Tag Archives: Nintendo

REVIEW: Splatoon 2

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Well, this review took me a lot longer to write than I expected. After completing the single-player portion of Splatoon 2 and leveling up my character past level ten, I was hoping to write my review soon after… But it took me longer than I expected to finish the single-player sections in this game. I ended up spending way more time on turf war and ranked matches, as these game modes are where Splatoon 2 shines, and they are very fun. As of this review, I’m level 23, with a decent number of hours logged in both the competitive game modes as well as salmon run, Splatoon 2’s brand new player versus A.I. game mode. With that said, I’ll now share my thoughts on the overall package that is contained in Splatoon 2. Enjoy!

splatoon 2 weapons

Splatoon 2 is a wonderful game to play, featuring enough maps and weapons to keep players hooked for months to come. The core gameplay loop is the same as it was in the first game; players control ‘inklings’ that utilize a vast array of weaponry to cover the map in their team’s ink. This involves inklings shooting at the floors as well as each other in order to prevent the enemy team from inking the map with their own color, but the focus is still firmly placed on covering the map with your own ink. It may just be me, but the maps in Splatoon 2 feel smaller than those found in the first game. This causes firefights to break out more frequently and matches to end closer than before. It’s a change that I wasn’t expecting, but is welcome. In addition to this, most of the weaponry available in the first game is now available in the sequel. This is in stark contrast to the launch of Splatoon 1, where only a few weapons were available from the start, new blasters and brushes becoming available in the months following the game’s release. This gives Splatoon 2 stronger legs to stand up as a complete package, as opposed to the lack of launch-day content that was found in the first game. Nintendo has said they will be providing free updates to the game over time, similar to the way ARMS is handling it, but even if there were no upcoming updates aside from splatfests (the game’s monthly competition between two teams) I’d still be happy with the overall package.

splatoon 2 salmon run

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest new game mode coming to Splatoon 2 is known as salmon run, and after playing many hours of it, I’m convinced that it’s a blast. In most video games, I prefer player versus A.I. matches as opposed to competitive multiplayer, and to see Splatoon 2 receive this treatment is extremely welcome. Overall, it’s a fun game mode that is marred by a few issues. The most obvious of these issues is the widely reported complaint that many players have; online salmon run is only available during specific days and hours of the week, locking entry from those wanting to play outside of the allotted time slots. It’s a real bummer that Nintendo took this approach, as salmon run is a great way to unlock specific loot, and is very fun to boot. Perhaps they will hear fan criticism and respond to this issue, but as of this writing, there are many people that are upset by the decision to lock salmon run gameplay behind specific days of the week, myself included.

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Salmon run features a simple premise of surviving and collecting stage pickups, masked beneath a layer of surprisingly deep complexity as to how players tackle their foes. There are a number of unique boss characters that must be defeated within each round, and the strategy on how to defeat each one differs from one another. The game’s tutorial teaches the basics on how to take down each boss, but I definitely recommend some outside research, because there are more ways to tackle your foes outside of what the game shares. Players will only be able to survive by combining their efforts and communicating on the battlefield, as each person fulfills a specific role each round, depending on which weapon is given to them.

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This is my first gripe with salmon run. I understand the push to give players pre-selected weaponry, but having a poor set of four weapons makes each round more difficult than I think is necessary. I feel like before a round starts, players should have a choice of which weapon they wish to use during that round, so that nobody has to end up using the splat roller or the ink rifle unless they desire it. However, I understand this is a balance decision that makes sense in the game’s surprisingly high difficulty curve. I just don’t enjoy using the splat roller, ink sniper rifle, or any of the brushes for salmon run! I would appreciate a way to avoid using these weapons.

splatoon 2 salmon run boss

Another issue I would like to touch upon is the abundance of bosses that show up during each round. The last thirty seconds of each round in salmon run is often the most hectic, due to the game ramping up the number of on-screen enemies that pelt ink your way to stop you. I feel that the number of enemies present at one time far exceeds a number that are capable of being dealt with, resulting in many frustrating deaths when the entire team is wiped out. My brain’s first response to this thought is simply “well, get good” but in a majority of the games I have played, it seems as if every player on my team had a great deal of difficulty in simply staying alive against the frankly ridiculous number of enemies that flooded the game mode’s rather small survival arena. Some deaths feel a bit unfair, such as when you are killed by a sudden ink airstrike pelted from above. Combined with the other boss attacks, it is often difficult to survive a round without going down at least one time, which I feel is a bit unbalanced in the game’s favor. Despite these issues, I will keep coming back to play more salmon run, because the frustration I’ve felt for these issues pales in comparison to the satisfaction of surviving a game, collecting as many pick-ups as possible and defeating the enemies swarming a team of inklings.

splatoon 2 roly poly

I admit that I don’t have a whole lot to say about Splatoon 2’s competitive multiplayer portion. As a fan of the first Splatoon, each of the game modes in the sequel offer fun gameplay with a satisfying unlock system of receiving experience and currency, used to purchase new weapons and gear. If you were a fan of the first game, the sequel probably will not disappoint; likewise, if you did not enjoy the first game, the sequel doesn’t do a substantial amount to differ itself from the first game. However, there are a few big points that I would like to mention. The special abilities offered to players are much more satisfying this time around, rewarding timing and skill to pull off. Whereas in the first Splatoon the special skills on display felt a bit all over the place, some being extremely useful while others were lackluster, every special ability in Splatoon 2 has a meaningful use in battle. The tenta rockets are a favorite of mine, especially when playing splat zones, and the drop attack special ability is satisfying every time. The all-new maps are great, although I wish more of the elements featured in the single player portion of the game were also available in online multiplayer. The speed ramps and grind rails feel like they’d make a fine addition to the hectic online battles, but these exciting new interactive objects only make an appearance outside of multiplayer. This feels like a missed opportunity, especially when comparing the differences between Splatoon 1 and 2’s multiplayer. Despite this, online matches are a fun time, and searching for other players is usually a fast process. The lack of an exit button in the matchmaking menu is a bit bizarre, as is the inability to switch weapons and gear in between matches, but the core gameplay loop of inking enemy turf while taking down your foes is just as satisfying as it was in the first game.

splatoon 2 grind rail

Now that I’m finished giving my thoughts on the multiplayer portion of Splatoon 2, I’ll dive right into why I’m slightly disappointed with the single player sections in this game. Overall, the single player levels are better than most campaigns found in other first and third person shooters on the market. Most levels are memorable, each featuring fun and unique interactive objects while providing satisfying shooting and platforming action. The story is rather light, but this is similar to how it was told in the first game, and is not all that surprising. Most of the boss fights are great fun, especially world four’s boss fight, which takes advantage of the game’s smart implementation of vertical space. After the simply awesome final boss battle in the first Splatoon, I was expecting an equally exciting final battle in the sequel; unfortunately I was left disappointed, as the last fight features an all too familiar strategy to beating the game’s boss, similar to the first Splatoon’s final boss. The single player also doesn’t introduce any new supporting characters, like the first Splatoon’s Captain Cuttlefish, instead relying on Marie and Sheldon to tell the story. Each of the new characters are instead featured in Splatoon 2’s plaza, where the player goes to purchase new gear and access the game’s various playable modes. The ending of the single player is still satisfying, if totally unsurprising, and rewarding online multiplayer rewards for completing the single player is a great incentive for playing through it.

 

Splatoon 2 is a great game, complete with a satisfying single player story mode, cooperative survival matches, and the same great online multiplayer action that fans have come to expect from the series. It feels like Nintendo played it a bit safe for this sequel, but the same tight action and some fantastic new music is on offer for a fresh experience. The inclusion of “miiverse 2” also known as the in-game user drawings found in the main plaza is also a great inclusion, providing many laughs and some impressive art (I’ll share a couple of my favorites down below). New abilities and weaponry introduced in the future ensure I’ll be playing Splatoon 2 for many months to come! 

splatoon 2 speeding ticketsplatoon 2 closed mall

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Hey, all. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading my review. If there’s anything in this write-up that you think could use improvement, please feel welcome to share your thoughts! I’m always looking to improve my writing. Have a great week!

 

  • Matt

Extended Thoughts – GONNER

Gonner banner

Hi everyone! Yesterday, I went back to read my early impressions of Gonner for the Nintendo Switch, and I did not like the piece that I published. It felt rather rushed and didn’t really provide a compelling argument for why I enjoy the game. Here I’ll attempt to give a more thorough understanding as to what Gonner does right and wrong, and why I’m still hooked on this game. If you want an understanding of the basic premise and mechanics within Gonner, feel free to check out my first post about the game from about a week ago.

 

Every time I start playing Gonner, I can’t put the game down for at least a solid thirty minutes, if not longer. Every run through this rogue-lite is exciting, and as you progress further in each run of the game, more combat and maneuverability options become available to the player. Certain collectible skulls offer increased or decreased health, depending on the other perks they offer. Jumping, shooting, wall-hopping, and bouncing on enemies’ heads all feels great to do, featuring a sharp level of control while still giving the player a tiny sense of floatiness to their actions. I do feel like the player should be capable of shooting straight upward, as oftentimes there are enemies that fly straight down making it difficult to dodge them in a way that made these fights feel unfair. However, these scenarios are usually avoidable by being especially careful around flying foes. Eventually the player will learn the battle patterns that each enemy possesses and how best to counter their attacks.

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Not all weapon and ability combinations work well together, and the player will have to do plenty of experimentation to figure out their preferred play style. An interesting (if sometimes frustrating) mechanic in Gonner is when the player is hurt by an enemy attack, they have to manually pick up their skull, weapon, and ability item back up from the ground. Until they pick these items back up, the player can no longer use their items. This leaves the player at a major disadvantage, and they will quickly learn to anticipate where their items may fall if they take a hit.

Gonner shot

A merchant opens up their shop before every boss fight, and gearing up for each battle provides health replenishment and weapon changes at the cost of the in-game currency. That in-game currency is earned in a satisfying manner; not just by killing enemies, but by killing enemies in rapid succession. Every five enemies downed rewards a purple block, and these are used to revive the player and also as shop currency. Remember in my previous post when I said that Gonner teaches very little to the player, besides the basic controls? No? Well, that’s what I briefly mentioned, and it took me several hours of playing to discover that the in-game currency is earned this way. This lack of explanation may perhaps be frustrating to some, but I enjoy discovering game mechanics on my own, so it was fun exploring my options and figuring out how to survive.

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I think the biggest praise I can give to Gonner is that its art style is absolutely gorgeous. The game goes for a minimalistic look, with many walls and floors forming around the player as they progress through each area. Enemies, for the most part, appear far ahead to the player’s vision, so they do not often appear instantly and hurt the player, feeling unfair. Each set of levels, after every 3 levels or so, features a certain color pallette, changing to a very different look upon progressing to the next set of levels. With this in mind, I think the art style serves the game quite well. As the player’s kill combo reaches higher from defeating enemies, the in-game music rapidly picks up speed, encouraging even faster progression for the reward of more purple blocks. For new players, they will probably want to focus more on survival than speed, but once I got a feeling for the first few stages, it felt great to fly through and kill as many enemies in quick succession as possible.

 

Sound and music design is also solid, featuring an abstract tune for each set of levels, fitting the style of play and colors on display. Each shot fired from the player’s ranged weapon gives a satisfying pop, and enemies are blasted away in a smattering of red paste. Combat feels good, and the sound effects from both the weapons and enemies keeps me coming back for more. I do wish that enemies pushed off of ledges into bottomless pits counted toward the score multiplier; as it is now, they simply disappear, offering no extra points for you throwing them off the edge.

Gonner title

If anything that I wrote here sounded intriguing, definitely give this game a look. As of this writing it is available for Nintendo Switch, Windows, and Mac, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t make its way over to PS4 or Xbox One at some point. I’ve only reached the fourth set of levels, but I plan to keep playing and see what the end of the game has to offer.

 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. Please feel free to provide any criticism, constructive or otherwise, to my writing. I’m always looking to improve. Have a great week!

 

  • Matt

Review: ARMS – A Powerful First Punch For Nintendo

arms wallpaper

Hey folks, Matt here with a new review. As you could probably tell from the title, I’ll be writing my thoughts on the recently-released ARMS for Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s latest attempt at capitalizing on the eSports craze. Does it provide a fun and much-needed addition to the Switch’s growing catalogue of games, or will it be forgotten upon Splatoon 2’s release next month? Well, I am hoping to answer these questions in the following paragraph. Enjoy.

 

Yeah, it’s a fun game. You should play it if you enjoy fighting games. Thanks for reading!

arms twintelle

Anyway, on to the real review.

 

ARMS was an unexpected reveal back in January during the very first live presentation for the Nintendo Switch. The game was revealed alongside a short snippet of gameplay that showed off its premise, and at first, I was not sold. Fighting games are fun, sure, but Nintendo’s history in the genre is not so diverse. The most prolific, exclusive fighting game series that has come from Nintendo is Super Smash Brothers, and… What else? I suppose you can include Pokken Tournament and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom in that list, but these still amount to a rather small catalogue for the genre on Nintendo platforms. These games are mostly well-regarded by fans as great titles. Back in January, seeing a first-party developed fighting game made exclusively for a Nintendo console was exciting, and I was keen to see more on the company’s latest effort. After completing the game’s main single-player mode on multiple difficulties with the ten available fighters, and engaging in at least 10+ hours of the online multiplayer madness, I believe I can provide a fleshed-out piece on my opinion of the game.

arms byte and barq

The level of polish on display in ARMS is simply wonderful. Combat has been a smooth journey, with only a few hiccups along the way. These issues were found entirely in the online multiplayer department; I’ve only had one disconnected game during my time with ARMS, and only one online game with a noticeable level of lag present. Besides these two instances, I have found every match I played online and offline to be a silky-smooth and precise battle between up to four combatants on-screen at a given time. My worries about the game’s motion controls have been mostly alleviated, as I’ve only had a couple of instances where I threw out a punch when I meant to block, but these mistakes were made only a small handful of times. Coming to grips with the game’s unique control scheme takes some getting used to, but I found the game to be an enjoyable experience using either the motion controls or standard controls. Both options offer a similar level of precision when fighting opponents, and I can now say I’m comfortable playing with either control scheme. Despite this, Nintendo’s heavy marketing toward using the game’s motion controls swayed me to attempt playing ARMS using the ‘thumbs-up grip’ as described by the big N, and I’m glad I gave it a shot, as this method of playing offers a precise level of play on-par with the traditional method of using a Switch pro controller.

thumbs up grip

Well, perhaps the word ‘precise’ may be a bit generous when talking about ARMS’ 2v2 game modes. As has been documented by other players, the 2v2 battles can be rather hectic due to the great number of arms flying across the screen at any given time. When a player is thrown by a grab, their teammate is also thrown by that same grab, causing some confusing scenarios where you aren’t aware your teammate is being thrown across the screen, only for yourself to be punished by that attack as well. I find the 2v2 game modes to be the least enjoyable among the game’s ‘party mode’, where players can engage in a solid variety of game types mostly revolving around punching one another.

 

Speaking of punching fighters, did you know that there’s a *spoiler* boss character who uses six arms to fight you? Yep, that’s right, the boss character known as Hedlok makes an appearance in the game’s Grand Prix mode as the player’s final combatant. Utilizing six arms, this hulking metal monstrosity is, to put it bluntly, broken. What do I mean by this? Well, let’s break down the classic fighting game logic of rock, paper, and scissors.

hedlok

A traditional fighting game often features three main ways of attacking. In very simplified terms, there is on-foot combat, mid-air combat, and grabs. The on-foot attacks are often a player’s primary method of attack, but can be negated by a guard block from their opposition. A guard block can be interrupted by a player’s grab, causing damage from the opponent’s throw. Finally, mid-air attacks can be a good way to surprise the enemy, but can be interrupted by an opponent’s anti-air attack if the mid-air attack is too often relied upon.

 

ARMS takes advantage of this traditional rock, paper, and scissors formula, incorporating on-foot punches, mid-air punches, and grabs into the mix. Unlike other fighting games, ARMS allows grabs to be thrown from a large distance, as well as in mid-air, a feature that I’m surprisingly okay with, as it feels well-balanced in most fighter match-ups (barring Ninjara, of course. I think he’s a little too fast for my liking). These punches and grabs are all able to be deflected by a player’s own punches, as long as the appropriate arms are selected for the deflection.

Arms mechanica

This is where the fault in Hedlok’s design comes into play. When Hedlok attacks, he throws out a series of three punches from each side, as opposed to a normal attack from other fighters consisting of one punch. These punches come in fast succession of one another, and are often difficult to deflect by the player’s own punches, and so dodging is always preferred over deflecting these attacks. This would be okay in its own right, however, the cooldown time for Hedlok to throw out another set of punches from that same set of arms is way too short. He is able to dish out a second series of punches right upon the first of the three arms being pulled back in (I know this is difficult to visualize, and perhaps I’m doing a terrible job of explaining this event, but bear with me!) In this regard, I find the fight to feel rather one-sided in favor of Hedlok. Maybe he is not quite as broken in difficulty as Shao-Khan was in Mortal Kombat for the PS3 and Xbox 360, but the battle still feels unfair in more ways than one. Inputs from my punches felt like they were instantly being read by the enemy AI, and super attacks that appeared to have connected with the enemy were dodged and countered with the enemy’s own super-charged attack.

 

Despite these balancing issues, I find the game to be enjoyable, as I stated earlier. On the surface, the game appears to have little content, and I think this claim is justified when you compare it to the likes of juggernauts of in-game content such as Tekken 7 and Super Smash Bros. For Wii U. However, the accessibility of each of the ten fighters and different pairings of arms for each one of them offers hundreds of possibilities for battle, and I think it works in the game’s favor. Would ARMS be an even better game with some more fighters and stages to battle on? Sure, that would be a great addition. Thankfully, Nintendo will be doing just that in the coming months, all of it as free game updates, similar to the way Splatoon was handled on the Wii U.

Arms party

 

I’m sure I missed some other points I wanted to bring up, but overall I’m finding my time with ARMS to be fun and engaging. The motion controls work well, the fighter designs are fantastic offering great variety, and despite an arguably broken final boss fight, the single player and multiplayer game modes are a satisfying venture into Nintendo’s newest IP. If this is the start of Nintendo entering the fighting game space outside of Smash Bros., I’m excited to see where they take the game next.

Thank you for reading! Take care, all.

  • Matt

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.