Posts Tagged ‘switch

27
Mar
18

Gaming Roundup

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Since I’ve been essentially in limbo for a month or so, it has given me time to catch up on my gaming; I would still rather be at work, either in front of these keys or at my desk in my office, but it kept the brain turned on to some degree, at least.

I’m not really feeling a huge in-depth review of everything I’ve played, but a quick speedrun through the hits and misses is in order. So here we go.

Kirby Star Allies (Switch) – It’s Kirby. At this late date, you should know whether you enjoy Kirby games or not. It doesn’t do anything amazingly new and shocking and doesn’t screw up the existing formula. I enjoy it.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch) – Not quite what I was expecting – having heard it billed as an action RPG and bearing some of Star Ocean‘s DNA, I thought battles would be a little more hands-on, rather than staring at little bars and waiting for them to fill before I push a button once in a while – but still enjoyable. It consistently ticks off every checkbox in the “anime-style JRPG cliche” list, but is occasionally self-aware of it at least, is very pretty, and has some seriously deep customization, crafting, and level-up systems in place. Very worthwhile.

The Evil Within 2 (PS4) – I know, I know, it’s old and all. I’ve been picking at it for months, but I finally got to finish it. Found it enjoyable, suitably tense at moments (though it’s not kicking Outlast or Resident Evil 7 out of the “scariest games” slots) and a definite improvement over its predecessor. The main issue I had here was realizing the game isn’t trying to be Resident Evil 4, and playing it that way will get you killed (at least on the higher difficulties.) Playing it like a horror-themed Metal Gear or Splinter Cell, however, made it much more entertaining and enjoyable. At least until the last couple of chapters, where it turns into a shooting gallery for no reason. And the last boss made Ruvik seem well-designed – which he certainly wasn’t, in my opinion. Still, good game and seems to be half-off most places at this point, so give it a poke.

Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS4) – To be fair to it, it is hard to come down from Bayonetta 2, which basically perfected all the things DMC set out to do, but the DMC Collection still feels like a dumpster fire. The controls are clunky – which they kind of were to start with, though I don’t remember having this much trouble with them when I played the collection on PS3 – but at least somewhat forgivable given the age of the games.

What isn’t forgivable, however, are the graphics. I’m not a graphics whore (as something a little later in the list will prove), and normally I can’t even tell what resolution or frame rate something is running in unless it’s obviously broken. But DMC Collection looks like ass. It’s grainy, it stutters, and the resolution or aspect ratio seems to be “off” somehow. What’s odd to me is that I played the PS3 version on the same television and it didn’t seem to have this problem… seriously, what the hell, Capcom? But if you crave the games and don’t have a PS2 or PS3 around to play those versions, it’ll do. Or you can just hop over to Switch and play Bayonetta

Prey (PS4) – It’s BioShock in space. I love it. If you like BioShock, play this. If you didn’t like BioShock, you probably won’t like this. If you somehow didn’t ever play BioShock, you can grab the collection cheap, and Prey is usually around $15 these days, so grab one, try it out, then grab the other. You’re welcome.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT (PS4) – It’s hard to describe these; they’re sort of like strategy fighting games, I guess? I had some fun with the first two back on the PSP, and was pretty excited for this one, but having played it I kinda feel “meh” to it. It’s okay, I guess, but it feels a lot clunkier than its predecessors, the AI is set to ridiculous levels, there’s not really a story mode, and the online community is almost nonexistent or full of elitists, so if you actually do manage to get in a match, you’ll have waited probably five to ten minutes followed by a swift booting or disconnect. Maybe it’ll pick up. I hope so.

Metal Gear Survive (PS4) – Everyone’s ripping on this game, and it’s kind of silly, really. Is the game a great Metal Gear? No. Is it still a very entertaining blend of Dark Souls and Don’t Starve? Yes, it is. At least to me. I really think 95% of the hate this game gets is because of the name on the box, and if it said anything else on there but Metal Gear, it’d be doing just fine. It does take a while to warm up, so if you check it out, at least try to get through all the tutorial/sample missions – to where you can actually start building your base – to get a real idea of how it works and thinks. If you’re not into a slow burn that’s much more interested in mechanics than sensible storytelling, look elsewhere.

Mass Effect: Andromeda (XB1) – I kinda like it. I know that makes me a pariah, but you have to consider that I’m getting to it a year late and after tons of patches. I also didn’t think Mass Effect 2 was the best game ever. I enjoyed Mass Effect, I merely tolerated 2. Didn’t play 3Andromeda, to me, is equally enjoyable as the first game. It’s got problems, but I have fun with it. I do kinda miss the Paragon/Renegade system, though I see what they were trying to do by stripping it; we’ll see if a more nuanced approach bears fruit later in the game (I’m not terribly far, yet; just got the first colony up and running.)

NHL 18 (XB1) – I play sports games rarely. When I do play them, I usually grab a hockey or boxing game about every four years or so. I traded in my NHL 15 for 18, and… kinda wish I hadn’t. I’m sure I’ll warm up to it in time (and if not, I can reclaim 15 for about $5), but it feels like they made some very wonky changes to the controls and the AI. I like the training camp setup, though. We’ll see how I feel after a few more matches.

Deadly Premonition (XB360) – Yes, it’s old. Yes, it’s ugly. Yes, it’s clunky as hell. But it has charm and is more complex than most people give it credit for. It recently became backwards compatible for XB1, so I of course had to instantly locate a copy and hook back up with my buddy Agent Francis York Morgan for  a psychic-coffee fueled trip to Greenvale, which is totally not Twin Peaks and Resident Evil‘s lovechild. I wish they’d reissue the Director’s Cut version for Xbox, or maybe remaster it for PS4/XB1, but I’ll take what I can get.

Quite the list. Messy. Wall of texty. Oh well. Have opinions on any of these titles, or games you’ve been poking at lately that are worth a look? Let us know down below!

Until next time!

KA Spiral no signature

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15
Feb
18

Flipping the Switch

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So, almost two weeks, and still enjoying the Switch. That’s a plus.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t some serious issues with it, though. Allow me to don my cynical, pessimistic hat for a moment here, and list a few of the grievances.

One: 32 Gigs is not enough. Yes, I know, you can buy memory cards for it… but I thought we were past this point by now. Roll the cost into the machine for bigger internal memory or including a memory card; it’ll still be worth it. Or at least make it clear on the system’s box that a memory card is recommended, as the system itself will only handle 3-4 games at most (and won’t handle some games at all; I’m looking at you, WWE 2k18 and L.A. Noire) and that’s being generous and not including DLC.

Two: Get rid of the damned friend codes already.

Three: It would be nice to have some form of Achievement/Trophy analog. It wouldn’t mean a whole lot until Nintendo gets their game together for unified online and non-friend code friendships, but a satisfying “ding” when you do something awesome (or stupid…) would please me and quite a few others, I’m sure.

Four: Where’s Virtual Console? I don’t care if we’re waiting on GameCube or 3DS or something; can we at least get the NES, SNES, Master System, Genesis, C64 or TG-16 games up? Maybe? I would totally give you my money all over again to get Devil’s Crush, Dragon’s Trap (and yes, I know they’ve reissued it for everything in a “new and improved” version, but I still like the TG-16 one), Ninja Spirit or Super Metroid up in there.

Five: Give us the option to swap the buttons for Western confirm/cancel. I know the Japanese have used the bottom button for cancel and the right one for confirm forever (and I was quite used to it during the SNES era), but for those of us hopping back and forth between systems here in the West, it causes all kinds of mistaken “yes” selections and menu cancellations.

Six: Give us streaming options. I know Nintendo has historically been against using their footage, but they seem to be correcting their course in all kinds of other ways with the Switch, so why not this one? You’ve already got the screenshot/share function… would it be that much more threatening or difficult to add video streaming?

That’s it. Not such a long list – at least so far. But beyond those minor gripes, it’s a great system. It’s not going to dethrone my PS4, but it’ll certainly get plenty of use. Unlike my Wii and my utter disinterest in WiiU.

What about you out there? Tried the Switch yet? What are your thoughts? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

10
Feb
18

Flame Shields and Mugs

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My home has been host to the Switch for a little over a week now, and so I felt it appropriate to give some impressions of the game I’ve been playing the most.

No, Zelda is not it. Yes, I do like Zelda, but it’s not where my soul lives right now.

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Fire Emblem Warriors has devoured me. If you’ve played any of the Warriors/Musou games before, the basics remain the same; pick a champion, mash X until a few thousand of your enemies are dead, rinse, repeat. Very grindy. But I like grindfests, so I’m okay with that.

Fire Emblem Warriors does that very well while introducing a few minor adjustments – the “weapon triangle” from the SRPG series makes an appearance, meaning that you can’t always just take your favorite warrior and smash through the whole map; you’ll need a little help from your friends. Assisting with that is the option to order about other units on the map so you can command Lissa to go smash that troublesome Pegasus Knight that you can barely scratch with Rowan while tending to the next three objectives that just popped up on your map.

Fire Emblem Warriors also does have some totally unique features and differences that make it a great game, not just for Warriors fans, but also more generic action-RPG lovers, and even fans of the SRPG originals. The story is surprisingly deep and well done… though I will say it does rely on potentially fatal misunderstandings one too many times (story missions 7-13 are all almost entirely “Oh, they must be the bad guy because X” followed by “I’m sorry, obviously you’re not bad, let’s go talk to Y” whereupon “Y sees you and thinks you kidnapped their friends and so you have to beat them down so we can all be homies” missions.)

The upgrade system for the characters is also a little different, with grids and class changes and raw material grinding. It added something different than just grabbing your character’s ultimate weapon and pressing X until you had the full Gamerscore or the Platinum. The menus for it are a little annoying, with constant “Are you sure?” *confirms* “Okay, I’ll do it!” that you’re going to hear fifty times every time you visit that screen. But it’s a minor quibble.

There’s also History mode, which basically grabs some of the more tactical elements of the mainline Fire Emblem games by dropping you on the map and giving you an array of targets that lead to more traditional Warriors levels, each of which offers goodies for completion and alters the lay of the land on the main History map. Multiple endings for each map (some of which impact the main story mode as well) are a nice addition.

Overall, highly recommend it if you have the system to play it on.

For the second piece, we need to talk about the other game that’s eating my soul, lately.

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Cuphead.

I don’t have a lot to say on this one. It’s goddamn beautiful. The sound and music are amazing. It legitimately gives you the feeling of being trapped in a 1930s cartoon, complete with scratchy audio and film tears/grain.

It also hates your guts and will punish you every chance it gets. You will see the game over screen dozens – if not hundreds – of times, and that’s before you leave the first world (out of four.) But ultimately, when you do take down a boss or get a better grade on the platforming levels, you will give a barbaric yawp, so insanely pleased with yourself that you feel as though #LifeGoals needs to be altered to include it. Play it. But if you have a low frustration tolerance level, you may want to stay away or invest in extra controllers.

What about you folks out there? Any input on either of these titles? Have something that’s currently consuming your gaming soul? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

04
Feb
18

Perception

With the addition of the Switch into my life, I found myself trolling the eShop, hunting for cheap games worth playing. Sure, I’ve got Zelda and Fire Emblem Warriors, but a little variety never hurt anyone.

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In that quest, I came across Perception. It’s a first-person survival horror game. It actually has genuinely creepy and/or scary moments, and the story is intriguing, pieced out to you in just the right amount to keep you playing. I was up until 2AM last night, constantly telling myself “just one more checkpoint.”

The catch? Cassie, the protagonist, is blind.

Yes. A first-person game as a blind person. You’re not completely in the dark, as it were, however. By tapping her cane or getting close to environmental sources of noise (radios, clunky fridges, air conditioning vents, and fireplaces, for example), you have a limited form of echolocation to find your way throughout the mansion. Too much cane-tapping brings the wrath of the haunting presence upon you, forcing you to hide or die, so for a great deal of the game you’re working blind, hoping to find the next source of sound before something rips your face off and hovering your finger over the cane button, afraid to push it for fear of what you might see.

It’s an excellent mechanic and makes the game something very different.

But it got me thinking about writing, and about perception. In writing, we typically relay what we see, and – to a lesser extent – what is heard, at least by people speaking or important environmental noises.

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But it seems like background noise and other senses frequently are left by the wayside. Perception says not to ignore those other senses, as describing the tinny sound of car horns reflecting off the high buildings behind the protagonist may be just as important as the lurid descriptions of the slavering thing that stands in front of her.

From that, I think I’m going to have to shift my writing style a bit; incorporate more of the other senses, and turn up the ones I do already use a notch.

What about you out there? Do you do a lot of description of the four senses other than sight? If not, why? Do you think it’s something that should be worked in more often? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

01
Feb
18

First Impressions

So… I caved. I bit the bullet and took a chance on Nintendo, joining the Switch legions.

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So far, I am reasonably glad I did; the pleasure should increase once BayonettaHyrule Warriors and Metroid Prime 4 come out.

But just a few things to comment on from my first few hours with the new shiny.

  1. If you are an averaged sized adult, for the love of God, get a Pro Controller. Pro-A makes some very nice ones, Mario or Zelda designed, for $30 and they make life far easier… at least so long as you’re playing the system docked. The Joycons are evil, especially if you’re playing something like Mario Kart, where you only use one of them.
  2. Enjoy the setup. Or not. I found it to be rather more complicated than it likely needed to be, and the fact that the instructions tell you to set everything up and turn the beast on, then the first thing it has you do is unplug the dock and do the setup in handheld mode was kind of ridiculous.
  3. It still uses bloody friend codes. (Goddamnit, Nintendo, let it go!)
  4. If you are not Japanese, and not used to playing Japanese imports and did not have extensive experience in the SNES or early PlayStation era where they didn’t bother to reverse the controls for our silly American brains, you will continually click things you didn’t mean to and cancel out of menus you meant to look at. This is due to the button on the right side of the diamond being defaulted to “Accept,” and the one on the bottom being “Cancel/Back” in the system software (and most games. They also tend to map “jump” to the right button, which has caused many deaths in The End is Nigh.) The three games I own (ZeldaEnd is Nigh and Fire Emblem Warriors) do not offer much in control customization, either; Zelda only lets you reverse a couple buttons – and A & B are not options – while Fire Emblem and Nigh don’t let you tweak them at all, so far as I can tell.)
  5. You will probably want a memory card. Sold separately, of course. In the era of 30+ GB digital games (and 10+ GB DLC for almost everything), the built-in 32 gigs just aren’t going to cut it.

All that said, it’s a decent enough system. I enjoy the games I have well enough – though Fire Emblem Warriors and End is Nigh were both extremely hedged bets, essentially reskinning games I already love – and there seems to be plenty on the way worth having… now if we can just convince Nintendo to port over Fatal Frame 4 & 5, or the Metroid Prime Trilogy, that’d be great.

But the biggest surprise here is Breath of the Wild. I approached with caution, as I have honestly pretty much hated every Zelda game since Ocarina, with the exception of the GBC and GBA ones.

Thankfully, Breath of the Wild is an absolutely awful Zelda game.

Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? What I mean is that, so far as the last 15 or so years of Zelda go, it’s terrible in doing the things its forebears did. Instead, it honestly feels more like a Witcher-lite, which I am totally okay with. I am prepared for it to eat my soul, though I lament that it may mean I will never get back to Persona 5 and may never move on to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, let alone actually start Star Ocean 3, 4 and 5, which I recently acquired for PS4.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a shrine to conquer.

01
Feb
18

Gaming Whinging and Nintendo Rage

Nintendo has hurt me plenty over the years. Like most folks, my fascination with gaming was pretty solidly rooted in that old gray box (and the need to blow on cartridges with some form of voodoo ritual to make them behave), but in time I grew to loathe the people who gave me that initial pleasure… but they want me back.

KA Spiral no signature

16
Jan
18

Breaking Vows

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The image says it all, really.

I’d pretty much sworn off Nintendo products after the Wii. The repeated disappointment of having shovelware crammed down my throat, combined with only rare releases of actually decent games – that generally weren’t worth the wait, with the notable exceptions of Manhunt 2 and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, or were released on other platforms and often in better editions – left me tired of the one-time king of the hill.

The WiiU didn’t do anything to help. “Look, more gimmicky crap! Oh, and here’s all the games you could have been playing for the last 2 years, with minor tweaks. You’re welcome!”

The flood of assorted DS models seemed like a succession of one-trick ponies; “Let’s keep throwing the same Pokemon and Mario game at them, and rereleasing the system in different colors! They’ll keep buying it!” It also suffered from the pattern of “Hey, there’s this cool game on 3DS… oh, wait, you can buy it on Vita or an HD version on the PS/Xbox store. For half the price.”

Then the Switch sits there and smugly points out “Hey. Did you know that some actual real games come out for me?”

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Now, the lineup isn’t quite as awesome as it could be – and again, for those who have PS4, Xbox One or gaming computers, a lot of it is stuff we’ve already been through – but it seems like they at least give a damn. Metroid Prime 4? Okay, you have my attention. Remastering Bayonetta and announcing the third game is going to be Switch only? You receive an eyebrow raise. The whispers that Fatal Frame 45 may actually hop on over, at long last? Well, damn. I guess I need another chunk of plastic sitting next to my television.

I’m eyeing the Switch very warily right now. Looking at the list of available games, I’m not sure there’s much there that I desperately need… but it’s coming. What about those of you out there? What are your opinions? What Switch games do I absolutely need in my life? (Keep in mind, I despise Mario KartMario PartySmash Bros. and most minigame collection types.)

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Off to seethe and stare at my tax return documents while dragging my finger over Amazon’s “pre-order now” button for Bayonetta 2.

KA Spiral no signature




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