Monday, 13 February 2017

Bomberman is back! oh what!?

Looks like Konami is turning things around. We have Bomberman R for Nintendo Switch, we've got an R-rated Castlevania animated series and now Bomberman is coming back to arcades. It looks like Konami might have finally righted their ship.

Oh, come on! 

Yep, Konami is bringing BomberGIRL to the arcade. It's the same "classic" gameplay but with the classic Bomberman characters replaced with utterly generic anime girls. 

  • School-girl - check. 
  • Mecha-girl - check. 
  • Magic-Girl - check. 
  • Underpants-Pirate - check.
This seems to be a continuing theme with Konami announce something people want but then screw 'put a spin on it' which only ends up frustrating the fan base. We want a Fox Engine remake of MGS-III, we want Bomberman, and we're even interested in a co-op survival focused spin-off to MGS-V...


.... sorry to cut off my attempt to defend/justify Konami as I have just noticed each of these girls have bomb fuses attached to their butts...

... and their clothes explode when they get damaged...

Abe's Take
I honestly understand that Japan's culture is very distinct and as a nation, they don't have the same hang-ups (they have different ones) as the western world and it's disingenuous to rate this Japanese exclusive game by my standards. However, as I was attempting to say before being distracted by the *sigh* butt-fuses.

Konami there is an interest in you games, we understand Pachinko machines make you obscene money, and the Kojima's explosion damaged you but you can pull it back there is clearly someone in that boardroom with good ideas MGS-III remake, MGS-Survival and more Bomberman but it is also clear there is someone there who needs firing, the guy who says things like "yeah but as a Pachinko, add zombies, and Anime bewbs".

You can level with us Konami, this guy who keeps saying these things you've listened to him before.


Friday, 10 February 2017

Breath of the Wild: Time line revealed?

We (like 98% of the gaming community) are very excited about the latest Legend of Zelda. Whether on Wii U or Switch the game looks great and certainly has people talking.

WARNING: Some might consider this article spoiler but we're only presenting officially released images via trailers and press releases. For the sanity of all involved, I'm not going to dive into the deep end of the lore and just focus on the visual reveals.

So you've been warned, still here? you sure? cool, lets jump right in.

One thing that has been a hot topic for fans ever since the initial announcement, Nintendo's promo materials has highlighted a... thematic similarity to the original NES Legend of Zelda. The wide open and seemingly unsettled Hyrule had players guessing the title could be set after Skyward Sword.

Then we started to see gameplay at E3 and suddenly we saw an interesting figure pop up, a Korok. A Wind Waker exclusive race and descendants of Ocarina of Time's Korai kids.

The post-Wind Waker theory gained more traction as a Rito appeared in a trailer. The Rito like Korok is a Wind Waker exclusive evolution of a classic (and in WW extinct) OoT race the Zora (still not happy about fish people becoming bird people when the world floods).

You add that one of the in-game items references "the great sea" it cements the post WW timeline. case closed then, sure Nintendo could release more nostalgia-infused artwork but that's just promo stuff, it's not like they could do anything to change our view of the timeline...

and... that is clearly a Zora and yes there was a Zora in WW but that was a ghost and so doesn't count.

That brings us to 'now' we've had Miyamoto and Aonuma answer some quick fire questions, they confirm some stuff (some seem jokey) and one such detail was that Breath of the Wild does take place after OoT

We now seem to have some pretty final confirmation as Gameinformer has unveiled a returning character from WW which counter-intuitively suggests the gap between it and Breath of the Wild isn't that extreme.

The floating merchant Beedle returns, this time switching (HA) out his boat for giant beetle themed backpack. Now is this the original Beedle or is he one of his descendants? This question is instantly dismissed as we now must ask is THIS Link a new hero or his he the adult form of WW/Toon link? guess we'll find out in a few weeks.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches March 3rd on Wii U and Nintendo Switch.
In related news, Amazon has fresh stock of both the Grey and Neon version.

Abe's Take
I need to play this game, like right now!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Is the Nintendo Switch Expensive?

There is a narrative forming around the Nintendo Switch, according to online commentators and gaming sites the Nintendo Switch could be the "most expensive system" 

Now odds are you thinking on of two things, "it is expensive" or but it's cheaper" so I've decided to take a look at what I've spent on consoles I've bought on day 1 (would be wildly unfair to compare an post launch purchase vs preorders). Traditionally I have bought consoles with the intent of playing with someone else day one, whether it was when I was living "at home" it would be with my brother or "nowadays" with my wife. Regardless of "who" I intend to game with day one my plan is always the same. "grab a mixture of games and a pad"

Xbox One
The most recent purchase on my list, which was bought using a mixture of online preorder (so a little cheaper) and walking in my local GAME on launch day.

Day One Edition console: £429 (online)
Dead Rising 3: £49.99 (online)
Forza 5: £54.99 (retail)
Controller: £55 (retail)
Battlefield 4: £44.99 (online)

Total: £633.97 for 3 games, the system (+ Kinect), and two controllers

Nintendo Wii U
Nintendo's last system I picked up from my local HMV, frankly their prices for games was all over the place with Ninja Gaiden III for £59.99 but Sonic was £42.99

Premium console + Nintendoland: £299.99 (retail)
New Mario Bro's U: £39.99 (online)
ZombiU: £49.99 (retail)
Sonic All-Star Racing: £42.99 (retail)
Pro Pad: £29.99 (online)

Total: £462 for 3 games, console and two controllers (plus the hundreds of Wii accessories)

Nintendo Switch
Now I'm going to break down my Nintendo Switch preorder, which includes 4 games like the X1 but some are smaller titles thus cheaper.

Grey Switch: £279.99 (online)
Breath of the Wild: £48 (online)
1, 2, Switch: £34.99 (online)
Bomberman R: £44.99 (online)
Sniperclips: $20 UK price unconfirmed (digital)

Total: £382.98 for 3 games, the system and two controllers.

And that right there is what I suspect is tripping people up, They seem to be rushing out to grab additional Joy-Cons (£74.99 for a pair) and Pro-Controller (£64.99) because that's what we gamers do but, the reality is that the launch line-up hasn't justified the need for 4 Joy-Cons (ARMS isn't out till the spring) and the pro-controller isn't mandatory.

I've seen people's online lists include things like the charging grip (£27.99) stating it as a 100% necessity but again that's not true (yet). The Joy-Cons last 20 hours off a single 3-hour and 20 minutes charge. Only the person this effects is a super hardcore who wants to game for 20 straight hours in console mode but didn't buy the Pro-controller. The reality is a lot of us gamers have our controllers on charge when they are not in use often in accessories like this.

Which retails at £19.99
The Nintendo Switch has one of those built-in and even when ARMS launches and we decide the motion controls are the only way to play it (Nintendo has CONFIRMED it will also 'normal' controls) we aren't going to need both sets of controllers in play 100% of the time.

You'll also see peoples lists containing 256GB SD cards for the system, again saying it's a 100% requirement. Yes 32GB isn't a lot but neither is the 4GB found in the 3DS, or even (in contrast to their game sizes) is the 500GB in the X1/PS4. 32GB should do for day one and should even last us to payday.

That's not to say the accessories are cheap but considering each Joy-Con is own fully functioning controller, as well as unique features not seen in other pads like HD rumble, NFC, IR sensor and motion control. The premium price of £74.99 (for two and bumper rails) is warranted, but it is only after launch will see if it's justified. It is a similar story for the  Switch Pro controller at £64.99 but it features all the same tech as the Joy-Cons bar the IR sensor.

Of cause we're still in the pre-order land where prices are sky high, it only takes a look at the non-launch games prices to see we're still dealing with full RRP placeholders. By Christmas 2017 I'm sure Joy-Cons will be down to £59.99, Pro pads at £49.99, and the games will sit at the same price as the other two systems.

Abe's Take
The Nintendo Switch hits stores in less than a month and as we've seen today the Switch is only as expensive as we make it. Trust me I  know the temptation to buy everything we'll probably could need right away, Hell I nearly bought an arcade style fight stick for Xbox One on launch day and that would have been embarrassing as A)it was expensive as the console and B) Only 3 fighting games hit the Xbox One and none of them is Street Fighter

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Impressions: Ghost Recon: Wildlands - Beta

We've been gone for a little while and you may be wondering why? Well in truth there's been some unavoidable home life stuff (and a small coma from watching the Switch reveal) but we have also been deep into a heap of games, such as Ark, Battlefield 1, and a pair of Ubisoft Betas. Today we're going to talk about some of our experiences in the Ghost Recon beta.

Don't I know you?
Right from the get go there is a sense of Dejavu and that is initially very true, as Ghost Recon shares a lot of DNA with Ubisoft's other third-person shooter; The Division. However don't rush to write GR:WL off as "Division in the jungle" because unlike its RPG focused brother Wildlands is all shooter. Headshots are instant kills, melee attacks kill, and there isn't a health bar in sight. 

I know that last bit seems obvious when compared to other shooters but it clearly divides the two games and as such any potential buyer, for better or for worse, shouldn't affect any player's decision to play Ghost Recon. In fact after an hour or so Ghost Recon felt more like a co-op Metal Gear Solid V than Division. 

'Open'  might seem a weird subtitle there but it nicely sums up Wildlands. The game features a lush open world, characters are open not locked into classes, the entire game is open to co-op, missions are open to multiple approaches and playstyles. (Told you open was the right word), I know some people will read "co-op" and worry about the single player but as with all GR games single player features you commanding AI squad members (who aren't acting like players) who are there to support you NOT to take glory or get spotted. 

The mission one, for us at GKUK, is a key selling point. we've carefully sneaked up on a base, whip out our drones tagging bosses, before sneaking in to eliminate them (has not always gone well). We've casually driven in front of a convoy and had one of use pop out the boot/trunk to light up the drivers. I've also cleared out an enemy base by rolling a C4 covered bulldozer down a mountain.

The signature Ghost Recon Gunsmith returns giving players full access to their weapon, for example allowing us to take an assault rifle and alter the stock, scope, trigger, magazine, under the barrel, rail, barrel and muzzle.

Now that's not to say the beta is perfect, far from it. The games lush tropical beauty covers a whole lot of roughness that we fear isn't simply down to its beta status. There are little things like how NPC react to bullets, how enemy bodies disappear, guards with helmets seem surprisingly weak to bullets, and basically, anything to do with vehicles.

The cars don't break fences as easily as they should, it's surprisingly heard to fall off a bike, vehicles slip out from underneath players (which is doubly odd as it gives you a prompt to climb onto them), and planes have an odd level off,,, well can you tell me what went wrong here.

Yeah... that, that was not right. like at all.

Ultimately it's the "here as some toys, here are some things that need doing" approach that has us excited to see the full game, even with the flaws/roughness of the beta its till a very tempting package. If the PR speak about the game reacting to how you.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is due out March 7th and is coming to the usual Xbox One, PS4 and PC combo

Saturday, 4 February 2017

20 Years Today - Street Fighter III

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the third entry in the arcade premier fighting series. The sequel to the 2nd most successful arcade game of all time, Street Fighter 3 was released when arcades and home consoles had had embraced 3D as the main driving force. Tekken 3, Soul Edge and Virtua Fighter 3 were now considered the forerunners of the genre. Everyone expected Capcom to embrace 3D like its rival Midway had done with Mortal Kombat 4 and attempt to play catch up with the new firmly established competition. Instead, in a ballsy David and Goliath type move, Capcom went ahead and made the most advanced 2D fighting game ever made and took its competition on under its own terms.
The game pushed the envelope of the 2D fighter  to new heights with huge attention to detail in animated design - in some occasions an unprecedented 1,200 individually drawn sprites per character - and gameplay  which included a parry system that allowed skill and precision to turn around even the most desperate fights along with other new features such as running and throw combos. As one fan noted "The replay value in Street Fighter 3 was amazing...Even after a year of its release at my arcade, people walk right past other arcades, and go straight to Street Fighter 3."
Though the game did not generate as much as Street Fighter 2, to be expected given the time period, word of mouth had travelled wide and by the time of the home releases the game had become a massive cult hit. Arguably the Blade Runner of the series, It's big breakthrough arrived with the home market releases on Dreamcast and more notably the anniversary editions on the PS2 and Xbox. 

Share your memories of Street Fighter III with us below.