Category Archives: Preview

E3 2017 Impressions – Super Mario Odyssey

mario odyssey

Happy week of E3, everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying the new game announcements and demo reels. It’s easy to be cynical about today’s video games, especially during E3 week (arguably) the industry’s biggest event each year, but I still find the multiple days of press conferences and game reveals to be exciting every time. I thought it’d be fun to take a moment to write here about a few of the games that impressed me the most so far from E3 2017, starting with the latest adventure from Nintendo’s biggest mascot.

mario hat buddy

 

  • SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY

 

Yeah, I don’t think anyone is surprised to see this game listed here among my most anticipated. I’ve been a Mario fan for most of my life, and the plumber’s latest adventure looks better every time I see it. The latest trailer showed off the game’s “capture” mechanic, where Mario tosses his cap (see what they did there?) at an enemy to temporarily take control of them. If the goomba mask in Super Mario 3D World was a sign of things to come, then fully controlling goombas in Super Mario Odyssey is the next great step in Mario’s bid for complete control of the mushroom kingdom.

goomba mario

The possibilities to gameplay that the capture feature offers has me even more excited to play the game, especially now that it’s confirmed that Mario can take control of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. If that isn’t a solid way to sell a game, then I don’t know what is. Filling out a list of enemies, objects, and NPC’s that Mario can control in the final game should be a fun diversion from the expected platforming challenges.  

Mario Dinosaur

In an unexpected move, Nintendo appears to have removed the “lives” system that has been present in every 3D Mario platformer up until this point. From what I could gather watching the E3 gameplay demonstration, the coins collected during Mario’s adventure are tallied up across levels and spent on customization items. When the player dies, they lose a set number of coins as a result. The number of lives that Mario had in his 3D platforming games always felt like a redundant feature, so it is good to see Nintendo finally putting coins toward a better use.

 

It appears that Super Mario Odyssey is pretty much feature-complete at this point. When the confirmed release date for October 27, 2017 popped up during Nintendo’s stream, I was not surprised but still very pleased. It follows Nintendo’s previous claims of the game releasing by holiday 2017, and while things can always change at the last minute, I have little doubt that the game will make it to store shelves on time. I’ll be there day one for Mario’s next big adventure! I cannot wait to explore new worlds, stomp on new enemies, and selfishly take over animals in Mario’s desperate bid for Peach’s hand in marriage. Man, the premise gets weirder every time I think about it. And now there are evil bunnies? Sure, why not.

mario odyssey rabbits.jpg

The tune that played during the E3 trailer is amazing and deserves every bit of attention. I’ve listened to this at least five times now, it’s extremely light-hearted and uplifting. Give it a listen! Also, the woman that is singing that song is totally Pauline from the original Donkey Kong, as hinted by the mentions to Mayor Pauline in the E3 gameplay coverage. It’s been literal decades since we’ve seen her in a Mario game, aside from some referential nods as a collectible trophy in Super Smash Bros. titles. I’m excited to see how Mayor Pauline will contribute to Odyssey’s story, if she does at all. The spotlight will most likely be placed squarely on Bowser and Princess Peach, as it always has, but I hope we see a cameo from Donkey Kong and Pauline, as neither have shown up in any previous single-player 3D Mario adventure. 

bowser and peach wedding

That’s all I’ve got for now. Feel free to share what your favorite E3 2017 games are, or how I could improve my writing. I’m always looking to improve. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading!

 

  • 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.

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. 

zelda-wolf

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.

hzd-pic-leak

↑ 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!)

nier-automata-enemy-and-2b

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.

p5-wallpaper

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

Can’t Stop Thinking About Nintendo Switch!

Hey folks, Matt here. I had the sudden urge to write about a few places that have written solid coverage of the Nintendo Switch and its launch day, which is rapidly approaching! We are 32 days until launch, March 3rd, and I am very excited to get my hands on the system. I’ve been reading system impressions, thoughts on the new control inputs, and have watched a few of the new game trailers numerous times; most notably Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s newest trailer, which I’ve probably seen at least 7 times by now. The music is so good!

Zelda BOTW wallpaper 6.png

Anyway, I wanted to give a shout-out to a couple of sources that have provided me with ample information to satiate my hunger for Switch knowledge. First up is a NeoGaf user who attended PAX this year, and was able to get a thorough hands-on of the system and its upcoming games. I’ll link his blog post right here, it’s a great read and there’s a few pictures provided to break up each paragraph.

One of my most anticipated titles of this year is Splatoon 2, and as a big fan of the first game, the sequel looks to expand upon everything I enjoyed about the original Splatoon. Being able to see your teammate’s loadouts at the top of the screen during matches is a nice touch, and all of the new special weapons and maps that they’ve shown off look very fun. Also, the ability to change weapons mid-match is a long overdue but welcome addition. With this in mind, this post from a different NeoGaf user with extensive information on Splatoon 2 has got me thinking about the exciting possibilities that the game holds. I’ll link the post right here.

splatoon-2-dualies

Lastly, I’d like to mention a YouTube channel that has recently got me hooked. The channel, known as Spawn Wave, has posted some interesting videos about the Switch, as well as other gaming news, and it’s helped the wait for March 3rd feel a bit less painful. Definitely give this channel a shot if you’re interested in some casual discussion about recent Switch news!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. Hope you’re all having a great weekend, and an even better time waiting for Switch goodness.

Thanks for reading!

  • Matt

About Me, Nintendo Switch, and What I’ve Been Playing

Hey folks, Matt here. I realize I’ve been absent from here a little while now – that appears to be becoming the norm! Hopefully that won’t be the case this time. However, I wanted to elaborate on why I tend to disappear from time to time. In a bit of a selfish way, it’ll also be a cathartic experience for myself writing about my past and present.

 

I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. I’ve visited multiple therapists, each one providing a growing experience for me as I’ve found it easier to talk about my personal thoughts and feelings. I think a lot of people underestimate how difficult it can be for others to open up about their personal issues – it isn’t always a simple thing to do, because people are complex. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in our minds; some of it is triggered by external events or difficulties in life, and other times, people just feel upset or stressed out for seemingly no reason (myself included). These are difficult things to deal with, but therapy and prescribed medication has brought me a long way since I first started seeing my most recent therapist.

 

My lowest point was a few years back, with what feels like a lifetime ago. In 2014, I lost nearly every friend that I had made during my time spent away from home at university. I had worked hard to maintain friendships that I thought would last for years to come because of how strong they felt, but it all came crashing down in the early months of 2014. Without going into detail, to put it simply, I felt I had been betrayed by the people I spent many days laughing and confiding personal thoughts with. I began failing my courses, consumed with an overwhelming feeling of dread and sadness in the state I found myself in. Where I once felt I belonged in a community of people who accepted me, I felt isolated from nearly everyone I had come to know.

 

There were a couple of people who stuck with me, despite my low point, and I won’t soon forget what they did to help me. I wish I could again express my appreciation to them for their support during my rough point. If you’re reading this, I hope you know who you are!

 

A quarter of the way through the Spring semester, I decided to drop out of university, because I did not want my grades to suffer. My family was very supportive of this decision, and I have lived at home since then, slowly gaining a stronger feeling of confidence and working hard at giving myself a better mindset. I have accepted that the people I once knew will most likely not show up in my life again, and embraced it. Making new friends is challenging, but I know there are assuredly people out there that are willing to get to know me, as I would for them. It’s all about finding the people you can connect with, and sticking with ‘em.

 

Anyway, to wrap this up, I still deal with anxiety and depression, but I have significantly improved since my days away at school. I’ve held a couple of stressful jobs that have built character, dealt with loss and betrayal, and grown in more ways than I expected. All I hope is that the coming days will provide even more growing experiences with plenty of opportunity around each corner.

So! Moving that personal stuff to the side… I watched the Nintendo Switch presentation last night. It started at 11PM EST for me, as I live in the tri-state area.

switch-dog

Some quick thoughts: Overall, I feel a bit disappointed. The Switch still looks to be a compelling piece of hardware, with some solid hit games on the horizon (Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 are some of my biggest anticipated Nintendo titles) but I’m concerned about the lack of compelling launch software. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild almost makes up for other compelling games at the system’s release, and I’m very surprised and pleased by the March 3rd release date, but I was hoping we would see Mario Kart 8: Deluxe show up alongside Zelda, or possibly Arms make its debut sooner than Summer of 2017. Despite this, I still feel somewhat tempted to grab a system Day One, and thankfully I was able to secure a system pre-order at my local Best Buy earlier today. I don’t yet know if I’ll go through with the final purchase, but we’ll see how I feel leading up to launch.

 

The price of new joy-con and the pro controller is disappointing, and the news that Nintendo will begin charging for online multiplayer is something that I was most afraid to hear. I fear that Splatoon 2’s online community will suffer because of the forced paywall to access the online portion, but only time will tell if people are willing to cough up more money to play online.

 

Thankfully, other Nintendo games like Mario and Zelda don’t appear to require online multiplayer capabilities to be enjoyable, so they won’t rely heavily on the online connectivity as much as Splatoon 2 most likely will, from early indication.

 

So, to summarize:

 

Pros:
– Cool future software (Mario, Splatoon 2, Arms)

– Earlier release date than I expected

– Zelda hitting Day One

– $300 price point is about what I expected

 

Cons:

– Eventual online multiplayer paywall

– Lack of compelling software beyond Mario, Splatoon 2, and Arms (where is Pikmin, Metroid, Retro Studios’ new game, or other new IP?)

– High price of additional peripherals ($70 for a pro controller $80 for a new set of joy-con sounds a bit absurd)

 

Overall, it was an okay presentation, not as great as I was hoping. At least we have a city in Super Mario Odyssey named New Donk City. I enjoy the silly names that Nintendo gives their in-game locations and characters.

 

Bye for now! I hope to post again this weekend.

 

Oh, almost forgot to mention. I’ve been playing a lot of Final Fantasy 15. The music is super good. Fun game so far, I’m on chapter 11, and look to finish it very soon. I’d like to write a review upon finishing it.

Oh yeah, and I continue to be engrossed by Titanfall 2’s multiplayer portion. I’m up to my eighth regeneration. Help. All right, bye now, for real!

lego-titanfall

  • Matt

Avoiding Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Spoilers

Reviews have come in for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, legendary game-maker Hideo Kojima’s final outing in the Metal Gear franchise, and reception to the newest entry in the Metal Gear saga has been extremely positive. Across the board, journalists have praised the level of depth the game offers, citing the many varied gameplay options as wonderful selling points. Although Metal Gear has always had an emphasis on stealth-based gameplay, MGSV allows many different playstyles while tackling the next crazy mission on offer.

MGSV boat shot

Of course, the internet is still directing hate toward the game’s publisher Konami in light of their recent behavior (and rightfully so!) but that’s not what I’ll be writing about today. I’d like to talk about how to avoid spoilers for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain leading up to the game’s release on September 1st.

So! Here’s a few tips on how to avoid spoilers in the lead-up to MGSV’s release.

  1. If you’re on Twitch, disable Twitch chat. I love reading some of the comments on Twitch chat, they can be very entertaining – but there are bound to be at least a few users hoping to spoil the story of upcoming titles for other people, and that’s no fun.
  2. Try to avoid YouTube comments. I mean, I usually try to do this most of the time regardless, but follow this advice NOW MORE THAN EVER. I know, this is a recurring joke, but that’s mostly because it is completely true – most YouTube users post terrible comments. Don’t let the accidental reading of one comment ruin MGSV’s story for you.
  1. Watch the launch trailer for the game at your own risk! I personally have not watched the launch trailer, in fear that it will reveal major plot points that I have not yet been exposed to. Of course, having not seen the trailer myself, I cannot prove that it provides any plot spoilers to speak of, but regardless, I’ll be playing it safe by avoiding watching the trailer until I finish the main story of The Phantom Pain, as silly as it may sound.
  2. Only read reviews for the game that have confirmed a lack of spoilers! For this, I’d highly recommend checking out Game Informer’s review of The Phantom Pain. Great write-up, and avoids any and all spoilers about the game’s story.

    Diamond Dogs

And there we have it! These points might seem like common sense to some of you, but I thought I’d provide a write-up on how best to avoid spoilers for upcoming media, in particular Metal Gear Solid V. I’ve probably said it before, but I am looking extremely forward to getting my hands on this new title. I have a lot of love for the Metal Gear series, and so I’ll most likely write a review for the title within the coming weeks as I binge-play the new game!

Thanks for reading! I hope you all enjoy the final chapter in Big Boss’ story come September 1st, and have an awesome week!

CQC hug

Maybe we’ll get another CQC hug! Who knows!?

Anticipated Games of February 2015

Anticipated Games of February 2015

    A new year is upon us! If all goes according to schedule, the delayed games from last year will arrive on store shelves and digital format this year. 2014 had many titles originally planned for release that year put on hold, opting to instead release in 2015 after more polish was applied to make the final product even better than it originally may have been. Many people view delayed games as a negative thing, but I see it as a necessary step. If the developers of a game do not feel like their product is up to their standards, I respect their decision to work on a title for longer to make that game the best experience it can be. Maybe our industry can soon learn not to establish official release dates for games until they know when the final product will be finished!

Anyway, let’s move on. Here are my top anticipated titles for next month, February of 2015.

Evolve

Evolve – February 10th
    Evolve comes to us from Turtle Rock Studios, creators of Valve’s popular zombie-shooting series Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. I am a big fan of the Left 4 Dead series, devoting countless hours blasting away at zombies in cooperative modes with friends. A standard game of Evolve has four players cooperatively exploring multiple environments to hunt down a fifth player controlling a large monster exclusive to that area. The four hunters must hunt down the monster, while the fifth player controlling that monster either has to kill each of the hunters within a set period of time, or complete a set of objectives within each match. The gameplay and monsters found in Evolve already impress me, and the four versus one nature of the game is something that I look forward to diving into.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse – February 13th
    Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is the sequel to 2005’s Nintendo DS Kirby title, Kirby Canvas Curse. Rather than follow the traditional Kirby formula of enabling copy-abilities for Kirby’s consumption, this game focuses on players using the  Wii U game pad to draw lines to direct ball-form Kirby through each stage. Because he cannot be moved manually using the control stick, lines drawn on the touch screen are used to navigate Kirby through a variety of areas. If this new game offers the high level of collectibles, large number of stages, and engaging music as Kirby Canvas Curse did, then count me all in for this entry.

The Order 1886

The Order: 1886 – February 20th
    This title is one of the biggest make-it-or-break-it games that I have seen in a while. Many elements of the game that we have seen so far have been positive, with solid gunplay, action-packed scenes, and beautiful areas to explore. Despite this, I am still rather apprehensive about The Order. The letterboxing format of the screen is something that I feel is not necessary to the game, and may actually hinder the player’s enjoyment of the title. After watching a play-through of last year’s survival horror game The Evil Within, which also featured letterboxing, I noticed that the gameplay suffered due to this decision. Pick-ups found on the ground were difficult to spot, and defending oneself became more difficult due to the limited screen space. I hope that The Order is a title that can use the letterboxing without watering down the game’s enjoyment factor, but we will find out once it releases next month. All of that said, I’m still looking forward to the game! The premise is interesting, and each character appears to have a ton of depth that I hope will be explored within the narrative. Also: Killer mustaches.

RE Revelations

Resident Evil Revelations: Episodes 1 and 2 – February 17th and 24th, respectively
I was actually not aware of this until rather recently, but Revelations is being split up into an episodic format that will be released at certain dates throughout the first half of 2015. The first and second episodes will be coming to us in the second half of February, while the rest of the game will show up soon in the months to come. I’m looking forward to this title because while I did not have the chance to play through the entirety of the first Revelations game, I enjoyed what I saw. The game seemed to employ more of the horror aspect of early Resident Evil games, rather than relying on over-the-top action sequences like those found in Resident Evil 6. I hope this signals a return to survival horror with an emphasis on the genre horror.

Well, these are the games that I am most looking forward to in February. Let me know which games you’re interested in for next month! Thanks for reading.