Author Archives: Krispy

Metroid: Samus Returns Review

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the Metroid series. Ever since I played Super Metroid as a young lad, I have always had a strong fondness for the series. But since the release of Metroid: Other M on the Wii, we have been in the midst of a Metroid drought. And Other M wasn’t exactly the best note to leave the franchise in limbo on. But maybe that’s a story for another time. After this extended period without Metroid, many of us started to wonder when we would ever see another entry in the series again. Then in comes E3 2017. Not only do we get the announcement of a new entry in the Metroid Prime series, but also a remake of the classic Gameboy title, Metroid: The Return of Samus, and it was just months away.

The day is here. After years of waiting we finally have in our hands a new Metroid, and it is an adventure that proves to have been worth waiting for. The game, though being a remake, has introduced many new ideas and revamped many aspects of the original. Was it worth the wait?

Yes, yes it was. The game is jam packed with hidden areas and collectables to find, so it’s Metroid. The new features like the ability to counter enemies attacks, the 360 degree free aiming and the new “Aeion” abilities are all a great addition that add a certain level of excitement throughout the game. From beginning to end the game is a rather exciting troll through Planet SR388 and a great remake of the classic it is based off of.

The Good:

  • Playing as Samus in a return to the 2D play style just feels right again. Controls are smooth and responsive.
  • They did a great job giving Samus personality through the small, voiceless cutscenes. One scene in-particular proved she is still a certified badass.
  • First game in a long time where I actually enjoyed having the 3D on. All the background activity was a nice touch to bring life to the planet.
  • The soundtrack is wonderful. Has that epic spacey Metroid vibe we’ve grown to love.
  • THE BABY METROID. I want one.

The Not as Good

  • The diversity in enemies is a bit slim for a Metroid entry. Especially with regards to the bosses.
  • Some content, whereas not necessary to the game, is locked behind the purchase of the Samus Returns Amiibo’s. Which is only made worse by their short supply at the time of this writing,

If you are a fan of Metroid, you should absolutely buy this game. Honestly if you are a fan and haven’t bought it already go out and do it! We have been begging the Big N to revisit the franchise and they finally have. And it is a very worthy trip back to the galaxy.

Thimbleweed Park Interview W/ Ron Gilbert

Just a few weeks ago at PAX West i had the privilege to interview one of my gaming idols: Video game legend, Ron Gilbert. We talked about his most recent game, Thimbleweed Park, and it’s upcoming release for the Nintendo Switch. If you haven’t played it yet, do it! We thought it was a fantastic game!

Kris: So we’ve been big fans of your work for a long time one of my favorite earlier gaming memories is playing Day of the Tentacle which I know you’re a writer on.

Ron: Actually I wasn’t a writer on Day of the Tentacle…

Kris: Oh you weren’t a writer?

Ron: I wasn’t a writer, no. I think, I think, like, Moby Games has that wrong. Yeah, I was not a writer.

Kris: Okay, so were you like a creative…

Ron: I was, you know, obviously Gary and I did the original maniac mansion and then it’s, like, right at the beginning, I think… Gary and I said, “Hey, do it about time travel!” and that was like, that was it.

Kris: So, Tim Schafer gave you the…

Ron: Well, Dave [Winnick]

Kris: I didn’t know that, now I’ve learned something! But where I was going with that, too, is I remember playing Maniac Mansion, inside of Day of the Tentacle, and it being kind of hard for me at the time but still like being blown away by how creepy everything was and really loving it. So, one of my question is, “What got you into creating video games back thirty years ago, or however long it’s been?” Now, probably more than that.

Ron: Yeah, more than that, cause I started doing games when I was in junior high school, and what really got me into it was my dad was a physicist and so he had access to these like very early microcomputers before anyone could even dream of having them at home and I was really enthralled with them and I wanted to learn how to program, and I think when you’re a kid it’s like, you want to learn, you make games… you don’t make accounting software.

Kris: “Right?”

Ron: “…you get a game so I just started, you know, doing that and I would, you know, I’d go down to like the local pizza place and I’d play the arcade game then come home and I tried to replicate them on my computer so that’s just how I got started doing it.”

Kris: “Yeah, very smart too to think, like, let me go here and play this and then try to recreate it, that’s awesome. So out of all the years you’ve been making games all the different games you’ve made, what would you say is one of your favorite projects? Would it be Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: I think my favorite games to work on were actually the adventure games that we did for kids at Humongous Entertainment.

Kris: Yeah, Spy Fox?

Ron: Yeah, Spy Fox and Putt Putt and Pajama Sam. I think in some ways those were like the most fulfilling games to make because, you know, they were real, true adventure games and, you know, just going after that kid audience, I mean kids just just devoured those games.

Kris: I remember playing them, as a kid, and actually I was at that age where I may have been a little too old. Like, I didn’t need the “Welcome” aspects of it, but I still enjoyed it.”

Ron: Yeah

Kris: It was still fun, it wasn’t dumbed down because I was a kid.

Ron: Yeah, that was very important to us. They’re kinda simplified, but they’re not dumbed down.

Kris: That was fantastic. Because nowadays it seems like a lot of games that are made for kids are just dumbed down, it’s just so boring like “This is what you do…”

Ron: Just tap, tap, tap.

Kris: It makes me sad, cause in the 90s a lot of the games I grew up on… weren’t. Like, even Nintendo and stuff, sure they made it family friendly but they weren’t easy.

Ron: Yeah, exactly, they were actually very hard.

Kris: So that makes sense. I’m sure for many kids, myself included, we grew up on those, they even came out on the Wii, like 10 or 11 years ago.

Ron: I think I think more people, far more people have played, you know, Putt Putt, Pajama Sam than have ever played Monkey Island. I mean, we sold literally millions of copies of those things, yeah, and so I mean I have no doubt that more people play that but it’s like I’m known for Monkey Island even though far more people play these other things, y’know?

Kris: I guess I can see that and now as adults that’s what we think about more. Ron Gilbert. Monkey Island. It makes sense though, that it would hold such a fondness for you. But, I mean, moving on to Thimbleweed Park. What made you decide that that was your next project after all the other stuff you worked on?

Ron: Well, Thimbleweed Park, you know came about because Gary Winnick and I, you know, we did Maniac Mansion together. We’re just sitting around we’re talking about the charm that those little games have. You know a lot of modern adventure games are good and I enjoy them but they’re missing that weird charm that those games had and so we were just talking about what is that charm? What made those charming and then thinking about well, you know, what if we made one of those games again, kind of like we made them back then, could we figure out what that charm was?

Kris: Yeah

Ron: and that’s where it kind of all started and, you know, of course Kickstarter is a great place to go for that kind of stuff and you know we’ve gotten a lot of money so I think there were a lot of other people that were also interested in that.

Kris: I would agree, I know, as I mentioned Monkey Island… not Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle was one of the first games I ever played. I grew up on Space Quest and eventually it evolved. Space Quest was like my first point and click game. And one of the first games I ever played with one of my best friends. And then that evolved into, we played Monkey Island, we played Codename: Iceman, and, y’know, we played all these other point and click games. But it seemed like the genre had died in the 2000s especially. But the last couple years it’s kinda seen a resurgence. And Thimbleweed Park is like that perfect throwback to that time…

Ron: Oh yeah, very much.

Kris: Because those games didn’t take themselves too seriously, but yet they were serious and fun, and I feel like Thimbleweed Park is that.

Ron: Oh yeah, very much so, it is a very, very serious story, kind of. But that’s true even on Monkey Island, and if you look at the story of Monkey Island, it’s a very serious story, it’s just that it’s just kind of comedically told and there’s these comedic elements that ride on it.

Kris: It made it easy to stomach as a kid, I guess. You know you can look at the darkness, but it’s so funny! So, having used Kickstarter for Thimbleweed Park, is that something you’d do again in the future?

Ron: Maybe. You know, I think that Kickstarter… I mean Kickstarter is not like a solution to all your problems and so, you know if you get money from say a publisher, you know there’s a lot of upsides to that… there’s a lot of downsides to that. And when you get money from Kickstarter there’s a lot of upsides to that… lot of downsides to that. If you pay for the game yourself out of your own bank account lotta upside to that, a lot of downside to that

Kris: A lot of give and take.

Ron: yeah, and so you kind of gotta to decide and I think, you know, whether I would use Kickstarter again would probably depend a lot on what the game was I was building. Yeah, is it the kind of, you know, story that I can tell to Kickstarter backers to kind of get them excited?

Kris: That makes sense. So I know your first console that Thimbleweed Park was released on was Steam, PC, Xbox – what pushed you in that route first and then Sony and Nintendo later?

Ron: I think the thing that pushed us to Xbox first was, you know, we had went around to Sony and we went to Xbox and we talked to them and Microsoft just seemed really, really excited about it and they were really willing to really promote the game when it came out and a lot of stuff so it really was was just kind of their excitement for the game that’s kind of what kind of pushed us to them first but we’re out on Sony now, we’ll be out on the switch next month.

Kris: I appreciate hearing that too, about any of the “Big 3” when they’re actually easy to work wit, and they want your game there.

Ron: It makes it a lot easier.

Kris: Yeah, I can imagine.  So skip over Sony a little bit and go to Nintendo. Has it been easy working on the switch? Porting it over?

Ron: Yeah, from a hardware standpoint the switch is like really easy for us. then we’re using a custom engine, you know, we’re not using unity or anything and so getting all that over to Switch was really not that hard at all and we had started the iOS version and so I had written all of the code to deal with touch controls.

Kris: Nice!

Ron: So getting all that over to the Switch was all fairly easy.

Kris: That’s kewl, yeah I know I’m excited to play it on the Switch so I can play it everywhere I go. That’s what I love about my Switch now is how easy and accessible it is.

Ron: I don’t think my Switch has been in its dock more than, like, 10 minutes since I bought it.

Kris: Right? I put it in my dock at night, and then charge it and take it – it’s with me right now.

Ron: Yeah, just to charge it.

Kris: Another thing about the new Thimbleweed Park you can tell playing the game there was a heavy influence from shows like that X-Files and Twin Peaks,what other influences? That is correct, right? Those are a couple of the influences?

Ron: Yeah, mostly Twin Peaks. Yeah, I mean the fact that, you know, Agent Ray and Reyes look like Mulder and  Scully that was actually kind of a shock to us.

Kris: Oh really, so it wasn’t planned?

Ron: Yeah, because no it’s like we, you know, create those characters and we put the Kickstarter up and I swear like the second comment on the Kickstarter page was “Oh, they look like Mulder and Scully” and I went “oh shit” it’s like  I did not even think of that, you know, and so yeah I mean I didn’t really even watch the X-Files, you know. I mean I’ve seen some episodes and stuff but I was never really a fan so I would say far more influences has been Twin Peaks and David Lynch.

Kris: Yeah, it has that vibe. David Lynch is […?]

Ron: Yeah, he is. Have you ever seen Eraserhead?

Kris: I haven’t.

Ron: You HAVE to go watch Eraserhead.

Kris: I’ll do that.

Ron: It is the bizarrest thing…

Kris: I can only imagine, because Twin Peaks and I watched Mulholland Drive, and I’ve never been so confused than after watching Mulholland Drive. I’m still confused by it. Would you say, what other influences did you draw from?

Ron: Well… when I when when we were putting this putting the Kickstarter together and first like plotting everything out I was also watching True Detective right and so there’s the whole… there was, at least the first season there was a really kinda nice… there was an animosity between the two leading characters.

Kris: I haven’t seen the show but I’m familiar with it.

Ron: Yeah there’s a lot of animosity between them. There was a lot of mistrust between them and, you know, we wanted a lot of that to come out in the way Ray and Reyes kinda see each other. Whereas Mulder and Scully, I mean they’re friends right?

Kris: Well they slept together.

Ron: You know one of them’s a skeptic, one of them, whatever. I mean they’re friends, right? And we wanted there to be a little more animosity and also, uh, Stephen King was a big influence because you he does a really good job of writing these very kinda creepy stories that all take place in these small towns where there’s a whole lot kind of going underneath you know everything. I think those are really our three big influences.

Kris: And you can see that! True Detective I haven’t watched to truly get that.

Ron: Watch season one, ignore season two.

Kris: That’s the one with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey?

Ron: Yeah

Kris: I’ve heard its good and the second season isn’t good – i’ll have to watch it. Now that you’re pretty much finished with Thimbleweed Park, I know you’re finishing with the porting, are you going to make another Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t tend to think about my next project until I’m totally done with my current one and had some time off, so as soon as these two ports are done, I’m gonna go, like, actually what I’m gonna do as soon as these ports are done and I’ve had a little vacation I’m gonna like download the Unreal Engine and because I’ve never played with it and I’m gonna spend like a month just understanding the Unreal Engine.

Kris: yeah?

Ron: I mean nothing may come of it but I just, I want to understand it. So that’s kind of my vacation in a way.

Kris: And as a programmer I’m assuming that that’s fun in itself.

Ron: Yeah, it is, yeah. It’s been more fun than laying on a beach.

Kris: Yeah, I agree, I mean I don’t program but anytime I’m playing with anything electronic I have more fun than laying on a beach. So I hear you. One final question for you: Who was your favorite character to create in Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: Probably Ransome the Clown.

Kris: ‘Cause he’s the best!

Ron: Yeah, he’s kind of an asshole.

Kris: He’s fantastic. He’s what you want a clown to be. An ass, and not a creepy happy clown!

Ron: I think the thing with Ransome that I really want to do with him is I wanted to make sure he had no redeeming qualities, right? And you’d look at, like in the Simpsons you know there’s Krusty the Clown and he’s kind of a jerk, but you can tell he’s got a heart.

Kris: He has redeemable qualities.

Ron: Yeah, he does! I want to make sure that Ransome is just an asshole. Period. That’s all he was.

Kris: And you’ve succeeded.

Ron: (laughter) Well, thank you, I think, I think thank you.

Kris: No, it is a success! Because he’s laughable, in a good way, in a bad way-good way. Well I appreciate your time – very much, it really is an honor to meet you. I know, not just myself but a lot of us grew up on your work and this is why I like doing this is the hopes to meet people who created my childhood and my adulthood.

Ron: Right.

Splatoon 2 Review

When The first Splatoon came out I don’t think anyone knew what to truly expect. And it’s unlikely many expected it to be as much of a success on the system as it was. But a success on the Wii U, wasn’t much of a success sadly.

Out comes the Switch. The first video we ever saw, on the day they announced that the Nintendo Switch was its official name, they showed Splatoon in that demo reel and even with the minimal details we got that day, you could tell Splatoon was going to get the attention it deserved finally. With the Switch’s break out success, Splatoon’s sales will definitely be at a place they should always have been at, because Splatoon 2 is a fantastic follow up to its predecessor.

If you aren’t familiar with Splatoon here is a very quick synopsis. You play as an Inkling. Whether you pick a boy or a girl, they play the same. You can transition from you human-like form into a squid and swim through your color ink seamlessly to both move fast and recharge you ink. Your goal? To cover everything with ink and splat anyone who tries to stop you! Many may write this game off as a childish shooter, but its layers of depth, and just pure fun should be plenty of reason never to be one of those people.

If you played the original Splatoon you know one mode well, Turf Wars! They have made a glorious return! With a decent amount of levels to play on and plenty of weapons, both new and old, Turf War is even better then before. The shooter concept boiled down to the simple seeming idea of covering turf works so well, it’s hard to stop after just one match. You always find yourself saying just one more! Because the formula just works so well! The Ranked and League battles add even more to keep you coming back for more. And with the occasional Splatfast that The Big N plans on supporting for years to come, Turf War is easily better then ever. But this time around, Turf War isn’t the only mode and in my opinion, isn’t the one that shines the brightest..

That would be the new mode, Salmon Run. If you’ve ever played Horde Mode in Halo, or Zombies in COD, you’ll have a slight idea of what you have in store with the Salmon Runs. You’re goal is to collect golden eggs and deliver them at the drop point. You only get golden eggs from the many different bosses that come up. Some bosses aren’t too problematic, others are oh so frustrating (Im looking at you Flyfish!) But each one of them always feels great to beat and gather those gold eggs! The better you do during the online battles, the higher your pay rate goes, which helps you get bonuses quicker and quicker! These range from coupons to get boosts to experience and coins, to even getting exclusive gear! This makes taking part in Salmon Runs even more worthwhile. Where I feel the Salmon Run mode really shines is the sense of camaraderie that you get working with others to beat these runs! As the difficulty gets higher, you have to play even smarter and communicate even better. I’ve got to say, playing this local with 3 other friends with Switches is prolly my new favorite thing to do on my Switch! The actual online Salmon Run isn’t always running, which is a bit of a disappointment since it is so good. But you can always play it locally as long as you have other friend’s with Switches around.

There’s even a single player story mode to play through if you are looking for something to do in your spare time. It’s not great, but it’s better then the first Spaltoon’s single player offerings.

Splatoon 2 may not be everyone’s cup of ink. But if you have even the most remote interest in shooter types, give it a try. The game is just a ton of fun when you get going. It makes for easy pick up and play sessions and the multiplayer, both online and local, is just a blast. The amount of gear you can obtain and the versatility in the weapons give plenty of different play styles to experiment with. All in all Splatoon 2 is a game that should be in the collection of most Switch owners

Conclusion

If you are looking for a good multiplayer experience for your Switch, Splatoon is it. It’s a good take on the common shooter genre. There is plenty of content to keep you coming back and with Nintendo planning to support the game in to the future, Splatoon should have a nice long life on the Switch.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Multiplayer
  • Salmon Run is a Great New Mode
  • New Weapons Are a Nice Addition
  • Local Mulitplayer with Multiple Switch’s Works Very Well
  • Nintendo Plans to Support the Game for Years to Come
  • The Story Mode has Much More Content Then the First Games.

Cons:

  • But the Story Mode is Still an Obvious Afterthought
  • Connection Stability Can be a Problem
  • Too Many Connection Issues and they lock ya out for a bit.

 

Sonic Mania Review

“Sonic, he can really move! Sonic, he’s got an attitude! Sonic, he’s the fastest thing alive!” Every day before elementary school I would get up early enough to catch the back to back episodes at 7:00 AM to hear that theme song! I loved Sonic. So much so that I begged my parents to make chili dogs just because it was his food of choice! Bigfoot and I would play Sonic 2 all the time, and it was great. But since the Genesis era we’ve all been clammering for a Sonic game to recapture that feel of speed, and it’s true they struggled with it. Is Sonic Mania the Sonic game fans have been longing for?

The Good:

  • Sonic can really move again. The game has the proper speed of a Sonic game for the first time in what feels like forever.
  • The graphics are a wonderful recreation of the Genesis era, and looks beautiful running at 1080P and 60FPS on the Switch docked, 720P and 60FPS undocked.
  • Being able to play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles or Sonic & Tails gives added reason to replay the game.
  • The new levels are great additions and the old levels and music are still fantastic.
  • The bonus areas are a fun challenge to unlock extra bonuses.
  • The homage to Dr. Robotnic’s Mean Bean Machine was a wonderful addition.
  • at $20 it feels like you are really getting more then your money’s worth.

The Not So Good:

  • 10 minutes just doesn’t feel long enough on some of these rather long levels.
  • The bonus stages, where a nice challenge, come up too often, and somewhat take away from the speed of the game at times.
  • At the time of this writing, the Switch version has some weird issues. Not game breaking, but not convenient.

Is Sonic Mania worth your hard gathered Rings? Yes.

If you are even reading this it is almost definitely because you are a fan of either old school Sonic the Hedgehog. The game is a perfect homage to the old games in the series and it gives me a lot of hope of what may be to come as far as the 2D Sonic games go. Flying through the levels continues to be a blast, even on my third play through.

The Nintendo Switch: Six Months (Almost) Later

Can you believe it’s already been almost six months? I know I can’t. It seems like just yesterday Bigfoot and I were sending messages back and forth speculating about what features, games, apps and other things Nintendo’s new hybrid console would bring! So the question now is, has the Switch been able to live up to that massive hype train that it was able to build up the 6 months before its launch? In short I feel the answer is, yes.

The Good

Let’s start with one word: Zelda. If you have picked up a Switch it’s almost guaranteed you’ve played Zelda. And what an adventure it is. The massive world was a fantastic showcase of how an open world game fits so perfect on this hybrid home/handheld console. It made it so easy to sink hundreds of hours into the beautiful world.

And that is where the Switch truly shines. Just as it was advertised, being able to seamlessly undock my system and continue my adventure on the go is beyond fantastic. It’s something 15 year old me dreamed about doing, and now it’s a beautiful reality. Someone else needs to use the TV and you are in the middle of a race on Mario Kart? No worries, I’ll just pause my game and undock my Switch! Get home from riding in the car and want to keep your adventure going in Cave Story, but on a bigger screen? Dock that bad boy back up! It’s just so flawless. It legitimately makes me happy.

Then there’s the game line up. Sure, at launch it was a bit scarce. But Zelda’s massive adventure made up for that ten times over. Then it wasn’t long before the quality titles started coming out. Binding of Isaac, Mario Kart 8D, Minecraft, Arms, Overcooked, Splatoon 2 and Sonic Mania just to name a few. The quality of these games is so high it’s hard not to be happy with them. Sure, all but Arms and Sonic are re-releases or ports. But is that such a bad thing, to have that wonderful hybrid console option? Especially if you haven’t played them or loved them enough to buy them again! And with the near future having games on the horizon such as Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battles, Pokken Tournament DX, Rayman Legends, Mario Odyssey, Stardew Valley, Thimbleweed Park and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the future looks very bright for the Switch! Not to mention that’s just a small handful of games announced.

One last note in the good column, Splatoon 2’s newest mode, Salmon Run is oh so good. Be on the look out for our upcoming Splatoon 2 review for more but I will say this, one of my new favorite gaming sessions is getting 3 more friends together and playing some Salmon Runs. It is freaking fantastic.

The Not So Good

It’s hard for me to put anything in this column, but there is one thing that the Switch hasn’t done so well yet that has to be mentioned. And that is it’s online features.

Before I start my small rant I will say this, I’m giving them time to sort this out. I hope and pray that by the time their service goes to a paid service, we have a full fledged online service. But as of right now, it’s just severely lacking.

The fact that we still have to use friends codes, maybe not 100% of the time, but a lot, is just sad to me. The lack of being able to do basic things like send a message to a friend, create parties or chat with ease… is just sad. For a system with such a push to play with your friends, I wish this was all easier. And the recent release of Nintendo’s online chat app is pitiful. We shouldn’t need so many cords to chat in 2017, not to mention being tied to an app that has to be running in the forefront with the phone on to work!! But that being said there is potential here. The ability to look at your friends playtime of games is a nice little feature. Plus the fact that the system notifies you when a friend is online and what they are playing is a really nice feature. But there is a lot to improve here. I just hope they do it before the launch of the paid service in 2018.

Conclusion

The positives for the Switch far outweigh the negative. Because in my opinion there aren’t that many real negatives.  I honestly believe Nintendo will remedy the few flaws to the best of their ability. On the other had there is so many good things. The system just plays so flawlessly. The display is beyond pretty. The game selection is solid for it only being six months in, with no end in sight of awesome additions. Nintendo is supporting and pushing the system so hard it gives me a ton of faith in its future. So at this point, almost 6 months past what was possibly my most hyped console launch to date I can comfortably say that the Switch is a success.

Oh and I still love the sound the Joy Cons make when you click them on;)

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

What do you think of when you hear the words, “Game of the Year”? I’d think for many, your immediate reaction is an eye roll because it seems to be thrown around so often through out the year. We play a game, think it’s fantastic as we play through it and start flirting with that term, sometimes before the year is even close to over. Many times rushing the gun with that verbiage. I try really hard to stay away from that phrase because, quite often, something else comes out later that has me saying Game of the Year all over again.

But today, I am going to go against myself. Im going to make the very early prediction. I think Breath of the Wild could easily be my Game of the Year. If this changes by years end, feel free to mock me for saying it. But after over 150 hours in the game and a nagging desire to go back to it no matter what I’m playing or doing, I’ll be shocked if anything else succeeds at what this new entry in the Zelda series has done for me. If you’ve played BOTW you most likely have an idea of why I would make such a prediction. But If not, bear with me as I write this review.


I’ve been playing Zelda for quite a few years now. Even though I had an NES in the days of The Legend of Zelda’s introduction into the world, I was too young to appreciate it. I wasn’t formally introduced to the series until my friend Nick (Who you all know as Bigfoot) borrowed Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy. I was fascinated with that game. I later convinced my parents to buy me a copy, and from that point I have been a fan. A HUGE fan. So naturally I was excited for BOTW. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a game blow my expectations away so much so as this game.


When I first popped the cartridge (I love being able to say that again) into my newly purchased Nintendo Switch it didn’t take long for me to climb to the highest point possible and just be blown away. To look out at a world that is so vast, and know I have so much to explore Was just an impressive feeling. Little did I know just how much exploring I was going to be doing. As of the writing of this article, 2 months after its release and 150+ hours in, I still feel like there is so much I’ve missed, and so much I want to see still. What a feat for any game. Normally if I havent finished a game by this point it has either been shelved, or I start looking at how to blow through the rest of the game. Not BOTW. I want to savor every precious moment.

In the early part of the game I was disappointed. I wanted more town exploration, more large scale dungeon exploration like in old Zelda titles. But after doing shrine after shrine, that feeling started to dissipate. I just wanted more. I wanted to discover that next shrine, Uncover more and more Korok’s, complete that set of armor, help my friend Hudson build his town. I couldn’t stop. And haven’t. With the expansion pack on the horizon, I won’t be completely done with Zelda for some time. And I couldn’t be happier.


The gameplay obviously kept me busy. I think it would be safe to say that everyone has their own favorite shrine, or favorite gear, or favorite divine beast. The best part of that being, they are all good, so it’s easy for everyone’s to possibly be different. The mechanics from using your paraglider to fly through the air to using your shield to surf down mountains, or using Magnesis to lift objects and throw them at enemies or Crystalis to walk across bodies of water, all this kept the game repeatedly fresh and intriguing. Not to mention the first time you encountered one of the Lynel’s or any of the other “Mini-bosses” scattered about the world. The world just had so much to offer, and so much reason to try it all out. THAT is how a game should be.


The graphics in the game look so crisp too. The cellshading looks so good that its easy to forget that it is even cell shaded. Taking time to look at the mountains, the fields, the lakes… it all just looks so real when you immerse yourself in the experience. It may not be as graphically complex as many of the AAA titles these days, but that doesn’t stop it from looking just as good. the music in the game is also very well done as it always is in Zelda. There are many memorable songs throughout the game. If I was to have one nitpicky complaint, it would be the lack of music as you are exploring. This is such a small thing to nitpick as there is some music there, I just found at times missing the constant music that you get in all the old Zelda titles. But really, with a game this fantastic, that isn’t a problem.


In conclusion, I’m going to be honest. I wanted to dislike this game. I wanted to be upset about the lack of “true” Zelda like dungeons, the fact that their are no classic items like the hookshot, or iron boots. But as I continued to play this masterpiece I realized, I didn’t even notice they weren’t there. Times have changed and BOTW Director Eiji Aonuma and his team, have done a beautiful job of changing with them. I can’t say that at some point, it wouldn’t be nice to see a return to the classic style of Zelda. But for now, I just look forward to playing more of Breath of the Wild, and seeing what this team as in store for us in the future.

Old Time Hockey Review

Here’s the thing about Old Time Hockey, it’s very true to it’s title. It is a game about Hockey, in the kinda “old time” setting of the 70s. Now that was before my time, but I still expected the game to be more like the 50s or so. But nonetheless, it really does capture that feeling that I assume is what hockey in the 70s looked like. It is to be commended for that.


Were you a fan of the Arcadey sports games in the 90s/00s? Then I can see you loving Old Time Hockey. The game definitely is reminiscent of the old NFL Blitz and even more so, the NHL Hitz series. It does a pretty decent job or recapturing that feel, all well making sure to do it in it’s own unique way.


The things the game does well, it does exceptionally so. The Career mode is rather clever and well done. I found the creation of the Bush Hockey League and the fact that they didn’t hold back on content to ensure an E rating refreshing. And the collectible cards in the game of its fictional characters were a neat addition. There was just something missing for me as I played, and for me I think it was the controls. There are 3 different control settings: two button, advanced, and beer mode. I played mainly with the two button. It did simplify the controls enough to help me have a more enjoyable experience. As far as the advanced controls, I never got the true hang of them.. maybe I’m just not advanced enough.

The graphics and character design are to me, a bit lacking. Sometimes I found them exceptionally hard to look at. I know it was what the game was aiming for, and they do hold true to their old time feel, which I respect a lot. The game also never toted that it was a graphically impressive game. But I just found the look hard to stomach sometimes.


What impressed me about Old Time Hockey is that the things the game does right, it does exceptionally right. I love the callback to old school couch co-op that the team at V7 Entertainment used as a focal selling point for the game, and said multiplayer does work. Plus the inclusion of the beer mode control scheme I mentioned earlier, made specifically for you to be able to hold a beer in one hand and play with the controller in the other, was ingenious. The career mode and creation the Bush League Hockey work well in this game. And frankly I love that they made this game very real, and the mature rating sells that point.

Old Time Hockey may not be my favorite game or my go to sports game, but when looking for a fun multiplayer game that’s rather easy to pick up and play, it will be added to the list. Especially if we’ve had a few beers! It’s not without its flaws, but Old Time Hockey is some good old time fun.

Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasy and I go back a ways now. I didn’t start playing as early as most, but at 13, I got my first taste. Bigfoot let me borrow his copy of Final Fantasy 7, and I was immediately hooked. All of a sudden I needed it all, I wanted to play the 6 before it and the new ones coming out (it was at 9 at the time). Ever since, I’ve been a fan of the series, even at it’s lower points. The question is, do I consider this a high point or a low point for the series? Whereas it’s not my favorite in the series, I definitely consider it a high point! Very, very high. The game has its misses, but all and all as the credits rolled I found myself satisfied! Here’s why:

First, brief spoiler-free synopsis. You play as the young Prince Noctis. The story starts as you are sent out on a road trip of sorts by your Father, the King, with your three protectors and closest friends. What ensues is part buddy road trip movie, part epic blockbuster. One of the fantastic parts of this game is how quickly I became attached to this group of friends and the bond that they forged on their adventure. The ups and the downs. The good decisions and the bad. They were there for each other like few friends are. They even got upset with each other and fought at times, just like real friends do. But they forgave each other. These were more then just characters in a game, these were friends. As someone who has had the same best friends since Kindergarten, this really hit home with me as something that I truly appreciate.

This entry is different then most Final Fantasy’s. It has a huge open world with a ton of quests. You travel to most locations in your car, the Regalia. Once you’ve been to a location you can fast travel from one point to another. But where is the fun in that? By actually just putting it on auto pilot and letting them drive from location to location you can gain AP, but even better, you can see a living breathing world that is just phenomenal to look at. To make things better, you can collect soundtracks from your favorite FF games, and listen to them while you drive. There’s something to be said about turning on the soundtrack to FF8 and just watching as they drive. Looking at the wildlife and the creatures as they cross the street. Night time is a different story though. At night, out come the real baddies. Being stopped on a long drive in the middle of the road as an Iron Giant comes from a portal in the road, is both frightening, and exhilarating. The side quests can range from being interesting and fun, to repetitive and cumbersome. Either way they also allow you to see a major part of this world you inhabit, adding to the overall scope of the game.

 

The battle system was fun, if not very different from past entries in the series. Gone are the days of turn based FF. these battles are very fast paced, active battles. The limit break can add for some nice strong attacks, but the link attacks you do truly add to the character growth in the game as you watch these characters loyally fight with each other, for each other. The really amazing thing about the battle system this time around are the summons. There aren’t many of them, and the qualifications for using them are a bit hard to achieve sometimes. But due to their scope and pure power, its easy to see why. I won’t go in to deep discussion on them but I will say, they are without a doubt the most epic of summons seen in a FF.

Is this to say this entry in the series is without its flaws? No. There were quite a few. For example, outside of the main cast of characters, a lot of the voice acting was not good at all. Like, I had to laugh out loud a few times when hearing the voice they used for certain characters. The quests can get extremely repetitive. Painfully so. If you want to do them all, expect to be doing a lot of backtracking and taking a lot of pictures. Catching frogs. Fishing.. Over and over again. But the thing I found to be the worst, was the pacing of the game. It was so easy to be distracted by side quests that once you get back to the main story, you forget what’s going on. And at that, personally, I thought the story happened so fast at times, that I didn’t always understand what was going on. Literally before I knew it I had reached the end game and felt like I needed more time and development. But that’s just me.

Honestly though, even though I do have some complaints, they are rather small in comparison to all the game does right. Even though I found the pacing to be off, the story was so epic in scope that I couldn’t help but marvel at what I was doing in game. And these four characters alone make up for a lot of the negative I could even find to say about the game. I grew attached to them and look forward to the future DLC and whatever expanded story may be added.

So is this my favorite entry in the Final Fantasy series? Personally, no. But it is now up there with what I consider the greatest in the series. And hands down it is the best title in the series for awhile there. If you are a fan of the series and haven’t given a try yet, I feel like you have to. The game offers too much to be skipped completely. It feels like Square Enix listened to the complaints from their fans from the last few entries and actually worked to fix them, and that deserves our respect. If you can find time, pop the game in and enjoy getting to know your new friends. You won’t regret it.

The Switch: Five Nintendo IPs I Want to See

With the Switch just around the corner it’s time to do some talking. As a long time Nintendo fan I have a lot to be excited about from the system. It’s hybrid handheld/home console style is a concept from my dreams. Like, literally I’ve dreamt about a system like this! Now it’s happening. Until the release of the system I plan on doing some speculation articles. Articles to whet our appetites.

Today’s Theme:
Five Nintendo IPs I Want to See

We all have a favorite Nintendo franchise. With a company with such a rich library of original IPs it can be hard to pick a favorite!! We already know that we are getting titles from The Legend of Zelda franchise, Mario Kart, Splatoon, Fire Emblem and of course, a new Mario game. But with so many more to choose from what else will they bring on to the new system? Here are my picks for five Nintendo franchises (in no particular order) I want to see on the Switch:

1. F-Zero

This series is such a great one. We went three console cycles in a row, each with its own great F-Zero. Each one progressively better up until the fantastic F-Zero GX on the GameCube. Somehow that game still manages to look amazing today and it hasn’t lost it’s blazing sense of speed! It is such a fun racing game.

The switch would make a great opportunity for its return after being completely MIA after the last two console cycles. With games like Fast RMX (Which looks amazing BTW) being shown as an early Switch title it shows how the system is perfect to showcase the crazy Sci-Fi tracks that the series is famous for! And with the Switch getting a decent online system finally (fingers crossed) we would be able to take the races online. But even local multiplayer would be easy and awesome with the Joycons! The system just feels like the perfect place for Captain Falcon to roost at.

2. Pokémon 

Easily the franchise on this list that will almost definitely be on the console. But what I would like to see from a new console outing isn’t another Pokémon offshoot like Pokken or PokePark. I want to see either

1) A main series entry, whether it be a remake like Heartgold/Soulsilver, or a third title for Sun and Moon,

or 2) a new fully HD Pokémon Stadium.

 

The potential for what they could do with a Pokémon game on the Switch is so massive. It’s hard not to dream. Could we get a new console driven story like Pokémon Colosseum that could be even bigger? Could we get a new Pokémon Stadium type, totally storyless but with the ability to take our time driven teams to the big screen with ease again? Or possible another offshoot title, like (I hope this happens) a sequel to the amazing Pokémon Snap? Or maybe the long talked about Pokémon MMO? Well that will prolly never happen.. but a man can dream. All I know is, I can’t wait to see what’s to come from the series on the Switch.

3. Golden Sun

The two Golden Sun games on the Game Boy Advance were both just high quality especially for their time. The ability to transfer your progress from the first game on to The Lost Age when it came out was a super cool feature, especially since I had spent so much time finding all the Djinn and other secrets. Other unique features such as being able to set the Djinn to your team and almost completely change the way they play was a fun feature as well.

With the already high number of RPG’s coming to the switch, it seems like the perfect time to bring back the series. Sure there was a DS game, and it was good. But they have the opportunity to either make another new game in the series, with an even bigger scope, or rerelease the series again with updated graphics and possibly even things like voice acting and some kind of online play. The idea of a seeing Isaac and co. again is one that brings me back to my early teens and I would love to see this come to fruition.

4. Metroid

Metroid.. we are long overdue for another true Metroid game. Federation Force doesn’t count. We haven’t had a true game in the series since Other M on the Wii back in 2010 and sadly, that game wasn’t good. I’s sure some people liked it and that’s fine, but I was so excited for it and I didn’t enjoy it at all. On the other hand the Prime series was fantastic and I’m pretty sure everyone loves the classic side scrolling entries.

It feels like a great opportunity to bring the series back into the limelight. I would love to see a new side-scroll Metroid game, Super Metroid is easily one of my favorite games of all time. But I would be just as happy with another game in the Prime series. The Joycons could make for easy gameplay in either game type and I think the HD Rumble would make for a neat feature in game. Whatever the case, it’s time to see Samus make a comeback. Make it happen Nintendo.

5. Wave Race

This feels like possibly the least likely option to happen out of the choices, but it’s one of the ones I would like to see the most. I gave a lot of thought to this list and many games came and went before coming up with a final five but oddly, I kept coming back to Wave Race. I used to have a lot of fun playing Wave Race 64 both solo and with my friends. At the time, the game looked beyond phenomenal. That water was just so mesmerizing. The Switch just feels like it is a great time to bring back the series.

We haven’t seen a game in the series since Gamecube, and even that game was really good. With the updated 1080p 60fps of the Switch, I think we could be in for a real treat visually. Plus the HD rumble could add for some really cool “feel the game” type experiences. To be able to feel the jet ski slam back on to the water, to feel the waves as you cruise across the track or to feel your opponent crash into you would just make for an even cooler experience. An experience I hope to have in the near future.

There you have it. These are the five series I would love to see comeback on the Switch. I could have made this list a ton longer. I mean I would love to see the likes of Advance Wars, Earthbound, Mario RPG/Paper Mario (Not a sticker star/color splash type) or even a new Donkey Kong or 1080 Snowboarding. But only time will tell what we have to look forward to. But one thing is clear, the possibilities are endless on the Switch.

Would My Favorite Shows Work as Video Games?

On AlmostPerfectGamer.com we try not to stray too much off the topic of video games. The site is dedicated to our love of the industry and we want our site to stay true to that. But sometimes you can’t help but want to talk about other things too. Maybe it’s your favorite sports team. Favorite food. Or maybe it’s your favorite movie or TV show? Well we asked ourselves, “Why can’t these things live in harmony?” The truth is they can! On occasion we may write an article that somehow “fuses” another subject with video games.

For me today, it’s TV shows. Everyone watches TV. It’s just a thing.  With Netflix and chill the ability to binge watch has been elevated to new heights. As my wife and I were doing just that, binge watching a season of a show I started thinking about what it would be like as a video game. Then I just had to share it. So here they are, 4 of my favorite TV shows, and how I feel they could play out as video games.

Breaking Bad

Would it work? Possibly

There’s no denying that Breaking Bad is an amazing piece of television. I’m sure they are out there, but I would be hard stretched to find someone who has watched this show and didn’t love it. The story of the rise and fall of Walter White is just fantastic. But would it work as a video game? I think it could.

There is only one company I would trust with making a Breaking Bad video game. That company is Rockstar. Now anyone who knows me knows I may not be a fan of their biggest titles personally, but I truly respect what they’ve accomplished and just in general as developers. What they do with GTA is phenomenal. There is a reason that it has sold tens of millions of copies.

So how would they make a game based off of Breaking Bad? You play as both of the series antiheroes to accomplish different tasks. In doing so you traverse the city à la GTA’s open world style. You do this to find places to start up your business. Side missions and such are sprinkled throughout the city. Then when there’s action, it goes all Red Dead Revolver – the PS2 prequel to the massive success story that was Red Dead Redemption. The game’s unique western shootout style levels would fare rather well for the action sequences. Not over the top. Can I say that I see this working perfectly? No. It’s just me brainstorming. But with Rockstar at the helm I believe there would be possibility to make a Breaking Bad game work.

Smallville

Would it Work? Almost Definitely

Frankly, I’m a bit late to the party on Smallville. I’ve never been a big fan of DC super heroes, and especially not of Superman. I’ve just never personally found anything compelling from him as a character. So when Smallville was on TV, naturally I just skipped it. Well, I regret that now. I love this show and for the first time in my almost 30 years of life, I actually have an interest in Superman! So I ask myself, would it work in a video game? I really think it would.
Superman has bad history in the video game world *cough* Superman 64 *cough* I mean frankly, how do you play a game where a character is virtually unbeatable? Well Smallville remedied that and if you’ve ever watched it, you know what I mean. So who do I think should make the game? Our good friends at Telltale Games. They’ve proven themselves as the masters of story telling, and they don’t mind playing with older IPs (Back to the Future, Jurassic Park). I feel like they would stay true to the source material all while making an engaging experience. Honestly you don’t even have to play as Clark to make this game good. You could easily play as His long running sidekick, Chloe Sullivan, and it would be just as entertaining, if not even more so. Working side to side with our titular hero all the while sleuthing her way through a town full of meteor freaks. I really think this is a mashup that could work. But with the popularity of the current DC TV shows plus their attempt at the Justice League with their movies, it’s not one I see happening unfortunately. But a man can dream.

The Office

Would it work? Unlikely

Ok, let’s start off by just forgetting about the less then stellar Diner Dash clone that was The Office game on PC. That game was ugly. So forgetting that, could a game based off the hilarious shenanigans of Michael, Dwight, Jim and the rest of the Office crew work? It would be tough… but maybe.

Picture this, Shin Megami Tensei’s: The Office. Ok, its a reach. But what other team has taken a menial task like going to school, and actually made it something that you look forward to doing? You play as Michael Scott. Day by day you do your everyday type things. You go to work. Or you go to Chili’s to host the Dundies. Or you practice your hockey skills. Each day you do these tasks gives you a chance to get to know your employees better through crazy shenanigans. Implementing a social link system would be something that would work tremendously well in the game. Then at night, you watch Threat Level Midnight. Here is where the action starts. As you get sucked into your world you have to fight through dungeons as Michael and defeat evil enemies such as Goldenface and Toby. Then at the end of each, you unlock another of his many alter egos, like Prison Mike or Agent Michael Scarn himself to summon and fight at your side through a quick improv skit. Hey, I said I was reaching, didn’t I?! But it sounds cool right? This is just what I see and I know it’s never going to happen. But I’ll keep the story going in my mind.

Cowboy Bebop

Would it work? Very likely

If you’ve seen Cowboy Bebop then you know how easily it could work as a game and in truth, it has. Back in 2005 it came to the PlayStation 2 in Japan as an action heavy game with its own unique story. From what I’ve seen it looks really cool, but I’ve never played it since it never came over to the States. So obviously we know it would work as a game, so the question is, could they make a new Cowboy Bebop game in today’s industry and make it work?

I think it would easily work. Who do I think should be at the helm? Square Enix, or more specifically the team behind the most recent Deus Ex games, Eidos Montreal. That team has proven that they know how to write compelling stories with strong action oriented gameplay that would be a perfect setting for Cowboy Bebop. As a bounty hunter, you receive jobs. How you fulfill these jobs is up to you. They are wanted dead or alive after all. Which gives you the chance to make choices and build your character the way you want him. Maybe that character is Spike, maybe it’s your own character just set in the world that has his story intertwined with the crew of the Bebop. Being able to explore different sites throughout the galaxy, see faces both familiar and new, all the while leveling your character and gaining reputation? I think it could be pretty dang fun.

These are just 4 of my favorite shows and the pipe dreams I have of them working as games. They will almost definitely never happen, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to see it! Do you have a favorite show you would like to see make its way to the video game screen? Fell free to share it in the comments!