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  1. 3 points
    It's been far too long since I've posted an update here, but I think I have quite a bit to say about the games I played in February and March, and have had to put it off writing this up for quite a long while because of how long I thought it might take. After this update, I might not be around in this thread for a while so that I can focus on my exams, but afterwards I plan to return with more detailed and frequent write-ups of the games that I've been playing. Anyway, let's get to it: February 3. Pokémon SoulSilver Version (2009) Pokémon SoulSilver is the 2009 Nintendo DS remake of Pokémon Silver, which was originally released in 1999 for the Game Boy Color. You know the drill for Pokémon games at that point in time: standard coming-of-age affair, with gym leaders to beat and an evil team to take down while catching and raising your own Pokémon. The remake features a great number of enhancements (such as the popular walking Pokémon feature, as well as the introduction of a Pokémon sports mini-game tournament in Pokéathlon) over the original versions, a number of which make a return from Pokémon Crystal (2000). Somewhat infamously, SoulSilver and HeartGold came bundled with a Poké Ball inspired pedometer - aptly dubbed the PokéWalker - which would allow players to earn experience for a Pokémon transferred from the game to the device, and also gave them the opportunity to find items and catch Pokémon on the go. Who said gaming couldn't be healthy? Growing up with the special anime episode The Legend of Thunder, I became especially intrigued by the Johto region and its inhabiting Pokémon, but, due to circumstances at that time (and with the Game Boy line being phased out entirely in favour of the DS), I was unable to take my first pixelated step in the Johto for the longest time. However, in my final year of primary school, this was put right by the release of the DS remakes, which hold a very special place in my heart. Returning to this game for the first time since launch (after making sure that all of my Pokémon had been transported to a different game!) was something that I was eager to do, but also worried about: how would one of my favourite games hold up nearly eight years after my original playthrough, with that rugged layer of nostalgia having peeled away with my own maturity? As I would go on to find out: quite well, but by no means perfectly. These games have a lot of issues, many of which arise from Game Freak's seemingly stubbornly intent on keeping almost everything the exact same as they were in the original games when it comes to remakes. Level scaling in particular could be very frustrating, going from being overpowered in one battle to severely underdeveloped in the next, and this was especially noticeable in milestone battles such as those with gym leaders and Team Rocket higher-ups. Though these could be easily worked around through some smart battling or a little bit of grinding, it doesn't make sense to be feel so tamely powered, considering that I battle every trainer I can. Likewise, there is an almost condescending over-dependence on HMs, as was the case with many of the early main series Pokémon games, which at times brought my journey to a standstill, requiring me to do some backtracking and, occasionally, to swap out a now core member of my team late on into the game. How was I to know that Slowpoke can learn Surf and Whirlpool, but not Waterfall? The game's writing also seems somewhat generic and bland when compared to Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, which accurately portrayed the conversational tone of NPCs (Cyrus' unrelenting anger, frustration and eventual madness comes to mind), and having a cover legendary have virtually nothing to do with the main story (and have no worthwhile backstory, either) seems something of a waste. The allure of visiting a second region in the post-game in Kanto has also lost a lot of its appeal, with the above problems becoming substantially more noticeable here, meaning that you're likely to be underlevelled by the time that you reach what is presented as the game's true final battle. Those things being said, this game does have a lot of good things going on, too. The most noticeable, for me, is that seeing Kanto and Johto in Generation IV's 3D engine with new sprites/models and hearing new takes on classic Pokémon music means that this game - as much as any other Pokémon game - is filled with heaps of visual and musical charm, meaning that you'll likely find your character just standing around in a park or in a building being taken over by the evil team just to take in the positive atmosphere. Your rival, Silver, has an excellent arc in the game, from Pokémon user-and-abuser to someone who has found his own peace and purpose by realising the wrongs in his own actions by the end of the game. The optional side/post-game is also very extensive, ranging from learning about ancient ruins to competing with others in an Olympics-inspired group of events in the aforementioned Pokéathlon, where it's surprisingly easy to lose track of time. Overall, while by no means a perfect game, Pokémon SoulSilver manages to capture some of the charm of the original games, whilst adding a slew of new features for its audience to make the game feel like something a bit more than a bog-standard remake. Rating: 7.7/10 4. Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (2008) The other game that I played in February was Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, which was originally released on the Nintendo DS in 2008. As with the first game, players make use of the stylus to draw rings around Pokémon in an attempt to calm/temporarily capture them, in the role of a Pokémon Ranger, this time set in the region of Almia, though this time around, the player begins their journey at a school for budding Pokémon Rangers. The game introduces the majority of the 107 Pokémon first seen in the Sinnoh region in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl to this spin-off series, as well as having Pokémon available in the previous game make a return. I believe this was my third playthrough of the game, and it is a relatively short game (clocking in at around 13 hours, almost double the time that I spent playing its predecessor back in January). However, with some evolution evident in all of the major mechanics when compared to the first game, and with the addition of optional side quests to increase your advantages during a capture, the game certainly felt much longer than that, and I think that goes to show that this game is very tight mechanically, and has a great feedback loop. The game also has a main story which, in my experience, is far superior in writing and plot points when compared to the original game, with a number of well-written characters and sequences springing to mind, though some parts of the story might be very predictable. It also features a number of callbacks to the previous game, which is always a nice touch in Pokémon games, as it offers a great sense of continuity. There isn't much that this game actually does wrong, besides having a soundtrack which seems great while playing the game but is easily forgettable otherwise. Rating: 8.0/10 March 5. Donkey Kong Country Returns (2010) 2010 saw the release of Retro Studios' first attempt at a Donkey Kong Country game - fittingly titled Donkey Kong Country Returns after a series hiatus of 14 years - on the Nintendo Wii. This is a game that I played with the Wiimote - which is what I would argue the game was designed to be played on - with my little brother, and we had fun playing it. Levels are challenging; there are tons of things to collect outside of bananas, and a fair share of subsidiary challenges besides the goal of just completing the level; the music, at all times, adds another layer to levels; and, for the most part, it's got some very well designed platforming areas. However, there are quite a few issues that I have with this game, first and foremost being the controls - in particular, shaking the Wiimote to roll. I lost count of the number of times that a relatively simple platforming area meant that we would die simply because the Wiimote mistook a very, very slight motion for a shake, and we would perilously roll to our dooms. Some levels require navigation of a vehicle, which is perfectly fine in a mine kart - feeling deservedly and fairly challenging - but extremely annoying in a rocket cart. Perhaps it's the fact that this is my first Donkey Kong Country game, but it is difficult enough to fly in a straight line in one of those things - let alone successfully arch up and down through a sequence of looping flames - almost to the point where it feels unnecessarily frustrating to navigate, and play becomes tedious more than it does rewarding. Perhaps it's the fact that I played with a Wiimote - or on the Wii at all - so I'll be aiming to return to this game again one day with a different control setup to see if the problems I have with the game persist. I'm excited to play through Tropical Freeze at some point, so I was gutted that I didn't have a better experience with this game. Rating: 6.5/10 6. Pokémon White Version (2010) The dark and foreboding grunts of an organ are loudly shrugged off, before a golden castle - brightly lit in the surrounding darkness, with a pinkish-red halo - emerges into your view. The vocal chords of a choir continue to rise and fall as we hear three notes from a piano repeated again and again, each time closing with a brief pause to allow a bell to ring. A large man draped in regal robes in a light gold hue, with long green hair and a crown between his hands, slowly steps - purposefully - across a rich blue cloth as he approaches an elevated throne. His peers, with their long headpieces, kneel before him, each in a different colour of robe to one another but all appearing just as noble. His noble peers are old, each with some combination of snow white hair, moustache and beard. Sharply edged and with five points, the golden crown works its way closer to the throne, the large man carrying it having one eye red, and the other eye hidden behind an angular monocle with a red viewing glass. The throne is empty, and the man turns, preaching to his six peers, who rise to carry the cloth of the golden robe gathering behind their Chosen One as he stoically proceeds to the throne. With similar green hair to that of the large man carrying the crown, the blue-eyed man closes his eyes for a brief moment, memories of playing with his friends in his childhood vividly appearing in his mind. The large man now lifts the crown high above the Chosen One's head, the choir getting louder now, as his pink- and yellow-haired carers watch from afar as the crown is carefully placed atop his head. Rising, the young king raises his hand, silencing those around him, as a drum is beat and the strings of a violin eerily screech to a drawn out halt. You'd be forgiven for thinking I'd described the opening to a JRPG with a medieval setting. What I am actually describing is the prologue sequence players first saw when opening Pokémon Black & White for the first time back in 2010, which set up the darker and more mature tone - relative to previous and consequent main series entries - of the game perfectly. That should have been the first sign for Pokémon fans that this was - simply put - a different type of Pokémon game to what had come before. Yes, gym leaders are present as always, and remain the milestone battles of your journey, but they're integral to the story more than they have ever been before, which pays off in spadefuls at the end of the game. The typical coming-of-age Pokémon story is present, but this time around - as a sixteen year old as opposed to a ten year old - there are some heavy handed questions for the player about the morality of Pokémon: is it right to use Pokémon to battle? Do Pokémon even want to battle? Or Pokémon be freed from the shackles that are their Poké Balls? This is the goal of Team Plasma, who wish to liberate Pokémon from their trainers, and we learn about their goals - and of N, who I'll get onto in a moment - very early on in the game, and encounter them on such a frequent basis that it doesn't feel like our journey as a trainer is entirely separate to our duel with Team Plasma. It doesn't feel like a total change in direction for the story when they turn up, and, as a result, we get what I think to be the most cohesive Pokémon experience (as a trainer) to date. The newly crowned king you see in the above video is N, a mysterious man around twenty years old, and he serves as something of an anti-hero in the game, and to great aplomb. He makes the player and other characters in a stellar cast question their own motivations - and can even supposedly talk to Pokémon - but, ultimately - even though he is the king of a seemingly evil team - he simply wants what is best for Pokémon, and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure their happiness. You have two rivals in this game: Cheren and Bianca. Cheren starts out as your typical Pokémon rival akin to Blue and Silver, wanting to become the Champion and to be the strongest Pokémon trainer there is, whereas Bianca sets out on her journey unsure of what she wants. Both of these characters develop and find what they're really after, even if they were (or weren't) certain of what that was at the outset of your journey. What this game does so well is that its focus is purely on storytelling and developing these characters, giving them an arc that is difficult to not find some part of yourself in, and it guides you through this story in an almost entirely linear manner to allow for these stories to be told. I think this is where some most main series Pokémon games stumble: the entire game is a toss-up between story and adventure, as opposed to a focus on just one. It's difficult to invest in monotone, one-beat characters, and I applaud Game Freak's decision to risk creating multifaceted and complex characters with these games (and, as I hear, their sequels, which I've yet to play). This game is paced superbly. As soon as the game starts, you're in your bedroom choosing your starter Pokémon, and within minutes you'll have battled your rivals and started on your journey, and the game pretty much steamrolls to the end, but it isn't a constant thing: it's a slow build which pays off in dividends at the end of the game. Battles - of any variety - are fast. The experience your Pokémon gains is tied toe the difference in level between your Pokémon and the opposing Pokémon, with a Pokémon of a higher level than your foe's receiving less than a Pokémon that is a lower level than the foe would, meaning that grinding is kept to a minimum. The user interface throughout the game is incredibly intuitive. Whilst HMs are still present in the game, at no point did they feel like a hindrance to the journey that I was on: I taught Beartic Surf because I wanted to, not out of necessity. Perhaps most importantly for the pacing - and for the sake of the story - something of consequence happens on almost every route, landmark, or settlement, whether it be an encounter with your rival, Team Plasma, or a gym leader - in fact, more often than not, you're running into all of them in the same area! Music is something that's very important to me, especially when it comes to films and video games. Sadly, the music in this game isn't that strong in the first third or so of the game, but the score, like the story, slowly builds, and it crescendos - just like the story - in the most epic of ways at the end of the game, thanks to the compositions of Shota Kageyama, Junichi Masuda, Hitomi Satō, Gō Ichinose, Morikazu Aoki, Minako Adachi, and Satoshi Nohara, and the arrangements of Shota Kageyama, Hitomi Satō, Gō Ichinose, and Minako Adachi. The final third of the main story in particular is where I would argue the strength of the score really comes to the fore, and it accents the events playing out to near perfection. The game also has excellent art direction, with fluid animations, wonderfully animated sprites and models, with drawings sometimes being preferred to character models throughout the story (such as in using the Xtransceiver, or during an important story moment), which only serves to realise Ken Sugimori's art style more than ever before. All of this means that the game has aged incredibly well. This game has some minor issues at times - I ran into a Pokémon every 2 - 4 steps in Chargestone Cave for a while, which seemed a much higher encounter rate than was evident elsewhere in the game, or even in other Pokémon games, and was somewhat annoying - but, beyond that, I have no reason to not implore you to pick up either Black or White if you haven't yet. I hope to play White 2 later this year, and will return to the Unova region with extraordinarily high hopes for what comes next. Rating: 9.5/10
  2. 2 points
    Adam Koralik has revealed a few more tidbits about Shenmue I & II: • there will not be a collector’s edition of the game. • if you purchase a physical copy of either the PS4 or XBO version of the game in North America or Europe (and potentially in Australia), the game will come bundled with a poster. • interestingly (but also somewhat unsurprisingly), Japan is only getting the PS4 release of the game. He also revealed that he knows what the planned release date for the collection is, but, for obvious reasons, cannot share that information at this time.
  3. 2 points
    I ended up on eBay because of this thread to lookup Dreamcasts and ended up searching for something I've been after for a while but not found any decent priced ones, that and I'm pretty wary of using eBay. But I found one that seemed like a good price and a reputable seller so I bit the bullet and I got it on Monday. It looked brand new straight from the factory. Pretty happy overall.
  4. 2 points
    Just had my first live chat experience in Yakuza 6. I love this series, its dumb in all the right ways
  5. 2 points
  6. 1 point
    Good question! I'm using a Super Famicom so not 100% sure, but I don't think it works on a PAL console. it might if you have an adapter. It'll work on the US console if you remove the tabs (good region protection, Nintendo ). Your basically plugging a Gameboy into your SNES so it's a bit weird they'd lock it out. I don't think the 50hz/60hz matters in this instance.
  7. 1 point
    I just wanted to go a few weeks without wanting to rip my hair out, that’s all Definitely think a Konami that cared would be trying to make a Soulsborne Castlevania game, though.
  8. 1 point
    Wait... this is a "Konami - What the hell are they doing?" thread and there's nothing on the brand new 2D Castlevania game being made... only for iOS? Come on, keep up.
  9. 1 point
    They aren't on Game Pass. You have to either buy the digital version or have the original disc.
  10. 1 point
    Here's a breakdown of the new quest and how it works. Sounds interesting.
  11. 1 point
    I loved that game when I played it. Really enjoyable and also the story was pretty decent too. I enjoyed the gameplay so much that I ended up obtaining the platinum.
  12. 1 point
  13. 1 point
    https://www.wired.com/story/xbox-underground-videogame-hackers/ An absolutely wild article that goes over the story of the guys who hacked the Xbox, the Xbox 360 and who stole the Durango/Xbox One prototype units from Microsoft! Honestly, there's a whole TV series worth of material here, let alone a Hollywood movie!
  14. 1 point
    Just finished Rise of the Tomb Raider, what a ton of fun that game was! Loved every second of it. Visuals, combat, traversal, puzzles, story all masterfully put together. Probably even preferred it to the first game. Load of content too and though it does the whole checklist of things to do in the (semi) openworld, it never feels too much. Looking forward to Shadow now. 9/10, fantastic.
  15. 1 point
    Another amazing video from My Life in Gaming. If I ever buy a PC Engine... which isn't likely as I have most of the games I'll probably ever want for it on the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console services... but if I did, I'd get one of these.
  16. 1 point
    Had this come out for the Switch, it would've been a day one purchase. I might get the Steam version if there'll be an active modding community.
  17. 1 point
  18. 1 point
    This game looks better and better with every new look we get at it! The music in the second half of the trailer builds up into an epic climax, and I love the concept of the duality of the Noble and Rogue paths. And just to address the oddly-named-JRPG-shaped elephant in the room... O - Olberic C - T - Tressa O - P - Primrose A - Alfyn T - Therion H - H’aanit
  19. 1 point
    Got a text from DPD saying my premium edition would be here between 11:45am and 12:45pm It's pouring down here so the driver might get slowed down...I just need it now!! EDIT: and as soon as i post this, it gets delivered ^_^
  20. 1 point
    Lol, when I saw you’d linked to something to do with the plane ticket I just knew it’d be the GB endurance run and Vinny’s anger.
  21. 1 point
    I'm a little disappointed by that to be honest. I appreciate that they want these games to feel as close to how they felt back in 1999/2002 but little things like being able to skip time in Shenmue 2 was a nice QoL feature that really should have been in Shenmue 1. I'm surprised it isn't an option they would allow you to turn on or off in the settings or something. Look's like we really will have to wait around a whole day for our plane ticket again.
  22. 1 point
    I'd like a physical release of the complete edition. I'll forgive them for not releasing a physical release earlier.
  23. 1 point
    I've thought about this an not sure I'd be OK with using donor sperm. Wouldn't really be OK with the inequality in parentage, and would definitely worry that it would be more theirs than mine. Whereas with adoption it's something you've done together, and you have the beauty of bringing an "unwanted" child into a happy home. Definitely not OK for you wife to tell you to basically see a therapist and just get over it. You have more than valid concerns about it and she can't just dictate terms like that.
  24. 1 point
    Yeah, Pinap Moltres for double candy and transfer the worse...for even more candy. Also, there is no guarantee that the Special Reward will change once the research streak starts. So you might as well just keep running through them until it changes and we know how it works a little better.
  25. 1 point
    I don't think you're being weird about it, I completely understand what you're saying. Though I can see it from the perspective that you've clearly both been through a lot, I can't even begin to understand just how much either but at least your son is OK now thankfully and that's something I feel you should both never lose sight of and I don't think you would either; I'm glad to here that everything worked out fine, so I'm sure it's soemthing you're both grateful for every day, it's important not to lose sight of that. Neither of you could have predicted what would happen, you can't help what genes you have as you're born with them, obviously I can understand that it's not something either of you would want to go through again, hence going for the trials but if it comes down to three failed trials and you still want to have another child then... I think it's something you'd both have to agree on and I really don't think seeing a therapist is going to help either way, neither is it an option... in my opinion, your mind seems very much made up... but then so does hers... it's tricky that's for sure. But ultimately, what's the point in bringing another child into your lives if only one of you - or possibly either of you - is going to end up loving it? I mean it might end up being fine, but it also might not be... I just hope that both of you don't end up worse off further down the road because one of you compromised but didn't want to really. What I've just written might come across as harsh, I don't know and for what it's worth I don't have kids myself, but I just thought I'd try to add some perspective and ultimately I wish you both the very best in the future, whatever happens.
  26. 1 point
    Why not just get this Moltres and keep going with the field research? You’ll get more candy for the Moltres and may get a better one than holding off. Plus you get all the rewards inbetween.
  27. 1 point
    Figured I would just post this here. Dude is on point. NintendoLife made these comments about it.
  28. 1 point
    If you can't conceive normally, why go through another pregnancy at all, and instead why not adopt? Then the child isn't either of yours genetically (so you don't feel like the kid is more hers than yours) and you can house an already existing unwanted child?
  29. 1 point
    I've taken a break of basically years from weightlifting. Just didn't have the motivation for some reason. But now its back, and I'm getting back on it! Switched from from 5x5 to GSLP and I'm really going to try and stick with it this time. Can't believe what I could lift when I stopped, compared to what I'm doing now, a shame really. I wonder where I'd be at if I'd have kept it up? Well, this time we'll find out
  30. 1 point
  31. 1 point
    Yeah, I get exactly how you feel about last year’s show. I found Nintendo’s E3 Spotlight to be short (perhaps a bit too short?) but completely to the point, which I liked, and I also enjoyed a fair few parts of the Ubisoft conference. Sony’s felt like it might as well have been a Direct-esque approach for those at home, and whilst I enjoyed seeing what was on offer, it seemed to lack momentum to me completely, and had petered out by the midway point. Closing up with some QTE footage from Spider-Man, a game that was already announced, seemed completely nuts to me, especially considering that they opened the show fairly strongly with announcements for Shadow of the Colossus Remake and Monster Hunter World. EA’s stuff always seems like a public business meeting - scummy - and it felt, to me at least, that Microsoft were trying to revive the console war with PlayStation with “(Timed) Xbox One (& Windows 10) Exclusive” — despite being so far behind in all regards this generation. I (very optimistically) think that E3 2018 has to be better than last year’s showing because, if nothing else, the start of the “next generation” with PS5 and Xbox Two/Infinity/720/1080/Home Premium is fast approaching, so I think we’re going to start seeing PlayStation and Xbox throwing the kitchen sink at us. I could be completely wrong, but, at the latest, I think we’ll be seeing the start of the “next gen” (or smartphone-like iteration) by Q4 2020, which would give them some two and a half years or so to start delivering on games that we’ve already seen announced. The Last Of Us Part Two and Final Fantasy VII Remake in particular come to mind. It’s also worth mentioning that we know offensively little about H2 of this year, the only game with a fixed release date at this point being Red Dead Redemption 2 on October 26th. Of the “Big Three”, then, I think that Nintendo is going to be - as ever - the completely unpredictable loose cannon. I don’t know about you, but the lack of a true Direct in January seemed like something of a missed opportunity to me, even if it is a wise one in the event that they have no new major tentpole first party games to reveal and release before E3; they’ve still done a good job of filling H1 with a vast array of titles for all audiences, in large part thanks to its indie offering. I think that Nintendo has to have a longer Spotlight than last year because, whereas 2017 was almost purely about pumping out excellent games, 2018 is being set up to be the year which decides the console’s future. I don’t think that they can leave it much later than E3 to reveal the plans for their online infrastructure, which launches only three months later in September, and fans have had a hankering for Virtual Console on Switch since it launched. Unlike the Wii and Wii U, and arguably even the 3DS, the constant stream of support for Switch, should it continue, doesn’t seem to allow for a quiet window to fill with the launch of Virtual Console, and nor should it. I think this is Nintendo’s chance to get Virtual Console right, and I seriously hope that it isn’t in the form of a Netflix-like service. As someone who has a very long backlog of Nintendo games to plough through in particular, I want to have ownership of these games, and don’t want them taken away like PS Plus games. Perhaps paying for their online service could offer users an amount of points which could be used on Virtual Console titles: each month of their subscription, users get 1000 points, with NES games costing 500 points, SNES games costing 1000 points, GC games costing 1500 points and Wii games costing 2000 points. Users can then spend and save their accrued points as they please, with the points being tied directly to their account. Heck, much simpler: just offer users of the online subscription service an exclusive discount on Virtual Console games. We know so little about Nintendo’s offering this year that I think they have to go big at E3 if they do plan on holding the majority of their top tier games (Fire Emblem, and possibly games like Animal Crossing, Smash Bros. Switch and Pokémon Switch) back for the latter half of this year. I doubt I’ll be watching EA’s and Microsoft’s conferences this year, but Bethesda could also show off something amazing, like Elder Scrolls VI or that rumoured new sci-fi space-venturing IP, Starfield. And we can probably expect news on Cyberpunk 2077. And Shenmue 3. And Shenmue 1+2 HD. And other stuff. I’m optimistic that it’ll be better than last year, and hopefully by a long shot