Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo Olympics 2020: 6th Time is the Charm

We, here, at Alternative Mindz, would love to thank the team behind the making of Mario & Sonic for sending an advanced copy to review.

With that, I cannot tell you (the reader), how much of a blast my family and I have had playing Mario & Sonic!

Here’s a tiny synopsis of the story: Dr. Eggman and Bowser devised a plan to trap Mario and Sonic in an 8 bit video game system, which happens to be the Tokyo 1964 Olympics. Right here is where the story and main protagonists unfolds.

The above story plays out in Story Mode, while there’s Competition Mode where you just experience the games for themselves. Story Mode is 1 player (typical RPG fashion), while Competition Mode is just that, many players can go against each other using button only mode, motion only, or both together for some games. And, naturally, there are some 2 player only games like Fencing, Sumo Wrestling and Karate.

Where this game shines is in the physics of movement. As in the Skateboarding event, you’ll be surprised by how many tricks you can pull off. I found that using the motion controls for this event was very fluid and engaging. Also, traveling back in time to Tokyo Olympics 1964 in 8-bit brings a whole new nostalgia spin to modern competitive games. Definitely has an 80’s California Games old school vibe.

Another shining point is with how accurately detailed Tokyo is here. And, being a person that has been to Tokyo 3 times, this is a huge selling factor for me. It actually feels like your at major landmarks of Tokyo like Tokyo Station, Tokyo Tower, and other stadiums built specifically for the Olympics. There’s even a “Where’s Waldo” like game with trying to find Toad right in the middle of crowded Shibuya Crossing! It’s like going back to Tokyo and saving a 14 hour flight.

Where Mario & Sonic kind of falls is with the difficulty of some of the events. My 8 year old kept getting frustrated with the Wall Climb because of how you have to jump precisely on to the rocks. And, naturally, the smaller the rock, the higher the difficulty. The Discus event also has an extensive learning curve. You have to make sure you’re holding your controller at a specific angle while manipulating the buttons precisely to get it just right to throw the disc. We ended up fouling a lot more than we should’ve, which was really quite frustrating. Also, these events are crucial to move the story along so it was very daunting trying these over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, these events do get the competitive juices flowing because my family found ourselves taking turns to see who could succeed at a mission or not, but sometimes, the level of difficulty was too intense.

My family laughed, cried, cheered and jeered, but all in all, Mario & Sonic Tokyo Olympics 2020 is THE family competitive game of the year! And with this being the 6th installment in the Mario & Sonic series, this just feels like they got it right this time.

Available in North America: November 5, 2019

MSRP: $59.99 AGE: E10+

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution for Nintendo Switch Review

Yu-Gi-Oh has come a very long way from when I first started playing the card game way back in June 2002. Back then, the rules were much simpler and the grind was easier and I had great memories playing the card game along with attending local tournaments. The first big change to Yu-Gi-Oh outside of the yearly forbidden/limited list was the introduction of Synchro Monsters back in 2008 and since then, more types of new types of monsters and summoning were introduced. It may seem bvery overwhelming at first, but it will be simple once you get around to the rules. This year, Yu-Gi-Oh finally comes to the Switch and I got my hands on a review copy of Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution and here are my thoughts of the game.

If you are familiar with the Playstation 4 port of the game, then you know how the mnechanics work. But this version of the game, has the Link Summoning rule that was introducted in the VRAINS series. In fact, this game’s campaign mode features the stories from the original series, GX, 5D’s, Zexal, ARC-V, and the current VRAINS series with over 9000 cards in the game. That is right, this game has the most cards out of any video game in the Yu-Gi-Oh series. You have the option to play whichever story you want so for instance, if you want to start with 5D’s, you can right away. You can do that, but I recommend to playthrough it in order for first time players. I say this because once you begin 5D’s, you will have to learn the Synchro Summon mechanic. Zexal has the XYZ Summon, ARC-V has Pendulum Summon, and VRAINS as I said before, has Link Summoning. Each of those along with Fusion and Ritual will have a learning curve for you to endure, but it is worth it when you customize your decks with the many options of cards. Speaking of the cards, many of them you will have to unlock by purchasing them in their shop (Not with real world money) in different booster packs.

Link Summoning and its monsters changed the gameplay of Yu-Gi-Oh forever as the field matters more than ever. Link Monsters have arrows on the edges of its cards and depending on what it points to, good or bad effects can happen so not only that you have to pay attention to where you place your cards, but where your opponent plays their cards as well. This feature I had the most time thinking about whenever I am about to Link Summon since I knew about the previous summoning mechanics from years ago. You also get most of the Link Monsters from the VRAINS campaign, but I have a feeling that there will be more DLC from the VRAINS campaign since the show is still ongoing.

This game also supports local and online multiplayer with ranked matches. I did not experience lagging or cheating during my online matches so that is a great thing. Another mode that caught my interest is the Battle Pack Mode and for that mode, you can use decks that are already built in your matches. But this will come with an in-game currency fee so it is totally up to you if you want to use this mode.

This game to me, celebrates the 20+ year anniversay of the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise and I recommend new and veteran players to pick this game up and play it. It is challenging, fun, and worth the wait especially since there has not been a full fledged Yu-Gi-Oh video game on a Nintendo console in almost 7 years. Yu-Gi-Oh has a special place in my teenage years and it still manages to find me being drawn back to the series. Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is the treasurebox of all Yu-Gi-Oh video games and I appreciate the efforst that Konami has put in this massive game!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com.

The Walking Dead: Something To Fear Card Game Review

Skybound Games’ The Walking Dead: Something to Fear is a card game in which you have to win by having the most points after 9 rounds. You have to endure walkers and the other players around you on your journey to victory. Is this game worth the money, or would you have wasted your money on a game that is not fun. Here is my review of the game.

Before I get to the gameplay, I would like to say that I love the design of the cards. The artwork is inspired by the comic book series with a twist as the characters look like it was drawn to kids and teenagers than late teens to early adults. The rulebook is straight forward as it tells you all of the rules of the game provided with artwork of the characters as well. On the character cards, it is the artwork of the character, a number on the top left corner, and a description of the ability. On the encounter cards, Some of the cards have a red marked number on the top lright of the card, a yellow shaded area with numbers on the bottom, and some of them has either a yellow or red shaded number on the bottom with a description of an effect. I will explain what those do during my full review.

The object of the game is to be the first to score the most points after the final round of the game and to do that, you will have to go through the phases of the game. This game can be played from between 2-6 players and each player gets a set of 12 cards to play with. There are zones on the field that you have to mark and they are, the row, the mob, the discarded pile, and your pile. After each player gets their set of character cards, you place the encounter cards on the left of the playing field. Each player draws cards until they are holding three cards in their hand. You then place two cards from the encounter deck on to the row plus one more for each player that is playing. For example, if there are two players playing, you place three cards from the encounter deck to the row. After the cards are placed on the row, each player picks one card from their hand and place it face-down. Then, each player flips their cards face-up and the players go by number order to take cards from the row. Whatever cards are not taken out of the row goes to the mob pile and then you pick up more encounter cards from the deck and place two plus the number of players on the row again on the row. This repeats until everyone runs out of cards in their hands. When you flip your card to the face-up position, many of them have special effects that alters the round of play. For instance, Eugene’s effect allows you to switch his card with a character in your discard pile at random. When this happens for his effect, it happens first since it has a flash symbol next to his number. Any card that has a flash symbol next to their number, their effect happens on reveal and not during the turn. At the end of the turn, each player draws another card from their deck.

The row cards can range from Saviors, Negan, The Governor, Supplies, Walkers, etc. Negan has the most point range of all of the characters on the row. If you get The Governor, you also get the tiebreaker card and that allows you to go first during the turn if the reveal numbers match. The encounter cards has many effects that can either damage you, or benefit you. For Negan and Saviors, you can score more points depending on how many of the same copies of the card that you have. The Wound card is given to another player when you select it from the row and that does damage to their final score. There are many cards with different effects that could lead to interesting situations during the gameplay and it will keep you engaged from round to round.

The game ends after the final round and when that happens, one player must count the red marked numbers on the mob pile. If the number exceeds 20, then everyone loses the game. If it does not, then each player counts the red marked numbers (and also the yellow shaded number depending on the amount of the same cards that you have. Meaning if you see “8/16/32”, you score 8 points for one copy, 16 for two copies, and 32 for 3 copies) and count them. Whoever has the most points, wins the game.

This card game is very fun and it took me and a few of my friends a few games to adjust to the rules. Skybound knocks it out the park with this game and I am hopeful that we see an expansion pack with more characters such as Alpha, Beta, Magna, Yumiko, The Princess, Pamela, Mercer, Aaron, or even The Hunters from the Fear The Hunters story arc. Maybe even more encounter card types as well. You will have a lot of fun with this game and you will trully not be disappointed!

Follow me on Instagramand Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content and subscribe to The Wrestling Court as we talk about the latest in pro wrestling, pop culture, and comics along with our live watch reactions to past matches. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com.

Mortal Kombat 11 Review on Nintendo Switch

Mortal Kombat 11 has been anticipatted for some time now by fans ever since the announcemnet has been made last year. It was also a shock when the announcement that this game would be ported for Nintendo Switch as well. With the first new Mortal Kombat title to hit shelves for a Nintendo console since 2006’s Mortal Kombat Armageddon, has the new title delivered a flawless victory on the Switch, or a Fatality that it cannot recover from. Here is my review of the Nintendo Switch port of Mortal Kombat 11.

First, I would like to mention that Shiver Entertainment has developed this version of the game. Although comparing the other console versions to the Switch version’s visuals is noticeably different, the game plays the same way as I did not noticed any slowdowns or lagging. The biggest difference visually is the draw distance from The Switch compared to the other versions. With that said, the game is still stunning to look at and at 60fps with no slowdowns, I am so far impressed. I am also impressed with the way the fatalities are performed and these are some of the most gruesome fatalities I have ever seen in the game.

This game reworks the X-Ray moves from the previous two games as they are now known as Krushing Blows as they can happen at any time during a fighting sequence. Seeing the skull and bones crack during those scenes in glorious HD is awesome to look at. The fatal Blows are activated once your health is very low and they function the same way like the Super Moves if you have played the Injustice series. Those move sequences will take a chunk off the health bar of up to 35% and I recommend to use it if you need it because you only get that ability once per round. The character selection is bigger than the last game. You can choose classic characters such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Kitana, Baraka and much more along with returning characters from MKX and new characters Cetrrion, Geras, and Kollector. Every character in this game has something unique about them just like previous titles of the game. One could be your favorite character within the first few seconds of playing and I always felt that way when I first choose a fighter in the Mortal Kombat series. What baffled me is that Shang Tsung and Shao Khan are DLC characters and They should have been in the main game. Also, where is Reptile?????

The modes of this game include customizing a character in which you can customize the asthetics of every character whether if it is the color, the type of clothing, and weapon. There are a variety of choices, but many of which are locked and it is a hard learning grind to unlock all of the customizing options in the game. Hopefully this is patched very soon. The Klassic Towers return in which you fight against a tower of characters like you would in the classic games. There are five towers in total and each tower, you can change the difficulty and there is also an endless tower mode as well.

The story mode has its great moments just like any Mortal Kombat game and it follows up from the last game. I will not spoil too much of the story, but there are three different endings. Outside of that, it is enjoyable and seeing how the characters interract with eachother with good or cheesy dialouge is worth watching. The most enjoyable character I have watched during my playthrough is Johnny Cage and Sub-Zero. WWE Superstar and UFC Hall of Fame inductee Ronda Rousey voices Sonya Blade and I must say, her scenes felt very uninspiring and not motivated when I watched them. I like Rousey, but I wish she put more effort into her lines.

There is a Krypt mode that has been a staple of Mortal Kombat since Deadtly Alliance where you spend in game currency for unlockables. Here is where you unlock customization parts, costumes, fatalities and much more. There has been recent controversy over microtransactions on the other console and PC versions of the game. I have always stood away from microtranactions in video games because they are ridicilous.

Despite it’s nitpicks, Mortal Kombat 11 definitely delievers a flawless victory as one of the best fighting games of the year. If you have a Nintendo Switch, I recommend you to pick this up for that console as it is equally great as the other console versions.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content and subscribe to The Wrestling Court as we talk about the latest in pro wrestling, pop culture, and comics along with our live watch reactions to past matches. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com.

Master Thief Card Game Review

Julian is back here for another card game review of the month and this time, It is Master Thief by SPARR GAMES and published by Breaking Games.

To give a short background, this game began as a kickstarter and within time, over 1000 backers pledged this game for it to be developed with a total amount of $47,321 making it one of the fastest growing kickstarters for a card game of all time.

This game can be played between 3-6 players and it comes with 112 cards, 1 instruction sheet, and room for expansion booster packs which you can bus seperatly. The object of the game is to try to steal the highest valuable items from the museum and at the same time, you can try to sabotage your opponents from doing the same thing that you are. You have to escape without getting caught and while I was playing this with a few friends, I noticed the tension rising as we were near the point of getting caught.

I would also like to bring up that I like the design of the cards and the artwork. Especially the Museum cards with the colorful holographic effects. The Thief Cards (white) are actions, the Museum Cards (black) are treasures and some of them are security cards, and the Calling Cards (grey) are objective cards for the player to reach a goal.

To begin, you have to shuffle and scatter the Museum Cards face-down in a pile at the middle of tyhe table or playing area. The Thief Cards are in a deck to draw format next to the museum. The Calling Cards are also placed face down in a deck draw format as well next to the museum. Each player draws 4 Thief Cards and one Calling Card. Be sure to not show the cards to your opponent since your moves should catch them off guard. When the game begins, a “heist” starts as all players steal one card from the Museum pile at the same timne and then place the card that they stolen face up infront of them. Every player has to do this when their turn begins also while the game goes on. If a security card is drawn, you will have to go straight to immediate action and the player’s turn ends (also to note, if this type of card is drawn during the “heist”, your turn will not end). The action to prevent the Security Card’s effect is that going counterclockwise from the player who pulled the card, the next player will have to give up one of their treasures and after that, the Security Card and the item will go back into the pile. You are also allowed to play as many Thief Cards as you like per turn, as long as it is not more of the same titled thief card. Also, you are only allowed 4 Thief Cards in your hand per turn and you have a carrying limit of four items as well.

There are a few ways for the game to end. If the Thief Card deck has run out of cards to draw, the game ends. Escaping the museum is another way to end the game as you can actually do that at any end of the turn by revealing your Calling Card and if that sucessfully works, all of your Carried and Stashed items will count towards your final Black Market Credits total score. If your opponents do not stop you from escaping, then you are free to go with your items. But keep your score a secret until the game has fully ended. Also, if you are the final player inside the museum, you must escape after your final turn. One final way the game can end is that you accumulate 3 Security Strikes and when this happens, anyone still in play drops all of their carried items back to the Museum pile since they have failed to escape the Museum. When the players have been caught or escaped, everyone counts up their individual totals and the player with the most BMC points wins the game. If there is a tie, the thieves will have to return to the Museum for one final steal and the highest value of points wins.

This card game is very fun to play. It will take a few tries to fully learn the mechanics, but it is not overwhelmingly hard at all. I played this with five people with four games total. The game could end quick or long depends on how long it will take for everyone to get either caught or escape the museum. You will feel like you are on a spy mission while you are playing this game and I recommend this game for any party gathering as you can try to steal from a museum without leaving your house!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content and subscribe to The Wrestling Court as we talk about the latest in pro wrestling, pop culture, and comics along with our live watch reactions to past matches. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com.

WWE 2K19 Review

 

It is that time of the year again as WWE 2K19 is now in our hands. I got a review copy of the PS4 version of the game a few weeks ago, and now it is time for me to share my thoughts on this year’s installment of the game.

The cover star this year is the current WWE Champion AJ Styles as this year alone, he has proven to be “the face that runs the place” on the Smackdown brand. If you were to ask me 10 years ago when he was still wrestling for TNA if he would be on the cover, I would have said “not in a million years” but it happened this year as he is the MVP of Smackdown.

The roster this year is almost the same as last year with new additions to the 200 playable character roster such as The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’ Riley, and Bobby Fish), Andrade “Cien” Almas, The AOP, Bianca Belair, Riccochet, EC3, Tyler Bate, Pete Dunn, Lio Rush, Ronda Rousey, and Velveteen Dream. You can mix and match the current stars of today and from previous years in many matches to your desire. With the stacked roster this high, there is no reason for Tommaso Ciampa to be cut from the in game roster this year especially since he is the current NXT Champion.

This year, we got the return of 2K Showcase which was missing from the last two entries. 2K Showcase tells the story of the rise of Daniel Bryan in WWE. In between the matches, we are shown a video package along with narration of Daniel Bryan himself setting up what was going on storyline wise at the time before the match loaded up. It begins way back to his match with John Cena at Velocity from early 2003, all the way to his Wrestlemania return match from this year teaming with Shane McMahon going against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. All of those matches were great to play and I would have wished that we would have gotten to revisit the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/Aj Lee love triangle and matches from 2012 but I understood why they could not do it. My only other gripe with this mode is that many of the matches can last up to 30 minutes due to the objectives that you have to do during the match.

For the first time, MyCareer mode plays like a WWE storymode from the past games. You start off in an independent promotion and then work your way up to the WWE Performance Center and from there, it is NXT and then the main roster of Raw and Smackdown. I love that this time, the WWE Superstars and even your own character is voice acted during the scenes. In fact, the scenes with “Woken” Matt Hardy during this mode is quite funny but you will have to see that for yourself. The learning curve during this mode can be frustrating at times due to you starting with a very low set of moves and abilities and most of them you will have to unlock via randomized lootcrates and even those are very expensive when you purchase them by in game currency so it is good that there are no paid micro-transactions, but this system needs to go in the next game for good.

The gameplay is much more solid than the last two entries as I rarely encountered glitches or bugs even when there were 8 men in the ring during a Ladder Match. The Cage Match has been reworked so you can escape easier along with fighting on the top edge of the cage. I wanted this feature for many years since it adds more drama to the match itself. The custom match creator this year can be saved in the option that you create it even in Universe Mode. The lightning and the entrances are on point and the presentation looks like if you are watching it on TV. The commentary has improved a slight bit, but at times I can hear repeated words during matches.

Speaking of Universe Mode, this year, you can finally assign managers to any superstar on your Universe Mode roster. You can also have up to 6 championships per show now which is great news for anyone that wants to have two mid-card championships on each show. On this mode now as well is the ability to choose who will be the Money In The Bank holder and which championship that either he or she will target. I wanted this feature way back in Smackdown vs Raw 2011 and it is great to finally see it being used in this game. Also, you can finally pick who wins simulated matches in case if you do not want to play the match and that lifted a huge weight off my shoulder. Universe Mode always needed adjustments since it was first introduced 8 years ago, but I felt that this year the developers made more effort to tweak it than any other game.

The Creation Suite’s features can have you there for hours doing customized things such as Create A Superstar, Arena, and Entrance but also for the first time this year, you can create a MITB briefcase with your own design as you please and use it on Universe Mode. You can also create block versions of WWE superstars or your own characters as well.

There is also an towers mode where you can face different superstars in different match situations. It starts off easy, but it gets hard with each match that progresses. It is like WWE’s version of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter with their towers mode.

This year’s game has been a massive improvement from the last two games. The last overall game that I loved was WWE 2k14 and every year since then, it has not matched up to how fun a WWE video game is supposed to be and I can say that the fun factor has returned in this game. It is so fun, that they even added (by Xavior Wood’s request) a big head mode. I have not used this yet, but I know it was added in for nostalgia of silliness of 90’s games. Despite the hard learning curve of MyCareer mode and their lootcrate system, I fully recommend this game to pick up.

My score is a 8.9/10

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E3 2018-The Good, The Bad, And The Very UGLY

 

E3 is like Christmas for nerds. For a few days, major publishers get on stage and show off new footage, whether it be gameplay or CGI trailers, of their up and coming games. The companies involved include EA, Sony, and Bethesda. Like many others, I watched many of these live myself, or at the very least had it on in the background while I was working on something else. Now that E3 happenings are wrapping up, it’s time to do what every geek like me does…grade the conferences!

A few things to mention before I give my thoughts on the different conferences. First, I’m basing my feelings on the conferences based on two things: games and presentation. I place the emphasis on the games at the end of the day, but presentation can factor into how I feel about a conference. Also, I’ll be omitting Devolver Digital, Square Enix, and the PC Gamer Show from this particular discussion since Devolver’s is mostly a joke conference and Square Enix didn’t really show anything in their conference that hadn’t already been seen in others, specifically Microsoft’s. As for PC Gamer Show, I remember watching the first one they did and being bored for three hours, and I’d rather not do that again. With that out of the way, let’s get to grading, starting with…

Oh boy, EA…let’s just get them out of the way. I’ll say this about EA, you can always count on them to be the most boring of all them. No style, no real interesting games beyond a couple EA Originals…just a stale presentation. It doesn’t help that they once again spent a good chunk of time talking about sports games because they haven’t realized yet that nobody tunes in to E3 to learn about Madden. The ultimate takeaway here is that EA does not seem to understand how gamers work. They don’t seem to know what they want or what they’re here for. That’s why we get dreadfully long segments talking about the next FIFA game or the awful looking Command and Conquer mobile game.

There’s only two games that EA showed that were at all interesting. Unravel Two, a platforming game where you play as creatures made of yarn, looks pretty fun. I’m actually tempted to see if my wife is willing to give it a go with me, since it seems like it’s built to be played with another person. As it turns out, this game is out now, so it’s not like we have to wait to try if that’s what we decide to do. The other game is Sea of Solitude. I can’t say I fully understand what the game is, mechanically speaking. Hard to tell if it’s supposed to be a 3D platformer, an exploration focused game, or a puzzle game. But it looks visually interesting and could potentially be an enjoyable game. At least as enjoyable as a game about loneliness can be. But other than those two games, EA’s offerings were very slim.

I also thought it weird how much time was spent trying to convince us that they “made a mistake” when really they knew exactly what they were doing with Star Wars: Battlefront II and just wanted to nickle and dime us for all we were worth, only for their lootbox focused strategy to blow up in their face. They’re promising all sorts of things with Bioware’s Anthem game, and I just can’t see it ending well. I don’t see how anyone can be excited about Anthem when EA has essentially shown us what they really want to do with their games. But we’ll see…Anthem still looks boring. Yeah, I said it. Putting aside the fear of EA tampering with Anthem to make as much money out of it as possible, the game itself doesn’t look very interesting to me. Always online games tend to bore me. They promise to have a campaign or something for single players, but I get the feeling that will go the way of Destiny 2 where the campaign was pretty forgettable. Regardless, single player is obviously not the focus for Anthem, and thus it does not have my interest.

Conference Rating: F

If you had told me that Microsoft would have been one of my favorite conferences of all the E3 shows, I would’ve laughed. But I think it’s a combination of the rapid fire presentation of a variety of games along with the fact that many of them will come to PC (my platform of choice) actually had me really happy with Microsoft’s presentation. They kicked things off with a trailer for Halo: Infinite. No gameplay was shown, but I’m happy to see some Halo finally making its way to PC. I’m wishing so hard for a proper Halo to come to the PC platform that I’m even willing to play this even if it’s some always online game, just so Microsoft can know that they’d have people willing to buy Halo on PC. Because let’s be honest, if you’re a PC gamer then you have no reason to get an XBox just for one game since most every XBox game is coming to PC anyway. And even if you’re not a PC gamer, I would still question the need to get an XBox.

But this isn’t about consoles right now. This is about games, and Microsoft came out swinging. Kingdom Hearts III got its first of many showings here. A cute fox game called Tunic was shown off that looks like it could be a lot of fun. Fallout 76 took up a little time, but obviously Bethesda was saving most of that game for their own conference. From Software’s newest title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice reminds me that I still need to try Dark Souls sometime. Gears Tactics could also be right up my alley, as I do enjoy a good strategy game. There were, of course, a couple duds. Forza Horizon 4 is not going to sell an extra copy by being at E3 (but at least they didn’t bring out the car this time), and Gears Pop looks weird and out of character for the Gears of War franchise.

Of course, we can’t mention the Microsoft conference without talking about the reveal at the end. Cyberpunk 2077 has been in the works for a long time now, and it’s nice to finally see that come out of hiding. There was a ton shown here, and it would take forever to talk about them all. Needless to say, however, Microsoft’s show has given me a few things to keep an eye on. In terms of conference presentation, everything was so rapid fire that there was barely a presentation to speak of. It was just one game after another, with a few occasional moments of talking. The focus was on the games here, and for that I’m pleased.

Conference Rating: A

 

For the third year Bethesda has brought their own conference. I think of all their conferences, this might be their second best. Their first conference still reigns supreme, but I feel this did a fine job. Though I could’ve done without the concert at the beginning before Rage 2 was announced. In fact, I think the entire conference could have been shortened by a good twenty to thirty minutes and we wouldn’t have lost much, if anything. But once again, let’s get to the games. Rage 2 and Fallout 76 were the two main titles of Bethesda’s E3 conference, with more emphasis on the latter. We started with Rage 2, and I still think that game could actually be pretty fun. It looks to borrow a lot of ideas from the DOOM reboot, and I believe DOOM 2016 sets the bar for how first person shooters should be from this point forward. We’ll just seen when it gets here.

Speaking of DOOM, a sequel to the 2016 reboot has been announced, but it was ultimately an announcement announcing an announcement. We got a teaser trailer for DOOM: Eternal, and then were told that gameplay would be shown at Quakecon in August. I wish they had just not said anything and shown off everything at Quakecon instead, but at the same time I can’t be mad about a new entry in what I think is the best shooter to have ever graced us. We also got a look at a new Wolfenstein game, but once again there was no gameplay.

Fallout 76 was definitely the main attraction here, and I gotta be honest I’m not sure what to think of it anymore. I think I’ve made it clear that online only games aren’t very interesting to me, but Fallout 76 has the potential to be an exception to that rule. It’s hard to know without playing it though, and considering it’s coming out around the same time as Smash Ultimate, I doubt I’ll get to playing the game for some time, if ever. One game that surprised me in how fun it looks is The Elder Scrolls: Blades, a mobile game of all things. Yet it seems to be a mobile game that actually, you know, has gameplay. Once again, it won’t be till Fall of this year when we get our hands on it, but consider me intrigued. Bethesda ended it all with two teasers, one for a new IP called Starfield and another for Elder Scrolls VI. There’s not much to say about either one, since we did just get logos after all, but I’m always down with new IPs and I’ve been waiting a while for Elder Scrolls VI to be formally announced, so it was nice to see them.

Conference Rating: B-

Starting off with a dancing panda was not a great way to start Ubisoft. Stop doing stuff like this. Anyway, I’m so terribly indifferent to the Ubisoft conference that I considered not bothering with reviewing it when I started thinking about this blog post. Ubisoft is a bit like EA in that nothing they do is particularly exciting or interesting. But the difference is whereas EA just has boring conferences, Ubisoft has boring, predictable games. We’ve seen Assassin’s Creed over and over again. Just Dance is nothing new. The Division looks like an online only bore. The only possibly interesting thing they had was Beyond Good and Evil 2, and I still have no idea what to think of this game. I’ve not played the original Beyond Good and Evil and even I know the tone of this game is very, very different from its predecessor. And being open world doesn’t help my interest levels.

Starlink could be cool if they cut out the toy stuff. Transference could be interesting, but it’s VR only and who knows when I’ll ever get a VR headset. I still question the future of that technology. I could talk about the Donkey Kong Country expansion for Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle but that’s for a game released last year. There’s so little to discuss here that I think I’ll just move on. If you like Assassin’s Creed or The Crew, then I’m sure there was something here for you. But for me, there was nothing of interest. Just a very “meh” showing. The dancing panda did not help.

Conference Rating: C-

I hope you’re not squeamish because Sony made it a point to bring out all the blood and gore in the games they showed. I also hope you’re not the type of person who has trouble sitting still for several minutes because Sony made sure you would do that for far too long. Things kicked off in a confusing fashion. The auditorium was dressed up like it was supposed to be some kind of church setting, with a man playing the banjo for several minutes. Then a trailer begins, and it’s for The Last of Us Part II. I know a lot of people are looking forward to this game including myself.

After a lengthy Last of Us trailer, we’re then stuck with talking heads…for thirty minutes. I’m not making this up. A bunch of randoms sat behind a test and talked…and talked…and talked…and talked…and talked some more.

It. Was. Awful.

I was moderating a facebook with some friends commenting on everything live, and when this segment played out everyone, me included, was losing our minds. We could not believe what we were seeing. No gameplay, no trailers for anything, just talking heads for thirty minutes. And when things finally begin to pick back up, we had to listen to some musical number before finally getting a look at the next game, one of the only ones shown at the Sony conference that I found interesting. Ghost of Tsushima is not only a pretty game, but it looks like it could be quite a lot of fun. Although I can’t say much more than that since the gameplay wasn’t necessarily something we’ve never seen before, but it looks like its well put together.

The Sony conference continued at a much better pace after that. A remake of Resident Evil 2 was shown, as well as yet another Kingdom Hearts III trailer. Death Stranding made its third appearance, and we still have no idea what it is. I really wonder about Death Stranding and how it will be received once it finally comes out. I fear it’s getting more hype than is really healthy, and on release it could suffer for it. But only time will tell, I guess. A new game called Control looked pretty interesting, but not a whole lot was shown. Nioh is getting a sequel. But the last game shown, and the other Sony game that has my attention, is the new Spider-Man game. We got a good look at what gameplay is like as well as some characters who will be making their appearance. A lot of people have compared this to the Batman: Arkham games, and I think that’s a good comparison to be made. If Spider-Man plays at all like the Arkham games, then I think we’ll be in for a real treat.

After so many successful E3 shows, it was pretty hard to watch Sony fail so hard this year. A lot of was down to how it presented its conference. A thirty minute long talking head segment soured the mood fast, and brief musical numbers throughout the show all felt extremely out of place. I found out later that those music moments peppered between trailers was for that Dreams game, which has been in development for a long time now, but I wouldn’t have known that just from looking. All in all, presentation was bad and there weren’t many games shown that interested me at all.

 

Conference Rating: D-

They showed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Instant A+.

Okay, but really. Nintendo got right to business by showing Daemon X Machina, a mech based action game. I like mechs a lot in video games, so it quickly got my attention. I also really enjoyed the visual style of the game. We then got a look at a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 expansion, then swiftly moved on to the two new Pokemon Let’s Go games. I was surprised by how little time was spent on Pokemon Let’s Go, but at the same time I think I see why. Most people know how Pokemon works at this point.

Another neat looking title was Fire Emblem: Three Houses. If they can move away from the waifu simulator stuff the last Fire Emblem game (or rather, games) did, then that’ll be enough for me to be a happy camper. It’s also nice to see Fire Emblem coming back to the big screen after being relegated to the 3DS for a long time. They then showed off a handful of 3rd party games coming to the Switch, but a lot of them we already knew about like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Wolfenstein II, and Dark Souls: Remastered.

Then we get to the main event: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. A lot of people wish more was shown, but being someone who considers Smash his favorite game series, of course I was all over this. The main takeaway is that everyone who’s ever been in a Smash Bros. game is coming back. This includes Solid Snake, Young Link, Pichu…yeah, they mean everyone.

It may come as no surprise then that I loved this conference. I will eat up anything with Smash Bros. in it. So this rating might come off as a bit biased, but there’s a good reason for that…it is. But as I mentioned, I judge these based primarily on games. And I love Super Smash Bros., and a half hour of that is perfect for me. Yes, I’m still giving this one an A+.

Conference Rating: A+

Regardless of my or anyone else’s opinions, I think it’s safe to say at the end of the day there was something for everyone here. I think Microsoft should especially be proud of the show they put on. I didn’t expect to be saying that at the end of E3, but here we are. Nintendo would of course captured me with ease when they started showing Smash, but I didn’t expect to get so much of it. It’s a shame Sony’s conference dropped the ball so hard when it came to presentation, but they were bound to do so at some point. Even if most of the games don’t interest me, I’m sure there are plenty of people excited to play Nioh 2 or The Last of Us Part II, so to you all I say happy gaming. Now we just need to hope that none of these projects get cancelled (RIP Scalebound). My ultimate (heh) conclusion is that there’s still not a great deal of games coming in 2018 that I desperately want to play, but since 2019 is when a lot of the games shown are planned to release it looks like it could be a crazy, fun filled year.

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Nintendo Switch Online Service Will Not Have Virtual Console

 

Today, Nintendo released new information about the online service that will be released in September:


So this offers not only the opportunity to play switch games such as “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” or “Splatoon 2”, but also classic NES titles such as “Ice Climber” or “Baloon Fight” online. 20 NES games will be available for release, but the selection is expected to expand steadily. All NES titles are supported by the Nintendo Switch Online App voice chat.


In addition, a kind of cloud storage system is introduced, with which it is possible, in the case of a reinstallation of a software saved scores again via the Internet. There is no more detailed information about the cloud, it is only pointed out that this will not be available for every software.


Further, the membership options are more accurately executed. So it will be in addition to the individual memberships for $ 3.99 (1 month / 30 days), $7.99 (3 months / 90 days) and $19.99 (12 months / 365 days), a family package for $34.99 be available for 12 months / 365 days. This is not only convenient for homes with multiple switch consoles, but also for people who have multiple accounts on a console because the online service will be account-bound. How many accounts can use the family package, is not yet known.

Last but not least, probably a less gratifying news: Nintendo confirmed to the English-language gaming news site “Kotaku” that there are currently no plans to bring classic games under the “Virtual Console” branding on the switch. However, this statement does not mean that there are no plans to bring classics to the Switch, not just under the name “Virtual Console”. So it could be possible that various SNES, N64 GameCube and GameBoy titles could later be available via the online service, or how the “NeoGeo Arcade” classics will simply be ported to the switch for a low price.

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My Arcade Gaming’s Mini Arcade Machine Review

If you love arcade machines or retro gaming, then this is for you. I have first seen this at the NY Toy Fair and i was interested in trying it out. Here is my review of the Micro Player Arcade that is produced by My Arcade Gaming.

Right from when you see the box, you know it speaks retro and something you used to play when you were a kid. I was given the Karate Champ game and there are many other mini arcade machines made by them including Pac-Man, Galaga, Rolling Thunder and much more coming soon. The buttons work great with no input lag at all. You can also detach the joystick from the machine too if you want just incase if you want to use the directional pad. The feel of the arcade is very smooth but also glossy on the edges just like an original arcade machine. The micro machine takes four batteries but you can also use an USB charger since there is a USB port. There is volume control too on the back of the machine and you can even plug in headphones if you do not want to have outside noise. To turn on the machine, there is a button in the bottom front and it is shaped like a coin slot with the “player one” or “player two” button but you do not have to use quarters to play these machines.

This is a great product and you can buy this for your kids during road trips or for yourself to play and collect. The publisher did a great job making this in an age where retro gaming is still in today’s society. I highly recommend for you to go to your local gaming or comic book store to pick this up.

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Toy Fair 2018-Keep Calm and Game On Review

If you love party card games such as Cards Against Humanity or Apples Apples, Then you can add one more to your collection that you can play with your friends and that is Keep Calm and Game On. This card game has a familiar concept of those two games but it has an interesting twist to the other two games that i mentioned and you will be laughing for hours during your time with the game. So what is in this game? Well it is time to dive in the deck of cards to see what is there.

Keep Calm and Game On is made by Breaking Games and they also have a library of games that you can check out. In this game, Each player is dealt with 6 response cards and the rest of the cards that are in the deck is placed in the middle of the table. Every player takes turns drawing a situation card and they have to read it out loud to the other players. The other players choose one of their response cards and gives it to the judge of the game to read. The judge has to decide of the response cards that was given to him, which response was the best out of all of them. Whichever the judge decides, the player gets a point and control of the situation cards. Then, each player draws another response card to fill their hand and repeat the next round. The first player to have 6 points wins the game. You can also change the rules to how many points the player must have in order to in to your own liking. The cards itself can turn situations into very hilarious responses. For example, one of the situation cards might read “WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS” and then one of the response cards might say “KEEP CALM AND BECOME A SUPER VILLAIN”. The possibilities are endless with this game. The twist comes with the “Panic!” cards as they bring a fun new element to the game such as skipping a judge or discarding responses.

This game can be played between 3-8 players and the age range is between 18+ and older. You can play this in parties or with your friends at gatherings. I highly recommend for anyone to try it and it only takes less than two minutes to understand the gameplay.

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