Diablo IV’s Super-Popular Beta Returns For One More Weekend

Blizzard announced that Diablo IV’s super-popular beta will get one final playable weekend from May 12 through May 14, letting you take another trip to Hell and Sanctuary before the action-RPG’s imminent June 6 release date.

Read More: Diablo IV Is The Perfect Head Empty, Kill Shit Game

The fourth mainline entry in the long-running isometric loot-grinding RPG, Diablo IV has had a couple of beta weekends already. While the initial one was only available for folks who preordered the game (or bought a chicken sandwich), Blizzard later offered the beta for all players to check out. Both playable weekends let you run through the prologue and first act, as well as level up any of the character classes to at least 20 for various in-game rewards that carried over to the main game, such as an adorable, sleepy wolf pup. That last open beta, which ran from March 24-26, was incredibly successful for Blizzard, with players putting almost 62 million hours into the game. While a large majority got wrecked by the dreaded Butcher, that death hasn’t stopped folks from wanting more. And now, that “more” is coming in just a few weeks.

Blizzard wants you to slam its servers this May

From May 12 through May 14, all PC, PlayStation, and Xbox players will get the opportunity to jump into what will be Diablo IV’s final beta. Blizzard wants to test the servers’ stability in preparation for the game’s June launch. As in the previous betas, all five character classes will be available to check out and the prologue, alongside the game’s first act, will be playable.

In a blog post announcing the news, Blizzard specified that a few differences will separate this final beta from the prior two. Most notably, all the bug fixes and game updates outlined on April 14 will be in effect. (RIP, Necromancers, myself included.) Legendary drop rates have been altered to reflect how they’ll appear in the full game, the specifics of which haven’t been disclosed yet. And level 20 appears to be the cap here instead of level 25 like in previous betas. Otherwise, what you’ve played before is what you’ll play again. And because this is still a beta test, none of the progress you make in what Blizzard has called Diablo IV’s “Server Slam” will carry over to the full game. What a shame.

What’s not a shame are the rewards you can get for playing this final beta. Aside from the titles you can earn to flaunt in-game, players who reach level 20 will also get that adorable wolf pup, and anyone who kills Ashava the Pestilent will get the Cry of Ashava mount trophy to trot around the world of Sanctuary.

Read More: Diablo IV’s Beta Has Us Kinda Obsessed With Hell

This will likely be the last time we’ll get Diablo IV in our hands before the game drops in a little under two months. It’s a bummer progress that made won’t carry over to the full game, but hey, what can you do? If you’re ready for one last fling with Mommy Succubi’s minions this Mother’s Day, you can download the Server Slam on May 10 by searching for it in your digital store of choice.


Classic Nintendo Racer F-Zero Returns As A…Battle Royale

A retro-styled track in F-Zero 99, with many cars upon it.

Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

During today’s Nintendo Direct presentation, the company revealed that the classic high-speed futuristic racer F-Zero will make a return as a…battle royale speedster.

Dubbed F-Zero 99, the game puts you against 98 other racers in a bid for the first place trophy. Featuring iconic courses and recognizable vehicles from the OG SNES game, F-Zero 99 brings its retro aesthetic to the Nintendo Switch console. Be careful as you race, though, because should your machine take too much damage, and its power meter completely deplete by crashing into other cars or guardrails, then you’ll simply explode right on the raceway. Ouch.


That same power meter, however, can be reserved for a temporary speed boost to zip you passed the competition. And if you collect enough super sparks, yellow orbs that spawn after vehicles collide with each other, then you’ll soar onto an ethereal track known as the skyway. This blue raceway, floating just above the main track, gives you the best chance to jump into a better position.

There are also in-game goals you can complete to unlock more cosmetic options for your vehicles, though they appear to largely be reskins so far.

F-Zero 99 is obviously quite reminiscent of other Nintendo Switch Online battle royale offerings such as Pac-Man 99 and Tetris 99, both of which put you against 98 players to become the last one standing in their respective gameplay challenges. Who knows which other classic licenses the company is currently turning into a mass brawl.

F-Zero 99 will be available exclusively for active Nintendo Switch Online members later today. NSO, the company’s relatively cheaper subscription service that grants you access to online gaming and classic games, is also how you can play Pac-Man 99 (before it shuts down on October 8) and Tetris 99.

Buy Nintendo Switch Online: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Detective Pikachu Returns Has A Great Joke About The 2019 Movie

Detective Pikachu Returns is out on Switch today, October 6, and as someone who considers the original 2016 3DS game to be one of my favorite things Pokémon has ever done, I’m stoked. But Nintendo’s adventure game sequel exists in a weird place, because the 2019 live-action Detective Pikachu movie may have already wrapped up its story.

While the circumstances are a bit different, the Detective Pikachu movie does the whole “Game of Thrones” thing of ending a story that wasn’t quite complete in the source material. Did its ending end up spoiling the video game sequel that wouldn’t launch for another four years? As I play Detective Pikachu Returns, I assume I probably know what’s going to happen at the end. However, I’m not totally sure, because the game has a cute scene that references the movie and affirms that the game is doing its “own thing.”

The scene in question takes place maybe 30 minutes in. Protagonist Tim Goodman is speaking with his mother Irene and sister Sophia about his detective adventures alongside the titular Detective Pikachu. Apparently, the mystery-solving duo has become so well-renowned for their work that they’ve made a movie about the first game’s case. Sophia says she thought the movie was “pretty good,” but laments that she and her mom don’t show up in it at all. Tim says he has “no idea, but movies usually do their own thing, don’t they?”

Buy Detective Pikachu Returns: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Sophia says "Yeah, I thought that movie was pretty good, but how come Mom and me didn't even show up in it?"

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

2019’s Detective Pikachu movie follows a lot of the same plot beats as the 3DS game it was based on, such as Tim and Pikachu being able to talk to each other while they search for Tim’s dad Harry. But Irene and Sophia don’t appear in the movie at all; Sophia doesn’t even seem to exist in the film’s continuity. Her now being upset about that in Detective Pikachu Returns, and Tim’s nonchalant response, is a cute meta reference to the real movie and the liberties it took with the source material.

Tim’s mother, specifically, is very different in this new game, because she was long dead in the film’s chronology. Harry grew distant after Tim’s mother’s death, leading to tension between the two. But she is alive and well in Detective Pikachu Returns. Does that mean she gets a happy ending now? To be determined.

Whatever happens, the most comforting thing I’ve experienced playing Detective Pikachu Returns is its repeated insistence that your mystery-solving electric mouse isn’t a cop in the games; in fact, they’re actually pretty at odds with Ryme City law enforcement so far. We stan a private investigator vigilante king.

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