Wulverblade Review – Review – Nintendo World Report

If you’re either bemoaning the lack of available beat-em-ups or that the genre has gone too far down the button-mashing hole Wulverblade is here to satisfy your needs while challenging you to evolve your skills.

It has taken some time but Wulverblade is the real deal. While it’s most certainly a game inspired by many classics of both the beat-em-up and slash-em-up eras, it’s very much its own game. Better yet, it’s a wake-up call to the genre, a slap in the face for it to modernize and work harder to make something more of itself. With its gorgeously gory artwork, historically-inspired settings, and absolutely brutal and challenging gameplay, Wulverblade is a best of genre treat to be savored.

The journey begins after you (or one friend as well if you’d like) choose one of the members of the Wulver clan. There’s Caradoc, the middle-of-the road warrior who plays with a balance of speed and strength, his sister Guinevere who is a bit more agile but isn’t as powerful, and Brennus who is more of a grappling mountain of a character but who appropriately moves more slowly. The differences between them aren’t just cosmetic, they each have the same general moveset but execute key moves quite differently in subtle ways. The moveset is absolutely massive, using all 4 face buttons and mixing in directional double-taps as well to give you a staggering number of options with which to slay your foes.

Given the level of challenge in the game, particularly with some of its boss battles, you will absolutely need to learn to make use of as many of skills as possible and learn when it’s appropriate to use them. What sets Wulverblade apart from its brethren is that you won’t be button mashing your way through to the end. You’ll need to learn how best to deal with every type of foe you face, whether ranged, shielded, or armed with spears or swords, in order to be effective. Enemies are smart and will out-maneuver you if you’ll let them. To survive, you’ll need to use everything the game offers. Normal weapons (or enemy body parts) are found on the ground and can be thrown while heavy weapons supplement your offensive capabilities. A rage meter will put you into a frenzy that will help you kill many foes but it also recovers health. Even things like spikes or fire in the environment will help make quick work of waves of enemies. The boss fights are an even greater test as they have both formidable attacks and health. You’ll need to watch for their telegraphed attacks and either dodge or counter them with one of your specific attacks in order to defeat them. While very little in the game is easy, the first time around if you’re observant and develop appropriate strategies for dealing with your various opponents you will find yourself cutting through the forces of your enemy in no time.

The presentation of Wulverblade shines through with high-quality artwork, character design, and almost cinematic action sequences that play in silhouettes. Never has a game in this genre looked this stunning and it may not happen again anytime soon. The attention to detail given to the history that served as inspiration is fascinating as the video and pictures help bring a deeper connection to the game. After seeing many of the ruins that inspired locations used in the game, it’s hard not to be struck by the love not just for this genre but for the rich history of Britain.

None of this is to say there aren’t concerns. Becoming easily frustrated or discouraged is going to be a challenge. You won’t be able to muddle through this, but once you accept that and begin to make use of the moves and opportunities that are available, you’ll be astonished with how much more easily you’ll be able to defeat your enemies. One issue tied to the game’s excellent art, particularly in the foreground, is that it sometimes will obstruct objects on the ground, including key ones like health. It will be good practice to run across the bottom of the screen at times just to be sure you didn’t miss anything. The difficulty spiked in the third level, including a tough-as-nails boss that you’ll need to work out a plan to defeat. Even after I discovered how to beat him the window of opportunity closed pretty quickly and that led to some frustration. From that point on though until the aggravatingly-challenging final boss, I found that I was often able to get to each level’s mid-way checkpoint (which you can then restart from) often and work out a way to finish the level in a just few additional attempts.

Overall, Wulverblade is an absolute masterpiece and for people who have been bemoaning the lack of quality beat-em-ups it should provide many hours of meaty combat and carnage. To really enjoy it you’ll need to overcome falling into old habits and committing to learning all of the moves and nuance made available to you. Your reward will be a very viscerally satisfying and overall bloody good time, with some crazy surprises you won’t want to miss out on.

Amid Production Headaches, Tesla Lays Off Hundreds: Report

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

Tesla employees jockeying for scarce parking spaces outside the company’s Fremont, California assembly plant and Palo Alto headquarters could soon find it easier to locate a spot.

The electric automaker reportedly laid off hundreds of workers this week — a move that comes at an particularly stressful time for the company and its employees. At just 260 units, third-quarter production of the long-awaited Model 3 sedan fell far short of predictions, with CEO Elon Musk blaming production bottlenecks for the slow trickle of highly sought-after vehicles.

Meanwhile, the exact nature of the fired employees is the subject of some debate.

The Mercury News first reported the layoffs late Friday. “Multiple” former and current employees tell the publication the laid-off workers include “trained engineers working on vehicle design and production, a supervisor and factory employees.”

Those same workers estimate the number of layoffs at 400 to 700 employees over the past week, with many allegedly told with no warning. The company’s assembly plant employs roughly 10,000. Tesla, meanwhile, won’t cop to the number of layoffs (and doesn’t call the dismissals “layoffs”), telling the publication the departures came after a routine performance review.

“As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures,” a Tesla spokesperson told The Mercury News. The spokesperson claims the layoffs weren’t from the manufacturing realm — rather, marketing and sales divisions took the brunt of it.

This statement diverges quite a bit from the workers’ observations. One employee, Juan Maldonado, who was let go after four years with the company, claims that about 60 employees from his area of the factory also got their goodbye notice. Another employee told Reuters Tesla fired him, even though he’s never had a bad review.

“It’s about 400 people ranging from associates to team leaders to supervisors,” the former worker said of the laid-off employees. “We don’t know how high up it went.”

Occurring in the background of the departures is the “production hell” Musk promised his employees. By all accounts, they got exactly that. Earlier this month, a report arose of workers hand-building Model 3 components on the factory floor — as late as early September — as the automated production line remained idle. Musk’s stated production goal for the end of the year is 5,000 vehicles per week, ramping up to a seemingly impossible 10,000 units/week in 2018.

[Image: Tesla]

The Written Final Fantasy IX Report Part 2: The Guy with the FMV Sequence Is Probably the Villain

Nadia is playing the beloved RPG Final Fantasy IX for the first time, and he’s chronicling her journey as she goes! Why not join her? Don’t forget to listen to the accompanying oral report on Axe of the Blood God!

The Story So Far…

Welcome to the second installment of Nadia’s Big Huge Final Fantasy IX Report. If you didn’t read the first installment, I’m dialing your mother and telling on you right now. I might hang up if you go and check out the first part, though.

Some Final Fantasy games are awash in complicated themes and politics, and so far, Final Fantasy IX isn’t one of them. That’s not a jab; I think the series handles both story flavors well. I enjoy Final Fantasy IV’s straightforward Good-versus-Evil plotline as much as I enjoy Final Fantasy XII’s political ballet. At any rate, Final Fantasy IX’s done a good job keeping my attention.

In the two weeks since I started the Report, I’ve met Zidane, Vivi, Freya, Quina, Garnet, and Steiner. I’ve fallen in and out of familiarity with Tantalus, Zidane’s former theatre troupe that engages in a little light thievery when it’s not performing its world-famous play (which is officially titled “I Want to Be Your Canary,” but I automatically rename “Dude, Where’s My Canary” whenever the name pops up).

“You on the roof with the White Castle sliders: You damn well better’ve brought enough for everyone.”

Garnet is a princess from the kingdom of Alexandria, and her mother, Queen Brahne, has become mysteriously warlike. Zidane and his troupe whisk Garnet away to the relative safety of Lindblum Castle at the request of Garnet’s uncle, Cid (who’s been turned into a bug-person by his scorned wife. Don’t cheat on your spouses, kids).

While visiting Lindblum, we learn Freya’s kingdom of fellow rat-people, Burmecia, is under attack by an army of Black Mages belonging to Alexandria. Garnet understandably wants to get to the bottom of what her mother is up to, and she’s immediately told to shut up and sit down because she’s a princess and all that. So Garnet drugs the party during a banquet and takes off for Alexandria on her own with her loyal knight, Steiner in tow (and nagging her the whole way).

She gets there with the help of Zidane’s old Tantalus pals, who happen to be going in the same direction to rescue another member of the Troupe. They’re captured by the JRPG Juggalos Zorn and Thron as soon as they arrive at the Castle. Garnet tells Zorn and Thron she wants to talk to her mother. They assure her she will—but since Garnet ran off earlier with the unspeakably valuable family pendant, it won’t be a friendly conversation.

Meanwhile, Zidane and his friends wake up with a hangover, determine “Well, that happened,” and go off to investigate Burmecia. Sure enough, the kingdom’s been levelled, and Queen Brahne is responsible—but she’s not working alone. She has the aid of her loyal female knight, Beatrix, and a powerful magician named Kuja, whom I’m assuming is Final Fantasy IX’s Big Bad Guy. It’s a safe bet. The PlayStation era didn’t hand out one-minute FMV introductions to just any old schmuck.

Gosh, that thud-thud-clap sample from “We Will Rock You” is bold. It’s “Let’s lift the opening riff from ‘Purple Haze’ for ‘One Winged Angel'” bold.

Kuja smacks down the party, but instead of finishing them off, he flies away on a very pretty Skarmory. Zidane’s party decides to make its way to Cleyra, a hidden tree-town where the King of Burmecia reportedly escaped to. I’ve been informed I’ve reached the end of Disc One, but such bookmarks are meaningless in this age of digital downloads. Makes me a little sad, really.

Thoughts and Feelings

I really like Freya. I’m a big fan of Final Fantasy’s Dragoon class, even though any Dragoon in any Final Fantasy game has a fifty-fifty chance of sucking. I’m also a big fan of rats. I used to keep fancy rats as pets, and I as a kid I didn’t care much about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I liked Splinter. Rats tend to get a bad rap in fiction—think Cluny the Scourge, Ratigan, and any number of disease vectors that prey on innocent mice in fantasy stories outside of The Rats of NIMH—so I’m 100% on board with having an honor-bound female rat-dragoon in my party.

Who knows why Freya shares a last name with Sephiroth’s mother, though. Initiate fan theories!

I don’t like seeing female characters (who are usually also Princesses) get told they must stay behind while the party ventures forth because “It’s too dangerous” or “You’re too soft,” or whatever nonsense. It’s a boring, highly-overused plot mechanic in all forms of media—JRPGs especially—and the inevitable, also-tired resolution where the female protag proves herself takes its sweet time trundling towards you. There are other ways to kindle conflict with sheltered characters.

Though to give Final Fantasy IX credit, Garnet doesn’t simply sneak her way back into Zidane’s party once he departs Lindblum. She just drugs everyone and takes off. Moreover, she doesn’t try to get the jump on the party by going to Burmecia ahead of them (which is usually what happens in these “I’ll show you!” narratives); she opts to go her own way and talk to her mother. I appreciate that. It’s also a good way to show us Garnet’s grown up a bit: Whereas she was initially interested in getting away from her mother because of the latter’s erratic behavior, Garnet takes it upon herself to go back and confront Brahne when it becomes clear the Queen’s shift in demeanor is causing atrocities.

Don’t trust clowns. Especially Final Fantasy clowns.

Don’t forget to listen to the latest episode of Axe of the Blood God! I go into lots more detail about my playthrough and talk about the devil-may-care attitude of the game’s hero, Zidane. While I already know he suffers an identity crisis later in the game, I’m muddy about the nature of that crisis (no spoilers!). Last week, a reader / listener pointed out it’s not common for Final Fantasy heroes to enter the fray brimming with confidence, only to have their self-image shattered, and that’s part of what makes Zidane interesting.

I enjoy seeing characters torn down and built back up. That came out meaner-sounding than I intended, but I suppose it’s also the reason the Mount Ordeals quest in Final Fantasy IV is one of my all-time favorites in any RPG, ever. I’m curious to see where Zidane ends up.

Oh, and Quina’s great. That’s all I’ve got on that for now. Until next week!

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With iPhone X release around the corner, Nikkei report says shortages expected – BGR

The good news is that the iPhone X is undoubtedly the most technologically advanced iPhone had ever created. Even more intriguing is that the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system is so sophisticated that it may take Android competitors years to implement something similar. The bad news, though, is that Apple is still having trouble producing the device at scale.

According to a new report from Nikkei, Apple is still encountering production issues with the aforementioned TrueDepth Camera system, the component which serves as the foundation for Face ID. Specifically, problems are still arising with the iPhone X’s dot projector, the component responsible for illuminating a user’s face with 30,000 infrared dots to create a depth map of a user’s face.

The report reads in part:

A tech executive familiar with iPhone X production told Nikkei Asian Review on Thursday that manufacturers are still struggling to perfect 3-D sensors and in particular dot projectors in Apple premium handset’s TrueDepth camera system, though the person could not pinpoint exactly the problem.

Hardly a surprise, reports that the iPhone X’s dot projector is the component responsible for production delays originally surfaced a few weeks ago and have since been echoed by a number of other analysts since.

All that said, another tech executive that spoke to Nikkei relayed that Apple is still gearing up to begin iPhone X mass production in the next week or two, with shipments slated to begin later this month. As it stands now, iPhone X pre-orders are still on track to open up on October 27 with deliveries expected to arrive on November 3. Of course, it goes without saying that supply will likely be extremely limited at launch, with some analysts opining that many interested buyers may not get their hands on the iPhone X until 2018.

Once Apple gets a handle on production, analysts are anticipating that demand for the iPhone X will be off the charts. To this point, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the iPhone X will help Apple sell upwards of 250 million iPhones in 2018. If Kuo’s projection pans out, 2018 may very well see Apple set a new record for annual iPhone sales.

‘Call of Duty WW2’, ‘Pokémon Ultra Sun & Moon’ top among holiday 2017 games — report

Impression: Activision by way of AFP Relaxnews

This year’s entry to the “Call of Duty” military motion franchise is the most anticipated online video match in the run up to Holiday break 2017, in accordance to analytics agency Nielsen, with Nintendo’s “Pokémon Ultra Moon” and “Super Mario Odyssey”, as well as the “Assassin’s Creed” comeback among the other people also monitoring extremely.

Established in World War II just after last year’s futuristic sci-fi excursion, “Call of Responsibility: WWII” is returning to territory a lot more conveniently connected with the franchise’s 14-year-previous roots.

With a 99 % total anticipation level as calculated by the Nielsen Video game Rank, “Call of Responsibility: WWII” is the most anticipated Holiday break match available on a lot more than just one style of console or laptop, releasing as it does on PlayStation 4, Xbox One particular and Home windows Computer system from November 3.

That places it a nose forward of Ancient Egyptian motion title “Assassin’s Creed Origins” (95 %), movie tie-in “Star Wars: Battlefront II” (90 %), and athletics wrestling iteration “WWE 2K18” (80 %).

All four will be introduced on the similar three platforms between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

Also offered honorable mentions ended up motion adventure “Middle-earth: Shadow of War”, racing match “Need for Speed: Payback”, shooter “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus”, suspense thriller “The Evil Within just 2”, darkly comedian adventure “South Park: The Fractured But Whole” and rhythm title “Just Dance 2018”.

The Xbox One’s “Forza Motorsport 7” and the PlayStation 4’s “Gran Turismo Sport” ended up calculated with an equivalent 85 % rating, whilst a 96 % label was applied to the Nintendo Switch’s vibrant “Super Mario Odyssey”.

On Nintendo’s more mature 3DS line of handheld methods, “Pokémon Ultra Moon” (99 %), “Pokémon Ultra Sun” (97 %), “Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions” (96 %) and “Mario Celebration: The Major 100” (93 %) all rated really extremely.

“Age of Empires: Definitive Edition” was the top rated exclusive on Home windows Computer system, with digital reality remakes of “Fallout 4” and “L.A. Noire” following up at 79 % and 75 %, respectively. JB

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New Report: Your Old iPhone Isn’t Slowing Down With iOS 11 (It’s Actually Faster)

Perception is everything with technology. When reports that the latest operating system for iPhones, called iOS 11, was making older phones slower, I had to wonder. Would Apple purposefully make an older iPhone slower to make people want to upgrade? Is there a conspiracy that is intended to line the coffers of the most famous company in tech?

Then I actually installed iOS 11 on an older iPhone 6. It actually seemed faster to me.

I ran multiple apps, including the Chrome browser, the Gmail app, Outlook, and several others. I even tested the game Infinity Blade. In all of my tests, the iPhone 6 seemed to run about the same. In fact, I swear it seemed just a hair faster for some Apple apps, like Mail.

Last week, the results were confirmed by Futuremark, which makes benchmarking software. After running performance tests on older models, the company confirmed the speed is likely a result of user perception–the phones run roughly the same speed. A small note about the testing suggested that some of the latest features–perhaps those that depend the most on the processor such as multitasking or gaming–run a tad slower.

Why the misinformation about older iPhones slowing down?

Here’s my theory.

Users are likely comparing the new iOS on their phone–since it is a free download and is easy for anyone to install–to how it runs on a newer iPhone. Yet, that’s not really fair. Apple makes no claims about iOS 11 speeding up an older phone, and a newer phone will run faster. The same apps on an iPhone 8 run much faster with iOS 11 than they do on an iPhone 6. After a user installs iOS 11 on an older phone, he or she might be comparing the suddenly “sluggish” phone to a newer model at the Apple store or that a friend uses.

To use a car example, that’s like using a higher octane fuel in an older Mazda Miata and then complaining about how slow it is compared to a new Miata. But the speed is dictated by the fact that the older Miata has around a 128-horsepower engine. The new model has a 155-horsepower engine. Changing the fuel isn’t going to make the older model seem sporty, but it might seem like the car feels slower if you expected a change in performance.

This is where the analogy starts to break down. An older iPhone actually does get a little faster for some of the most common Apple apps. I tested the Photos app and it definitely lets you swipe through photos a bit faster after loading iOS 11. And, maybe due to how Apple has improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but my older phone connected faster.

If your phone does feel more sluggish, there are a few things to try. One is to free up memory by closing a few apps and deleting a few files. Every operating system likes to have room to breathe. Also, make sure you reboot the phone. That can work wonders, and I’ve heard of a few friends who thought iOS 11 seemed faster after a reboot.

Your perceptions will surely change once you know the facts. If you still think iOS 11 makes an older phone slower, try driving a Miata from 2007. It’s slower than the sunrise.

Pankapu Review – Review – Nintendo World Report

The Nintendo Switch is quickly and consistently filling up with quality indie titles. Now, developer Too Kind Studio is making their eShop debut with their creation Pankapu, an epic hero action-platformer game set in the land of dreams. There as some bumps along the way, but Pankapu ends up being a good (and beautiful) addition to the eShop library.

The story involves a child named Djaha’rell who was traumatized by a tragic event. There are two narratives that play out, the scary and grim reality of Djaha’rell’s world and the fantastic world of his dreams. While at times it gets quite convoluted and hard to follow, I appreciated the emphasis on character and plot intertwined throughout the adventure. The visual and audio presentation is outstanding. Rich and vivid colors cover the landscape while beautiful painted horizons shine in the background. The lighting effects accompanied with the whimsical orchestrated soundtrack and sound design made me feel like I was in a dream.

Pankapu is your standard old-school platforming affair. The gameplay concepts are kept to a minimum, with tried and true platforming mixed in with some nice exploration. There are little mischievous beings called “Mudjins” hiding in nooks and crannies throughout the levels, rewarding you for exploring thoroughly and scratching that collectathon itch. These also provide even more challenges to obtain them, if you’re up for it. 

Though the game is beautiful, unfortunately the level design can be lackluster at times. The way some enemies attack and where they are placed can seem cheap, causing big spikes in difficulty. I love a good challenge, and there wasn’t anything too hard to not overcome, but this just highlights one of the bigger disappointments: the loading screens. Every time you die or change screens there is a 5-8 second loading screen. This is by no means a deal-breaker, but when you are facing a rather arduous challenge the punishment only gets worse. The waiting is not excruciatingly long, but just long enough to be slightly frustrating, which ends up being a problem for how challenging the game can get. As for how the game runs while playing, I never had any major hiccups with the frame rate, but the game did freeze on me a couple times. 

One of Pankapu’s best strengths is its weapon and skills upgrade progression. During the story you are constantly getting little upgrades to your character, some big and some small. At the same time this made me feel more powerful and left me curious and excited to see what would show up next. 

The controls for the most part feel great. The jumping feels nice and precise, and the button assignment is kept simple as you gain new abilities. For some strange reason only the analog stick can be used for movement, and not the D-Pad. With platforming at the forefront of gameplay I definitely wished I could have utilized the precision of a D-Pad during the trickier situations.

Despite its shortcomings, I really did enjoy my time playing through Pankapu. At its core it’s a solid action/platformer, with a beautiful aesthetic and captivating sound track. The difficulty spikes combined with the frequent load times can definitely test your patience, but overall the positives outweigh the negatives. So if you’re in the mood for a pleasant platformer, the dreamy world of Pankapu just might be the game for you. 

Tesla Delays Big Rig As Report Emerges of Hand-built Model 3 Parts

tesla model 3

It’s been of week of bad PR and reports that should have Tesla investors tugging their collars and thinking twice, though in Teslaland these well-publicised issues only propel the automaker’s stock even higher.

The company’s electric big rig (aka the Tesla Semi), rumored to have a range of 200 to 300 miles, won’t see the light of day until November 16th, CEO Elon Musk claims. That’s two months after the initial reveal date, which was subsequently pushed back until late October.

The larger problem facing the company is the slow ramp-up of Model 3 production, which kicked off in July, but only resulted in only 220 deliveries by the end of September. The company forecasted 1,500 Model 3s in the month of September, with an expected production rate of 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the year. Blame the slow trickle of cars on a “manufacturing bottleneck issue,” the company said in a statement.

As Musk attempts to soothe fears, a new report claims the automaker was hand-building parts away from the assembly line even as the high-tech facility was supposed to be cranking out Model 3s at a steady clip. Tesla is not happy about this report.

The Wall Street Journal claimed yesterday that as late as early September, workers were assembling major portions of the Model 3 by hand, away from the Fremont, California plant’s automated assembly line.

The unnamed sources told the WSJ that because the assembly line wasn’t ready, Tesla created a special area in the plant for the low-tech builds, leading to far fewer completed vehicles. Customers, of which hundreds of thousands already exist, and investors were not made aware of this.

Adding to the controversy are production discrepancies discovered this week by the Daily Kanban. Musk told the media, and thus potential investors, that production would reach 500,000 vehicles a year in 2018. However, in a January application for sales tax exemption from California’s CAEATFA program, the company claims a Model 3 production capacity of 226,563 units per year over a five-year span. Combine that figure with the predicted production of the Model S and X (195,000) and the total tally falls far short of the half-million mark.

In response to queries from the WSJ, a Tesla spokeswoman refused to answer questions, the publication claims. Instead, the spokeswoman attacked the WSJ, stating, “For over a decade, the WSJ has relentlessly attacked Tesla with misleading articles that, with few exceptions, push or exceed the boundaries of journalistic integrity. While it is possible that this article could be an exception, that is extremely unlikely.”

The word “defensive” doesn’t even begin to capture the fury of that statement — a response that isn’t likely to make Tesla any friends in the journalism sphere. Well, maybe there’s one exception.

In response to yesterday’s tweet, Musk referenced an earlier statement by saying, “We are deep in production hell.” One commenter asked when those on the Model 3 waiting list can expect official information as to delivery dates, to which Musk responded, “You’ll know as soon as we do.”

The CEO said he expects the online configurator (aka “design studio”) to appear for non-employee Model 3 reservation holders in six to eight weeks. As of now, Tesla is only making one configuration of the electric sedan (the pricier Long Range model), with the only option being paint color.

The upswing in bad PR for Tesla corresponds with a rise in defensiveness from Musk’s most ardent supporters, sending the car company even closer to becoming a de-facto political affiliation or religion. Some would say it’s already reached that point. One thing not impacted by the troubling reports or the fanatical fanboyism, however, is the company’s stock.

Tesla shares began the week trading at $342.52, and ended the week at $356.88. Earlier this week, one Wall Street firm predicted the stock hitting the $500-a-share mark within a year.

[Image: Tesla]

Axe of the Blood God: Final Fantasy IX Report #3, Golf Story, and Chris Kohler’s Adventures in Importing Final Fantasy V

Axe of the Blood God is our weekly RPG podcast hosted by Kat Bailey and Nadia Oxford. You can find the previous episodes here.

In this week’s episode of Axe of the Blood God (download link here), we examine this week’s newest RPGs, continue our Final Fantasy IX deep dive, and welcome Kotaku editor and Retronauts contributor Chris Kohler!

Chris’ new book on Final Fantasy V is now available on Amazon, where he recounts his experiences in the hardcore import community surrounding the game, as well as discusses its creation. He talks about all of that on the pod and more!

Also in this episode: We talk about Regent Cid, Lindblum, and the awesome airship chase in Final Fantasy Report #3. We talk about Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions. And we discuss this month’s hottest RPG: Golf Story!

Want to share your thoughts on RPGs? Email us at usgamer@usgamer.net. We may read your letter on the show! Keep those Perfect RPG Teams coming, folks!

Where to find us (Subscribe, rate, and review!)

Show Description

Kat and Nadia discuss a couple of this week’s biggest RPG releases—Dragon’s Dogma and Mario & Luigi—as well as Golf Story, then jump into the third Final Fantasy IX Report [16:00]. How cool is that airship chase? What’s up with Regent Cid? All that and more. Plus: Kotaku editor and Retronauts contributor Chris Kohler joins us to discuss his adventures in importing Final Fantasy V for his newest book! [38:05].

Music from Axe of the Blood God is courtesy of Lena Chappelle, who has also contributed the themes to Active Time Babble and Roleplayers’ Realm. I also use music from the RPG Music Pack over at rpgmaker.net. Check it out!

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

New Symantec Report: 1 in 9 Email Users Encountering Malware

New Symantec Report: 1 in 9 Email Users Encountering

Today, Symantec published new findings on the
email threat landscape indicating a continued increase of
malware encounters. The report may also serve as helpful
information for future stories on the topic.

Email is
everywhere and cyber attackers are taking advantage. For
example, we’ve seen a fake Google Docs phishing scam
spread across the world earlier this year. Symantec’s ISTR
special report outlines how email users are vulnerable to a
variety of threats.

Key findings in the Email
Threats 2017
paper include:

Email is
the most commonly used infection vector.

• On
average, one out of every nine email users
have encountered malware in the first half of

• Approximately 8,000 businesses each
are targeted by Business Email Compromise
(BEC) scams. A targeted organisation is sent five
BEC emails in a given month

• The spam rate
for the first half of 2017 reached 54 percent (after
bottoming out over the last two years), and is expected to
continue to climb as the year progresses.

encounter threats through email twice as often as other
infection vector

Summary: The latest ISTR special
report, Email Threats 2017, casts a light on a threat
landscape where attackers are actively spreading malicious
threats, BEC scams, and a variety of spam through

In our latest ISTR special report, Email Threats
2017, we describe how people are more than twice as likely
to encounter threats through email than any other infection
vector. In fact, one out of every nine email users will have
had a malicious email sent to them in the first half of
2017. And the likelihood rises further depending on which
industry the user works in. For instance, if the user is in
Wholesale Trade, as they likely would in the scenario
outlined above, that ratio climbs to one out of every four

But email with malicious code isn’t the
only threat out there. Business email compromise (BEC) scams
are another continuing threat. These are scenarios where a
scammer impersonates someone along the lines of an executive
within your company, or another person of power within the
supply or administrative chains, and attempts to get users
to wire money or share sensitive information with them.

It’s an attack that’s proven quite lucrative for
scammers—the FBI estimates over US$5 billion has been
stolen through these scams between late 2013 and the end of
2016. According to our latest analysis, we see approximately
8,000 businesses targeted by BEC scams in a given month. On
average these businesses receive more than five BEC scam
emails each month.

Spam also continues to be an
email annoyance as well. While the spam rate has been in a
slow but steady decline since 2011, our latest research has
discovered that the spam rate may have bottomed out and is
now beginning to climb again. In fact, the spam rate for the
first half of 2017 hit 54 percent, which equates to around
11 more spam emails in your inbox each month compared to a
year ago.

Once again, these rates are much higher in
some industries. For instance, our friends in the Wholesale
Trade industry can see twice as much spam as the average
user would. But they’re not alone, as other industries,
such as Manufacturing, Retail Trade, Construction, and
Mining — all industries that can also be targeted by
campaigns such as the one above — saw spam rates that were
all 1.5 times above the average.

Email is one of the
most popular tools for communication, but this ubiquity has
also made it a hotbed full of scammers looking to wreak
havoc. These are just a few of the insights uncovered in our
latest ISTR special report. You can download your copy of
Email Threats 2017 now to read about more risks on the email
threat landscape and what you can do about


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