Friday, 13 January 2017

Switch Day: Games

It wasn't all about the machine at the Nintendo Switch event, we even saw a LOT of games. Some new IP, some old, some first party and some third.

Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 3rd March

There isn't much to say here other than the usual "Zelda continues to impress", the Switch reveal trailer gives us our first look at the story and her ladyship herself. Oh, the trailer seems to confirm fully voiced NPCs and it is coming out worldwide with the Switch 2017.



Super Mario Oddyesy - Christmas 2017

Billed as a successor to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. After exploring microgravity worlds of Galaxy and the 3D sprinting levels of 3D World, Mario returns to his exploration driven sandbox worlds. As you can see it all looks promising. EXCEPT for Mario mingling with "real world humans" and let's not forget/remember what happened the last time a mascot did that.


1, 2, Switch - 3rd March

An interesting party game where the Joy-Cons are the stars and the console and screen are simply the referee. Instead of competing "within" the game players face each other in real life. This looks like a hybrid of Wario Ware and the Wii/U Play series. 1,2, Switch seems like the perfect pack-in game (like Wii Sports/Nintendo Land but regardless we think this could be hit at parties... perhaps as casual gamer guests "hydrate".


ARMS - Spring 2017

Now this is something that caught our eye here at GKUK as it looks like an awful lot of fun and appears to feature a good amount of challenge and skill involved. Nintendo is planning to reveal more later but promises the games has depth. Looking online it appears people would of preferred the fighters to use Dragonball Z energy blasts, personally I am shocked this hasn't been attached to Mii's or Mario



Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - TBA

Surprisingly, the only Wii U port for Nintendo Switch announced today was "MK8 - Deluxe" whilst Nintendo didn't go into details as what exactly was added we can pull some things from the trailer. Battle Mode is fully restored to its glory with custom-built arenas and several new characters, vehicles and tracks such as Inklings and Inktropolis.



Splatoon 2 -TBA

Yeah, we totally thought this was just going to be a "remix" of the original game with some minor add-ons. Instead, we appear to be getting a full-fledged sequel wit more maps, more weapon types (actual different classes), voice chat and local multiplayer modes.



Super Bomberman R -TBA

Bomberman is back baby! It has been awhile for the little guy after his god awful 360 reboot but he's back on Nintendo Switch for his 33rd anniversary. The classic gameplay returns but with new twists, campaign and boss battles.



Puyo Puyo Tetris - TBA

Prepare for a puzzling nightmare as Puyo Puyo and Tetris join forces to take on four players at once, TOGETHER. featuring multiple games modes almost certain to give you some form of PTSD. Check out the trailer and feel you brain ooze.



Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - TBA

Yes apparently Xenoblade Chronicles X on Wii U is not the second Xenoblade Chronicles... moving on. XC2 does look like a true sequel to the first game in terms of tone and style. Here's hoping the British accents return in this one.



Fire Emblem Warriors - TBA

Can anyone hear that? Does it sound like a phone? oh, it's me! because I FRAKING CALLED IT!
Sorry, smug mode cancelled. Not much to go on here other than Koei Tecmo are returning to the land of "warrior" Nintendo spin-offs with the ever so perfect fit of Fire Emblem.



Dragon Quest - TBA

Speaking of Koei Tecmo they are also working with square and bring their OTHER 'warrior' spin-off to a long-running game to Switch. Yep, Dragon Quest Heroes I + II are on their way along with Dragon Quest X (the MMO) and Dragon Quest XI (still no idea which version).



Sonic and SMT

Sega confirmed multiple titles for Switch. Both 'Untitled Sonic 2017' and Sonic Mania (the all new classic Sonic game. Sega and Atlus also showed off a teaser for Shin Megami Tensei 5, which interestingly appears to be set in the modern day and ISN'T a Persona game.


"Project Octopath Traveler"

Not a lot to go on here. Well, other than the interesting 2D-3D-2D art style and is being brought to us by the excellent team that brought us the Bravely Default series.



Skyrim

Yep, Skyrim is 100% coming to Switch, allowing you flee your family as they attempt to force you and the Skyrim apart. It's unknown if Skyrim Switch is the legendary edition or if there will be mod support.



Capcom

Capcom managed to surprise us by quietly announcing "Ultra Street Fighter II: The Last Challengers". USF2 is being billed as a new game by Capcom. however, it appears to be an expanded version of the brilliant Street Fighter 2 HD Remix. Which features lovely new art from Undon the makers of the Street Fighter comics and manga.

USF2 adds in two 'new'  characters "Evil Ryu" and "Violent Ken" (one evil with the Dark Hadou, the other twisted by M. Bison), and a new 2v2 co-op mode, unleashing 4 players on the screen at once.

Ubisoft

Ubi confirmed their open world winter sports title "Steep" will be coming to Nintendo Switch and that Rayman Legends is getting a super special edition with "plenty of surprises"

Others
There's also a bunch of other games shown (and confirmed) in montages.

Has-Been Heroes (March 2017)
Disgaea 5 Complete (TBD)
LEGO City Undercover (Spring 2017)
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (TBD)
Fast RMX (TBD)
RIME (TBD)
I am Setsuna (March 2017)
No More Heroes: Brand New Title (TBD)
Minecraft Story Mode: The Complete Adventure (TBD)
Minecraft (TBD)
Just Dance 2017 (March 2017)
Dragon Ball XENOVERSE 2 (TBD)
nipperclips – Cut It Out, Together! (March 2017)
Arcade Archives (TBD)
Farming Simulator (TBD)
Skylanders Imaginators (TBD)
Syberia 3 (TBD)
NBA 2K18 (September 2017)
FIFA (TBD)
Redout (Spring 2017)

Check out: Switch Controller - Switch Pre-order

Switch Day: Controllers

So Nintendo finally blew the lid off their new machine, The Nintendo Switch. The Big N showed off the new machine, some new games, and finally the secrets of the Switch's Joy-Cons.

I've decided to start with the controllers as they turned out to be rather surprising. Even though some of the functionality was leaked or was expected thanks to previously announced games. Let's take look at the new guys.

Evolution.


The Nintendo Switch is the evolution of the entire Nintendo system line and the controllers have certainly picked up some tricks from is forebearers.

Things to be noted; The little black square on the left pad IS a 'share' button allowing players to take screenshots (video to come later) which ca,n be shared via "social media". If you look a,t the two black interior sides of the joy-cons, you will spot 2 silver buttons, there are shoulder buttons for when one joy-con is used. These buttons can be enhanced with grips (included in the box). Nintendo also revealed the Joy-Cons will have colour options, Either separately or with the console. Neon Blue and Neon Red.

The Joy-Cons also house two bonus secrets. First, it appears the NFC Amiibo reader is IN the R-Stick. Secondly, the right Joy-Con features and nifty IR camera (currently isn't used to replace touch controls) that can gauge distance and even tell hand signals.

The Joy-Cons are also full separate motion controllers (as Just Dance's presence suggested) and feature super interesting 3D rumble that somehow (we assume magic) is able to give the impression the Joy Con is a "glass with an ice cube" reacting to the movement of the user. This effect was demonstrated as being able to simulate two cubes, three cubes, even three cubes suspended in water.

Options.
If you're the type of person who shudders at the term "motion controller" then you'll be happy to hear that Nintendo is billing the new system as one of "options". The Joy-Cons can be used like "a normal controller" mounted in the controller mount (also included), separately (one person using both pads), independently (one person/one Joy-Con) and up to four of them can be linked to one machine.

Nintendo confirmed that the Pro pad will be available for a separate purchase and can be used on anywhere "normal" controls are used.

Check out the Joy-Con segment.


Check Out: Switch Games - Nintendo Switch pre-order

Abe's Take
I've got to admit I wasn't expecting to be excited about the Joy-Cons, I desperately love being able to relax my arms and play. Playing MH with the Wiimote was probably the least tense I've been on MH ever.

I a,m hyper curious on just how the "ice cube in a glass" vibration works and feels

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Microsoft Cancels Scalebound.

It has been confirmed that Platinum's dragon partnering, pseudo-sci-fantasy, headphone wearing, action RPG and Xbox exclusive has met it Dragonborn and been suddenly killed off.



The above is basically our expression here in the GK-UK base. As we were massively looking forward to this. Fighting alongside our own dragon buddy, exploring the strange new world, and some co-op dragon fighting. Here's the trailer that was shown just 6 months ago at E3.




Here's what Microsoft had to say about the cancellation. WARNING! is fairly standard PR response.

“After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for Scalebound. We’re working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games to our fans this year, including Halo Wars 2, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves and other great experiences.”

Now there has been two responses bouncing around online to the news, The first can be surmised as Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes (1968) with fans digitally howling into cyberspace.

The other version is much like Old Yeller with MS taking Scalebound behind the woodshed unloading both barrels in the face. 

Judging from Scalebound's delays and almost silent updates it sounds - as badly as it does - that the game was trapped in development limbo. We love the guys at Platinum but they have super busy with the small team handling exclusives for Nintendo (Wonderful 101, Bayonetta, Star Fox), Sony, and Microsoft but also Activision's (poorly received) licenced games such as Legend of Kora, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers Devastation

.Abe's Take
I am really bummed about not being able to play this. At the moment we can't even be sure who owns the IP. If MS owns the rights then we might see the concept return at some point but if Platinum owns the rights we might see it returns as a multiformat or even a "saviour" game where a publisher steps in to cover the costs (Bayonetta 2)

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Rumour: Switch UK price, US Zelda & Mother 3

Well looks like there is more retailer fun regarding Nintendo Switch and Ms Dale is still leaking (rumours, not bodily fluids), Lets hope these retail rumours are unlike yesterdays.

First up we have UK retailer Argos has put an price on the Nintendo Switch, an actual one and not some super place holder like GAME's £999.



Is the price an simple place holder or has Nintendo already passed on details to retailers? It's certainly a fine guide price and we have heard previous rumours that there would be £299.99 bundle. Its worth noting that price is cheaper than a PS4 Pro but more expensive than an Xbox One S (though that appears to be more to do with an Amazon sale)

Next up we have Laura Dale saying she has access to Nintendo Switch's US launch promo materials and it clearly states Breath of the Wild as a launch title. This puts an end to her previous on/off report that Zelda: Breath of the Wild was delayed for Switch.


What about UK release? Well some Amazon UK pre-order customers are reporting emails confirming an change of release date from "2017" to "31st March 2017"


The release date for the video game listed below has been changed by the publisher, and we want to provide you with a new delivery estimate based on the new release date:
"The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild"
Estimated arrival date: March 31, 2017
The Japanese magazine CoroCoro has had an upcoming issue leaked and that too confirms a spring release.

Ms Dale also claims that Mother 3 will finally see a western launch as part of the Nintendo Switch's Virtual Console. Now excuse me whilst I roll my eyes. not that I don't believe her but "MOTHER 3 COMING WEST!" has to been the most persistent rumour over the last 5 years or so. Before every Direct, E3 and TV appearance the Mother 3 rumour has appeared. This rumour has, in the past claimed the credibility of several "insiders" such as Ms Emily Rogers.



Abe's Take
I'm hesitant to believe these, rumours simple because of yesterday's burn but that is mostly because I really wanted those red cases. I also refuse to believe Mother 3 is actually coming to the west until the game actually loads on my TV.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Eye of the Dragon (2005)



So, the New Year is here. Time I use that old Christmas present. You know, the one that you receive years ago with gratitude but then become so busy it winds up in a pile somewhere. It vanishes. You forget you have it. Then, one day, it falls out of a magic hole somewhere onto your head – usually leaving a lump - and you go “oh yeah! So and so got me this!” then precede to feel guilty for the next hour or day or week or whatever at what a complete and ungrateful git you were. Well, that reckoning day is here and that gift is Eye of the Dragon given to me by my sister about (checks date) ten years ago. Time I gave this thing a whirl and see what it’s all about.

To very briefly introduce this: it is an adventure gamebook. I love adventure gamebooks – or at least I did at the time – and this one is also by a favourite, Ian Livingstone. How can I even begin to summarise this. Ian Livingstone next to perhaps Bruce Dickinson is the career equivalent of a space race. Ian brought Dungeons and Dragons to Europe, started Games Workshop, began Warhammer, began the British magazine White Dwarf, became chairman of Eidos, revamped Tomb Raider and on the seventh day presumably he rested whilst being given an honorary degree (and rightly so).

Somewhere in between all of this, he also invented RPG adventure gamebooks. Eye of the Dragon is one of these books - his first in thirteen years – and said to reflect his years of experience in the gaming industry. “I'll have that,” I said to my sister. “Ok,” she said. And on it went to my shelf until this very day.

I open it and begin to read.

I play the role of the token tough adventurer who is down on his luck. One day. while trying to get some shut eye, some weary looking chap named Henry Delacor informs me that for five long years he has searched for a fabled dragon statue - worth the very specific amount of 335, 000 gold coins. It is hidden in a labyrinth under the city and will kill anybody who touches it unless they insert two precious emeralds into its eyes. He’s just back from that labyrinth now - apparently after only discovering one of those emeralds.

“I’ll go!” says my character.

“Here, drink this slow acting poison,” says Henry “that way I can be sure you will return here with half of my reward for the antidote.”

“Ha, don’t make me laugh old man” I say as I push him ove…

No, I’m kidding. I down the poison in one shot.

What sort of jackass am I playing?


So, I make my poisoned way through some scary, evil forest to discover a house. Inside is a trapdoor. Visions of Zork spring to mind and I wonder if I will be eaten by a Grue or something. I should mention at this point that in determining my characters strength I came out as reasonable. So, imagine more a Jason Statham over that Conan image. I can’t punch through walls but I’m ripe enough to oil wrestle a few orcs when that awkwardly inevitable moment arrives.

I quickly come to a branching path offering a left or right choice. I pick right and arrive at a door. Inside is a man who wants to sell me a picture of an Owl. Feeling slightly confused I buy the picture and ram it into my bag pack before walking out. Awhile later, I arrive at a door. This one contains a merchant who operates one of those chalk, fish hook and pickled pigs tail type businesses. How these men get to work every morning through some guy’s basement or indeed what the market for owl paintings and tin whistles is in an underground, secretive labyrinth - I don’t quite know. Feeling a little annoyed at this point, I only buy one pickled pig’s tail on the way out along with an obvious silver dagger. 

Suddenly, I step on a pressure trap which releases arrows and it's almost a relief to be under attack. Seeing as this is the first luck roll of the game, the arrows skirt around me.  I walk on reaching another arbitrary left and right fork. I continue right and find a pit which I have the option of swinging over on rope or jumping over. Figuring the rope will be cut, I choose to swing across it anyway as I want to be in character playing this dumpling. It is completely safe so I’m guessing those merchants put it here to aid shoppers reaching their store. 

On the other side I find…more doors.

 Door 1: empty of threat and offers the choice of a free bronze plate of armour or an iron plate of armour. I take the iron which boosts my skill.

Door 2: contains a woman in cage who flirts with me. I approach her, discover she’s a vampire and instant kill her with my dagger. No challenge. I gain a jewel on a gold chain.

Door 3: contains gremlin which dies in two hits. I am rewarded with a silver key and magic green goo in a jar which may or may not be gremlin poo.


By this point, my bag is so loaded with trinkets and sparkleys and wonders that I am almost in danger of being crippled under its immense weight. There is no item limit so I can carry as much swag as I like. I eventually reach a corridor where two skeletons try to swipe at me with swords but I walk right past them. To make this encounter more entertaining, I imagine them both standing there in utter disbelief and one probably shouting after me “Yeah, and don’t come back!”

Thankfully for my oblivious moron, the dungeon is entirely idiot proof. A helpful arrow points to an area where a giant sandworm atempts to jump me and is promptly slapped aside. My prize is an un-trapped chest with 27 gold pieces, a book of poetry and a staff. I becomes so jaded at this point that I choose to whack the staff on the floor sustaining my first minor injury in the act because this isn’t just any old staff it’s the super, amazing, awesome thunder staff that can kill evil sorcerers in a single hit…yaay.

The old criticism of "Monty Hall Dungeon" or the more British term "Supermarket Sweep Dungeon" really sums this adventure up. I wonder through constant rooms, down left or right branching corridors and get tanked up with items that are either way over powered, may or may not be requirments later in the game or result in instant death. 

Eventually, I discover a dwarf in one of the rooms and on freeing him he follows me about for the rest of the game like a miniature David Dickinson cracking terrible jokes and saying things like “Oh I wonder what’s in that treasure chest,” “this room looks interesting.” 

And, if you fall over, we have Injury Lawyers For You!

Trying to ignore him and keep my sanity, I run into the intelligent and slightly deranged sorcerer in question simply called Evil Sorcerer. Luckily for me, his accuracy is so awful that every spell he casts misses (I only discovered he was there by turning around to see that the wall was singed) and unless you are standing directly in front of him you are entirely safe. The catch? He has a sword that kills you in a hit. So, Jar Jar Binks wielding the Soul Reaver. I pull out the staff, he explodes, I carry on.

Finally, we manage to find the jewel of I’m An Adventurer Get Me Out Of Here and then Mr super insanely ridiculous unskippable over the top boss arrives - who is to my surprise not made out of special item. His attacks do double damage, but thankfully me and the dwarf manage to take care of him. Then, it’s back to the shopping trip - a brass bell, a bronze statue of a monkey to go with my owl painting, and a silver armband. 

With two pages of items filled in and our quest at an end, we walk into a room to fight the titular dragon. It’s asleep. We walk past it. End of encounter.



Then, just in case you were thinking this book was made with beginners in mind, the second final boss appears. He is a doppelganger of the shopping loving dwarf and is offensively unkillable. You can only beat him by luck as every attack round you have suffers an accumulative minus two to the dice roll. No item in the game prevents this bro down from happening. You just have to oil your chest up and jump right in there.


After having our 24th legendary final battle for the supermarket, I decided the gasmillion gold groats the dungeon would ram up my arse for winning really weren’t worth it.

And thus my dodgey 'venture came to an end. I left the 24 dead version of me on the dungeon room floor, put the fictional world back on my shelf, picked up a New Year’s drink and wondered what in the whole of hell inspired Ian to write such a bannana. When no answer came, I went to wash the oil out from behind my ears.

Update: The real problem here was the marketing division. I don't speak their evil tongue but it turns out "game wrote following years of gaming experience" actually translates to "prototype adventure he cobbled together back in 1982 before he'd written his first book." Perhaps if this was published as the great unreleased Fighting Fantasy juvenile, more people may have accepted it for what it was and enjoyed it. Then again...

RUMOUR: Nintendo Switch Boxart & Mario Kart Details? FALSE

So we've got about 12 days (depending on timezone) till the Nintendo Switches coming out party and whilst some leakers such as Ms Dale have decided to let Nintendo reveal its big surprises (mostly) but seems Australian retailer EB Games has slipped up.

UPDATE: 
Well, we feel foolish. it appears the product listing was fake "injected" into the site


It's weird that the retailer didn't refute the rumour. So with that everything below is nonsense please feel free to reread it a silly voice.

ORIGINAL: The retailer has seemingly posted (and removed) their Nintendo Switch page and has SEEMINGLY leaked 3 Nintendo Switch launch titles and their box arts.


This reveals some nice details.

First, the Nintendo Switch will have some hybrid themed boxes. The game cases appear to be similar in size to the DS/3DS game cases but with a bold red border that reflects home console game cases (thick border up top with the system branding)

Skyrim is the special edition, the remastered version and not a port of the 360 era version as was previously rumoured. It will be interesting to see what Nintendo's policy towards mods will be. Nintendo's history makes it hard to predict, they are very protective but also is currently on a player creativity high right now. Will we see 'full' mods like Xbox, the limited mods of PS4, or will Nintendo block them entirely?

Legend of Zelda is listed whilst Mario Switch isn't, hopefully, This refutes the rumour of the LoZ:BoTW delay in favour of Mario in a hope to leverage Super Mario Run's launch hype.

Mario Kart 8's Switch port seems to be a rather large expansion as the game case claims. 24 extra tracks, 10 new characters and an "all new" battle mode. we assume this means the classic battle mode from all previous Mario Kart games is making a return.There has been some chatter this is "just the DLC" however the DLC added 16 tracks and 6 characters. Of cause it's possible MK8:S will have the DLC + 8 new tracks and 4 new characters.


Abe's Take
Well if this is true and not some oddly precise mock-up, then I am rather happy and judging from others online are many people. Worryingly though people now seem to expect Smash: Switch to feature a similar level of expansion. We saw something similar back when Smash 4 started getting DLC with players comparing the DLCs in terms of the number of characters. So I repeat what I said then Smash characters are far more complex than Mario Kart'. That being said I expect Smash: Switch to have 2-4 more characters maybe an Inkling and a Sun/Moon starter.