News

Nintendo Themed Attractions Coming To Universal Studios Orlando And Hollywood, Fun Will Ensue

If you recall, last year Universal Studios Japan announced it would be getting attractions based on Nintendo properties. Well, it seems they are coming to Orlando and Hollywood as well, and Miyamoto assures us it will be fun.xzdlrlciwfr6b7sadcdc

Nintendo makes sense here, their characters have fantastic worlds to explore. From Peach’s Castle to DK’s Treetop home. We don’t have any information on what exactly we’re getting or when we’re getting it but below is a video of Miyamoto and some guy from universal telling you how much fun this will be.

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Review

Review: Pokémon Sun and Moon

Game: Pokémon Sun and Moon

Developer: Game Freak

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Release Date: November 18th, 2016

MSRP: $39.99

Can you remember that day? When you first plugged in that red or blue cartridge into your Gameboy? It was your first Pokémon experience, and it would pave the way for hundreds of hours of fun with these little pocket monster RPG’s. The latest installment in the series is once again eating up all of my time; maybe I’ll even fill out that Pokédex like little me always dreamed of.

Full disclosure upfront, I based my review in its entirety on my experience with moon version. The only differences between the two games are certain exclusive Pokémon as well as an entirely reversed day and night cycle in Moon. I got most of my playing done in the late evening, so it was nice to see the light of day.pokemon_sun_3ds_screenshots_3

So, I’ll just come out and say it before we get into the nitty-gritty, this game is good, like really good. With Sun and Moon Pokémon finally had the courage to get the game out of its comfort zone and formula. Gone are gym leaders and badges, in their stead we have Trial Captains and Island Kahunas. On top of the shake-ups to the basic Pokémon formula Sun and Moon also have a far stronger narrative than we’ve seen from the series in the past. For the first time, the game even opens with a scene featuring another character rather than opening in our protagonist’s room.

So let’s talk about the Alola trials. Pokémon Sun and Moon takes place in the Alola Region, which serves as a sort of analog for the Hawaiian islands. In this new tropical locale, there are no Pokémon Gyms, or Pokémon League to speak of, instead of the League challenge, when Alolan kids come of age the depart on the Island Trials.images

Each of the four islands is home to a number of Trial Captains, each of the captains trains up a super strong Pokémon known as a Totem Pokémon. Your trials consist of a challenge unique to the captain, defeating three of a particular type of Pokémon for example, or spotting the difference in two images. The trial captains will gift you Z-crystals for defeating them, which can be used to bring out ultra powerful moves in a Pokémon once per battle if they know a move that corresponds with that crystals type. Once a player has defeated all the captains on any given island, he or she can continue to face that islands Kahuna. Think of the Kahuna as the big gym battle for each of the four islands. Though it might be hard to repeat this same game formula again, I hope Game Freak keeps shaking up the series with new ideas like this.

The game’s narrative also is noticeably stronger than past Pokémon games. It took me a whopping thirty hours to reach the end which makes the game noticeably bigger than entries like Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire which can be beaten in around 12 hours. Sun and Moon feature likable more developed characters, plot twists that are somewhat obvious but still shake traditional Pokémon plots on their heads, and call backs to past games that had my nostalgia mines working overtime.

Sun and Moon look pretty as Pokémon games go. X and Y were a big step up visually for the series, and the trend is continued here. If rumors of a third game launching next year on the Switch are right, let’s hope it looks even more impressive. I want a Pokémon game on my Tv in all its glory. pokemon-sun-moon-marowak-alola-form

The design of the new monsters is nothing to write home about but the redesigns of classic Pokémon like Sandshrew and Geodude are exciting for experienced players. “Hey, they took my pal Geoudude and gave him a mustache, that’s ok.”

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Hold me you big lug

 

The most significant benefits here are some basic quality of life improvements. Pokémon caught in the wild no longer get automatically whisked off to your PC. Instead, you’re given the option to swap them into your party right away. The biggest change, however, is the elimination of HM’s. That’s right, Hidden Machines no longer exist, no longer must a slave Pokémon fill up space in your party only to cut down trees and fly you across the map. Instead, players are given the ride pager, as the game progresses you’ll register Pokémon like Charizard to fly you around and Tarous to smash boulders in your path. Although you can’t use them in battle, they’ll be there at a moments notice to handle all of that grunt work.

With this last installment, Pokémon is to put it simply evolving. Sun and Moon aren’t perfect games, but they are pretty damn good and make an excellent template for future games. I’ve grown up with these games, and it’s nice to see them maturing and heading in a new direction. So let’s hope Nintendo and Game Freaks next outing is as innovative and exciting. Just please Game Freak let me turn off these tutorials. I’ve been playing these games for twenty years.

Score: 9 out 10

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Review: Batman The Telltale Series Episode Three New World Order

Game: Batman The Telltale Series: Episode Three New World Order

Developer: Telltale

Publisher: Telltale

Platform(s): Windows, Ps4(reviewed), Xbox One

Release Date: October 25th, 2016

MSRP: $4.99

Batman, the Telltale series released its third episode back in the tail end of October, and I’ve finally gotten around to it. All things considered, I like this series a great deal, especially considering it’s in a genre I usually steer clear of. Episode three, however, feel’s like a bit of a slog. It’s not quite as short as episode two, but a tad uneventful, like a DC tv show anything worthwhile, seems to happen in the last five minutes. Where we get the reveal of the new big bad adding Penguin, and it is a doozy.

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Hey Harve

 

The game picks up about where episode two left us, Bruce and Selina are on their way to visit Harvey in the hospital after his uhhh..accident, if you chose to save Selina that is, I assume it’s a simple role reversal in the other instance. A whole lot of plain simple plot is dulled out over the course of about an hour and a half, simple conversation choices which start to feel rather tired after about 30 minutes and the few quick time action sequences aren’t enough to make up for it. Sure we get a whole lot of development in Cobblepot’s character as well as that of Harvey Dent’s transformation into TwoFace, but I haven’t really felt completely enveloped in this plot since episode one.

One of my major concerns of episode two that the Penguin wouldn’t prove to be all that menacing seems a bit relieved here. We see a bit more of Oz being a pest for Bruce without wearing his Penguin mask. Oz is using his political ties more than a gun in episode three to continue to make life hell for Bruce Wayne, but I won’t get into spoilers here.

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I’m sure she’ll be fine

 

I would also be amiss if I didn’t mention that god awful sex scene. A possible romanticly charged scene can play out in which Bruce and Selina can make the nasty. What’s more cringeworthy than a poorly written all around strange video game sex scene you ask? One where they force the player to pull the trigger on the advances. These scenes play off as strange, why would you force me to do this Telltale?

On the technical side Batman, the Telltale series continues to strangely drop frames almost out of nowhere and actually crashed on me towards the end of this episode. I first attempted to review this game on Steam but returned my copy once it proved a technical mess at launch. Up until this episode with the exception of a few frame drops every now and again the PlayStation 4 version seemed more than serviceable.

So I’d have to mark this up as Batman the Telltale series worst chapter yet, it’s not bad by any stress, but the upheaval in technical problems combined with the story’s inability to suck me back in I can’t upsell chapter three with a good conscience. I’m in it for the long haul, though, I mean it has to get better right? At least that last reveal has me pumped for episode four.

Score: 6 out of 10

 

 

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Review: Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

Game: Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

Developer: Infinity Ward

Publisher: Activision

Platforms: Windows PC, Xbox One(Reviewed) PlayStation 4

Release Date: November 4th, 2016

MSRP: $59.99

When the latest title in the Call of Duty franchise was announced earlier this year as “Infinite Warfare” I remember thinking hard about what a truly depressing a bleak title that is. As if to say “fuck it, war forever.” I was, however, intrigued by what a departure it seemed to be for the franchise, it was more Sci-fi than anything I had seen from the long-running series( for a frame of reference I hadn’t played a COD game in depth since Black OPs). All that being said Infinite Warfare is more Call of Duty. Multiplayer is what you’d expect, and Zombies is still, in my opinion, not fun and this year’s campaign was a well written and engaging surprise.

Infinite Warfare’s campaign stars Nick Reyes as the player character, in a future where the Earth has a unified military and is in conflict with a group known as the SDF who are essentially a Mars colony who wants to break away from the earth entirely. Kit Harrington lends his voice and likeness to the game’s main antagonist SDF Admiral Kotch. In addition to Reyes and Kotch, you’ll build up a supporting cast of characters who give decent performances around the board, funny enough one of the most lively performances comes from a fully functioning AI companion known as Ethan. It would seem games this year just want me to really like robots.call-of-duty-infinite-warfare

My biggest gripe with the campaign was it’s overuse of a space flight capable jet known called a Jackal. Fun enough for one or two in space missions but I’d wager roughly 30% of the game takes place in this thing. While some surely loved it, I found it unchallenging and frankly boring. Jets are cool, but I’d rather be kneeing some dude in the head in Zero-G any day.

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Jon Snow looking all intense and what not

 

The freeform ability to tackle missions in Infinite Warfare makes it unlike any Call of Duty I can remember. After a few missions of exposition and general setup, you’re a granted full control of the UNSA Retribution, from here you can pick missions and side missions from a digital map of the solar system reminiscent of Mass Effect. Side missions serve as a way to weaken the SDF fleet by killing high ranking officials ( there’s a whole bounty board of targets in Reye’s quarters) as well as stealing weapon prototypes and launching assaults in your Jackal. The loose feel of these side operations adds a lot to the campaigns length. I couldn’t see it taking more than four hours without them.

As I’ve said, earlier multiplayer is exactly how I remember past games in the Call of Duty franchise, level up and unlock new weapons, while kids make you cry on the internet. Some of the new weapons do add a delightful dose of sci-fi to the formula, with the addition of energy weapons acall-of-duty-infinite-warfarend anti-gravity grenades, things have a higher potential to get silly real fast.

So I guess I should talk about Zombies real quick huh? If you’re in it for this mode, and I know some of you are, you’ll get the same enjoyment it’s always brought you. It works just the same as always corny dialogue while you fortify windows do defend against hordes of the undead. There’s a quick Hasselhoff joke in there somewhere if you’re into that sort of thing.

Call of Duty’s latest outing, for better or worse, is more of the same with a few storytelling twists and over the top sci-fi weapons, it’s a fun ride and that Modern Warfare remaster makes it a bit more tempting as well. It still doesn’t trump my love of Titanfall 2, but Infinite Warfare is worth a play.

Score: 7 out of 10

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Is the Third Version of Pokémon Sun and Moon Coming to Switch?

According to a report out of Eurogamer  a third version of Pokémon Sun and Moon will be coming to Nintendo Switch in late 2017. p03_01

For those unfamiliar Eurogamer is the same outlet that accurately reported on specific details of the Switch before it was announced, their report says it will be a third version of the same base game much like Yellow was to Red and Blue or Crystal was to Gold and Silver. The game is code-named Pokémon Stars and will use better quality graphics and assets  than its 3DS counterparts.

Pokémon Sun and Moon are available for the 3DS today.

 

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Review: Owlboy

Game: Owlboy

Developer: D-Pad Studios

Publisher: D-Pad Studios

Platform(s): Microsoft Windows

Release Date: November 1st, 2016

MSRP: $24.99

When Owlboy was first brought to my attention, I found myself racking my brain. It was a name I knew I had heard before and there was a good reason for that, the game in question has been in development for nearly a decade. It’s one of those titles you’ve almost certainly heard about sometime over the past few years but can’t put a finger on where or when.

 

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You sound just like my dad

 

After a night of research, I came to the simple conclusion that a friend simply must have mentioned it to me in the past but Twitter was abuzz with news on the game, so I figured what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. After all, I love a good old school platformer, and the character design seems downright adorable. After my first hour with Owlboy my one fear that a game that’s been in development for nearly ten years could be a broken mess, however, it seems D-Pad Studios time went into polishing up what turned out to be an amazing experience.

In Owlboy you play as Otus, a young owl in a not so great situation. You see his teacher and mentor is a kind of a jerk. He along with some of the other owls in training, often mock Otus for general incompetence and for being mute. Poor Otus just wants to make everyone in the village proud, but bullies will be bullies.

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Buck up pal

 

Otus’ journey begins when he is swept up into the adventure of a lifetime. Getting a hold of three ancient Owl relics before the evil pirate Maelstrom and his crew can get a hold of them to use as weapons. The plot is full of twists and turns, so I won’t spoil that here, but I will make mention of a few things Owlboy does incredibly well.

For starters, Owlboy’s character animations are second to none. They really help you get a sense of each characters personality for example Otus himself will often stare at his hands a twiddle his thumbs evoking his timid demeanor while Geddy, Otus’ first ally and friend can often be seen flailing his arms in a panic(Geddy is a bit of a coward).

Storytelling, as well as pacing, is another element that the team at D-Pad Studios nails. Owlboy doesn’t take its time getting you swept up in it’s 8 to 10-hour story. I’m not ashamed to admit I beat the game in roughly two sittings. Owlboy follows a rather linear path but keeps you interested most of the way through. It’s puzzle filled Zelda-like dungeons blend in seamlessly with the story-driven path and creates a feeling of intimacy I haven’t felt with a game in a while. It’s hard to put down.

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That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me

 

Gameplay comes as platforming with a twist; Otus can fly which would typically make any platforming scenario a breeze but Owlboy’s incredibly vertical design and use of moving obstacles and variables like wind currents make for some interesting play. Otus has a basic spin attack that can be utilized simply to stun enemies but must rely on his allies to attack. Otus will gather three allies with unique combat abilities on his journey. Otus can carry his allies while in flight in order to take down enemies. Each character is equipped with a unique firearm, the first of which, Geddy carries a basic pistol for taking down enemies but later introduced characters like Alphonse feature more distinct weapons that will also help Otus with environmental obstacles.

So should you pick up Owlboy? If you’re looking for something to scratch that old-school, itch while still expereincing something entirely new and unique I’d say yes. For a completely excellent platformer, I’d say it’s worth the $25 price of admission. D-Pad Studios, if you’re reading, I’d like a sequel now.

Score: 8 out of 10

 

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News

Persona 5’s West Launch Delayed to April

Once again Persona 5 has been delayed. Players in the West will now have to wait until April 4th, 2016; Atlus announced during a stream today.

Persona 5 was previously set to launch on February 14th and released months ago in Japan. The Japanese speak highly of it.

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free me of this prison Atlus

 

Atlus also announced as an apology the game will be released with Dual Audio, meaning you’ll be able to play with either English or Japanese voice. It’s a nice sentiment but still annoying. I hope FFXV is enough to tide us over until April.

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