Nier: Automata – A Leg Up On Its Predecessor (Review)

nier automata carnival

Note: Spoilers ARE present. I played a total of 40 hours, finishing the game three times and experiencing the three main endings of the game (including the two big choices that are made at the very end of the third playthrough). I also completed about 90% of the game’s sidequests, and plan to finish the rest of them soon.

 

Before I start this review, I should note that I have not played the entirety of the first Nier game. I own the PlayStation 3 copy of the game, and have booted it up once, but decided to watch my favorite group of people on YouTube play through the game instead. Why did I do this? I believe it was during a deluge of other game releases that had me preoccupied, and it saddens me that I didn’t play through the first Nier myself. However, after watching the entirety of the first game (yes, multiple endings and all!) I believe I have a good grasp of the story and gameplay. Because of this, I felt prepared to give game director Yoko Taro’s latest installment in the Nier franchise Nier: Automata a shot, especially after hearing the positive press that the game has received.

Nier Automata enemy and 2b

From my understanding, the gameplay systems present in Drakengard and Nier are not usually the reason people are so fond of these niche titles. Instead, it is the beautiful and unique stories told that capture fans’ hearts and keep them wanting to play.

 

When it was announced that the world-renowned Japanese game developers at Platinum Games would be creating a new Nier title with Yoko Taro at the helm, many fans of the first game, myself included, were enthralled. The brilliant storytelling from Yoko Taro’s pen and paper, brought to life with the advanced game systems that Platinum is known for, could combine to create a truly remarkable new entry. Thankfully, these expectations have been met, and dare I say it, surpassed. Nier: Automata is a beautiful game with likeable characters, an unforgettable story, and an engrossing gameplay hook that fans of the action genre have come to expect.

 

The plug-in chip system used to tailor the player’s gameplay style, both in combat and out of combat, is satisfying and flexible. Players collect a variety of skills, called electronic chips, that can be applied to their character to enhance a multitude of abilities. A custom chip set can be crafted, or the game can be told to create a balanced chip set – regardless, the system is well thought out and a fun place to craft your own unique playstyle. Whether you specialize in mid-air combos, ranged attacks, or hacking your opponents, there are a decent variety of choices for the player to take down enemies that keep things from getting stale.

nier automata reverse cover

Do I need to say anything about the game’s soundtrack? It’s phenomenal. I’m listening to it as I write this review, and will probably be listening to it six months from now, as I did with the first Nier game. If nothing else, the soundtrack needs to be heard and appreciated even by those who do not plan to play Nier: Automata. There are a few remixed tracks that crop up in the sequel from the first game, and they are interwoven in a smooth way that I appreciated.

nier automata trees

Actually, I do have one more thing to say about the soundtrack. There is a fair amount of the hacking minigame present in Nier: Automata, and it is almost exclusively present in the game’s second playthrough. Players will probably notice that any background music perfectly transitions into a chip-tune sound when the change from combat to hacking minigame occurs. Every time this musical transition happened, I was impressed. The way this is implemented at any point of gameplay is satisfying, but the way this transition occurs within the game’s final moments during the credits sequence is absolutely amazing. Some of Nier: Automata’s vocal tracks are sung in both English and Japanese, and feature a bit-tune version of these songs as well. The end credits sequence had my jaw hung open when there were transitions between not just the bit-tune and vocal versions of the same song, but also the multiple languages being sung. For example, a few lines of a track were sung in English, and then a few lines would be sung in the Japanese track, all in a seamless transition. To say it is breathtaking would be an understatement. This game has one of my favorite soundtracks not just for games, but to anything. The game features truly marvelous music that should not be missed.

nier automata 2b and 9s

 

Oh, and on that credits sequence – it’s one of my favorites in any game. Wonderful way to wrap up the story and feature an intense battle before the final cutscene.

 

To be completely honest, I’m rather intimidated to write about the story that is present in Nier: Automata. Similar to its predecessor, the story is engaging, complex, and features multiple likeable characters that have plenty of screentime. I am afraid that I cannot give the multiple narratives at play enough credit where the credit is due. With this in mind, I will do my best to provide a short write-up of my favorite bits of the story. Perhaps my favorite moments in the game’s story are the real-world questions that the game asks. What is the meaning of our existence? Do we have desires worth fighting for, and are those goals ultimately worth the sacrifices we make? These questions are addressed by the main characters as well as side quest characters that bring the world in Nier: Automata to life. Both friendly and hostile machines show a startling level of humanity that I did not at first expect from the game’s characters, and the fact that this is accomplished with zero humans present in the story is a remarkable feat in my eyes. For a better look at the themes that I most appreciated in this game’s story, I think George from SuperBunnyHop can provide a more detailed explanation. I’ll link his Nier: Automata video right here.

Nier automata cavalry

Now, I’ve done enough gushing about all of the game’s good. Although I think Nier: Automata is a simply astounding game that should not be missed, I think a lack of intricate combos like those present in other Platinum games like Bayonetta is a missed opportunity. The combat is more than serviceable, but I found it to be on the more simple side. As a big fan of seeing vast button combinations that can be executed in battle, I could see a list of unique combo attacks being a positive addition to the game. Something akin to Bayonetta or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s combo system would add a great deal to the game’s already satisfactory battle system.

Another criticism I can provide is the over-reliance on fetch quests in the game’s side quests. Although most of the side quests provide an interesting narrative to accompany them, some of the quests feel to rest a bit too much on collecting a certain resource for an NPC, or going off to slay the machines they ask you to kill. These issues are not as big a problem as they would be in other games, thanks to Nier: Automata’s satisfying movement, but they are still worth noting.

nier automata emil

To wrap this review up, I think that if you own a PS4, and have either played Nier or are okay with doing research in that game’s story to better understand Nier: Automata’s universe, you owe it to yourself to play this game. Yoko Taro and the wonderful folks at Platinum have crafted an experience that I will not forget anytime soon, featuring extremely engaging characters, a gripping storyline, and some of the best music in today’s modern world. Yes, I just said that. True, it is a bold claim, but I believe that Nier and Nier: Automata’s soundtracks offer music that rivals the best of the best, both within and outside of video games.

 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you greatly for reading my review of Nier: Automata. I had a good deal of fun writing this review, with the game’s soundtrack accompanying my writing. If you’re interested in seeing my other work, feel free to follow me on Twitter or here on WordPress. Have a great Memorial Day, all.

 

  • Matt

THOUGHTS ON: ARMS ‘Test Punch’

 

Arms global testpunchI just finished playing my second suite of matches in ARMS, Nintendo’s brand new fighting game that is slated to release for the Switch next month on June 16th. I wrote a previous blog post here stating why I was excited to play ARMS, and after battling a myriad of foes during the game’s ‘Test Punch’ as Nintendo has called it (essentially a free, online-only demo of the game’s mechanics) I can confirm that my excitement was well justified, and I’ll tell you why.

 

The ‘Test Punch’ that Nintendo has released for ARMS began yesterday in multiple time zones across the globe, and I patiently waited to play the game at 8PM EST last night. Hey, I didn’t have any plans on Friday night, I figured why not give the latest Nintendo game a shot? I have a Switch, after all. Don’t make fun of me!

 

Anyway, to say that I performed poorly during my first few matches of ARMS would be selling it short. In a word, I was dreadful when I began playing. I started my playtime using the two separated joy-con controllers to try out the game’s oft-advertised motion control scheme that critics have been praising, and initially found it to be disappointing. The motion controls felt somewhat precise, sure, but my lack of full understanding in the game’s mechanics meant that I lost way more games than I won. I also felt somewhat tired by the end of my session (to clarify – I later realized I swung my punches way too hard and more forceful than necessary) and this diminished my enjoyment with the game. During this first session, I did not think of giving the Switch Pro controller a go, considering the game’s marketing has so far centered solely on using the motion controls within the joy-con controllers.

arms fight

Earlier today, I corrected that mistake. I started up my second session with ARMS by utilizing the Switch Pro controller, and I found myself landing hits and throwing out grabs at my opponents more easily than before. The controller mapping took some getting used to, despite the game’s surprisingly low amount of required button presses. Seriously, if you’re playing ARMS using a standard Pro controller, the game doesn’t require all of the controller’s buttons to play; certain attacks and combos are mapped to multiple buttons on the controller.

mechanica

The game’s complexity is not at first noticeable. There are a wide variety of weapons (or arms) to choose from, but within the Test Punch, each of the seven fighters only has access to three. This gives you a good idea of the different playstyles that each fighter can utilize, and what their abilities and body types have on offer. For example, the heavier characters Master Mummy and Mechanica can take multiple hits without flinching but are slow, while smaller characters like Ninjara and Ribbon Girl can nimbly dash around the battlefield but take bigger hits of damage from attacks. The level of variety with just the seven fighters on offer made each match I played feel different each time, and forced me to think of a strategy to effectively take out the opponent. I found myself gravitating toward Mechanica, with her large health bar and jump-jets appealing to me. 

 

The Test Punch offers a few different game modes. 1v1, 2v2, 1v1v1, and volleyball are the game modes present. They are all pretty self-explanatory, but as expected, I found the 1v1 battles the most enjoyable. The 1v1v1 battles are a pain in the butt, because the game does not tell you how to cycle between opponents during targeting. When playing with the upright separated joy-con controllers, opponents can be cycled through by clicking the ABXY buttons on the right joy-con, or the directional buttons on the left joy-con. This made the three-player as well as four-player battles much easier to manage amidst the flurry of punches being thrown across the battlefield.

Min min

Despite this oversight of not explaining how to cycle through targets, the game does a decent job of explaining its mechanics to new players. It took me two different play sessions, but I eventually found myself zipping through the air and across the ground, capable of performing the correct punches and grabs that I wished to do.

 

ARMS is a very unique fighting game with a great premise. If this first Test Punch is a sign of the game’s online multiplayer quality, I am satisfied with the result. I experienced zero perceivable lag throughout my playtime, and suffered no disconnects. There were a few opponents of mine that dropped from the match, and it cannot be said if they were forcefully disconnected or left of their own will, but my own online experience worked flawlessly. I hope (and expect) in the final release of the game that we will be able to tailor our online gameplay experience in the ways that we enjoy most, instead of being forced to play all of the Test Punches available modes, despite how fun they can sometimes be. This first free experience of ARMS leaves me wanting more, and I think I’ll be there for day one of the game’s release.

arms logo

Did you have the chance to play the Test Punch? Have any thoughts after playing ARMS, or are you waiting until the game’s full release to play? Or, do you have little interest in the game? Feel free to let me know in the comments, and thank you for reading. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

 

  • Matt

Nintendo Has Officially Sold Me On “ARMS”

Hey folks, Matt here. I watched the Arms-focused Nintendo direct from the other day, and I wanted to share a few thoughts here.

Arms direct

When Arms was first revealed back in January for the Switch, I was intrigued but not immediately sold on the concept. The character designs were solid, the stages looked fun, and the mechanic of swinging multiple variants of arms forward to strike down your opponent seemed satisfying, but I still did not feel much anticipation to learn more about the title.

 

Fast-forward to May 17th, when Nintendo revealed more fighters, stages, the game’s business model moving forward, and types of arms to choose from in battle, and my excitement level for the game’s release has skyrocketed.

 

First up, Nintendo is planning free content packs to come to Arms shortly after the game’s launch, similarly to what they did with Splatoon back on the Wii U. As long as there’s a steady trickle of content coming to players, I am a big fan of this plan for the game’s future. I thought it worked wonderfully for Splatoon, as it kept me invested in the game for months after the game’s launch, and I imagine it will work similarly well for Arms as well as Splatoon 2, which should also be taking advantage of a steady stream of free content. Any free additions and improvements to a video game’s online community is often welcome because it keeps the online community of that game intact, and thus improves the game’s online longevity. I am very happy to see Nintendo is embracing this ideology with more of their games moving forward. Now release some more tracks in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! (I don’t see this realistically happening, but you never know, especially with Nintendo).

master mummy

I think the thing that impresses me the most about Arms are the fighters that make up the game’s roster. You’ve got your standard boxer in shorts and a t-shirt, as well as a ninja that can disappear in a cloud of smoke, and a… Mummy? That hops around the battlefield and hurls purple spike balls at you? And to top it all off, his name is Master Mummy. Huh, I suppose the fighters in this game are pretty different from other fighting game characters, in a good way. Every character appears to offer a unique approach to combat, with some of them focusing on dodging quickly on the ground or in mid-air, and others favoring a full-on assault with their increased power armor and heavily damaging attacks. However, if you ask me, none of these fighters compare to two of the three characters that were revealed in yesterday’s Nintendo direct.

 

 

I’m talking, of course, about Twintelle, as well as Byte and Barq.

Twintelle

Twintelle is the internet’s latest craze, offering some… Interesting variety in the game’s visual department. She’s got curves that rival Bayonetta’s and her hair holds boxing gloves used to smash other fighters’ faces in. Oh yeah, and in that promotional shot, she’s sipping tea while floating in mid-air. If that’s not bad ass, I don’t know what is. If you do a quick Google search of Twintelle, you will find a number of fan art pieces that capture all of the reasons why people enjoy Twintelle’s design in Arms.

 

All sexy fighter jokes aside, I think Twintelle looks like a fun addition to the roster with a unique take on her ‘arms’ that are used to dish out combos. I’m looking forward to playing as her in the final game, and possibly in the free demo for Arms that is set to be playable in over a week’s time. Check out Nintendo’s Twitter account for the date and times to play it!

 

I also really dig the design and character philosophy behind the game’s other unique addition, Byte and Barq. This robot police officer and his dog act as the game’s duo fighters, similar in some respect to Ferra and Torr from Mortal Kombat X. While the player controls Byte and dishes out hits toward their opponent, Barq is able to move around the battlefield and distract the opponent with his own attacks. This is just my own guess, but I think that the way this is balanced is by Byte’s attack power being lower than other fighters’ to account for his robotic little buddy. I could be wrong, but we’ll be able to confirm or deny this guess when the game releases in June! I’m a sucker for dogs in video games, and well, dogs in general, so Byte and Barq immediately piqued my interest.

byte and barq

I think if Nintendo keeps this momentum going and shows off some of the things that will come to the game post-launch, Arms will be poised to be the Switch’s next big hit game, similar to how Splatoon was a big win for the Wii U. Although I was hesitant on the motion controls at first, all hands-on reactions from players testing out the game have confirmed that throwing out attacks and dodging in Arms is an accurate and quite satisfying experience, which couldn’t make me happier. Let’s hope it all leads to a major success when the game releases in June.

 

Be sure to look at Nintendo’s Twitter account for the date and time on when you can try out Arms for yourself on your own Nintendo Switch! I’m certainly looking forward to it. Oh, and before I forget: LISTEN TO THIS SONG.  It is so damn good. I imagine this will be the game’s main theme, and it makes me extremely hyped to play the final release of Arms

Arms global testpunch

Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend. 

  • Matt

Oh, by the way, I don’t know if anyone will see this, but if you have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and would like to have some races/battles online this weekend, feel free to let me know! I’ll share my friend code here.

Why Do I Keep Returning to Titanfall 2?

Titanfall 2 released on October 28th, 2016 for the PS4, Xbox One, and Origin on PC.

On the day that I am writing this, it is the 15th of May 2017, and I still find myself picking up the game every few days in between playing Persona 5 and Nier Automata.

Why is this? What does Titanfall 2 do so well that keeps me coming back for more online multiplayer action? I’d like to answer this question with a few reasons as to why I find Respawn Entertainment’s latest game so enticing.

titanfall-2

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the game is extremely satisfying to play. Running at a buttery smooth 60 frames-per-second on all platforms compliments the fast reflexes required for the constant jumping and shooting you’ll be doing as a Pilot. Pulling off just the right angle for a well-timed grappling hook shot can mean the difference between life or death as you propel yourself through the sky, shooting down baddies and dodging their returning fire. Or better yet, use your grappling hook to pull an enemy pilot to your position and kick them in the noggin, sending the enemy flying. The combination of fast aerial movement, double-jumping, and utilizing your grappling hook makes for many memorable moments as you fling yourself through the sky. The grappling hook isn’t the only effective Pilot ability in your arsenal, but it has grown to become my favorite of the bunch. The high-speed thrills of running fast with a stim ability usage is another favorite pilot skill of mine, as it allows for incredibly-large jumps through the air to gain the advantage on your enemy. There have been so many moments – no, too many moments to count – that have had my jaw hang open with the awesome action that was happening both around me, and because of my actions. Your actions on the battlefield as a Pilot offer an adrenaline rush like no other online shooter. 

lego-titanfall

Secondly, future map packs for Titanfall 2 are completely free of charge. This is a somewhat recent trend among games with large online communities, and it is one that I welcome with open arms. It ensures the player base is unfragmented by paid DLC barring entry for players unwilling to pay extra money for maps, thus improving the longevity of a game’s online community. It’s unfortunate that another EA game from last year did not follow this trend (Battlefield 1) but I am very happy to see that Titanfall 2 has taken a more consumer-friendly approach.

 

Thirdly, it is extremely fast and easy to hop into an online match and begin playing. Depending on the game mode, online matches can be completed anywhere from 8-12 minutes, offering many opportunities to feel like a badass as a Pilot. This is in stark contrast to the other EA title that I mentioned earlier, Battlefield 1. While I have enjoyed the online matches of BF1 that I have played, the initial load time for the game’s first battle can be a bit on the lengthy end. I found myself sitting on the futon for a solid two minutes before the game finally finished loading. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case every time I have played the game, but it definitely makes me second guess booting the game up (for context, I’m playing on a PS4 Pro. I’m not sure how the load times compare on other platforms).

 

Lastly, I know this is commonly part of the praise that the game receives when it is brought up, but I have enjoyed Titanfall 2’s single-player campaign enough to have finished it three times. It is not a very long campaign, but it encourages replayability via the multiple routes that can be taken in most levels to take down the enemy. I also found the writing and set-pieces to be solid and engaging enough to want to experience them multiple times.

tf2 ye

There’s multiple reasons why Titanfall 2 was my game of the year 2016, but this short piece summarized some of the biggest reasons why I keep returning to play this game into the next year. As long as Respawn continues to provide support for their incredible game, I can see myself playing Titanfall 2 for even more months to come.

Now excuse me, but it’s time for me to hop back into the pilot seat at least once more.

Thanks for reading!

  • Matt

 

Persona 5 – I’ve Played 70 Hours, Here’s My Impressions So Far (No Spoilers)

  • Just for reference: I am currently about 70 hours through the main game, and am halfway through the sixth palace.

Man, I’ve been waiting for this game for quite some time. This year marked the release of a ton of fantastic games, but Persona 5 is a title that has been on my most-anticipated list for years. Remember the initial release window that Atlus announced?

P5 initial release date

My, how time has flied by.

Waiting for this game was not quite so painful for me as it was for other fans, because my only other Persona experience is in Persona 4 Golden released for the PlayStation Vita. It is a fantastic game, and left me wanting to see more from the series. Since the announcement of Persona 5, I have been avoiding any and all online coverage of the game beyond the intro cinematic trailer that debuted what feels like years ago.

After sinking 100+ hours into P4G, I knew what I was getting into when I started up P5. The crazy premise for the protagonist to begin his wacky adventure, the enjoyable and fun cast of characters, the stylish menus – and man, are those menus stylish as hell – are all present in this latest entry. Even though the core formula is the same – level up your protagonist through battles, build your relationship with friends you meet along the way, and fuse collected personas – it does not feel at all repetitive, thanks to the simply astounding menu design that takes place. From the battle selection all the way to managing inventory items, pressing the directional buttons to navigate your way through boxes never before felt so satisfying.

P5 wallpaper

Characters and enemies all have a satisfying pop to them that helps their appearance stand out and give weight to each battle, and every action performed is straightforward and quick. The loading times outside of the initial game load are extremely short, and I have yet to run into any bugs or glitches, as expected. This game is polished to a fine sheen, and it shows very quickly upon starting up.

The plot device for the game’s narrative to progress forward is both captivating and very different from the quiet introduction of Persona 4’s story; as someone who thought that the pace of P4’s beginning was a bit sluggish, seeing P5 start out strong is an exciting change. Having played P4G before this game, working with the persona fusions is easier to understand and still a lot of fun. I can definitely understand where confusion for newcomers may lie, and it is good to see that the game does an even better job of explaining persona fusions this time around.

P5 steelbook cover

I wish I could say that I have been taking my time with this game, but that is not entirely the case. Upon Persona 5’s western release on April 4th, 2017, I dumped a disgusting amount of time playing the game within the first week. Since then, I have taken a step back and done other activities to step my life forward, but I’m still steadily trucking through this (so far) fantastic new entry in the Persona series.

“This is a really amazing time for video games.” I’ve heard that phrase uttered a few times during different podcasts I listen to over the past few weeks, and it could not be any more true. There’s truly something for everybody; and if you like Japanese games, this is a dream come true. I still have to make time to play (and save up money) for Nier: Automata, Resident Evil 7, Gravity Rush 2, Yakuza Zero, and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. I’ll be posting here in the near future about my thoughts on other games that I’ll be playing, but if you want to let me know your thoughts on what you’ve been playing, I’d love to hear it. Or, if you want to give me your thoughts on my writing, that is also appreciated. I always look for new ways to improve.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week.

  • Matt

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Review

Note: Played on Nintendo Switch.

*No spoilers, besides the mention of enemy types!*

As of April 2nd, I have invested over 105 hours into the latest Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. To say that I simply enjoyed my time exploring Hyrule would be an understatement; I found myself immersed in the game world, unable to stop playing for hours at a time. I’ll do my best in this review to describe what I most enjoyed about the game, and also which elements I found to be disappointing during my journey.

playtime

Breath of the Wild encourages exploration and creativity like no other open-world game has before. All of your essential tools and tricks are unlocked near the beginning of the game, after completing just a few short puzzles, and I found this to be a refreshing change of pace from the usual Zelda formula. Keep in mind, I have played a good majority of the games in the Zelda series, so the tried-and-true formula of past adventures has begun to wear thin on me. The changes to the formula that Breath of the Wild provides are much welcome, and while the same sense of progression from collecting unique tools is gone, the feeling of growth from upgrading your life capacity or stamina gauge replaces it in a satisfactory way.

dog

Every player going through the new Zelda is sure to have an opinion on whether they are in favor of the weapon durability system. For me, I think the weapon durability system falls a bit short, and the reasons for its inclusion are lackluster. Many people cite its presence as a way for players to use all of the different weapon types given to them, and while it is a fact that players will constantly need to be utilizing different weapons because of their low durability, I do not think this is a fun method of encouraging variety. I should want to utilize different weapons because of the situation at hand, and the unique properties of that weapon; not because the game has told me that my time with a particular weapon has run out. This becomes less of a problem as the player’s inventory slots for holding weaponry grow larger, because running into a shortage of swords and axes is not as likely, but reaching that point is a slow burn. I believe the durability of weapons should have been tweaked to allow for more hits per weapon before breaking, because as it stands, before battles begin I am often forced to wonder which weapon to use that I least care for so that my better arsenal stays intact.

breath-of-the-wild-weapons1

Enemy variety is also something that I felt lacking in Breath of the Wild. Nearly every enemy type you fight is a bipedal creature wielding a weapon that can be utilized by the player. This is a purposeful design choice, so that the player is given a wide variety of weapons to choose from when they defeat foes standing in their way, and don’t run out of something to use as a weapon. However, I found the lack of previous games’ enemies such as poes, re-deads, tektites, and wallmasters to be disappointing. This is only an issue that sprung up deep in the game, when I had already completed the main story and finished a good majority of the shrine and side quests, so I had seen every enemy type. The inclusion of mini-bosses in the form of Hinox, stone Talus, or Molduga is a very welcome addition, and I wish there were even more types of these mini-bosses peppered around the game world. Perhaps being able to actually defeat the three dragons that fly around Hyrule would remedy this, but I digress.

yep

Speaking of fighting enemies, the combat in Breath of the Wild is the best among the entire series. Performing last-second dodges to trigger bullet time slashing is extremely satisfying, as is parrying a monster’s attack to open them up for more attacks. Fighting guardians is among the most exciting aspects of combat in this game, especially while on horseback, thanks to the game’s very smart inclusion of slow-motion arrow firing while mid-air. This allows players to line up precise shots when falling, while still feeling like a master archer. Whether you’re figuring out the weakness of each enemy and exploiting it to overcome large groups, taking out enemies stealthily one by one, or sneaking past an enemy encampment altogether, every combat engagement is satisfying and feels natural (besides my complaints with the weapon durability). Speaking of natural, I won’t touch on this for long, but interactions with NPC’s in the game world are done extremely well. There are many likable characters that provide interesting dialogue and side quests for the player to explore, and the inclusion of animals roaming the open world make Hyrule feel like a lived-in place. Major props on that front.

C6LOeuNU0AAySds

To wrap this up, I’d like to mention the story that Zelda presents. The decision to tell the game’s story largely via flashbacks is an exciting venture that I think pays off. Each of the cutscenes is interesting and well-paced, and while I do think the voice acting is hit-or-miss in some places, it gets the job done well enough. The final encounter fills a satisfying conclusion to the adventure, even if it did not provide much surprise. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with Nintendo’s newest Zelda release, and eagerly await to hear more about the franchise’s future. I know I’ll be waiting day one to replay this entire game on the upcoming hard difficulty.

Zelda BOTW wallpaper 8

 

Thanks for reading!

  • Matt 

    Oh, I almost forgot. I’m finishing up Horizon: Zero Dawn this week, and will probably be writing my impressions of that game in the near future, when I’m not busy with Persona 5 (releasing tomorrow)! Man, it’s an exciting time to be playing video games. Have a great week, everyone.

Most Anticipated Upcoming Releases – Spring 2017

Hey folks, we are a little less than one week away from the launch of Nintendo Switch! I feel like this past month has flown by, and that is probably for the best – I can barely contain how excited I am to play around with the new system. Zelda has gotten high praise across the board, and now we’re getting confirmation that an additional two Switch games will be there at launch – both Snipperclips and Fast RMX! I played a fair chunk of Fast Racing Neo on the Wii U, Shin’en Multimedia’s previous racing game that featured high speed racing similar to F-Zero or Wipeout, and Fast RMX looks to be more of what I enjoyed. Snipperclips appears to be a great co-op title that is easy to pick up and play, even for people with little knowledge of modern video games; I may purchase a copy down the road if my family or friends show interest. Unfortunately, Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth Plus has been delayed until March 17th, but with Zelda in my hands, I can wait. As a long-time fan of the Isaac series, it’ll be great to get the full dungeon-crawling experience anywhere on-the-go. 

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However, the Switch is not the only future gaming event on my radar. The much-anticipated PS4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn is finally releasing in three days from now, and I have been waiting a long time for this one. Ever since the (leaked?) piece of artwork showcasing hunters from an indigenous tribe conducting battle against a giant mechanical beast, I have been heavily anticipating what Guerrilla Games could handle with their newest title. Although some people did not enjoy the Killzone series, I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Killzone 2 as well as Killzone Shadow Fall. I was hooked onto both of these games for quite a while, because both of them arrived at the perfect time. When I picked up my PS3 in 2009, Killzone 2 was released to lots of praise, and I very much enjoyed my time with that game. Killzone 3, unfortunately, did not hold my attention quite as much, but was still a solid experience. Then, when I picked up a PS4 on the system’s launch in November 2013, I also got Killzone Shadow Fall along with it and felt a similar spark of excitement playing it as I felt a few years prior playing Killzone 2. All of that said, I am entirely supportive of Guerrilla’s decision to distance themselves from the Killzone series and move on to other projects, such as Horizon, because new intellectual property is always a good thing for the industry. New unique environments, characters, and storylines are welcome to me over a sequel, and Guerrilla deserves to go crazy with it, as they seem to have done with Horizon. It is a very risky venture, creating a new IP instead of settling into a routine of sequels for an already well-established series, and I hope it pays off for them, because Horizon: Zero Dawn looks (and sounds) phenomenal.

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↑ This is the leaked art I mentioned earlier. Please excuse the numerous watermarks! ↑

Beyond the Switch, Zelda, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and the other Switch launch games that I previously mentioned, the rest of Spring through early Summer looks very promising. Nier: Automata is a game that I never thought would be possible, and yet it is almost upon us. The latest collaboration between the insanely talented team at Platinum Games with the inventive mind of Yoko Taro is a match made in heaven, one that nobody was expecting. Based on my time with Automata’s free demo on PS4, I can tell it is going to be a wild ride (seriously, if you enjoy fast-paced action titles, give this one a look!)

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April is going to bring us Persona 5, and… Well, I don’t think much else needs to be said about that game. It looks nothing short of amazing. I’ve been on media blackout for the title since the first gameplay trailer debuted a while back, and I have confidence that it will be worth the wait.

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I’m going on a short vacation in late March, but I’d like to write a piece about my thoughts on vocals in video games before my departure. If I can find time between playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fast RMX, and Horizon: Zero Dawn to write, then I will publish that piece! This is a problem, why are so many great games releasing in this short time span? I still have interest in playing Nioh, Resident Evil 7, Gravity Rush 2, and Yakuza 0. Unfortunately, they will have to wait until another day.

That’s all from me, for now. Talk to you all soon, hope you enjoy your time with the exciting new releases. Thanks for reading!

  • Matt