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Joystiq Weekly: PAX East, The Last Of Us: Remastered, Super Smash Bros. and more

Thomas Schulenberg
Thomas Schulenberg|@T_Schulenberg|April 12, 2014 12:30 PM
This week's reveal of Charizard in Super Smash Bros.' roster is a bit of a blow to our argument that Squirtle is the best starter from Pokemon Red/Blue. Yes, both pocket monsters were in the Pokemon Trainer's arsenal in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but Charizard flying solo is a whole different level of awesome, one that's left us Squirtle enthusiasts drowning in envy.

Playground rivalries aside, there's a lot more going on this week beyond Pokefeuds. Sony admitted that The Last Of Us is coming to the PS4, Borderlands fans are finally going to be able to play as Claptrap in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and we've got a faint glimmer of hope for the Xbox One to eventually be backwards compatible. This is also the weekend of PAX East, which you can treat as a source of news or, if you're attending, a giant game of "Where's Waldo?" Track down Joystiq's away team and say hi! Provided you can catch them between appointments, panels and the lone meal of their day, that is.

  • If you blinked before trying to order PAX East passes, you might not be one of the thousands of people spending their weekend within the spectacles of promotional gaming booths. While we can't fill that persistent wonder of what could have been, we can definitely tell you everything that's going on at the show. Just check the PAX East 2014 tag whenever you need your up-to-the-minute fix on the convention, and remember - there's always PAX Prime!
  • Anticipating the day you can send a tree crashing down on your opponents' skulls as the Villager from the Animal Crossing series? Of course you are! Mark three-month blocks off on your calendar, because the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. is throwing its first punch in the summer, with the Wii U version following up sometime this winter. Both versions will incorporate online play, including "For Fun" and "For Glory" divisions to spare the item-savvy crowd and the No Items, Final Destination, Fox Only league from each other.
  • Continuing the Smash Bros. news, the 3DS version won't have an adventure mode. Smash Run is the consolation prize, serving as a frenzied gathering of stat-boosting items that concludes with a brawl between boosted fighters. Both versions are sharing the same roster though, which just added Greninja and a free-standing Charizard to its Pokedex.
  • We can finally stop pretending a PS4 port of The Last Of Us would make sense - Sony fessed up to the project this week and revealed The Last Of Us: Remastered, which includes visual improvements and bundles in the game's lone piece of single player DLC, Left Behind. You'll be able to revisit Naughty Dog's bleak post-apocalyptic tale sometime this summer.
  • How do you amplify the bizarre atmosphere in the Borderlands universe beyond adding more elemental damage types and meme references? Well, setting the series' next chapter on the moon is a pretty good start - Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will wedge itself between the existing numerical entries in the multiplayer shoot-n-loot series. Claptrap will be counted among the playable roster, which will collectively set out to find more guns on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
  • The Orcs Must Die! series gets it by now - you've got an aptitude for killing orcs, as evidenced by your infallible defense against waves of enemies in the series' first two tower defense-style entires. Robot Entertainment seems curious whether those same defenses are worth anything against real-life opponents though, because Orcs Must Die! Unchained is a 5v5 multiplayer, team-based, free-to-play game. You can already buy your way into its beta for $20, or you can dive into the alpha immediately after shelling out $150.
  • Capybara Games told us last year that Below would eventually reach other platforms after debuting on Xbox One, but now we know outright that Steam is among its planned stops. The "roguelike-like" adventure doesn't have a beginning date, but at least keyboard-and-mouse enthusiasts know their gear will be welcome on the journey.
  • Supergiant Games' Transistor is playable at PAX East this weekend, but it's also going to be playable on your PS4 and PC as of May 20. The isometric blend of action-RPG and tactical turn-based mechanics will run you $20.
  • Space in any entertainment center is limited, so it'd be nice if we didn't have to dig out recently-disconnected consoles whenever we need to drop a few hours in Skyrim. In the case of Xbox One owners, delving into the Xbox 360 library without hooking up the console might eventually become a reality - Xbox partner development lead Frank Savage recently commented on backwards compatibility for the Xbox One, noting that the team is thinking through potential options.

  • Kinect Sports Rivals wants to host a variety of motion-controlled, sports-oriented competitions, but the only challenge Senior Reporter Jess Conditt found in her review was making the Kinect sensor work consistently. Despite its improvements over the Xbox 360 model, Jess feels the Xbox One's Kinect "doesn't seem ready for this level of gameplay." Beyond input issues, she found most of the minigames themselves to be "insultingly simple," highlighted by her victory piloting a jetski, despite granting an accidental 45-second headstart to opponents.
  • Managing Editor Susan Arendt journeyed through "A Crooked Mile," the third episode of Telltale's The Wolf Among Us, finding a contribution that's expected from the middle portion of any story. While Susan notes that "A Crooked Mile" lets itself be "bland and bleak so that the other chapters can shine," the introduction of Bloody Mary and fresh questions gave her plenty to look forward to in future entries.

Original Content
  • After manipulating missile-loaded Titans to do his dirty work for a full month, Richard reached a final verdict with Titanfall's last State of Service update. Despite initial bumps and some matchmaking issues introduced by a patch, Richard concluded that neither the Xbox One or PC versions experienced "debilitating or pervasive problems" in their first month of availability.
  • Those looking for a style of social racer that's a little more realistic than Mario Kart 8 might want to consider The Crew, Ubisoft's open-world road trip that takes inspiration from real-world locations. Editor-In-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann and Reviews Content Director Richard Mitchell wrap up our video preview discussing The Crew's strengths, which differ from its graphically impressive rivals like Forza Motorsport 5 and Gran Turismo 6.
  • Kickstarting a game's development is definitely possible, but the most recent edition of Crowdfund Bookie points out that March was one of the quietest months ever in terms of backers chipping in for projects. Gaming-related Kickstarter pitches collectively gathered less than a million dollars in the month, averaging out to the worst per-person contribution amount since the Crowdfund Bookie began tracking data in May 2013.
  • Fans that were disappointed with Dark Souls 2's visuals might find some solace in the PC version: Feature Content Director Xav De Matos spent some time with the upcoming release, finding that "light and shadow is smoother and more realistic" in the PC version. Xav's writeup includes video comparisons between each version, in case you'd prefer to see for yourself.
  • Contributing Editor Sinan Kubba managed to leave his time-consuming fondness for Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft behind a while ago. Naturally, we've thrown him into The Elder Scrolls Online to see if a pang for the MMO lifestyle will seep back into his heart. His first postcard back to us compliments the initial moments of Elder Scrolls Online's story, but notes that the world of Auridon "doesn't feel boundless" like the mountainous planes of Skyrim.
  • What are life's constants? Time, the circle of life and weekly installments of the Super Joystiq Podcast! We don't dare to shatter the truths of the world, so Community Manager Anthony John Agnello joined Ludwig, Susan and Jess to record this week's episode. Our hosts cover Borderlands' pre-sequel, this week's reviews and the new Smash Bros. U roster additions.
[Image: Nintendo]
Joystiq Weekly: PAX East, The Last Of Us: Remastered, Super Smash Bros. and more