Partially because of my own sheltered nature, and the fact that I never go out because of school or work, but it’s always really exciting for me to hear random people talk about video games. Even if their conversations are a bit vapid and underdeveloped, as they are not as familiar with the language of games as I am. Still, I got to hear three people talk about Firewatch, and that brings me much joy in the medium as a whole as well as leading credence that the landscape of the medium is improving. Yes, it’s circumstantial evidence I’m using to backup a hefty claim, but it makes me feel a bit better about this medium.
Marking the end of an era, and something that I hope Sony is considering very carefully, the PSP native online marketplace will close down on March 31st. Meaning you will not be able to download PSP games through your PSP, and will need to use either a PS3 or PC. Now, the idea of closing an online storefront with hundreds of games is gross to me on many levels, but this, the removal of a single way to obtain digital games, is okay.
As is discontinuing hardware that does not sell, as is the case with the Playstation TV. Millions have been made, the system was frequently discounted by an absurd amount, reaching as low as $20, several times, and if that doesn’t cause sales to explode, nothing will. Well, the $100 64GB memory cards sure didn’t help. Fare thee well, sweet princess. You were the best microconsole the world has ever seen, even if your resolution was substandard.
Speaking of poor business decisions that will likely lead to failure, Microsoft announced Young Conker. The Hololens technical showpiece game featuring a redesigned Conker, who looks hideously deformed and is positioned in a vacant augmented reality 3D platformer that looks as fun as it looked inventive or creative, which is to say not at all. They took a character who gets drunk, piss, and fights poo to be a fluffy cartoon mascot… what were they thinking?
I don’t know, Microsoft is a weird company when you try to track their decisions, and now they are considering updated hardware for Xbox One. Effectively a more powerful additional version of the system that would allow some games to perform better on the new hardware that uses the same basic infrastructure. While the idea is interesting, especially if this turns into a massive annual model, it kind of ruins the sense of cohesiveness that comes with a console as you know this thing doesn’t even have five years before its outdated. It sounds like something that would confuse the market more than hurt it, and if slightly improved performance is the goal, most people can go to PC gaming, as it’s really quite easy most of the time. I say as someone who spent two hours before they realized they didn’t plug the CPU power cable into the Motherboard.
Taking care of a few things before the Nintendo Direct summary, Bandai Namco, that weird misfit company whose library boggles the mind at times, is publishing the next game from Deck13, the Lords of the Fallen developers. The game is called The Surge, which visually looks as plain as its name, but actually sounds pretty nifty.
The Surge is a game about cyborgs and robots that will focus on careful timing and decision making while in combat, upgrades from the machinery you defeat, and becoming something of a power fantasy as the game world retains a bit of underplayed humor. Okay, so it sounds like a lot more than Dark Souls with robots, which would be pretty cool too, and it should be something all in its own when it comes out in early 2017. Tentatively that is, given how common delays have been for AAA and small games alike this past generation. I mean, I’m nothing short of stunned at how No Man’s Sky is coming out June 21st. I expected at least another four months.
One can dismiss just about every rumor in a similar way, but two substantial rumors came from a reliable source, who previously revealed Pokemon Mega Evolutions and Microsoft’s IllumiRoom. The first was a list of rumored features for the upcoming NX, which is said to have a wireless HDMI dongle, can connect with just about any bluetooth device, has a controller with haptic feedback, and is super easy to develop for. That sounds great, and it makes sense, but the stereotype of a not very logical Nintendo still reigns true in my head. I mean, last year they released the New 3DS.
The second rumor concerned Nintendo publishing or funding a revived Beyond Good and Evil 2 ala Bayonetta 2, now called Beyond Good and Evil: The Prejudices of Philosophers. Despite not liking the first game all that much, I did not play it until 2012 and had high expectations, fans have been bamboozled and manipulated with this game for nearly a decade now, and it would not be too outlandish to see. Although, the ZombiU port, Rayman Legends port and delay, and that unreleased Wii U game by Ubisoft all point to the companies not having the best of relationships. I’m just saying, don’t put the utmost faith in rumors.
Nintendo also did an impromptu 3DS and Wii U Direct this week, detailing some of the last hoorahs for the platforms before the focus changes to the NX. It was mostly reaffirmations of things, a couple release dates, or a few new details. Star Fox Zero still a lot like Star Fox 64 for better or for worse. Splatoon and Super Mario Maker are getting more updates, a trend that Nintendo will likely follow in the future. Bravely Second still makes me curious about whether or not Bravely Default got better after a while, even though I thought so little of it I stopped right before a major story event in chapter 4.
For the sake of structure, I’ll move in release date order. On the day of the Nintendo Direct, Super Nintendo games were released on New 3DS, but need to be purchased specifically for the system, and Nintendo is doing the gradual release thing. I truly doubt there is much stopping them from posting 100 ROMs a day and being done with most of the library within a week. Honestly, the Virtual Console is such a great, but mismanaged idea. That Wii to Wii U jump alone was devastating…
Star Fox Guard is the repurposed Project Guard tech demo Nintendo showed off at E3 2014, except now you play as Slippy Toad, and you need to switch from camera to camera to stop aliens and invading robots from invading your based in 100+ levels. Or in other words, Night Trap with guns and robots, or to be more contemporary, Five Nights At Freddy’s but with guns and robots. It will be out with Star Fox Zero on April 22
GameFreak made a game about horses, horse jockeys, solitaire, and breeding better race horses in 2014. I forgot about the game’s very existence until it was announced as Pocket Jockey, coming to the west in May 2016. While I do admire the novelty of the idea, I don’t see much appeal in it. Especially when you can see a lot of potentially shady elements that would turn this into a money consuming slug. Or a bad free to play game. Same thing really.
Kirby Planet Robobot is a successor to Kirby Triple Deluxe. A game that I recall being a fairly bog standard Kirby affair, one without the rewarding pacing of Super Star Ultra, the splendor of something like Epic Yarn, or even the hit it and quit it, done in an afternoon feeling found in something like Squeak Squad. This game’s major difference, besides Amiibo support, are a series of mech suits that themselves can be tricked out with their own copy abilities. While I openly accept any innovation involving robots, unless the level design and pacing are dramatically improved, I doubt I will be giving this much of a glance on or after its release date on June 10th. Game still looks visually wonderful though.
What doesn’t look so wonderful is Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Okay, I was disappointed and had no interest in it, but after learning it was originally a DS game and was an earnest attempt to explore the greater Metroid series, this just seems sad. As a modern video games running on a Nintendo 3DS, it does not look very good. The premise of a cooperative first person shooter where you mostly rely on lock-on aim does not sound appealing. The general chibi art direction looks unfitting of the series, and the decision to set the game on an ice planet just confuses me. The game is coming out in Spring at some point, and I just hope it is brushed under the rug like Other M… I would have genuinely forgotten about that game if I didn’t own Another M by Sammus.
Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, known as Illusionary Fates #FE in Japan, and known as Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE in the west. If you couldn’t tell, Nintendo is not very good at naming things. The game will not feature an English dub, fine by me, and will be out on June 24th, where it will do poorly because its title is made to only appeal to big stupid weeaboos like myself.
Brushing a bundle aside at once, Rhythm Heaven Megamix, a 3DS installment in the beloved series that would only appeal to those with, well, rhythm, was confirmed for a release outside of Japan, with 70 returning minigames and 30 new ones. So today is glorious for all of the Jonathan Holmes of the world. Monster Hunter X is unsurprisingly coming outside of Japan, as Monster Hunter Generations, and while it does look quite stylish and cool, I am hesitant to invest 200 hours into any game only to find out that I hate the entire genre it spawned. While I will happily invest a fourth of that time in Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past when it comes out. Although, I kind of need to. After all, I promised the internet I would.
Closing it off, there was Paper Mario Color Splash for the Wii U, and… I give up. I’m done, I quit, I will never expect anything from the Mario RPG series again. I didn’t hate Sticker Star as most as some did, but it was so vacant, so content with its acceptable quality that I can only manifest a brief hazy memory of it. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is one of my favorite games of all time. It had so much devotion, character, charm, and was more than willing to expand the Mario universe in fun and creative ways. It was well written, actively engaging in its gameplay, and had a captivating world to explore. I love the original Super Mario RPG, Mario & Luigi 1 and 3 are joyous little titles, and Super Paper Mario is a blast if only for its wonderful world and characters. I no longer expect to get a Mario game in the same vein as any of those ever again, which just breaks my heart.