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  1. 15 points
    So my wife gave birth! Woohoo!
  2. 11 points
    Hopefully these images will work. Redecorated the converted garage we have in our house. Bought a new Samsung 43 inch TV and some Star Wars framed pictures as well from here. Bought a Last Jedi one as well as Ep4-6. https://www.lawandmoore.co.uk/product/star-wars-4-6-movie-posters/ It’s my little room for gaming which I’m really chuffed with. Just need to add some stuff to go in the glass cabinets. Edit. Ah good. Got them to work. Also bought a new recliner which I lost to my daughter within a day
  3. 10 points
  4. 9 points
  5. 9 points
    Nintendo's FY3/Q2 2021 report is out, covering the period of 1st July 2020 - 30th September 2020. The big takeaways - 6.85 million units sold this quarter between the Switch and Switch Lite. Lifetime sales for the console now stand at 68.5 million units sold. This means sales for the Switch halfway through the Financial Year stand at 12.53 million units sold - with the busiest quarter still to come! Year-to-date sales stand at 15.82 million units sold (3.29 million units were sold in Q4 2020). - On the back of this, hardware forecast sales for the year have been increased to 24 million units sold. This is in line with previous reports from the time of their last financials, which outlines Nintendo would be increasing production to 25 million units for the Financial Year. - In terms of new games this quarter, Paper Mario: The Origami King has sold 2.82 million units since launch, and Super Mario 3D All-Stars has sold 5.21 million units since launch (yeah, for the latter it's worth noting that's only in the space of two weeks). - Other games of note: Ring Fit Adventure at 5.84 million units sold, Xenoblade Chronicles now at 1.40 million units sold, and Clubhouse Games is at 1.81 million units sold. - Pokémon Sword & Shield have passed 19 million units sold, making them the first games in the series to do so since Gold & Silver. - Mario Kart 8 (including both sales of Deluxe and the original Wii U version of the game) is now the best-selling game in the series, with lifetime sales of 37.44 million units sold compared with Mario Kart Wii's 37.38 million units sold. It's possible that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe could surpass this mark individually down the road. Top 10 best-selling Switch games as of 30th September 2020 1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 28.99M 2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons - 26.04M 3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 21.10M 4. Breath of the Wild - 19.74M 5. Pokemon Sword/Shield - 19.02M 6. Super Mario Odyssey - 18.99M 7. Pokemon Let’s GO - 12.49M 8. Super Mario Party - 12.10M 9. Splatoon 2 - 11.27M 10. New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe - 8.32M Personal Note: Animal Crossing: New Horizons could potentially surpass Mario Kart 8 Deluxe over the next quarter and become the Switch's best-selling game. Based on it's current pacing, New Horizons should surpass the 30 million mark in 2020 sales alone. Based on their current growth rates, New Horizons would be projected to come in next time around at just passing that 30 million mark, whilst Mario Kart would be in the 31 - 32 million mark, though this is only based on quarter-to-quarter growth comparisons, and it would be expected for both games to perform even stronger next time around due to it being the busiest quarter of the year.
  6. 9 points
    With the exception on June, I have played a fair few games over the past few months. I'll put a paragraph or two about each game that i've played. Strap in...this is going to be a long post.
  7. 8 points
    C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!
  8. 8 points
    I booted up my Wii last week for the first time in a while. Had a pretty frustrating couple of days at work and by the end I was fed up so much I needed to let off some steam, so I booted up Wii Sports and played a couple of boxing matches. Worked pretty well actually.
  9. 8 points
    There's been a bit of Wii-vival in my household recently. I've been taking care of my youngest niece (7 years old) on a number of occasions and I usually let her play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on my Switch. I was thinking of other games that would be suitable for her and the Wii popped into my head. I decided to mix things up a bit and the next time I was looking after her I introduced her to Wii Sports Resort. I created a new Mii for her, started a fresh save file and just let her go at the game. If starting a new file on the game it means that you get to do the initial sky dive out of the plane. She was absolutely fascinated by it all and couldn't believe that she was controlling her Mii by simply moving the controller. She was pretty much hooked from that point on and from there she ended up playing things like bowling, fencing and even the more advanced games like archery. I was quite surprised how quick she picked it up as my sister and her husband don't let her play video games at home and keep her off mobile phones and iPads as they would rather she reads or does something more creative. Every time she pops over now she instantly asks to play the game. During one of the sessions I had to take my phone out and record what she was doing. It was absolutely hilarious. She was playing the cycling game and near the end of the course I was encouraging her to go a little faster and so she started to kick her legs and run on the spot as if that had any impact to what she was doing on screen. She also started to get closer and closer to the TV screen, willing her character to go that little bit faster. Great stuff. I showed my sister how active the little one gets when she's playing it. She's already a very active kid ( goes for lots of walks with her parents ) but my sister was impressed with the type of game it was and is even thinking about getting her a Wii for Christmas. You can get them dirt cheap on eBay these days and there are loads of games she could pick up for her. I have recommended to her to pay a little extra and try and pick up a Wii U. That way there won't be any issue with TV connections as I think their TV may be modern enough to not support the cables that are needed to play on a HDTV. Seeing her play on it has certainly got me thinking about revisiting the console, playing some old games on it and even picking up some of the ones I may have missed. It's definitely a console that I played but didn't really appreciate at the time. With this generation coming to an end, and with me in no hurry to jump into the next generation of consoles, I am thinking that Wii-visiting the console is something that I may do sooner rather than later. It's funny thinking about it, the Wii still seems relatively recent to me but it's close to 15 years old at this point now. There's a generation of kids, much like my niece, who have never heard of it or experienced how fun motion controls can be when used properly. Watching her play on the Wii and the reaction it gave did show that there was a certain charm and magic about the console that very few consoles, if any, have been able to pull off.
  10. 7 points
    It's something that I honestly hate seeing and I just pin it down to people being out of touch and pure ignorance. In my last place of work, all of us in the lab worked closely with the software team. Most of the software team were into gaming and there was plenty of gaming banter happening on a daily basis. One day, we were all discussing our gaming achievements and I mentioned my love of trophies, my UK ranking, coming first and top 5 in the world multiple times in terms of unlocking trophies and achievements and topping the world leaderboards of Street Fighter on the Switch. Everyone couldn't believe it and were all impressed. Well, except for the software manager. The guy was in his 50's and very much a corporate type. Typical, brown nose, money obsessed business man. He turned to us all and said it was a waste of time and it wouldn't help you get a job. None of us ever said it would! I let it slide and just ignored the comment but I did wonder, has he ever been number 1 in the world for anything that he has done in his life? Probably not. It may be just a hobby but these things are something i'm very proud of. Another incident in the same company happened with one of the software team. We used to hold monthly presentations where a person would pick a topic and create a presentation on it. The company orientated folk would do something related to the work we would be doing but who I class as the normal people would do something that was a hobby of theirs. Rory was just a young apprentice and he decided to do his presentation on eSports. After the presentation, the CEO of the company (again, very business type and in his 50's) asked Rory how much time he spent playing games and did he not think it was a waste of time and that he could be doing something better. I was fuming. I actually help Rory a little with the presentation and specifically told him to put in how much the gaming industry makes in comparison to every other entertainment industry, hoping that this would open the eyes of the ignorant. Clearly it didn't work. I could tell that Rory was a little upset and maybe embarrassed by it all. The CEO knew I was a big gamer and after the meeting asked me how much time I put into gaming. I've never been shy about my hobby and simply said "As much free time as I possibly have" and walked off. It's these kinds of attitudes towards gaming that really boils my blood. If you don't understand why someone likes the hobby then that's fair enough but trying to bring someone down because of it is just disgusting behavior, especially when there are far worst past times. As Greg mentioned, drinking alcohol, something that is physically bad for you, is somehow seen as acceptable and yet gaming, proven to help with depression, hand eye coordination and multitasking, is seen as some kind of taboo. For religious reasons I have never touched alcohol in my life but I don't bring down those who decide to spend their time doing so. I used to work with a guy who used his holidays every pay day to go out drinking. It was what he liked doing and it brought him joy. None of us mocked him when he came back to work and said what he was doing was a complete waste. I hate that the hobby is still seen as a kids thing to do. I remember a guy I used to work with at a previous job I had around 10-12 years ago. His name was Danny and it was in his early 60's. He liked nothing better than getting in from work and playing something like Call of Duty. He said he found it very therapeutic after a hard days work and found it much more relaxing than watching TV. He would always tell us stories of him and his wife arguing. Just would accuse him of wasting his time but his comeback was always that she spent more time watching the likes of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Eastenders than he did playing games. Check and mate. Outside of those couple of incidents, i've been lucky enough in my life to have friends who are all gamers and a family who are happy as long as i'm happy. My parents never questioned my love of gaming and to this day still ask about it and what i'm playing. They've always taken an interest in it. I'm not going to deny that they are negatives to the hobby. You hear stories of people dropping countless amounts of cash on microtransactions, people quitting jobs just to play games and kids becoming so addicted that they have hissy fits when they get their controllers, phones or iPads taken away from them. It's these stories that can strike fear into parents and I don't blame them for thinking that gaming could be a bad thing for their children. However, like anything in life, balance is the key. If a child has done their homework and as healthy social interactions with their friends then I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to play games. The same goes for adults. I do a 40 hour week at work, go to the gym and cinema with friends ( well, before covid hit) and go for runs on the road. After that it's time for gaming and I think I have a decent balance and i've earned that time to play on my consoles. I could go on and on about this subject but I think i've ranted on enough. I will touch on a topic that has popped up a couple of times in recent weeks on the podcast and that is of the rumoured Switch Pro. Honestly, if all it turns out to be is a more powerful version of the Switch then i'm not really fussed. Yeah, the Switch could do with a bump up in power but for me that isn't the issue with the hybrid. My issue is with the games or the lack thereof and no amount of power increase will solve this. I'd much rather that time and energy went into the game making process and Nintendo started pumping out software that felt special again because at the moment that magic seems to have been lost by them. The power increase may help in terms of 3rd party support but once again this will still come with it's own issues. If developers can't get the games out at the same time as the other consoles, as well as get them running well, then it's completely pointless. Just look at the whole Doom Eternal fiasco that has occurred. At this rate it could be nearly a year since it was released on the other platforms and despite this it will still be running worse and be more expensive. How much is it going to be on the eShop? £50-£60? It's now kicking around the sub £20 mark for the other consoles. I know Greg made the point a fair few weeks back now saying that he was questioning why he would be buying a Switch version of the game just to have something to play on it when he had a PS4 sitting there. It's a valid thought. I know Nick also seems to follow this path, with a lot of his purchases being on Steam and why wouldn't he? The games are cheaper and run better. In the past I think a lot of us on here would support Nintendo for the sake of it. We've all been fans of theirs for so long that it was kinda force of habit but as we've got older I think most of us have changed the way we think and are happy to spend our money and time on other platforms, especially if games release quicker, run smoother and are at a cheaper price.
  11. 7 points
    Looking good. Can't wait to awkwardly start sniffing my villagers and visitors.
  12. 7 points
    The majority of remakes are of games that were previously popular or well received. However, I feel like some games have some interesting elements and setting but didn't quite pan out, and deserve a second chance to try and get things right. Some of these for me are: Vampyr Set in London during WW1, you play as a doctor who has recently been turned into a vampire. It has a very interesting idea where luring and killing innocent people will get you a ton of XP, allowing you to become overlevelled (instead of underlevelled if you don't kill anyone). The difficulty of the game does a good job at creating the the feeling of temptation to just nom on someone....perhaps on one of the more despicable people you meet. Unfortunately, the combat isn't particularly amazing and you can die very quickly if you are underlevelled. The quick death wouldn't be a huge problem if it was quick to get back into the action, but the loading time after death is agonizingly long. And it then respawns you with full health (which you usually have before a big fight anyway) but no blood (a power meter for special attacks and quick healing). As you typically save this for a big fight, it means that you're usually in a worse position than your first attempt. The game is also very buggy. It froze on me a couple of times, before eventually freezing on the same point of a mission about 6 times. Looked online and found one person who had the same issue, with starting the game again being the only thing to try. A remake could spruce up the combat and make it a lot quicker to get into action. Perhaps even use the vampire thing for doing respawns, borrowing from Dark Souls and having you lose some items that you have to go back and reclaim. I also think there should be more climbing and stealth options, so a more "Assassin's Creed" type city where you can take to the rooftops and be a bit more stealthy would work well. They could also add an extra optional difficulty mode where there's a day/night cycle, with the sun burning you throughout the day so you have to stick to shadows (a better designed city where you can sneak via people's houses would be important for this). Geist A game published by Nintendo, made by the developers of a Mary Kate and Ashley game. The game had an amazing concept: you were a ghost. In a ghost form, you had minimal impact on the world. However, you could possess things. You could possess objects easily, to possess animals you needed to scare them (a quick jump scare will do), and to possess humans you had to properly frighten them. One of the main flaws of the game is that you spent large sections of the game stuck in a body of a soldier, and if they died, it was game over. On top of that, it was incredibly linear, and was often a singular set way (if you were lucky, two ways) to frighten things. Taking the concept of the game and redesigning it as a more "light metroidvania" game (something that seems extremely popular at the moment) and having far more options to get past obstacles would be great. A dialogue system to make it less just shooty shooty could be great, too - for this you could add in documents/audio logs and stuff like that which enable you to lean about the people you are possessing so you can answer questions correctly. Would be a cool way to turn hidden collectables into something useful for gameplay.
  13. 7 points
    Ok then! My Etsy Shop Might also share the one I made a while ago for our upcoming (but possibly postponed) wedding:
  14. 7 points
    And with that Mario Galaxy is saved with 120 stars. This last lot of 10 stars weren’t all that bad, most being purple coin ones, as with the game on Wii, the purple coins on Luigi took the most attempts and even that was probably less than 10. Once I had my route and didn’t slip up I easily did it. The rest were fairly doable in one take. Nothing too frustrating this time. Again, this is easily my favourite Mario game. Absolutely amazing. I’m going to hold off on doing the “new world” lol as I don’t want to feel burnt out on it. It does mean I can go play Paper Mario and then come back to this at a later time. I never did the post 120 star stuff in the original.
  15. 7 points
    Numbers 50-41 50: Overcooked 2/Moving Out Starting with a dual one as they’re so close to each other, and both great for similar reasons. Both Overcooked and Moving Out turn simple tasks into a hilarious co-op challenge, causing arguments and blaming each other as you mess up. Both are great fun and failing massively is funny more than frustrating. Overcooked has you preparing food in a restaurant, chopping and combing ingredients. In a lot of levels you are separated and have to pass stuff back and forth. It’s hectic and requires good communication so you’re on the right track. Later levels are crazy, with lots of moving platforms and having to throw stuff over gaps. Moving Out puts you in charge of moving parcels and furniture into your van. Each level has extra optional objectives that lead you in playing in different ways. Sometimes you have to be careful, sometimes objectives can be stuff like smashing all the windows (the quickest way to get a bed out if a bedroom is thought the window). Again, levels get crazier further into the game. 49: Splatoon A shooting game where the focus isn’t on killing opponents (although that’s sill important), but more on covering the arena in your team’s colour. The brilliance of the game is in how all parts of its gameplay work together, as while you opponents ink hurts you, your own colour ink allows you to zoom through as a squid, or stay still to be hidden. You can also use this to move up walls. Each arena has multiple routes, and your spawn point is protected, you can also perform a superjump to an ally (which is telegraphed so is dangerous to jump to someone near enemies), so you never feel cornered, just find another route and start covering the arena from there. There’s also a singleplayer mode which, while simple, is still good fun and has some cool uses of ink that weren’t seen in multiplayer until free levels came out later on. 48: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney The end of the 3DS still falls into the time set, so I can include Layton Vs Wright. A fun an humorous game that includes characters and gameplay from both the Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright games, making for a very amusing and fun mixture of them both. Professor Layton is a game where you solve many puzzles, riddles and conundrums. Making great use of the touch screen on the 3DS, some can be extremely challenging, and some make you feel stupid as the answer is obvious. You can unlock hints to help you out by finding hint coins. Phoenix Wright is about being a defence lawyer in a courtroom, a kind of visual novel where you have to submit the right evidence at the right time. Both games have a humorous style and crazy antics that work well together. 47: Rocket League Football, but miles better. You drive around an enclosed arena in a crazy car that can jump (and sort of fly if you’re good enough), trying to knock a ball into your opponent’s goal. It’s a very simple concept, but is pulled off extremely well. The game is a lot of fun even if you’re awful at it. Luckily, the matchmaking system is usually pretty decent so in most games you won’t be destroyed by the people that can do all the fancy flying and flips. There’s a very high skill ceiling, but it still great just to pop on every so often for a bit of fun. 46: Mad Max Set in a desolate apocalyptic Australia, Mad Max is an open world game with a crazy looking car and lots and lots of people wearing spikes. While it doesn’t to anything particularly unique, it’s a very solid game with plenty to do and a devastated yet oddly pleasing landscape to drive around. The combat is a mix of guns and melee weapons, with occasional places where you can be stealthy if you want to be. It’s a solid combat system that keeps you entertained throughout most of the games – although if you decided to do everything, some side missions can get repetitive. The dialogue between the two main characters is interesting, although the rest of the people in the game are fairly forgettable, but (up until the terrible last missions) Mad Max is still a game where you will feel oddly invested while playing. One highlight are the crazy dangerous sandstorms in the game, which look fantastic and feel dangerous without being frustrating. 45: Ring Fit Adventure I should probably play this more, but for a fitness game, I was very impressed with how much “game” there actually is. The main gameplay has you jogging down a path, opening doors, jumping and when you encounter enemies, it’s like a turn based battle system, except you need to work out (sit ups, press ups, yoga poses, jumps) to cause damage. This is spread across multiple chapters, where you’ll play through a cheesy (but entertaining) story across many levels, with some bonus mini games thrown in for good measure. The device itself also feels extremely sturdy, like a real piece of gym equipment which is surprisingly difficult to push or pull, giving you a proper work out. 44: Prison Architect A game where you have to manage a prison. You have to keep the inmates inside the prison, but also attempt to keep them safe and try and avoid breakouts and riots. There’s also a “story” mode with different scenarios which add a bit of variety. You’ll get new shipments of new inmates as you play the game, some can be more dangerous than others. You can create some more “casual” sections of the prison for more behaved inmates, complete with adding entertainment, exercise and other “luxury” items. For the more dangerous criminals, however, you will need to build more secure cells. The balance of keeping inmates happy so they’re less inclined to try and escape vs making the prison more secure so it’s harder to escape is definitely an interesting choice. 43: Sonic Forces People seemed to absolutely hate this. I thought it was a good continuation of the Sonic Colours/Generations gameplay. The modern Sonic levels were a ton of fun, and the levels as your own character allowed for a few different approaches based on your selected options – and as you could create multiple, you could try them out in different ways. The game also had Classic Sonic levels, but these were just fine. They didn’t really fit the rest of the game and Classic Sonic just seemed out of place, both in gameplay and in the oddly serious story starting with Sonic defeated and Robotnik taking over the world, and the rest of the cast forming a resistance. The serious tone adds to the cheesiness of Sonic, especially with people talking to your mute crazy-looking character. 42: Two Point Hospital A modern Theme Hospital, this game manages to keep the spirit of the original while also doing its own things along the way. The many different challenge hospitals lead you on specific paths, but you still have a bit of leeway to do your own things on the side as there’s not really a “fail”, just keep trying until you succeed. Patients will arrive to your hospital with a manner of strange illnesses, most of which require special treatment rooms. You have to try and efficiently use the space you have, but also keep in mind that larger rooms make for happier patients. You’ll also have to manage and train staff members to be able to tackle issues quicker, with less deaths. The different levels encourage you to focus on different areas, but once you have three stars you are free to maintain your hospital how you wish (or you can just ignore the objectives and do what you want). 41. Thimbleweed Park A new point & click adventure game, going back to the classic pixelated look. Thimbleweed Park is right at home with games like Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. Made by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, the creators of Manic Mansion, Thimbleweed Park gives you a cast of interesting characters to control and solve puzzles with. The puzzles are challenging with some strange solutions, however the game manages to stay away from the realm of “moon logic” – solutions that just make zero sense (like using a monkey to use a pump – especially in a game that came out before the song “Monkey Wrench” came out in the UK, as we don’t use that term) – and you can understand why a solution worked.
  16. 7 points
  17. 7 points
    So, the credits for this rolled the other day and I have been picking away at the game trying to unlock everything. I'm still missing 2 of the unlockables but figured i've put more than enough time into the game to give my thoughts on it. Part Time UFO Thoughts/Review As a Kid I spent a lot of time in the arcades whilst on holiday at Blackpool. Things like Pole Position, Hang-On, Final Fight and Sunset Riders were my games of choice and I spent many 10p/20p pieces on these games. One of my sisters used to come to the arcades with me but she wouldn't really play on the standard games and instead opted to play on the crane games. She was amazing at them and there were a few times when we would come back off holiday with bin bags full of cuddly toys that she had won. I would try my luck on the machines but I was completely hopeless and would never win anything. Fast forward a fair few years later to the 3DS era and Nintendo Badge Arcade was released. Once again I came face to face to the dreaded crane game and once again I sucked at it. I would actively avoid the crane game where I could and instead try my luck with the games that allowed you to use a hammer or a bomb. I had much better results from using these mechanics over using the crane. It's a Kirby Christmas tree! Reading this you may be wondering that if I hate crane games so much then why would I buy a game where the sole mechanic of it is to use a crane? A valid question. Firstly, the game is made by HAL, a developer who has a great pedigree and reputation. I can't think of an instance where they have let me down. Secondly, I was really sold by the trailer when it first showed up on the Nintendo Direct. It looked like a quirky and wacky game that the Switch honestly needs more of. Both of these points made it so the game warranted a purchase. The premise of the game is a simple one. You are a UFO who has come to earth and you will need to learn the value of work. This being the case, you are tasked with helping out people with their various day to day jobs and this is achieved by using the little crane that is attached to the underside of the UFO. Carrying things like fish, crates and pieces of art is what you will need to do in order to please the masses. All you need to do is hover over the item you want to grab, press the button on your controller and lower the crane to grab the item. It's then up to you to carefully move around the level and place the item where it needs to be. Sounds easy, yes? What I found great about the game is how snappy it is. The levels themselves only last a couple of minutes or so and they will get even shorter once you get a grasp of the objectives that need to be completed. This is where the game's mobile heritage is seen. I don't say this as a negative but rather to point out that this is how a lot of mobile games are built, with short game sessions in mind. Being able to attempt a level or two in between doing other things is great. It's a perfect fit for the Switch and especially for Switch owners who may have a busy lifestyle and need to get their gaming fix in short bursts. Steady...Steady... With the levels being so short you may be thinking that the game won't be very long. Yes, this will be the case if you just play each stage once and then call it a day once the credits roll. Playing the game this way will mean you have it beaten in a couple of hours. However, I would strongly advise not to play the game like this and instead dig a little deeper. The game encourages multiple play throughs of it and this is where the meat of the game is. Within each of the levels are 3 medals to earn but the game doesn't outright tell you how to earn them and instead gives you vague hints. Before you start the level you will see 3 small pictures. These pictures each represent how to unlock the medal. Some of these can be quite tricky to work out and others are very straight forward. For example, when you see a picture of a clock then that indicates that you must beat the level before the time runs out but others, such as seeing a picture of a sumo wrestlers face, means you will have some thinking to do in order to earn the medal. Unlocking the 3 medals in a level will open up a more challenging version of it for players to try and beat. The changes made to the levels can be a little tough at times and may require a different approach to what you originally used when playing through the level for the first time. A level that originally had you grabbing 10 pieces of fruit may now require you to grab 20 but also stack them in a particular way. There's nothing really too taxing here but it's a nice change of pace to levels that you may be overly familiar with. I'm not too sure about that Photographer on the right... Upon completing a stage you will be rewarded with coins. Perform well in a level and you'll be rewarded with more coins. Trying to earn each of the medals is the best way to earn a lot of cash in a short period of time. Each of the medals you earn will give you a bonus and the harder medals/challenges will give you more coins. In such a simple game, why do you need coins? Well, the answer to that is buy costumes! Visit the shop at the main menu of the game and you are greeted by the shopkeeper who will want to sell who his wares in exchange for the coins you have earned. There are plenty to choose from and early on in the game you will have to be picky about what you want due to the lack of funds. The amount of costumes, along with the simplistic style of the menus, took me back to my childhood and reminded me of Mr. Benn. How many of you remember that old show? I'm showing my age now. Anyway, the costumes not only change the appearance of the UFO but also give it certain abilities to use. Want to move quicker around a level? Then the Ninja outfit would be for you. Is the crane moving around too wildly when you pick up an object? Then channel your inner Village People and buy the Construction Worker outfit. These abilities can come in very handy when trying to get certain medals or taking on the hard version of the levels. Head to the shop and buy a new costume So, we have costumes, medals and coins all to be earned/unlocked but there is something else to play for. Like other HAL made games, this game also features an in game achievement list. There are a healthy amount of these to unlock and they will have you performing a variety of crazy tasks in order to unlock them all. There are 4 in each set and if you unlock all 4 of them then the achievements will turn into a very short video clip. These aren't really anything special but they are a nice bonus for those who take the time and effort to earn them all. Just like the medals, these achievements can be vague at times and you will need to think outside of the box in order to unlock a couple of them. Visually the game reminds me very much of games such as WarioWare and Rhythm Heaven. There is that simplistic and yet distinct, crazy style that is on show here and you can't help but smile when you see some of the characters on show and the little animations that occur when certain events happen. It may look very basic at times but this just adds to the overall charm of the game. The games I mentioned also have a very basic art style to them and it didn't do them any harm. Look at this and tell me it doesn't remind you of WarioWare The game does feature a co-op mode but sadly, outside of using it to grab a couple of achievements, I didn't have the opportunity to fully try it out. I imagine it will be a bit like the Overcooked! games in that an extra pair of hands could be helpful in certain situations but could also cause a bit of chaos when things start going pear shaped. I do wonder whether or not the game will be any harder if another player joins you. Having two people doing the lifting will certainly make things quicker and maybe the game compensates for this by decreasing the time? Outside of the main campaign, there are a couple of extra game modes for players to have some fun with. First up is the Tower of Infinity mode. It's here where players are tasked with building a structure as high as they can without it all falling apart. This mode is very challenging and can be quite unfair at times. The parts that you use to build with are randomly selected and if you get dealt an awkward set of items then your run will come to a stop very quickly. Also, you have to use one item before the next arrives, so it's not as if you can wait around for something better to show up. Finally, if a single item falls to the floor then it is game over. There are a couple of achievements that are tied to this mode and these are the two things i'm still missing from the game. It will take time, patience and, most importantly, luck in order to unlock them. Can you unlock them all? The other mode to play around in is called Treasure Island. This mode has you working your way through a few stages where you will need to find and collect treasure chests and also unlock special doors by grabbing keys and placing them on a pedestal. You are against the clock in this mode and there are a lot of enemies that need avoiding. Get hit by any of them and your time will be deducted. If you happen to lose all of your time then you will be kicked off the island and have to start from scratch. In order to get back to the island you will need to visit the shop and purchase a plane ticket. This item is easily affordable and you will be able to attempt the island again quite easily. Saying that, it should only take a few attempts to complete. It's not very long and once you get a feel for how things work then you will be back home, with every bit of the treasure in hand, in no time. In the past, I have been very critical of the Switches eShop and the lack of quirky games that are on there. They are either few and far between or they get buried by the sheer amount of garbage that ends up on the service. These types of games seem to have slowly disappeared ever since the Wii/DS era of gaming and it's great to see such a game hit a Nintendo console again. Like titles such as Heroki, it shows that mobile gaming, when done right, can be perfect for consoles and especially the Switch. The console being a hybrid means that these types of mobile games are a match made in heaven for Nintendo's console and perfect for those who happen to be on the go a lot. Conclusion A quirky, charming game that has an abundance of replay value for those who are willing to put the time in. If you are the type of gamer who likes high score chasing, trophy/achievement unlocking or simply likes games with replay value, then you will get a lot out of this game. Don't let this be another game that gets lost in the eShop. At around £8 the game is well worth grabbing.
  18. 6 points
    Delivered about 15 minutes ago: Just got it put of the box and oh boy, is it big. Its bigger than I thought and where I was going to put it, well it won't fit. Waiting on a new TV unit but I'll make do with putting it somewhere just now. Dualsense feels nice in hand though. Really sturdy, quite wide but nicely built. A lot better than the Dualshock 4 that came with the PS4 launch consoles that's for sure. Away to get it all updated and start downloading but yay!!! Next gen begins now. Enjoy everyone when yours arrives.
  19. 6 points
    A week into owning a Series X now and I don't think I've had a day without playing on it! I've been really impressed with the whole experience. My expectations weren't particularly high (or low) when I picked it up last week, I just expected to be a bit 'meh' on it. But so far it's surpassed my expectations massively. I know I mentioned Quick Resume already, but it has been a real game changer for me. I had Tell me Why, Crash 4 and New Super Luckys Tale on the go the first few days and to be able to dive into any of them in about 5 seconds between each other has been incredible. I've gotten back into Forza, although I did bag Dirt 5 for a tenner off from eBay using the 20% off deal. Picked up a Call of Duty game for the first time in years (Cold War) and have been amazed at how good those games are to play. It's pretty much what a modern Bond game should be. So much fun. It also looks amazing. The controller is a joy as ever. But the haptics of the dualsense will likely take things up a notch for PS users and I can't wait to try it out for myself. Dashboard is samey as previous versions but I don't mind that now it actually works and is fluid. It's so fast. Been playing some coop with a friend last few nights on 'A Way Out' and sending and joining parties has never been so fast and instant. Load times just don't even phase me anymore. It's not Nintendo cartridge quick, but games like Forza that were always painful to wait for are now so much quicker. All in all I think it's brilliant. I truly hope there are some really great exclusives coming Xboxs way as everything else is just prime and ready for it. GamePass continues to be fantastic value for money. There's so many games I want to get through from it that I wouldn't necessarily want to buy, and others I missed out on at launch that are now included such as Quantum Break etc. The Series X truly feels next gen to me and that's even without any real next gen games to show it off. I know a lot of those ordering PS will likely feel the same when they get to see how blazing fast the PS5 is and what a difference it makes to the whole experience. It's an exciting time!
  20. 6 points
    The bantz yesterday evening over in the Yakuza 7 thread gave me the nudge to start my next Yakuza game. That being the case, this evening I finally started Yakuza 3. I've played through the first 3 chapters and some of the fourth and I have to say, I'm really enjoying the slow paced start of the game. Helping the kids at the orphanage, chilling out on the beach and sorting out the kids problems makes for a refreshing change. The start of the fourth chapter does seem to hint of the story getting a little heavier but the early chapters have been a joy to play through. The golf mini game was a nightmare. I kept trying to playing it like Mario Golf/Everybodys Golf and my ball would hardly move. It wasn't until the second hole that I figured out I was playing it completely wrong! The game's age does come through, especially during the combat sections. It's just not as fast and fluid as the previous games and I agree with what @Julius said in that the enemies seem to constantly block. The early boss fights have been a bit of a pain because you are essentially sat waiting until the enemy opens themselves up for an attack. I'm hoping things change once I unlock some more moves otherwise the battles in the remaining chapters may become a little tedious. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story pans out.... Oh, I've had this pic for ages now and don't think I ever posted it. For the life of me I can't remember where I saved it from. For those who remember him, they will know how fitting this picture is.
  21. 6 points
    The controller feels smaller (marginally) but feels so nice in hand. Not sure if it actually is smaller but comparing it to my Lab controller I got about 4 years ago there is a subtle difference. Really nice texture and feel and so glad I bought the Shock Blue one! Can't wait to try the PS5 one now either! Found a spot for it in my TV set up which will let it circulate air ok. Partners parents bought us a vase that was there, but I've relegated that now because new console day. Probably be in the bad books later but IDGAF.
  22. 6 points
  23. 6 points
    Greg, you do realise this is all your fault, right?
  24. 6 points
    Halloween Party was hectic. From left to right: @Nicktendo, @BowserBasher, me, one of my non N-E friends who crashed the party, @Dcubed and @RedShell Anyway, at the start I asked the three people who weren't tardy to the Party to vote for their favourite costume. Welp, that was a waste of time.
  25. 6 points
  26. 6 points
  27. 6 points
    So, I downloaded the demo and played through it. Loved it. I know most people are taking issues with the framerate but in all honesty it hasn't really bothered me. Now, i'm not saying that the issue isn't there. I mean, reports of it are so widespread that it clearly is a problem, but more that I haven't really noticed it. I think it's a case of ignorance is bliss. Story wise, I am wondering if they are going to pull a FFVII Remake with this game. It would interesting if this did happen and BOTW2 is actually set after the events of this game when the timeline has been altered. I'm probably overthinking it but it's an interesting thought nonetheless. In terms of the gameplay, yup, it's a musou game but I have really loved what I have played so far. It took me a while to get used to playing as Impa but once I figured out how to use her shadow clones she was very fun to use. Shadow clones, ninjustu hand signs and fast movement all make it feel like i'm playing as Naruto. I wonder if she also uses a sexy jutsu? I've managed to complete all of the side quests that the demo had to offer, although one of them took me a while to complete. I needed a couple of flowers/fauna and I just couldn't get them to drop. Eventually I found a decent spot in the first stage that seemed to spawn them on a regular basis when cutting the grass and flowers. Doing a couple more runs of the first stage nabbed me what I needed. I also spent a good chunk of time looking for the Korok seeds. I had no idea how many there were to find ( I checked yesterday and seen that there are 13 in the demo ) but I did manage to find 12 of them on my own.I wonder if they will be used as currency in the main game? It would be a nice incentive to look for them if you could buy certain weapons, moves or even extra characters with them. One thing I haven't messed about with yet is the weapon fusion system. I had a load of weapons at my disposal but i'm too scared to fuse any of them in case I cock something up and waste them. I'll have to have a look around the internet to see if anywhere has things explained more clearly before the final game arrives. Yeah, really looking forward to the game now which is weird because I wasn't that fussed about it until I played the demo. I still plan on playing it a little more as well. I wouldn't mind finding that other Korok seed and the level cap for the 3 characters you can use is level 20, which I would like to hit. I've got one of them there so there's just the other two to go now.
  28. 6 points
  29. 5 points
    I've put in about three hours so far and if I'm being completely honest, I think I prefer the original Hyrule Warriors. This hasn't impressed me at all so far. I need to spend more time with it, obviously, but it's definitely in the "disappointing" category so far. A number of things I want to complain about but I'm going to spend more time with it before I do. The frame rate is still god awful.
  30. 5 points
    Yakuza 3 is complete. I swear I'll platinum one of these games before I'm finished with them all. The series just continues to deliver. Yes, the combat was a little rough to get to grips with after coming from the newer games but the story and characters, which is why I play and love these games, were top notch. There were some fantastic story beats and real emotional moments. I already have Yakuza 4 installed and ready to be played. I may go straight into it. Outside of the combat, the only thing I wasn't keen on was... I had a bit of a nightmare with the final chapter. I fought my way through the onslaught of enemies and got to the final boss. I figured I'd make some food before taking him on but you can't pause the cutscenes and one was playing at the time. For some stupid reason, instead of putting the game into suspend mode by opening an app, I went and put the console into rest mode. I lost over an hour of gameplay time.
  31. 5 points
  32. 5 points
    Mine is here! Just one more meeting and a little bit to finish up for the day and its playtime!
  33. 5 points
    Catch-up post #2. JUNE XENOBLADE CHRONICLES | 2010 DEFINITIVE EDITION | 2020 I'd been holding out for a few years when Nintendo announced last year in a Direct that Xenoblade Chronicles would be making it's way to the Nintendo Switch, with a fresh coat of paint and a number of quality of life improvements. This game starts out rough, in that it is almost overwhelming with so little progression in its opening hours. Tutorial screen after tutorial screen, massive areas where you can get lost in any direction, quest markers and green dots (NPC's with something supposedly important to say) filling up the map. I found myself questioning whether I was ready for a long haul JRPG, which I can honestly say is the first time that I've ever asked myself, especially after looking forward to a game for so long. Just give it another hour, I thought to myself. And I'm glad I did. The opening hours of this game are light on story but quite heavy on exposition, but a short smattering of it later, finding myself familiarised with how to traverse Colony 9 - and the areas immediately surrounding it - and doing a couple of quests, and it all just clicks. Don't get me wrong: it is overwhelming. But once you've adjusted, once the frequency of tutorials popping up dies down a little, the quests and sense of exploration take hold, and quickly became this loop I craved to run around in over and over again. Experience for finding a new area. A treasure trove of experience for finding a secret area. A map which is simple to read (if a little confusing in terms of bridging levels at times), more than happy to lead you to directly to the next area to critical path the story, but is filled with exclamation marks to boot once you've stocked up on quests. You might not remember which quest you're taking that monster down or picking up that item for, but it's the perfect way to guide your wider exploration of the world and level up. It rarely felt like grinding. The feedback loop of arriving at new settlement, talking to the locals and taking on a load of side quests, explore a new area and tackling a load of side quests, raking in items, EXP, materials, etc., is honestly one of the best I've encountered from the perspective of making you want to explore. I don't need these items, and I don't need this EXP, but it's on the way/just slightly off the beaten path, so I might as well check it out, and I would be grinding in a JRPG anyways. The UI is simple to navigate, and not having to make my way back to complete all of the side quests and being able to be told that I've completed them mid-fight is such a simple but respectful thing to do. That's without mentioning the generous checkpoints pushing you to explore, or how there aren't any traditional healing items (at least that I've come across yet) but instead your health regenerates insanely quick while exploring after a battle, and battles feel like they're in their own vacuum, like when a protagonist in an anime recovers from a fight in one episode to be back at it again against someone else in the next. And then there's jumping (or rather, falling, much of the time!) and taking fall damage which quickly recovers, but balances out the adventuring of the world with the fact that this is a JRPG. And speaking of adventuring, the sheer scale of this game put a grin on my face time after time, it made me feel giddy and almost like a child - you know, that sense of awe and wonder every time you saw something enormous, or cool, or remotely interesting? It's such a powerful thing for a game to put you back in that mindset, and it's one of the best reasons to play Xenoblade Chronicles. This game is MASSIVE, and it does such a great job of conveying that. Not only that, but time after time, I was blown away by just how diverse and unique locations were, massive new zones which are basically their own biomes with their own acclimatised fauna and flora, and extremely memorable by just how far this game goes with its colour palette and scale. At times, it almost feels as if it's taunting you: I mean, you bought that the world is massive, right? You'll probably buy the trees glowing at certain times of day too. I think a big part of that is the verticality of this game, and the scalability of those vertical components: climbing up vines, descending down ladders, jumping from a cliff above a massive waterfall, it's something I haven't really found as a focal point in world design in other JRPG's, or honestly, many other games in general. You see the head of that titan up above you? You can go there. I want to share an example of the game's scale giving me that sense of awe, which I shared in the game's thread early on into my playthrough, but want to share again here, because it was probably the most memorable time it happened. And I haven't even got started on the level variety of creatures in these massive areas, which again, feeds into the feeling of this being a real, living and breathing ecosystem, and encountering a LV. 90 enemy rightly informs you that you are definitely going the wrong way - but load times after death are forgiving and very fast for a world of this size, they really want to let you loose and just explore, a far cry from what you would typically expect from a JRPG. Attacking a beast and then seamlessly transitioning into battle, the types of triggers which can draw them to you (sight, sound, being attacked), utilising Arts, preparing and making full use of Chains...the battle system is very unique, even if it does feel like its overstayed its welcome by the end of the game. This game is not without flaws. It has pacing issues in the second half. The story is pretty predictable...even by JRPG standards. Again, the battle system doesn't do much in terms of progressing in any meaningful way in the second half. Some quest chains are ridiculously long, or tedious, or both. Technically, not a spectacular game (frame rate dips and pop-in are consistent throughout). Some members of the cast are kind of tossed aside in the second half, which is a shame. The lack of a Photo Mode for the times in the game where you say to hell with the technical side of the game, the sense of scale is spectacular, I'm going to open the Settings, empty my HUD, zoom in until I am quite literally in the character, and the weapon on their back is no longer visible, adjust the camera - WAIT! the weapon is visible from this angle, turn slightly... - and then screenshot (and this is assuming that your Party Gauge is empty, otherwise enjoy waiting for that to drain, because for some reason it won't disappear with the rest of the HUD you just went into settings to remove). Being staggered out of the use of an Art (a similar issue I had with Final Fantasy VII Remake earlier in the year). Hilariously bad examples of clipping. And I do feel that the zones should have zoned in a bit in terms of scale much further from the end than they end up doing. Oh, and the game really pushing for you to do some crazy high-levelled quests towards the end (which I had a blast with), but then not having a scalable final boss (which, uh, given the context of what the final boss is, perhaps more than ever, makes very little sense) meaning that it's a cakewalk. And yet, despite its flaws, this is a game I would recommend to anyone, on the back of a rewarding gameplay loop, great world design and scale, and, you guessed it: a killer soundtrack. Yoko Shimomura, Manami Kiyota, ACE+, and Yasunori Mitsuda deliver a soundtrack which is an embarrassment of riches, covering a variety of genres, feels like it would be at home alongside some of the best and most diverse Final Fantasy soundtracks, and takes this game up another level. One such example of this is in most location tracks featuring day and night versions, which greatly fleshes out the vibe for the location, and goes a long way to defining your relationship with it; for instance, Satorl Marsh (Night) is this ethereal track filled with light piano strokes, strings, and an understated vocal element which makes you feel like you're floating in some fantasy, whereas Satorl Marsh (Day) brings a steady beat, bass, and heavier piano strokes to the forefront. Hometown feels like a starting Pokémon town in the best possible way, it captures a light and hopeful feeling extremely well; Gaur Plains is this epic adventurous track which makes you want to explore its wide open fields; A Friend On My Mind is a particularly beautiful composition, which always makes me a bit misty eyed; A Tragic Decision is an insanely diverse, rich, and haunting track; Riki the Legendary Heropon (yes it deserves to be here, it's a very silly but well composed track, plus the seriousness of the guitar is hilarious!); Thoughts Enshrined(/While I Think); The End Lies Ahead(/To the Last Battle); Ancient Mysteries with its slow and epic choir; the epic electric guitar riffs and awesome as hell trumpets in You Will Know Our Names; I could go on and on, and I'd probably end up listing half of the soundtrack, they did that good a job. However, there's a certain track which plays in an overwhelming amount of cutscenes, which builds slowly, has an intense guitar solo, a moment to breathe with a few piano strokes, and then, hits you with everything all at once: Engage The Enemy, easily my favourite track in the game. Xenoblade Chronicles is not going to be for everyone, and it's far from a flawless game. That being said, in a vast sea of JRPG's, Xenoblade Chronicles - with it's epic scale, world class soundtrack, and wonderful gameplay loop - is perhaps one of the most ambitious, keeping me hooked for the better part of the 70+ hours I spent with it, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. THE LAST OF US PART II | 2020 There is so much, yet so little, I want to actually say about The Last of Us Part II. A lot has been said - good, bad, and even sometimes in the middle - about this game, and I truly believe that I could write page after page about this game, like so many have, and so many will. But I think doing so would genuinely rob those who have yet to play the game of one of gaming's most intriguing and most complete experiences, and if anything, this is one of those rare games I'd rather people just experience, so while the rest of this will be focused on my opinions and thoughts about the game, I'm not going to be spoiling anything. Not even in spoiler tags. Let me get one thing out of the way: The Last of Us Part II is perhaps one of the most intense and emotionally draining experiences I have experienced in any form of entertainment. It is unrelentingly ferocious in its violent imagery, incredibly vivid in its depiction of love and hate, and horrifying in its insight to the potential malice of humanity. Blood spatters and sprays as the enemy clutches their neck, the blood audibly gurgling in their throat, before collapsing heavily in a heap; wailing on the enemy, cutting through them like butter as your breath grows tired and your face is dyed red; the unanswered screams of the enemy looking for their friend, now face down in a pool of his own blood. Every facet of combat is visceral, from the audio design of a machete meeting the long handle of an axe as it protects its wielder, to the fluid animation as you dive into the grass after being spotted while you searched for a way around, scrambling as you reach for something - a gun, a bow and arrow, a distraction - to protect yourself with. The production values of this game are on a level I don't think we've ever seen before, with faces and the Infected looking as detailed as one could possibly be comfortable with, and it's ironic that a game this beautiful is so grotesque and unremorseful in its depiction of violence. The story to this game is absolutely epic, in terms of its scale, design, and structure. It does an awfully good job of putting you in someone else's shoes, making you see Ellie's perspective, but then shifting the perspective and then asking questions of you: is she doing the right thing? Is Ellie going too far? As important and as well characterised as Ellie is in this game by Ashley Johnson, a lot of the heavy lifting in this game is done by the excellent work of its secondary characters, who, like the game's story, are constantly questioning why Ellie is willing to go so far, and be so brutal. Is it love? Or hate? Which is it that is driving her in this moment? While I do think that the game can be a bit heavy-handed when it comes to its core themes at times, it does so with such ambition, and such great range, that it's hard to not praise Naughty Dog in how they wrote this game, Neil Druckmann, of course, in particular. There were easier routes to take as a writer, but above all else, Druckmann is true to this game's characters and world - for better and for worse. This all being said, I do think that while the game has an abundance of memorable and great moments and interactions, it can oftentimes feel lonely when compared with the first game, as we control the hands of a much older and much more independent Ellie. That being said, the guitar mini game (a really fun use of the touchpad, and a great way to involve us in what could have easily been a cutscene), and hearing Ellie play the guitar and sing covers of some songs - mostly when she has someone around to listen - are especially touching, and Ashley Johnson has a brilliant voice. And I do think that the game - the second half in particular, though it is noticeable throughout - has some serious pacing problems, and while a large part of this is down to the story structure and writing itself, it's also down to areas being much larger, too. There is an area early on where you have free reign to explore a few blocks of a city, which is an amazing and open experience, and I want to make it clear: I have no issue with that part. It made sense in that the characters were searching for clues on what to do next, stock up, and so on, that this part of the game should have been more open. But throughout the game, everything just seems much larger than it needs to be, from the number of buildings you're free to explore in an area, to the number and size of the rooms in that building, to the size of that building's hallways - it always feel like you're reaching for something, which is a little further away than it would have been in the first game. This isn't to say that areas are scarce on supplies - far from it; in fact I would say the opposite turns out to be the truth - but rather, the physical space between those supplies seems further than it perhaps needs to be. Areas are big and fill up so quickly with enemies that stocking up after a battle makes the most sense, and so the game is clearly pushing you to explore to stock back up, but it feels like you're searching multiple buildings here, whereas in the first game you might be searching only one or two. In terms of exploration, this means that the collectibles - which told so much of the story in the first game - are also very spread out, and while I think they did just as strong a job here with things like the safe puzzles and with other items or visuals in fleshing the world out, it all felt awfully familiar: scribbled notes, lengthy diary entries, and light puzzles. Another big part of exploration is that it all feels very natural, and gone are the white lines of the game to give you a sense of direction, instead relying more on the visual cues and logical hints the folks at Naughty Dog have left for you to follow. While it's generally very seamless, and does a great job of pointing you in the right direction, there were admittedly one or two times where I did find myself questioning if I was going the right way; as areas are generally larger and more open to exploration this time around, it meant that I would often find a way out only accessible through a short QTE (you know, the ones where you hammer square to push a door open, or triangle to pull a garage door's chain down), recognise this as being the way forward, and tap circle to back out of the QTE so that I would be free to continue exploring; this admittedly did go quite some way to breaking my immersion while looking around abandoned buildings and closed off exteriors. I could speak about the music until I'm blue in the face, but all you really need to know is that Gustavo Santaolalla once again knocked it out of the park, but the addition of Mac Quayle and his unique, almost Hans Zimmer-like touch with the wailing of strings, brass, and guitar blaring scenes into life, screaming at you to take action, is also excellent. It adds an entirely new soundscape to the soundtrack when compared with the first game, a whole other dimension of music to demand your attention on a whim. I also think that what Naughty Dog has accomplished with this game with regards to accessibility is nothing short of brilliant, and it puts many other meagre AAA efforts to shame. I found myself spending 5 minutes just looking through them at the start of the game, and I seriously do hope that it shines a beacon to those less abled gamers that there are studios who are more than happy to put in the extra time and money so that you can share in experiences those more able than themselves often take for granted - myself included. It's worth checking out this video (don't worry, no spoilers there either) if you weren't already aware of the accessibility options in this game. I really think it's worth the time to take a look so as to appreciate it, but also, I think it's just great to have that perspective of how fortunate many of us are. I know I take it for granted a lot, especially in my love of playing games, and so I hope this only continues to be something we see trend on a larger scale in the coming years. The Last of Us Part II is a game like no other. Heck, at times, I think it's unfair to compare it to other games, it almost feels like it's redefined what a video game story can be. Time and time again I found myself being offered a string of QTE's in important cutscenes, struggling against characters this game told me were the bad guys, but with its sense of perspective and its attempts to challenge your own desires to "be the good guy" and "do the right thing", more than once I found myself looking away from the screen, lost in this grey moral area, hesitating to press square. If that doesn't speak to the power of video games as a storytelling medium - to gain perspective, empathy, and introspective moral questioning - I don't know what can. Yes, you have to be in the mood to play this game; yes, it is going to take a toll, in a number of ways. But, by its end, it is a brilliantly stunning, horrifyingly human, meandering epic of a game, and despite its flaws, I implore you, if you haven't already, to experience The Last of Us Part II.
  34. 5 points
    This is the first line of my last post in this thread, and well...it's safe to say this didn't go to plan it's been a crazy year for pretty much everyone, and as the months went on, I felt increasingly overwhelmed by both the pandemic and what's been going on in my work and personal life. I would sit down, start typing an update, and then quickly lose steam, which would only frustrate me further, because I love talking about games. Almost as much as I do playing them. Catching up on this thread has been on my to-do list for the last few months, and not bringing it up-to-date has pretty actively dissuaded me from playing games and, in some cases, wanting to talk about those games. It's been weird. But, all being well, I will have started my next-gen journey by this time next weekend, and I know that once that happens, there will be absolutely no way I'll bring this up-to-date. In a lot of cases I've been pretty active in the threads for the games I'm going to talk about, and seeing as there's a whole lot to get through, I'm probably not going to get into them as much as I might have normally liked to, but that's okay. I'm going to go through probably a month at a time, though that depends on how much I have to say. Either way, I want to be finished by Wednesday evening, for obvious reasons! Let's get started with what I played in the remainder of May. MAY VALKYRIA CHRONICLES | 2008 Valkyria Chronicles tells the story of Squad 7 as they fight in defence of their home nation of Gallia, a neutral country in the Second Europan War (basically this alternate world's version of World War II) which is abundant in stores of precious Ragnite ore (basically this world's main energy source and healing method), against The Autocratic East Europan Imperial Alliance. Along the way, it portrays the budding and innocent romance between Alicia Melchiott and Welkin Gunther in the midst of a war which sees the game deal with heavy topics such as racism, perspective, and death, as well as shedding light on scheming politicians, the casualties of innocents, and even the history of an ancient near-genocide. It all sounds very heavy, but what grounds this game is a gorgeous, watercolour-like visual style, a solid soundtrack, and the diversely opinionated - and oftentimes amusing - cast of Squad 7. What makes this game unique is that, while like most strategy games it is turn-based, it makes use of a system dubbed BLiTZ: Battle of Live Tactical Zones. During your turn you start in Command Mode, and have an overhead map of the battlefield from which you can select a unit. Once selected, the battle zooms in on the selected unit, giving you control of them from the perspective of a third-person shooter in Action Mode, from which you can control their movement and take actions such as healing your allies and attacking the enemy, and you can control a number of classes and even a number of vehicles throughout the journey. This is all balanced by the Action Points available to units, which determines how far they can move before needing to take a rest, and you can't just freely use the same character over and over again during your turn, as their available energy greatly diminishes the more they are used in a single turn, forcing you to approach things with other units in mind, and having to be careful about where your units end up - because, at the end of your turn, if they're in a spot with poor cover, the enemy stand a good chance of taking them out. A number of objectives make up the story, from routing out the enemy, to securing camps over the map, to protecting certain characters as they make their way from A to B, and objectives can often change halfway through a mission (though, in my opinion, the first few times this happens leads to a pretty big spike in difficulty). The better you perform in missions - entirely determined, unfortunately, by the fewer turns you take - the more money and experience you take home and can use to upgrade your weapons, vehicles, or even your classes through training regimens. Once back at base you can even buy newspapers, which can unlock new missions which provide more backstory to certain characters, and you can also visit the graves of your fallen comrades, or even be awarded in medal ceremonies. There are pages upon pages of character details to read through, as well as about the history of the world and the war, and these can also provide some insights into which characters might provide boosts to one another, or what their weaknesses might be (for example, you don't want to send someone into a battlefield knowing full well that they're you're putting them up against their allergies!). All of this is presented in a wonderful book, which neatly ties together the visual style of the game. Valkyria Chronicles is a game which is solid in almost every department, has heaps of charm, and is bound to bring a tear to even the most steely-eyed of players (those who have played the game no doubt know what I'm talking about, one of the most heart-wrenching moments in video games). It's well worth the price of admission, and I look forward to one day giving Valkyria Chronicles 4 a shot. A WAY OUT | 2018 Developed by Hazelight Studios and directed by Josef Fares (AKA the 'F**k the Oscars!' guy), A Way Out is a rare example of a meticulously crafted, split-screen cooperative multiplayer game: it must be played by two players, whether they're next to you on the sofa or on the other side of the world kicking it up on Bondi (and only one of you need to own the game to do so!). You play as Leo and Vincent, two prisoners who must first escape their new jumpsuits and then elude the authorities as they make their way back to their families, with set pieces gradually ramping up throughout the game to a climactic finish which would make Kojima proud. No, seriously. It takes a lot of what you'd expect to see in a Naughty Dog game - basic third-person shooter mechanics, ducking for cover, light puzzles and a hole lot of button mashing in order to lift things up - except, you know, it's co-op. And not developed by Naughty Dog. But still, it's very good. The split-screen aspect is especially interesting, as while at one moment you can both be playing at the same time and have one player distracting guards while the other sneaks around the corner, there are also many instances where a cutscene might be playing out for one character while it's not for the other. It makes for a very interesting balance in its storytelling. I sat down with my younger brother one Saturday morning and we blasted through this game, finishing about five or six hours later the same day. There isn't much else to say, to be honest: I don't think Naughty Dog-lite is a disservice to the game, and actually gives you a pretty good idea of what you're in for. But I had a blast, and so did my brother. I wish there were more games like this, and while I am absolutely up for more from Fares and Hazelight, I really think he overshadowed the game with his little display at The Game Awards a few years back, which is a real shame. This game had plenty of twists and turns from beginning to end, and while it doesn't do much new, what it does it does brilliantly. And again: that ending. A hearty recommendation for anyone who wants a game designed for two players, because this is a real gem. THE LAST OF US | 2013 It's really hard for me to take horror films seriously. Ever since I was young, having a vested interest in the filmmaking process has kept me mostly on top of it: "hey, that blood is a bit too dark, I wonder if their fake blood was drying out?", "okay, but why would you go up the stairs? Someone is clearly about to jump out [someone jumps out]", "everyone's scared of this thing? The CGI looks terrible!" Jump scares can catch me out, sure, but even when I would try my hardest to invest myself in the film's world and story, it just wouldn't click for me. But there's something about the interactivity of video games which flips that on its head, completely. I remember booting up the Resident Evil 2 Demo a year or two ago, walking around for about thirty seconds, and giving up. Leon, pal, want my advice? If there's a zombie breakout you turn around and walk away. And I'm sure seeing snippets of Resident Evil 4 at a friend's house, and my early childhood trauma of Dino Crisis when in pre-school/reception, had something to do with that, too. I haven't played much of anything that I'd call a horror game before. As you might know from seeing me post here and elsewhere on these forums, though, there's one thing I'm a sucker for, and that's a good story. Of course I'd heard of this game before playing it. A lot. Though, incredibly, I hadn't seen much gameplay of it, and hadn't had anything spoiled for me. Look up any list of Top 10 games and this probably appears in half of them. And of course I've heard of Naughty Dog, especially their modern efforts and transition to third-person action-adventure games. I mean, really: at this point, who hasn't heard of them? They're an awards darling of a studio putting out cutting edge games which are incredibly popular and critically acclaimed. A couple of years ago, wanting to get to grips with Naughty Dog's offerings, I played through Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and while those games have their highlights (with 2 being my favourite by quite some margin), I really didn't understand what the fuss was all about. These games were solid, but they were far from blowing me away. But I was always curious about their next game, and with the sequel just over a month away, it was time to make a decision. And so I decided that it was time to finally give The Last of Us a chance. This game starts with a bang, and within those opening fifteen minutes, you'll know whether this game is for you. The tone is set for this brutally harsh reality where only the hardened survive. It's hard watching the early hours of a world crumbling under the pressure of a pandemic (especially this year, for reasons that go without saying) which sees those infected become, for all intents and purposes, human-slaying zombies, and harder to watch is how the world reacts. Early on, Joel meets Ellie, and finds himself with the task of smuggling her across the post-apocalyptic that the United States has become some twenty years or so after the initial outbreak. The Infected have taken on all shapes and sizes, and so has the malice of the remnants of man. You'll find yourself stealthily trying to sneaking around, and sometimes through, rooms filled with Infected, the tension of which is further heightened by some great survival mechanics, such as how long it takes to heal yourself, reload your gun, or craft some make-shift bomb. I often found myself promptly checking, and then double-checking, my equipment after adrenaline-pumping confrontations, or when things had been quite for just a little too long that it made me uncomfortable. But there's also this puzzling, melancholic beauty to this world, the calm of which can often lull you into forgetting about the dangers which might be surrounding you. The world is so diverse, with interiors being this flat kind of drab - mostly made up of muted greys, spoiled browns, and murky greens - which only serves to amplify the bright colours of nature which have pierced through - and in many cases, overwhelmed - the manmade landscapes of these crumbling cities. The writing, as well as the gameplay, world, and level design, all weave together to produce this amazing pacing which is consistent throughout the course of the game. Joel and Ellie start out indifferent to each other, but gradually become accustomed to and then more trusting in the other, and it's a wonderful sight to behold, which all unfolds so naturally. Their conversation and banter throughout the game does such an excellent job of fleshing them out, and Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson did such an amazing job of carrying the brunt of it all. This runs parallel to an enticing upgrade system which sees Joel's capabilities grow throughout the course of the game, and I found myself heavily investing in Weapon Sway, Shiv Master, and Maximum Health, which had me increasingly confident in my abilities the deeper I got into the game, but it never felt easy, just easier to handle. The world itself, as I mentioned before, can almost lull you into a false sense of security, and there are some areas in particular where the tension certainly ratchets way up, such as in a certain hotel basement. Screw that hotel basement. I got out pretty much unscathed and was fully prepared and I still found myself petrified. Seriously, screw that hotel basement. Though, while there are times where it certainly offers a false sense of security, there are other times where just a returning feature of the world immediately gets you grabbing your shotgun and slowly treading through a room, such as when entering a dark hallway and wondering about how it would suck to run into some Stalkers at that very moment. Areas are never too large to fully explore, and so exploring every single area's nooks and crannies doesn't feel like I'm going out of the way and losing track of the main objective. Not only that, but because this is a survival horror game, by design it knows that you're going to be checking everything out, and so finding notes, recorders, etc., feels like a totally natural way to explore the world's history. It really reminds me of items and Mini Medals in Dragon Quest in this way: practically everything you find feels useful. I read and listened to everything I found, which I very rarely do outside of JRPGs that I'm adoring, and although I didn't find everything - there's one particular door which comes to mind which I didn't have the materials to make a shiv to break into back near Bill's place, and I remember early on feeling the game was pushing back hard enough to discourage this somewhat at the very beginning - I still felt completely satisfied with my discoveries. Piecing together the history of some of these places is heartbreaking. And then there's the change of pace exhibited at Silver Lake, where things are turned on their head, and suddenly what was manageable before isn't again. It's perfectly timed, flawlessly executed, and might just be one of my favourite "levels" in any video game. It convinced me to pre-order Part II without even having finished the game, that's how much faith I had in Naughty Dog by that point. And the game triumphantly charges towards the end from there, with all its card laid bare. That ending is what video game stories should aspire to be, putting us in the position where a choice is made and overwhelmingly fighting for and relishing in the choice the character makes. It's about empathy, and putting you in the shoes of Joel in that moment, and it is all so, so well done. As my first survival horror game, while very intense at times - almost too intense in that hotel basement - I absolutely fell in love with this game. The DLC, Left Behind, is of course excellent too. It does nothing to take away from the main game's ending, but does such a good job in the two hours or so it takes to complete of fleshing out Ellie and her past, giving us a little bit more context for the main game, and also some insight into the origins of her love for puns. The past moments which play out mirror the point in the present in that it portrays the two moments where Ellie is about to be left alone - it could not be better named. But there's basically Hotel Basement 2.0 here, so screw that. Something that has to be mentioned when talking about The Last of Us is Gustavo Santaolalla's magnificent score. It's so restrained and refined, yet emotionally charged and visceral, so naturally tuned to the world and the interactions playing out on screen. There's the main theme, The Last of Us, which is so memorable for playing over the opening credits. with this steady rhythm of these powerful plucks of guitar strings; Vanishing Grace, which relies on the same melody as the main theme, but is slowed and much more melancholic in how it is subdued; All Gone (No Escape), with the swell of the straining strings of violins after this deep and steady cello really does a stellar job of setting the scene up to be as emotionally resonant as it is. From Left Behind, All Gone (Reunion) and its main theme, Left Behind, are the standouts. The latter in particular I feel is perfectly suited for what the DLC entails, this quiet strumming on the guitar before slowly builds and explodes into life with this Western-like part, I love it. I'm a sucker for hard cuts when it comes to endings, though, so The Path (A New Beginning) was always going to be a very difficult one for me to not find my favourite! The Last of Us is a testament to excellent moment-to-moment gameplay, coupled with an emotionally resonant story, a stellar voice cast, unforgettable story beats, which screams the importance of empathy. This is what storytelling in games is about, and still remains the standard by which other stories in this medium are told to this day. This game is a masterpiece, and very quickly became one of my favourites. YAKUZA 3 | 2009 During this pandemic I have found that there is no better escape than the Yakuza series, and specifically none greater than Yakuza 3, which I will lovingly refer to as the beach/summer special episode of the series. Continuing on not too longer after the events of 2/Kiwami 2, Yakuza 3 sees Kiryu hanging out at an orphanage he's set up on Okinawa called Morning Glory, becoming the legal guardian of a number of children there. Everything is peaceful, and it is incredibly cosy, with a beach just across the street. His biggest worries are arguments between the kids, and it's hilarious seeing how he disciplines them, choosing to sit everyone down for debates when things get heated. He even plays hide-and-seek with them. Haruka is a big sister to everyone there, often working to find peace, and going to do daily chores. Kiryu is living a good, well-earned life of early retirement. Not too long after, though, he butts heads with a smaller local Yakuza family, and from there on finds himself embroiled in a plot to save the orphanage from being built on by a massive seaside resort, which is mysteriously somehow tied to the Yakuza and plans for a military base expansion. Yakuza 3 remains similar to other Yakuza stories in that it is host to endearing characters, you'll find yourself back on the streets of Kamurocho and familiarising yourself once again with the area and getting used to its changes, but Okinawa provides a welcome change in that it just feels so much more relaxed. Problems are generally on a smaller scale around Morning Glory, and is a great change of pace from what we've become so typically accustomed to in these games. Substories remain these tiny nuggets which can be hilarious, charming, or full of emotional depth, and helping strangers in these games with their problems continues to be great fun. That all being said, I do think this game has some issues which I have to mention, though it's worth remembering that I'm playing a remaster of a game which is over a decade old. I think the main thing would be that quality of life improvements from newer entries, such as pausing in cutscenes, aren't present here, which is a shame because it seems like that would have been something relatively easy to add in here (and would've been a wise decision due to the length of some cutscenes). There's also the weird pacing of some cutscenes, which I imagine at the time of release were down to budget constraints? Sometimes a cutscene would begin with a short cinematic, before cutting away to the more typical in-engine cutscene, with text boxes and no voice acting to boot, which would then end by returning to yet another cinematic. Again, it seems like something they might have been better off updating for this remaster. To be honest, I also think that the main villain was rather forgettable, and that the Yakuza stuff going down in Kamurocho oftentimes felt more like a distraction which returned to the tropes of the series rather than the fun and refreshing time we had on Okinawa. It might have been a bit better paced if we didn't find ourselves going back and forth, or rather, just dealt with smaller issues throughout, because a large part of why the main villain seems so forgettable is because it feels like we're treading over things we've already covered in previous games. The biggest flaw of the game by far, though, is just how clunky it feels: the horizontal axis on the camera is quite sensitive and takes a bit of getting used to (with no option to adjust in the settings), and fights feel incredibly sluggish. To make matters worse, though, enemies block in this game far more than they do in any other - and yes, this is even the case for bosses, who were already notorious for having fights which went on maybe a bit too long in other games already - which narrows your options in battles considerably, and I often found myself waiting for the enemy to swing before sidestepping, unleashing a single chain of attacks, before they're blocking again and you must wait for them to hit you so that you can sidestep them - again. I think it's held back by it's age, with dated, slower, and somewhat clunky controls, and doesn't have the most interesting Yakuza storyline, but it still has a great cast, a fun world, and plenty of hilarious substories to experience, all of which still manage to make this game a great time. The best escape from this pandemic by a long shot.
  35. 5 points
    Mine has been delivered. Next gen has arrived! That colour LCD screen!
  36. 5 points
    Despite earlier complaints about the battery life I feel that the controller is going to last about a week before it needs charging.
  37. 5 points
    And so it begins... Still waiting on the Media Remote and Charging Station, but I don't mind waiting for those. Couldn't resist opening and getting a feel for the DualSense, and it feels really good. Much more natural fit in the hands, feels like the R2 and L2 triggers flair out a bit more which feels nicer, L1 and R1 look substantially bigger to me too. And I like the additional grip to the controller and sticks. Looking forward to seeing how the triggers feels with the motors! Does feel like it comes together a bit abruptly at the end of the grips, the parts don't sit completely flush. Probably the only thing I'd say isn't absolutely ideal from just a feel perspective? But it's not like it's a problem, either. It's going to be a looooooooong 7 days.
  38. 5 points
    Hearing the Big Break theme tune got a big laugh out of me. It's been years since I heard that!
  39. 5 points
    Someone had to put a stop to his reign of terror. I've not finished this weeks episode yet but I did get a laugh at Nick talking about Resident Evil 0, mainly because a family member just had a very similar experience. I was talking to my eldest brother on the phone the other day and he also picked RE0 (Switch). He said he was really enjoying it until he lost an hours progress due to him forgetting to save. He said he's so used to auto saving that he forgot to use the ink ribbons. @Londragon I bought the Namco collection a while back now and the main reason for that was due to Rolling Thunder. I have fond memories of playing that as a kid. The same goes for Turrican. I played a lot of that on my Amiga 600. I'm torn on how I feel about the sales data. On the one hand it's great that Nintendo are doing well but on the other I don't think a lot of it is well earned. I find it pretty frustrating that they've found this level success but have remained quite stagnant, especially this year. Just goes to show the pull they have over people and the strength of their IP....as well as vault tactics.
  40. 5 points
    Part-Time UFO N-Europe Review Written by Adam Hirst Live on the main site. @Hero-of-Time Thank You, on behalf of N-Europe, for letting us host your review on the main site. It was a pleasure to read your review and it's fantastic to see you about on the forums again, posting about games and interacting with us all again. You were missed.
  41. 5 points
  42. 5 points
    So, i've put a few hours into the game now and i'm about halfway through it. The voice acting and graphical style reminds me very much of a PS2 era game Resident Evil game. The game tries really hard to take itself seriously but then it falls apart due to the delivery of some of the lines, the dialogue itself or the scenario that you have to play through. It's fitting that it gave me a Resident Evil vibe because very early on in the game you have Ray busting through bits of debris, such as rocks and metal, with his fists. The guy clearly thinks he is Chris Redfield punching boulders. Honestly, the graphics aren't that bad at all, at least not as bad as I remember them being. Maybe i'm just more tolerant to this era of games now? In my head I had it looking like a real jaggy mess and that's not been the case. Apart from the blurry vision that happens when fire is around, I haven't found them to be that distracting. The animations on the other hand really could have used some work. I completely lost it when you first see Ray's running animation at the start of the game. You have this very buff action hero and as soon as he starts running all of that muscle bound, heroic presence is sapped away. Monolith Soft have a history of bad animations in their games. Just look at the stupid bunny hop in Xenoblade. The antagonists of the game constantly get a laugh out of me and that's because every time I see their name I just think of Beverley Hills Cop. Their motive seems like a complete ripoff of the bad guys from The Rock. They should have just hired Ed Harris to play the role of the big boss just for even more accuracy. They seem to be your typical action movie enemies and considering that they were a small unit that were seemingly wiped out, there sure are a hell of a lot of them kicking about the game. I quite enjoy the shooting sections, which is just as well as there are quite a few of them and they seem to be the meat of the game. They kinda remind me of a 3rd person version of Time Crisis. Even the graphics look similar. Ducking in and out of cover and then waiting for the best moment to pop out and shoot an enemy certainly feels like playing a Time Crisis game. So far, outside of a couple of boss encounters, i've pretty much stuck to using my handgun in these sections. I just wish the the reloading was handled a little better in the game. When you duck back into cover your reloading animation stops. There have been countless times where I have done the reload movement but then ducked into cover and popped back out again only to find that I still have no bullets in my gun. The driving sections are a bit hit and miss. The ones i've played so far have seemed very basic and I think more could have been done with them. One of them had me driving away from a tsunami and it felt very fiddly to keep the car going at a speed that would have me outrun the giant wave. I failed that section more times than I care to admit mainly because the car would either come to a halt or flip over when it landed from doing a small jump. Another thing that caused me to die/retry a section was the Wiimote batteries running out. When you run out of charge on a controller, whether it be on the Wii or another console, the game will usually pause to allow the player to plug in the controller or change the batteries. Not so here. I was playing a shooting section and I was left completely in the open. By the time I got afresh pair of batteries the enemies had killed me. I'm really liking the upgrade systems that the game provides after the first few chapters. I've been concentrating on leveling up the Light Handgun. It made sense to keep upgrading that seeing as that's the type of gun I use the most. In terms of Ray's upgrades, I upgraded everything by 1 and am now concentrating on the Firepower portion of the upgrade tree. Again, giving that shooting is a large part of the game it just made sense to focus on this. Whilst playing the game I do get a Yakuza vibe from it. There's a sort of serious story trying to be told but you get taken out from it by the wackiness that surrounds you. Things like the health pick ups being absolutely massive compared to Ray do bring a cheeky smile to my face and I can't help but draw comparisons to the Sega series when I see things like this. Even some of the people you rescue reminds me of Yakuza, both in terms of their dialogue and random animations. I'm much further along in the game than I was back when it first released and I will continue to pick away at it. I do plan on actually finishing it this time around and I have enjoyed what i've played so far. I guess it's one of those games where I just had to be in the right mentality to play it and embrace the wackiness of it all. Funnily enough, this is exactly what happened with me when I first played Yakuza 0. Played it for a bit, thought it wasn't for me and then shelved. I returned to it a while later and it ended up being one of the best games this generation had to offer. It's always good to give games a second chance.
  43. 5 points
    Just binge watched these documentaries. Hearing him perform the Daytona song brought a huge smile on my face. The second part of the Mikami documentary is hilarious. His comment about the PS2 Final Fight remake/sequel had me in stitches. Also, the story about him making God Hand was a great listen. I still need to buy and play that at some point.
  44. 5 points
    Hey, welcome back man! Had to double take when I saw it was you posting!
  45. 5 points
    Super Mario Sunshine It still bums me out that Nintendo just gave the game a minimal upgrade rather than a full remake. The game needed more time in the oven when it was released on the GameCube and it's probably one of the very few Nintendo made titles that I can think that needs this kind of attention. The camera needs reworking, certain things need to be made more streamlined and the blue coin system could be done with an overhaul. Baten Kaitos Other than a few difficulty spikes in the game, I don't think this needs much done to it and it's more of a case of the game really deserves a second chance. The game was released on a dying console and had a card battle system. Such a battle system wasn't that big at the time but these days card battling is well thought of and has been embraced by a lot more people. Monolithsoft have a very good reputation now, with more gamers now knowing more about the developer thanks to the Xenoblade series. It's time to give that series a rest a revisit the world of Baten Kaitos.
  46. 5 points
    It's excellent to see you here again, @Hero-of-Time. I truly missed your various takes on various games, and your presence in general. As for my recent list... Happy Halloween, everybody! What do you mean it's November already? Nonsense and pish posh. In fact, I'll do something different this time: here are a bunch of short games I cleared from my backlog this weekend: Distraint The real horror was the toilets we skipped along the way Billed as a 2D psychological horror, this is a one-person game from Finnish developer Jesse Makkonen (and one I got for free on GOG some time ago). It's a linear, story-driven game about a young man working for a real estate firm, and how seizing people's houses slowly envelops him in guilt. Hallucinations and surreal imagery pop up all over the place. Getting the good out of the way, spritework looks great, disturbing, and bizarre. Sound design is also quite good, props for making festive music and jazz sound just as eerie as the traditionally scary tracks. The horror imagery and set pieces are visually striking and actually varied enough to stay effective, and the game only lasts some 2-3 hours, which is how long it needs to be. But to be frank, the story did nothing for me. This feels a lot like someone just found out Capitalism can be bad, and proceeded to paint the shallowest, most simplistic image of it (main character's name is "Price", I mean, come on). If Mr.Makkonen knew more of the subject, even his visual metaphors could've been better, since Price's guilt is represented here by a rampaging elephant... when the stock market is already represented by bulls and bears. There's also the issue with the script... it's kind of goofy and hilarious. It has that SNK vibe to it, written by someone who learned English, but doesn't quite know how people talk ("I will put on the telly and watch it" being one such example). Plus, the setting is supposed to be American, but this feels super duper European (I laughed so much when Price picked up... a one-dollar coin). In other words, it feels like Tommy Wiseau is starring in a videogame with legit creepy atmosphere. I can definitely hear him delivering every line in this game. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs The real horror was the pigs we forgot along the way I had heard this game was a lot weaker than the first one. Nevertheless, I got it on Steam for around 3€ just to check it. While Amnesia: The Dark Descent was an excellent horror experience developed and published by Frictional Games, for whatever reason, a sequel was made by The Chinese Room, a completely different developer. I do not understand why this decision was made (like, Frictional just handed the IP to another developer like that? Why?), but it does explain why this game feels so different. The strength of Dark Descent is that it's really effective at keeping you engaged. Survival mechanics, puzzles requiring you to examine texts to solve, sudden appearances of enemies (some of which are scripted and harmless, but the player doesn't know that), and an elegant way to intersperse the plot along the whole way. In Machine for Pigs, I fell asleep after 30 minutes. I continued playing for 30 more, got stuck on some part (probably a door I missed), and realised I did not care to continue. There are no survival mechanics to speak of (not even a draw back for using the lantern), no puzzles to speak of (every troublesome part amounted to "Check which objects you can move in this room, and move them"), story is way more cumbersome than it needed to be (no monologues, and a lot of the script is confusing to understand), and worst of all, I wasn't falling for the horror tricks (pro-tip: don't distort the camera and make a big deal out of a monster's appearance before I actually see anything!). So yeah, I just looked up online where the plot was going and... I successfully predicted roughly 75% of the mystery, and what would happen in the game, so I don't feel too bad. See, the script is written in this overly flowery language (apparently it's legitimate English from the end of the 19th Century, the developers did their research), so I was glad enough I could follow anything to that extent. I watched some of the scenes on youtube and they seem well executed with great voice acting, and the story itself sounds intriguing enough (if a bit schlocky). Shame that they're attached to such a boring game. Making this the first game I straight up dropped this year. The Fall The real horror is that I can't get up! I got this one on Steam some time ago for 1€. I don't remember getting it, but the description made it sound like a horror game, so I decided to jump fall straight into it. This was a nice surprise, because the game turned out to be quite good! Turns out, it's a 2D exploratory game. Movement and shooting are rudimentary and clunky (like in Oddworld, Flashback, or Out of This World), and most of the engagement involves solving puzzles like in a Point&Click game. There's also this scanning mechanic straight out of Metroid Prime (with a visor that resembles Super Metroid's X-Ray) where you can gather ambient descriptions from your surroundings, lore details, as well as information on elements you can interact with. Horror-wise, this wasn't fear-inducing every step of the way, but there was a very dark tone to the game throughout. Definitely feels like the more claustrophobic and isolated parts of the Metroid series. There are also aesthetic similarities with Limbo, a game I consider to fit into the horror genre as well. I thought it would involve an astronaut falling into - and then escaping - a hostile alien planet... but as it happens, the astronaut got injured upon landing and is actually unconscious, with the suit's AI (A.R.I.D.) taking over in controlling the body. I won't say more, but if you're a sucker for AI-related stories like I am, you'll love the places this story takes you. The exploration and puzzle elements turned out to be very good as well. Creative puzzles with sensible (and darkly humorous) solutions. I also like it when games like this say "I have no reason to pick that up" when there truly is none, so some good reasoning, memory, and sense of space are required. There's also some developer commentary from the developer Over the Moon, but I turned it off when I realised they'd be blurting out spoilers. The game's short enough (some 4 hours) that I might replay it just to hear them this time around. I did love the game, so that's no problem (the only flaw I see are the shooting/scanning controls, which really are awkward, and frequent enough for that to be an issue). So yeah, my Halloween experiment ended on a high note, thankfully. I also completed Dandara recently, but I'll write something more substantial about that one later. Need to do it justice.
  47. 5 points
    Absolutely delighted to announce I'll be joining the next gen on 10th November when I buy, outright, and Xbox Series X... controller 😎 My One S controller is virtually unusable now, the left analogue stick just essentially does its own thing (dead zone borked I think) so I've learned to work around it with Sea of Thieves but anything requiring precision is an absolute no go. I'm sure I'll end up getting a Series X at some point but no need for it at the moment, so I'll save my pennies until I can actually afford one. Perhaps Microsoft isn't looking to win the console war, but the accessory war instead.
  48. 5 points
    I'm at the exact same point as @Jonnas now, and it's quite a ride! Love the work you put into it and the time you took to involve us, the listeners. A lot there to agree and to disagree with, but great to hear all the reminiscing about Mario's rich history. And great to see a lot of love for the Superstar Saga, they are indeed a great spin-off series as I'll explain later in the podcast.
  49. 5 points
    I have just completed the NES build. Just the console, not the TV set yet. But WOW, this set is amazing. From being a near 1:1 replica (I swear without looking close you’d swear it was a real one sitting on a shelf) the the neat little Easter egg and all the cable slots (power, A/V) the attention to detail is perfect. But my favourite part of the build has to be the fully functioning cartridge slot. You lift the front panel, slide the cartridge in and push the holding button down. It clicks in place and then it clicks up again when you push it down just like the real thing. How they thought it up and implemented it is astonishing to me. I’ve been looking at the tine bit that does it and it still amazes me. To me the controller seems a perfect 1:1 replica, just holding it feels like it used to. The buttons are in the right place were my thumbs rest and it just feels like holding the real thing. I mean just look at the last photo it just looks so real. Amazing job by Lego on this build.
  50. 5 points
    Funny that 2013 was set as the start, because that's literally the year I got Steam. I had gotten GOG earlier, but never bothered to use that digital store until I finally surrendered myself to the world of heavy digital discounts. As such, given the timeframe, I will count this generation as Steam+GOG, also including the 3DS that I would go on to buy a few years later (I will leave the Switch off the list because that "generation" is ongoing). So my best games of the generation are (in no particular order): Amnesia - Technically played it a year before, but I eventually got it on Steam anyway, so I'm counting it. This is the first horror game that I "got", and it was a brilliant experience. It's only fair I include it. Mark of the Ninja - The first Steam game I played, and the one that kickstarted the generation for me. Phenomenal game, and was my favourite on Steam for a long time (now second best, but still impressive). Civilization V - This was actually the game I got Steam for! It provided with many a hour of strategy, and learning of history, cultures, and listening to good study music. Also, Willem van Oranje's lovely diction. Binding of Isaac - First roguelike I liked, and the one that made me appreciate the genre (as well as twin stick shooters, I suppose). It's gross, but beautiful in its grossness. Very bold and plentiful. Spelunky - Not as many hours on this one, but I must include it, if only to drive home the fact that Isaac made me appreciate games I hadn't enjoyed before. Rock of Ages - Steam also allowed me to try some weird stuff, and Rock of Ages stands out among them. Still haven't played the sequels, but I trust that they all share the unique kookyness of the original. Also, first game I've ever seen that has my home city Porto as a location (even as a surreal, abstract location) so HA! To the Moon - Lovely story-driven game, and one that convinced me that such experiences are very much worthwhile alongside more gameplay-focused titles. This was definitely a generation for experimentation. Deponia series - Also a generation for revivals, as I got back into point&click games. In particular, Daedalic is a company that specializes in those, and I enjoyed a few of their offerings, not just for their old-school logic and humour, but also to help me learn German. The Deponia trilogy is definitely the most memorable one. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 - A generation for watching videogame competition as well! I watched too many videos of TTT2 to count, and loved every second. I did get to play it as well, and was not disappointed. Blocks That Matter and Tetrobot & Co - Going back to more traditional experiences, I played quite a few indie puzzle games, and I'd say the best ones were these two cute titles from French developer Swing Swing Submarine. They're distinct, but both soothed my mind in their own way. I don't know, I guess these just clicked with me in all the right ways. Teslagrad and The Swapper - And on the other side, these two titles from different developers are both brilliant puzzle-focused Metroidvanias that showed me just how much can Indie developers push the genre. Teslagrad has a solid skill progression system linked with puzzle solving (alongside a lovely art style and music), while Swapper has no skills to unlock, only a creepy atmosphere, a thought-provoking narrative, and one brilliant mechanic. Both of them are physics-based puzzle games, too! What Remains of Edith Finch and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter - I played these fairly close to one another, and each brings a unique take to this "walking simulator" genre. One's a lovely story with brilliant presentation and immersion, the other one is just a creepy mystery that allows the player to figure it out at their own pace. Bastion - I don't suppose there's anything unique to say about Bastion, other than the fact that it's really, really good. Fun gameplay, excellent storytelling, and a compelling art style. Sometimes it's not what you do new, it's what you do right. Freedom Planet - Like this game, and the way it brought high-speed platforming from the Mega Drive era to the forefront! I love this game, and I could stand to play it again. Sonic Mania - Almost as a response to the previous game, Sega, Christian Whitehead, and Tee Lopes answered in kind, with the best game the hedgehog's been in decades! I already gushed a lot about this game (which is my favourite Steam game, in case you were wondering), so I'll just cross my fingers for a Mania 2. Huniepop - ........What? Dating Sims are also games. This one mixed with a puzzle game, and the results are far better than I ever expected. It helps that the writing is actually pretty solid (almost as solid as my D- Doki Doki Literature Club - -oki Doki). Yes. Great game. Makes sense I'd lump these cute girl games together, huh? Great experiences, memories, and writing all around. Fire Emblem: Awakening - Shifting to the 3DS, I came late into it, but I did it nevertheless. I finally got back into Fire Emblem after a long hiatus, and so I dove head-first into Awakening. I enjoyed it quite a fair amount, and dispelled some preconceptions I had about it, so I enjoyed what was a very fun, light-hearted, and accessible Strategy RPG. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia - But this was the game that pushed me into the 3DS. Totally worth it, this game is challenging with its distinct mechanics, but the writing, translation, and presentation are off the charts. I could listen to this OST - or even the voiced script - for days. Mega Man Legacy Collection - I also got to revisit a lovely platforming series on the 3DS. Fantastic collection with valuable extras, that somewhat drove me to get more of them. No regrets, classic collections are a great idea, I find. Hydroventure: Spin Cycle - The 3DS had its own share of quirky ideas, and none better than a physics-based puzzle game where you physically flip the console to control water. I've come to appreciate this game more and more (it reminded me of the best the DS had, too), and I'm super happy it got representation in Smash. Severed - Technically on Vita first, but I experienced it on the 3DS. Yet another genre I never liked until this generation, this first-person dungeon crawler is brilliant stuff. Dark story and aesthetics, creative enemy design, an original and well implemented mechanic, and a steady difficulty curve. Excellent game that I got almost for free, thanks to MyNintendo. Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds - But returning to more traditional experiences, the 3DS's only original Zelda game is an absolute blast, and worthy to stand with the best of them. I make no secret that I'm not that big of a fan of LttP, but this game was just excellent, and despite reusing another game's world map, it nevertheless managed to carve its own identity in many a way. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Finally, a shout-out to retro-style games that are also excellent in their own right. This is so much more than just a NES Castlevania successor, it's Inti Creates doing what they do best. Finally, just a quick reminder that I haven't yet played everything this generation had to offer (the amount of unplayed 3DS games alone is staggering), so this list will always be incomplete. Also, here are some Honourable Mentions: System Shock 2; Braid; Limbo; VVVVVV; Abe's Oddysee; King of Fighters series; I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream - These are all games that existed prior to this generation, but Steam's/GOG's vast combined library allowed me to experience them for the first time. The titles themselves are not emblematic of the generation, but their availability is; Theme Hospital; Little Big Adventure 2; Garou: Mark of the Wolves; Mole Mania - Same thing as above, except I had played them before. However, the current generation allowed them to return to my hands in an easy-to-play form. Fire Emblem Heroes - It's ongoing, but I started it alongside the 3DS. It's part of my personal Fire Emblem revival, so here goes.