Retro Game Friday: Mario Hoops

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a Mario game that really doesn’t deserve any praise except for one specific part. It’s Mario Hoops!

Gameplay: This was almost entirely a purely gimmick game to take “advantage” of the DS’ touch controls. Honestly it sucked, and the fact this was never expanded on or got a sequel should be extremely telling. Making matters worse was the lack of online multiplayer, which really sucked.

Art: The art is mediocre, it’s aged very badly and looks little better than the Mario 64 port that happened for the DS on launch.

Music: Here is the one positive from this disaster and that is the fact it was Masayoshi Soken’s very first game he composed for. Since he’s since gone on to become one of Square Enix’s best musical wizards that is something I’ll be happy about regarding this game.

Overall: Stay clear of this game, it’s controlled purely through gimmicks and isn’t that great a game even taking that out of consideration.

For those who like: Mario Games, Mediocrity, Great Music.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the first two, the last one is perfectly acceptable.

Video Game Tuesday: E3 2019 Reactions

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a look at this years Christmas in June for gamers. It’s my E3 2019 Reactions!

Microsoft: I wasn’t expecting to hear a name regarding the next-gen console when they teased Project Scarlett. Other than that the conference was rather lackluster and was mostly teasers with a notable lack of gampleay trailers for those games. One notable title that was announced, at least for me, was one that is set to for release next year, Tales of Arise the next Tales of game. Thankfully Tales of Arise will release on more than just the Xbox One with releases on both PC and the PlayStation 4 as well.

Ubisoft: The only real thing of note was the confirmation of the leak that occurred shortly before the conference that said that the next Watch Dogs game would take place in London and would allow you to play as any NPC in the game. That last was a bold move, but I’ll believe it when I play it as other games have tried it before and those NPCs were mostly bland and uninteresting characters to play as. Other than that it wasn’t that interesting a conference.

Bethesda: I had hoped for something interesting here, but overall it wasn’t that awe inspiring so they get a failing mark here.

EA: Mostly focused on Star Wars Fallen Order, but as I’ve never considered EA anything but despicable I wasn’t expecting anything to really impress me and I wasn’t disappointed with that expectation.

Square Enix: They showed off the Marvels Avengers game, which is probably being released too soon. The fact that people will look at it and expect certain actors to portray their favorite heroes is only a bad thing and is going to cause issues. Other than that it wasn’t that great a conference, but the appearance of Yoshi-P on stage to the reception he got was heartening.

Nintendo: And here is the big winner of this year’s E3, Nintendo blew it out of the park by announcing multiple things including the inclusion of Banjo and Kazooie and Erdrick from Dragon Quest in Smash Bros. But the biggest surprise was the announcement of Breath of the Wild 2 which has sparked off huge amounts of speculations in the community who are hoping for a playable Zelda and/or co-op play. Personally I’d love to play as Zelda in this next installment.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: E3 2019 Predictions

Hey all I’m back with my guesses for this year’s upcoming Electronics Entertainment Expo! It’s my E3 2019 Predictions!

No Next Gen Consoles: I fully don’t expect to hear anything about the next generation of consoles at this year’s E3, especially given that Sony is not even attending at all. We may hear about these later this year at stuff like Tokyo Game Show, or other events, but not at E3.

Slimmer Versions of Current Gen Consoles: This is a fairly safe bet, but it’s not a 100% certainty, though with the rumors of a portable mode only Switch abounding recently I won’t be too surprised to hear about at least that.

Price Cuts to Current Gen Consoles: This is also a fairly safe bet, though with Sony forgoing attendance who knows what will be announced in regards to the Sony side of the console market.

EA SPORTS: I mean come on, given the crap we get yearly from EA I’m going to be more surprised to hear they closed down the EA Sports studios rather than them announcing this years crop of crappy sports games.

Bethesda, BioWare and Ubisoft Kowtowing for forgiveness: I hope to see them fess up to their complete failures over the last year from the poorly done Assassin’s Creed Oddysey DLC, Fallout 76 being completely terrible and the Collector’s Edition Bags being utter garbage and finally BioWare’s utter screw up of Anthem, which is even more of a disappointment than Destiny ever has been.

More Smash Bros DLC Announced: This is a really safe bet, especially since we don’t have a clue on who is coming next to Smash Bros. Personally I’m rooting for Velvet Crowe from the Tales of series, Jenna from Golden Sun (because Smash Bros, and life in general, could always use more kick ass girls) and finally someone from the Fate series, preferably not a Saber class Servant but if it does happen it’d probably be Artoria, just to add to the utter craziness. Will they happen? Who knows, but those would be my preferred entries into the game!

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Retro Game Friday: Front Mission

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that was hugely popular back in it’s day. It’s Front Mission!

Plot: I forgot how sad this story is, honestly after looking up the story for a refresher I was tempted to not bother covering this game due to how freaking depressing the story is. The story is good, but damn is it dark and depressing.

Gameplay: This was a pure tactical RPG and boy did it do it well for it’s time and helped paved the way for games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Advance Wars in the future. You could customize the Wanzers to a pretty deep degree given the tech limitations and the standard of quality at the time. That being said it’s a nearly a pure single player game and while you could play with another it’s hard to do that when you shared a screen.

Art: The art was pretty great for it’s time, and it’s aged fairly well. It’s not the best of it’s era, but it holds up pretty well.

Music: I don’t remember it much at all, sorry.

Overall: A great game, but if you don’t like bawling your eyes out you might want to skip it due to the dark nature of the story.

For those who like: Mechas, Tactical RPGs, Drama, Good Story, Great Gameplay.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Setting Expectations

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the importance of a very key factor when discussing future games or plans for content. It’s all about Setting Expectations!

Expectations?: So recently we’ve had two really good examples of how NOT to set fan expectations both prior to announcing something and afterwards. The Diablo Immortal Issue, and Final Fantasy XV’s cancellation of almost every future DLC and PC support.

Diablo Immortal: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Blizzard royally screwed up with the announcement of Diablo Immortal at the recent Blizzcon. I don’t think I remember them screwing up so bad, ever. There was the Real ID fiasco that occurred years ago, but that wasn’t as bad I think. They could and had plans to announce not only Diablo Immortal, but also Diablo 4 as well at the end of that announcement. Instead they just announced Immortal, which was a huge freaking mistake. First hardcore gamers in general, and PC gamers in particular, all hate the idea of Mobile games, add in the fact that Blizzard was teaming up with NetEase to make Diablo Immortal and the whole situation looked like a huge betrayal of the Diablo fanbase. One of the developers incredibly poor response during a particularly pointed question during a Q&A session later only exacerbated the issue. They should have gone with their first plan, as it was would have been much better. People would’ve been upset, and arguably rightly so in some views. Having multiple teams working on separate projects for Diablo could be seen as overly ambitious, and division of potential labor towards the quicker goal of completing Diablo 4, as well as the blatant cash grab that was the initial response to Diablo Immortal. I don’t agree with the direction of making a Diablo game for mobile, first it seems like it could easily be a poor clone, and while the demo available was apparently okay, that was a controlled demo that was made to showcase the best of the game. The rest of the game could easily be a huge disappointment, and the response from the people who played the demo doesn’t rule out that possibility. The Blizzard seal of quality has meaning, and if they handle this poorly they could end up repeating Bungie’s mistakes that cost them pretty much every shred of credibility with the gaming community.

Final Fantasy XV: The loss of Director Hajime Tabata seems to be the root issue of this issue, and frankly it’s a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to playing the second wave of DLC, and because it was announced I hadn’t touched the first wave of DLC. Now I’m not sure I will for a good while. I’ll probably have fun with the Final Fantasy XIV crossover stuff, but I’m highly saddened that Square Enix is cutting back on the entire DLC plan they had for 2019 and beyond. Unlike many, I was looking forward to seeing a different ending that would’ve been included in the Noctis DLC, as while I really enjoyed most of the game and the story, the later portions of the story were incredibly depressing. Knowing that we lost this DLC is highly discouraging and a huge black mark on Square Enix’s record of making Final Fantasy games for me.

How can Developers handle expectation better?: Honestly, knowing their consumers better would prevent many of these issues in my opinion. Nintendo lost many hardcore gamers with their decision to cater to the casual market with the Wii, and they are still feeling the repercussions of that decision still. Granted that the Switch is a huge success, but they lost a lot of trust with the decision to pursue gimmicky controls with the DS and Wii. Others should take note of their mistakes and keep them in mind when they are planning announcements.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: E3 2018 Reactions

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with my thoughts on this year’s Christmas in June for gamers. It’s my E3 2018 Reactions!

EA: Well I was expecting pretty much everything that was shown, except for hearing about Jedi: Fallen Order, a game that truly slipped my mind in my predictions post. We knew that it was in development previously, but I had forgotten about it. It’s being developed by Respawn Entertainment, of Titanfall fame, and will release in Late 2019.

Microsoft: We had quite a few surprises, including the news that 4 independent studios have been bought by Microsoft, including Ninja Theory of Heavenly Sword fame, and DmC reboot infamy. My favorite thing was learning about Tales of Vesperia coming to the current set of consoles remastered and featuring everything from the JP only PlayStation 3 version. Considering that it’s one of my top 5 Tales of games, I’m really stoked for this.

Bethesda: We knew about Fallout 76 prior to E3, and rumors were confirmed that it was going to be an Online Multiplayer game. How that works out I’m not too sure, given the turn based nature of previous Fallout games that I’ve played (I haven’t touched 4). Not shocking anyone we learned that Elder Scrolls VI is in development, probably for the next generation of consoles. Maybe they’ll fix the nature of console mods so they don’t screw over mod creators by the time it releases and PlayStation owners won’t be screwed more than the Xbox players already are because they insulted mod makers. I have little hope of that, given the unruly nature of mods.

Square Enix: A really disappointing show, while in the Microsoft conference we learned about Kingdom Hearts III’s release date, we didn’t get much more info from the Square Enix press event. That being said it’ll feature both Frozen and Pirates of the Carribean, so that will be interesting to say the least. No other news of note really came from their event except that Monster Hunter World and Final Fantasy XIV would be getting a collaboration event.

Ubisoft: In probably the most shocking news. and yet not at the same time, from this year’s E3 is the fact that Ubisoft is releasing Just Dance for the Wii. Yes you read that right, for the Wii, not the WiiU or the Switch, the Wii. In less shocking news we saw a bunch of the next Assassin’s Creed game which takes us to Greece as a child of Leonidas of Sparta. Frankly I’m not too excited for that, Unity really ruined the series for me, and despite only hearing good things about Origins, I’ve no desire to get back into that series quite yet. In more disappointing news, Beyond Good & Evil 2 still hasn’t really started development, I mean come on really Ubisoft? Just make the freaking game already.

Sony: In one of the oddest Press Conferences ever, with showgoers being shuffled to multiple locations instead of it being just in a single spot, Sony showed off a bunch of new things including the Spiderman game that I’m personally hoping is amazing. Whether it is once remains to be seen on Launch this September. We also got some more looks at Destiny’s latest “Expansion” Forsaken, which Bungie says will fix all our big issues. I have my doubts, but that’s a post for another day.

Nintendo: In what might just be the biggest news of E3, Nintendo formally announced Super Smash Bros Ultimate, which will feature EVERY character, from EVERY entry in the entire series. Newcomers confirmed thus far are Splatoon’s Squid Kids, and Ridley from Metroid. I was hoping to hear about someone like Isaac from Golden Sun, but Ridley will do for now.

There are lots more stuff that I haven’t covered, but this post is large enough already. I may, or may not, make a Part 2 of this in the near future.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

 

GiN Helps a Fellow Gamer in Time of Need

Hey all I interrupt your regularly scheduled Video Game Tuesday with a quick post on something I got some major help with from my awesome colleagues at Game Industry News (GiN)!

What happened?: Well as people may or may not be aware I play Final Fantasy XIV, way too casually to enjoy anything harder than some bleeding edge Extreme Primal fights. When the FFXIV team decided to do their invite a friend back to play campaign, I did so for a friend of mine who I’ve been in the same Free Company (think a Guild from other games) for a few years now. My friend, who I’ll call Garn for the purposes of this article, was unable to play due to being disabled and losing their disability payments from the federal government. So I figured I’d get her back in for a few days so she could enjoy the new changes to the game and enjoy the yearly Halloween event. However I learned that she was still unable to receive disability until next summer at the earliest and that she might not live that long due to heart failure. I’ve been told that it’s not terminal at this point, and I’m praying it won’t be, but I knew she loved the game and that her time playing it allowed her to put her mind off her issues outside of gaming.

What did you do?: I decided to ask for some help from my Editor in contacting Square Enix’s PR department and we sent in an email to see if we could get a free copy of the Stormblood Expansion, which Garn can’t pay for due to medical bills, and if possible a 60 day subscription. That plan unfortunately fell through, but my awesome colleagues after learning about Garn’s story decided to help her out and pitched in to help purchase Stormblood. I ended up getting her a 60 day time card as well, but I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get the expansion as well myself. Now, as of the day of writing this post (November 15th), Garn has just finished getting all the latest Main Scenario quests done and is now thoroughly enjoying her time as a Level 70 Red Mage, which she tells me she loves to play. She also commented on how fun the latest 24 Man Raid was as well, which is a throwback to the Ivalice setting of Final Fantasy Tactics and XII.  So I wanted to formally and publicly thank the good folks at GiN for helping me help a friend in need.

We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled Video Game Tuesday next week, where I’ll probably be writing about my favorite game to bash on.