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  1. 13 points
    We're with Alder Hey He was born earlier today, doing really well.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 8 points
    MAXIMUM POWERRRRRR! Wave Race 64 arrives next on the service this Friday (19th August):
  5. 8 points
    His surgery was today, and it went well. It was a very long day, he went away at 9AM and we didn't hear a single thing until half 5. The surgeons are very pleased. There are still a few weeks of recovery, and he will get better/worse as they find the right balance of everything, but the worst is over.
  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
    Its getting close to baby Cube arriving, a bit sooner than expected. I'm excited but also terrified. He was diagnosed at the 20 week scan with a heart condition called TGA, this essentially means that his heart is not wired up correctly, where the oxygenated blood will just be pumped back into his lungs and not the rest of his body. While he's in the womb, babies have an open valve which allows the blood to mix. The first part of this treatment is to keep this open (first with medicine but 50% need a simple keyhole surgery) until he's ready for surgery (10-14 days), where they'll get to his heart and switch things around so it's all connected properly, then they'll keep an eye on him for a few more weeks. Most of the time, this is the only treatment he'll ever need for this condition. We've met quite a few members of the team that will be treating him (both at the hospital doing the C-section and the children's hospital) and they've given us a ton of confidence and we feel like he's in good hands My girlfriend has been on blood pressure tablets and the latest scans have shown that he's dropped down in size, so they've decided that he's coming out a bit early - within the next week. It's amazing what they can do to treat babies with this condition.
  8. 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
  9. 7 points
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 7 points
    LMAO that title. No wonder they were shitting themselves when the Queen died.
  13. 7 points
    And we're off home!
  14. 7 points
    His recovery has continued to be amazing. He has no additional oxygen support, he's on no constant medication, just some oral stuff which is being reduced to stop. His main pain relief is a bit of paracetamol every now and then. We were able to push him around the ward a little bit today in a pram as he now just has his sensors attached to him (and it's a portable unit), so all very positive.
  15. 7 points
    They really were playing the long game with this tweet
  16. 7 points
    With it being the 7 year anniversary of Iwata's passing, I sat and watched this last night. I say this every year but man, I miss this guy so much. Watching the video was once again a reminder of just how unique a person he was and how he done so much for the industry. I know I've said this before but Nintendo have never been the same since his passing. The Iwata era of the company was truly something very special.
  17. 7 points
    We're at the halfway point of 2022, and I just completed a big one, so now it's time for me to finally catch up on this year's thread... Super Monkey Ball 2 (Story Mode) Now, last year, I played that awesome Super Monkey Ball Deluxe mod for the Gamecube. This time however, I decided I felt like playing the vanilla experience, so I fired up the Story Mode for Super Monkey Ball 2. Unlike the main Challenge Mode, Story Mode grants you unlimited lives and has you play through 100 stages of progressive difficulty, with your progress saved throughout. It’s probably the first thing you fired up when you first played this game all the way back in 2002, so you’ve probably forgotten its specific intricacies; but needless to say, the most obvious change is the addition of story cutscenes… What a riveting tale! … thankfully, the story doesn’t take itself too seriously (a problem that plagued the Sonic series around this time), it’s all thoroughly silly, lighthearted stuff that got me to crack a smile or two. BTW, here’s something you might well not know… Turns out that Dr Badboon’s voice samples are actually reversed, and you can hear what the voice actor actually sounds like if you play his voice clips backwards! Check out the clip below… Two pints of Erskib please! Story Mode breaks up the game’s 100 stages into bunches of 10, and lets you tackle said 10 in any order you like… though this doesn’t really change all that much, since you have to complete them all anyway. In that sense, Story Mode is actually secretly a giant practice mode for the game’s main arcade game Challenge Mode; giving you a chance to acclimatise yourself to each of the game’s stages in a safe environment. While you may be thinking that the challenge of learning the game’s stages in an arcade-like context is now lost as a result… you would be wrong! As, and I had completely forgotten about this, Story Mode actually features quite a few unique stages that don’t appear in Challenge Mode at all; including the infuriating Invisible (which features… you guessed it, invisible platforms!) and the utterly maddening Labyrinth, pictured below… Good luck beating this behemoth in just 60 seconds! It’s clear that Challenge Mode was the main mode that the game was designed around, however, Story Mode allowed the developers to chuck in level ideas that would otherwise have felt unfair with limited lives in place. It’s clear that they had levels that were up for the chopping block that they decided to plonk into Story Mode, rather than let them go to waste… It’s quite baffling then that the likes of Switch Inferno made the cut for Challenge Mode then, when it’s so luck-based that it might as well be a dice roll unless you know the solution beforehand. This one is very much borderline too… I’m onto you… Not every stage that appears in Challenge Mode makes an appearance in Story Mode, meaning that Challenge Mode retains the surprise (and wonderful masochistic infuriation) of having to learn new stages in its original arcade context, a good decision that allows the game to retain its signature arcade game design, while making the game more approachable and learnable for a casual audience, by allowing them to acclimatise themselves in Story Mode beforehand. As for Super Monkey Ball 2 itself? It’s probably the best console-exclusive sequel to an arcade game I’ve ever played. Most of the time, whenever an arcade game gets a console sequel, it inevitably loses that tight, lean design of its predecessor; and ends up getting bogged down with padding & guff to help pad out the playtime. Look at say, House of the Dead 2 compared to House of the Dead Overkill for example; the latter has a running time that’s around 3-4 times longer, but it ends up suffering like G did for it, with incredibly slow and dull pacing that repeats the same content over and over. I get that it’s a hard sell to release a game at full price that only lasts around an hour, which makes it a delicate balancing act when making a sequel to an arcade hit, but very few games get this right. Super Monkey Ball 2 absolutely succeeds in this context, you could take Challenge Mode, chuck it into an arcade cabinet and it would fit in absolutely perfectly; and a big part of that success comes down to the inclusion of the ancillary modes, such as Story Mode and the 12 (excellent) additional minigames. Do yourself a favour and revisit this one, you’ll learn a lot about good game design in the process. Paper Mario Sticker Star The game that “killed” the Paper Mario series. Few other Nintendo games garner as much online vitriol as this one. How dare Nintendo change up what Paper Mario is! It’s not even an RPG anymore!!! And yes, it’s true. Paper Mario Sticker Star is not an RPG. There are no RPG mechanics in place here, there is no levelling up, there are no partners; everything except the core movement mechanics and demarcation between overworld gameplay and turn-based battles has been completely jettisoned. So what exactly is this game then? To fully answer that question, I think we need to look back at the context surrounding the game to fully understand it. It's 2004, Nintendo & Intelligent Systems just released Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door to critical acclaim and commercial success. It’s a relatively straightforward sequel to the 2001 original N64 game, powered up with additional battle and world traversal mechanics, wacky characters, new quest ideas and various fun tweaks to the badge system. However, there’s a sense of déjà vu about the whole thing if you look very closely… The hub structure is more or less the same as the N64 game, the first chapter is structurally identical to the original game’s opener, the third chapter is a glorified enemy gauntlet, the fourth chapter is oddly similar to the N64 game’s third chapter, the sixth chapter is… wait… a murder mystery again? Fast forward to 2007 and Super Paper Mario comes out as an early Wii title (originally shown off as a late GCN release back at E3 2006). The series takes its first dramatic shift, now being a sidescrolling platformer based off of the 2D Bowser Bros stages from TTYD, but still retaining the series signature RPG mechanics and partner mechanics trappings. The game launched to huge commercial success (still the best selling game in the entire series), but critical reception was rather mixed. Some appreciated the shift to something different, recognising that even TTYD was starting to show signs of series fatigue with its reused ideas, while some just wanted more of the same gameplay as first seen in the N64 title. An even bigger contingent bought the game expecting a traditional 2D Super Mario Bros style platformer and found themselves utterly baffled by the onslaught of unending dialogue and off-brand characters. Super Paper Mario itself was also significant for being one of the first commercial games to be built around game industry metacommentary, and if you look at that game’s subtext, there’s a really interesting and rather telling narrative that spurs forth. Throughout that game, there’s a number of sequences that are purposely designed to frustrate and demean the player, such as the famous Hamster Gem Wheel and of course, ol’ Francis; the chameleon nerd who represents all of the online obsessed forum dwellers who demand all their RPGs to be 100 hours long and who love going online to complain about games they never played. In short, Super Paper Mario is a statement against both online social games and the RPG genre as a whole. It pulls no punches about how RPGs are specifically engineered to waste the player’s time in order to pump up their running time, in an attempt to falsely promote “value for money”. It’s a strong statement of intent, that Intelligent Systems would do good by when it came time to reinvent Paper Mario once more… Meanwhile, throughout the rest of Nintendo, another battle lay on the horizon. Throughout the GCN & Wii eras, a growing discourse spoke of how Nintendo’s games grew ever more tutorialised and handholdy; as they struggled to walk the tightrope between the veteran and inexperienced player. In 2009, Nintendo finally found their solution in the form of the Super Guide; a gameplay system first introduced in New Super Mario Bros Wii that would allow their designers to build games with the more challenging difficulty that both their designers and the veteran players craved, while keeping their games accessible for newcomers. Variants of this system would eventually find their way into subsequent Nintendo releases, but it would take time for Nintendo to find the right balance. This whole issue perhaps came to its most obvious head with the release of 2011’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which was panned by players for its overzealous hint system which spoilt many of the game’s more interesting puzzles (Thankfully the 2021 HD remaster solved this issue). So, most likely in direct response to the reception of Skyward Sword, Paper Mario Sticker Star went in the complete opposite direction. Hints would be almost entirely absent, and what little hints were provided would prove to be of little practical use. With that context now behind us, it becomes crystal clear why Paper Mario Sticker Star was designed the way it was. Intelligent Systems were done with the cynical traditional RPG systems of the genre, they had worn out the original N64 Paper Mario gameplay format, they wanted to re-invent the series, Super Paper Mario had proved a divisive release for its overwhelming dialogue, off-brand characters & audience mismatch, and Nintendo as a whole wanted to address the issue of overtutorialisation of their games. These reasons and concepts directly lead to the game design of Paper Mario Sticker Star, and are also the reasons why the game was received so poorly by the online Paper Mario community; it was a direct attack on those people who just wanted more of the same. Thousands of fans, brought down by a humble sticker Paper Mario Sticker Star is an action adventure game; emphasis on the latter. Much like point n’ click adventure games such as Monkey Island, the objective is to reach the end of each area through the use of lateral thinking with the abilities and items you have on you. Areas are divided up into individual levels, not unlike the original Super Mario Bros; a smart concession for the handheld nature of the game. Also like those classic point n’ click adventure games, the logic used throughout this game is… often quite obtuse; and on some occasions presents with multiple available solutions. What demarcates Sticker Star from classic adventure games however, is the use of the core Paper Mario overworld action gameplay; but then that encroaches on the gameplay of the Legend of Zelda series! What to do? We can’t be having another series that apes the already existing Zelda titles! The answer, as it turns out, was lying in plain sight from the beginning… the use of turn-based battles. Here though, the goal is to avoid RPG mechanics and genre trappings however… so this battle system would have to tie into the core adventure gameplay element of this action/adventure game. In that respect, I feel that Sticker Star only half achieves its goal. Much discourse runs rampant online about how battles are now “pointless”, and to some extent there’s some truth in that. It’s absolutely possible to avoid most encounters and still complete the game, but doing so would also rob you of the valuable currency that you need to buy the stickers that you need to complete each stage. While I admire the attempt to marry the adventure gameplay with a turn-based battle system, I feel that the battle system itself comes across as half-baked; and this comes down to two key factors. Firstly, the combat is too simple; lacking the complexity and variety of previous titles, as almost every action command is executed in the same fashion, and the game lacks an overarching system to provide a layer of strategy to the mix… well, I mean, there is the Battle Spin, but ultimately this is a weak mechanic that allows the player to… use two or three stickers in one turn? That’s it? That’s the best wrinkle you could come up with? Secondly? And most damning of all? The variety of stickers is outright poor. There are shockingly few non-Thing stickers actually present within the game, meaning that there just isn’t enough scope to make for interesting enemy encounters throughout the game’s running time. Most stickers throughout the game are just mild variants on a base set; so you have 5 variants of the Jump command, 6 variants of Hammer, a Throwing command with various items, a Tail attack, a spike hat, a POW Block, and then a couple of healing items/dodging moves and that’s it. That’s all you get throughout the whole game! Without the addition of partners, the battles feel rather one-note, and it’s a bit of shame. So much variety! Look at all the nearly identical hammers & jumps! The game attempts to mitigate this issue with its other big gimmick, the Things. Unfortunately, these items suffer from the perennial RPG problem (oh the irony!) of being far too precious to ever use in anything other than a boss encounter. As such, you will inevitably end up sticking with the basic stickers for 95% of the game. Not all is bad though, because I like the concept of having to think laterally about how to beat each boss; as they all have a weakness to particular Things. And while there is some truth to the frustration of essentially not being able to beat it until you trial and error your way through the fight with each available Thing; you can easily flee from any boss fight and typically it doesn’t take long to get back to each boss to have another crack at it. It only really becomes a significant issue during the final boss; where there is literally no way to tell what you’re going to need in advance, and it becomes an exercise in sheer frustration that’ll almost certainly lead you to reaching for an online guide. While the battles are certainly controversial, so too is the overworld portion of the game; but it is here that I feel that the game shows its best hand. The game’s puzzles are genuinely well designed and are married to very clever level design that tasks you to think laterally. Most levels are filled with branching paths and secret exits that lead to optional Things, secret HP-up items and alternative levels, this game does a great job of rewarding exploration and experimentation; but it also suffers from some obtuse design that really could’ve done with a more helpful hint system in place. This game does almost nothing to help the player when they inevitably get stuck, and Kersti is about as useless as a flaming snowball. Still, there’s a good amount of variety with the level mechanics and design; which is very impressive when you consider how simple the base movement mechanics of Paper Mario really are. So near, yet so far As for the ancillary elements of the game, such as story/characters/graphics/dialogue/sound etc go? Amazingly enough, this part is controversial too! In direct response to the criticism surrounding Super Paper Mario, all of the off-brand Mario characters were stripped completely, and the story takes a backseat to a stronger focus on pure gameplay. Personally? I don’t really mind this change at all, because the best bit about Paper Mario’s “story” was never the story itself, it was the dialogue; and the dialogue is absolutely on point throughout this game! There are plenty of absolutely laugh-out-loud moments that had me reeling. And while I don’t think that the dialogue here is quite as strong as its two sequels (Color Splash and Origami King), it certainly holds its own. It’s a bit of a shame then that your main buddy throughout the game (Kersti) is a bit of a wet blanket that doesn’t have much to say; because the rest of the cast are great. Thankfully, this is something that the two sequels would end up rectifying big time. This is one of those rare exceptions for Kersti though As you have no doubt noticed by now, Sticker Star’s art style is a dramatic shift away from previous entries in the series, as it finally fully embraces the papercraft look that the series is now known for. The game looks utterly gorgeous on the 3DS’ stereoscopic display and it’s a great showpiece for the S3D tech. Everything has a tangible quality that almost feels real, like you can reach out and touch it. It looks superb, and the papercraft style is also maximised for comedic purposes to great effect. It’s obvious why Nintendo & Intelligent Systems would go on to double-down on the aesthetic for future titles, as it’s an absolute winner. The music on the other hand I feel is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s very jazz, for better and worse. While certain tracks stand out as being exceptional, there isn’t much musical variety; as everything is rendered with a jazz ensemble of trumpets and sax. As such, the soundtrack can start to feel somewhat samey, and even obnoxious in some places. Still, when it hits, it hits hard. Ultimately though, I feel that Color Splash and Origami King do a much better job in this regard; even with the Sticker Star tunes that get rearranged in those later games. Ultimately I like Sticker Star, I feel that it gets an unfair bad-rap from the Francis’ of the internet. But that being said, there is a grain of truth in the complaints surrounding the game. Yes, the puzzles are obtuse and could really do with a better hint system in place, the battle system lacks the variety of stickers and systems really needed to bring out the best in it, and there are some structural issues that hold the game back. But there’s also a lot to like about the game too. I do feel that Color Splash is a far better realisation of the ideas & concepts that Sticker Star brought to the table, as it addresses almost all of the issues I have with this game, but at the very least; Sticker Star is a fascinating look into Nintendo’s history at the turn of the decade, and is perhaps the best example of the threshold between the GCN/GBA/Wii/DS eras and the modern Wii U/3DS/Switch Nintendo that we have today. Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land A beautiful example of colon cancer at its finest, Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land 1: Adrian’s Revenge is the last Super Mario Land game and the first Wario Land game, all at the same time! Oh my! Wario Land is the game that Nintendo R&D1 wanted to make when the Game Boy first came out… well, almost. We’re not quite there just yet, that would eventually come with Wario Land 2, but for now? Well, this game is still a bit of a mutant hybrid of sensibilities. The original Super Mario Land was a game that Nintendo R&D 1 made out of obligation, it was never a passion project for its designers. They had a different vision for a 2D platformer that went against the template laid out by EAD with the Super Mario Bros series; and you can see this develop over time. Follow the lineage from Super Mario Land 1 to 3 and you can see how the Mario Land series gradually warps and morphs into a glorious Wario-shaped mound. Wario Land 2 was the point where Nintendo’s anti-hero really, truly found his footing and had grown into the unique character and puzzle platformer series that we know today. In that sense, Wario Land 3 is still built with some of that same mould as seen in Super Mario Land 2. Not quite there yet, but a weird hybrid of Mario and Wario that isn’t quite one or the other. Hello Not-Thwomp! This is the game that gave Wario his signature butt stomp and shoulder barge moves, his variety of different forms that grant access to specific parts of each level, the stronger focus on more exploratory gameplay and even the changing level layouts depending on what is done in other levels! But the game is still ultimately a linear, action focused platformer with a distinct beginning and end to each stage. Clearly running on a modified Super Mario Land 2 engine, Wario Land is a bit of an awkward middle ground that doesn’t quite know if it wants to be action focused or exploration & puzzle focused. The pacing is… odd; you have moments of speedy platforming, but then you have secret paths that the game wants you to stop and explore… it’s very stop n’ start in that regard. Wario is still a greedy bastard here though, as he should be Ultimately though, the exploration elements feel somewhat half baked, and this is reflected in the reward that you get for completion; which is basically just a different ending screen and that’s it. But this is the element that makes Wario Land stand out from his M-shaped contemporaries, and it’s worth celebrating a somewhat different take on the 2D action platformer, even if it’s somewhat of an awkward start for the Wario Land series. Some of these elements would go on to inspire Yoshi’s Island, including the mix of athletic and exploration focused platforming and that famous butt stomp move; so everything kind of came full circle in the end really. But Wario Land is perhaps more notable for its place in Nintendo history moreso than as a standalone game; that awkward growth period where it isn’t quite Wario but not quite Mario either. In that sense? Perhaps the colon cancer title is actually pretty fitting after all? Kirby & The Forgotten Land Click me to read the N-E Website Review Also click me for further thoughts on the game... warning! Spoilers beyond the jump! Metal Gear: Ghost Babel The first non-canon MGS game since Snake’s Revenge, Metal Gear Ghost Babel (to give it its proper title), is a spinoff entry in the series that was made largely without Kojima’s involvement, but this time with his blessing. Thankfully, Ghost Babel is a far better game than the NES travesties; and is honestly one of the better games available for the GB/GBC. One of the few 3rd party GB/GBC games that are actually worth playing in fact! Ghost Babel is an interesting hybrid of Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (MSX) in terms of gameplay. It returns to the 2D pixel art, fully top-down perspective of the original MSX games, but integrates several new mechanics taken from the PS1 sequel; including wall hugging & punching, sound propagation, crawling and more. This ends up working really well, as the PS1 game didn’t really stray very far from the old school top-down perspective to begin with, meaning that the PS1 game’s unique mechanics end up translating very well to the GBC. What doesn’t work as well however is the inventory system, which jettisons the MSX games’ classic inventory pause screen in favour of emulating the PS1 game’s double-shoulder button item selection mechanic. Quite frankly, this ends up feeling somewhat awkward on the GBC with its mere two action buttons + start & select, and I think that the game would’ve been better off just sticking with the classic inventory screen. A bigger issue however is the utterly puny radar map in the top right corner, which renders Snake and foes as literally but a single pixel; this is hard enough to read on a backlit IPS modded GBA! I can’t even imagine how ridiculously hard it would be to see on an original un-backlit GBC! A Soliton Radar for ants! Outside of these issues, the core gameplay feels perfectly at home on the GBC. Snake feels fun to sneak around with, and the mechanics gel well to create solid sneaky fun. The level design is also (mostly) very good, with interesting wrinkles and set pieces thrown in all throughout its running time. From underground sewers with giant waves of water to avoid, to burning buildings collapsing around you, to cardboard box conveyor belt mazes (oh wait, actually, fuck this part!); there’s no shortage of interesting gameplay ideas being bandied around, even if they’re based on other games in the series. Unfortunately, there are a few stages that suffer from being rather confusing to navigate; and I had to consult an online map to get through a few of them… yes I’m looking at YOU chapter 9 and your cardboard box maze! This game could’ve done with an unlockable map to help you keep track of where you’re going, especially within the interior areas that can look a bit samey. No, really. Screw this maze! The stealth action is surprisingly robust, and the boss battles are a ton of fun! It feels like a good old school Konami game that I’m shocked we didn’t see more of on the platform. And while the story is decidedly non-canon, it’s entertaining in its own right with twists & turns that feel just like a Metal Gear game should… even if those twists end up being somewhat predictable if you’re a series veteran. The visuals and music are also excellent too, top-shelf stuff for the GBC for sure! Really, the only thing that drags the game down is the somewhat convoluted maze-like design of the later chapters that basically mandate the use of an online map to not get yourself lost. Otherwise, it’s probably the best non-Nintendo published game on the GBC. Really goes to show what could’ve been on the GB/GBC had 3rd parties actually gave a shit about the platform… how we never got an original Castlevania, Mega Man or Contra for the GBC? I will never know! Still, Snake’s solo GBC outing is well worth tracking down. Timesplitters 2 Heir apparent to Goldeneye, the magazines of the day proclaimed, and there is certainly an element of truth in that. As I’m sure you’re all aware, Timesplitters (and its subsequent sequels) were made by Free Radical, a development studio formed out of ex-Rare staff who left the company halfway through the development of Perfect Dark; including Goldeneye and Perfect Dark director, David Doak. The original Timesplitters was a launch-title for PS2 in the US and Europe, and it was little more than a glorified tech demo. It had no single player mode to speak of and was purely a multiplayer shooter; more or less bereft of interesting gameplay content. In that regard, the original Timesplitters was just a demo for the real first Timesplitters game, Timesplitters 2. Released just one year after the original, Timesplitters 2 is overflowing with gameplay modes and content, and it’s even fully multiplatform this time! It’s even got a proper single player mode! Cor blimey! Though multiplayer is still perhaps the biggest draw here The dry run of the original Timesplitters meant that the developers at Free Radical could focus purely on developing gameplay content for the real first game; and it shows in the wealth of content at hand. A full 10 story mode stages, with 3 difficulty settings that introduce additional mission objectives (just like in Goldeneye & Perfect Dark), an Arcade Mode that offers up a couple dozen single player challenges to complete, dozens of characters, weapons and multiplayer stages, a map editor and more! However, 12 months is still a really short amount of development time for a game made in this era, and it kinda shows in the final product. The level design throughout Timesplitters 2 is very good. The levels aren’t too large, they’re paced very well, they have just the right amount of alternative paths and dead-ends, the difficulty curve is just about right; it feels like a sequel to Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. This is a very good thing. What’s also impressive is the sheer variety of stages and environments on offer. From the frozen wastes of Siberia, to the seafaring island of the World War 2 level, to the distant space station of 2042, to 1930’s Chicago? There’s a huge variety on offer that makes each level feel distinctive and interesting. You can’t fault the variety of settings on offer here The gunplay is also satisfying, with each stage coming with a lovely variety of weaponry befitting each time period, from laser guns, to tommy guns and flintlock pistols. And each character feels distinctive to play as too, each having differing stats, heights and speeds. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s the lifeblood of Timesplitters 2. Not everything is rosy though, as the game ultimately lacks the polish that its N64 predecessors did. Outside of the cutscenes, which are surprisingly well done, the rest of the game feels a bit janky; with stiff and basic animation that doesn’t match up to Perfect Dark or even Goldeneye. The game also has a few sound and clipping bugs in some places that expose the swift development cycle; while the menus and UI also feel rather workmanship esc, lacking the flair and pizzaz of its N64 forebearers. While Timesplitters 2 doesn’t quite match up to Goldeneye or Perfect Dark, I would still say that it’s probably my 3rd favourite FPS game. That’s no small feat! A relic of a bygone era, where FPS games were allowed to experiment and reach beyond the boundaries of the basic core elements of its genre. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge This game is COWABUNGA! I played this in multiplayer with @Glen-i, @dazzybee and @BowserBasher and we had an absolute blast from start to finish! This is one of those rare beat ‘em ups that has enough variety and depth to keep providing interesting new mechanics all the way throughout, without running out of steam before the end of its running time. The combat system is much more in-depth than in Konami’s original titles, featuring a combo system that is more in-line with games like Devil May Cry, or Streets of Rage 4. While each character shares the same basic set of controls, each one feels distinct with their own sets of special moves; they’re not just stat swaps here! Though come on, why would you choose anyone other than Mikey? Just look at his running animation! It’s amazing! The enemy variety is also impressive; pulling some deep cuts from the original 80’s TMNT cartoon, alongside a good number of mooks that each have distinctive attacks, tells and different methods of dispatch. The animation design is excellent, with each enemy having just the right amount of windup and “tell” before their attacks to grant the player enough of a heads-up to properly read what is happening onscreen. It’s expertly crafted combat design that even the likes of Platinum Games would be proud of. Unfortunately, there is one issue with the combat design of this game… and it’s kind of an issue that stems from the Toitles themselves… The Green Team just look too similar to each other; and when you’re in the midst of a 4 or 6 player game? It’s pretty easy to lose track of yourself in the fray. The Konami titles got around this problem by having an option to give each Turtle a slightly different shade of green… but for whatever reason (I presume modern branding and licensing guidelines are at fault here), they instead make each of the four the same lime green shade. It’s not a game breaker, but it can be annoying when the action gets hectic. Despite that issue however, this is a top-shelf beat ‘em up from top to bottom. If you like fun, and 80’s TMNT (actually, scratch that, I’d recommend it even if you’re not an 80’s TMNT fan), you need to play this game! You know it’s a great game when it has a Hi-5 button Octopath Traveller I have been putting off playing this game for a good few years now. It came out at a time when I was just absolutely burnt out on the RPG genre. I always knew that I wanted to play through it eventually, but the idea of chucking away 100+ hours of my life on yet another RPG? Nah, I just couldn’t stomach it. Fast forward to 2022 however, and I had finally overcome that duck. I was finally ready to tackle another big RPG again; and I had to make it this one. In short? Yeah, it’s one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played; it is quite frankly shocking that it came from modern-day Square Enix of all developers (though the actual programming/art production development work was handled by external developer Acquire; famous for the What Did I Do To Deserve This My Lord!? Series). With generous funding, localisation, QA and publishing duties being handled by Nintendo; the game was produced by a small team of just 6 people from the Enix side of Square Enix (Tomoya Asano, Masashi Takahashi, Masaaki Hayasaka, Kakunoshin Futsuzawa, Shizuka Morimoto and Naoki Ikushima). In many respects, Octopath Traveller was produced much like the Enix titles of old; with a small team within Enix providing overall game design direction, and the actual bulk of the development being handled by an outside studio. This is the game development model that produced titles such as Dragon Quest, Valkyrie Profile, Terranigma and many more. Despite taking clear inspiration from the classic 2D Final Fantasy titles, Octopath Traveller is fundamentally an Enix title; and it shows in every aspect of the final product. I know this game doesn’t have the biggest budget and all… but dude! Frigging OUCH! Octopath Traveller tells eight individual stories, with eight different characters that each come equipped with specific jobs (more on that later)… yeah, the number 8 is gonna be showing up a lot here. Unlike your typical Save The World JRPG, you aren’t a group of chosen heroes out to destroy a big bad and save the universe; no, you’re a bunch of randos who have their own individual stories to tell, and their own individual goals & quests to complete. While some characters hail from noble lineage, most are generally nobodies, who just happen to get roped into adventure. From here, each character has their own individual storyline, separated into distinct chapters that you can dip in and out of at your leisure. Want to follow one character’s story straight to its conclusion? Go right ahead! Want to dip out of one character’s tale and follow someone else for a while? Sure! You can do that! Want to ignore the stories altogether and just focus on the myriad of sidequests available to you? That option is also available to you. The game’s structure is not too dissimilar from the likes of Dragon Quest 7, in that it’s made up of a series of individual vignettes. Each character’s chapter tells a segregated part of each tale that then opens up corresponding sidequests that also tell their own little vignettes unrelated to the main characters. This results in a world that feels very much alive, filled with people who have their own little stories going on around you to tell; and there are more than one hundred of these little sidequest stories scattered throughout the continent of Orsterra! Even these little stories are well written and well told; though optional, they’re generally well worth seeking out, not just for the rewards, but for the lovely little stories that you get to experience too. Each character’s story is well written and interesting, but they are also entirely segregated from each other. Never do the main cast actually come across each other throughout their respective tales, nor do they really interact with each other outside of some optional skit dialogue. This vignette structure is something that is rather divisive amongst online discourse, with just as many bemoaning the lack of connection between the main characters as those who enjoy the individual character stories (well… there’s more to be said on this matter, but that will have to wait until the end of this writeup; you’ll see why later on…). Personally? I love the story and game structure, and I love that each character gets an equal spotlight; it’s so refreshing to play an RPG that doesn’t have one big overarching plot that involves saving the world, instead focusing on smaller character driven tales. Those looking for a Save The World plot can suck it This vignette structure segues into another very important aspect of Octopath Traveller’s gameplay structure… Fundamentally, Octopath Traveller is an open world game. The entire world map is technically open to you from the moment you complete the first chapter of any of the eight characters. If you have the mad skillz, you can see the credits in less than an hour. Of course, the first time you play the game, you’re not going to be doing that, because you will be getting bodied. Hard. Unlike most open world games, Octopath Traveller is lovingly handcrafted with a specific intended difficulty curve in mind. You could technically go to towns & dungeons out of order and get your hands on late game items early on, but the game is still built like a traditional RPG in that you are expected to complete things in a certain order; and later parts of the game build on the knowledge and skills you have gained from earlier on. Though the game allows you to tackle it however you please, there is still an intended structure that isn’t compromised by the freedom offered to the player; a design feat that very very few open world games manage. And this is enabled through level and dungeon design that is fundamentally small-scale and linear, like the best SNES-era RPGs that inspired the game. Though the dungeons are all short (typically 5-10 minutes long), they’re filled with secret paths and hidden chests that will bring to mind the likes of Final Fantasy 4 and 6. I’m sure you’ll figure this one out. Just walk to… VWOOM! Oh no! Fight time! The overworld gameplay doesn’t end there, as each of the eight characters have their own unique out-of-battle skills that allow you to interact with the game’s myriad of NPCs in various ways. Olberic can challenge enemies to a duel, while Thereon can steal items, Primrose can allure NPCs and turn them into battle companions and so on. You will need to use these abilities to complete various sidequests and bolster your performance in battle. It’s a brilliant way of grounding gameplay mechanics into the world and its story, and it only adds even further into how interactive the game feels to play. It can also get horrendously addictive as you attempt that steal on a late-game item that has a mere 3% chance to succeed… Go on… you know you want it… Ok, we need to get into the battle system now, because this is the real star of the show here. Quite simply, it’s amongst the best battle systems I have ever seen in an RPG. It is absolutely SENSATIONAL! The sheer depth on offer is quite frankly, ridiculous, as it offers a mind-boggling range of ways you can absolutely tear this game apart! Coming from the lineage set by Bravely Default & Bravely Second? This shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone familiar to Team Asano’s previous works, but while those games were clear evolutions of the Final Fantasy job system (as seen in Final Fantasies 3 & 5), Octopath Traveller is more of its own thing. The Break & Boost system builds upon the Brave & Default actions as seen in Team Asano’s previous works, but rather than sacrifice turns to take more actions; you instead have a set of BP that defines either how many actions you can take in one turn, or how strong your attacks are. Meanwhile, enemies all come with a shield that must be broken before you can really start wailing the big damage on them, which is done by attacking the enemy with specific magic/weapon weaknesses. Doing so will cause a Break, where the enemy will miss their next turn (potentially two if you’re clever…) and be vulnerable to attack. There’s also a system in place that controls the order of turns, that can also be bent and twisted depending on specific battle actions taken (and you will definitely need to abuse this!). That is the basic core outlined above, but this is also combined with a myriad of sub systems, status effects, and a streamlined Job System that allows characters to equip two jobs at once. Then there are skills and passive skills that can be learnt with JP earned through battles that can be combined with each other to boost stats, create combined effects and generate some outright broken setups that can literally make you invincible against certain bosses! There are skills and abilities that affect the amount of EXP & JP that you earn from battles (This game gave me a gambling problem…), there are ways to infuse characters with certain elements, there are buffs within buffs, there are ways to gain additional turns and rob enemies of their own, there are ways to bypass battles completely; the rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper… The most hype inducing moment in RPG history! But all that gameplay depth wouldn’t mean anything if the game wasn’t built for you to take advantage of it… and I am very pleased to be able to say that this game has the best boss design I have ever seen in a traditional JRPG. Every single boss in the entire game has a unique gameplay gimmick attached to it; and that also includes the optional bosses… there are more than 50 bosses throughout the game! And ALL of them have bespoke gameplay mechanics and gimmicks that task you with plumbing the depths of the battle system to its fullest! It’s absolutely top-shelf gameplay that is second to none within the genre. I cannot sing the praises of the battle system enough, it really is that good. In fact, I would liken the gameplay to Dicey Dungeons with just how much the game can be bent, broken and twisted to do what you want it to do. Chances are that if you have a crazy strategy in mind, it will probably work! And this is not a game that you can power through by grinding. You HAVE to learn the ins and outs of the intricacies of the battle system in order to succeed; as blind brute force will deal you a swift and merciless game over… even at level 99, as I’m sure that @Glen-i will attest to… No. You must become a master strategist in the way that very few RPGs truly demand from you. As for the art and music? Well, they really speak for themselves… The art style was so striking and influential that Square-Enix literally set up an entire development division for Team Asano to make HD-2D an entire pillar of their company; even other developers are scrambling to get in on the signature look as defined by Octopath Traveller. So I’m just going to leave this little section here to gush over how utterly drop dead gorgeous this game looks… But the soundtrack is every bit as impressive as the visuals, perhaps even moreso. In fact, I think it may well be the best soundtrack I have ever heard composed for an RPG, period. It really is that good! I would kill for a Theatrhythm: Octopath Traveller; it’s outright criminal that the only Theatrhythm game to have any music from Octopath Traveller is the arcade-only Theatrhythm: All Star Carnival (I’ve played it! It’s at Freeplay City in London! It’s a ton of fun, go there and play it!). Square-Enix? We need a home port with more Octopath music, stat! I’ll just leave a couple of tracks here… (Conveniently, the two tracks that also appear in All Star Carnival ) Almost 100 hours later, I am confident in saying that Octopath is one of the finest RPGs ever made. It’s something that I thought could never be made in the modern HD era, but it really does stand up against the likes of Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and the great 16-bit RPGs of the genre’s golden age. It’s not perfect though, in particular there’s one major flaw that I need to highlight that pertains to the game’s story and end-game… spoilers of course! And it’s a real shame, because doing what is said in that spoiler actually addresses most people’s main concern with the game’s overall story… All that effort is totally worth it though, as it leads to one of the best boss fights I’ve ever experienced in an RPG… Overall? This is an incredible RPG, and it doesn’t rely on its story, art or music as a crutch. For all the hubbub about its iconic art style and its luscious soundtrack? It is the excellent gameplay that really makes this game. Octopath Traveller may be inspired by 16-bit glory day RPGs, but it is absolutely not bound by them. It is not beholden to nostalgia, instead it uses what worked with those games to build something entirely new and unique. It is a perfect blend of new and old that deserves to stand toe to toe with the very best of the genre’s golden age. This game is a miracle, in every respect of the word. It should not be possible for a game like this to exist in the modern era, and yet it does. Cherish it. And with that?
  18. 7 points
    All done! I had an absolute blast playing through this again and Hero mode actually got easier as the game went on. Once you have your Blue Tunic and lots of hearts. the game isn't that difficult. Collecting all the Maiamai really helped as well. Having powered up items at your disposal meant you could sit back and take enemies out from a distance. The Flame Rod was stupidly good at doing this. Some of the dungeons were so much fun to play through. The Dark Palace was a fav of mine. Having to navigate through the dark, lighting torches, putting them out to see the highlighted paths, burning down the boards to let the light in. Good stuff. My least favourite dungeon was probably the Ice Ruins. There was a lot of up and down going on in that place and it can get a little confusing as to which path way you need to take. Also, there's ice on the floor which means you are skidding when you walk. It's amazing what Nintendo done with this. It has a fantastic sense of freedom but also has the structure that was established in A Link To The Past. The way the story is still being told, despite the order in what players do the dungeons in, is exactly how this kind of setup should work. I think they achieved the perfect balance with this game and i'm sad they are probably done with this kinda of Zelda style now. It seems like it was a one and done deal. It's certainly a strange but fun inclusion. It took me a while to get to grips with it and work out how best to achieve the score I needed but once I figured it out it was pretty simple.
  19. 7 points
    After seeing the sales numbers for Metroid Dread, I decided to have another crack at playing the game. I bought it on release day but never got that far into it. I think I put about 3-4 hours into it before I dropped it. The game just wasn't doing anything for me, nothing was clicking and I came off it very disappointed. I fired the game back up on Tuesday, deleted my old save ( no way I would remember were I was or what I was doing ) and started a new save file. It is done. I'll talk about the negatives first. This is a none issue but I think it's worth a mention. As much as I love amiibo integration in Nintendo games, I feel what goes on in this game with the Dread amiibo is a bit of a scam, especially when scanning Samus. As you can see from my picture above, I have all of the health upgrades and the display looks as it should. If you don't scan the amiibo there is a very noticeable missing energy tank piece missing. I feel that if Nintendo wanted to do this then the other Metroid amiibo should have also given you the extra energy tank. As it stands, if you want a full health bar then you needed to buy the new amiibo. I'm never a big fan of when 2D games don't allow you to use the d-pad and it was the same here. I managed just fine but I always prefer to use the d-pad or a control stick when it comes to platforming in games. I'm sure a control scheme could have been sorted out to accommodate d-pad movement. Other than these minor issues I really enjoyed the game. Clearly I wasn't in the right frame of mind when I first played the game and it's once again another example of not giving up on a game if things don't click straight away. One of the best things about the game was the boss fights. I loved the challenge they offered and most of them took a few runs to get their movements and patterns down. It was a very old school approach and one that I really appreciated. There was a great sense of satisfaction when you go from struggling with attack patterns and getting killed constantly, to dodging like a pro and taking very little damage. The last boss was definitely the hardest but certainly the most satisfying to defeat. I ended up with around 40% of the items collected when I reached the final boss and was worried about having to go back and collect everything. I figured it would be a massive pain in the backside to do so but this wasn't the case at all. Having all the elevators connected, as well as having all gear and weapons at my disposal, meant that it was quite a speedy affair. I was able to zip around areas in no time at all and everything was mopped up in a couple of hours. I'm still not sure how I feel about the the shinespark puzzles. I liked the puzzle element of them. Trying to figure out the best way to pick up speed and unleash a super jump was pretty cool but pulling them off was another matter entirely. This is where the controls caused issues for me, especially in handheld mode. When doing these puzzles I pretty much had to switch to TV mode so that I could use the Pro Controller because I found using the joy-cons very fiddly when trying to pull off all of the actions. I quite enjoyed the story in the game. I was kept pretty minimal but also gave enough for the players intrigued as to what was going on. Coming off the chatter fest that is Tales of Arise I found it very refreshing. I took a few shots of the gorgeous artwork from the start and end of the game, as well as a few nice pics at various points in the game. So, yeah, really fun experience and i'm glad everything clicked with me this time. I'm still not sure where I would place it in terms of my favourite Metroid games. I think I still rate Other M, Zero Mission and Fusion as more enjoyable games but it's certainly better than any of the Prime games.
  20. 7 points
    Miyamoto hacked the NoA Twitter account just to confirm the delay of Illumination's Mario movie: As a wise Shigeru Miyamoto once said, and I quote:
  21. 7 points
    Had a good run recently with adding to my retro gaming collection, all off Facebook Marketplace Picked a Gameboy Micro up for £30 just before Christmas https://imgur.com/BuP0WeA Picked up Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze on the Wii U for £5 a few weeks back along with the Super Mario Maker box and book that I was missing for £2 Last week I saw a post on Facebook marketplace with no photo just saying Sega,& Nintendo consoles for sale. I messaged asking what he had and he sent me some photos, next day after agreeing on some prices I bought all this for £140. Nobody had messaged him apart from me. Unbelievable luck to get this deal. and then this, a master system 2 with 21 master system games. Twenty One games. All for £140.... Crazy. I don't think I'll get a deal this good ever again.
  22. 6 points
    Bloody hell! These LCD games are like little tumours that just keep popping up after you squash them!
  23. 6 points
  24. 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:
  25. 6 points
    Had a good first Christmas with Ollie. We hosted and I made food for Louise's family, it was good.
  26. 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.
  27. 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!
  28. 6 points
    Perhaps all of you won't remember or know me, but it's so good to see this website and forum still going strong. I helped Tim when he started this site around 20+ years ago known as Cube-Europe before N-Europe. We made some great content and perhaps were ahead of our time in the video content we tried to get on the internet years before YouTube. Anyways, it's great to see people still having great comms and threads here! Hope everyone is well! Keep on Gaming! Cheers er-no
  29. 6 points
    Clickbait title I know but somewhat accurate. Just stumbled upon this tweet and its one of many that shows behind the scenes games are just smoke and mirrors stuck together but often it is done in really interesting ways so I thought it would be fun to share some.
  30. 6 points
    This post is two years and three summers in the making. Sea creatures complete: 16/07/2021 Fish complete: 21/07/2021 Insects complete: 29/08/2022 At long, long last that's saw one, netted one, donated one on the cicada shell. I harbour zero aspirations of getting three to send off for a model. Not happening. Blathers was nowhere near as stoked about the cicada shell donation as I expected. Turns out that even though all insects have now been caught, that section of the museum is still not full. For some reason, there's a pair of bugs I neglected to donate... which are thankfully doing the rounds again now/in September--stick insect and one of the butterflies.
  31. 6 points
    Interesting choice to watch the movie on mute....that's the only way what you just said makes sense 😭
  32. 6 points
  33. 6 points
    Fancy some nostalgia? Well the SNES Manual Archive is now complete allowing you to look through all the English manuals until your heart's content. https://sites.google.com/view/snesmanuals
  34. 6 points
    Steam Deck I've spent a day with the Steam Deck so far and am really loving it. Being able to start what feels like a new system with all my games ready, just in a new form factor is great. This really feels like it's revitalised my interest in PC gaming, especially with automatic cloud saves letting me bounce between my desktop PC and the Deck. As someone who likes to tinker as well, things like per game profiles where I can set the refresh rate of the device or how much power it needs to draw is great for maximising battery life, especially when switching between indie titles and AAA games. I'm currently spending a lot of my time with it playing Spiritfarer, a game I tried on gamepass but dropped off almost immediately. Loving it now.
  35. 6 points
  36. 6 points
    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Glen's Disappointed Sigh
  37. 6 points
    With the game soon to be released on the Switch, I decided it was time to finally play the game. I've had the PS4 version sat on the shelf for ages now and figured now was a good time to start it. After playing it on and off for a week or so... Firstly, this game is absolutely gorgeous. The art style used in the game made for some amazing looking scenes throughout the game. Take a look. With the game being a type of visual novel, I was curious whether not I would like it. I'm not a fan of the genre but with the praise the game got I figured it deserved a chance. I'm glad I did because the game is a gem. Anyone who does decide to plays this is in for a wild ride and this will be you before the game ends... The game has you take control of 13 different protagonists. Each of them plays a vital role in the story, with crossovers happening between a few of them during their storylines. I was a little concerned about if it would be possible to keep track of 13 different stories but it works surprisingly well. You kind of have free reign in how you tackle the story. You can pick who you want and can either play their story until you reach a road block or chop and change between characters and get a bit of story from them all. The road blocks I mentioned are raised to encourage the player to try other stories. A development in a story may call for the player to experience another side of it before they can move on. This happens a fair few times in the game and again it works very well. There are plot twists and turns in abundance in the game but not of these feel forced or cheap. There is a lot of ground work done in the lead up to certain events and as such these plot developments feel earned. It's a very satisfying feel seeing something that occurred earlier in the story or in different character's scenario having a big payoff. Just like a good book or TV show, a lot of these twists and turns happen at the end of a chapter and I felt the need to continue my playthrough just to see what would happen. With there being 13 characters to play as I figured there would be a few rubbish characters thrown into the mix and were there to just make up the numbers. That wasn't the case at all and I found each of their stories compelling. I did have a preference for some over others but all of them had enjoyable stories. Also, each of the characters seemed quite unique from one another. Yuki Takamiya is very strong willed and feisty, Takatoshi Hijiyama is a man confused about how he feels, Nenji Ogata is a school hard case that would fit in the Yakuza series... the list goes on. I decided to play the game in Japanese and with subs. I'm very keen on playing games in English if a Japanese option is available, especially if the setting is in Japan. The writing is spot on through the game and it really brought each of the characters to life. Some of it is flat out hilarious and I was surprised to even see some of it in the game. For example, there's a point where some of the characters are looking for the school nurse and one of them can't think who she is. One of the female characters is very blunt and says " You know? She's the one with the big knockers." Hilarious. There's another side to the game and that's the tower defense gameplay. There are 30 missions to complete and these can be done in between the story segments. You can pick when to play these but, like the story segments, you will need to tackle these at some point due to the road blocks. It's a fairly simple premise. You pick 6 of your characters to defend your base. Each of them pilot a mech called a Sentinel and it's up to you to use your various weapons and skills to either defeat the approaching enemy forces or hold out until the time is over. My go to strategy was to upgrade sentry turrets and deploy them all over the place. It's a tactic that worked stupidly well and carried me through most of these encounters. However, you can't use the same characters over and over again. Once they've been used in two battles they need a cooldown period. With each character having a different loadout, it means sometimes you do have to change things up a bit, even if it's just for a single fight. I could go on and on about the story but i don't want to spoil anything because that where the main appeal of the game is. I've tried to keep things about the story as vague as possible as to not spoil it but I will say for those who are thinking about picking it up for the Switch, you are in for a treat. It's probably more suited to that platform as well due to the portable nature of console. You could lie in bed and play/read a few chapters before bed. It's an adventure that will take around 30 hours to complete and you are in for a Hell of a ride.
  38. 5 points
    Looks okay, in that "it's on streaming so it's 'free'" kind of way. And also this:
  39. 5 points
  40. 5 points
    Picked this up on PS5 last night and have sunk some time into it since. I love it. But I love every Sonic game, so take what I say with a pinch of salt. 😋. I'm not blinkered, though. I know when a game is bad but this game is just... Experimental. There appears to be a hell of a lot going on to begin with, but as you get to grips with the game, the actual key tasks are fairly straight forward. You are thrust into a new world and the map is blank. As you do things within the world, tasks like hit switches in order or destroy a group of bots, the map fills out and new tasks appear for you to navigate to. Each world has the 7 Chaos Emeralds and you need to collect them to assist you with that world's boss. In addition, each world contains a 'trapped' beloved Sonic hero who you have to help by collecting their specific memory tokens dotted around the world. There are huge, like HUGE, mini bosses within the world's which you can battle, and beating them gives you an item you often need to activate a shrine which will allow you to then play a sonic 'level'. These are a mix of 2d or 3d levels and they're much closer to what we've seen from Sonic games before this one. All in all, the variety is jam packed and some stuff works, and some stuff is a frustrating mess. But I haven't been able to stop playing it. Sonic doesn't control well, at all. I think this is the worst he's 'felt' in a main game in years. It's particularly evident in the 2d levels. The lack of travel when moving left or right after being thrown into the air via a spring is horrible. It feels like he's moving through tar. You can level up Sonics speed, same with his defense and attack powers, but it's odd that he feels this slow. I definitely think that needs work. From previews, I didn't like the look of the open world style game play at all. But it's won me round. There's so much to do, and a lot to collect to progress the story, so it's good that they've filled the map with interesting and experimental game play elements to stop you being bored. Speaking of the story... It's a bit of a mess. It makes little sense (so far) but may become clear nearing the end. Can't wait to spend more time into it.
  41. 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.
  42. 5 points
    This arrived yesterday evening. Chris Scullion is at it again with another fantastic book. Just like his Mega Drive, NES and SNES books, this also shows you every game that was released on the console. It also has a look at the history of the N64, as well as a section that covers all the Japanese exclusive games which includes the 64DD and its software. Well worth picking up.
  43. 5 points
    More than I wanted to pay. £151 total but atleast i have it now.
  44. 5 points
    2022, which is the fucking third horrible year in a row, is now halfway complete. With all the shit that's going in the world, it's time to celebrate our biggest hobby: console wars video games. Wooohoooo. So tell us. How were the first 6 months for you gaming-wise? How many games have you played? Favourites? GOTY contender (or winner already)? I've been keeping track of games this year as I have done last year. However, I have dropped the "games abandoned/finished" category as I don't really care about that anymore. If a game is so bad that it makes me drop it, it's not even worth mentioning in any statistic Which is why I'm only going with platforms, backlog? yes,no,maybe,I don't know, can you repeat the question? and total score. So far, I've played 40 games this year on 8 different platforms: No surprise, Sony devices dominate. There's nothing interesting coming from Nintendo and MS for me, so there's the explanation. I've decided to separate the games I've bought and the games I've gotten through PS+ to see how the sub impacts my gaming habits. I've played the Halo series via GamePass, but since I've only subbed to that service for 2 months to do just that, I've decided to put them into the "No" group. Pretty happy with the 40/60 distribution. The last 3 games I've played came from PS+ Massive Dingus Edition. Pretty sure it'll be a big part of my gaming environment for the remainder of the year. Other than that: So far, 4 games have gotten 10/10 points. The best is of course: Elden Ring. It'll most likely win GOTY for me. Unless the next GoW will be released in 2022 and is as good as the first (and if I buy/finish it this year). Surprise hit: Vampire Survivors. Disappointment: Sekiro (runner up: Tales of Arise). Worst game: Halo 2, thanks to the most game crashes I've ever experienced. Now it's your turn
  45. 5 points
    Reading @darksnowman play through this again gave me the itch, so I took this with me when I went on holiday last week for somethin to play in the evening. Link's Awakening on the GameBoy was my first venture into the world of Zelda it was my favourite then and it is still my favourite Zelda game (sorry BotW). I had already played though this twice when I first got it, the second time going for the no death route. I love what they did in updating the graphics and the style they went with. It really does feel dream like. Whilst the island is a lot smaller than probably every other Zelda game it still gives of a vibe that it has a decent size to it. Whilst it does have a little non linear to it,, the game does push you in the direction you need to go. Dungeons need to be done in order and as always rocks and holes block your path until you have the right items. But it never takes away from how great the gameplay is and how much I love it. The first dungeon is easy and may seem too easy, but it is the first one after all, and by the time you get to the 7th you are wanting them to be like that. That one gave me issues when I first played it and it did again. I knew the general way round and that I had to get that ball to the right rooms, but it still had me running around in circles a few times until I sorted it. As with the last two times the final boos gave me no issues, I had beaten that so many times on the GB that I pretty much have it down to a tee, but it's still a joy to play and satisfying to jump those arms and hit the eye with an arrow. I'll no doubt be back to play again one day.
  46. 5 points
    I'm dodging around this thread a little as someone that hasn't played Link's Awakening before, but when someone posts music, I can't help but listen, at least a little bit, and it's always interesting without context. It's a track I've had pop up once or twice on YouTube and Spotify autoplay by accident, so it's not necessarily completely new to me I guess? So, to give an alternative take on this music as someone that hasn't played the game before and has no idea what it's tied to in the game, I think it's a great track because I feel like it implies a lot about what is happening/has happened. It's immediately foreboding, and at 0:25 you get this back and forth of the strings which clearly state Dies irae, a Latin sequence which has been used in orchestral music dating back centuries, and is incredibly popular even today in modern scores across cinema and gaming (if you're wondering how it fits, just say the phrase as the strings go back and forth and you'll notice it's in sync with the track, and once you realise what it is you'll start hearing it everywhere). Dies irae roughly translates to "the day of Wrath" or "day of Judgment", and it's a bit of a musical cheat to imply impending doom or reckoning, so coupled with the foreboding nature of the piece at the start, I think it's really safe to say that some sort of reckoning is happening. Is this reckoning internal or external? I have no idea, but the whining and strain of the strings makes me think it's some sort of internal reckoning (I mean, to hazard a guess, relating to whatever Link's titular "awakening" is), as external reckoning, at least musically, tends to be a bit more directly oppressive than I feel this piece is. That it's stated consecutively just adds to this overbearing feeling of something unchangeable, if that makes sense – like whatever type of impending doom is at hand, it's not something which can be taken back, like some sort of permanent change or a realisation which recontextualises things. Further, at 0:50 I feel like the feeling of pain and melancholy in the track is really doubled down on as you get what I can only imagine is a sample or recreation of the original GB game's music (which is awesome), and with Dies irae playing out under and over this, it further strengthens the back and forth of the phrase. No idea how close that mini analysis is, but if it's anywhere near, I think that's another clear indicator of how good a track it is. If not it still sounds great all the same I really need to get around to Link's Awakening, don't I?
  47. 5 points
    Sequel is in the works but it sounds like a bit of a mess. https://www.fanbyte.com/news/the-wild-story-behind-nintendos-unannounced-1-2-switch-sequel/
  48. 5 points
    I know I'm gonna get flack for this, but I don't care. I absolutely HATE the design of the original fat model PS2... Fucking YUCK! There's an interesting story behind the system's design though that you might not know though... As it turns out, the PS2's physical shell was not actually designed by Sony... but by Atari! Yes! The PS2's iconic design was actually the shell from a cancelled Atari console called the Atari Falcon, originally due to release in 1993... This piece of hardware was ultimately shelved in favour of the Atari Jaguar, but somewhere along the way, Atari sold the rights to the console's chassis to Sony; and Sony used it almost unchanged for the original model PS2! The Atari Falcon is even referenced directly in the PS2's original patents! The resemblence is obvious and intentional So there you have it. A console so unfathomly ugly that not even Atari wanted it! I own a lot of gaming hardware and tat, but the original fat model PS2 is the only console I can think of where I actively feel dirty touching the thing! (Thankfully the PS2 slim is a much nicer looking machine; though it's still pretty unpleasant to use; especially on a HDTV). Of course, if we want to get into special edition consoles... oh boy! I can think of some fucking ghastly examples... especially from the Xbox camp...
  49. 5 points
    Nintendo's earnings report for Q4 FY 2022 covering the period of 1st January 2022 - 31st March 2022 has dropped, and it's my favourite time of the fiscal year (is that a thing?), as it's the end of the fiscal year and the annual report! The Big Takeaways 4.11 million hardware units sold for this quarter between the Switch, Switch Lite, and the Switch OLED, bringing the total number of Switch consoles sold to 23.06 million units for the fiscal year (1st April 2021 - 31st March 2022), and bringing the total lifetime sales of the Switch to 107.65 million. It is the second year in a row that the Switch has surpassed 20 million hardware units sold for a fiscal year (achieving 28.83 million units sold in the fiscal year ending 31st March 2021), and marks the second-highest sell-through within a fiscal year for the Switch. This all means that the console just about surpassed the twice reduced sales projections for the year, which at the end of last quarter was put down as being 23 million units sold by Nintendo. Nintendo are projecting console sales of 21 million units over the next fiscal year due to end 31st March 2023, which if achieved, would bring the Switch's lifetime sales to 128 million hardware units, and if it does so, it will be tracking to likely surpass both the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 by the end of the fiscal year ending 31st March 2025. However, to achieve this, it needs to overcome an obstacle it has come across multiple times over the last two years, which is the components shortage; don't be surprised if we hear this initial projection get lowered once or twice over the next twelve months. Total software sales for the year are 235.06 million units sold, bringing the total to 822.18 million software units sold in the Switch's lifetime, a growth from last year's 230.9 million units sold in the FY ending 31st March 2021. As of this date there are now a total of 39 titles which are million-sellers, 26 of these being from Nintendo, and 13 others by third party publishers. Nothing has changed in terms of the Switch's position in comparison to the best-selling consoles of all-time: it is still fifth, and within the next fiscal year should successfully chase down the PS4 (117.2 million units sold as of today's fiscal year report from Sony) and Game Boy/Game Boy Colour (118.69 million units sold) to take third. Kirby and the Forgotten Land enjoyed shipping 2.65 million units this quarter, with a sell-through of 2.10 million units, a solid debut considering that it released less than a week before the end of the fiscal year on 25th March. Somewhat surprisingly, Pokémon Legends: Arceus does not instantly leap onto the Top 10 best-selling Switch titles, having sold a still stupidly impressive 12.64 million units since its release on 28th January, which is a feat Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl managed to do within its debut quarter (13.97 million units in roughly six weeks in Q3, now standing at a total of 14.65 million units sold, vs the approx. eights weeks of Legends: Arceus between its debut and end of the quarter). This can probably be explained by Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl debuting in the holiday quarter, however. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl are now the best-selling Pokémon remakes to date, having just edged out the Let's Go titles this past quarter. As expected at the end of last quarter, Metroid Dread has now clinched the title of best-selling Metroid game with 2.90 million units sold (the previous best-selling was Metroid Prime at 2.84 million units sold). Top 10 Best-selling Switch titles as of 31st March 2022 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 45.33 million Animal Crossing: New Horizons - 38.64 million Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 28.17 million The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 26.55 million Pokémon Sword/Pokémon Shield - 24.27 million Super Mario Odyssey - 23.50 million Super Mario Party - 17.78 million Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Pokémon Shining Pearl - 14.65 million Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu!/Pokémon Let's Go Eevee! - 14.53 million Ring Fit Adventure - 14.09 million
  50. 5 points
    This was under a fiver in a recent Switch eShop sale. The price to MB required value was too good for me to pass up. The visuals, the atmosphere, the music (the music!) and the character movement... unsurprising for me to report that it's all fantastic as Axiom Verge has been highly acclaimed for years. And that's the character movement from the word go. The weight and speed of the running and jumping clicked with me in a big way, then after some upgrades, you're zipping all over the screen. Could do with going back into it for a victory lap to see what else there is to uncover. Snippets of story are as appealing to dig up as powerups. Seeing that map in the post above, I kind of want to get my mitts on something like that to sit down and go through with a fine-tooth comb and learn as much as I can about what was created here. Very intriguing. The glitching, the code, the unexpectedly unconventional boss encounters... a lot of thought went into this game. And the post-credits scene. What's that all about! Not sure if I finished it early or not? It's highly doubtful I pulled off any sequence breaks but it was an utter fluke that I came across the final area and boss. Actually thought I was setting off on a mid-game jaunt with my latest upgrades when I came across it. Didn't even dawn on me I was that close to the end until it happened; if at some point I was told to collect however many doodahs then head there, it completely passed me by. Or maybe the game is so masterfully designed that I was funnelled through as intended. Better than ending up lost and frustrated, that much's for certain. It says I racked up less than 40 deaths which seems untrue. I was dying all over the shop. Save points were so frequent it seemed right to be gungho. Probably the wee bot hogged all the deaths as I sent it out a brave bit. Only things I can think it could have done with are warping between save rooms (could be something I didn't unlock?) and the option to have a map marker for where to go next for noobs. Took me in the region 10-15 hours which could have been cut down if I knew what was up, and no doubt seasoned Metroidvania-ers ripped through it in less than half that time. Good job the running and shooting was fun in itself or I likely would've quit long before the end. But never mind that. My trials and tribulations with this genre are well enough documented. Suffice it to say that Axiom Verge is up there as one of my favourites along with the non-linear Castlevania games. Might get the sequel sometime if it's heavily discounted too.