Connect with us

Guides

What’s the best keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3?

Kingdom Hearts might be an action RPG, but it’s still packed with stuff. So, what is the best keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3?

Published

on

best keyblade Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts might be an action RPG, but it’s still packed with stuff. So, what is the best keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3?

Did you know that the keyblades in Kingdom Hearts are so named, not because they look like a key, but because the original is the χ-blade? The first χ-blade, introduced in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, is the original model upon which all others have been based.

But as it happens, the ‘χ’ in χ-blade is actually the Greek character ‘Chi’ in lowercase, which in this context can be pronounced ‘key’. And also, if you squint a bit, the word χ-blade – when written in a font that supports Greek characters, unlike ours – kind of looks a bit like the keyblade laid on its side.

Anyway, for the sake of people knowing what we’re saying – and so Google knows what this article is actually about – we’re going to refer to them as keyblades from here on. Here endeth the history lesson and needless exposition that nobody asked for, which is a nice metaphor for Kingdom Hearts, don’t you think?

Right. Sorry. Keyblades.

There are 12 keyblades that we know of in Kingdom Hearts 3. Here’s the full list, and where to retrieve them:

  • Kingdom Key – Starting weapon
  • Hero’s Origin – Olympus
  • Shooting Star – Twilight Town
  • Starlight Keyblade – Graveyard
  • Favorite Deputy – Toy Box
  • Happy Gear – Monstropolis
  • Ever After – Kingdom of Corona
  • Crystal Snow – Arendelle
  • Nano Gear – San Fransokyo
  • Wheel of Fate – The Caribbean
  • Hunny Spout – 100 Acre Wood
  • Ultima Weapon – See below
  • Bonus: Midnight Blue – Pre-order bonus, PlayStation
  • Bonus: Phantom Green – Pre-order bonus, Xbox
  • Bonus: Dawn til Dusk – Pre-order bonus, Amazon.com

For the most part, collecting a keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3 is pretty straightforward. Get to the end of an area, beat the final battle, and you’ll be rewarded with a new keyblade, thematically appropriate for the Disney world you’re in. And at this stage, if you’ve not pre-ordered Kingdom Hearts 3, then you’re not going to get those bonus keyblades. Sorry.

The final keyblade, though, the best keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3? That one – the Ultima Weapon, named after Final Fantasy rather than Disney – is a bit more work to get your hands on.

Using the keyblade forge, you can upgrade the keyblades listed above using various materials found throughout the game. If you collect all of the right materials, which will take you until pretty late in the story, you’ll be able to combine the following elements to forge the best keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3: the Ultima Weapon.

  • Orichalcum – 7
  • Wellspring Crystal – 2
  • Lucid Crystal – 2
  • Lucid Shard – 5
  • Pulsing Crystal – 2

If you’re looking for a headstart on finding those precious materials, you’ll receive some Orihalcum from collecting the Lucky Emblems to view the Kingdom Hearts 3 secret ending.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

Guides

Where are the secret tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2?

Finding all the Secret Tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding an IRL VHS in 2020.

Published

on

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes Guide
Activision / Thumbsticks

Finding all the Secret Tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding an IRL VHS in 2020.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is good. We have a review that says just that. Here’s a different review, if you need a second opinion. See? It’s good.

Additionally, you can find an in-depth feature on the impact the soundtrack had for the featured bands here. If you want to find every tape from the first game, click here. But if you’re looking for the tapes from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 read on.

Hangar

From the starting ramp, skate down into the section with the half-pipe and plane. Use the ramp on the far left to enter the area with the helicopter. Then, use the ramp to boost onto the helicopter and grind along its blades. This will cause the helicopter to take off, crashing through the wall and out of the hangar. Make the same exit, to find the Secret Tape suspended above the furthest ramp, which you can easily boost off to reach it.

School II

This one is a little more difficult. From the start, skate to the right and down the hallway to enter the courtyard. Skate forward to find a section with planters leading into ramps. Build up your special meter to gain speed, then boost off the leftmost ramp to get onto the awning. Wallride into a grind to access the rooftop, then make a hard stop. From here, you should see a ramp which you can ride off to reach a tape. But, be sure to line up your jump before you go or you may have to do this section all over again.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 school

New York

This one is pretty easy if you know what to do. (And a little tricky if your brightness settings are on the darker side.)

From the start, skate straight ahead until you see a pipe leaning against a fence. Grind up the pipe to reach New York’s second major area. Once you’re in, skate up the spiralling concrete ramp where you’ll see metal pipes leading most of the way to a floating Secret Tape. The trick here is to Ollie from the first pipe early and lean hard to the left to land on a second pipe which curves inward. Maintain your balance and you’ll easily get the tape.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 New York

Venice

This tape is deceptively easy to get. Skate forward from the start and look for the ramp above. Build up your special to gain some speed, then boost off the ramp, land, skate back toward the second table on the left. Ramp off it and you can pretty easily grab the tape.

Philadelphia

This one is straightforward. The Secret Tape is floating above the fountain on a wire. Follow the wire to its source, on an elevated planter nearby. Ollie up to the grass, then grind along the wire to grab the tape. If you keep going you can get the Vicarious Visions V, as well.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Philadelphia

Missed our guide on the secret tape locations from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1? We’ve got a guide for that, too.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading

Guides

Where are the secret tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1?

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings back those pesky Secret Tapes. Here’s where to find them.

Published

on

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes Guide
Activision / Thumbsticks

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings back those pesky Secret Tapes. Here’s where to find them.

The Tony Hawk games were always just really good 3D platformers — check out this video of Mario grinding all over Bo- Omb Battlefield if you don’t believe me. And, because they’re 3D platformers, each level has a ton of collectables hidden in hard-to-reach places. And in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, none is quite as elusive as the Secret Tape.

These glowing VHS tapes show up in every level, save the competitive stages like Burnside and Skate Park. If you’re anything like me, you’ll often see a tape and have no idea how to reach it. This guide is for you.

This article details how to find each tape in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. We’ll have a separate guide for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 later this week.

Warehouse

From the starting section, take the right ramp down into the more open area below. Here, you’ll see a half-pipe with a glassed-in room jutting out from the wall above. Build up speed until you can jump to the glassed-in room – this is easier if you’ve upgraded your skater’s speed stats – where you’ll find this level’s secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

School

From your start position on the green awning, drop down and to the right. From here, you’ll see a concrete ramp leading to the roof of the school. Skate up there, then turn around and skate back toward the other side of the roof. You’ll see a pipe leading diagonally from the roof to the other green awning. Grind down it, or transfer from the ramp, to reach the awning. Skate it until it ends, then jump to grab the secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Mall

After manoeuvring around the twisty ramps at the beginning of the level, emerge into the main mall. Skate straight ahead until you reach the ramp overlooking the two sets of pipes – one on the ground and one suspended from the ceiling. Grind along the top set of pipes until you reach the tape at the end.

Downtown

Skate out of the alley where the level begins, then turn right and head up toward the movie theatre. From here, you should see a semi-truck with a bed that’s suspiciously ramp-like. Roll up the ramp and through the glass then follow the hallway across the sky bridge to the rooftops. Here, you’ll find a wooden pool with gaps in the sides that provide a ramp across the street to other buildings. You want to use the one that’s on your left as you enter the pool.

But, before you make the jump, you’ll need to build up some speed. This will be easier if you’ve levelled up your skater’s speed, ollie and hangtime stats. Once you’ve built enough speed, make the jump to the rooftop across the street where you’ll find the secret tape.

Downhill Jam

This is one of the trickier secret tapes to get. That is, at least for me, who has fallen while attempting the gap dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

That said, here’s how you (theoretically) do it. From the start, skate until you reach the diagonal pipe immediately before the halfpipe. Grind up it, then skate down the incline on the right side of the halfpipe until you reach another pipe. Grind across, then jump the gap. From here, you should be able to see the secret tape in the centre of the toilet bowl. Circle around, then jump onto the platform where the tape rests.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Streets

From the start position, skate down the brick path to the pair of buildings that separate the street from the fountain. Use the ramp to boost up toward the roof, then grind along the roof when you reach the proper height. Immediately stop and turn around, then follow the ramp until you reach the top of the building. Here, you’ll find a large wooden ramp overlooking a squat building with a glass roof. Ramp off, and break through the glass to earn Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’s final secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Okay. Now that you’ve acquired every tape, check out Tom’s feature on the bands that defined the series’ iconic soundtracks. And for more on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 check back in later this week for our full review.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading

Guides

What are the Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements?

Now that Horizon Zero Dawn has made the trip from PS4 exclusive to PC, you’ll need to know if your machine can handle it.

Published

on

horizon zero dawn system requirements
Guerrilla Games

Now that Horizon Zero Dawn has made the trip from PS4 exclusive to PC, you’ll need to know if your machine can handle it.

Rumours swirled for a long time before Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was officially announced. The fact that Death Stranding – which uses the Decima Engine developed for Horizon Zero Dawn – was announced (and subsequently released) for PC seemed to only add fuel to that fire.

Then, earlier this year, Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was confirmed by Sony.

The release window we were given at the time was “summer 2020” which was, after a time, narrowed down to August 7, 2020. That’s just two days away. But if you’re thinking of picking it up for PC, you’re going to need to know if your machine can handle it.

Minimum Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or AMD FX [email protected]
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 (3 GB) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (4GB)
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 100 GB available space

Recommended Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or Ryzen 5 [email protected]
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 100 GB available space

All told, those aren’t too onerous, but we don’t know what the target resolutions and frame rates are for the “minimum” and “recommended” specs.

And it is a sign of the times that even the minimum Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements require at least 3 or 4GB of VRAM on your graphics card. That rules out a bunch of lower-end systems and cut-down, mobile graphics cards. The requirement for DirectX 12 will also automatically exclude some older, lower-end systems that might otherwise get close to the specs.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading

Features

Every licensed song and cover on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack

Here’s every real-life song – original, licensed recording or cast-recorded cover – featured on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

Published

on

licensed songs covers the last of us part ii soundtrack
Naughty Dog

Here’s every real-life song – original, licensed recording or cast-recorded cover – featured on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

The Last of Us Part II must’ve been a licensing nightmare. There’s that official Taylor 314ce guitar, for one thing, before we even get to the tunes. And we’ve already seen how rights expiry can disappear games from sale, so when Naughty Dog told Sony’s licensing team they wanted Pearl Jam and a-ha (among others) on the soundtrack? That was probably not a popular decision.

But in addition to Gustavo Santaolalla’s original score, there are a whole bunch of licensed songs that made it onto the Last of Us Part II’s soundtrack. (We only wonder what didn’t make the cut, given some of the massive names that did. Let us know if you didn’t get any songs you pushed for, Neil.)

Some of the licensed songs on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack are the original versions, played as background or incidental music. Others are covers, played in part or in full by characters in the game. What’s really neat is that the voice actors behind Ellie and Joel, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker respectively, played guitar and sang the vocals in the motion capture studio. There’s no sneaky session musicians or dubbing going on here.

So, here’s the full list of every licensed song and cover on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

Spoiler warning: This article will contain general location, character and story spoilers for The Last of Us Part II.

Through the Valley – Shawn James (original recording)

It’s super quiet and difficult to make out, but Ellie listens to this on a Walkman in a flashback scene right before Joel gifts her the guitar.

Bonus: This is also the song that Ellie sings while playing the guitar on the trailer for the game from the PlayStation Experience event in 2016.

Future Days – Pearl Jam (covered by Joel, Ellie)

Here’s an interesting one. You first hear Joel playing Future Days for Ellie as he gifts her that beautiful Taylor guitar, then throughout the game, you’ll hear snippets of it, played by Ellie. It includes the lyrics “if I ever were to lose you, I’d surely lose myself” which is thematically appropriate for The Last of Us Part II. So far, so sensible.

But did you know that Future Days appears on Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt album, which was released on October 11, 2013? That’s interesting because “outbreak day” – when the Cordyceps brain infection struck – happens on September 27, 2013. So in the fictional universe of The Last of Us, Pearl Jam never actually got to release Lightning Bolt.

So how does Joel know a song that was never released? Game director Neil Druckmann has the answer:

I mean, sure, it sounds a little like a retcon, but it technically works.

Bonus: There’s a poster for Pearl Jam’s Lighting Bolt in the music store Ellie visits with Dina in Seattle.

Take on Me – a-ha (covered by Ellie)

In a game filled with violence (spoiler warning on that article) and the bleakest parts of the human character, there are a few small moments of light. They’re pretty few and far, and they decrease as the game goes on, but one of the nicest comes just after Ellie and Dina arrive in Seattle.

In the aforementioned guitar shop, Ellie finds an acoustic guitar that’s locked away inside a hard shell flight case. She pops open the case, tunes the guitar, and sings a song for Dina. That song? It’s a beautiful acoustic rendition of 80s pop anthem Take on Me, by Norwegian synth heroes a-ha.

For a game that’s split the discourse so heavily, it probably speaks volumes that this – a hands-off cut scene, of characters having a pleasant singalong – is my favourite bit of the game.

Hydrogen – M|O|O|N (Hotline Miami soundtrack)

When Ellie is looking for Nora at the hospital, she happens upon a member of the WLF who is playing on her PS Vita. Ellie interrogates the girl at knifepoint and, ultimately, kills her when she fights back. But the game she’s playing? It’s hyper-violent shooter Hotline Miami. (A game that asks, “do you like hurting other people?” which can’t be a coincidence, given The Last of Us Part II’s themes.)

But the song that’s playing is the thing, here, and that tune is Hydrogen by M|O|O|N.

It Was a Good Day – Ice Cube (original recording)

This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Ice Cube, but you can hear this classic tune playing in the WLF hospital as Ellie listens in on Nora being questioned by other WLF soldiers looking for Abby.

The Winding Sheet – Mark Lanegan (original recording)

The brilliant Mark Lanegan – vocalist for Screaming Trees and latterly with Queens of the Stone Age – released his first solo album, The Winding Sheet, in 1990. The title track from that album appears on the soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II. You’ll hear it on the boombox at Owen’s aquarium.

Christmas Wish – Roberts, Fletcher, Sturrock (original recording)

This modern Christmas tune is playing during one of Abby’s flashbacks at the aquarium with Owen.

Rock Around the Christmas Tree – Fiddy, Burdson (original recording)

Another Christmas tune from the aquarium flashback at Christmas.

Ecstasy – Crooked Still (covered by Ellie)

Ellie plays this one as part of one of the guitar minigames when she’s having trouble sleeping, at the farm with Dina and JJ.

Little Sadie – Crooked Still (original recording?)

This is the song that’s playing at the dance, during the flashback where Ellie and Dina kiss for the first time.

(We’ve put this down as “original recording?” with a big question mark because it’s not clear if the performance in the game is supposed to be just the original record, played over a PA system, or if it’s supposed to be a “live” band at the party.)

Ain’t No Grave – Crooked Still (original recording)

This is the song Ellie puts on with JJ when Dina requests some tunes to wash up to. Or, more specifically, this is the track on the B-side of the LP, where Ellie starts the needle. The album is Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound from 2006, and Ain’t No Grave is the seventh song on the record.

But what’s interesting is that a bunch of other Crooked Still tunes crop up in the game’s credits, but this appears to be the last time we hear them. So where are they, exactly? If you go and dance with Dina straight away, they’ll move to the backyard to hang out laundry and the music will end. But if you don’t interact with Dina immediately, you’ll also hear…

Ecstasy – Crooked Still (original recording)

The eighth track on Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound.

Mountain Jumper – Crooked Still (original recording)

Track number nine on Shaken By a Low Sound.

Railroad Bill – Crooked Still (original recording)

Track ten on Shaken By a Low Sound by Crooked Still.

Wind and Rain – Crooked Still (original recording)

The final track on Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound.

Young Men Dead – The Black Angels (original recording)

You’ll hear this one playing on a stereo as you battle the Rattlers in Santa Barbara.

Helplessly Hoping – Crosby, Stills & Nash (covered by Joel)

This is a tricky one because it’s not in the game’s credits. Presumably, the snippet of fingerpicking is so short and with Joel not singing any of the lyrics, licensing wasn’t a concern. But in the game’s final flashback between Joel and Ellie, Helplessly Hoping is the song you hear him playing on his front porch when Ellie disturbs him.

Unknown – Unknown (covered by Ellie)

The final song that Ellie plays – or, at least, attempts to play – in The Last of Us Part II is pretty unrecognisable. She lost two fingers on her left hand in the final fight with Abby and can no longer form those chords.

It’s a safe bet that it’s probably Future Days by Pearl Jam, given the chord progression Ellie’s trying to follow and the song’s significance to the story, but it’s hard to say for sure. (And that’s exactly the point, right?)

Wayfaring Stranger – Johnny Cash (covered by Ellie and Joel)

This is the song that plays for the final few minutes of the credits for The Last of Us Part II. But don’t give up that easy – there’s still a post-credits surprise (of sorts) after the end of the trailer.

Bonus: True Faith – New Order (covered by Ellie)

This is the song that Ellie plays on the TV spot for The Last of Us Part II.

It’s also something that Naughty Dog got into trouble over, because it’s very clearly inspired by (if not directly copied from) Lotte Kestner’s 2011 arrangement of the New Order classic.


Forgotten what happened in the original The Last of Us? You’ll want to read our comprehensive story recap. Found this guide useful? Please consider supporting Thumbsticks or buying us a coffee to say thanks.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading

Guides

What are the Microsoft Flight Simulator system requirements?

Microsoft Flight Simulator is back, almost 40 years after its debut. What are the system requirements to play the latest version of your dad’s favourite flight simulator?

Published

on

Microsoft Flight Simulator system requirements
Microsoft

Microsoft Flight Simulator is back, almost 40 years after its debut. What are the system requirements to play the latest version of your dad’s favourite flight simulator?

Microsoft Flight Simulator launches on August 18, 2020. There are three versions you can buy at launch, which include different combinations of planes and airports depending on how much you spend.

But the question is, what can you run Microsoft Flight Simulator on?

The short answer is, just Windows PC, and just via the Windows Store. At least, for now. Microsoft is reportedly exploring more distribution options for its very serious plane game, with other storefronts like Steam on the cards for later.

It’s also thought that we might see Microsoft Flight Simulator on the Xbox Series X generation of consoles, but the Xbox One generation can’t quite handle the expansive, global flying experience. Which is weird, because when you look at the following system requirements for Microsoft Flight Simulator, it doesn’t look too dissimilar to the power behind the Xbox Series X.

But Microsoft is keen to make sure that games are as cross-platform and cross-generational as possible. The 6 TFLOPs Xbox Series X might be good enough to handle Microsoft Flight Simulator, for instance, but the OG Xbox One – which is rated around 1.3 TFLOPs – would struggle to handle it. And with Microsoft unwilling to split the generation, console players will have to wait for the Xbox Series X, which rocks 12 TFLOPs of GPU power.

Anyway. Back to the present, and the PC system requirements for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Microsoft Flight Simulator system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 (version 1909 or higher)
  • CPU: Intel i5-4460, Ryzen 3 1200
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 770, Radeon RX 570 | 2 GB VRAM
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Storage: 150 GB
  • DirectX: DirectX 11

And that’s it. There are minimum system requirements, but no recommended ones. But as is always the case with these things, the more horsepower you can throw at it, the better. If you want to get the absolute best out of Microsoft Flight Simulator, you’re going to want to be at the top-end of the GPU tree.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading