The Game Corner: March 2021. What are you playing featuring Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Welcome to the Game Corner! This month, I’ll cover a bit of my backlog featuring Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and a few other quality titles. If you like JRPGs and Fighting Games, you’ll surely find a favorite here!

Thanks to Pyra and Mythra’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Fighter Pass 2, I hopped back onto the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 hype train. Having played them a bit, I gotta say I enjoy their playstyle. They may have what it takes to become my new secondaries. But in addition to trying them out on Smash online, I figured it would be worth exploring the stories they’re from as well.

In the meantime, I also managed to beat a Zelda title after a 10-year span and even jumped back into an old fighting favorite: Dragon Ball FighterZ. In the meantime, I continue my playthrough of Final Fantasy XV. Though to be fair, I haven’t touched it in a week so I’ll be omitting it from this list. Rest assured, I will have it beat before Final Fantasy XVI comes out.

Speaking of Final Fantasy, I postponed my playthrough of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Since I’m less than halfway through the game and Square-Enix announced the Intergrade and PS5 version enhancements, I’ve decided to wait until its release to resume my playthrough.

For those of you Final Fantasy fans looking to bite into a classic type experience, though, I recommend checking out Bravely Default II for Nintendo Switch. I watched my girlfriend beat this game and it really strikes the right chord for classic Final Fantasy fans. If you love the Job system of Final Fantasy V, you’ll surely want to sink your fangs right into this one.

With that being said, let’s get into this week’s Game Corner, shall we?

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

While I’ve been regularly playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 since the beginning of the year, the Pyra/Mythra Smash release hype bug bit me. I’ve only just now reached Mor Ardain, however, and am about 30 hours in.

Can I just stop to say how much I love this official artwork by Matsusugu Saito?

When Shulk was announced for Super Smash Bros. 4, it prompted me to finish my long-delayed playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii. I guess you could say history repeats itself here. Speaking of which, my girlfriend also started her playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition for Nintendo Switch. While I’ve beaten the original game and don’t intend to play it, I look forward to watching her discover the worlds of Bionis and Mechonis for the first time!

While I intend to finish the storyline of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, however, I don’t see myself finishing the side-quests. I’ve heard they become quite repetitive and to the point that it would lose my interest. However, since I purchased it pre-emptively, I have a mind to do the Torna – The Golden Country DLC episode once I beat the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Beating Spirit Tracks was an adventure 11 years in the making. Having gotten this game in 2010, I never beat this game on my DS. I ended up losing it in late 2011 and never found it until recently. Or rather, my girlfriend found my lost copy several months ago. With that said, I finally got to beat the one Zelda game that I never finished. Despite my last entry being in the Fire Temple, I picked the game back up relatively quickly.

Spirit Tracks really brought me back to another era. The blocky, low-resolution character models still charmed me with their glorious facial expressions and animations. The dated touch-screen controls were fairly gratuitous with Link being able to tap-and-hit enemies. I do recall it being a quality improvement over its predecessor, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and it held up even a decade later.

Overall, I wouldn’t say it was the most special or must-play Zelda title by a long margin. Despite the long train rides and some annoying padding, though, Spirit Tracks can win over any Zelda fan.

The beautiful soundtrack harmonized perfectly with the unique story and writing in the final chapter of the Wind Waker era. However, in spite of the good dungeon design, boss battles, and funny moments, I would be okay with Nintendo never releasing another Zelda game with touch controls.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

What’s this? I’m playing another fighting game? Since several of my friends are doing it, I figured I may as well join in. Dragon Ball FighterZ resonates with largely balanced gameplay, long-strung combos, and entertainment to all player levels without ever being BS. Though if you follow the competitive scene, you might disagree after the release of the latest DLC character: Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta.

While I’m playing online in worldwide matchmaking, I’m  rather upset that casual battles aren’t sorted by rank. This makes fighting people on my level more difficult outside of friend battles. In other words, either I get bodied by players well above my level or I fight a player who ragequits after losing one character.

I’ve been experimenting with a number of characters and team choices. But to make it short, basically any variation of Goku, Vegeta, Gogeta, Vegito, Gohan, and Trunks are on my team along with the occasional Piccolo. While I said I would main Vegito or Gogeta at one point, I’ve been chugging along at my own pace. I’m trying out Blue Vegeta right now and some of his combos make me feel like I might have a future in this game after all. On top of that, I’m also only 4,000,000 zeni away from unlocking the final trophy!

Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection

Speaking of challenging titles, this one brings me back. You love 2D platformers and Capcom games, Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection sends the perfect love letter on Nintendo Switch. It brings me right back to Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts on SNES albeit without a double-jump ability.

Despite that, it’s way more forgiving than most of the past games. You have no lives or continues and multiple checkpoints. You can adjust the difficulty between deaths and use a skill tree to learn new magic spells.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m playing on Squire and enjoying it just fine. I don’t even play this series for getting destroyed repeatedly. I love the art style, music, and overall gameplay. Dying a dozen times per stage is just a side-effect to me.

Speaking of art, this has some of the creepiest yet most charming artwork, monster design, and backgrounds you will ever see in a side-scroller. And despite what I’ve seen from some reviews, this game isn’t really any cheaper than past entries and, like I said, a bit more forgiving. More like Contra than Castlevania, it does rely greatly on pattern-recognition and memorization. But if you’re fine with that, I think you will like this game.

Pokemon Sword

Finally, after all these years, I’m back on Pokemon once again. I think the 25th-anniversary presentation struck a chord with me to get back into Pokemon. I loved this series as a kid, grew out of it as a teen and came back into it as an adult. Granted, I was never as obsessed and hype about it as I was back then. Still, I like to keep up.

The upcoming releases of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, as well as the Pokemon Legends Arceus, got me wanting to finally start my run of Pokemon Sword. Well, I’m in Galar with my Raboot, Stufful, Corvisquire, and a few others. I’m on Route 4 and about ready to enter my first gym battle.

I’m not saying I’m partial to Fire-type starters, but…

As it stands, I’m not sure when I’m going to transfer my Pokemon to Sword. Part of me wants to finish my Pokedex in past entries while the other says to just transfer my favorites to the game, like Sylveon and Pangoro. Not like I would be able to use them until I get gym badges but I still want to build a team around my favorites.

Anyway, the game is quite fun so far and I like the open-world landscapes of each route. It’s structured much better than the samey, minimal paths between major areas like in other JRPGs such as Tales of Xillia. Battling moves fast, character design remains strong as always, and I’m looking forward to my next Pokemon adventure!

Final Thoughts

Believe it or not, I also started a playthrough of Yakuza 3, Last Window: Secret of Cape West, and Persona 5 Strikers. I also started up The Champion’s Ballad DLC in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Since I finished Twilight Princess HD and Spirit Tracks, I figured it was time. But I suppose discussion on those will have to wait till next time.

Right now, I want to focus on clearing a number of backlog titles. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Final Fantasy XV top my list of games I want to finish before moving onto others. Plus I want to keep my skills in Smash polished. Since I got my first COVID vaccine, I’ll be getting my second one next month. I would love for tournaments to return around May or June.

Until my next entry, feel free to share your journal in the comments. Whether you’re playing a new hit or an older classic, or you’re keeping your skills ahead of the curve in a competitive game, share your current play log in the replies!

Also, be sure to follow our social media links and stay up to date with our gaming and anime features. Until next time!

Guilty Gear Strive: A Look at the Open-Beta and What to Expect from the Full Release.

Guilty Gear Strive is a 2D fighting game being developed by Arc Systems Works for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. The latest entry in the series will follow Guilty Gear Xrd. Among the most defining elements of this title includes the addition of rollback netcode. For those looking to try a prime fighting game online experience, longtime fans and newcomers can expect to try the game later this year.

I tried the Strive beta this past month. As a fan who played Guilty Gear XX back in the day for PS2, I can’t say I’ve followed this or BlazBlue closely by any means. While I always liked the music and aesthetics, Arc Systems Works’ games have always pushed me away due to being too complicated for me. I always preferred Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and other traditional fighters. However, my time spent with Dragon Ball FighterZ has given me an avenue to try an ArcSys game that doesn’t feel intimidating.

Feeling a little more warmed up to it, and thanks to all the hype, I went ahead and tried Strive’s open beta. Just before it ended, I got to get a few online matches in and play around in Training Mode. As a casual fighting game fan, though, this one might begin to capture my interest. Not only does the rollback netcode seriously entice me, but I daresay it looks much more user-friendly than any game ArcSys has put out before. If I can play a Guilty Gear title and not feel overwhelmed by all the menus and options, I feel I could definitely add this into my lineup.

What to Expect

When I played the beta, I was given the tutorial, training modes, and online lobby. Now, since this was a beta, I could forgive the fact that I was taking more disconnections than I was actual matches. Despite that, when I did play matches, it felt incredibly smooth like I was playing offline.

The fast-paced fighting action that Guilty Gear is known for will not disappoint veteran fans. Furthermore, newcomers who may have played other fighting games will surely feel welcomed in the tutorial mode. You can also learn about techniques, such as Roman Cancel and Psych Burst, on the official website.

Strive seems to switch around several mechanics and gives them to you without a lengthy and intimidating tutorial. As someone who didn’t play ArcSys games often before, I feel geared up to try this one. Strive might be the fighting game that defines the next generation. However, since I downloaded the beta late, I only played it for a day before it disappeared.

Unless they release a second beta, your best bet to learn some of the game mechanics will come from videos such as this one.

Despite Guilty Gear Strive being delayed, discussions run rampant about a second open beta before the game’s release. Be sure to stay tuned with us for that announcement should it happen!

Final Thoughts

I love fighting games. I primarily keep up with Smash Bros. but have always wanted to jump back into traditional fighters as well. I’ve been eyeing my “secondary” tournament fighter to play and have bounced around a number of titles. Right now, Dragon Ball FighterZ has my attention. But even then, people will tell you the netcode is outright bad.

Guilty Gear not only excels in its music and fast-paced gameplay but will come out with rollback netcode as well. For those wondering, rollback netcode is becoming the standard in online fighting games especially during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Developed by the same studio, Arc Systems Works’ next game might be the best fighter they’ve ever released. I feel many of the FighterZ fanbase would jump ship to Guilty Gear Strive just to get an optimal online title to play. With that said, I may well do the same.

Even though I’ve spent years avoiding most of ArcSys’ games due to them being comparatively complicated, I feel this one is warmer towards your casual fighting game fan. The user-friendly introduction and tutorial certainly help and I am willing to give this one a try. Plus Sol Badguy’s one of my favorite characters so it goes without saying I already have a character I can jump right to using.

With that said, look for Guilty Gear Strive to come out on PS4, PS5, and PC on June 11, 2021. Keep up with All Cool Things by following our social media links. We’ll keep you up to date with Guilty Gear Strive news as it becomes available.

Until next time!

The Game Corner: February 2021. Featuring Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.

Since I recently finished Sega’s Yakuza spin-off, Judgment, I immediately found myself going in to finish the next game I was closest to beating: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for Wii U. While I was around 20 hours in some weeks ago, I can happily say that I’ve finished the game!

In the midst, I’ve also been playing my fair share of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. Nintendo’s latest hit for the Switch brought forth quite possibly the best Mario game in existence as well as an expansion to the title. Though Super Mario 3D World, originally released for Wii U, was good enough to release standalone, the Bowser’s Fury expansion definitely sweetened the deal.

As always, I’m still playing Smash, Fire Emblem Heroes, and even finally picked back up my copy of Final Fantasy XV after three months of neglect. With that said, what are you playing this month?

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Finishing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD gave me clarity on an old favorite. Though I beat the original Wii release in 2006, I revisited the game on GameCube several years later. While I found the latter marginally better due to the controls, both releases of Twilight Princess featured a few glaring issues. Perhaps the biggest was that enemies barely damaged Link which trivialized combat throughout the game.

The HD remaster not only condenses these fetch quests immensely but gives you the option to bolster the enemy difficulty. Using the Ganondorf amiibo will double enemy damage. Playing on Hero Mode will not only boost enemy damage but also keep Hearts from spawning in the field. You could even quadruple the enemy damage by stacking the two if you like.

In one fell swoop, Nintendo not only managed to restore a classic in HD but fixed the most glaring problems the original title suffered from. Plus they even added the Cave of Shadows which is a new enemy gauntlet that you can tackle in Wolf form. You can view a list of changes here.

You earn this statue for clearing the Cave of Shadows.

This remaster makes Twilight Princess HD the definitive version of the game and one that will hopefully come to Nintendo Switch later this year.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

I might have said this before, but Super Mario 3D World is my favorite Mario platformer. Not counting the RPGs like Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario, it’s my favorite Mario game thanks to its incredible level of polished design. I honestly believe it’s on the same tier as Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, all of which were designed by the same team.

You can play around with filters.

Nintendo not only ported 3D World to the Switch but even added a few quality-of-life improvements. Perhaps the most stunning is that you now move at 1.5x speed which streamlines the levels even more than before. Plus you can now play online with friends!

But let’s talk for a moment about the expansion, Bowser’s Fury. This new mode marries Super Mario Odyssey’s open-world gameplay with Super Mario 3D World’s controls and powerups. This new quest introduces an awesome, powerful version of the titular villain known as Fury Bowser.

With 100 Shines to collect, Bowser’s Fury offers between 5-10 hours of gameplay in this fun little campaign on Lapcat Island. It also includes offline co-op allowing a friend to play as Bowser Jr. to aide you. Whether you enjoy the Super Mario Sunshine references, the new music, or Odyssey’s gameplay, you’ll have plenty of reasons to try this lovable new expansion mode!

Final Fantasy XV

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve owned this game. I bought it in 2017 and have still only just cleared the first few chapters. Even worse is when I shelved it in November 2020 and only just started playing it again. Thankfully, re-learning combat wasn’t the rude awakening I was afraid it might be.

Sadly, the Naga was nowhere near as attractive as I was hoping for.

Right now, I’m about to storm an Imperial base to get the Regalia back. I finished the Ramuh trials and I’m looking forward to finishing this chapter as well. I’m honestly hoping to finish Final Fantasy XV before XVI comes out.

Super Mario Galaxy

Welcome to my guilty pleasure. I have already cleared 120 Stars on all three games of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. So why am I playing Luigi mode in Super Mario Galaxy? Either because I hate myself or because I love the game that much.

As I mentioned earlier, Super Mario Galaxy is one of my favorite games of all time. At the time of its 2007 release, one could argue that it was the greatest game Nintendo has ever released. Its Metacritic score speaks volumes about not just its quality but how well it has lasted throughout 14 years. 3D All-Stars remastered the title in glorious HD and it still looks and plays like a charm.

Wii version.

However, while I already enjoyed my run-through as Mario, Luigi mode is literally just the same game over again except you jump higher and skid on surfaces; a tribute to Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels. In the end, you get 120 Stars and unlock the opening level once more to collect one more star each: once as Mario, once as Luigi, for a total of 242 stars. No Grandmaster Galaxy or any such reward exists for doing so, either.

I literally did this years ago. Not once, but twice.

Fire Emblem Heroes

I subscribed to Feh Pass. I’ve continuously apologized to myself for the past week for doing this. After a year of resisting, I finally caved. With the amount of time I spend on this game, despite being F2P, I figured I might as well treat myself to some of the quality improvements. I already love continuously auto-battling through Tempest Trials+ without having to check my phone every minute as well.

Brave Ike made me do it.

Onto other modes, though, as usual, I know nothing of what I’m doing. I still teeter on Aether Raids Tier 19-20 and Arena Rank 17-19. I seldom play a number of modes, like Hall of Forms and Pawns of Loki. I figure since I’m finally subscribing to Feh Pass for $10 a month, I may as well try to get a little better at the game, right?

My current main team for general purpose and Abyssal maps.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

My on-and-off relationship with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 began since getting it in 2017 when it first came out. Unfortunately, I’ve just left this one largely on the backburner. It’s not a bad game and I even beat and enjoyed the first Xenoblade on the Wii. But when it comes to prioritizing my backlog, this one has scarcely been on my radar.

If you think I can’t juggle Xenoblade and Final Fantasy XV, you’re sorely underestimating me.

Thankfully, I decided to pick it up and play it for real. After a quick romp of re-learning some of the mechanics, I think I got a handle on everything for the most part. Blades, Cores, and all that complicated mess you don’t get in your standard JRPG really add to the learning curve. After 20+ hours I finally finished Chapter 3 and you know what that means!

I literally could not have picked a better time to get her.

I’ll be starting Chapter 4 soon. I enjoy watching the plot pick up from here. Hopefully, I can get Zeke soon and add him to my party. He’s my favorite character so far.

Zeke is represented by Cloud as a Spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I’m still kicking around online. In addition to tormenting myself on Elite Smash, I’m also playing in Best 3 out of 5 sets against noteworthy players. For starters, I managed to beat a notable DK player from North Carolina and one of my longtime rivals, KDK, in a set 3-2 using Terry. I also battled Deluxemenu and won 3-2 against his Bowser, but I’ve also lost to his Min-Min in two sets. Mr. E won 5-3 in a First to 5 and I fought a close set with NickRiddle which he took 3-2.

On the bright side, I’m feeling pretty good about this win. I lost to his Sephiroth hard with Roy but Terry gave me three wins. Can’t be mad about that.

I’ve been doing well with The Legendary Hungry Wolf online lately.

While I still don’t intend to enter online tournaments yet, I’ll still keep it in the back of my mind just in case. Right now, I enjoy playing with my friends and other high-level players in competitive sets. As long as I get to do that, I’m happy.

Oh, and before I forget, here are some clips I can finally share with you!

Punch, Punch!

Here’s MY Falcon Punch!

I’ll follow you to your grave.

Finally, here’s an Ike mini-montage I made last year with Aether spike finishes. It’s the one thing keeping Ike viable in this meta!

That’s all for this week’s Game Corner! What are you playing lately? Share in the replies below!

As always, don’t forget to follow our social media links below. Stay tuned for next time’s Game Corner as I’ll surely, hopefully, have made some more progress and maybe a new game or two added in there.

Until next time!

Resident Evil Village Preview: New Details on Trailer, Demo, and Alluring Antagonists.

Earlier this month, Capcom unveiled their Resident Evil Showcase. This presentation featured several new ways to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Resident Evil survival horror series. But moreover, they showcased a new trailer for Resident Evil Village as well as a PS5-exclusive demo. Prior to the game’s release, Capcom will release a new demo for all platforms featuring the title.

One of the biggest eyecatchers involves the new villains featured in the demo. Among them include Lady Alcina Dimitrescu, an 8 ft. tall voluptuous woman with a vampire complex. Aiding her are three girls, dressed in black, which are presumed to be her daughters. Needless to say, the internet quickly became smitten with her.

“Welcome to the family, son.”

What we know about the trailer features a castle similarly to Resident Evil 4. Moreover, much of the setup features a sort of gothic atmosphere as the women chasing you around seek your blood. As such, you will find pools of blood within the catacombs.

What to Expect from Resident Evil Village.

Resident Evil Village is romanized as “VIII,” indicating this is also Resident Evil 8. As such, it is the direct sequel to Resident Evil 7. Featuring RE7’s protagonist, Ethan Winters, his wife Mia Winters goes missing once more. He must also rescue their newborn daughter, Rosemary, from their kidnappers.

The first-person view returns from Resident Evil 7. It will also feature an inventory setup akin to Resident Evil 4. Additionally, a merchant will appear to sell you wares.

Capcom released a PlayStation 5-exclusive demo called Maiden. This roughly 20-minute demo features you playing as an unknown protagonist attempting to escape the jail beneath the castle. It will introduce you to the basic mechanics of the game.

Additionally, Capcom revealed a new multiplayer title. Tiled RE: Verse, this will feature major characters from across the series duking it out in free-for-all gunfire. While Capcom received lukewarm reception for releasing Resistance alongside the Resident Evil 3 remake, this title will also be released alongside Village.

Final Thoughts

I can’t say I’m not excited for Resident Evil Village. I adored Resident Evil 7 and found it to be one of the best games I ever played. I strongly recommend it to everyone reading this article right now. I hope Capcom will polish Resident Evil Village just as finely as they did with 7.

I honestly cannot take my eyes off the new antagonists either. Resident Evil scarcely features an antagonist as attractive as Lady Dimistrescu. She’s easily my favorite new female villain design in the series.

Resident Evil Village comes out on May 7, 2021. It will release for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. Be sure to keep up with us and follow our social media links to get the latest coverage on the title!

Until next time!

Demo Reel: Persona 3: Dancing in Moon Light and Persona 5: Dancing in Star Light.

Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight are two rhythm games developed by AtlusP-Studio, published by Sega, released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Following Persona 4: Dancing All Night, these titles are spin-offs of their mainline JRPG series, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona. Featuring the characters of each respective title, you’ll play as the characters in a rhythm game setting.

Fans familiar with Dance Dance Revolution, Taiko no Tatsujin, or Project Diva will feel right at home with the gameplay. To put it simply, you time your button presses to the rhythm of the song. You’ll watch the characters dance with snazzy moves and can even customize their appearance. The soundtracks include remixes of songs from their respective Persona title.

With that said, I went ahead and played the demo for Dancing in Moonlight and Dancing in Starlight. Since they’re both more or less the same game, barring characters and aesthetics, I want to cover them both in a single article and share my thoughts with you. If you’re a fan of Persona or Japanese rhythm games, then you will likely be interested.

What to Expect

The Persona Dancing titles feature a six-button scheme. Corresponding to the screen, you will hit one of three directions or one of three face buttons. Use the analog sticks to do a record scratch effect on certain waves while you match the buttons to the rhythm.

Background dancing will captivate you. Fortunately, it will not distract you from playing. While they’re available at the beginning, I strongly recommend clearing the tutorial before playing the two songs in each demo. For reference, try playing on Easy mode first to get the hang of it.

ペルソナ5 ダンシング・スターナイト_20180604223122

While the game’s tutorial advertises other modes within the full game, you cannot play them in the demo. Consequently, it never gives you the chance to really explore what the game has to offer. It might be worth checking YouTube to learn more about the extra modes before pouncing on any of them unless you’re sold by the gameplay immediately.

Final Thoughts

Atlus and Sega are masters of marketing. Keep in mind that the Dancing spin-offs follow Persona 4 Arena, the fighting game which served as a storyline sequel to Persona 3 and Persona 4. This fighting game was co-developed by Atlus as well as Arc Systems Works, the latter of which developed BlazBlue and Guilty Gear. For fans of Koei Tecmo’s Musou (Warriors) series, Persona 5 Scramble will likely come out to the west in the next year or so.

Persona 5 Scramble (Japan, 2020)

While Atlus tends to branch off to various genres in order to promote their games, they succeed in the process. In this case, from the demo, Dancing in Moon Light and Dancing in Star Light played like bona fide rhythm games. As a huge fan of Shoji Meguro‘s soundtracks, the music will certainly invite Persona fans to try the games.

I only played a little bit of DDR throughout my life. Some games, like Jubeat and others, appear at southeast gaming and anime conventions.

Until COVID clears up and people can venture out to conventions again, it might not be possible to recreate that experience for a while. With that said, if rhythm games are your thing, I recommend trying the demo (P3D and P5D) first before you leap to buy them.

Do you plan on playing the Persona rhythm titles? Let us know in the comments below. As always, be sure to follow our social media links below to take our latest, entertaining gaming content with you!

Datamine reveals upcoming Nintendo Switch model featuring 4K and OLED display.

Earlier this week, a report surfaced that a datamine revealed an upgraded Nintendo Switch console. The source comes from ResetERA and was leaked by SciresM. While the rumors have spun for months about a “Nintendo Switch Pro” console, this datamine is the most decisive evidence regarding its existence.

I’ve been following Nintendo for decades and have seen my fair share of rumors. I’ve seen dozens of threads regarding leaks for Super Smash Bros. rosters and I’ve also seen roster leaks that were confirmed upon the game’s release. The Smash community is no stranger to fake leaks created for building false hype and trolling the scene. However, datamines are a different story.

What makes a datamine legit?

Unlike the rumors and leaks, which may or may not be legit, datamining comes from a digitized source. These come from game code or even system code. Unlike the hearsay spread through forums, datamining comes with evidence.

One example comes from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. Back in 2015, Roy from Fire Emblem and Ryu from Street Fighter were found in a datamine. This includes name files as well as voice files. Rather than to assume this was needless hearsay to stir up the community, it was only a matter of time before they came to Smash. Interestingly, what was not known was the inclusion of Lucas, who was released on the same day.

Another prominent datamine comes from their mobile title, Fire Emblem Heroes. Shortly after the game’s release in February 2017, dataminers found files of a holiday-themed Tharja and Robin in the files. During December, these characters were indeed confirmed in their release.

Case in point, datamines should be taken with more than just a grain of salt.

What’s in Store for the Upcoming Switch Model?

According to the report, this Switch model features 4K display in docked mode. That is to say, it will render graphics at a resolution rivaling the PS4 and Xbox One. Furthermore, it also features an OLED screen. The OLED screen is familiar for anyone with either an Android or PlayStation Vita. Furthermore, the report speculates the enhancements of both cooldown and battery life.

Truly ahead of its time.

The Nintendo Switch is no stranger to the latter issues. The battery on the Switch, depending on the model you own, lasts between 2.5 hours at worst and 9 hours at best. The Switch’s ability to keep up with PS4 and Xbox One multiplatform titles also comes with a noticeable drop in visual quality.

It’s worth noting that, at one point, Nintendo’s console, the GameCube, outperformed the PlayStation 2 during the early 2000s. Ever since the era of the Wii, Nintendo’s visual quality and performance has never quite caught up to the speed of its competitors. With the PS5 and Xbox Series X out, at least the Switch may at last catch up to the PS4 and Xbox One. As releases for last-gen consoles will continue to go strong, this might also invite developers and publishers to release more multiplatform titles on the Switch as well.

While Nintendo consoles have seldom received timely upgrades, their handheld line always featured revisions of some sort. The Game Boy received the Game Boy Pocket and the Game Boy Color, the Game Boy Advance received the SP, DS got the DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL, and the 3DS received the 3DS XL and New 3DS XL. That’s also not mentioning the budget choice, the 2DS. As Switch is a hybrid portable console and has already received the Switch Lite revision, it’s all too possible that Nintendo is preparing for an upgraded console this year.

We will keep you posted on more info as it becomes available to us. Be sure to follow our social media links below to keep up with our latest updates!

The Game Corner – What Are You Playing? Week of 1/4/21

ACT Game Corner 1/1/21

Welcome to the new year! Now that we finally left 2020 behind, we’re looking forward to a much brighter and better year! With that being said, welcome to the Game Corner!

ACT Pokemon Game Corner

What is the Game Corner?

Named after the Pokemon series’ casino, the Game Corner is a column where I cover my gaming backlog. I’ll also include activities in the games I regularly play, such as Fire Emblem Heroes and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. If you’re fond of JRPGs, Nintendo series, PlayStation hits, and a hint of fighting games, you came to the right place!

We encourage you to share your backlogs with us in the replies as well. Hopefully, this column will give you some ideas on what to add to your backlog. If you’re looking for new games to play, you might find something you like!

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

ACT Super Mario 64

Yep, I did it. I cleared Super Mario 64 with 120 Stars. I’m no stranger to this game and I got into it when it came out on the Nintendo 64 back in 1996! I’ve cleared through this game many times to include on the DS with 150 Stars! Despite being many years since I’ve last played through this game, though, it’s a blast to play no matter how many times I replay it.

Surprisingly, as well as it’s held up, it’s become easier to identify some of the design flaws in the game. Perhaps it’s because Super Mario Galaxy spoiled us. But when it comes to finding 100 coins, redoing a long mission because of a death and no checkpoint, or clearing Tick-Tock Clock, some of the missions were actually frustrating! It’s one thing for Mario to be challenging but when you have to go all the way back through the Hazy-Maze Elevator because you feel once, it admittedly becomes tedious.

ACT Super Mario 64 Tick Tock Clock
Tick Tock Clock was heavily redesigned in the DS remake. The level design was much more tolerable.

Still, I gotta say it was hard to put down even today. As long as my backlog is, I’m honestly surprised I decided to stick with 64 till the end and clear it over the last week. Believe it or not, going over some of the 3D platformers I’ve played in my life, I can’t say I’ve played one better from a series that wasn’t Mario. 64 isn’t just revolutionary but a polished monument to some of the best and most enjoyable gaming experiences imaginable.

ACT Super Mario 64 low-poly
Did you know that Mario’s model becomes low-polygon when the camera zooms away from him?

Judgment

ACT Judgment Yagami Kaito

Ah, good old Yakuza. The franchise that received a huge boom in the mid-late 2010s thanks to Yakuza 0, Sega’s been a master at marketing this title. The Yakuza series is known for its hilarious, serious, and clever writing, combining strong storytelling with over-the-top humor. Any fan of shonen anime and Japanese culture will fall in love with Yakuza. It’s got those Fist of the North Star and Jojo vibes in combat with just a hint of pro wrestling.

The beat ’em up gameplay in Judgment is just as smooth and fluid as the Yakuza series could possibly deliver. This spin-off, however, also features a murder mystery. You’ll be solving puzzles, searching for clues, and even defending people in court just like in Ace Attorney. I also like the streamlined sub-quests which are now featured on corkboards for you to pick at.

Look. No touch!

Yagami’s truly a likable protagonist and Kaito’s an amazing side-kick, you could say! They differ from the series’ protagonist, Kiryu Kazuma, in many ways with Yagami being a little more coolheaded and Kaito being a little more cocky. Now that I’m on Chapter 9 I feel like I’m just a bit over halfway through the game at 30 hours.

Having beaten Yakuza 0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2, and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, I look forward to continuing my journey once I clear Judgment. I’ll play through Yakuza Remastered Collection, Yakuza 6, and finally, get to try Like a Dragon once I’m through.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Believe it or not, I’m still on the grind here. Still playing competitively, I find it hard to put Smash down. Even in an era without offline tournaments, I cannot put down my favorite game. I just gotta keep practicing for that time the tournaments return.

I’m still learning new things with Terry, Mario, Cloud, Chrom, Roy, and others. I honestly just love learning multiple characters. Even though in all practicality, you’re supposed to keep a small character pool in tournaments, it’s incredibly hard not to want to play more than a small handful of 78 characters. I even dabbled a bit with Sephiroth when he came out. Unfortunately, his zoning playstyle really isn’t for me and I just found Cloud to be more enjoyable personally.

I found a new YouTube channel, called 1437 Ultimate, with some sick plays by other top players. I’m already getting some inspiration from Zenyou’s Mario. If I find any more goodies, I’ll be sure to include them in my next column!

Fire Emblem Heroes

As always, I’m logging into my only gacha game regularly. I love Fire Emblem Heroes too much not to play it and care too little about other gacha to play anything else. I don’t even follow the meta anymore. I just look up guides on Gamepress, build my characters optimally, and send them out into Abyssal Maps. Don’t get me started on Aether Raids either.

Duma’s Abyssal stage. I still cannot beat this effing map.

Been running Fallen Ike, Brave Dimitri, Peony, and Brave Camilla lately. Unfortunately, I ran into a roadblock trying to conquer Abyssal Duma. Yet one switch from Camilla to Brave Claude and, within two tries, I clobbered that map like it was nothing. You gotta adapt to your changes and when you see a map full of fliers it’s time to get the bow out.

The new year banner is coming so I’m looking forward to that. Much as I would love a summer banner of the Ljosalfheim faeries, this gracious New Year banner gives them beautiful kimonos to wear and fly around in. However, I can’t say I’m ready to commit to the New Year’s banner when I could still possibly get Winter Sothis and Winter Fae. Just maybe!

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

That’s right. I’m back to playing an old favorite Zelda title. Having beaten it on Wii (2006) and the GameCube years later, I had to pick up the HD remaster. One thing that drove me to this release was the addition of a harder difficulty.

Barring A Link Between Worlds, I’ve never been a fan of the Hero Mode difficulty in Wind Waker HD or this one either. However, with the use of the Ganondorf amiibo, I could boost enemy damage x2 and still collect hearts in the field. Unfortunately, I have to use my amiibo every time I load up the game.

I’m at the Lakebed Temple now which is the Water Temple of the game but on steroids. For those unaware, the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time was infamously difficult the first time we played through. Lakebed Temple is that but even bigger and more intimidating. That being said, I’m looking forward to getting this one over with.

Despite how much I enjoy this game, I always thought it fell short of the N64 classics, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. A large part of that reason was due to how easy combat was. Enemies dealt 1/4 heart of damage and you could get by them without even trying.

While the HD version’s difficulty gives me the incentive to beat the game, I have little doubt that Nintendo will release this game for Switch as part of this year’s celebration, Maybe we’ll see Twilight Princess and Wind Waker as part of Zelda 35th Anniversary. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can use the Wolf Link amiibo to help me with the DLC in Breath of the Wild.

Wrap-up

Well, here’s hoping I can clear Judgment before the next Game Corner. It’s probably around 60 hours and I’m doing side-cases like mad. Eventually, I do want to finally start my copies of Nioh 2 and Ghost of Tsushima, both of which I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about. But I’m also trying to be good and not scatter off to too many games at once. I say this as I haven’t touched my half-finished copies of Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy VII Remake in weeks.

Share with us what you’re playing in the replies below. Stay tuned with us for next time’s Game Corner. And finally, be sure to follow us on our social media links below. Happy New Year, everyone!

Retro Review – Ys Origin: An Epic Action/RPG Worth Your Time

Ys Origin

Ys Origin was developed by Nihon Falcom in 2006. The title would later be published by XSeed in the west in 2012 coming to PS Vita, PC, PS4, Xbox One, and finally Nintendo Switch.

The Ys series (pronounced “Eess”) features hack-and-slash RPG gameplay with real-time combat, puzzle-solving, and challenging boss battles. Ys Origin features three playable characters with the last one being unlocked by clearing the other two routes. With that being said, I found Ys Origin to be quite enjoyable from start to finish.

ACT Ys Origin Rado's Annex

Despite being released in 2006, its gorgeous character sprite work, boss design, and incredibly fast-paced and intuitive gameplay held up more than well enough. While I think it could use a few more exploration routes, this title was an absolute blast to play in all three playthroughs.

Story

Ys Origin takes place 700 years before the start of the series. Taking place inside of the enormous Darm Tower, it features a group of heroes seeking the goddesses – Feena and Reah – to inquire about their departure and the arrival of powerful demons.

The game features three playable characters: Yunica, Hugo, and Toal. Each one follows their own route, interaction, and even a few unique boss battles. They all have their own writing as each character experiences their own growth and development progressing throughout the story. Despite being only 10 hours long, I’m surprised at how much the protagonists grew in such a short span of time.

ACT Ys Origin Hugo Epona

One thing I absolutely love is a major twist that’s only featured in the final playthrough. It brings everything together in a way that could not be explained in Yunica or Hugo’s route. Along with the surnames of the characters (Tovah, Fact), veteran Ys players will meet familiar faces in the series. Fortunately, Ys Origin makes for a perfect entry point for series’ newcomers as well.

ACT Ys Origin Saul

Audiovisual

If there’s one thing the Ys series excels at, it’s music. The rock and smooth jazz accompany such amazing beats and bass lines thrown throughout the soundtrack. Anyone will also fall in love with the heavy metal riffs that play during boss fights. Falcom’s sound design is as sterling as ever. For some reason, the soundtrack gives me major Castlevania: Rondo of Blood vibes. Some of my favorite pieces include “Dreaming,” “Oboro,” “Tension,” and “Beyond the Beginning.”

Despite being overlaid on a 3D plane, Ys features 2D sprites. Yet they meld surprisingly well, hand-in-hand, akin to some of the older PlayStation JRPGs like Valkyrie Profile, Star Ocean, and Tales. Both the sprite animations of the characters and the bosses look magnificent even today. Plus the character art looks gorgeous and detailed and the characters feature different expressions. Falcom truly cares about the artwork as much as their music and it shows by how well it’s held up today.

Gameplay

Like past Ys titles, Origins features real-time hack-and-slash combat. You can jump, slash with combo attacks, and also use magical relics to deal additional damage. The puzzles within the game are enjoyable and nothing too hard. Rather, you’ll find additional relics that will either function as keys or new abilities which can open new paths or increase your movement.

ACT Ys Origin Yunica Boss

You’ll get three playable characters. Yunica, your battle warrior can use an axe while Hugo, the mage, attacks exclusively at long range. When you clear their paths, you’ll unlock Toal’s story. He can also attack at close range but is much faster and deals incredible damage with his claws.

ACT Khonsclard Ys Origin
Several bosses take cues from bullet-hell titles.

Each stage has different layouts. You’ll encounter plenty of different enemy types and stage obstacles. Even though it’s confined to a tower, each floor offers plenty of variety. Quicksand, lava, water, and powerful enemies help make up this game’s 25 floors.

ACT Ys Origin Mantis

If you ever find yourself struggling, it’s worth leveling up a bit. As much as I dislike level grinding, thankfully it never takes more than 2-3 minutes tops to get to a new level. You can save right before a boss room, grind levels for a few minutes, and end up at a high enough level to take them on. Ys Origin is quite forgiving by allowing you to continue at the boss fight if you lose.

Final Thoughts

Ys Origin offers solid replayability in spite of its short length. With 3 stories, it totals up to around 25-30 hours of solid writing, character development, and even tragedy. When you clear the game, you can also unlock boss rush and trial modes which in-turn unlock secrets.

ACT Ys Origin Roo

I enjoyed the game’s thematics. I enjoyed Yunica’s story of feeling held-back for not being capable of using magic or even the goddesses’ own human nature and flawed existence. Meanwhile, both Hugo and Toal fought against their own fate. They’re human and they’re written in a way that seems to defy a game released in 2006.

ACT Ys Origin Toal Reah

I feel like they could have opened up more avenues to explore. Granted, for exploring outside of the beaten path you will get better armor and accessories. However, as much as I love the game, I could always use more. It’s like a cross between the original and Metroidvania titles of Konami’s Castlevania series. While it moves on a linear path of stages, each stage offers a chance to explore a bit. Ys Origin is not perfect as it does feel quite linear. Yet it’s also well-written with some beautiful aesthetics and a fantastic soundtrack to boot.

If you enjoy classic 2D gameplay akin Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda titles, enjoy hack-and-slash games, and want a solid story that paces itself well, Ys Origin is a great choice. It’s a definitive hack-and-slash title and one of the best games in the series out there. Even if you don’t play other games in the series, it’s a quality standalone title that will make a solid entry in your library no matter what system you’re playing on.

Score: 8.5/10

ACT Ys Origin Feena Reah Yunica

 

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 Review – More of the Same, But Better.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 is a side-scrolling platformer released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The sequel to 2018’s Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, this Castlevania-throwback experience features new characters, stages, and even 2-player co-op. Having recently beaten the game’s Final Chapter, I’ll briefly discuss the best and not-so-best parts of ArtPlay and IntiCreates’ latest title.

For anyone wondering, Koji Igarashi‘s studio, ArtPlay, developed the spiritual successor to Castlevania, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Inti Creates, known for Mega Man Zero and Gunvolt, developed the 8-bit Curse of the Moon titles. While they feature similar characters and settings, Curse of the Moon’s storyline spins off from Ritual of the Night’s. Thus, the two are not interetwined.

While I find CotM 2 to be quite an improvement over the first game, I think it still clings to some of the previous title’s fundamental flaws. For one, I don’t really need an excuse to replay a game just for a few different gimmicks. If I want to replay the game, i would rather do it on my own terms instead of being cheesed into unlocking the true ending. That aside, however, its presentation offers a stellar job with boss battles, levels, and gameplay.

Story

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 follows the plot of the first title. However, Zangetsu is now accompanied by new companions. These include Dominique, the exorcist from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a sniper named Robert, and a mech-piloting corgi named Hachi.

The story’s straightforward narrative involves going to a castle and slaying the demons to save the world. However, it takes some interesting twists within the game’s replay formula. Each one follows an ending, a new chapter, and an opening. Each of these chapters also affects the lineup of your party.

While little changes regarding the level designs, the final boss will be altered in both Chapter 2 and the Final Chapter. There are four different chapters and the final one features the true ending. Additionally, some of the dialogue among party members ends up rather humorous. Between that and the cutscenes that play between chapters, it becomes a bit more worth replaying the chapters with a slight change of pace.

Audiovisual

Much like its predecessor, Bloodstained follows the classic NES Castlevania aesthetic. The 8-bit title features an array of gorgeous colors and boss animations. Similar to Shovel Knight, the game presents various levels, bosses, and design choices far surpassing the NES’ own capabilities.

The chiptune music provides a selection of fast-paced music fitting for a Castlevania-esque title. I found the tunes to be catchy and at times quite engaging, such as The Demon’s Crown. I was also quite fond of the boss theme.

Gameplay

The 2D action gameplay features platforming, the ability to switch between multiple characters, and exploring non-linear stages. This means you can choose different paths to clear the stage depending on the characters you have available. Additionally, each character has their own playstyle.

Unfortunately, I was not at all fond of using Robert. While he served to be a sniper with long-range capabilities, he had no way of protecting himself up close. He felt woefully out of place in this game since his mechanics made clearing stages or bosses extremely difficult if not impossible.

Another slight issue I had was with Zangetsu. He gains a more powerful sword later in the game which gives him vertical slashe and multi-strikes. After Chapter 2, however, if the player didn’t hunt down the secret sword, they would lose it to the basic Zanmatou in the EX Episode. I feel downgrading abilities from a player is a big no-no.

Bloodstained also once again goes the route of “beat game and replay” ad nauseam. They try to write a different chapter of the tale but you’re really just repeating the game again with a slightly different roster in the 2nd chapter or the CotM 1 cast in the EX Chapter. By the final chapter, you have everyone, albeit briefly, to collect parts to reach the final level. But you’re just doing the same stages over again.

The developers would benefit greatly from creating more new stages to go with each stage rather than force the player to do the same game four times to get the final ending. Sonic Heroes is one example of a game that makes the player replay the exact same game, with slight differences, just to get the best ending.

Final Thoughts

I will admit that I greatly enjoyed the co-op in this title. The 2-player co-op allows players to jump in and exit anytime. While it’s limited to offline play, it still offers players to work together to defeat bosses or even access hidden areas.

Another good part was the difficulty level. The Veteran difficulty was tough as nails. Casual Mode offers its own challenge as the stage layout and enemies don’t change. After Episode 2, I switched to Casual Mode because I didn’t feel any need to play the same game again. I just wanted to finish the story. Furthermore, the bosses just become HP sponges on later chapters and it’s no longer enjoyable to fight them and mimic the same pattern each time.

Bloodstained does a great job of presenting a classic 2D platforming experience. However, it still relies heavily on gimmicks like forced replay or unbalanced characters in a side-scroller. Even compared to Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, it was at least possible to solo the game with Trevor, Sypha, Grant, or Alucard.

Despite these mild shortcomings, Circle of the Moon 2 is well-worth the purchase. Even if it’s just one playthrough, you’ll surely find an enjoyable challenge and experience through the title. If you’re missing classic 2D Castlevania action or just enjoyed the first Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon title, it’s recommended giving it a try. I found the level designs to be vastly improved and more varied than the first Curse of the Moon title.

Whether you decide to continue with the replay chapters or not is up to you. However, I recommend at least playing through it once to all classic gaming fans who seek a real challenge.

Verdict: 8/10

Why Skies of Arcadia Deserves to Be Remastered on Modern Consoles.

Sega‘s heralded JRPG, Skies of Arcadia, originally released for the Dreamcast in 2000. When the Sega Dreamcast ended its early run in the console market, Sega opted to port some of its hit Dreamcast titles to consoles of the era. Among them included the JRPG, rebranded now as Skies of Arcadia: Legends, for the Nintendo GameCube.

Skies of Arcadia starts the Sky Pirate, Vyse, and his childhood friend, Fina. They’re Sky Pirates initially taking jobs before fighting against the Valuan Empire. Along the way, they meet Fina, a girl from the Silver Civilization, and more companions along the way. During their resistance against the empire, they’ll build a crew for their airship, fight through dungeons, and even battle airships.

While Skies of Arcadia was loved for its character design, soundtrack, and setting, hindsight is only 20/20. Despite its wondrous and popular aesthetic, Skies of Arcadia suffered from some more common JRPG flaws, These will appear later in the article.

While Skies of Arcadia has only made cameo appearances in Sega titles since the GameCube release, players want to revisit this world again. Ideally, perhaps Sega could not just re-release the title for modern consoles but remaster it with modern quality-of-life improvements.

Rogue’s Landing stage from Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. (2012)

What Made Skies of Arcadia Special

People embraced Skies of Arcadia for its character design, music, and unique setting. Unlike any other game past, you were a Sky Pirate who sailed across the sky. The world was divided by islands and you used an airship to explore.

Its battle system entailed the use of SP. In addition to MP for magic spells, SP offered another layer of depth. These powerful strikes offered impressive cinematics while your character unleashed a devastating blow on the enemy.

The locales, the characters, and even having a pirate crew charmed its players. Perhaps also due to its limited releases, its novelty value remains high among its fans.

What a Proper Remaster Could Entail

Despite its best intentions, Skies of Arcadia suffered from its own series of flaws. Even though Legends attempted to lower the encounter rate, in comparison to other JRPGs, it was still considerably high. It was also no secret that the player would get lost at times without consulting a guide.

Skies of Arcadia’s ship battles moved like molasses. Thanks to the over-emphasis on cutscenes, the animations, and long HP bars could make fights take up to 45 minutes long. This was followed by a boss battle which, if you lost, you would have to do all over again.

The title does not need to focus on improving aesthetics outside of your usual HD Remaster such as Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. Rather, some quality of life improvements would breathe new life into the game.

ACT FFX HD Remaster Comparison
Final Fantasy X (2001, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (2013, 2015)

Final Thoughts

I feel ambivalent towards Skies of Arcadia. On one hand, I love its characters, especially Gilder, Fina, and Vyse. On the other hand, it was a slog to play through. I hated that I lost near the final boss fight because I was under-leveled and forced to grind.

Despite this, I know it has the potential to be an even better game. I would love to see it return, better than before, by Sega’s grace. Whether through an HD Remaster, remake, or even a sequel, here’s hoping Sega will revisit the Blue Rogues once more.

Did you play Skies of Arcadia or Legends? Let us know in the replies below. As always, be sure to follow our social media pages below to bring the latest gaming content with you!

 

 

Hello, readers!  I just to say that SEGA Forever was buzzing a little bit about Skies or Arcadia.  While this isn’t a guaranty, we thought it might show promise.

‘Sorry to people that thought that my promotion of the article made this click bait.  It wasn’t my intention or John Rinyu’s fault.

‘Sorry for any confusion and/or frustration.

-HERETICPRIME