times I died even though I picked up a health regen that I couldn’t use, or I was poisoned to death even if the last enemy just dropped a poison heal item. But then sometimes there are instant use items that you can pickup and use automatically. It’s just really annoying. I get the idea of you prepping for each mission, but this isn’t classic Rainbow Six we’re playing.


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In single player these issues only become highlighted to the point of frustration. The game says you can play solo, and you technically can, but it doesn’t feel designed for this to be the case. This means the difficulty in the missions ramp up to almost insane levels very quickly, especially going back to old missions on high difficulty, something you’ll have to do because drops are random like in an MMO game. In this regard, Dragon Marked for Death is not very newbie friendly. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend this game if you are someone that likes playing their games solo. I don’t hate the overall experience, I just don’t love it. It’s fine. The music and audio are decent, but won’t stick with you; the game is fun, but things aren’t made clear and little explanation on what to do is given to the player. But where the game really shines is in the co-op mode. This is where the game makes up a few points in its favor. With four players, each understanding the role of their character, the game takes on a new appeal. Item drops are more plentiful and tackling larger enemies and bosses becomes a lot more fun. If you have a crew that plays to their strengths you’ll be in co-op heaven in Dragon Marked for Death. Your enjoyment will vary though if you just search for a random group, not to mention the matchmaking issues that hopefully have been ironed out by this writing. The game sort of ends up balancing itself out at the end of the day. Single-player is probably going to be too hard for most, but the multiplayer is great fun; the 2D style limits your combat options, but getting that choice drop feels amazing. Dragon Marked for Death is just tough to recommend wholeheartedly. -Jorge Luis Brodt

Final Score: 3/5


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RICO RICO is a dumb game. Now, that doesn’t mean RICO is a bad game, but I need to make it clear that this is a very dumb game. It’s the kind of dumb fun that doesn’t happen all that often in today’s very serious gaming landscape. RICO is less tactical FPS and more arcade frenzy. The goal is simple: you play as a pair of cops who live on the edge and play by no ones rules. It’s this attitude that gets you recruited into RICO, a organization who tasks you with taking down all the city’s top criminal bosses. You can think of RICO as PayDay, but without taking itself all that seriously. You’ve got 24 hours to take down the baddies and solve your case; and by solve your case I mean killing anything that moves in each of the games several stages while gathering “evidence” to “convict” mob bosses. Your cases are all generated on the fly, so you’ll never play the same one twice, or go about it in the same way.

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The main gameplay feature of RICO comes from the door-kicking mechanic that feels pulled from every 90s cop drama the inundated the airways back in the day. Your interact button initiates your character kicking down the door you are at, with the game then going into a slow-motion mode for a couple of seconds.It’s during this time where you have the best chance of eliminating enemies before taking serious damage. If you aren’t quick on the trigger the game will flow back into normal time and you’ll have to tackle the room you stormed like any FPS you’ve played. It’s all about surprising the bad guys and getting the drop on them before they can react to your presence. Each level is built around a large building of some sort with each room, or connected open areas, having a set number of enemies inside. Once you kill everyone the game will alert you to it. This is nice as you can then focus on collecting ammo, health, and collecting the evidence you’ll need to bust all these now dead perps. You are a loose cannon, but a good cop. Everyone might be dead, but you have the evidence to put them away just in case they survived their heads exploding like a watermelon slammed onto the ground. Along the way you’ll also be tasked with other objectives to keep things fresh. You might have to deal with disarming bombs on a floor in a given time as you deal with enemies.That’s about as deep as the game gets. You kick down doors and kill everything/one inside. Sort of like an FPS version of Hotline Miami, only not as insane. As you can expect RICO isn’t a deep experience and won’t take you all that long to get everything out of the game, but developer Ground Shatter games have added some features to extend the fun.


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Once you battle the main campaign you can jump into the Daily Cases which, well, drop every day. These mix things up and also offer up leader-boards and carious rewards for completing. It’s a nice way to make the game competitive and force you to speed-run these random cases. And since you really can’t practice stages, everyone is on the same page making it pretty competitive. But the real star of the show is the co-op carnage that you can unleash with a friend. You can play locally or grab another player online to take down the cases presented. Along the way you’ll unlock more weapons with the points you earn for completing various objectives in each stage. You can also customize your weapons with various traits as well, letting you find a weapon combo and perks that work best for the way you like to play. That said, there are some issues that are pretty bothersome. The graphics feature a nice, almost cell-shaded look and feel that reminds of the the wholly under-appreciated XIII. Enemies look great and I’m a huge fan of color, but for whatever reason it all feels pretty lifeless. Enemies are pretty varied, but the all act accordingly and predictably. Another issue is it feels like there isn’t any AI to be had in the game. Everyone just sort of rushes you, letting you game the system by bottlenecking door ways. The music isn’t anything to right home about and you certainly won’t be humming or bumping any of the tunes once you finish playing. Sound effects are serviceable but guns don’t have the punch to them that you might expect and sound-effects from enemies can sometimes linger in strange ways . And then there’s the repetition. Sure, PayDay and the like were also very repetitive games, but they shined in how you tackled cases with a group of friends.


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RICO isn’t quite as deep with only one partner, and even less so on your own. The gameplay won’t really change, only that you’ll have a friend to clear room with you, or other rooms in the level you are in. Physics also have a mind of their own, almost as if you are a magnet and everything not hardcoded to the floor has an opposite charge. Bumping into chairs will send them flying across the room. Again, RICO is a dumb game, but it’s not a bad game. It’s just unfortunate that it feels only slightly a step up above some sort of tech demo or proof of concept for something bigger. It’s isn’t deep enough for me to consider it a complete game as it stands, at least not on PC. Fun, oh heck yeah, and playing with a friend really saves the experience, but I don’t know how long that fun will last you. Thankfully at only $20 you might just get enough out of it to warrant a purchase. That said, there are simply better options on the PC for this type of gameplay. Where RICO really does have the best chance of shining is over on the Nintendo Switch. I can really see co-op busting in handheld mode being a real blast. And with the Nintendo Switch sorely lacking FPS games, let alone cop-op ones, I’d really suggest you go and pick up up that version instead of the PC edition of the game. In fact, I’m heading to the store right after this review goes live to track down a copy. - Bryan Simmons

Final Score: 3/5


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THE SPY WHO SHOT ME The folks over at Retro Army Limited have dropped on us the retro-inspired FPS “The spy who shot me” and it is a real treat in an FPS genre based on massive set-pieces that often take themselves too seriously. This is a comedy first-person shooter that spoofs the world of James Bond; a series that has seen its fair share of FPS games, including the legendary Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. In fact, The spy who shot me pulls a lot from that game in graphics, gameplay and styling. It’s also loaded to the brim with references to various Goldeneye quirks, not too mention all the other 90s FPS games it pokes fun at in subtle ways. I can’t remember the last time that I played an FPS that wasn’t some gritty simulation of real-world or historical events. Nothing against those games, but I find it hard to feel anything for these cookie-cutter war heroes that are now essentially superheros. The spy who shot me strips away nearly everything modern, relying only on its humor and retro gameplay, for better or for worse. We’ve come a long way since 90s FPS games ruled the roost, but if you have solid gameplay you are 90 percent of the way there to a solid title. The game sees you take the fight against S.C.U.M. (probably no relation to James Bond Jr., as I’m sure I’m the only kid that watched that show) as you explore stages and take out hordes on enemies.

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There is no advanced artificial intelligence at play here. Enemies will rush you down once you attack them or you fall into their line of sight. It sounds bare-bones, and it is, but it still is a lot of fun. You are going to have to rely on your skills with a gun more so than they game adjusting to you. When a dozen enemies rush a room and you are strafing around switching weapons like a mad man, you know you are playing something almost out of time. The spy who shot me doesn’t have you running from set-piece to set-piece. It has no time with the generic opening level betrayal that sets you back to square one. It’s only concerned with giving you fun weapons to shoot baddies with a few small obstacles along the way. The humor here is on point and keeps the whole adventure really light. You gain new weapons and abilities along the way in such a manner so that the game doesn’t feel too repetitive, something common with these sorts of titles from the era. The humor is the real selling point here as so many 90s first-person shooters always started off cool with some evil taking over the world (today we have military shooters, but back then it was always demons taking over) and then just can’t maintain interest with anything new after that. And while I was worried a stock shooter would wear on me pretty quickly, The spy who shot me didn’t. The team understood when best it was to try and mix things up and throw in some vehicle levels to keep the action fresh and interesting.


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Along the way you can also pull the Goldeneye trick and track down secrets and secondary, or even tertiary objectives. You’ll also have access to some weapon mods for each weapon so you can approach enemies however best you like. And then there are the graphics that are so chunky and pointy you’ll probably cut yourself on all that edge. They work really well with the style and everything runs really smoothly, as you’d expect with a game that looks like this. FPS games from the 90s on console or PC never really ran this smoothly, so it’s nice to be able to experience a shooter of the age like it was meant to be played. Seriously, go pop in Goldeneye and tell me that’s a smooth and crisp affair in 2019. Audio is also really nice with voice-overs that are all really well done and fit with the characters in the world. The script is silly and the people behind the voices are clearly having a fun time pulling off these wacky lines and jokes. From skydiving into the White House to infiltrating a tanker off the Caribbean, there are a lot of varied environments to explore with enemies sporting unique looks in each. Along the way you’ll be doing more than just shooting as The spy who shot me loves to add in some platforming sections that will test your precision. Nothing here will tax most people, but they help mix up stages. The controls are a little loose, but I quickly adapted. Most 90s FPS games felt this way too.


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As this is an indie game you aren’t going to get some 40-hour epic, but that’s probably for the best. This title understands its limitations and what it can do. Because of this you’ll get a game that is only a few hours long, but never outstays its welcome pounding you with repetition to meet a quota. Any FPS player is going to have a fun time here as you are going to actually test your skills under pressure, something that modern day FPS games don’t really push on you. It’s not a long game but be prepared to die as there is no auto-health regeneration or recharging shields here. The spy who shot me is a pleasant surprise to kick off 2019. It’s the sort of game that you can feel the developers had a really fun time making. Don’t come into this one looking for Game of the Year material; come into this one looking for a few laughs and to support developers doing fun things in a stagnant genre. - Jorge Luis Brodt

Final Score: 3/5


JUMP FORCE Miles Hamilton I know a lot of people were freaking out over Jump Force for a number of reasons. As fighting game fans we loved the little that we experienced at E3 last year, and as anime fans we were excited about the dream matches we could make happen with the roster. The J-Stars series has been going strong since the days of the Nintendo DS in Japan. Fans have known about it but with so many properties having their rights held by different companies in the United States, we figured the games would never see release over here; that DS game is still the only title I have ever imported. Everything we saw of the game up to its release was meant to illicit nostalgia and the feeling of “what if?” that many of us have had while watching our favorite animes. The idea of pitting Goku against Naruto, Luffy against Kenshiro and so on, is probably enough to get people to slap down the $60 price tag; it sure was in my case. This is a celebration of Shoen Jump in the best possible way. You get access to 42 playable characters to pit against each other in matches of 3-on-3 battles. But this isn’t a straight up fighting game like you might expect. The game uses a convoluted story as a base to try and give it some legs. This means you don’t simply select a team like you would in the Marvel vs Capcom series and work your way up though a ladder until you reach a final boss, then unlock an ending based on your teams leader. Instead, you build a character (an avatar really) and select one of three fighting types/styles.


You can go with Dragon Ball Z that is considered a martial arts style, Naruto which is all ninja like speedy stuff, and One Piece that is a, well, pirate style. That’s really all there is to the story from there on out, which sure feels pretty lame. It’s not a game killer, but with with fighting games placing a lot more focus on solid storytelling, Jump Forcereally feels like its story is simply a means to an end. Visually, Jump Force looks fantastic and really manages to capture its heroes and villains well in a 3D space. Nearly every character here has a long history of appearing in video games, some even leading multiple fighting games, but this game just feels different, even for a fighter. It’s far more concerned with style over substance.

So, it does make sense that they would make a flashy fighter instead of a something deep and technical. Each of the the J-Stars games that they’ve done are always pretty different affairs, so they really aren’t building of a dedicated fighting engine. Still, that isn’t to say Jump Force isn’t a boat load of fun when in action, just don’t expect to be learning all manner of combos, counters, parry or drive systems The game relies mostly on an auto-combo system which feels really simple. This works in the games favor where it might hurt another. Jump Force is all about bringing in fans from the respective anime series of the characters in the game. This means they aren’t targeting EVO players, but are looking to bring in anime fans and more casual gamers.

The game loves to show off each characters classic moves in these huge, flashy displays. And it’s fair to say that they are gorgeous. It always looks and feels great landing a Kamehameha Wave or some insane Jutsu. Jump Force is clearly laser focused on look cooling, with the actual fighting game mechanics coming a distant second. This is not the sort of game you’ll be seeing at EVO on the main stage.

Gameplay boils down to smashing a button a bunch and something cool happening on screen. All I could think about when typing that last sentence was that weird Dragon Age 2 developer interview. “Press a button and something cool happens!” As you unload on your opponent you can also flick the analog stick either up or down to send them flying in that direction.

The team behind the game, Spike Chunsoft, are are good team of people, but they aren’t well-known for producing fighting games, let alone top-tier fighting games. In fact, it’s really hard to pin down what their style of game really is because of how they do a little of everything. From Pokemon stuff and Fire Pro Wrestling, to Danganronpa and Mario & Sonic Olympic Games, they do it all.

To mix things up you can hold one of the attack inputs and charge up to unleash and powered-up attack. You also have access to a throw button to mix things up a little bit as well. It’s all standard stuff, but where Jump Forcestands out is in the scope and breadth of special attacks you have to play with. It takes what feels like a basic button-masher and makes it into something to watch.


You see Jump Force in action and you are going to want to play it. Supers are the star of the show and where the most technical bits come into play. Unlike something like Street Fighter you don’t simply throw out a move and link it with others in succession. Each super works differently, even though they are all activated the same way. Some characters may throw a fast attack at you while someone like Piccolo needs time to charge up his Special Beam Cannon. And during this charge time you left open for an attack. So understanding your favorite characters special attacks is vital in trying to create some sort of strategy. When you land some of these delayed supers you really feel accomplished and like you outsmarted your opponent. Playing offline feels lot like a huge party mode. Most of my experience was trying out new teams and learning the supers of each character and how best to pull them off. With 42 characters you there is a lot of time you can put in just having fun with the match-ups you can make. But for those wanting a challenge there’s the online mode. Here is where you are going to get a nice wake-up call for all that button-mashing that gets you by in single player. Jump Force is basic, but it isn’t without some finesse to how you can play. Guarding and guard counters is where a battle is really won or lost. Guarding at the right time during a fight can change the flow of a battle at a critical time. You can also employ a high-speed burst that serves as a rush-down to close the distance, or used to back off in a hurry. It’s not going to get books and in-depth tutorials written about it, but there is some meat on the bone for those wanting something more from just cool anime kids hitting each other with world ending attacks. Still, Jump Force is all about popping that ultimate move because that’s where all the work has been put in. There is nothing quite like Naruto unleashing the Nine Tails that fills nearly the entire arena. But even that is going to get old after you’ve seen everything the game has up its sleeve. In that case there is the adventure to fall back on. Sure, it’s not good, but it offers your avatar (how you can also use to fight with mind you) the chance to have a little collect-athon. You start as a blank slate, but with every fight or mission you complete you earn money and gear. In this mode Jump Force becomes a dress-up simulator I can get behind it. The missions aren’t particularly exciting and moving the story forward is a chore because of the open nature of running around the home base where everything happens. But knowing I’m saving up for that new Leaf Village headband or One Piece shorts makes fighting over and over worth it. I’m a sucker for getting my OC to look just the way that I want, so I’m willing to invest time into earning cash to make it happen. If you enjoy completing a game in totality then you are going to find a lot of content here. But if you are a fighting game fan that craves deep fighting mechanics you’ll be put off with Jump Force. The game does so much stuff but seems to focus on the actual fighting the least.


My biggest issue with the game comes from how it is all presented to the player. I can’t stand games with a forced hub-world that serves in place of a standard menu. You run around from one area to another visiting stands where you can shop and take missions. It’s like what was done in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. It just never sits right with me. I always think that it’s just a way to extend the length of the game.

Jump Forceis a whole lot of fun in short spurts but always just leaves you feeling like there should be more here, even with all the content thrown at you. There are characters you will wish were included, a stronger story, and be pissed that Ryuk, or anyone from Death Note, isn’t playable even though he’s in the damn trailer.

I understand that this is where these sorts of Japanese developed games tend to be going with the whole “social” aspect of things, but it feels so tired. Seeing other players running around is good for a few laughs as people create some interesting characters, but it negates the overall impact of being the hero.

Characters look great, but technical limitations rear their ugly head when they open their mouths. The realistic look to everyone probably doesn’t help, and everyone sort of reacts like stiff boards. Another problem I have is in character switching during a match. It’s all done by a single button and you are forced to rotate in order. This negates the strategic element of something like MvC.

Why am I doing all this work if there are a dozen other people running around here also saving the universe? I’d much rater hang out at the food court with Dark Magician Girl and let others handle thing.

Jump Force is the perfect game to throw on at a party with a bunch of friends. But it’s just too shallow to offer up a deep gaming experience that will last longer than a few months. - Miles Hamilton


MORTAL KOMBAT 11 REVIEW I love Mortal Kombat. It’s never been the flashiest or the most in-depth fighting game, but it’s always been a whole lot of fun since entering the 3D space. Yes, the game is brutal, but at this point the team at NetherRealm have done about as much as they can when it comes to shock value and it’s the core experience that keeps it going. What makes Mortal Kombat different than its contemporaries is the robust story mode that plays out, and has been playing out for multiple generations of games now. The MK series is so far ahead in this regard that it’s the only fighting game series that I can recommend on the story alone, making it really great for single-player fans out there. You can easily invest hours into the insane story mode and still feel as if you got your money’s worth.

Street Fighter and everyone else has attempted the MK formula in this regard, but none have come close. It sets MK apart because the core fighting experience is as solid as ever, but also offers a mot more than beating up on random people online, or your friends at home. Content is the key in Mortal Kombat 11 and it flows freely in a bunch of different modes that you’ve come to expect. But I really want to focus on the story for a couple of reasons. Mortal Kombat 11 is coming in hot and has a lot of ground to cover. The story here isn’t tied to any game before it and is free to branch out into a unique story, something that we haven’t had since Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. Yes, this is tying up the reboot events that the past few games have been retelling, but it adds all new mythology; for better or for worse.


NeatherRealm knows their world really well, but when they venture away from it things get a little muddy. Because of the large roster of characters and the teams insistence on giving you time with each, certain fan favorites are going to be overlooked, forgotten midway through, or left out completely without mention. For everyone you love in the game, you can pick out someone that is either missing or now

another unknown and unseen evil that controls everything. At this point it feel cheap, but it gets the job done. The problem is that everything in the story feels fairly empty. You know how this is going to end if you’ve read any sort of fantasy in the past decade. Raiden and Liu Kang end up fighting over and over again in every timeline. I won’t spoil the end, but you can see where things are going and what needs to happen. The issue is that

dead. And those that you do love have had their stories altered yet again to make the past irrelevant.

characters don’t end up mattering all that much to the story or the series on the whole.

Time is being reset yet again, but this time by new series baddie Kronika, because the letter K is the studios kink. Shes reset the universe a bunch of times, learning each time on her quest to perfection and what see considers balance. She’s been pulling the strings from Shang Tsung to the Elder Gods themselves. Yeah,

There are also long stretches of time when characters you’ve just played as disappear for several chapters, so when they do pop back into the story you’ll have forgotten all about them. I can’t tell you how many times I had to grab my phone as ask Google what happened to “insert random character here” because they hadn’t


been mentioned for over an hour that I just thought they were dead. Johnny Cage for one major example of this. I only mention this because Cage has had a weird arc in this reboot trilogy. He was a dunce who ended up saving the world and killing Shinok, a fallen Elder God, once Liu Kang and Raiden went crazy. He’s a bad ass in all respects, but sort of disappears half way through this game. The same thing happened in the first game and it just bugs me. The story format means the studio has to move away from characters at times, but there isn’t a send off most of the time, simply characters getting a minor injury and leaving the game outright making the pacing an issue.

terms of characters meeting their old selves from other timelines, but it never goes anywhere. A couple of jokes and that’s pretty much it. And then there are characters who simply get the shaft. Kotal Khan is a joke that seems to lose at every turn before going away forever. Sheeva and Baraka are back but never get involved outside a few cut-scenes. And then there are the fact that fan favorite charters die in the story in the most stupid ways. Look, I’m not against killing off characters, but when they just had their heads impaled and back broken during a match., getting hit with some poison in a cut-scene is a sad way to go.

Hell, the final battle of the game is missing half the cast that made up the The ending at least closes off this core of the first half of the game. The chapter of Mortal Kombat, but it time travel plot is interesting in doesn’t leave the series anywhere 


left to go other than, well, start all over again. It’s all just a bit messy and feels like they just wrote themselves into a corner that they had no other way of getting out off. Critics and press are probably going to praise the story as well-written, but that’s only if their understanding of good storytelling comes from bad fanfic. The game’s story is fun, sure, but when it’s whole point to to simply plug holes that it made to itself, it’s not really great storytelling. Let’s face it, Mortal Kombat just got out of control and I’m glad this has all come to an end; for now. Combat (no I won’t be spelling it with a K) has been tweaked this time around making for a familiar, net new experience. The big trick here is the character customization that you are afforded. I’ve mentioned before that the Injustice series has always been a

testbed for Mortal Kombat and it shows here. You can alter and tweak costumes, but you can now also alter moves and fighting styles. This adds a strategy layer to each character that we haven’t really seen before. For the average player it isn’t going to mean much, but to the pro level players it’s a nice feature. Each character isn’t just a set character that you memorize to counter as the different moves and styles should provide to some really interesting match-up in competitive play. But what I really enjoyed was the AI fighter that you can now set up. This computer controlled character will take over for you in certain game modes. What’s nice about this is it helps to dull the grind heavy nature of the Mortal Kombat 11 experience. I hate grinding, especially in fighting


games, so sending your AI character to do the work grinding for koins that can be used in the Krypt is really neat. You have the requisite tutorial and training modes that are really well laid out for those wanting to learn characters without being fed to the wolves and learning to git gud. Wanting to draw in new players to an established fighting game series is hard, so having these modes does a lot to help break the barrier of entry down for those just getting into MK. The graphics are fantastic this time around and show the power left in this current console generation. MK11 looks great and I’m in no hurry for whatever next generation of consoles is about to be shoved down out throats. Facial animations are better than ever and the mo-cap work is outstanding. There are a few moments where the emotions didn’t play with the scene the right way, but these were few and far between. The animations in game are also fantastic. This really is the smoothest Mortal Kombat game ever, but they still have the stupid falling system at the end of a match. Granted, it’s less obtrusive this time, but it’s weird having a beaten player stand back up only to fall down again because they lost the match. The MK series has made a name for itself on its fatalities, and they are are gruesome as ever. They’ve lost the shock value they had in MK9, but

a few still pack a punch the first few times you see them. What has changed it the super moves you can pull off during a match. Gone are the traditional X-ray moves as well as being able to trigger them by using a meter. Instead, you can pull of a super when your life-bar in a critical state. This takes a little getting used to, but makes a lot more sense. These supers, or Fatal Blows, feel more desperate and serve as a way to even the odds a little when you are clearly on the losing end of a battle. Sure, in most other MK games these would be fatalities since body parts are being broken and gouged out, but I like what they did with the mechanic. It’s classic while feeling more impactful on the whole. Most of the things wrong with MK11 are more nitpicks than anything. The grind is a pain, but it was clear from Injustice 2 that this is were the studio was heading toward. The only real downer is Ronda Rousey voicing Sonya Blade. She’s terrible. I wrote a whole piece on why she was a bad idea and now that I’ve played the game I was totally right. Her performance is cringe-worthy and feels utterly out of place with the excellent, and professional voice cast. But, hey, marketing is marketing and I’m sure her name brought in lots of new fans.


My biggest issue when it comes to characters isn’t who was left out, but rather is that the new characters added to this roster who feel pretty bland. The god characters all feel clinical and built by committee instead of trying to design them to last beyond this iteration. I’ve already forgotten the weird sixarmed thing whose race gets added into the game as if they’ve been around forever. But as quick as he shows up he’s out of the story. And don’t get me started on half of the main characters from the last game being left out like they never existed without even a mention.

where before they were hot chicks that also fought sometimes. Jade has real character growth for the first time in the series and all the ladies look incredible without needing to wear swimsuits. They feel like they have agency and aren’t written simply to ogle at.

If you are a fan of what Mortal Kombat has been doing this modern series you are going to love what is on display here. There’s a lot of reason to keep coming back and the inclusion of DLC characters should help to please fans of those missing fan favorites. I can highly recommend Mortal Kombat 11 for what it does to Everything that MK11 does right keep things feeling fresh and for what easily makes the few missteps easy to it does to close out this current move past. One thing I have’t heard series. mentioned is that for the first time in                                                       -Jorge Luis the series the female characters have real purpose and character depth, 


WHAT TO EXPECT AT E3 2019 NETFLIX COMES TO E3

GEARS OF WAR 5 Word on the street is that Microsoft is going to kick-off their huge showcase around Gears of War 5. The company is planning one of the largest events and will put a huge focus on exclusive titles dropping in the future.  

NETFLIX continues to expand its reach by brining a booth to E3 2019. The streaming company will be showing off a number of games tied to their properties during a panel at the E3 Coliseum. News is pretty scarce, but we do know that a title tied to Stranger Things should be announced in conjunction with the shows third season. We are sure to get news on other properties getting some form of game treatment as well. Gaming isn't all that new to the company, as they have played with a basic "game" with Black Mirror: Bandersnatch that lets viewers choose thier own adventure.  With the deep library of original content, Netflix has a lot to pull from for gaming content

A hallmark of the Xbox brand, Gears of War 5 should quench the thirst for those Microsoft fans that have been craving an exclusive that they can hold over Sony fans. With a release date of October of this year and focusing on a strong female protagonist, Gears 5 might be what Xbox needs for an injection of life as this generation comes to an end. 

DO YOU HAVE BATTETOADS?

RARE is finally making waves again with last year's Sea of Thieves helping show that the studio still has something to offer. This year should be no different with the return of Battetoads! We got a logo teaser last year, so expect to see footage of the title this show.


THE OUTER WORLDS With Fallout 76 falling, well, pretty much on all levels, there is a lot of hope for The Outer Worlds. Obsidian should be known to Fallout fans as they put together Fallout: New Vegas, probably the best modern Fallout experience. They made it clear that this is an indie-level game and not to expect hundreds of hours of gameplay, but we'd take a dozen hours of great single-player content to whatever Bethesda is doing with online Fallout.  The game is going to be multiplatform so everyone to enjoy. I'd wager this was a deal cut before Microsoft bought the studio since we are cynical bastards.

SPLINTER CELL With his inclusion in Ghost Recon as a special mission, the internet was ablaze about a possible return. At least we know he's still out there working, but with all the positive buzz it's only a matter of time before a new entry in the long dormant series. A few hints have been dropped online in the past few weeks suggesting that an official announcement is on the way. . Let's just hope that we get one go around with Splinter Cell before we kiss this console generation goodbye in 2020. We are all for a good stealthbased video game that we can sink our teeth into!

HALO INFINITE There isn't any chance of Microsoft not closing out their show by showing off some gameplay from the upcoming Halo Infinite. This is the big dog of the Xbox and gamers are expecting something great, not because it's Halo, but because of whatever the mess was that ended up being Halo 5. The big question is whether it's coming to Xbox One or if the studio will push it to the next Xbox console and make it a launch exclusive. Please fans now, or rack up sales for a new console?


SKULL AND BONES We saw a little bit of this title last year, but 2019 is the year it should be front and center for Ubisoft. This new IP, something more and more rare from a AAA studio/publisher, Skull and Bones is a pirate game inspired by Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, probably the best game in the series. Well, people really loved the pirate ship bits, so it only makes sense for Ubisoft to rip that out and stick it into its own video game. We don't have any news on a release date or year, so this year's E3 would be the perfect place to place the title front and center. And from the world around the interenet, we've heard that Ubisoft should be making this title a cornerstone of E3, focusing on the fact that it's a new IP from the company.

MARVEL’S AVENGERS SquareEnix has been pretty quiet after it released Kingdom Hearts III earlier this year. Yeah, remember Kingdom Hearts III? Seems like that game came and went from the public radar pretty quick. But one title we know they are working on is Marvel's Avengers. Developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal, we have little details on the game aside from the brief teaser we got last year. All we know is that it features a ton of characters in an all original story. Hints point to some online heavy game, but we expect a full reveal at E3 this June. But the game needs to strike soon to ride on the Avenger's Endgame tail when it hits streaming and DVD in the coming months.


NINTENDO STUFF

Nintendo will once again have a presence on the E3 show floor, and they know that their booth space will be packed with people trying to secure a spot. Look, we are media and even then it's still tough to score time to play some titles. Nintendo knows this and will be offering up a "Warp Pipe Pass" for those going to the show with a Nintendo account to get in easier to play some titles. While we don't expect anything crazy to be announced as Nintendo saves it all for their Nintendo Direct, but we do expect news on the new Nintendo Switch model that should be dropping just in time for the holiday's. On the game front we will get news on the new Pokemon games as well as a full-fledged Animal Crossing title. Oh, and Link's Awakening gameplay should be on hand!

FINAL FANTASY 7

The Final Fantasy 7 remake is starting to turn into the mess that Kingdom Heart III was. It's been announced a number of times now, with the game being tweaked and having gameplay adjusted to match, of all things, Kingdom Hearts. Fans are getting worried, but it looks like this year will the the one where Square Enix spills all the beans.

With the success of the Resident Evil 2 remake and that game keeping the core mechanics only updated, let's hope that Square Enix went back to the drawing-board and returns this year with something more aligned with the original. Some hands on time will let us know for sure.


THE WORST WII GAMES - Jorge Luis

The Nintendo Wii was a machine that printed money. Sure, it wasn't the most powerful system, or hand the most exclusives, but it's the one everyone had and everyone wanted. But with nearly every house having a console it meant a lot of garbage got released to trick parents and grandparents during the holiday season. Let's take a look at some of the worst games to ever hit the Nintendo Wii.

Showtime Boxing Showtime Championship Boxing had a lot going for it in terms of a boxing game from a name pointof-view, but not much beyond that. This motion controlled game tried to use the Wii's motion controls. The key word in that sentence is tried. You hold up your hands to block attacks and move around to dodge incoming jabs. Flick the controllers and your given arm will strike and jab. All really basic things but none of them work in any reasonable way. Animations are janky and stiff as all hell and the game barely looks as good as an early era PlayStation 2 title. If you have a Wii just play Punch Out! and don't waste you money on this one, even for only $1.

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Balls of Fury Ping pong on the Wii makes perfect sense. The ability to take advantage of the motion controls seems like a no-brainer. Balls of Fury had some potential because of the simple nature of the game while being able to add in silly power-ups and abilities that the movie was known for. Nothing that is going to win awards, but it should have been an easy game. Motion controls are broken and seem to only work whenever they feel like it. You'll spend more time asking what is going on than playing anything looking like table tennis. What's worse id that a great tabel tennis game exists over on the Xbox 360 from Rockstar Games, and that didn't even need motion controls.Â

ATV Quad Kings It wouldn't be a 'Worst Wii Games' list without at least one title from shovelware experts Zoo Games. This budget title aims to trick you into thinking its a sequel to the MX vs ATV series. In reality this is a N64 caliber racing game that does just enough to be able to be considered a game. Tilt controls are a nightmare, but at least you can play it with a Nunchuck and Remote for something more resembling actual controls. Motion controls feel way too twitchy and sensitive, while standard controls feel far too easy and lacking challenge. Look, I've only ever ridden a Quad once in my life but it sure didn't feel like the way motion controls depict it. Unless, of course, they were trying to emulate a ride after 42 energy drinks.Â

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Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga Chances are you have never heard of the RPG and considering it's the third in the series says a lot about how little it connected with players. In fact, this Wii game is simply a port from the PSP game of the same name. The problem is that the game is so utterly boring I'd more recommend it as a sleeping aid before I'd recommend it as a video game. It also doesn't help that the game is a Monster Hunter clone, so being boring is almost mind-boggling. What's worse is that the game is bitterly ugly, which is a shame as the cover really draws you in. I make fun of modern FPS games for being only shades of brown, but Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga might take the cake. 

Cruis'n The Cruis'n series was a mainstay or the arcades back in the 90s and the original Cruis'n USA helped launch the Nintendo 64. Cruis'n does the opposite for the then aging Wii console. The game barely looks better than those on the N64. I loved, and still love, the Nintendo Wii, but looking at bad games so often makes the console look like one of those cheap Chinese knockoffs and not the revolution that it was. This game is so offensive it everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves. The motions controls simply don't work and you'll simply slide from one side of the track to the other at will. You can earn money by wrecking other cars, but who really cares. Trash and I'm begging you to never buy this one, not even for $1.

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SENATE BILL TO BAN LOOT BOXES

The march towards instituting a ban on loot boxes hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of the last couple of months, but that might change soon. Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a bill dubbed the Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act aimed at

The bill would currently ban loot boxes in games aimed towards children. It would also do a number on “pay-towin” games.

fighting both the loot box mechanics, as well as play-to-win features in games, specifically those aimed at children. Per the bill, the FTC would enforce the rules. State attorneys general would have the ability to sue companies and protect residents of their states. A lot of the large companies, such as EA, Activision Blizzard, and others have been opposed to such legislation. EA, in particular, has only capitulated to such demands for their games when forced, though they’ve often disclosed odds and shifted such random elements to cosmetics. The Act isn’t certain to pass both House and Senate, however, or even meet Presidential approval. That said, it could drastically change the landscape for games as they currently stand. Games where loot boxes are tied only to cosmetic items are left in the free by the Act; it’s mostly concerned with the sort that make ingame items that give a definitive edge. But even then, it may have a hand in altering the function of such systems in games.                          - Bryan Simmons


APEX LEGENDS HEADS TO MOBILES

EA realizes they’ve got lightning in a bottle. That’s why, just as with PUBG and Fortnite before it, Apex Legends is headed to mobile. During a conference call discussing quarterly earnings, EA mentioned plans to bring the game to the mobile market. No release dates,

EA really needed this game and they are going to milk every single dollar they can out of it. Can't pass up that sweet, sweet mobile money, especially in China.

of course, but it’s safe to say the game will be on both Android and iOS. There are also plans to bring the game to China, similar to both the games mentioned above. EA really needed Apex Legends to be a hit, and pressing this sudden advantage is a smart business strategy for them. They’ve been in a relatively terrible run since the Star Wars Battlefront II mess last year. Not to mention Anthem‘s performance after its initial surge. It would be a safe bet that Apex Legends is going to be their cornerstone for at least a little while. While most gamers in the West don't really care much about the mobile gaming space, China is mad for it for a number of reasons. Having a high-end PC in many countries isn't very common, but having a smartphone in a persons pocket is almost a given. So, getting these big service games ported to mobile devices makes sense, especially since the Asian markets are far more comfortable spending small amounts, which really adds up when millions are playing.                                                   -Miles Hamilton


EPIC ACQUIRES PSYONIX

Just know that before you get up in arms, you need to relax; Rocket League will continue to be available everywhere it has been up until now. It’s not becoming an exclusive; Epic is simply buying it, and the game will become available on the Epic Store

In a move to cement their money stream, Epic is preparing to acquire Psyonix, makers of the popular Rocket League.

later in the year. Both companies have confirmed this. Who knows what the future holds, but for now nothing is changing Little else is going to change. Psyonix will remain in their San Diego-based office. Realistically, the game will wind up using Epic’s cross-platform servers. Other than that, there’s nothing major stated to be going on. This is probably a mostly businessoriented deal. Not only have Psyonix worked with Epic on games like the Unreal Tournament and Gears of War series, they have a money-printing game that draws whales much like Fortnite. And personally, I kinda doubt the long-term projections for the Epic Store are currently that great, so this move helps shore up the numbers in the short-term. The deal has yet to go through as of this time. But apparently, what little remains is formality. Both companies expect the deal to go through by late May, early June, depending on how the legal part of all of this goes.                                                                  - Bryan Simmons


RIOT GAMES EMPLOYEES WALKOUT

About 150 employees from Riot’s LA office were involved with the walkout. The walkout took place between 2:004:00pm, PST, and featured an itinerary, with specific speakers and open mic time. To be absolutely fair,

A group of employees for Riot games staged a walkout in protest of both Riot’s apparent disregard for sexual harassment cases.

their grievances are incredibly valid. Forced arbitration is an extremely employee-unfriendly practice, and Riot should know this. That said, it’s rather hard to believe that this demonstration really put the screws to management to change much. Speaking to Kotaku, a Riot Games representative stated that the company supported the move from their employees; going further to say: Riot employs 2,500 workers; while that makes the walkout seem small, many of those employees are spread across the world in market-related offices. On the flipside, it certainly doesn’t seem like management has really done, well, anything to fix the situation. Considering that they willingly allotted time for the walkout, it sort of undercuts the point of a walkout. The employees at the center of the walkout have plans for further demonstrations, should the requisite changes not come about. As to whether the demonstration was effective, though, is anyone’s guess at this point.                                                 - Bryan Simmons


EARTHWORM JIM RETURNS

n celebration of the 25th anniversary of Earthworm Jim, Intellivision Entertainment has gathered together and reunited the original Earthworm Jim team to create a brand new game exclusively for the upcoming Intellivision Amico game console.

25 members who worked on the original Earthworm Jim have reunited to bring back the series for a brand new entry, but there's a catch.

To celebrate the reunion with the fans, a 20 minute live interactive simulcast streaming event will take place on Saturday, May 4th at noon pacific during the first Earthworm Jim design meeting with the original team. As part of the live simulcast, the team will engage with fans to hear their new vision firsthand, multiple original art pieces will be hand-drawn by the artists, signed by the entire team and given away to people viewing the live stream. In addition, 50 brand new posters will be signed and numbered for live chat prizes. The Intellivision Amico, launching October 10, 2020, is a planned game console designed to bring social fun back to the living room. Amico is the Italian word for “friend” or “buddy” and Intellivision Amico encapsulates this meaning fully with a home entertainment system that has multiplayer, togetherness at its core. All new games as well as reimagined classics coming to the system invite up to eight to play using easy to use controllers and even mobile phones.                                                             - Jorge Luis


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Gambit Magazine E3 2019 Special  

The summer issue of GAMBIT is here and we take a look at some of the big games confirmed, or rumored, to be coming to this years E3 conventi...

Gambit Magazine E3 2019 Special  

The summer issue of GAMBIT is here and we take a look at some of the big games confirmed, or rumored, to be coming to this years E3 conventi...

Profile for gambitmag
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