Cast your minds back to just a few months ago. All the hype regarding E3 and the upcoming Nintendo Direct we was about to see. The rumour mill going wild. Would we see Metroid Prime 4? Would we see Bayonetta 3? However, the main one swirling around the gaming community was would we see a revision of the Switch? Would Nintendo finally dip their toes into providing a Switch which would provide 4K visuals when in docked mode, and an overall more powerful version? Sadly, the answer to all of these three questions was No.
Was I disappointed? I would have to say No, for me I have a PS5 and an Xbox One which can provide those ultra-smooth visuals and processing power for the bigger badder games which are out now and the future ones which will be released. The Switch and Nintendo in general for me has always been about software. Nintendo we have seen over time, never follow the norm, they always want to be innovative rather than just follow the normal trend which is out there. Side Note, I would LOVE Nintendo to do a Stars gimmick for their in game achievements similar to Trophies and Gamerscore. Again don’t hold your breath.
So back to the present day, it’s a few weeks after E3, we’re happy in the knowledge that we’re getting a new Metroid in the form of Metroid Dread. We saw updates for Breath of the Wild 2 and there is so much more games to be looking forward to such as Shin Megami Tensei V. Then suddenly we get an announcement from Nintendo, a revision to the Switch. But not the revision we hoped for.
The New Switch is now the OLED version. It comes with a brand new, bigger screen of seven inches, which will provide sharper visuals when in handheld mode. It has a bigger stand and it has a LAN port. That’s It. Oh and for the privilege of having this model it will set you a pretty £349.99. That’s a £70.00 increase on the standard base model.
Am I surprised by this revision? Not in the slightest. If you look back through time Nintendo have always made revisions of their consoles without actually increasing anything to the hardware. I can only think of four consoles where they have never made an actual revision of the console. They are as follows. The GameCube, the N64, the Wii U and the Virtual Boy. Just four consoles over a near forty year period. That’s a lot.
We had two versions of the NES. We had two versions of the SNES. God knows how many variations of the Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, and 3DS, Three Versions of the Wii and now Three Versions of the Switch Family. You know why they do it, because they know people will buy it. Why change a business formula which has worked for nearly four decades.
I’m not angry about it nor does the OLED Switch excite me. I just think its standard practice that Nintendo always do to increase the life cycle of the current hardware that’s out there. I do find the price point a bit cheeky though. Maybe I’d be happier if they reduced the base model to say £229 and then have the OLED model come in at say £289-£299. As a consumer I’d be happy with that.
No doubt the OLED will fly off the shelves come October upon its release. I won’t be buying it, I just can’t justify playing that amount of money for an improvement just in handheld mode. I prefer to play my current Switch in docked mode. I always have. I prefer my handheld gaming to be taken up by my 3DS XL which I have a wonderful library of games for.
What intrigues me most about Nintendo is the future. Clearly the Switch cannot go on forever, it’s a wonderful system and you cannot doubt for one second that it’s been a huge success for Nintendo. It’s their next foray into a new piece of hardware which I want to see. How can they compete with Sony and Microsoft going forward? Can they compete? Can they make something truly innovative for the years ahead? And can they bloody finally make a new F-Zero!
Thanks for reading and until next time. Keep Gaming.
Guest Blog post by Adam Foster @AngelicWiganer / @snoopfozziefozz
Back in 2018 Insomniac Games treated us to an epic piece of gaming. In my humble opinion Spider-Man was one of the finest games I’ve played. Not only on the PS4, but in all my years as an active gamer. Being a fan of the Marvel universe and all of its characters, I felt Spider-Man was as near perfect experience of how playing the web slinging superhero could be. The graphics were great, the music was a delight and most importantly the combat was spot on.
Roll on to 2021, we knew from Sony’s press launch that Miles Morales was going to be a launch title for the PS5, but also would be available on the PS4 as well. I didn’t get my PS5 at launch, (believe me not for the want of trying) I got it a few weeks ago, but I knew the one game I wanted to play first above all was this one. For some reason I felt drawn to it. The footage I had seen made it look so close to a real life Hollywood blockbuster in your living room, where the player had the control in their own palms.
I want to try and review this spoiler free, as I feel to get the most out of the game you need to avoid them. I believe it’s better for the player to make their own opinions and experience the storyline and twists first hand. That being said we do have a great cast of characters here who fill out a number of roles within the story.
Guest Blog Post by Jack @ThePnutbean
Blinded eyes finally saw, after faceless streets and bolted doors, the dreaded hand conquers all. We watched a myriad of lonely smiles reflect our own, as isolations palm clutched our chest. And as the doors unlatch; let us embrace and socialise. Let us game together. Let us play Monopoly Gamer -- the Hasbro classic with Nintendo characters. But is this a senseless cash grab or does Nintendo’s design philosophy flow through it? I shall elaborate.
The usual Monopoly mechanics are here: go around a board earning money to buy properties (no houses or hotels) so you can charge rent. Nevertheless, the aim isn’t to crush your opponent economically. Instead, whoever has the highest score wins. Properties and money add to your final score, but so do defeating bosses. Each time you Pass Go, you can pay the Bank to start a boss fight. You battle via a die check displayed on the Boss Card, and if you’re successful, you keep the card along with its points. There are ten Boss Cards and when you defeat or fold the last boss, the game ends.
All the properties display levels from New Super Mario Bros, along with Warp Pipes, Coin Blocks and Thwomps. However, the Go to Jail/Just Visiting space remains the same. But where the Nintendo magic lies is in the Super Star spaces.
There’s four characters to choose from: Mario, Peach, Yoshi and Donkey Kong; other characters are available to purchase. Unlike traditional Monopoly, characters have unique powers. For example, if Peach lands on a Super Star, she collects from the bank rent for each property she owns. Yet Donkey Kong’s Super Star power is stealing three coins from every player. Likewise, players use a Power-up Die on their turn. This allows you to fire Green and Red Shells, send Blooper to steal coins or use a Pow. But each character has a unique Power-up Die bonus. So, as every player can fire a Green Shell forward, however Yoshi has the unique option to throw it backwards. So, is Monopoly Gamer a senseless cash grab? No.
COWABUNGA! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back! Well kind of! Let's just say that they will be back later in 2021 to Consoles and Steam. Yesterday, developers Tribute Games and Dotemu took to social media to showcase the brand new TMNT: Shredder's Revenge Trailer. Talk about exciting, especially given that these are the same developers behind the hugely successfulStreets of Rage 4.
The trailer starts off with a very 80's cartoon vibe with the classic theme tune blasting out over the action. The crippling nostalgia soon set in. But wait, there's more! We had some delicious Alpha gameplay too! On runs Raphael, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo to take on Foot Soldiers galore! Imagine Streets of Rage meets Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and we have Shredder's Revenge. I could not be happier.
Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably one of the most hyped video games since Grand Theft Auto V back in 2013. The success of The Witcher 3 on PC and all major consoles left big boots to fill when it came to CD Project Red’s (CDPR) next adventure. Fast forward to December 10th 2020, and after Cyberpunk’s multiple delays the gaming universe was finally graced with the release. Sadly that release has fallen flat on its face and us gamers are not happy. Cyberpunk 2077 has been branded “a buggy mess” and even more so on base Xbox One and PS4 consoles. It warrants the question; why did CDPR bother releasing such an ambitious game on base consoles? Why not exclusively release on the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X? I believe money is the most obvious answer. Not everyone has been able to acquire the latest generations’ consoles which would have meant a very large portion of the market not being able to play Cyberpunk 2077.
So here we are, two days after launch as I write this! I have been live streaming Cyberpunk on my PS4 Pro. The textures seriously lack, rendering takes quite a few seconds (especially on vehicles), the city feels drastically empty and the combat is very lethargic. In summary, I completely agree that Cyberflunk is a broken mess. Gamers unable to see the console performance prior to launch too. All previews and reviews showcased PC footage. CD Project Red also provided reviewers with the actual review footage. That’s right!! The embargo did not allow reviewers to capture their own gameplay. That is a red flag right there. I would go as far to say that this is very misleading in the marketing of Cyberpunk for console gamers. To cap it off Cyberpunk 2077 is rocking an eye watering and painful Metacritic score of 2.3 on PS4 as I write this. For a game studio as big as CDPR this is unacceptable. In fact I believe it is heartbreaking for gamers that are trying to play on base consoles. With most other game developers I would be worried that the game would be broken forever but as we know, CDPR are a dev team that show long term support for their games.
As I write this the Resident Evil 3 Remake has a 6.3 Metacritic score for the PlayStation 4 and an even more shambolic 5.9 on the Xbox One version. This forces me to question just how much of a miss the long awaited Resident Evil 3 Remake was for Capcom. This comes after last years Resident Evil 2 Remake; making a much bolder impression on the series' fans. At the time of writing this Capcom's Resident Evil 2 Remake rocks a bold 8.8 Metacritic user score. I am unable to fully explain why Capcom clearly missed the mark in delivering the Resident Evil 3 Remake to its full capacity but what I can do is share some of my feelings in playing through the game twice on stream. Having played through it twice I feel like I'm in a position to navigate towards answering whether or not the RE 3 remake is worth buying today?
The first thing I noticed about this remake was just how beautiful it looked. Even the darkest and greyest corners of Raccoon City seemed to ooze charm. From the crackling of small fires in the dilapidated streets of Raccoon city to the warm neon glow of Moon Donuts. Resident Evil 3 shines in the aesthetics. The constant backtracking provided an opportunity to take in more of the gorgeous details each time I went by. One point worth noting in regards backtracking, was just how small Raccoon City felt compared to Police Department in the Resident Evil 2 Remake. That's right, Raccoon City Police department felt larger than the entire geographical layout of Raccoon City. Now this is not a scientific fact! I can, with certainty, memorise the streets in the latest Resident Evil 3 remake but if you asked me what was on the second floor of the East Side of Raccoon Police I would not have a clue. It felt as though Capcom had rushed the world known as Raccoon City to a point where I felt disappointed. After all, the amount of missing content in the remake is frustrating enough (Raccoon City Park, Graveyard, The Press Office and more), let alone what was there; felt a like it needed a bit more meat on the bone. Needless to say, Raccoon City, and surrounding areas, look totally lush.
Performance wise, Resident Evil 3 Remake did not feel too bad. As I write this I do not recall any painful glitches and the general mechanics felt okay. Bosses comprised of mutated variants of Nemesis, each feeling slightly more difficult as time went on. My first playthrough was on a normal difficulty to which it actually felt a little too easy. My second playthrough, however, felt more punitive. I played on the hardest difficulty setting which almost brought me to tears on stream during the rooftop Nemesis battle. Nemesis had a flamethrower mounted to his back. In any normal circumstances a flamable barrel would be easy to ignite and essentially would destroy anything in the blast radius. Not on hardcore mode! I must have spent three hours jostling with this immensely difficult variant of Nemesis. The step up in difficulty from my first playthrough to the second seemed like worlds apart. It felt like there should have been a difficulty mode in the middle.
Days Gone is much more than a game to me. Days Gone is my perfect escape from reality. Survival is a concept that we live by everyday. Most of us do our best to look after ourselves in order to survive the strongest way we can. Days Gone is no different. Survival takes a different notion in Days Gone and in particular Deacon is guided by finding his one true love amidst a Post Apocalyptic, Freaker infested world. This is not a review of Days Gone so if you are here for a review then I suggest you read no further. If you’d like to hear about why Days Gone is an important game to me then read on.
A Dilapidated look
Days Gone’s world is immense. Broken bridges with nests flailing out of them, overgrown plants and vines consume the cemetery, tunnels that are so packed full of broken down cars you have no choice but to go slow and sketchy NERO checkpoints that lurk on corners! Days Gone delivered a vivid world that I become immersed in each time I played. I felt captivated the rain hitting the broken tarmac of the long roads! I enjoyed traveling the dangerous roads in different towns, taking risks to stop for gas at the gas station pumps whilst hearing a Freaker make ground behind you. Days Gone executed the environments in such a way that I felt continually immersed.
It’s not all gritty though. Extremely late on in the game Days Gone starts to deliver some new weather fronts that I was not expecting. Snow capped mountains produce equally as much danger as the lower broken roads that hug the riversides. The key here is the timing though. I felt intrigued by Bend Studio’s decision to introduce a more varied weather system so late on in the game? For me Days Gone was the gift that kept on giving which is one of the reasons I could not stop playing it.
Deacon was both trapped and free at the same time; bound by his mission to find his wife yet freed by the open road being able to travel between various settlements. The more missions Deacon completed the XP we could spend on improving the experience. For me I found that fine tuning my bike was rewarding!
Man of Medan seems like a long awaited title from Supermassive Games; developers of Until Dawn. Like Until Dawn Man of Medan is an interactive horror game that forces players to make timed decisions. Each decision impacts the proceeding storyline, characters and more. Man of Medan is the first chapter of Supermassive Games' Anthology series (The Dark Pictures). Supermassive Games are set to release a new chapter within 6 months of the previous. The next chapter is called Little Hope which seems to ooze Silent Hill Vibes. Once you beat Man of Medan there's a sneak peek in to Little Hope pegged for a 2020 release. It looks brilliant!
Building up to Man of Medan's release I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Horror games with nautical backdrops don't really float my boat. In fact the ending of Resident Evil VII felt flat to me as we were stuck on that damn ship! Dark, damp and dreary ships! I can think of much scarier settings for a horror game. The question remains though: did I enjoy Man of Medan? The answer is: not as much as I enjoyed Until Dawn; which for me had a much more appealing backdrop, more characters and a longer story. Man of Medan is slow to kick off. A group of upcoming divers hire a boat, which includes a confident female tour guide. With a crate of beer the five of them set sail in to the South Pacific Ocean. Without spoiling the story the five of them find themselves in a hostage situation and end up slamming directly in to a missing Ghost Ship from the 1940's The true horror seemed to start from this point in the game which was already over one hour in.
If you've played Until Dawn you will be familiar with the choice based narrative of the game. Choices or there lack of will impact on the bearing of the next stage of the game. I found the opportunity to make decisions somewhat slow and frustrating. Frustrating in a sense of there only being three choices each time. I would have preferred to have more options to choose from as this would have increased the pace a little.
Man of Medan had some surprising jump scares. Could there have been more? Absolutely. I felt that the balance was tipped in favour of Man of Medan feeling more like a Walking in a dark ship simulator rather than a pacey horror game. I would have loved to have had more jump scares, however trivial.
Gamescom 2019 is over but the impact of the event is still fresh in my mind. What with games like Cyberpunk 2077,Death Stranding, Borderlands 3 and more it's no surprise that Gamescom attracts well over 350,000 eager gamers from around the world. Gamescom, in Koln, Germany, has been operating for over ten years and had show. This year was my first year at Gamescom and I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Yu Suzuki most notably famous for being the lead developer of the Shenmue series amongst other classics like the Outrun series, Space Harrier and After Burner.
The absolute highlight of Gamescom this year was Cyberpunk 2077. I watched a live gameplay demo of the upcoming CD Projeckt Red title; Cyberpunk 2077 in which I saw two different ways to approach a certain part of the game. One Cyberpunk was the Strong Solo whilst the other was the Hacker. The area we were in was called Pacifica. The graphics, despite it being early gameplay footage looked smooth, bright and sleek on the big screen. I should also point out that this demo was being shown on an Xbox One X. The only bad thing I can say about Cyberpunk 2077 is that we have to wait until 2020 to become fully immersed in its world.
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