Fallout 76 impressions: Testing my will to rebuild a wasteland

Fallout 76 impressions: Testing my will to rebuild a wasteland

The story of Fallout 76 is that we’re rebuilding America. I feel like we’ll end up rebuilding a game instead.

This has become a trend. A humongous, much-hyped game ships incomplete — both literally and creatively — then months, or years later, the designers release patch two-dot-whatever, and the critical and fan consensus is that we finally have the game either the studio promise of the fans pre-conceived all along. Fallout 76’s publisher Bethesda Softworks already has weathered this cycle with the maligned-then-praised The Elder Scrolls Online, one of the better and better-supported MMOs running four years after its weak launch. So perhaps they will work their way through this process faster than most.

Whatever the case, there is a lot of infrastructure in Fallout 76 upon which to build. Lord knows there is plenty of potential, and plenty of good if you’re willing to see through to it. If this ends up being an enjoyable game, it’ll be because the players willed it into one, despite all the things Fallout 76 currently does unnecessarily to test that will.

Still, I’m going to persist with Fallout 76. I’m still trying to piece together what’s keeping me locked into this desiccated West Virginia countryside.

Calling Fallout 76 an early access or unfinished game is inaccurate and unfair. It is a finished product. The unimaginative, chorelike events it foists,…

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Netflix’s Cam: a horror movie that preys on your sex worker assumptions

Netflix’s Cam: a horror movie that preys on your sex worker assumptions

In Netflix’s new thriller Cam, Alice (Madeline Brewer), a popular cam girl who goes by the name Lola, is gripped by terror when she discovers someone else named Lola, baring her exact physical identity and performing a show on an alternate page.

Not only does Other Lola dethrone Alice’s own rank, but the imposter duplicates her hook of using performative violence for clicks. Alice goes so as far to call the police, who send two male officers to investigate, but all they do is ask superficial questions about her online activities — and practically jerk off at the thought of her in a scant school girl costume. They saunter out of her home without even pretending to pursue the case. Yet there’s still a mystery to solve.

We’re not used to seeing characters like Alice, making it difficult to recognize her as the protagonist when we first see her, dressed in tiny white panties, socks, and an open high school football jacket just barely covering her exposed chest, and spanking herself in front of a camcorder. We expect her to die, but she doesn’t die. A more traditional female character doesn’t replace her.

Instead, we watch her entire video while she takes breaks to scan her online feed, which is riddled with comments ranging from “you are so sexy” to “how much for you to use a knife?” which she quickly blocks. She’s on the clock. Just like that, she becomes human.

Alice’s encounter with the police…

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Best comedies of 2018: Funniest movies of the year to stream

Best comedies of 2018: Funniest movies of the year to stream

Laughter: not actually the best medicine for serious ailments, but still pretty great! (We suggest a doctor for those serious ailments.)

Somehow forecasting just how gloomy and caustic 2018 would turn out to be, the movie industry stepped up its game over the last 10 months and delivered genuinely funny comedies —versus, say, American Pie 8: Butts in Cake or whatever — that kept slapstick and satire and joyous stupidity soldiering on. These movies won’t probably win Oscars, but they will win you over when you watch them over and over on HBO. Simply put: they’re funny.

Our rolling list of the best comedies of the year ranges from laugh-out-loud to devilishly sharp to cheeky in that British way. And before you laugh us off: yes, we’ll update again before the end of the year with a few more picks, just in case any more films squeeze a chortle out of us before year’s end. If you’re looking for more recommendations, check out our more general list of the best movies of 2018.


Quantrell D. Colbert/Universal Pictures

Blockers

Very few films give you a two-for-one deal, but Blockers does it with aplomb. Half the tale focuses on three young women who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night, the other half on the attempts of their parents to stop them from making good on that promise. The film is startlingly sensitive and level-headed…

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Destiny 2 Xur location and items, Nov. 16-19

Destiny 2 Xur location and items, Nov. 16-19

If you played Destiny, you may be familiar with Xur, the weekly Exotic item merchant. In Destiny 2, he’s back, and now appears all over the map. This week, he’s on Titan. You can find Xur hanging out on just to the east of the The Rig landing zone, taking shelter from the rain in a small building.


Bungie/Activision

Xur’s inventory this week consists of the following:

  • Coldheart, Exotic trace rifle: 29 Legendary Shards
  • Knucklehead Radar, Exotic Hunter chest: 23 Legendary Shards
  • An Insurmountable Skullfort, Exotic Titan helmet: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Aeon Soul, Exotic Warlock gauntlets: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Isochronal Engram: 97 Legendary Shards

Xur’s inventory to caps out at 581 if you’re at 600 power — one Light above your Collection. He also offers specific rolls on each armor piece each week, giving out different perks for the same pieces. We’ve highlighted any great rolls below.

COLDHEART

Xur is finally selling Coldheart this week. This was a pre-order exclusive gun when Destiny 2 first launched and became available to all when Curse of Osiris was released last December. Coldheart is a trace rifle, meaning it fires in a constant beam. Its first exotic perk, Cold Fusion, causes the Coldheart to fire in a beam made of Arc damage. Its secondary perk, Longest Winter, causes Coldheart to deal more and more damage the longer it remains on the…

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Black Mirror’s nightmarish social media episode is now a board game

Black Mirror’s nightmarish social media episode is now a board game

Black Mirror episode “Nosedive,” the harrowing tale of social media-fueled anxiety from the sci-fi show’s third season, is now a board game. It’s also called Nosedive, and challenges players “to create a ‘perfect’ life by collecting Lifestyle Cards, while avoiding any ‘dings’ to their Social Score.”

While that may sound like pure, waking hell, based on how things went in the board game’s namesake episode of the show, Nosedive’s official announcement promises “light social and strategic gameplay that is engaging, interactive and accessible for new players.”

The board game has a companion mobile app for Android and iOS that features more than 1,000 “experiences” that help determine your social standing with other players. Games, designed for between three and six players, typically take about 45 minutes to play, the publisher says.


Asmodee/Endemol Shine North America

Nosedive is published by Asmodee and will be available at Target on Nov. 25.

Black Mirror’s “Nosedive” episode debuted on Netflix in 2016. According to Vox’s review of the episode:

“Nosedive” would have you believe that it’s about what it might look like if Pinterest, Instagram, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site Goop took over the world. Phones firmly in hand, everyone rates the interactions they have with one another and the photos…

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The Good Place season 3 enters LOST territory in episode 8

The Good Place season 3 enters LOST territory in episode 8

The great revelation at the end of Lost — spoilers, in case the show flew under your radar for the last eight years — was that, for a big chunk of what we’d seen, the characters were dead and navigating a version of Purgatory. Though it’s since gained a reputation for ending on a sour note, I’d argue the finale was a fitting cap for a series that was always fascinated by philosophy. So much of human ideology and belief is bound up in how to treat your fellow humans, which itself is so often tied up in what will or won’t distinguish one’s soul as pure enough to get into Heaven (or its general equivalent).

That is to say, the hat-tip that this week’s episode of The Good Place offers to Lost makes so much sense that it’s almost surprising it look this long for it to happen.

Since Lost’s airing, the season two cold open has become one of its most recognizable scenes, which The Good Place nearly matches beat for beat in “Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By.” There’s a close-up of a mysterious stranger’s eye as he wakes, and his face remains obscured as he puts on a Mama Cass song (“Make Your Own Kind of Music” in Lost’s case, and the title song, here) and goes about his day — only to be interrupted by the arrival of strangers.

The opening is a high point of the third season thus far. The Good Place’s bread and butter is sharp-witted interrogation of ethical dilemmas, but it also traffics…

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Overwatch goes free for a week, next week

Overwatch goes free for a week, next week

Overwatch is going free over the Thanksgiving holiday for players on all platforms. The trial begins Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. PT and ends Monday, Nov. 26 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

The free trial means players get all of the game’s content, plus all 29 heroes — including the newest, Ashe (pictured), who went live just a couple of days ago. All 19 maps and game types are also available. Progress earned in the free weekend will carry over for those who decide to buy Overwatch.

PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold memberships are required for Overwatch on those two consoles; a free Blizzard account (and download of the Battle.net client) is required for PC.

Console players may begin pre-downloading Overwatch right now. On PS4, search for Overwatch Free Trial in the PlayStation Store; On Xbox One, search for Overwatch: Origins Edition in the Xbox One Store, and then select “Free Trial” at the product screen.

Players with a Blizzard account linked to their Twitch accounts can also watch two hours of Overwatch streams over the trial week to get three Ashe-themed sprays.

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She-Ra and the Princesses of Power review: Villains stand out in Netflix reboot

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power review: Villains stand out in Netflix reboot

Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power gives the ’80s Filmation series a sleek, shiny reboot. Without having to stand on the brawny shoulders of He-Man (the original series was intricately tied with the He-Man and the Masters of Universe, with Adora being He-Man’s long-lost twin sister), Princesses of Power forges its own path.

Like its original, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power follows Adora as she discovers her true destiny as the hero She-Ra. Originally raised by the Evil Horde, Adora stumbles across a mysterious sword calling out to her in the woods and decides to join the Rebellion. She teams up with Princess of Bright Moon, Glimmer, and archer Bow to rebuild the Princess Alliance, a group of royal warriors determined to take down the Evil Horde. But to do it she must leave behind her past, specifically her best friend Catra who’s still loyal to the Horde and feels betrayed by Adora’s actions.

While the strong lead characters of Adora, Glimmer and Bow beam through with a splashy new animation style, what makes this reboot particularly compelling is the fleshed out villainous cast, who dominated their scenes and gave motivation and depth to their retro counterparts.


DreamWorks Animation/Netflix

Every few days leading up to the launch of the show on Netflix, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’s official Twitter account…

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Dumbo trailer: Disney’s live-action remake looks heartbreaking

Dumbo trailer: Disney’s live-action remake looks heartbreaking

The live-action Dumbo — helmed by none other than Tim Burton — brings the wondrous elephant to life, with a Burton-esque touch. If there’s one thing the Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands director is good at, it’s creating richly eerie atmospheres. Dumbo’s failing circus of the 1940s, brought to life in the first full trailer, definitely fits his style.

There’s more story in this trailer, following Colin Farrell’s Holt Farrier as he’s tasked with carrying for the misfit baby elephant with enormous ears. We see circus owner Max Medici (Danny Devito), spellbinding aerial artist Colette Marchant (Eva Green) and charismatic entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who’s bent on taking the failing circus and turning into something great.

That means selling Dumbo’s mother, in the devastating separation scene that haunted us as children. There’s something particularly depressing about seeing the Momma Elephant’s trunk stick out of the bars to wrap around poor little Dumbo, as the chilling tones of Norwegian singer Aurora’s “Baby Mine” waft over them.

Dumbo is one of many live-action reboots of classic Disney animated films that will be coming to theaters in 2019. Right after Dumbo premiers in March, the live-action Aladdin is on its heels in May, followed by July’s The Lion King. There’s also a Lady and the Tramp announced for Disney Plus, a Mulan film coming in 2020, as well as live-action…

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Multiplayer-only Warhawk for PS3 gets three-month stay of execution

Multiplayer-only Warhawk for PS3 gets three-month stay of execution

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, originally scheduled to terminate online multiplayer support at the end of October, has been given a reprieve to the end of January, along with three other PlayStation 3 games: Warhawk, Sound Shapes and Twisted Metal.

The Jan. 31, 2019 shutdown will most dramatically affect multiplayer-only Warhawk, which won’t be playable unless the PS3 is set to LAN and locally networked with other users. Twisted Metal and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale still have a single-player campaign and local split-screen multiplayer. Multiplayer shutdown for Sound Shapes only affects the ability to share or download community-created levels.

Sony Interactive Entertainment sent the notice out to users with a PlayStation Network account yesterday.

Warhawk (2007) and Twisted Metal (2012) were both reboots of titles that became popular on the original PlayStation. Warhawk was the first game offered both via download and at retail for the PlayStation 3. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was the platform’s take on an ensemble-cast fighter in the mode of Nintendo’s Smash Bros. franchise.

Their cancellation will be followed in March 2019 by Drawn to Death, a multiplayer-only shooter that launched in 2017. It was the last project by The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency, a studio founded in 2013 by Twisted Metal and God of War creator David Jaffe.

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Battlefield 5 review: single-player campaign is short, uninspired

Battlefield 5 review: single-player campaign is short, uninspired

The days of the massive, splashy single-player campaign in shooters may be coming to a close. The success of multiplayer-only games like PUBG, Fortnite and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has shown that there are plenty of folks willing to skip a campaign entirely. The disappearing single-player mode feels like a byproduct of boardroom decision-making: If publishers can make money without one (and not stir up too much controversy), why bother?

Battlefield 5 feels like a compromise between the dense single-player campaigns of recent entries in the series the idea of doing away with the offering altogether. There’s little doubt that the focus is on multiplayer (you can read our review of that here), but the game does offer a bite-sized solo campaign to scratch that itch. And while the campaign features some heartfelt storytelling, it remains mired in dated and uninspired design.

The Battlefield 5 campaign comprises three missions, clocking in at two to three hours of gameplay, depending on the difficulty you select for yourself. A fourth mission is listed as “coming soon,” with a planned release date of December or January.

Each mission tells a discrete, stand-alone story. This concept was brilliantly executed in Battlefield 1, where each of the six missions felt like a glimpse into an unseen part of World War I, like a Bedouin soldier on horseback or a messenger delivering crucial intel to the front lines. The Battlefield 1

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Diablo 3 Nintendo Switch update fixes its menu icon

Diablo 3 Nintendo Switch update fixes its menu icon

Blizzard released a software update for the Nintendo Switch version of Diablo 3: Eternal Collection that fixes yadda yadda yadda and updates the game’s menu icon, which is of great significance to many Switch owners. People care about how their Switch home menus look, and many Nintendo fans tell developers loud and clear that their menu icons aren’t always up to snuff. So developers change them.

Diablo 3’s situation is slightly different from other Switch games, however. The game launched on Switch on Nov. 2, and did so with a distressingly bland menu icon: the stylized D from the Diablo 3 logo on a stark white background.


Polygon

According to Blizzard, that boring ol’ Switch icon wasn’t really meant to ship with the game anyway.

“It was intended as a placeholder and the final one missed the submission build by JUST enough,” Blizzard community manager Brandy “Nevalistis” Camel said on the Diablo subreddit. “Apologies for the flub up on our part!”

The good news is that now Switch owners have this to look at when they want to play Diablo 3:


The new Diablo 3: Eternal Collection icon on the Switch home menu

Polygon

Delicious.

What the patch doesn’t do is fix a bug with the Necromancer class on Switch. Blizzard says an update to address that situation is forthcoming.

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Best Buy’s Black Friday 2018 deals on gaming include the Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One

Best Buy’s Black Friday 2018 deals on gaming include the Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One

Best Buy’s Black Friday ad has dropped, revealing a series of doorbusters that kick off on Thanksgiving Day. Expect deals on some of this and last year’s biggest game releases, alongside other gaming hardware, TVs and more.

The best of those gaming deals from Best Buy’s Black Friday sale are below. We’ll update this post with new deals as they drop and remove any products that have sold out. As always, we’ll also be tweeting highlights from this and other Black Friday sales over at @PolygonDeals.

Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console deals

As always, Nintendo Switch console deals will be hard to come by, although there is a nice bundle going on sale in time for the big sales day. But Best Buy has price cuts on both the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 slim for Black Friday, and they’re steep. While both of these bundles will hit stores on Nov. 18 for early shoppers, the discounts on them won’t go live until Nov. 23.

Gaming PC and hardware deals

Best Buy has a handful of capable PCs on sale including:

Gaming controllers, headsets, keyboard and mouse deals

Black Friday is a good time to get controllers, and Best Buy will have PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch controllers on sale.

If you want a cheap-but-good pair of headsets, Best Buy has those covered too. Wired Turtle Beach headsets will go for cheap.

For more high-end models, Astro Gaming headsets will be on sale for up to 30 percent…

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Pokémon: Let’s Go!: 5 best new features

Pokémon: Let’s Go!: 5 best new features

If Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! look strangely familiar to you, it’s likely because they are. The Nintendo Switch games are modern takes on the classic Pokémon RPGs for Game Boy, released all the way back in 1996. What these games lack in new Pokémon (well, mostly), regions and gym battles, they more than make up for with contemporary conveniences.

It’s hard to shake our Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow nostalgia, but these five upgrades help revolutionize Let’s Go! over its inspirations in the best way possible.

Playing, petting and styling your Pokémon


Some of the possible styles for your partner Pokémon.
The Pokémon Company

A Pokémon trainer is nothing without a partner, and that crucial bond is key in Let’s Go!’s two versions. Choose Pikachu, and the electric mouse rides on your shoulder for the entirety of the game. Go with Eevee, and the little fox will hang out on top of your hat ad infinitum. The deepening friendship between trainer and ’mon leads to some battle benefits: Eevee and Pikachu, should they like you enough, can use their love to heal themselves or protect themselves in the middle of a fight, for instance.

The best way to make your partner love you is by playing with it; it’s also the cutest thing you can do in Pokémon: Let’s Go!, already a cute game. Choosing the Play feature invites you to…

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Stan Lee remembered: artists, creators react to news of his death

Stan Lee remembered: artists, creators react to news of his death


Tributes pour in for the Marvel Comics legend

Stan Lee, the beloved comic book writer, editor and publisher known as the co-creator of such Marvel characters as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and the X-Men, died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 95.

Lee leaves behind an incredible pop culture legacy running from the Golden Age of comic books in the mid-20th century to the blockbuster Hollywood films of the multibillion-dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe in the present day. Follow along as the world looks back at Lee’s life and career, and pays tribute to Stan “The Man.”

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How to make Tetris Effect play more like traditional Tetris

How to make Tetris Effect play more like traditional Tetris

Tetris Effect is a beautiful and earnest attempt to turn one of the world’s classic games into an audiovisual journey. The sights, sounds and gameplay all intertwine to make one of the most well-worn experiences feel vibrant and new.

But what if all the particle effects, customized tetriminos and pulsing stages are too distracting? What if you wanted to play this modern version of Tetris with a more traditional look? Well, it’s possible.

Tucked into the various settings in Tetris Effect are several options that will allow you to tweak or completely remove some of the effects that you might find distracting if you’re trying to concentrate on the fast-paced gameplay.

Here are several settings you can change to make Tetris Effect an easier to read experience.

How to make Tetris Effect more like classic Tetris

If you go into the options or pause the game mid-play, you’ll find several settings you can tweak.

In the gameplay options, here’s what you can modify:

  • You can change the next queue to show one tetrimino, like standard competitive Tetris rules or three if you want it to feel more like modern games.
  • You can turn the hold queue on or off. Turning off the ability to hold tetriminos will make the game feel more like competitive play.
  • Ghost piece display will allow you to see where you’ll drop a piece. Disable it for a more…
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Is The Grinch the new Once-ler, Tumblr’s autosexual Lorax idol?

Is The Grinch the new Once-ler, Tumblr’s autosexual Lorax idol?

A new Grinch movie in theaters means that children everywhere will get their generation’s version of the beloved Dr. Seuss tale, just in time for the holiday rush.

It also means that a specific subsection of the internet is now recoiling in fear, because of what happened last time there was an animated Dr. Seuss tale featuring a lanky antihero figure out in theaters.

Namely, they’re freaking out that the Grinch will become the new Once-ler.

Even before the new Grinch movie came out (back when its projected release date was 2017), people knew that the formula of Dr. Seuss antihero plus the deep frenzy of the internet would spell disaster.

If you know what this seemingly ridiculous conglomeration of words alludes to, then I am very sorry. If you don’t, you’re probably wondering what, exactly there is to fear from the Grinch movie turning into a “Once-ler” situation. In that case, we will kindly inform you right now that this is your opportunity to turn back and live in blissful ignorance before continuing on.

[Ed. note: We warned you.]

Making things that most don’t consider inherently sexual into very sexual things is something that the internet has always done and always will. A month and a half ago, they did it to Bowser. Before that, it was Venom….

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Netflix bids farewell to the original Wii

Netflix bids farewell to the original Wii

Netflix will no longer work on the Nintendo Wii after Jan. 30, 2019, the streaming service has announced, making rec rooms at assisted living homes a less happy place.

After that date, Nintendo will suspend all video streaming services to the console, Netflix said. Nintendo is also shutting down the Wii Shop Channel, and its jaunty theme song, on that date.

That means Wii users won’t be able to redownload the WiiWare and Virtual Console titles they bought, nor can they transfer data from a Wii to a Wii U using the System Transfer Tool.

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Devil May Cry 5 includes a practice mode called ‘The Void’

Devil May Cry 5 includes a practice mode called ‘The Void’

Devil May Cry 5 will offer a new practice mode called The Void, where players can work on their fighting technique and get familiar with the game’s stylish action.

The Void highlighted a five-minute update on Capcom’s hack-slash-and-shoot adventure shown yesterday at X018. In The Void, players can turn off enemy damage and practice their combinations endlessly. Or they can enable damage and see how much a particular combo does.

These practices also let players of all ability levels work with any of the Devil Breakers — robotic arms that deliver special abilities to protagonist Nero— as long as they want without using them. Director Hideaki Itsuno shows off several of the Devil Breakers, including a Mega Buster that will make Nero jump and slide like Mega Man.

Devil May Cry 5 launches March 8, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. It’s the first game in the series since 2013’s DmC: Devil May Cry reboot.

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Which Mega Man robot masters were worth the risk?

Which Mega Man robot masters were worth the risk?

The Mega Man robot masters weren’t meant to be evil. Most were built to do important tasks, like creating non-polluting energy, before Dr. Wily turned them on humanity.


Wow. What a good tour guide.
Capcom

But some, like Centaur Man, were meant to be tour guides.

That led me to ask: which of these sentient robot masters were really worth the risk of a robot uprising? Could no one see that Blade Man, a sentient robot with swords for arms, was a bad idea?

So I decided to once again don my suit and lock myself in a studio (as I have done for the Zelda timeline and Skyrim’s books) to rank all 200+ Mega Man robot masters from most to least useful. Spoiler alert: about 15 of them are actually worth it. Sorry, Snake Man, you didn’t make the cut.

Make sure to subscribe to Polygon’s YouTube channel for more Unraveled, the series where I try to make sense of absurd amounts of video game lore.

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