Pokémon Happy Meals ‘Restricted’, Resident Evil Village Demo Extended

Today: Miss the old PlayStation store? Make your own zombie version of it — Capcom extends Resident Evil Village demo period — It’s good to be the king in Europa Universalis IV: Leviathan

Pokémon Happy Meals in UK ‘restricted’

Sale of 25th anniversary Pokémon Happy Meals at McDonald’s will be restricted in an effort to curtail the scalping seen in the US.

These trading cards are a special limited run

What was supposed to be fun for Pokémon fans has turned into a feeding frenzy for scalpers looking to monopolize the limited 25th anniversary Pokémon trading cards included with Happy Meals.

Rationing: McDonald's is hoping to avoid the same problem in the UK by restricting the number of Happy Meals each customer can purchase at a time, according to internal memos from the fast food giant. The 25th anniversary limited edition set consists of 50 cards and includes both normal and foil versions of all starter Pokémon.

Scalp-o-rama: The limited edition cards appeared on eBay as soon as the 25th anniversary Pokémon Happy Meals went on sale in the US, and most of the scalpers were buying Happy Meals in bulk to secure the cards and simply threw the food away. McDonald's acknowledged that some of their customers were going to “extreme lengths”.

Who designed the bizarre pinball/strategy hybrid Odama?

a) Hidetaka Suehiro
b) Kazuhiko Aoki
c) Akitoshi Kawazu
d) Yoot Saito

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Alien health thieves and random endings

The ending cutscene in Rare’s NES classic Battletoads features four different sets of dialogue between the Black Queen and Professor T. Bird, and one of them is chosen when you beat the game.

Battletoads hit Xbox One in 2015 as part of Rare Replay

There’s a type of enemy called Vaders, named after Space Invaders, who don’t attack the players but instead let loose directly on the player’s health bar, stealing pieces from it.

Join our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today's fact.

Bring the old store back from the dead

Turns out the old PlayStation Store is not dead after all! You just need to dig around a bit in the code to exhume the old storefront.

A PlayStation Store lost in time and API code

If you fiddle around with the website using the web development tools included in most modern browsers, you can make requests to the old store's API and get results from it. Sony never actually removed the old website, they just replaced the API calls with a newer version.

Extension: You can grab a Firefox extension to use the old version of the store – but not in the US. The extension uses the same technique as shown in the video, but packaged for ease of use.

All systems go: The old version of the PlayStation Store appears to be fully functional, but it's more likely than not that Sony will clean up properly after themselves now since the old store is unsupported and not intended to be used. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Capcom extends Village demo period

Capcom has heard your desperate pleas, and will now allow the big vampire lady to step on you for a full week rather than just a day as originally announced.

The final demo period overlaps the game’s launch

“The original 24-hour window starting 5PM PDT May 1 (1AM BST May 2) has been increased by a week, and now ends at the same times on May 9 PDT (May 10 BST),” tweeted the official account.

Extended Final Demo schedule

  • North America
    May 1st at 5:00pm – May 9th at 5:00pm PDT
  • United Kingdom
    May 2nd at 1:00am – May 10th at 1:00am BST
  • Europe
    May 2nd at 2:00am – May 10th at 2:00am CEST

Country house: Resident Evil Village shows what happens to Ethan Winters after the events of Resident Evil VII, and features the return of Chris Redfield. It launches on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on May 7th.

Review: Europa Universalis IV: Leviathan

Developer: Paradox Interactive

Version Tested: PC

Yes, there's a Leviathan expansion for Europa Universalis IV too, not to be confused with the Stellaris expansion by the same name. So what does this latest invocation of Thomas Hobbes' big fish metaphor bring to Europa Universalis' already burgeoning banquet of grand strategy?

First up, American native tribes have nearly a hundred new provinces to their names as well as a load of new flavour events, which should bring new life to an otherwise slightly neglected continent. This is all available in the latest free update, and you don't actually need to pay to spice up the indigenous Americans.

The DLC proper introduces a range of new mechanics, the most prominent of which is the new favour system, which massively increases their utiltiy beyond preparing for war. There are also new ways to earn favour, which allow smaller and less aggressive nations to jostle for power without being constantly embroiled in warfare.

You can now curry favour via diplomacy by hiring diplomats and tasking them with chatting up foreign governments. How successful their charm offensive is depends on your diplomatic reputation and opinion, and the more powerful your allies are, the more impressive your diplomacy will be. In practice, this means it's easy to improve your relations with already friendly nations, but not particularly easy to build relationships to neutral nations and practically impossible to get enemies to nod along.

Where you would typically use favours to ask allies to help you out when waging war, there are now new ways to spend your favour in peace time. For example, you can ask for half of an ally's annual income, manpower or sailors, which can be quite a a boon if your allies are powerful enough. If you don't need to beg for alms or your allies are crushed by debt, you can spend a bit of favour doing trade instead.

Pillaging isn't just for hordes

Carry enough favour, and you can start to really throw your weight around. For example, you can make your allies revoke alliances – extremely useful if you are looking to expand your territory into lands your allies have sworn to protect. Messing with the bonds that bind different nations is also a great way to fan the flames of conflict and making sure conflicts develop to your benefit.

There are also more peaceful uses for favour. You can request the return of a core province, which allows two allies to co-exist a bit more easily, and you can trade heirs with your allies which potentially puts you in control of their state if you play your cards right. Why steal the throne when you can simply inherit it?

States and provinces also work slightly differently in Leviathan. First of all, states can be centralized and their governance cost decreased at the price of reform points. This meshes well with the infrastructure expansion feature, which allows you to add building and manufacturing slots to a province in exchange for greatly increased cost of governance.

And that's not all: You can also concentrate development, moving it from a territory (but not a state) and into your capital. It's not free and you lose a bit of productivity in the process, but it helps you consolidate and develop your core territories, ensuring that gains stay within your empire even if you lose territory again.

Speaking of territory control, armies can now automatically carpet siege, which allows them to besiege an area without engaging in combat, just like you can ask your vassals to do. This helps micromanage conflicts in war time, and while it's not always useful it can really make all the difference if deployed at the right moment.

Another convenient feature is locking forts. If you lock in a fort, they can not be mothballed, which allows you to quickly cut costs by mothballing your forts without losing your most important defensive bastions. Saves a lot of otherwise tedious micromanagement and mental overhead.

Underwhelming Monuments

The final big change in Leviathan is the monument system, which adds dozens of special locations similar to the wonders in Crusader Kings. You can spend huge amounts of money to upgrade them, and smaller monuments can be transferred to your capital. If you capture a province with a monument, its level is reset and the province will be more expensive when negotiating the peace treaty.

Many of these monuments will most likely need a bit of rebalancing in the future, since some are essentially worthless while others are spectacularly powerful. For example, the Versailles monument's final tier grants the owner a 20% global tax income bonus, which is pretty astonishing considering how powerful France already is.

Like always, the expansion also introduces a few new bugs. The AI is still not great at balancing budgets, although slightly less profligate than before. It also seems like separatism keeps blocking culture conversions even after the effect has expired, and there are some minor graphical glitches in the trade hub pie chart.

Overall, though, Leviathan is a considerable improvement and holds a lot more promise than the earlier Europa Universalis expansions. The favour and development systems make peaceful, diplomatic gameplay more viable and introduce entirely new ways to play the game. It's well worth the investment if you play a lot of Europa Universalis, and a good excuse to pick up Paradox's new subscription service, which gives you access to all expansions for their games.

PROS:

  • Favours finally have a purpose and no longer depends on war
  • New development features allow more freedom in growth
  • Carpet sieging saves so much micro-management

CONS:

  • Monuments are hard to find and either underwhelming or overpowered
  • Introduces a fair share of new bugs
7.5/10Good

Who designed the bizarre pinball/strategy hybrid Odama?

ANSWER: Yoot Saito!

You put pinball in my tactics game!

If some game makes you go “huh, that’s weird” there’s a pretty good chance Yoot Saito is behind it. The creator of games like The Tower and Seaman is, to put it mildly, not afraid to color outside the lines and Odama is a brilliant example. Voice-controlled feudal Japanese battles and pinball is not the most obvious mix, but that’s exactly what Odama offers.

Use the microphone to command your troops, while flattening the enemy army with your giant pinball of death. Sure, it may not be a true classic, but it’s an extremely interesting and unusual game – and one that’s extremely unlikely to ever see the light of day again.

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Nick Akerman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!