Jump to content


Popular Content

Showing most liked content since 09/23/22 in Posts

  1. 10 points
    That's right, this site turns 25 today. It's gone through a few name changes along the way but it's a quarter of a century old. That means we're as old as classics such as Pokémon Red and Blue, Super Mario 64 and Bakushō Jinsei 64: Mezase! Resort Ō.
  2. 10 points
    Just wanted to say thanks to all of you for the well wishes, I've returned to this thread a number of times since I last signed out to remind myself that I've got people pulling for me, and it's got me through some tough mornings It's been nearly three months (!) since I posted, and I'm going to be 10 sessions deep into therapy come this Thursday. While there's still a long way to go, I can genuinely say my mental health has come on leaps and bounds over the last two and a half months. There are still bad days, I still feel a bit at odds with myself at times, but my self-esteem and perspective has slowly returned/grown, and I've come to accept that while it will take time to get where I want to get, it's about the direction, not the destination. And I'm happy with my direction right now and over these last few months. Think it helps a lot that I lost ~13kg from the end of August to the end of November, and while I've still got a bit to go with losing weight, I've put on a bit of size for the first time in years and generally feel, well, much better than before. Lately, I've been so happy and at peace that I've found myself blasting music and just dancing around my apartment like a mad man (which reminds me, I need to post in the music thread for a change!) – for those that don't know, this is nothing like me, and I didn't even realise until a good week or so after, when I just laughed about it to myself. Feeling better and more like myself has come with a bit of a melancholic downside where I can so starkly see the contrast between my mental health when I'm tired or anxious and when I'm not, so tying down a sleeping routine is up next on my agenda. Had a very rough weekend just, but went for a long walk in the cold this evening and feel okay, which continues to shock me. Anyways, I don't know what this means for me posting regularly on N-E, I think for now I'll just dip my toes in and out and play it by ear from there based on my mood, but I struggle to see myself posting as much as I once did (which could always change!). Games have kind of slipped onto the back burner for me (well apart from Ragnarök, which was fantastic!) and I feel a bit out of the loop on news for a change, but the break has definitely given me a bit of perspective on how I want to approach my time with this place. Thanks again for your support N-E, it's good to be back, even if just for a bit
  3. 9 points
    I’m 92 days sober! Which feels really weird to say as I used to have a ‘rule’ that as long as I wasn’t drunk two days in a row I was ‘fine’. I had a lot of rules like that to justify things and prove to myself nothing was wrong. Another rule was, “don’t drink the day before work”. Given I work shifts, that was always quite doable. If I was on an early 6am shift till midday, and off the next day, I would nap as soon as I could when I got home, so that I’d be ready for a regular old binge until the early hours, and then spend my actual day off hungover. I probably had an average of 2 to 4 binges depending on the week, depending on when I could or could not adhere to my “rules”. The last few years I needed that “no work the next day” rule, as time stands still for no one, and I’m no longer in my early 20’s, so the following day after a binge would be a complete write off, and I’d be pretty much bed-ridden, just about able to mindlessly scroll TikTok or read Reddit, or of course, nap the day away. So the few occasions I did break my unbreakable rules, work was a mess, and I no doubt looked like an absolute monster (and probably smelt it too!), but generally I was able to stick to my rules, and keep things largely under wraps. I had got pretty good at being buzzed but functioning on my chilled out nights alone, my spelling/typing on the PC was impeccable, and I had gotten out of the habit of sending messages or stupid Snapchats after around 1am in a bid to not seem drunk, unless of course it was a socially acceptable day, like a Saturday, or if I’d been on a night out anyway, in which case I could let my drunk guard down. All of this is to say that for the past 8 years I haven’t had a healthy relationship with alcohol, but for the past 3 or 4 years especially, things had gotten bad, and I had somehow tricked myself into not seeing it for myself. Despite, in hindsight, so many OBVIOUS signs that things weren’t right and I was clearly lying to myself. I would hide empty cans and bottles under ‘normal’ recycling (juice cartons, butter, whatever), so that my mountain of cans wasn’t obvious. I would tear up and put at the bottom of the bin, or literally burn in the fire, the cardboard cases of my beer when I was done with them. I would cycle through various shops when buying alcohol because of the shame of seeing the same cashier too often – Though even while doing that it still felt like I saw the same people far too much, and despite looking young for my age and always getting ID’d at new places, these people would know not to bother and let me buy without question. I was a regular! How depressing, and how embarrassing. All of these things and yet, if a TV show had the trope of a cop coming home and starting a 6-pack, or a journalist in the city goes back to her apartment and opens a bottle of wine alone, I would point to the screen and say to myself, “look, everyone does it!”. I started properly drinking at around 17, but it was fine, the normal amount and normal situations for anyone that age, house parties, nights out with friends, and probably once a week, if that. And it was like that until probably my early to mid 20’s. Then in 2015 my nephew unexpectedly passed away shortly after being born. I was a heavy sleeper (note, was), so when I woke and saw missed calls from my brother and parents, multiple missed calls, I knew something was up, as we pretty much always communicate through text. It took me ages to get through to my brother. My brother couldn’t really talk, and obviously had a lot going on, so the call ended quick. This was about half 7 in the morning on a Sunday, he lives about a 15 minute walk from me, and I decided to just run to his house, because for some reason I thought everyone would just be at home? I don’t know what I was thinking really. I was running with tears coming down my face, I must have looked a bit insane, but being that early on a Sunday, I didn’t actually come across any other person. I got to the house and it was locked, obviously, because of course they weren’t home, and then I finally got through to my parents, and my dad came and picked me up and took me to the hospital. I went to the hospital, held my nephew, cried with the family, tried to deal with how surreal it all was, the fact that this family, my family, one that doesn’t really show true emotion often, were all crying in front of each other while taking turns to say goodbye to this tiny dead baby. I wish I had got there earlier, to see him for the half an hour he was alive, but I’m glad I at least got to see him at all. That was an odd time, and later that day, I absolutely did not want to face the reality when I got home. I had already, before this had happened, planned to have a night in with my friend, and had the alcohol waiting at home, but of course, given the circumstances, I cancelled, and to lift my mood on said night, I drank the wine by myself instead and listened to KPOP and weirdly enough, I was having a great time. I still had pangs of sadness every time I remembered my nephew, but also I would look at the clock, 11pm, 12am, 1am, and think, “damn, I could be in bed moping right now but instead I’m having a great time, jamming out, disco lights on, music on loud, who needs to feel SAD when you can MAKE yourself have a great time.” I guess that is the perfect example of toxic positivity lol, but at the time I thought I was cheating life and making lemonade out of lemons. At the same time, death had been a pretty big part of my life in 2015. I was working at a care home, the status of which had recently turned to nursing home/end of life care. I worked nights, often alone on my “side” of the building while one or two others worked on the other side. So I spent a lot of time walking corridors at night by myself on my 12 hour shifts, itself probably not healthy. I’d be helping dying people get up to the toilet, get a drink, tell me their dementia-fuelled delusions, or walking in to see that poor old John had breathed his last breath and I needed to get him looking presentable before his family arrived to say goodbye, and then I happily welcome in the men at 5am who take him out in a zipped up black bag. Honestly I thought that was a thing in movies, it was really odd to take them to his room and see it happen there and then. The fact I was working nights also helped to legitimise the fact that, on my days off, it wasn’t too weird that I would drink wine and beer until 4am. It was just like enjoying a beer in the garden on a sunny afternoon, right? But yeah, I could go into way more detail of that time of my life, but I will skip over it, as it’s a story for another time. But basically, that’s when it all started, when my fondness for drinking left the realm of social drinking and entered the realm of drinking alone. At the time, I didn’t see the drinking as a big deal. I decided for my own health it was best to leave the nursing home, as much as I cared for the people there and enjoyed the job, it obviously wasn’t helping my state of mind. It was 2017 when I finally changed jobs, lots. I went to therapy. I started on Sertraline. All of those changes were in 2017 and helped me to continue my life after a nervous breakdown saw me out of work for 6 months. Under all of this though, and what was quite honestly a great crutch at the time, was my constant alcohol use. 2018 saw me get the job I still have now, and it’s nothing great but not terrible either, in fact, it’s perfect for my anxiety riddled self as it’s busy, but not got the stakes of looking after someone in their final days, and the social life it gave me back has been great, as I was once again surrounded by people my own age, and working daylight hours. I continued to drink until the early hours on my days off, and over the years in the back of my mind it got more and more obvious to me that my drinking wasn’t normal. The Pandemic happened and, work being the only thing I had to leave the house for, suddenly I was able to have my night-time binges 4 times a week, every week. I put on more weight, I jokingly called it COVID weight. But someone mentioned a few months ago this year, in around February actually, that it’s crazy that COVID was 3 years ago now. And that’s when I thought about what I mentioned earlier: Time stands still for no one, and I’m no longer in my early 20’s. COVID was 3 years ago and I still hadn’t lost the COVID weight or the bad habits. My night shifts were 5 years ago yet I hadn’t stopped drinking until 3 or 4am. My nephew passed 8 years ago yet the one-off one-person party I had on the day of his death had now gone on for 8 years whenever I had the chance. Everyone has problems, everyone has had their own issues and losses with family and friends, their own work problems, their own mental or physical health problems, yet they didn’t all become secret drinkers. What’s my excuse? I don’t have one. I still couldn’t admit to it being a problem earlier this year, though in the back of my mind I knew it was. I know how I am all or nothing when it comes to a lot of things, so I told myself that I can’t drink anything for a month, as I knew that completely cutting it out was the only way, as when I ever tried to just have a few it would obviously always turn into more. Like how I wanted to cut back my meat consumption but had to just become a Vegetarian because I, for whatever reason, only work in absolutes, lol. The reason I couldn’t just listen to and enjoy Scatman John when I first found him in 2007 but instead had to find every single song, every unreleased morsel of footage, every promo event. The way that, after getting a GameCube at 12 years old, instead of playing it, enjoying it, and moving on with my life, I find myself on the same Nintendo forum that I joined back then to talk about the wonders of Donkey Konga, 20 years later, talking about my life’s problems. Anyway, it was SO hard starting that month of sobriety, especially the first week. I had genuine, physical issues, which thanks to reading the /r/StopDrinking subreddit on Reddit, I realised were actual physical withdrawals. I was told on there to consult a doctor, but being so ashamed and also doing this all in secret, I didn’t, which is stupid but, thankfully for me, the issues did resolve themselves after a few weeks. I had severe stomach pains, that made me cramp up, gave me chills while also making me sweaty, I had other really odd bodily functions do things that you probably don’t wish to read about. But all that is to say that they subsided. Then it was just the cravings, the mental NEEDS of wanting to hit ‘pause’ on life and take a chilled out evening without any thoughts, as I used to do. I got to one month sober and decided to do one more. Then two months sober I told myself I wouldn’t drink until my birthday, which was another 5 weeks away, and now next week as I write this. One sad thing is, and one thing I can’t relate to with the people on /r/StopDrinking, my anxiety never went away. In fact, anxiety is part of the reason I have always drank, drinking makes it disappear and makes me feel normal. I had anxiety for years prior to when I started drinking at age 17. But I also referred back to the passage of time recently when I was thinking about that, as for so long I told myself, “you’ll grow out of it, you’ll get more confidence, you’ll overcome it with therapy or tablets”, but the fact is, it’s now been over HALF of my life that I have had crippling anxiety, so it’s not something that I will grow out of – I’m already fully grown! That is another issue, clearly my anxiety is far from normal. I’m not sure how I will address it, I certainly don’t have the money to go to therapy, and I only managed to get NHS therapy back in 2017 because I was suicidal which, thankfully and thanks to that therapy, I do not have those thoughts any more. So obviously therapy worked, but didn’t fix the underlying anxiety issues I’ve had for years. But that’s another issue and something I will try to tackle now, in the coming months and years, instead of hiding from it in alcohol and pretending it doesn’t exist. All of this rambling is to say that I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed I let it get this bad, that I lived a kind of secret second life, that I had to cancel on friends, family and events at times because I was recovering from a binge. I haven’t told anyone close to me the extent of my issues (aside from one close friend) because I’m embarrassed and ashamed of it all. And I might never, I’m hoping that, now that 3 months have passed and I haven’t had alcohol in that time, I can continue to never have alcohol and leave this part of my life behind, keep it as a horrible skeleton in my closet. I mentioned to people I cut out alcohol and started eating healthy as a bid to lose weight, and that’s the extent of sharing about the issue I have done. And that’s stopped any further questioning when out with people and not going straight to ordering a pint. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them I had severe issues and actually quitting alcohol has been one of the biggest things I’ve had to do, and it has taken until now, writing this, after 3 months of sobriety, that I have finally accepted it myself that I did/do have a problem. But there have been some great benefits. One of which being TIME. I had no idea how much time I consumed buying alcohol, the evenings lost to drinking it, the days after that literally didn’t exist for me as I napped and TikTok’d the day away. To start with it was actually a bit overwhelming how much spare time I had. The first few weeks of sobriety genuinely made me feel so lost, and it took a lot to find purpose in day to day things and a reason to go on. But it has made my daily Instagram art posts much easier to achieve, it has allowed me to post regularly on the front page of this very website again, it has gave me time to help my friend edit his weekly newsletter and its given me my social life back. It took a while to get here, but slowly I built up a life again and made use of my time in a way for it to feel fulfilling and to not feel like I’m missing out on my poison fuelled evenings. All that is to say, I’m super happy to have got to 3 months sober but also have no one to celebrate with lol, so I’m happy to share it here. As I say, my plan was to abstain for a month to prove to myself I had no issue, and then to go on drinking in moderation. But as the weeks passed and the clouds lifted, I realised that of course it was a bigger issue than I was letting on, which is why I kept extending the dry spell. Now I feel as though I need to stay away for as long as I possibly can. I actually do feel as though at this stage I could drink in moderation, like at social events, but the horror stories I’ve read over on /r/StopDrinking about failed moderation attempts, and knowing how I am with being all or nothing with things, I think it’s best I just say no to the poison from now on, and live vicariously through Rare’s Conker. So I’m moving the goal posts again, and I won’t be drinking on my birthday, or for the foreseeable future!
  4. 8 points
    My wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl yesterday. Third child. Had anyone asked me 20 years ago if I'd ever get children, let a lone three, I'd laughed at them.
  5. 7 points
    Front page news! https://www.n-europe.com/news/charles-martinet-steps-down-as-super-mario-voice-actor/
  6. 7 points
    So it's been a long road, getting form there to here. The stint in ICU was agonisingly long for us, he had a failed excavation (he couldn't handle breathing after his ventilator was removed), but then was moved from the ventilator to the next step down in breathing support. He had a scan done, and the person who did a scan was "oh no" and seemed to think another surgery was needed soon. The doctors spoke to us next day and said it was as expected (he has a leaky valve due to his compressed coronary, the hope is that it will now heal over time). Last weekend he was moved from ICU to the next step down (called HDU), one of the doctors wanted to go very slow on weaning off the breathing support and said (not directly to us, to other doctors) that he'd probably be in the next step for weeks. A few days later, they took him off breathing support for pressure relief, he did so well that he never went back on. We're looking at potentially going home soon because he's doing so well now.
  7. 7 points
    Sakurai just uploaded his latest video... a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the original Super Smash Bros. So far so ordinary right? Well... ... this one in particular is special because he not only shows design documents from the original SSB, but also another game that was originally pitched to Nintendo for the N64 and never released! And? If that's not enough? HE SHOWS OFF VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THE ORIGINAL DRAGON KING PROTOTYPE!! Yes, this one. Now in video form for the first time! While all of Sakurai's Youtube videos have been great so far? This one really is a must-watch
  8. 7 points
  9. 7 points
    Goodness, a lot has changed since last year. It's almost exactly a year too. In short, it is good news, though I'm scared. - The NHS told me in February of this year the waiting list was currently "at least 18 months" before I'd be seen. - I contacted a couple of private hospitals - I got accepted into one of the best private hospitals in the current for the specialists I need. - I picked a date. Tomorrow I start the pre-op, so the nasty drink, no eating, the whole nine yards. On Tuesday I'll be admitted to the hospital at 2pm and have my surgery in the evening. 2 years, 10 months. I don't actually have the final number of how much this has cost me over the years, but at least £14,000. If any of you see this, please keep your fingers crossed for me Tuesday evening <3 I'm so thankful I am getting sorted.
  10. 7 points
    I've gone on a bit of a spending spree on eBay over the last couple of weeks to slowly rebuild my N64 collection. 4 of my favorite N64 games now back in my possession. There's so many more I want to buy but I'm going to hold off and buy a couple every 2-3 months. I also bought 20 empty mega drive/master system cases off eBay as well for the loose master system games that I bought earlier in the year. Printed a few covers off and I think they look pretty good on the shelf. Not as good quality as the original cases or the universal game cases but they do the job.
  11. 6 points
    Words cannot describe how much I love this!!! As a big fan of the F-Zero series (but especially the SNES version ) this is just a dream come true! The steering doesn't feel completely authentic to the original, but it's definitely close enough. They have absolutely nailed the look and sound though. The use of the comic book artwork, that font, those tunes... man, nostalgia is off the charts for me with this game! And I'm really impressed by how fluid it is, the sight of so many F-Zero racers on screen simultaneously is mind-blowing! I knew there had to be a bigger reason as to why I suddenly felt compelled to resubscribe to Switch Online a while back, my subconscious mind must have predicted that this game was on the way. I'm actually thinking it could even mean that a new F-Zero is already in development and this is a way of getting the series back in the limelight before its reveal, although I'm probably slightly delirious from all the excitement of F-Zero 99.
  12. 6 points
    The DLC has a release date now: August 31st
  13. 6 points
    A new Wednesday, a new game announcement – and a pretty neat one at that! Here's a bit more of an overview from Modus Games:
  14. 6 points
    Yesterday I mived the goal posts of my lingest swim from 8km to 10km All the extra swimming I been doing this year been working towards this goal. Delighted to have done it. Been trying to do it the last 6 weeks but weather on weekends haven't been great. Yesterday I knew the forecast wasn't going to be 100% what I would want but I also knew it would be within my tolerance for choppy water. I had a kayaker on standby and he was cool with the conditions too. Though it did slow me down more than I thought it would. There was a section I'd say between 5 and 6km that was really tough. Both mentally and physically. I had to breaststroke more than I would like as I found it hard to keep rhythm for the front crawl. Then I came round a corner and saw a landmark (the pillars in the Twitter post) that I was worried might be further away, once I saw that my mental confidence picked back up as that landmark I knew exactly where I was and exactly how far I had left to go. Didn't start to feel cold till I was about 1km from the finish but at that point I just hand to get my head down and power through it to get to land 😎
  15. 6 points
    I couldn't wait any longer. Played about an hour of 1 so far and loved every second. How is this game 22 years old? It still looks frickin' gorgeous. The Forest of Hope music still makes me teary eyed, and I kind of love the dumb details they have in 1, such as Pikmin falling flat on their faces and getting left out of the herd, or being dumb and just getting stuck on corners, and thus sitting down and chilling by themselves. Stuff that obviously for the benefit of the gameplay was fixed in later titles, but weirdly gives the Pikmin themselves a bit more personality early on. I'm heading into the caves now, which I remember really struggling with when I was younger, because my dumb ass took far too long to realise red Pikmin are immune to fire. Honestly, how I survived up to this point of my life while being this dense I don't know lol.
  16. 6 points
    So I bought this joblot earlier this afternoon for £90 off facebook marketplace. I did not know about the Grape Purple N64 until he passed me the bags as he only mentioned it having an N64 and controllers without including any of them in the photos. Most of the N64 boxes are in fantastic condition as they had been stored flatpacked. Only 1 internal tray sadly but a few come with cartridge trays as part of the box. That is an authentic pokemon yellow, red (no cover) and the NTSC version of Crystal which i thought was a fake. I am still taking it all in.
  17. 6 points
    I've been going back and forth on doing this topic for a while now, but after playing most of Returns to Dream Land Deluxe and being, quite frankly, astonished at the amount of impact it has on it, I'm taking the plunge and writing the topic on Deep Kirby Lore. To this day, you can still find people online who think the concept that, out of all the Nintendo franchises out there, it's Kirby that has the most intriguing and most developed universe, completely laughable. It sounds like a joke, probably not helped by actual hilarious jokes about Mario having a timeline, or Donkey Kong having anything more complex then DK punching bad guys. But trust me, Kirby lore is legit, and it's kept me captivated for years now. It hasn't always been like this, mind. There's a point in time when Kirby games were nothing more then fun, easy going, platform games designed for beginners with little hints of challenge for the more experienced gamer. I will mostly be overlooking these and jumping to the focal point when things started changing. From there, I'll go through each game in release order, looking at the subtle developments, implications, and reveals that each title has bought to the series. Fair warning. Massive spoilers ahead! I won't be mentioning future games until I get to them, so don't worry if you haven't finished the likes of Forgotten Land, or RtDL Deluxe. I won't be covering those for a couple of months. But before we dive in, there are a handful of games we need to look at first. They are three games collectively referred to as... The Dark Matter Trilogy Now, make no mistake, when these games first came out. The idea of underlying lore just wasn't a thing in the Kirby series, the only true connection between these three games was that they had a recurring villain (Kinda) throughout. That thing on the left is Dark Matter Blade, some kind of malevolent force that continuously shows up in some way throughout the three games pictured above. In Kirby's Dream Land 2, it's posessing King Dedede, and only reveals itself if you collect all of the Rainbow Drops before hand. In typical 90's final boss fashion, it has a true form. Pictured on the right is Real Dark Matter. In Dream Land 3, Dark Matter returns as the main villain, and again, it's posessing King Dedede. Collecting all the Heart Stars unlocks the true final boss, Zero. Jesus Christ, how horrifying! Ignoring the obvious of there being blood in a SNES Kirby game of all things, to this day, we still don't know a lot about Zero, what we can learn from that game is that it seems to be a source of Dark Matter. Simply put, Dark Matter isn't just one entity, and thanks to Zero, there are likely loads of them all over the place. What's their goal? No idea, but they seem to be somewhat parasitic in nature. That's unnerving to say the least, considering that being possessed by Dark Matter can't be a pleasant experience. Seriously, Dream Land 3, WTF? Zero would show up again as the true final boss of Kirby 64. Maybe... All I can say is that something looking a lot like Zero shows up. It's called 02, whether it's a reincarnated Zero, or a seperate thing altogether is unclear, but either way, there's a clear recurring thing going on between these three games, and it's worth remembering, because the implications of what this entails will be explored in much later games. But that would be getting way ahead of myself at this point. Anyway, next week, I'll be getting into the first game that started properly developing the world of Kirby. Weirdly enough, of all things, it was an enhanced port.
  18. 6 points
  19. 6 points
    If others are curious and/or oblivious: He's a composer at Nintendo and has worked on Mario, Mario Kart and 2D Legend of Zelda.
  20. 6 points
    Bloody hell! These LCD games are like little tumours that just keep popping up after you squash them!
  21. 6 points
  22. 6 points
    Last year I backed the Kickstarter type program that Hasbro set up for a replica of the Proton pack from Ghostbusters. It arrived last night: I've never really been interested in props before, but a year or so ago I bought the neutrona-wand and then for whatever reason I felt like buying this for myself as well. It's really well made and really does look like its straight out of the films. It came in a huge box with a few other goodies:
  23. 6 points
    Had a good first Christmas with Ollie. We hosted and I made food for Louise's family, it was good.
  24. 6 points
    He had his surgery today, it went well, now he's in ICU to start his recovery. The machine they were waiting for wasn't needed in the end, which is very good.
  25. 6 points
    Thank you chaps! Writing this at 3am because my brain won't switch off. Surgery was a success! In the end I was wheeled in at six pm and came out at ten thirty pm. So far longer than anticipated, but that was just to ensure everything was covered. Pain has been a bit higher than my last surgery, but the team here having been amazing. Money really does talk, so I'm glad I decided to go the private route. Now for six weeks recovery and I should have my life relatively back on track!
  26. 5 points
    Cool. I get to use this again:
  27. 5 points
    Right, now that I'm not dying from illness anymore, this is long overdue. Well, last time I checked, Sora is still the last character in Smash Ultimate, so that's egg on my face. New Pokémon Snap is quite possibly a fever dream I had once, but for the sake of this write-up, let's assume it actually exists, OK? It's developed by Bandai Namco, the developers of Pokkén(!?) and was released on the Switch in 2021. Yeah, the Switch, not the three other consoles that actually had a bloody camera in them! It's a first person rail shooter game where the gun is a camera. And it's worth remembering that, as the name suggests, it's a sequel to a 22 year old N64 game! I still can't believe this game is a thing. Stars must have truly aligned for this one. The game follows some random nobody as they're asked by Professor Mirror to uncover the secrets of the Lental region by photographing Pokémon in their natural habitat. The Lental region is known for a strange phenomena of Pokémon giving off a luminsecent light. It's up to you to find out what this is and document it. Yeah, unlike the original N64 game, this one isn't tied to the anime at all. Most Pokémon games tend to steer clear of the anime these days, so it's not too surprising, still, it would've been nice to get some acknowledgment of the original title's existence. Holy crap! Is that Todd Snap!? It's a small thing, but I had such a massive smile on my face when he showed up. 22 years have been really kind to him. He talks about his N64 adventure, but never really mentions Professor Oak by name, which is odd, but whatever. It's cool that he exists in the Pokémon universe again, even as an NPC. The game plays pretty much the same way as the N64 game, but with the option of motion controls, so it controls a million times better. The same basic idea is still the same though, get pictures of Pokémon that provide the subject centered, large, and looking at the camera. Interesting poses don't hurt, and having multiple of the same Pokémon is nice too. Along the way, you unlock various tools that you can use to help Pokémon co-operate with you. There are 234 different Pokémon in this game, which is almost 4 times as much as the N64 game had! There's a lot more stages as well. And you can unlock variations of said stages by getting photos of a lot of Pokémon in each stage. Suffice to say, the game is a lot larger then it's 1999 counterpart. There's been 7 generations of Pokémon since then, so there's plenty of new stuff to work with. It's a spin-off game after Gen 3, of course Kecleon is in it. Did you know that Kecleon appears natively in more spin-off games then mainline ones? That's quite rare, because unless you're a cover legendary, a starter Pokémon, or Pikachu, you don't really show up in a lot of spin-offs. Everyone that isn't Game Freak seems to really like that dopey little chameleon. Now, it's worth noting that at the launch of this game, it didn't actually have everything the current game does. A few of the stages from after the credits were flat out unavailable to begin with. This is not a rare occurrence these days, to be fair, but when news of a free update that added these stages was revealed, it became apparent that the game was rushed out to meet a deadline. That's not to say what was there at launch was sparse, it still had more to it then the N64 game, and it was such a well crafted product, that free update felt like a bonus. At least, that's how I see it. I'd love to know how this game came around. Like, who put this idea forward? Did someone at Namco go up to TPC and suggest it, or did TPC suddenly remember Pokémon Snap was a thing and commission Namco for some reason? No idea, but again, I'd love to know. As of December 2021, the game sold 2.4 million copies. For comparison, the last known sales of the N64 game was 3.63 million. It's worth remembering that it's been 2 years since we saw those sale figures, and the Switch has a real knack for selling anything on it. So it's entirely possible that this is one of those rare spin-off sequels that sells better then the first game. I have no proof of that, mind. So, could we see a sequel? Oh, I don't know anymore! Why would you listen to me after this? I want to defend myself by saying that... Come on, we last saw Pokémon Snap in the 90's! This "series" was dead, and you know it! I just hope we don't have to wait another 22 years for the next one. BTW, I should mention that this game is bloody gorgeous! Namco did a really good job making this game the looker it is. I'm not particularly keen on the idea of putting Pokémon in a more realistic environment. *cough* Scarlet/Violet *cough* Because of that, I can't say that New Pokémon Snap is the best looking Switch Pokémon game, the most graphically impressive, sure, but not the best looking. No, that honour goes to next week's game.
  28. 5 points
    CARD POP WORKS!!!!!!! IR PORT SUPPORT IS IN!!!!!!!!! Genuinely didn't expect them to support the feature. That's a very nice surprise! It means that, unlike the 3DS release, it's actually possible to achieve 100% completion this time around So that means that so far, the only missing feature from the GB/GBC NSO is Game Boy Printer support (which you can simulate using screenshots anyway I suppose). Not that the IR port was the most critical feature or anything, but it's really nice to have a complete experience this time around. There's a fair few games that did support it on the GBC for sharing data and unlockable stuff... Will look forward to playing some online TCG matches with you guys. This game is awesome!
  29. 5 points
    I assume it looked like this?
  30. 5 points
  31. 5 points
    Nice surprise! Shame it was only in the Japanese Direct, but it's still great to see that the project hasn't been cancelled. Wonder if there's any chance this might also release on Steam/Epic, similar to how Monkey Barrels was initially revealed and released on Switch but then later arrived on PC. I don't reckon it's very likely to make it out of Japan though which is unfortunate, but there's always the option of getting it from their eShop I suppose. Although I've not imported/played a Japanese exclusive title for a long time... think the last one was actually Captain Rainbow on Wii! Anyway, here's hoping this game does well. It might convince Konami to offer Good Feel use of the Goemon IP for a remake, or better yet, an original (official ) Mystical Ninja game! Yep, same.
  32. 5 points
    Kirby and the Forgotten Land It's Kirby's first full 3D adventure! You'd think that would be enough of a selling point, but nah. This game also features Mouthful Mode, a slightly disturbing ability Kirby gets where he can wrap his body around inanimate objects and gain new abilities depending on what he tries to swallow. This is the game with "Carby", and that's all you need to know. Unlike Star Allies, this Kirby game is much more recent, so the rest of this post will be behind a spoiler tag.
  33. 5 points
  34. 5 points
    ShopTo, you brilliant bastards, it's turned up a day early! (and yes I did finally break the Skyward Sword Joy-Cons out of their box just for this game ) Looks like my amiibo isn't arriving until tomorrow, but other than that, think I'll take my leave from this thread until the end of the weekend (in terms of talking about my time with the game) so that I can share some more cohesive thoughts once a few more of us are playing, and not to fill the thread up with spoiler tags and me going "OHMUHGOSH DID THEY DO IT DID THEY OR DID THEY NOT GO ALL THE WAY AND FIX THE PRO HUD?!" (also don't want to hint at anything else I might find) Hope everyone has a great first experience with the game!
  35. 5 points
    He's exaggerating a little with the blood curdling screams bit, but you do hear Haltmann's screams during the last True Arena fight. It's very subtle. And disturbing. But that's in the past, so we're moving to, well, the less distant past. Kirby Star Allies I was considering putting this in spoilers, but then I realised this game is 5 years old, so if you get spoiled by this, that's on you. Kirby Star Allies' big selling points (apart from the jump to HD), are the heavy focus on multiplayer, and the ability to combine certain abilities with elemental effects which changed how those abilities work. This game is also noteworthy for getting significant updates which exponentially expanded the game with extra modes and playable characters ranging from a wide variety of past Kirby games. On a space station far from Dream Land, a crystalised heart explodes, the fragments of which scatter throughout Dream Land, causing Kirby's friends, such as Dedede and Meta Knight, to embrace their darker tendencies. One of these hits Kirby, but because he is literally incapable of being evil, it instead gives him the ability to befriend enemies by throwing hearts at them. He travels through Dream Land, brings Dedede and Meta Knight back to the side of happy rainbows and sunshine, and makes his way to the Jambandra Space Station. The villains of this game consist of various residents of the Jambandra religion. The most recurring one being three generals named Francisca, Zan Partizanne, and Flamberge. These three have been tasked with collecting the many shards of the crystal heart that are around Dream Star. Of course, Kirby will end up meeting the man behind the minions, which is where the special screens start to become interesting. I couldn't find a decent screenshot, so have some concept art instead This is Hyness, and if you're thinking he looks a bit deranged, that's because he is. Does he succeed in summoning that "deity of destruction"? Well, every Kirby game needs some sort of eldtrich horror for Kirby to blow up. So, you tell me. This is Void Termina, and for the sake of understanding scale, it's around 4 meters tall, which in the world of Kirby, is effing massive! Yes, some nerd actually calculated it's height. No, it wasn't me! I'm not that bored! These special screens are structured a bit weird, the fight is 4 phases long as Kirby gets bounced back between Void Termina pictured above, and an inner core. So I'm gonna post the ones specifically about Void Termina first. I bet he's loads of fun at parties. Before we really get stuck in on this thing, I'll go ahead and show the core of Void Termina, because they're intricately linked, and it'd be easier to treat them as one entity from here on. ...Huh... OK then... There's a very specific reason why throughout this entire topic, I've refrained from referring to future Kirby games. Because, at the risk of sounding dramatic, this changes everything. My head hurts. And I'm afraid I'm going to have dedicate 90% of the remaining post to talking about Void Termina, because there's a metric ton of things to unpack with it. Starting with this. That gold thing at the top of the screen, it kinda looks like the Master Crown from "Returns to Dream Land" What the hell does that mean!? I mean, it's not the first time a Kirby final boss has made nods to previous final bosses, but that one is pretty blatant. I'm in the camp that it's not the same Master Crown, but some kind of recreation of it. Which makes a good case of how strong this thing can be if it can just conjure up one of those for the sake of firing massive lasers. But yes, fine. The core looks disturbingly like Kirby. There's no getting around it. The "face" of it contorts throughout the fight, which is more then a little creepy. But what exactly is it? Well, playing through "The Ultimate Choice", this game's take on The Arena, give us some more special screens that provide some more details. The first one courtesy of the Hyness fight. Wait, now there's an ancient scroll? And who are these four heroes? Yeah, we're not getting any more clarification on that, sorry! Getting to Void Termina on the Infernal Crisis difficulty gives you a harder version of that fight with different screens. There's actually a harder difficulty in "The Ultimate Choice". Soul Melter difficulty gives you a different final phase, against the predictably named "Void Soul" OK, so what we have here might possibly be some kind of explanation of the origin of Kirby. Yes, really. That last special screen in particular, combined with what Void Termina's core looks like, really hints at this being the case. As far as I can tell, Kirby's entire species is born through the process of absorbing positive and negative energy from it's surroundings. It kinda checks out because Kirby, being born on Planet Popstar, is made of literally nothing but good vibes. Remember Amazing Mirror? Remember how it turns out that Shadow Kirby is trying to help you all along? I mean it, Kirby literally cannot be evil. Jury's still out on Meta Knight, mind. This might imply he wasn't born on Planet Popstar, but there's no confirmation of that, but it's generally accepted that Meta Knight's a good guy, all in all, so it still checks out. Huh? What happens when negative energy is absorbed? Well... I'll direct your attention to the Dark Matter Trilogy in the first post. At this point, I can't see how all the various Dark Matters can be anything other then a Kirby that has absorbed mostly negative energy. That goes for Zero as well, BTW. Hell, that even goes for Gooey. Who's Gooey? He's that blue blob on the box art of Dream Land 3. The instruction booklet for that game says Gooey is made from the same stuff as Dark Matter, but lacks an evil spirit. Which checks out with how Void Termina works. And just to hammer this point home, the last update for Star Allies added an even harder difficulty to "The Ultimate Choice", dubbed "Soul Melter EX" which gives more special screens. This information on what Kirby is does provide a different spin on a lot of the final bosses in previous games. But let's not overlook the bit about "...The ancients to transcribe his mysteries..." in that first special screen. Now who are the ancients? I don't think I'm really spoiling anything at this point by saying that's gonna be showing up in the future. But I've been at this for about 1 and a half hours now, so I think it's about time I wrap up Star Allies. A pretty amazing reveal that is sure to have lasting impacts on.... Geez! It's 5 o'clock in the morning, I'm starting to get bloody tired, Galacta Knight! So, he's back... Yay... He shows up at the end of the "Guest Star ???" mode. What's with the butterfly though? Well, yeah, uh... In a pretty amazing fake out, that butterfly absorbs Galacta Knight before you even start the fight. Instead, you fight... Yes, it's bloody harder then Galacta Knight! It's bordering on ridiculous at this point! Actually, now that I think about it, haven't I seen that butterfly before? Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me! Welp, chalk that up on the "HAL planned that all along" board. And yes, that's true, we've since learned that the cancelled Kirby game for the Gamecube was going to have a boss that looked a lot like Morpho Knight. They've been sitting on that one for a while. Note the sword, it doesn't look like that in Star Allies I'm going to bed. More next week!
  36. 5 points
    Sorry for the lapse in posting last week, someone was playing Wonder Boy III incorrectly, and I had to play through the entire Switch remake to wash the bad taste out of my eyes and ears. Kirby: Planet Robobot Releasing on the 3DS in 2016, this game is very much a direct sequel to Triple Deluxe, but instead of the Hypernova ability, Kirby has a mech! The Mech has different capabilities depending on the enemy it scans. Also, one of the new abilities is a big massive nod to Ness from EarthBound. It's a lot of fun, but that's not what we're here for. The plot involves a massive spaceship called the Access Ark invading Dream Land and very quickly mechanising the planet, Dedede and Meta Knight attempt to fight back, but are promptly lasered. It falls to Kirby, who slept through the entire thing, to boot the mysterious invaders off of his planet. OK, strap yourself in, this game goes places. Starting when you reach this boss: This is Susie, she antagonises Kirby throughout the game by siccing bosses on him, but you do get to beat her up eventually. Corporations? Evil? No! Anyway, you eventually meet said president. Yeah, he has a company song about how great he is. Not very loretastic, but it's amusing, nonetheless. Still, Kirby wins because water is wet, forcing President Haltmann to take drastic measures and activate his company's latest project. When will villains learn that making computers self-aware never ends well? This is Star Dream, the final boss of this game. It's kinda nuts, because it's freaking massive, and Kirby has to scan the Halberd, Meta Knight's ship in order to fight it. One ridiculous pink paint job and lots of shooting later, it merges with the Access Ark, because of course it does. It's just a massive sphere now! Yeah, Kirby's fighting planets now. Seems about right, more constant shooting causes that outer shell to gradually break off. I think this was the moment when I realised Kirby lore was proper legit There's a lot to unpack here, but I'll get the special screen out of the way. OK, so I'll just say it. The Haltmann Works Company has constructed their own Galactic Nova. You remember that thing from Super Star Ultra, right? And in case you're thinking "Ah, they just pulled that out of their behind for cool points", I'll redirect your attention to something @Dcubed mentioned. Yeah, I never noticed it either until I posted the Super Star Ultra post. But specifically, he's referring to this. Notice how it's "A Nova" and not "The Nova". They've been planning to have another one since the DS! The implications of this are staggering! Are all Nova's manufactured? Who made the original? Are there even more out there? What the hell are they even for? Of course, this doesn't get answered, Kirby's more of the "Explode first, never think about it ever" kind of guy. And that's what happens. Finishing the game unlocks "Meta Knightmare Returns", a tweak of the standard Extra Mode where you run through the game as Meta Knight. Naturally, there are harder bosses with alternate special screens. One boss in particular, the Holo Defense API, which made Kirby fight holograms of previous bosses, has a particularly interesting screen when fighting the recreation of the Sphere Doomers from "Returns to Dream Land" It's worth noting that Sphere Doomers were only ever encountered in what RtDL called "Another Dimension" considering that the only things that could get into that dimension were a big massive spaceship designed to do so, and Kirby, it raises massive question marks about Susie's past. Speaking of Susie, here's her second screen! Blimey! I don't think we've had a special screen that candid before. It's pretty obvious what has happened here, This accident sent Susie to Another Dimension somehow, and then she escaped. The thing is though, the rematch against President Haltmann reveals an interesting wrinkle to things. With the information that Haltmann doesn't recognise Susie, it seems that a long time has passed since Susie's disappearance and her getting hired by the company. Why she didn't tell her dad is not really revealed. Anyway, final boss! Meta Knight can't use the Halberd though (No idea), so he gets a different set of final bosses. A whole bunch of clones that Star Dream made on the side. Specifically, it cloned Dark Matter and Queen Sectonia. Star Dream just happened to clone two different Dark Matters (If my theory about Sectonia is on the money, anyway)? Coincidence? Probably. Anyway, there's a true arena and you know the drill with those by now... OH, COME ON! CLOSE THE BLOODY DOOR BEHIND YOU! No wait, hang on, Galacta Knight is back. The game even refers to this boss as "Galacta Knight Returns". HAL know what they're doing. I suppose more then one game without Galacta Knight is too much to ask. Nothing actually new in the special screen here, but there he is, again, and harder... Man, the sooner we see the back of him, the better. Now for the True Arena, an absolutely brutal boss rush, even by True Arena standards, that culminates in Star Dream Soul OS. Each of the three phases have alternate screens. Well, that's bloody depressing, isn't it? Safe to say that President Haltmann is very much the most tragic villain in the whole Kirby series. Which feels weird to type, but to summarise... Susie gets sent to Another Dimension by a computer experiment gone wrong. Haltmann discovers a deactivated Galactic Nova His company reactivates it, and Haltmann wishes to see his daughter again. His wish comes true, Susie escapes from Another Dimension, but Haltmann doesn't recgnise her, likely due to her aging. Haltmann's soul gets absorbed by Star Dream when he sics it on Kirby, but eventually gets deleted by the time Kirby beats it up. So despite my initial impression, Haltmann's company didn't actually make this second Nova, so we're still not sure where they came from. That wraps up Planet Robobot. It's my favourite Kirby game for many reasons, one being that the lore is really kicking into high gear now. And it only gets madder from here. Next time, we will be looking at Star Allies. It might be half the framerate, but trust me, the lore makes up for that.
  37. 5 points
    New born baby get! Little girl to go with the boy we already have. We have the full set now - take that collectors!
  38. 5 points
    Sonic Free Riders Original Platform: 360 Kinect Original release: 4th November 2010 Available to buy: Yes I’ll be fully honest in saying that I didn’t fully complete this game. I played the overly long tutorial, a fair amount of missions and went though the different modes and tracks. Sonic Free Riders is the third in the Sonic Riders hoverboard racing series of games. The mechanics of this are somewhere in between the two games. Crouching for a jump and timing your jump now gets you air again, which can be used for boosting. Quarter pipes on turns can also be used for a quick boost of speed, encouraging you to do tricks instead of just turning. Collecting rings will upgrade your gear, giving you access to speed, fly and power shortcuts. Items also make their way to standard races, letting you attack other racers. The story mode features 43 missions, and will take a while to complete. The game itself actually seems to be pretty good, with some interesting track design and plenty to do and unlock. The main issue, however is the controller. This game exclusively uses the Kinect, which is a very fancy webcam with depth perception and infrared sensors. You have to stand in a hoverboard pose and tilt left and right to turn and jump and spin to do tricks. It sounds simple, but it really does not work well at all. I could never get tilting backwards to reliably make my character turn, often resorting to repeatedly switch sides so I was always tilting forward. Combined with spinning while jumping, it’s a very exhausting few hours. The game also repeatedly paused itself, I could never figure out not causing it – my only guess was Kinect not being able to detect me occasionally. It’s all round a frustrating experience, although me and my fiancée had a lot of fun laughing at the sheer absurdity of the controls and how bad they are. It really is a shame, as I think this would have been a good game with a regular controller. Sonic Tennis DX Original Platform: Sonic Cafe Original Release: 2010 Available to buy: No Not played: No ROMs known to exist. An improved version of Sonic Tennis with a lot more features. This time there are six characters you can play as (instead of just one), each with their own special ability. There are also four courts. This also features two control options, one where the character automatically runs to the ball and another where you have to do it yourself. Sonic Speed Spotter 2 Original Platform: Flash Original Release: 2010 Available to buy: No The second spot the difference game based on Sonic X. This one is much more creative in its differences, with full objects being added or removed or changes made to background elements. Other than that, it’s more of the same – click on the differences that you see. Sonic Speed Spotter 3 Original Platform: Flash Original Release: 2011 Available to buy: No The third and final Sonic X spot-the-difference game. This one is quite strange in that it almost entirely focuses on the human and robot characters of the show. Dr. Robotnik appears a few times, Sonic appears on one image and characters like Tails, Knuckles and Amy make no appearances. As for the game, it’s the same as the previous two, except the differences are much more obvious. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (3DS) Original Platform: 3DS Original release: 10th February 2012 Available to buy: No This Mario & Sonic Olympic game is actually quite different to the previous ones. It doesn’t try to emulate the sports at all, instead simplifying them all into simple minigames, similar to the ones found in Mario Party. As a result, this game does feature a lot of sports, but none of them feel much like playing the actual spot. Badminton, for example, isn’t played directly against an opponent. Instead, there are shuttlecocks that repeatedly come at you and you have to either press A to hit it if the shot is “in” or dodge if the shot is “out”. All players do this individually. Hockey is more like an adaptation of Pong where you control both paddles, it’s all very strange. There is also massive variety in controls, via touchscreen, buttons, tilting and microphone and can involved holing the 3DS at awkward angles. Some even require you to put the 3DS on a table to play. All of the movement also makes the 3D effect in this completely useless, as your angle on the screen is constantly changing. This has a story mode like the previous game, which has also been simplified. The overworld has been completely removed and you just select missions from a menu. It’s fairly easy but the story is amusing and uses the large cast fairly well. Sonic x Vapor Original Platform: Flash Original Release: 2012 Available to buy: No A flash game promoting some trainers, based on the original Green Hill Zone. This is an auto runner where you have to collect rings and jump over badniks, occasionally having the chance of kicking a football through a bunch of enemies. There are a lot of adverts that Sonic runs past, and the amount of gaps increases the further along you get. It’s a decent auto runner.
  39. 5 points
    Yeah, I'm not sure if I agree with @Dcubed that I expect 15 minutes dedicated to TOTK (hey, I'd love for you to be right, because that's what I want ), but if all we're going to get is a trailer for it, I really do think this needs to be a trailer coming in at a solid 3 minutes or so, something along the lines of the E3 2016 trailer for Breath of the Wild: Now, while I prefer the Switch Presentation 2017 trailer personally, I think this trailer in particular really highlights the importance of a 3 minute trailer compared to a 2 minute trailer (or less). I'm super interested in marketing campaigns when it comes to films and games, so I'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent about why we need a 3 minute trailer like this and not something much shorter. What we've had so far with Tears of the Kingdom is a 1:27 first look trailer (at E3 2019), a 1:39 teaser trailer (at E3 2021), and a 1:37 title reveal trailer (which we got in the September 2022 Direct) – and honestly, partly down to their lengths but also Nintendo's own marketing plans, they all portray something closer to a teaser trailer: mostly quick cuts, dramatic and eye-catching frames (Ganondorf turning his head, Hyrule Castle rising up, Link leaping from a floating island, flashes of new mechanics, etc., etc.), but virtually nothing to really set either the tone or expectation for what moment-to-moment gameplay for Tears of the Kingdom is going to be like. At this point we're comfortable with the idea of there being an underground, ground level, and sky islands...but given that most of our time will surely be spent at ground level (I mean, it's going to be the largest physical plane by size, surely?) it kind of shocks me how little we've seen of what's at ground level. Again, I don't think we need to see everything this game has to offer ahead of release, but I really think the E3 2016 trailer for Breath of the Wild was fantastic because of what it achieves in its 3 minutes and 19 seconds: it sets the tone of an empty, post-apocalyptic world ripe for exploration; the music is allowed to sweep us away because it can be one functional piece which doesn't need to be edited down and can instead breathe; and it bounces you around between showing off new mechanics to the new systems at play. Hype aside - which is difficult at times, I'll be the first to admit! - I think it's one of the purest examples of what a trailer for a game should be. So I have my fingers tightly crossed for something around 3 minutes long - which, notably, would be nearly double the length of all of the TOTK trailers we've had so far - to really set the tone of the game and let some of those moment-to-moment gameplay tidbits breathe a little bit more, as well as sweep us away with some awesome music. There's a narrative throughline to a trailer which is attainable in 3 minutes with smart decisions and good editing, but nearly impossible to attempt in 1 minute 30 seconds as we've had up to this point. So, please and thanks Nintendo, that's all I'm looking for, even if the other 37 minutes of the Direct are just spent with Koizumi holding a staring contest with the cameraman
  40. 5 points
    GoldenEye 007 Arrives This Friday on Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack Now up on the main page. Thanks to @Josh64 for putting up lots of news articles recently. It has been quiet, but we've been keeping the main page updated. It's looking like things are about to get busier now though, with the release of Goldeneye 007! OK... alright, now I'll buy into the NSO Expansion Pak. (and yes... I bought an NSO N64 controller... now watch as they get restocked) Interestingly, there may be other ways to play using a real N64 controller and a Raphnet adapter, though I haven't checked this yet. Anyway, looking forward to playing some Goldeneye 007 online.
  41. 5 points
    So it's 2023... meaning that I've gotten in just in time to post about the games I played and finished since June 2022! Yes, really. Yes I am really that slow with updating this thread. Righto! Lets start this epic post with the most verbose of reviews! The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe It's brilliant. Why? That would spoil it. You'll just have to trust me. Portal The surprise release of Portal on Switch was a surprise! Coming out of absolutely nowhere, this is the first new console release of Portal since 2007 and it's easily the best version of the game outside of its original PC release. Now running at a solid 1080p/60FPS (a huge upgrade over the 720p/30FPS of the PS3 and 360 versions), and armed with excellent gyro controls, this is an excellent version of the modern classic first-person puzzler. Based on a simple concept, and on a Digipen student project called Narbarcular Drop, Portal instantly grabbed the attention and the imaginations of millions of players with its initial trailer. The humble portal was a common gameplay mechanic that had appeared in countless games since the dawn of gaming, but allowing the player to make their own portals!?!? Absolutely insane!! Literally game changing! Now you're thinking with portals! A brilliant concept in tow means nothing though without the gameplay mechanics and (most importantly) the level design to make the most of said concept however. Thankfully, the bulk of the game's 2.5 year development cycle went into ensuring that the level design was absolutely top-shelf... and top-shelf it is! Open to player interpretation, but with enough forethought to subtly guide the player in the right direction, Portal's level design is a triumph; I have to make a note here, it's a HUGE success! It's really hard to overstate my satisfaction with it in fact. This is something that I feel that it's sequel (amazingly enough, titled Portal 2) actually didn't manage to recapture for various reasons. The level design in Portal really is just superb, with most rooms offering multiple possible solutions; and none of the player funnelling that plagued its sequel. And Portal also has the perfect runtime too, short n' sweet, with fresh mechanics all throughout that never overstay their welcome. Super replayable, and the bonus challenge stages also add longevity with ever more devious puzzle designs. A perfect example of how important and transformative hand-crafted level design really is to the gameplay experience. Yes, the visual and sound design is exceptional and timeless, yes the dialogue and story is great, and yes that ending song is still a banger; but the real secret ingredient is the quality of the game's level design. Playing it again on Switch was an absolute pleasure, and if you somehow haven't played Portal or Portal 2 before? Do yourself a favour and pick up the collection on Switch ASAP. You'll thank yourself for doing so. No lies detected Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX Yeah, this one is really late; but very welcome all the same. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX is, shockingly, a remake of Pokemon Rescue Team Red/Blue! Nobody on planet Earth expected it to be the next remake after Let's Go (except for me) and less still could ever have expected it to be so shockingly gorgeous to boot! Now rendered in beautiful HD, with a watercolour art style that somehow actually manages to capture the look & feel of the game's concept art (and inspired more than a little by Valkyria Chronicles), it's a hell of a glow-up from the GBA original! But there's far more to this remake than just a very pretty new coat of paint, because unlike a certain other "brilliant" remake that shall not be named, the gameplay has also been given a hell of a glow-up; with gameplay mechanics taken from Super Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and even Etrian Odyssey Mystery Dungeon! (Wait, what!?). Holy shit though! This might well be the best looking 3D game ever made though! The original Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team was an offshoot of Chunsoft's long-running Mystery Dungeon series; known for its brutal difficulty and owing to its roots in Rogue (the progenitor of the Roguelike genre, shocking I know). The Mystery Dungeon series (particularily the Shiren branch of the series) are stoic and direct descendents of the original Rogue, created after Koichi Nakamura (one of the co-creators of the original Dragon Quest) played and fell in love with the original PC version of Rogue. Starting with Torneko no Daibōken, the Mystery Dungeon series would continue expanding on the original Rogue gameplay concept, while sticking reletively close to the original PC game's core gameplay. While the Roguelike (and Roguelite) genre is now a modern mainstay, particular amongst the indie development scene, pure Roguelikes are actually not all that common; meaning that the Mystery Dungeon series still remains fairly novel in today's modern gaming landscape. However, when it came time to marry the Mystery Dungeon series with Pokemon? That brutalistic difficulty had to change. There was no way that permadeath was going to fly with the Pokemon audience (yes I know about the Nuzlocke challenge, you're not slick!), so compromises had to be made in that regard. The original Rescue Team Red/Blue was not what I would consider an especially easy game, but compared to the previous Mystery Dungeon series entries? And to the genre as a whole? Rescue Team Red/Blue is much more welcoming, forgiving and approachable than its Mystery Dungeon predecessors. So then it's quite surprising that this remake completely throws that out of the window and proceeds to utterly brutalise you! Be prepared to see this message. A lot. Each subsequent PKMD entry has continued to raise the difficulty, culminating in the utterly soul melting difficulty seen in Super Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. And this remake thoroughly deletes the original game's kiddy gloves, because its received a humongous difficulty spike in all respects! Not only are the Pokemon you encounter far stronger than in the GBA original, but the mechanics have also been brought in line with Super Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. That means that Belly now depletes at a lightning pace, Apples don't fully restore Hunger, enemies will now happily throw screen clearing moves at you, Poison damage now hits you for 40HP each time and more! Oh joy! Oh, and that forgiveness from the original game? Where you only lose half your money and some of your items? Nah, you lose EVERYTHING you take in with you now. The gameplay is also significantly more complex than the original game too, with mechanics such as the Wands, items and Mega Evolution now brought over from Super PKMD; while moves and Pokemon typing have been brought up to Gen 7 standards (the latest at the time of PKMD's development; fun fact! This was the last game to have Mega Evolutions!). Don't worry, it's not all stacked against you though! They've also greatly increased your bag's item capacity, and you can now switch out Pokemon while in the middle of a dungeon even! You also now have the new Rare Qualities mechanic, which is a pretty obvious analog to the mainline series' Abilities mechanic. There's also mechanics that are new to the series too, such as the Invitations, and the revamped Makuhita Dojo; it feels like a natural step forward for the series in that regard. Also new to the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series is the introduction of Powerful Pokemon... Oh boy... If you've played Etrian Odyssey Mystery Dungeon, you'll instantly know what these nightmares are... They're straight up FOEs. No ifs, no buts, they're flat out FOEs. They can and will appear randomly throughout a dungeon. They are level 100 and will utterly annihilate you at the very sight of them... Still, at least you have that extra bag space! And they were never heard from again... Everything that was great about the original game is still great here. The music is superb, the marriage of Pokemon battle mechanics and Roguelike gameplay is the most holy of matrimony, the story is great, and the pacing is lightning fast. The new mechanics gel just as perfectly as they did in Super PKMD, and it's a real treat for any fan of the series. My only real complaint is that I wish they introduced more Pokemon from beyond Gen 3. While you do get some additional Pokemon evolutions that debuted in Gen 4? And a few extras? It doesn't go as far as I was hoping, bit of a missed opportunity really. Still, this is a cracking game, an excellent remake of a fantastic game that brings it up to date with all of the latest mechanics the series has to offer. It's the kind of remake that Game Freak used to make in fact, and while there's something to be said for how it loses the approachability that the original GBA game was designed to offer? It's exactly the kind of remake I love, and as a fan of the series? It was an absolute blast! No More Heroes 3 No More Heroes 3 is the 4th entry in the No More Heroes series. That's the most sensible thing that you will hear about this game. Following on from Travis Strikes Again, this game goes completely off the rails immediately and becomes BAT SHIT INSANE, even by Suda 51 standards! Space aliens have taken over the Earth, Bad Girl is no longer a dog & is now your friend, Shinobu gets her arms chopped off and is chucked into cryogenic storage; Jeane is now comically overweight, can fly and now speaks with a thick black african male accent (despite being previously female) and Travis is now a gundam robot that can fly into space. And this is just in the first five minutes! Yes it is If you are coming into No More Heroes 3 without having played any of the previous entries and are expecting to understand anything that's going on? Forget it. If you are coming into No More Heroes 3 having played all of the previous entries and are expecting to understand anything that's going on? Also forget it. I don't really want to speak about anything that happens in terms of the game's story, because it really does just need to be experienced in all of its mindfuckery glory. It is a WILD ride of pure insanity that I absolutely loved from start to finish. If that doesn't sell it for you? Then how about this non-spoilery clip starring Gold Joe? Snap crackle & pippity pop! All of the characters in this game are just amazing. They're over-the-top in the best way possible and it's a hugely entertaining garden of madness from beginning to end. Now for the gameplay. The combat is actually quite a nice step up from NMH 1 & 2 in terms of complexity, while maintaining the same visceral quality that made the original Wii games so fun to play; with the same motion controls intact while using the Joy-cons. There's a much increased focus on combos and while it's still far from the depth of something like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry? It's complex enough to stay engaging throughout the game's run-time. There's also a good variety of enemies on offer, with some being outright infuriating to deal with; and crowd control is a big part of the game's core combat loop. It's not an easy game either, and NMH3 has no issues with killing you on a dime if you can't keep the crowd in check. Now, one umberage that many people have taken with this game is that it lacks the lengthy stages that took place prior to boss fights as seen in NMH1 & 2; with you now instead being placed straight into boss fights once the entry fee has been paid. Personally I didn't really miss their absence all that much, because the boss fights were always the best part of NMH anyway, and this just removes the preamble that dragged things out. As a result, NMH3 maintains a brisk pace that doesn't leave you hanging. What hasn't been removed however are the gloriously stupid minigames that litter Santa Destroy's open world map. And thankfully they're dumber than ever before! From scouring the desert for scorpions, to unclogging pixellated toilets, to collecting garbage cans while avoiding alligators (yes, really), NMH3 revels in throwing middle fingers at the player; and you're either in on the joke and you're howling with laughter, or you have no sense of humour and you're cursing the game's existence. There is no in-between. Only the coolest and most badass jobs await the otaku loser! I was surprised at how solid the game's combat is this time around. Grasshopper clearly put a lot of time and effort into the combat gameplay and it shows; solid 60FPS performance during combat gameplay too! I enjoyed the combat gameplay way more than I was expecting to, it's solid in its own right as an action game; even without the Suda51 flavoured trappings that come along with it. But at the end of the day, you're playing NMH3 for Suda51's trademark madness, and this is Suda51 at his most utterly unhinged. If you are hoping for a true Suda51 experience? You will be absolutely satisfied with NMH3. It is the sequel to NMH1 that NMH2 wishes it was. Save often. Save your sanity. Wario Land 2 THIS is the game that defined both the Wario series, and Wario as a character. You'll notice that my last writeup spoke of the original Wario Land, where I discussed how Nintendo R&D morphed the Mario Land series into what became Wario Land; but this is the big inflection point where it recognisably became the series we know today. Wario Land 2 is the definitive puzzle platformer. Wario is now invincible, lives and health are gone; and the level design is now decidedly non-linear in nature (though Wario Land 3 would take this a step further still, into outright Metroidvania territory). Gone are the Super Mario style powerups in favour of a new Transformations system, where Wario can be squashed, burnt, smooshed and mangled in all manner of horrific ways into mostly helpful new forms that allow him to navigate the world. Don't worry, he's fine The core platforming gameplay is decidedly faster paced than the original Wario Land, though Wario is perhaps not the most graceful of creatures; despite this however, action platforming gameplay takes a bit of a back seat to puzzle solving, as the goal is now to figure out HOW to get through each stage. Wario can now carry & throw enemies around in order to break walls & blocks and manipulate the environment around him; switches and gadgets litter each stage that impede and grant progress. And now the game challenges you to explore stages in all 8 directions in order to find doors, keys and coins (ohhhhhhh yyyyyeeeesssss! COINS!!!) that you'll need to progress. Wario's transformations challenge you to rethink the space around you in order to figure out how to proceed. Stages will also have hidden exits that lead to alternative paths and different endings, and the level design here is strong. Look, these guys make Metroid, they KNOW how to make well designed and interesting levels; and that pedigree is absolutely evident here. Some of the secret exits are utterly devious and will have you feeling like a genius when you figure it out. The level design quality is second to none, and it's the secret sauce that makes the game come together. Add a healthy dose of silly enemies, silly bosses, silly music and you have a sillily good game. Sometimes? You just need to sleep on it... Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World (Race with Glen-i) So I got my fancy new MiSTer Multisystem which has an incredible, amazing feature. It allows you to play GBA multiplayer games in two player splitscreen! So of course me and @Glen-i had to try this out... by playing a game that doesn't actually support multiplayer! We decided to have a race through Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World: Electric Boogaloo. No Warp Zones allowed. So it starts off with me pulling ahead pretty soon as Glen decides to take the safety strat of going for the Yellow Switch Palace, while I like to live dangerously and decide to skip it in favour of going straight to Yoshi's Island 2 instead. We come to Vanilla Dome and I have a comfortable lead... so I get the bright idea of going for the Red Switch Palace for some godforsaken reason; and then I decide to take the alternate route out of Vanilla Dome and onto Butter Bridge 1. Thinking that I was super smart, I ploughed through the levels on top of Vanilla Dome and head onto Butter Bridge 1... NOOOO!!! I FORGOT!!! IT'S A BLOODY AUTOSCROLLER!!! So now I'm pretty boned, Glen catches up and eventually passes me. We have a close call though in Forest of Illusion however, as Glen forgets the correct path through the Forest Ghost House and Forest of Illusion 3! Allowing me to make up some lost ground. We're coming into Choco Mountain, and naturally we both take the short route through the world map pipe, but tragically I take a death in the Choco Mountain Valley of Bowser level and Glen gains some significant ground. In desperation, I start taking risky strats, taking advantage of the Red Switch Palace blocks in Choco Mountain 4, but alas... another death! All seems lost as Glen moves into Valley of Bowser... Glen goes for the Back Door entrance by going through Valley of Bowser 2, while I decide to take a risk by exiting the level early with the Yoshi Wings and going for the VOB Ghost House secret exit by spin jumping on Boos... But it's not enough. Sadly Glen emerges victorious. All that work and all the Mario bros get is a crappy photo Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland (2 Player with Glen-i) Ok, so this time we decided to play an actual 2 player multiplayer game to test out the splitscreen multiplayer feature of the MiSTer Multisystem and we've never actually played through this one in 2 player before... so we had to give it a go! And it worked perfectly all throughout! The link cable co-op multiplayer works exactly as you'd expect on the MiSTer and it's awesome! The game itself is a 32bit remake of the original NES Kirby's Adventure. It features mostly the same level design, albeit with some minor changes to make things a bit easier here and there, but with vastly improved visuals, and much smoother & faster-paced gameplay. The minigames have all also been replaced with brand new ones, but generally speaking? The remake is pretty faithful to the NES original. It's fast-paced High NRG action from start to finish. So what's different in multiplayer then? Well... you now have multiple Kirbies! (Yes, thanks genius), and that means that the action is even more hectic than ever before! Surprisingly though, despite granting each player a seperate display, both players still need to remain within the same screen's worth of distance; as if both players were playing on one display... Can't help but feel that this defeats much of the benefit of having seperate displays in the first place to be honest... Both players can also hygienically share health through lip locking, and all of the minigames switch to being competitive affairs. Finally, when one Kirby kicks the bucket, they can be brought back to life on the spot by the other player when they move into the next area. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same as the single player mode. Nightmare in Dreamland is a short n' sweet affair that you can blast through with 100% completion in less than an hour; making it a great co-op game! Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (2 Player with Glen-i) Now this one is the big kahuna! Kirby & The Amazing Mirror is fundamentally a 2-4 player co-op Metroidvania game, to the point where even in single player mode you get lumped with 3 (incredibly stupid) AI companions. Me and Glen have played this in multiplayer before, but we had to play through this one again and yes, it's an absolute blast! Unlike Nightmare in Dreamland, this is not a remake of a previous game, but rather a brand new entry in the series. Also unlike Nightmare in Dreamland, Amazing Mirror is not a typical linear Kirby title, but is rather a fully open world Metroidvania game! And even MORE unlike Nightmare in Dreamland, Amazing Mirror allows each player to travel across the world completely unrestricted! The two Kirbies can go to completely opposite ends of the world map and the game keeps track of each player's position in real time! Very very impressive stuff! As far as Metroidvania titles go, Amazing Mirror is a bit of an oddball in that there are NO permanant powerups; in fact, it is entierly possible to go to any location of the world map right at the start of the game. The only restriction in place is the particular copy power that you need to get through any particular puzzle or roadblock that impedes your progress; but as long as you can find the pre-requisite copy power? Yup, you can go anywhere you want, beat the 8 bosses in any order you like, and collect the mirror shard in any order you want. It's a very unusual gameplay structure that manages to eschew the typical linear progression of a Metroidvania game, while maintaining the genre's signature lock-and-key design. This setup just so happens to work really well for a co-op metroidvania title however! We had a lot of fun playing through this one again. Spoilers: He doesn't Pokémon Emerald Rogue This is an incredible ROM hack of Pokemon Emerald that transforms the game into a Roguelite! No, I don't mean Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, I mean a Roguelite! Currently on Version 1.31, this is an amazing mod that takes the core Pokemon Emerald gameplay and has you travel through randomly generated routes, with a limited selection of Pokemon being made available along the way. The goal is to survive through each of the various routes, catching Pokemon and gathering items & money along the way; as you tackle the 8 gym leaders and the Elite Four. Nuzlocke rules are in effect, so if your Pokemon faints at any point? It is dead and it is NOT coming back! You start out in a central hub where you can go out on adventures. Here you can buy permanant upgrades and stuff with the money that you earn from adventures, like... well... a Roguelike! As you venture out on an adventure, you are placed into a world map of sorts, where you are given a selection of potential encounters to choose from; based on vague descriptions of what you might find. The Adventure Map In this pictured example. You have a selection of 5 paths to choose from (This is a VERY generous example! You'll almost certainly never get this in an actual run!). The rock represents a route taken from the main game, where you need to survive through to the end, but you can catch Pokemon, find items and earn money from trainer battles along the way; while the NPCs represent various rest stops that can offer you the chance to heal, buy items etc. The goal is to get to the tile at the end, where you fight the gym leader. Beat them and then you move onto the next Adventure Map. Repeat until you either die, or beat the Elite Four and complete the run! Each Adventure Map has a level cap in place, and Pokemon level up incredibly fast; so there's no real grinding needed, but you also can't over-level. You'll always be at the same level as the gym leader by the end of each Adventure Map. It is very well balanced! And a TON of fun! Each route grants you differing arrays of Pokemon chosen at random; with a hint given on the Adventure Map as to what Pokemon types will appear in each one. Once you're on the route, you're given between 2-6 Pokemon that can potentially appear; depending on the difficulty of each route. A visual indicator is shown on the pause screen, so you can keep track of what Pokemon can be encountered in each route... Here, you can see that three Pokemon have been found, and you are more likely to find Poison Pokemon on this route Each rest stop also stocks different kinds of items. Mart Rest Stops grant things like Pokeballs, Potions, TMs etc that you can buy with the money that you earn from trainer battles and item sales, while Battle Prep Rest Stops sell Hold Items and Mints... wait... WAIT! WHAT THE FUCK!?!? MINTS AREN'T IN GEN 3!!!!! OH HOHOHOHO!!! Oh? Did I not mention? THIS GAME BRINGS GEN 8 MECHANICS INTO POKEMON EMERALD!!! Yes! That means that fairy types are in, Heavy Duty Boots are in, Hidden Abilities are in, Physical/Special split is in! It's all IN!!! Oh, but that's just the tip of the iceburg... This mod is so incredibly polished that you even have the ability to put in specific seeds for races! You can set the difficulty. You can set the level of randomisation. You even have tons of unlockable modes and different types of runs! Your hub ever expands as you unlock more and more additional content! This is a complete game in its own right! And the unlockable stuff? Oh man... Holy fucking shit! I have to mention this one... but if you have any intention on playing it? I strongly recommend that you don't read it... This is the best Pokemon ROM hack I have ever played. It's a completely new kind of Pokemon game that is so incredibly polished that it could easily be a retail title, and it's the most fun I've had with mainline Pokemon since Black/White 2. I cannot recommend it enough to everyone! It's an incredibly piece of work! SO much fun! Super Smash Bros Brawl: The Subspace Emissary The Subspace Emissary is the single player adventure mode of Super Smash Bros Brawl. It is a complete game in its own right, entierly seperate from the rest of Brawl, and I decided to play through the whole thing again. This is essentially a Kirby 2D platformer but with the characters and mechanics of Super Smash Bros Brawl. Based on Kirby Superstar, The Subspace Emissary tasks you to traverse linear stages to progress the story. Most stages are linear affairs that have you jump and fight your way from point A to point B, though some stages are more open in nature and require you to navigate through a maze with minor puzzles to solve. This makes perfect sense, since the original Super Smash Bros for N64 was built on top of the mechanics first founded by Kirby Superstar on SNES anyway, so in essence? This is that influence coming full circle. Yes, Kirby Superstar. NOT Donkey Kong Country! While Super Smash Bros Brawl is a fighting game, it's also a game that has Kirby esc platforming mechanics in place; if not perhaps the most graceful of platforming gameplay mechanics. As such, this combination actually works out surprisingly well! It's not the most complex platformer ever, but it's fun to traverse your way through the differing environments with the varied cast of characters that you find along the way. And the fact that everyone has wildly differing movesets and movement mechanics means that the gameplay remains fresh throughout the adventure; you're never stuck with one character for very long. The level design is functional, if fairly unremarkable, but there's enough variety in characters and enemies that you fight in order to make things fun all throughout. A very unlikely pairing... oh God please kill that thing! The story is basically an excuse plot to justify the fangasm on display here, but it's fun to see the likes of Bowser and Ganondorf working together to take over the world... also Wario is oddly super evil in this game for some reason? It's totally out of character for him! Even though the story is rather trite overall, I can't help but crack a smile at seeing these characters all interact with each other; and it does make me yearn for a proper Nintendo cross-over movie of sorts some day. Be honest, this tickles you in all the right places The boss battles are also really fun, they make the most of the fighting mechanics of Brawl really nicely (I mean, it IS a fighting game after all!); and the unlockable Boss Battles mode was always a mainstay for a good reason. Overall, I had a lot of fun revisiting The Subspace Emissary, it's better than I remember it being. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia I finally did it. I finally played through Fire Emblem Shadows of Valentia! Been meaning to do it for years and now I finally got round to playing it. The verdict? This game is weird... Fire Emblem Gaiden for the NES is the second game in the series. And while that game was never released outside of Japan? It remains notorious for being a bit of a Black Sheep within the series. Nintendo seemed to have a thing for wild experiments with their NES sequels, Super Mario Bros 2/USA, Zelda 2 etc; and Fire Emblem Gaiden is no different in that regard. As you are probably aware, Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia is a loose remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, much like Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon on the DS. As such, Shadows of Valentia builds upon the original Fire Emblem Gaiden and inherits all of its... esoteric mechanics. In that sense, Shadows of Valentia is an interesting look into the road not travelled by the Fire Emblem series. While the original Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light was strictly a linear affair that pushed you forward from one strategy RPG map to the next, Fire Emblem Gaiden instead decided to reduce the focus on strategy gameplay and double down on RPG mechanics. Here? You now have a world map, not that dissimilar from other NES RPGs such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, as well as full-blown dungeons! Yes! Top-down RPG dungeons! With random encounters even! And these encounters play out as stripped down Fire Emblem strategy RPG battles! Naturally, Shadows of Valentia inherits this rather unusual focus from its NES counterpart; only now the dungeons play out in full 3D, with Zelda style traversal and visible encounters in favour of the random encounters of the NES original. Dungeons? In a Fire Emblem game!? It's more likely than you think! The weirdness doesn't stop there though, because Intelligent Systems were determined to reinvent everything about the original Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light with Fire Emblem Gaiden. Gone is the weapon triangle (though to be fair, this had yet to become the series staple that it eventually became) and gone is weapon degredation! Now each character can only hold one item at a time (this includes weapons & healing items! You only get one!), and magic uses up HP upon use! (What the fuck?). Magic is no longer equippable, but instead it's learnt as your magic characters level up. Weapons now grant skills with continued use (Hey! It did Final Fantasy 9 a decade before Final Fantasy 9!). Archers can now directly attack enemies next to them, and also don't do extra damage to Pegasus Knights unless they have the anti-fliers skill... and that's just the tip of the iceburg! Like the original NES game, Shadows of Valentia has some VERY strange design choices in play here, that make the game play out like no other game in the Fire Emblem series. Oh yeah, did I mention that there's also a stamina meter in place for each character that depletes as they travel through dungeons? (Now THAT one is new for the remake at least, so you can't blame Gaiden for that one!). Mmm, tasty Raw Meat! Who needs a weapon? Another hold-over from the original Fire Emblem Gaiden is the use of True Hit Percentage... If you're not familiar with this particular quirk of the Fire Emblem series, then I'm about to blow your mind. From the GBA Fire Emblem games and onwards? The percentage chance to hit that the game shows you is a LIE! LIES!!!!!!!!!! That 94%/45% chance to hit that you see in that screenshot above? It's bullshit. Total bullshit. But wait! I hear you say! "I've played modern Fire Emblem games, and the hit percentage feels totally accurate!", and you would be absolutely correct! A 94% percent chance to hit feels absolutely correct, it SHOULD hit basically all the time, while that 45% chance SHOULD result in a miss. But is that really the case? That's basically a coin flip for that enemy to hit you. While it feels like it SHOULD miss... going by raw numbers? It should actually hit you half the time, but it doesn't! Why is that? The answer lies in the RNG which, believe it or not, is actually rigged in favour of the player! From the GBA Fire Emblems onwards they use a double roll system, whereby the game rolls a 0-100 dice twice. For the enemy attack, the game takes both rolls and then averages them against each other; if the average of the two rolls is below the displayed Hit percentage? Only then does the game register a hit. The end result is that low percentage Hits will connect less often, and high percentage Hits connect more often. This has the odd side effect of making the game feel more "fair". Shadows of Valentia however? Nah, it goes by the old True Hit Percentage system, just like the original Fire Emblem Gaiden. This means that a Hit of 50% really is a Hit of 50%; meaning that low percentage Hits will connect far more often than you'd expect, while the opposite is true of high percentage Hits (Those 80% Hit chances? Yeah, they're gonna miss all the time!). This also has the weird side effect of making Crits activate ALL THE TIME! Both for you AND your enemies! You will rage as your enemies continuously nail jammy crits on you! NOW all of a sudden the controversial Mila's Turnwheel system makes perfect sense! Mila's Turnwheel you say? What's that? Basically it's a mulligan. In each battle, you have a limited number of times that you can rewind the battle and undo turns! While at first I considered this blasphamous, completely destroying the spirit of Fire Emblem? It becomes a godsend when the game is throwing out random crits at you like it's going out of style! Thankfully dungeons put a hard limit on how many times it can be used throughout the entierty of said dungeon too, so it doesn't destroy the careful balance in place there either. It's a surprisingly well thought out concession to the player; far better than either Casual Mode or the utterly dreadful Pheonix Mode of Fire Emblem Fates. And it's one that I wouldn't mind seeing return in future Fire Emblem games, assuming that it's carefully balanced enough. Oh and speaking of odd RNG mechanics? This game is SUPER stingy with growth rates... This is not uncommon. At all. On top of that? This game is SUPER grindy! It actively encourages and requires you to go out of your way to grind your characters and level them up... Yet bizarrely, the game uses an EXP system that exponentially reduces the amount of experience that you can earn past a certain point... making 20/20ing any character an exercise in pure misery. Unlike most FE games? You do NOT want to attempt 20/20ing anyone, unless you want to spend the rest of your life grinding! Instead, you should be promoting your non-Lord units ASAP; very strange for a FE game! (Also, those promotion items that you usually need? Nope, not here buddy). I told you this game is strange! The map design is also odd. This game LOVES wide open areas with not much inbetween, and you get some outright odd map designs, like one that's basically one big long corridor, and another that's a series of boxes that parts of your army are trapped in. It's... experimental. What IS this!? I haven't even mentioned the Famicom Detective Club style point n' click town sections yet! Yes! Really! This game is bizzare! And yet... I LOVED this game! It's so weird and unusual... and yet it feels distinctly like classic Fire Emblem! I actually think it's a bit of a shame that the series never really explored Fire Emblem Gaiden's more esoteric mechanics further until Shadows of Valentia. It's like a bizzare hybrid of Dragon Quest and Fire Emblem, mixed in with a bit of Famicom Detective Club and Shining Force. It's a game where archers can have a range of 1-8! Where mages can kill themselves by attacking and where Crit rates can totally nullify reduced Hit percentages! While it emphasises the RPG mechanics moreso than the strategy? I feel that the bizzare nature of said mechanics does still lead to strong strategy gameplay here. You can absolutely abuse the crap out of Warp & Rescue to perform hit & run bombing tactics on bosses, you can force enemies to deplete their own HP with magic spells, you can manipulate the AI to come into range of your archers... the essence of Fire Emblem is still here; even in this bizzare and twisted form! And outside of the gameplay? The presentation really is just top-notch. This is the first Fire Emblem game to feature full voice acting across the entire game, and it is SUPERB voice acting to boot! Berkut in particular? CHEF'S KISS!!! Berkut's reaction when he finds out about how True Hit percentage works in modern Fire Emblem The story is fairly simple overall, but all of the characters are just superb, with fantastic dialogue that is massively entertaining all throughout. They do expand on the story of Fire Emblem Gaiden, much like they did with Shadow Dragon, but it's the characters and dialogue that you're really here for; rather than the plot itself. The music as well? HOLY SHIT!! It is fucking amazing!!! I'm just gonna post one piece... the best version of the Fire Emblem theme I have ever heard! (The rest of the soundtrack is just as good, but this gets the point across nicely!) I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Shadows of Valentia, warts & all. I'm glad that they stuck to their guns and kept all of the weirdness that defined the original Fire Emblem Gaiden. It was a real treat to discover this alternate timeline Fire Emblem; where the series decided to focus on the RPG elements of its gameplay. However, we're not done yet... as I also bought and played through all of the game's DLC too! In a word? Disappointing. The DLC is absolutely NOT worth it. It is basically all just pay-to-win crap that honestly left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I'm glad I decided to save it until after I had already finished the main game, because the DLC basically consists purely of maps to grind money & EXP, as well as the ability to Overclass each character (a new thing where you can Class Up a character beyond the maximum normally offered by the main game). There are also four maps that offer a little bit of backstory before the game's main story started, which actually introduce some varied mission objectives not normally found in the main game, which is neat; but these maps are so slight that I honestly can't recommend the purchase. Sure, it's fun to obtain a super broken character that you can use in the game's final Super Dungeon (a post-game thing that wasn't in the original Fire Emblem Gaiden), but it's not worth the ridiculous £40 price! Horse Armor in Fire Emblem form Thankfully the DLC doesn't take away the great time I had with Shadows of Valentia. As someone who has been left feeling cold by the more modern FE entries? Shadows of Valentia was a much needed breath of fresh air that I massively enjoyed. Well worth the 65 hours I poured into this gem. And with that? We're done for 2022! Roll on 2023... wait? We're already here!? Crud... I need to get a move on in the new thread!
  42. 5 points
  43. 5 points
    I don't know why you're surprised. Final Fantasy is known for its random encounters.
  44. 5 points
    Just popping in here to declare that I've seen the credits roll in Cuphead last night. Will save a proper post about it for when I get through the DLC. But I do want to thank @Dufniall and @Hero-of-Time for convincing me to take the plunge. It's a truly wonderful game, and I didn't resort to Ms. Chalice in the base game in the end (Although if I go chasing Expert mode, I probably will, need all the help I can get there). It also easily stands among the likes of Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap and PMD: Rescue Team DX as one of the most beautiful looking games on Switch.
  45. 5 points
    I started off November by playing one of the years big releases in Bayonetta 3 and, needless to say, I had a great time playing through it. I hadn't seen many of the pre-release trailers so I wasn't aware that the premise was a riff on the multiverse concept that everyone seems to be doing at the moment, finding that out definitely dampened my excitement a bit but thankfully Platinum put their unique spin on things so it all feels like quite a natural next step for the series. I did struggle to reacquaint myself with the controls at first, feeling pretty clumsy in the first chapter or so, but in the early goings my biggest gripe was with the mounted sections and the summons in general - they just felt clunky and slow and on the first mounted section with the spider the game didn't do the best job at explaining the mechanics so I kept falling off, halting my progress in the chapter for longer than I would have liked. Once I was used to the controls and started to put together combos though my progress through the game went pretty smoothly, Platinum's games are generally pretty forgiving with checkpoints and items so besides failing the glorified QTE's at times I didn't really run into any significant challenges until the very end of the game (and even then I was able to beat the final boss with relative comfort). There are certainly issues with performance and presentation, some of the environments can feel a bit lifeless, the textures of low detail and resolution that is especially noticeable in the larger areas, certainly issues that would be ironed out on more modern hardware, but for the most part Bayonetta 3 is an absolute joy to play through so I found it easy to overlook the blemishes. Not sure what the general consensus is but I loved Viola, it was a surprise to me that she was a bonafide playable character and, despite it being difficult for me to pull off witch time with her I loved using her sword - it's kind of reminiscent of the Leviathan Axe in God of War in the way you can throw it at enemies and switch to hand to hand combat - and Cheshire is an absolutely incredible summon, just a great character all round. The story didn't quite hit the heights of the first game, it's more a way to link the increasingly outlandish chapters together than a genuinely engrossing narrative, but its serviceable and leads to some utterly glorious gameplay moments. There is so much variety in the gameplay, the way it can jump from normal combat to something completely off the wall and unexpected is really impressive, it's unashamedly dumb fun at its best - the most videogamey videogame I've ever played and an absolute must-play for any fan of Platinum's previous output. Next up, much slower paced and smaller in scope, I played Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol on the Nintendo DS. It's a game I've been meaning to get around to playing for ages, I remember being intrigued by it during the height of the DS' popularity but for whatever reason I never bought it - I played the GC original a few years ago and was charmed by it so when I repaired my 3DS in October I decided to finally dig into the series handheld entries. In terms of premise its relatively similar to the first game except, instead of cleaning up a house Chibi is tasked with rejuvenating a barren park by planting flowers to attract more visitors. At first Chibi has such a low capacity battery that you can only spend a couple of minutes watering the buds before retreating to the Chibi House to recharge, it means the opening hour or so is frustratingly stop/start and slow, but it's definitely worth persevering. As the game opens up you can acquire larger batteries and more tools, eventually unlocking a variety of vehicles that make it easier to get around the park, making the basic gameplay loop more and more enjoyable as you progress through the game. I was worried that the game would be hampered by the less powerful hardware of the DS but besides being restricted to using the D-pad for movement it actually holds up pretty well compared to the GC original, mechanically its very similar and, although there are definitely some concessions visually (the draw distance is shorter and things can look a bit low res and blocky at times) it manages to retain a lot of the charm. As you expand the park and explore the adjacent high street you discover a number of other toys that have run out of energy and, after recharging them, they show their gratitude by offering to assist you in redeveloping the park, allowing you to undertake more extensive projects to attract more visitors. As the narrative unfolds an antagonist, another toy called Sergeant Smugglor, shows up and releases flower corrupting minions called Smoglings that Chibi needs to chase down and squash to avoid them undoing all of his hard work. The unwelcome visitors help to keep you on your toes, mixing up the gameplay loop and threatening to scupper your plans, so things manage to feel quite fresh all the way through to the end. In the end I think I enjoyed Park Patrol more than the original GC entry, it feels more at home on a handheld, being more conducive to short spurts of gameplay, and the developers seem to have ironed some of the problems that made it’s older console sibling quite frustrating at times. I probably won’t get around to it for a little while but I’m keen to see how they expanded on the concept in the Japan only follow up, and to a lesser extent the 3DS platforming spin off, it’s just a shame that the series seems to be dead in the water - it would be great to see it make a comeback, even if it was just in the form of a remaster. I followed up Chibi Robo with one of the years big hitters, God of War Ragnarok on PS5. Of the few big releases I played in 2018 the reboot of GoW was probably my favourite, it was an interesting change of pace for the series in terms of tone, offering up a decent story, but it was the combat that was the real star - just the act of throwing and recalling the axe was enjoyable by itself - so I was keen to see where the series went next. Unfortunately, my first few hours with Ragnarok were a bit of a slog, coming so soon off the back of Bayonetta, GoW seemed to take itself so seriously that I struggled to connect with it at first - and the constant chatter from the companion characters didn’t help matters much at all. It’s a problem that was highlighted by GMTK but the way the NPC’s don’t give you any time to even assess your surroundings before pointing out how to solve a puzzle is incredibly frustrating, making the game seem every bit as dumb as Bayonetta, just by insulting the players intelligence rather than being completely daft and over the top. Those problems didn’t completely go away as the game wore on, even during the climax Mimir and Atreus were telling Kratos he was on fire, but they definitely became easier to overlook them as areas got less linear and I became more engrossed in the narrative. There is a lot to like about Ragnarok, the combat is engaging and evolves in interesting ways from the 2018 entry, but the impactful character moments aren’t as frequent as I had hoped and the game felt like it outstayed its welcome a little too much (howlongtobeat pegs it at 24 hours for the main story and my play through clocked in at over 35, I did some favours and side quests but not 11 hours worth). It’s still an impressive achievement in many ways, Bear McCreary’s score is great, the ensemble cast is fantastic, with some truly stunning performances, and I enjoyed the way different companions weaved in and out of the story - helping to switch up combat encounters (and even playable characters) and keep things feeling fresh right through to the end so despite the rocky start I’m still glad I got to experience Kratos’ latest adventure, even though it’s very much an evolution of the 2017 reboot the team at Santa Monica Studio have still managed to deliver some genuinely awe-inspiring moments that push the boundaries of the medium. One thing I’ve noticed when playing through some big games recently is how little I engage with some of their systems, with Bayonetta and Ragnarok I hardly bothered with the skill trees and with Ragnarok specifically I didn’t touch the crafting system or really care much about loot or amour at all - it seems like developers shoehorn in all these extra mechanics because other games are doing it, or in a bid to make the game seem more substantial, but a lot of the time they end up feeling completely inconsequential. I almost never play games on mobile but with Downwell creator Ojiro Fumoto’s new game Poinpy being an Android & iOS exclusive I fired up my Netflix app and downloaded it onto my phone. For those who aren’t aware, Poinpy is another vertically oriented rogue-like but instead of going down you’re moving up, collecting fruits as you go to feed the hungry cat that’s snapping at your heels - recipes appear on screen while a timer ticks down and, if you fail to collect the required fruits, the cat unleashes a fireball that takes out one of Poinpy’s hearts. It gets more complicated as you progress, the recipes growing from a single fruit to half a dozen of different kinds as you feed the cat and the ‘gourmet level’ rises, you only start off with two jump orbs, being able to jump twice before having to land to refill, but you can bounce off enemies and obstacles to recharge mid-combo, but you steadily unlock more jump orbs as you progress through the game, as well as being able to swap in a variety of abilities (like Hades boons) that help you build up bigger and bigger combos. It’s incredibly addictive so it’s no surprise that I became hooked, the goal is to make it all the way to gourmet level 20 but if you die, as with other rogue-likes, its right back to the start again so it’s all about maximising your time in the lower levels, building up a massive combo without losing any health in order to catapult Poinpy to the latter stages as quickly and painlessly as possible. It’s a bit more forgiving than Fumoto’s first game, with a friendlier and more colourful visual style, but it’s as mechanically deep as Downwell, offering up hours of challenging fun (and a less stressful puzzle mode to boot) - I can’t recommend it highly enough, anyone with a phone and a Netflix subscription should definitely give it a go, it’s right up there amongst the best games of 2022. The last game I played in November has a bit of a lengthy title - Milk inside a bag of milk inside a bag of milk and Milk outside a bag of milk outside a bag of milk, which I played on Switch. It’s actually two games in one, Milk inside… came out a few years ago and is only 20 mins or so in length while Milk outside… is more recent and a bit more fleshed out than its predecessor - essentially they are visual novels telling the story of a depressed girl’s trip to the shop to buy a bag of milk. Social interactions are a scary prospect, she lives an isolated life holed up in her bedroom and her overactive imagination (couple with the myriad of medication she takes for her mental health issues) warp and distort her perceptions of reality. There’s an awful lot about the games that I can relate to, I suffer with severe depression and anxiety and am quite introverted, with a tendency to overthink things, it almost feels like the kind of thing I could have made when I was a teenager or in my early 20’s (if I’d had more drive and programming knowledge), so despite the crude presentation (particularly of the first game) I found my hour or so with the game to be incredibly impactful. Besides relating to the main character’s thoughts and feelings I was also won over by the music, for such a short game there is a great deal of variety to the soundtrack, ranging from unsettling drones and noise to catchy, atmospheric ambient pieces - the developers were even kind enough to offer a juke box to check out the tracks in isolation. I’ll definitely try to keep an eye out for the developers next work, whether that be a direct follow up or something completely different, they seem to be on the same wavelength as me so chances are I’ll get a lot out of it. As we approach the end of the year I noticed that I’ve played through quite a few 2022 releases so I thought I would spend December seeing if I could get through a few more before the GOTY discussions begin.
  46. 5 points
    18th November marks ten years since the Wii U launched in America (30th November for Europe and 8th December for Japan) so I figured it would be a good opportunity to look back at what ended up being Nintendo's biggest home console miss, but also the bridge between the Wii and Switch. So let's discuss the good (the games), the bad (the sales and name) and the ugly (the GamePad). Did you get it at launch? Did you stick with it to its dying days? How do you think it changed Nintendo? Etc etc etc Also maybe I should update the description of this forum to remove Wii U
  47. 5 points
  48. 5 points
    Another spooky game done and dusted. This time last year I played through the original Little Nightmares + DLC for the first time. I absolutely loved the game and it ended up being one of my favourite games of last year. I decided to wait until this October to play the sequel and that's exactly what I've done. I'm happy to report that I loved the sequel as well. I think I would give the edge to the original game, especially if you add the DLC to it but both games are well worth playing. I love how the game manages to balance different types of horror styles. You have the in your face, horrific looking enemies that usually chase you and scare the hell out of you but then you also have the style that manages to create a sense of tension and uneasiness by using very little. It's very well done. For example... The above pictures are pretty messed up but the following ones are more subtle and have a hint of sadness about them. Despite being dark and gloomy, the game sometimes does pull off some lovely looking shots. Like the original game, this also offers some fantastic puzzle platforming gameplay. There is never anything too taxing to stump the gamer but instead there is just enough challenge to get a sense of satisfaction from solving something without getting frustrated and your progress being halted. You'll be grabbing keys, fending off enemies, running for your life and figuring out ways of out foxing the bigger foes. All of this takes place in 5 stages and none of them overstay their welcome. Some of these stages are quite unsettling and are standard for horror type games. The hospital and school levels are two such levels but they have been crafted very well here. The narrative is also worth mentioning. The game does so well to get things across without having any kind of dialogue. Certain things are up to interpretation and that makes for some interesting discussions and reading online. As soon as I finished the game I headed online to see what other people thought of the story. My thoughts lined up with many others but it was nice reading other people's theories in how the game links up to the original game. As I said, the first game was one of my favs from last year and the sequel has managed to do the same thing. It's always nice to play a game that has no padding or bloat (lasts about 5-6 hours) and instead the developers have designed a well crafted game that doesn't overstay its welcome or try to lengthen things out. They clearly had a vision for this game and have executed it stupidly well. Both the original and sequel are often on sale on PSN and the eShop and I highly recommend picking them if you are after a top tier puzzle platforming game.
  49. 5 points
    Pilotwings 64 is our next Nintendo 64 game. Should be out on then 13th of this month:
  50. 5 points
    More than I wanted to pay. £151 total but atleast i have it now.