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Final Club Nintendo Elite Rewards Have Arrived

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Yesterday, March 31, was your last chance to earn Club Nintendo Coins as part of the long-running loyalty program. Now, Nintendo has announced the final batch of Elite Status rewards–available now to people in either the Gold or Platinum reward tiers–and they are pretty great (and all digital).

The Club Nintendo website (which is currently running a bit slow due to heavy traffic) reveals the final round of rewards, including games like Mario Kart 7 for 3DS and Super Mario Galaxy 2 for Wii U, among many others. All available rewards are listed below (via DualShockers).

Platinum Level Only Gifts

  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
  • Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)
  • Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
  • Yoshi’s New Island (3DS)
  • Ultimate NES Remix (3DS)
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
  • NES Remix 2 (Wii U)
  • Punch-Out!! (Wii U)
  • Pushmo World (Wii U)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii U)

Platinum/Gold Level Gifts:

  • Crashmo (3DS)
  • Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! (3DS)
  • Pushmo (3DS)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 (3DS)
  • Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (3DS)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (3DS)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (3DS)
  • The Mysterious Murasame Castle (3DS)
  • Advance Wars (Wii U)
  • The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (Wii U)
  • Metroid Fusion (Wii U)
  • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (Wii U)
  • Super Mario Kart (Wii U)
  • WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames (Wii U)
  • Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 (Wii U)

Although you can no longer earn new Club Nintendo Coins, you have until June 30 to spend your coins on the available rewards. Any coins you don’t use by then will be lost on July 1, and will not carry over to the new rewards program that Nintendo plans to launch.

What games are you going to pick up? Let us know in the comments below!

We’re expecting even more Nintendo news during tonight’s Nintendo Direct briefing, which starts at 3 PM PDT / 6 PM EDT. Check back then for all the news as it happens.

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Club Nintendo’s Final Elite Status Gifts Announced

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Some of you may have already spent your remaining Club Nintendo coins and said your goodbyes to the service. If so, return one final time to claim your gold or platinum reward (if you’ve earned one).

This final batch are all digital offerings. Here are your choices:

Platinum Members:

  • Animal Crossing (3DS)
  • Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
  • Mario Golf World Tour (3DS)
  • Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
  • Mario Party Island Tour (3DS)
  • NES Remix 2 (Wii U)
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
  • Punch-Out (Wii U)
  • Pushmo World (Wii U)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii U)
  • Ultimate NES Remix (3DS)
  • Yoshi’s New Island (3DS)

Platinum and Gold Members:

  • Advance Wars (Wii U)
  • Crashmo (3DS)
  • Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive (3DS)
  • The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (3DS)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (3DS)
  • Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga (Wii U)
  • Metroid Fusion (Wii U)
  • The Mysterious Murasame Castle (3DS)
  • Pushmo (3DS)
  • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (Wii U)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 (3DS)
  • Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (Wii U)
  • Super Mario Kart (Wii U)
  • WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames (Wii U)
  • Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 (Wii U)

You can check your status by logging into Club Nintendo. Note that at the time of publication, the service seems to be undergoing heavy traffic and you may have to check back later.

[Source: Club Nintendo]

 

Our Take
There are some fantastic offerings for this farewell to Club Nintendo. These won’t cost you coins, but if you do still have some remaining, you have until June 30 to use them. For the full list of games and their prices (in coins), check out our previous coverage.

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Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Review in Progress

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GameSpot has already published two Dark Souls II reviews, one triumphant and effusive, and one disheartened and defeated. And neither one of them is wrong. This is the Souls series–as well as its cousin Bloodborne–encapsulated: grand trials by fire in which other games, with their boundless forgiveness, their comprehensive tutorials, and hand-holding linearity may be lifted and praised for their mercy or condemned for their patronization, qualities we have never received from the Souls games and likely never will. These games are brilliant, tedious, exhilarating, soul-crushing monsters, all.

With that in mind, the Scholar of the First Sin Edition is what it looks like when that monster puts on its best, smiling face, and tries its absolute best to be warm and welcoming to one and all. That’s a welcome extended to the folks who’ve sunk hundreds of hours into the game who think they know what they’re getting with this version. It’s a welcome extended to complete newcomers who’ve never played a Souls game. It’s a welcome extended to the people who’ve been mired in Bloodborne these past few weeks. And it’s a welcome extended to me, someone’s who’s gone into each of these games determined to slay the beast, and found myself cowed each and every time. This version is meant to entice, a Cheshire smile shared between From Software and all players, old and new, that can’t hide its newly sharpened teeth.

The new edition entices the way many predators do: with the utmost sweetness and light. In previous iterations, the world of Drangleic where Dark Souls II takes place felt like a ruined, half-faded memory of a beautiful place, whose washed out, dismal details gave the sense that the world itself was quietly eroding into the dirt. Even the PC version, running at its highest settings, in its most grand environments, had this feeling of dulled luster.

Stepping out of the first cave into hub world Majula this time inspires the sense of grandeur it was always meant to have. There’s a new warmth and vibrancy to the place, a clarity that feels fully realized at last, serving to suggest the beauty that once was instead of accentuating the wreckage that it is. The graphical uptick has that effect on the whole game, offering a feeling of rejuvenation, that Drangleic is still alive.

It is alive, and crawling with the undead like never before.

From Software’s version of “Welcome to Drangleic” is a higher fidelity to the visual than ever before, but its version of “Welcome back to Drangleic,” for veterans, is about walking into the Forest of Fallen Giants for the first time, turning a corner, and running right into one of those massive hippo/cyclops creatures. It’s about trying to go to the Cathedral of Blue, and the Ring of Binding at its entrance, and finding it guarded by a fire-breathing wyvern instead of a single knight, and that’s if you kill the sped-up spear-wielding white knights swarming in the Heide Tower of Flame area, and that’s if, when you first get there, you get past the sleeping ones who no longer lay dormant if your level is high enough. It’s finding out that The Pursuer is almost as common as the giant knights at the Tower of Flame, and there are no handy giant crossbows to make their appearance any easier. A new relentless Hollow NPC assassin, The Forlorn, now lurks among the hordes when you least expect and never want it.

In that traditional dastardly way of theirs, From Software has revamped layout for NPCs, enemies, and items virtually throughout the entire game. Much of the game feels familiar, but you can hear the evil cackling of the developers trying their best to throw a wrench into any sense of comfort or routine in this new run. Enemies have been placed and replaced for maximum surprise factor–and unlike a new-game-plus, you may not have enemies performing new attacks, or have backup during boss fights, but you’re also not starting with all your gear so you can deal with new problems when they arise. It changes the options for exploration in much the same way, where an area that was once accessible to everyone–well, as accessible as anything in Dark Souls can be–now has a bloody and brutal price of admission. Moments of respite at bonfires have either been moved, or now have an obstacle to surmount first.

It doesn’t necessarily make for a brand new game, but it does give it a different flow. Death still comes in Dark Souls with all the ferocity of its reputation, but its tone and timbre has been altered, for the grudgingly, frustratingly better.

That said, if there’s one thing that experts have always driven home about Dark Souls II, it’s that it has a rhythm. There’s a pace and structure to everything. Dark Souls as a musical genre is prog rock. It’s insanely dense and intricate, and while it might not be everyone’s favorite tempo, it is still there to be appreciated. And for what it’s worth, something about this new tempo finally struck the right note. By the game’s count, 67 hours have gone into this particular run through, and 22 of the game’s bosses have died by my hand. Where I am now feels like a urgent, furious push into the unknown, a never-ending series of fights for my life. Even with a giant sword that destroys most anything in my way, and a tower shield that barely budges, there’s the feeling that missing my cue will still cost me my life. I feel like I’ve passed some threshold and met the core of Dark Souls, where I no longer fear every interaction, but anticipate whatever new devilry wants to test my mettle. It’s an ongoing supply of new revelations, characters adding their particular dysfunction to the experience, and equippable items all with their own tales to tell. It’s a time where the simple act of opening a chest feels like I’m gambling with my life.

That said, it is, as of this moment, an incomplete experience, as the multiplayer servers on the PlayStation 4 remain closed, and the eponymous Scholar of the First Sin battle is explicitly tied to the endgame. I can’t wait to meet him. I can’t wait to look this ugly sucker in whatever passes for his eye and introduce him to my greatsword. I can’t wait to collect up a horde of phantoms to lay waste to the demons in my wake like never before.

God help me, I can’t wait to die again.

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The Exclusive Collectibles Coming To Star Wars Celebration

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Star Wars Celebration kicks off in a couple of weeks in Anaheim, CA, and we’ll be in attendance to get our first look at DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront, and hopefully new footage from J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The show, which is expected to welcome over 50,000 Star Wars fans this year, is also a great place for collectors to empty their pocket books. Most toy and collectible manufacturers release exclusive items that can only be purchased for a limited time, usually at the show or online during the show days.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’re rounding up all of the exclusive collectible announcements for the show. Here’s what has been announced so far:

Kotobukiya’s R3-A2 & K-3PO

Kotobukiya is releasing an ARTFX two-pack featuring R3-A2 & K-3PO. No pricing details have been given yet, but this item will be extremely limited and is only being produced once. Pre-orders for non-show attendees go on sale tomorrow 10 a.m. PT on Kotobukiya’s website.

Funko Pop Star Wars

We hope collectors are bringing extra luggage to the convention. Funko is releasing five different vinyl Bobblehead figures exclusively at the show. The figures are of an unmasked Darth Vader, R2-Q5, a red shock trooper, R2-R9, and E-3PO.


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Nintendo Mobile Games Could Generate $25 Million Per Month – Report

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DeNA, the mobile game partner Nintendo chose to help bring the company’s franchises to mobile devices, is expecting big things in terms of revenue. The Japanese company said Wednesday, in an interview with Reuters, that it’s hopeful that its Nintendo games can generate over ¥3 billion ($25 million) per month.

“We want to create games that will be played by hundreds of millions of people,” DeNA chief executive Isao Moriyasu told Reuters. Previously, DeNA said it was hoping to topple Candy Crush and generate more than 100 million daily active players for its Nintendo games.

To do this, Moriyasu said DeNA will create a catalog of highly compelling Nintendo games. “We want to create multiple hit games rather than aiming to succeed with just one powerful IP element,” he said.

Regarding the $25 million figure, Moriyasu admitted that he hadn’t discussed financial targets yet with Nintendo. All the same, he’s hopeful that DeNA’s Nintendo games will be big business for both firms.

“We haven’t talked to Nintendo about targets, but at DeNA, our best-selling game brought in ¥3 billion yen a month, and we want to surpass that,” he said, referencing the smartphone game Kaito Royale. This game has since been spun into a TV series, Reuters notes.

Nintendo and DeNA have not disclosed revenue sharing details for the upcoming smartphone games. However, analysts told Reuters that Nintendo is likely to make around 70 percent of all proceeds.

The first DeNA-Nintendo mobile game will be released later this year. Nintendo has not announced any projects so far, but has pledged it won’t simply port its console games to smartdevices. The company is also considering a range of business models, including free-to-play, which Nintendo president Satoru Iwata actually calls free-to-start.

Nintendo’s big move into the smartphone market has been received positively by investors, as shares of the company skyrocketed by more than 30 percent. The company also announced that it had started work on a new system, known internally as the “NX.” This system, which Nintendo says it won’t start talking about officially until 2016, aims to surprise and innovate.

For more on Nintendo’s smartphone plans, be sure to read GameSpot’s editor opinion roundup on the subject.

We’re expecting even more Nintendo news during tonight’s Nintendo Direct briefing, which starts at 3 PM PDT / 6 PM EDT. Check back then for all the news as it happens.

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