Something’s changed

I don’t know what’s different this year. Is it me? Is it the industry? I can’t say one way or the other. I’m just not into E3 this year.

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This whole blog kind of started with my excitement about E3 a few years ago. But this year something is different for me. Part of it, surely, is the lack of anything that was “to be announced” or leaked previous to the event that really caught my interest. Though without fail, something cool will rear its head eventually and probably change my mind to an extent. I mean, I’m not crazy. I’m still hoping for some big reveals and some new info on stuff like Insomniac’s Spider-Man and GoW4.

Though, like I said, I don’t think I can put my finger on any one specific cause – I think I can pick one biggie out. The proliferation of gaming media. Now we don’t have to wait for E3 for announcements and reveals. They’re happening all year long. Most of the stuff we see at E3 now, save for the occasional big reveal, surprise, etc – we already know about it months in advance. Take Assassin’s Creed: Origins, for example. We knew last year there wasn’t going to be a new entry in the Assassin’s Creed series. But I think we could say for certainty that Ubisoft wasn’t going to be holding off for more than a year. And, aside from that, the game had leaked images weeks ago. Far Cry 5 too. Hell, EB Games and Bestbuy both e-mailed me about how “Far Cry comes to America” last week.

Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that we get updates on great games and developers all of the time. But it’s kind of like how Christmas changes from when you’re a kid to an adult. All year you wait desperately for that day and then when it comes, you just tear through presents like it’s the last time you’ll get to do it. But as you get older, at least in my case, I tend to just buy the things I want when I want them. So when Christmas comes around, there may be a few cool things under that tree for me – but most of what I wanted, I already have.

It’s a weird transitional phase for me to go through – both personally and professionally (well, at least in terms of this blog because no one is paying me to do it…yet). I want to get jacked up. I want to do like I always did and go and tell the person next to me about how amazing the Bethesda conference was and how excited I am about the reveal of X game. And, of course, to take advantage of all of the amazing pre-order deals out there (though again, this may play into my lack of excitement as a part of my no pre-order pact I made with myself). I just can’t find anything within myself that’s telling me that I need to obsessively pour over everything that’s going on and dissect the minutia of every reveal.

Of course, I’m still going to follow stuff, and I think I’ve already shown that I am. Much like Christmas though, I’m afraid I’ve lost the vigor for it. That being said, it’s possible that this year is an outlier. It definitely didn’t help going into E3 that I knew I wouldn’t see a lot of what I hoped to see. Nothing big from Bethesda (Elder Scrolls, Fallout wise), no Kingdom Hearts release date, etc.

But I’m excited to see everyone’s offerings. So far I like what Bioware is doing with Anthem.

Who knows – as the conference goes on, I may change my tune. The hype train may just roll through this station after all. Forgive the tired cliché, I haven’t written in a while and I’m feeling a little rusty.

All I will say is: If this is what growing up is, I don’t like it.

– The Ego

 

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hype

So I’m trolling through the various gaming media outlets and creators I follow on Twitter and I came across this article on Gamesradar. The best upcoming games of 2017 and beyond (for those of you who don’t want to read the link).

Now, in principle, I don’t have an issue with talking about the upcoming games. But best upcoming games? I mean, come on. First off, this is total speculation. More than half of the games on the list are still TBA release dates. Which, in and of itself isn’t a big deal. You know, if the games had a substantial amount of info already released to the press or public, then one could at least make an informed decision on what’s available. But with the majority of these games, there is so little announced that one could barely interpret what to expect out of a tutorial…

I’m going to pick on Destiny 2 for the majority of this post. Why? Well, because it’s the easiest target.

Didn’t we learn anything from Destiny 1’s pre-release hype and subsequent launch? I mean, I would hope that the media at least would have the sense to treat everything about Destiny 2 with a grain of salt. But, nope. Here we are with this game already making the list of best upcoming games for 2017…

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Now, I don’t hate Destiny. I bought it. Hell, I even bought it for both platforms because my friends insisted I play with them on X-Box, and they paid the lion’s share. But what Bungie promised on Destiny 1 and what they delivered were worlds apart from each other.

Now here we are again: Bungie is making some big promises. So far I’ve seen promises of bigger, more diverse worlds that will feel substantial and different from each other. I’ve seen richer story with developed characters.

A lot of that sounds really familiar. I remember when Destiny promised to bring us total exploration. The ability to go anywhere you can see on the planet. How’d that work out? I also remember hearing about a big universe full of stories. Well, we did sort of get that, but definitely not in the game. And all Destiny really added was a bunch of really expensive expansions that didn’t change the overall play space.

So why are people getting themselves all revved up already? Why is the media leading people by the nose again? Fool me one, shame on me and all that.

Is the hype, the possibility of that sequel or that new game being exactly what we all want it to be worth the eventual disappointment? Because let’s all be real for a moment: Nothing is ever as good as what we build it up to be. I look at games like Insomniac’s Spider-Man and the new God of War game – and I know that those games are being made by studios who I have a lot of faith in. And I have yet to be disappointed by a God of War game. But the truth is: speculating and talking about how great they’re going to be without a shred of tangible evidence – well, that’s just begging for a let down.

Now, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe part of being a fan is buying into the hype. I don’t know. But what I can say for myself is that there is only so much I’m willing to buy into. I can anticipate and look forward to a new game. But what I won’t do is start telling the world that it’s going to be the best game of 20XX. From time to time, I’ll even buy into the hype. I will get more excited than I should. But there is still a vast difference from personally buying into the hype and selling it to the masses.

As always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Let me know what you think in the comments. Is the hype worth the risk? Am I just being too hard on Destiny?

– The Ego

Buy, Buy, Buy

Has gaming gotten too commercial?

I mean, at its core, obviously the industry is a business. With making money as its key component. I personally have never been one to shy away from a good collector’s edition and I can say for certain, I have more than a few gaming collectibles about my house. But the question I’m asking myself, and you, is: is there a line in the sand?

I’m not even sure that the auxiliaries are necessarily the problem. Expanding the market on an already commercial product is pretty much a given. I mean, if there is a way that a company can make up for a loss in profit or a short fall from one title in order to shore up a studio, make sure that quality games are still seeing the light of day, then I’m all for all of the licensed extras. Even if I don’t personally partake.

No, I think the problem – assuming there is one – lies in the development process itself. If companies start looking at games solely as vehicles for quarterly profits, then we start to see issues. Namely – because we start to see games that are rough around the edges, at best, and at worst – incomplete games.

I think that’s the central thesis here.

And I don’t necessarily just mean games full of bugs. Though – we have sure seen our fair share of those over the last few years.

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Having worked QA testing for a bigger release I can say this: Sometimes it’s just not possible to attend to all bugs. Game release schedules are much tighter, budgets are lower and staff expectations are higher. That being said – I think we would all like to see less of things like this.

However, when I say incomplete games, I mean incomplete. As in, you get to reel three of the movie and all it says is “Reel Missing”.

I think of games like Fable 3 – if you’ll be so kind as to let me dredge up the past. I mean, that game had a huge following and made big promises. Now, I’m less concerned (for the purposes of this post) with the broken promises. But what I can say was missing was any kind of discernible plot. The game’s first half basically had you working towards dethroning the king. Once you accomplished that, it was preperation for the war to come. But then it came, and there was really no explanation as to why or what it was you were fighting. The game just comes to a crashing halt as you battle this ignominious enemy.

Or, if you want a more recent example – the much vilified No Man’s Sky jumps right to the forefront.

Now, at it’s core, I still think No Man’s Sky is a pretty good game. And, admittedly I haven’t played it since the “update”, it is supposed to be better.

But the idea that this game – devoid of the majority of its features, would actually launch, is a special kind of deviousness. Seeing this is the perfect example to me that the industry’s commercial interests have become pervasive. It tells me that the industry doesn’t care enough about consumers that they’ll just release whatever and hope we don’t stir up a fuss.

Worse yet, it’s a sign that they think we are placated enough that the majority of people will just buy. Regardless the quality of the product. And sadly, in some ways, we’ve proven them right. That’s not to say some fuss isn’t put up and there isn’t the occasional backlash. But there is a lot of complacency on the part of the consumer as well.

This is all to say that there is a level of acceptance on both sides that has become unacceptable. Though the responsibility still lies mostly on the corporate culture side of things. But we, as consumers (and gamers) need to hold everyone accountable and be willing to forgo the latest game if it’s being produced poorly.

– The Ego

Switch it up

Ok, I’ve had a few days to sit and organise my thoughts on the subject, so let’s dive in shall we?

I won’t go into why I’m not pre-ordering the console. I made that pretty apparent on Friday. What I do want to talk about is the presentation and it’s effectiveness and some general stuff about the console as a concept.

Let’s start where the show succeeded:

I think that the console itself is a great idea. I think that Nintendo has shown a real flare for creating a mobile product – with the 3DS’ obvious success at destroying the competition being it’s main claim to fame – so creating a home console that can be taken anywhere and you still get to play titles that are generally considered “home” games is pretty fantastic. I also think they’ve solved the issue of having portable games that you want to be able to play with friends. The Joycons are smart and (granted I haven’t held one so I can’t say this with total authority) well designed. I love the idea of being able to bring everything over to a friends or to a family event in one small, convenient package with no wires. Hauling the Wii around – despite being quite small, was always a pain because it came with controllers, 3 wires for AV/power/sensor, the sensor, plus big disc cases.

I also think the presentation was rather effective because in some ways I think they did exactly what they needed to do. They showed several big games for the launch/first year line-up. They showed a Zelda, Mario, Mario Kart (technically) and a huge 3rd party game – Skyrim. I think in this way, they definitely learned from the mistakes of the Wii U. Oh, I didn’t mention it initially – but Bomberman! Not that I know 7 other people who will buy a Switch, but the idea of playing 8 people side-by-side Bomberman is pretty awesome.

Where it failed:

Conversely – there were a lot of announcements that I thought were lacking. I mean, this was Nintendo’s chance to really wow the world. And there were a lot of big franchises missing. For one – Nothing on Pokemon! I mean, we know they have Stars in development! And even though it isn’t the Pokemon game we really want, it’s what we know is coming. Beyond that: No Metroid, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, Smash Bros or a new Mario Kart. Also – the 3rd party line-up aside from Skyrim was…well bad. I mean, a few games looked cool like the oddly named Square Enix project.

The other big blemish for me is Nintendo’s insistence on including their proprietary kookiness. Arms and 1-2-Switch are just straight up weird. I get that Nintendo still wants to be the family console – that’s fine. But there are other ways.

The overall tone of the presentation was good. I think Nintendo having some different faces out there, now that they are down a major player, is important. And I know Japanese culture is very different from North America – but they need to find some more charismatic showmen for something of this magnitude.

Also – if they’re going to copy the pay subscription of the other guys – you have to be willing to match it all. Not being able to keep your monthly games is a deal breaker.

For me, here are the two biggest drawbacks of the Switch: Price and memory. See, I like good graphics, but I have a PS4 and an Xbone Elite, so I don’t care too much what Nintendo’s graphics card/capabilities are. Battery life is about where I expected it. But the price is off the charts. Considering there is no 3D tech – this should have come in somewhere closer to the price of the 3DS.

So far as memory – starting with 32GB, expandable to 2TB, when installs are going to be 14GB for bigger games – unacceptable. The cost for a reasonable sized SDXC cards are over 100$. Adding even more incentive towards waiting out the price drop.

– The Ego

Switch to 2017

Happy new year readers.

I hope everyone got all of the games they were hoping for, and took some time to play through some of their backlog. I took some time off to recharge my batteries as far as keeping this up, so I appreciate you picking back up with me.

As I’m sure many of you were, I eagerly anticpated the Nintendo Switch announcement. So, I’m sort of live-blogging while they live reveal. I’ll share with you some of my initial impressions:

Let’s get the facts out of the way:

We’re looking at a March 3rd release date and an intial price of 300$ in NA (I’m assuming more in Canada). It will have two configurations, one with standard grey controllers and one with a red and blue – no games included in either bundle. Apparently we will be getting a system with a portable battery life between 2-6 hours, and I’m assuming that depends on network connectivitiy. Local multiplayer matches will take place over WiFi, rather than Bluetooth, with the ability to connect up to 8 consoles at a time. And, for the first time, we will get a competitive online service, which Nintendo is offering for free until fall 2017, and then will switch to a pay-to-use system afterwards.

My impressions so far:

  • The new HD rumble seems like it’ll be pretty cool. Though they could have done a much better job explaining it. I feel like a lot of info was lost in translation. Oh, and speaking of translation: Nintendo needs to hire some better translators. The guys tasked with it were appalling at best. Boring, no personality and the guy translating for the weirdo from Grasshopper just needs to stop.
  • And on the note of the Grasshopper – that guy was too much.
  • 1-2 switch and Arms look super hokey. Even for tech demos. I was hoping Nintendo was going to forgo that kind of thing this time around and focus on a solid gaming platform – but they had to go that way I guess. They make the VR tech demos look well thought out.
  • When Reggie Fils-Amie is the most charismatic at your press conference – you done fucked up.
  • I did like how the explanation of the origin Switch talked about the DNA taken from all of Nintendo’s consoles throughout the years.
  • ZELDA LAUNCH TITLE!

Ok, now that it’s over I’ll try and organise my thoughts a little bit better.

So overall I thought it was a pretty good presentation.

There were a lot of ups and downs over the course of the conference. The 3rd party announcements were weird. Octopath Traveller looked great and was a pretty old school/new school Square Enix title. Some of the others though…can’t say I’ll be jumping on any of them.

The first party announcements were good. No Pokemon announcements kind of let me down. I was hoping to see something. Oh, and no Mario Kart either? Meh. The new Mario looks fun, but super gimmicky. I mean, his hat is alive. And he can throw it. Not sure what to say about that…

Hardware-wise: I think it’s exactly what I expected it to be. The graphics are about where I generally place Nintendo. The controllers look cool, but they also look really small. The new HD rumble is a feature I didn’t expect to hear so much about. I mean, it’s great. I think it’ll improve  the tactile experience.

One thing, from the hardware perspective, that they didn’t go into was hard drive size. They did mention the ability to take pictures and eventually video – so that is going to be something I’m eagerly awaiting to find out. Not that I expect I’ll be recording much Mario.

I guess I’ll leave it with this: I went into the announcement thinking that the Switch would be a day one purchase for me. Today I’m a little more on the fence. Though I really, really want to get the Zelda game as soon as possible. It’ll take some thought.

– The Ego

Rebuttle

Ok, so this post is a response to the following article I read on IGN last week (PSX and GOTY took precedence over me writing this counter-argument). I recommend reading it before reading this.

Here’s the link.

First off, in case this hasn’t become abundantly clear through my use of u’s in my words, I am Canadian. So I won’t be addressing the American Dream/American conflict aspects of the article. I am, however, going to break down the three aspects of the argument where I think the piece falls apart.

Guns sell/Sex Sells

Yes, of course this is true. People love to be excited and titillated. And, just like sex in games and movies, if it’s just shoe-horned in there for no other reason than because ‘who doesn’t like a bunch of violence and some fucking?’ – then I agree it’s stupid and it’s hindering the game. I’m no prude or violence abolitionist – but when something is there for no reason but to serve itself (like 90% of the sex in shows like True Blood) – it annoys me. And in those cases, I would agree that it is just a hindrance. It won’t further serve the art form, and it won’t lead to more great games being made. But one could easily make that argument for a number of things that hold the medium back. Once again – there is no one thing that is stopping the progression of games from getting better.

The Bioshock Paradox

So, the “ludonarrative dissonance” mentioned as the main issue with the series is mistaken, flat out. The whole thing about Bioshock is it’s a morality tale in story and in play. Put a man in a chaotic situation and make him fend for his life – and survival instincts are going to kick in. But where the “dissonance” fails to rear its head is in the choices you make – slaughter the Little Sisters for power and become a monster. Save them, and be a hero. And this choice has nothing to do with guns. The Last of Us is a perfect game to go hand-in-hand with Bioshock on this point. Is there combat? Yes, but it’s presence is not the aspect of the game anyone is (necessarily) praising it for. The guns in this game are simply a vehicle. A mechanic to push the story forward in order to get the story out of it. Could you do it without the guns? Definitely. And it would make a great movie. Does the action/inclusion of guns as a medium hinder the actual story or the message that Ken Levine is trying to get across? Not in the least. If anything, I would argue that the gameplay, in this case, is the most minor part of the series.

Playing it Safe

Is there laziness in the gaming industry? Fuck yes. Like any industry. Sometimes it’s just easier to make another game where you just shoot a bunch of dudes and forget about it. Where the story is just a reason to shoot more people. I get that. The same way the music industry pawns off derivative clones of pop music stars whose albums are nigh-indistinguishable. And there are times where the guns are there for no other reason than people like shooting people in games. I do agree, in a sense, that FPS games like Doom, CoD, etc are safe AAA games to make. They have a following, and they don’t require much in the way of “creativity” to an extent. But the genre of gun-heavy games compared to the rest of the industry is a relatively small number. For every CoD there is a Portal, Skyrim, Diablo, Final Fantasy, Heavy Rain and the list goes on.

So, thesis statement: Are guns holding the medium back? No. Are there numerous games with heavy-handed (gun) violence shoe-horned in to create appeal? Definitely. But the medium, as stated, is in its infancy and it is already proving that it is more than a one trick pony.

– The Ego

The Candy Man can

My, oh my.

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What can I say about the PSX 2016? Well, a lot actually:

Let’s start with Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite. Another game surrounding the Infinity Gems just sounds amazing. I know it’s going to focus pretty heavily on the MCU properties, which means a lot of movie heroes (and probably their likenesses). But that seems to be upsetting a lot of people. Here’s the thing: I’m reading a lot of what people are saying about the game and there is so much concern over the inclusion of the X-Men. Now, I get it. Wolverine (especially) is a staple in the series. Seeing him going head to head with Ryu is gratifying in every way possible. But seeing comments like “Marvel’s B-List” fighters just upsets me. There are tons of great characters in the MCU and comic universe that aren’t mutants. And, frankly, what people should be concerned about is how Capcom abused that property (and frankly most of their IPs). I want this game, but I’ll wait for the Fantastic Super Ultra Mega Deluxe Complete DLC Collector’s Edition MvC4…

The Last of Us Part 2: Oh man…The song in the trailer was so good I want to make it my ringtone (Edit: Done). Now, Last of Us was a great game. I didn’t fall in love with it the way that everyone else seemed to (especially IGN who for some reason gave it a 10/10). Granted, part of the reason I didn’t fall in love may have been how frustrating I found the hardest mode. But the story was incredible. And this one looks like it’s going to be even better. If there is one thing that Naughty Dog does well, it’s a story. I’m curious to see where they’re going to take Joel and Ellie next. I think the part I found the most gratifying was watching the reveal at the expo, and hearing everyone else freak out at the parts that gave me goosebumps.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: This game just needs to come out already. Seriously. Stop teasing me. I remember when I was working retail and seeing the original trailer for this game posted side by side with ReCore. And I was excited for both games. Well, I’ve played ReCore. So give me Horizon! Everything about this game looks stunning and innovative. It seemingly offers the same ambitious prospects games like Assassin’s Creed 3 did, but this one looks like it will actually pay off. I cannot wait to take down a mech T-Rex with a spear while riding a mech caribou.

Honourable mention goes to Bulletstorm re-master. I absolutely loved this game. The story was amusing, the characters and writing in general were funny. But what made this game great is the trick shots. The one thing I didn’t get a chance to do was try the multiplayer. By the time I had gotten around to it on the PS3, nobody was playing this game any more. So, being able to play it in 1080p, and get a chance to pull off some of those tricks with friends – count me in once again.

Finally, some thoughts on the the rest of what I saw:

Power Rangers Mega: Putty sounds are great, but half of the game is apparently avoiding minivans.

Wipeout: Right…Wipeout. Totally looking forward to that…

Ni No Kuni 2: I have brought dishonour on my family by never having played the original despite it being on my shelf…

Resident Evil 7: Gods help me, but I might actually buy this game.

Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 PS4: Yet another way for Cashcom to rake it in from that one game. Enough is enough already. Stop. Milking. It.

Knack 2: The sequel no one asked for.

Let me know what you thought of things. You can post a comment here, follow me on Twitter and post in the Facebook page I set up. And as always, let me know if there’s something you’d like me to discuss.

As always – your Playstation loving blogger.

– The Ego

Just when I thought I was out…

What’s enough to bring you back to a game. And I don’t mean a franchise. I covered Second Chances on Monday. I mean, you’ve got a game, you probably bought it a year ago, but it’s being published by one of those good studios who keeps giving you content (for free no less). But it’s been sitting on your shelf for the better part of the last year. So what kind of content is enough to bring you back?

Take Diablo 3 for example. Now, Blizzard is renowned for constantly updating and providing new content for all of their franchises, and Diablo has been no different in this respect. Here we are nearly four and a half years later and they are still giving us the goods. Recently at Blizzcon, they announced a new playable character and a new mode.

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Yup, it’s the Necromancer from Diablo 2.

So is that enough? I know it’ll be enough for me to dust off the game. And frankly, if I’m willing to, I bet a lot of others will be too. I got the platinum for the regular release on PS3 and I got the platinum for the re-release on PS4. So suffice it to say, I’ve dropped hundreds of hours into the series already.

And it’s not like I don’t have other games to play. But I’m curious. Plus I feel like when companies go out of their way to provide free content and support after this long – I owe it to them to at least check it out. Plus the idea of playing the old Diablo on my flatscreen should be pretty cool. I wasn’t privy to the original Diablo games because I didn’t have a PC that could run any kind of games when I was growing up.

Rockstar and GTA V are another good example. Now, I have friends who play GTA Online and only GTA Online. Granted – it can be pretty fun. There’s a whole slew of things to do there. But after a while, I feel like greener pastures are calling. Playing the same sorts of missions against/with the same sorts of people gets dry and requires a break. But then they release major updates like Heists and Bikers. Again – for free.

With major updates to the game the likes of Bikers (giving you the ability to form a Motorcycle Club and buy and manage illicit businesses, run MC missions and purchase your own clubhouse) it’s a real game changer. And, again, something worthy of blowing off  the dust and popping the game in for another run.

Then again, there is also examples of games like Destiny. Where the running joke seems to be “People still play Destiny?”. They seem to be putting out a combination of free and paid updates to the game, and it seems to be a harder and harder draw towards maintaining and bringing back their player base. Though, that probably has more to do with the initial offering than the applicable content.

But is that enough? Is new content a good enough reason for you to come back or is playing the game while it’s new and fresh the only joy that can be derived from the medium? Especially in this trade and play culture that we have set up all around us. Once beaten, does it get dropped off for something new and shiny? What about when it’s not free? Are you likely to pick a game back up if it requires you dropping another 24.99$ to access the content and play with friends? Where is the limit as far as price goes?

You can sound off in the comments below, I always respond. You can also now find me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So please like, subscribe, follow, etc. Everything helps. And as always, if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered here, just let me know. The new plan is to release content on here every Monday and Friday. This will allow me consistency.

– The Ego

First Final Fantasy Foray

In an uncharacteristic show of competence, Canada Post delivered my copy of World of Final Fantasy first thing in the morning Thursday. Granted – it was two days late – but that was Amazon’s fault. I digress.

I know I don’t traditionally do reviews (they’ve reared their heads a few times) but I was pretty excited to check this game out – it was the outlier in all of my pre-orders for the next year or so. I’m only about 10 hours in, but I think I’ve got a good grasp on it.

Pros:

So this game plays extremely well. It’s a combination of the standard Final Fantasy trope and Pokemon. Basically you need to be constantly hunting down, capturing and leveling creatures called Mirages (basically Final Fantasy Pokemon).

The mechanics are solid, once you get used to them. The whole concept surrounds catching different typical FF monsters and recruiting them to your party and then creating stacks with your own characters. Once you dig into the way the whole thing works, you can come up with some pretty cool combinations. The only problem is that there are too many cool mirages to pick from! The battle system works somewhere in between some of the more recent Final Fantasy games (like FF13) and classic FF and it’s all turn based. I mean, you can use their new battle commands where you can short cut everything, or you can change it back to the old menu – which is what I’m obviously using. The other really cool thing worth mentioning is the appearance of tons of classic FF characters. Cloud, Squall, Sephiroth – just to name a few show up as “champions” which function as one of the summons in the game.

The music, for any old school fans, is something worth paying attention to as well. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a lot of classic tunes remixed for the game.

And so far – the story is pretty solid. There’s enough intrigue to keep me hooked, and the characters are interesting and believable…with a few exceptions. I mean, this isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s classic FF. Classic JRPG.

Cons:

I only have three complaints:

  1. Graphics. Well, not the graphics persay, but the choice of art style. For some reason Square decided to go with a Nenodroid style of character for pretty much everyone in the world – including the PCs (except that you can also grow big to a normal looking character as well). Otherwise, the game is bright and colourful and looks great.
  2. For whatever reason (I’m assuming for comedic purposes) they made the male lead (Lann) a total idiot whose reactions to things are long past hamming it up. I mean, Shatner would shake his head at this guy on his worst day. Now, I guess it’s good that they didn’t just automatically make the sister (Reynn) dumb by default, but I think they could have skipped making either of them stupid in some poor attempt to make them “funny”.
  3. Finally: Tama. The dialogue coming out of this things mouth makes me wonder what Square was thinking? It’s so bad, it makes me wonder who I hate more. Tama or Navi.
    tama_world_of_final_fantasy
    If I were a religious man, I’d wonder if the devil created Tama to test my willingness to murder. Basically: Tama puts the word “the” needlessly in front of words that just don’t make a lick of fucking sense. As a writer, it baffles me endlessly. As a gamer, I want to see bad things happen to whoever thought it was a good idea.

 

Would I buy it at full price? Yes. The mixture of the two tropes works. Square was smart to capitalise on the Pokemon gameplay and the classic FF aspects just work. It’s a colourful and fun to play game that boasts a 50+ hour campaign. Despite what IGN said – I don’t find the battle system wears over time. All I can say is: If you weren’t prepared to grind – you’re in the wrong game IGN.

– The Ego

 

Last ditch Switch

I know the title implies a pretty negative connotation to what I’m about to lay down – but trust me – it isn’t.

I haven’t been this excited for anything Nintendo since the N64 released Pokemon Stadium! I mean, I’ve bought every Nintendo console since the dawn of time…Or, you know, had it bought for me. Not a lot of disposable income in 1987 being that I was 4.Though, admittedly, both iterations of the Wii were giant flops. Not just for me either and I don’t need to go through the list either. If you read through my previous posts, you know how I feel about the Wii (U).

But the Switch holds a hell of a lot of promise for Nintendo. If they handle this right – they could completely turn their company around. And just in time too. Because if this doesn’t take, well, see the title. Time to hang up the ole’ spurs.

Here’s what’s on my mind:

Nintendo, for a long time, has been a much better software developer than hardware. And, frankly, that’s been true since the N64. Things have been going downhill since then. I’m sorry Gamecube die-hards, but you know I’m right. But one thing Nintendo does extremely well is make hand-held consoles. Vita who? Sony, you really shouldn’t have bothered. But the 3DS is doing, and historically has done, really well. Now just think of it – a home/hand-held console. The lack of divergence in R&D, both teams working towards one end – that’s a winning idea. And the promise that holds – oh boy. We may get what we’ve (read me) been asking for for a long time – a fully 3D rendered Pokemon game! Of course, all of this is operating on the premise that there won’t be a heir to the 3DS throne. Since 3D is a fad of the past, one can only hope that the successor will be the Switch. I mean, it only makes sense to focus all of the effort on one machine.

Now, I’m sure a lot of you are skeptical, and I understand. So am I. I’ve been burnt twice too. I bought both of the last consoles at full retail and regretted it. But, like many of you, I will be in there in March picking up my switch.

I also know a lot of you are reading this, saying: “But Ego, how is it going to compete against the PS4 and Xbone?”

clpp8zc

To you I say: It doesn’t have to. Nintendo has always exited in a curious niche of the industry. The gimmick niche. And I think that the Switch will continue to exist there as well. But if they can put out an offering that at least matches the visuals of the generation (I’m not talking PS4 Pro and Scorpio) – I think that the Switch will have a lot to offer. The hardware difference has never been a real deterrent for people buying Nintendo consoles anyway.

Now, this is the part where I talk about the meaning behind the title. In my ever so humble opinion – this is it for Nintendo. This is their absolute, dying on the vine, last ditch effort at being a hardware developer (outside of maybe sticking to just handheld games, but I really don’t see the point of that). If the Switch doesn’t succeed – take my advice -hang it up. Do yourself (and your investors) a favour and become a software developer. That is something Nintendo does very well. License your titles to Sony and Microsoft. Let them shoulder the burden on losing money on consoles. You’ve proved you can win on platforms other than the home console – look at Pokemon Go. Hell, strike an exclusivity deal with Sony or Microsoft and let them take Mario, Luigi, Link, Zelda, Donkey and Pikachu under their umbrellas and just watch the truckloads of cash pile up. With the winning franchises you’ve created, you don’t need to make the system to play them on too. It worked for Sega.

– The Ego