2020 sucked. I know that’s not an original thought, but it still feels like it needs to be said. And video games, or rather the industry itself, didn’t always help alleviate how truly awful it was.
Ubisoft was hit with numerous allegations of sexual assault and abuse, Activision continues to make all the money in the world yet lays off its employees, and where do I even start with Cyberpunk 2077?
But, for as crappy as it all was, there were occasional bright spots. 2019’s Among Us found belated success thanks to livestreaming and put its studio, InnerSloth, on the map, Animal Crossing: New Horizons managed to unite the world and foster connections while everyone was trapped indoors, and the release of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition meant more people could play my favourite game of all time.
2021 isn’t going to automatically be better than last year but, as always with these lists, I’m going to focus on the potentially good things coming this year; specifically, the games I’m most excited for.
Ever since its initial reveal at E3 2019, I have wanted desperately to like Square Enix and Crystal Dynamic’s Avengers game. Unfortunately, nearly everything about it seemed to be forcing me to be sceptical about it.
The plot was uninteresting and a culmination of some of my least favourite ‘event comic’ superhero tropes, the gameplay appeared average at best and monotonous at worst, the hyper realistic graphics made for a grey and bland-looking world, and its mere existence as a service title akin to something like Destiny meant that this was Square Enix attempting to capitalise on a trendy market by using already existing characters as the poster boys to help push it.
I wanted to give the game a chance, though, so when I was granted the opportunity to try out the game’s beta, I took it. Sometimes, you really do need a hands-on approach to better judge a product and I’ll be detailing my experiences and first impressions here. Continue reading
Nintendo, as Nintendo does, suddenly dropped a trailer for a new Paper Mario game on us earlier in the week, and we collectively lost it.
Even though it’s only been four years, it feels like it has been forever since the last entry in the role-playing spin-off series, so excitement is at a fever pitch. Established fans and those who had never touched a Paper Mario before have become immediately invested thanks to that trailer and rightly so. It’s a good trailer. I myself as a long-time fan was hooked quite easily.
But as I watched the trailer, my excitement gave way to concern and anxiousness. The memories of the last couple of Paper Mario games flooded back in and, now, I can’t help but be incredibly cautious. And frankly, so should you.
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I know I’m late in saying this but, damn, this really is a new decade, huh? I never even considered it until it was pointed out to me. A lot has happened in the last ten years, and after looking at some good-looking games that are coming in the future, I’d like to reminisce about all the awesome games from the past. And, boy, there were a lot.
So, since everyone else has done it and I apparently have as much originality as a live-action Disney remake, here’s a list of some of my all-time favourite games to have been released throughout the 2010s – one from each year (I’m using the European release dates BTW). Continue reading
2019 is officially behind us and it was certainly a strong year for videogames, with a number of critically acclaimed titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Disco Elysium, and the Resident Evil 2 remake being released.
However, it was another year of the industry showing how ugly it could be. Lootboxes and in-game gambling mechanics have become so much worse, crunch culture continued to be responsible for some big-budget titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, and let’s not forget the Activision Blizzard/Hong Kong debacle.
With any luck, 2020 will offer better things; it’s certainly got a strong line-up of games to look forward to. So, how about we just get right to it – here are the ten games I’m most excited to play in the coming year. Continue reading
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the following games:
The Wonderful 101
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
It’s been four years since my first “Ten Characters I Want in Super Smash Bros.” list and, boy, how things have changed since then. Back then, those choices were the whimsical wishes of a young dreamer, unlikely to ever come true. But now, thanks to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it seems anything is possible. Hell, two of my picks have since been included, which is very vindicating, though one part of that list has aged horribly.
“… [Yu Narukami] does stand a better chance than Ridley.”
Oh, 21 year-old me, you were such a fool. But yes, between the likes of Ridley, King K. Rool, and Joker, I’ve found myself coming to accept that characters I would’ve initially scoffed at the mere suggestion of including could actually happen. Super Smash Bros. is no longer just a celebration of all things Nintendo, but of videogames as a whole.
So, with the current run of DLC nearing its conclusion and still more to come throughout 2020, how about I list off another ten characters I’d personally love to see get to join the roster, whether it be in Ultimate or in a possible sequel. Continue reading
One game that I used to play the crap out of during my childhood was Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. A loose adaptation of the Civil War comic story-line, it was a top-down action-RPG/beat ’em up featuring a tonne of famous and not so famous heroes and villains from across the Marvel universe, enjoyable and addictive gameplay, cool character interactions, and some great replayability that had me coming back again and again, just so I could keep making all manner of different teams to play through the game as.
That game came out ten years ago and it very much seemed like a series that wasn’t going to get revived any time soon, especially with Disney now holding Marvel’s reigns. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a new, third title get announced out of nowhere. And if that wasn’t enough, Activision and Vicarious Visions were out and Nintendo and Team Ninja were in.
Suddenly, everybody was getting excited to see how this game would turn out. Aside from those big names, the roster looked great (the presence of the X-Men alone helped tremendously) and the presentation was delightfully stylish, but does the game have the substance to match it, or should this series have been left back in the late 2000s? Continue reading
How about we try something new this week? You may not know this but I love me some trivia. Whether it be early concepts, connections between actors or just neat, little easter eggs, I get a weird thrill from learning and memorising this kind of stuff from all kinds of media (which did not help me during my school years when I should’ve been memorising maths). But one thing I love more than discovering trivia is sharing it with others, so I figured why not try my hand at actually writing up some fun articles all about that?
So let’s start things off with ten things you may not have known from a classic set of games that defined a lot of peoples’ childhoods – the first generation of Pokémon games, Red & Blue – courtesy of Bulbapedia and Serebii (just so you know I’m not making all this up). Continue reading
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Steins;Gate
When I finished playing Steins;Gate back in 2015, I found myself in that state of mind where, even though everything was neatly wrapped up, I was hungry for more from its world and characters. Even if it was an entire story just about the characters living their lives, I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye yet. Fortunately, there was an anime adaptation to throw myself into and a movie that acted as an epilogue of sorts (both of which I loved). But then I found out that a full-on sequel was coming to Japan very soon and would be out in the West the following year… and I had no interest in playing it.
“But you just said you wanted more Steins;Gate!” you cry. True, but Steins;Gate 0 isn’t a sequel in the traditional sense, instead continuing the story in an alternate “bad” timeline. Considering how much I loved the first game’s ending, I was worried that the sequel could potentially undo how perfect it was. Plus, I didn’t want to see more bad things happen to the characters after they got their happy endings, so I skipped it.
Cut to 2018 and the anime adaptation began to air on Crunchyroll. I had an account at the time and when the first episode went up, I thought “Eh, why not? I’ll give it a shot.” And sure enough, I got completely sucked in. I’m not sure what it was but it did enough to make me see it through to the end, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But even I could tell that certain elements had been changed or removed in order to fit the narrative in an anime format (I even saw some comments complaining about how certain scenes were cut). Curious, I decided to play the game myself and go through the full unaltered experience of Steins;Gate 0 myself. Continue reading
Back when Team Sonic Racing was first teased with an incredibly vague and short trailer, I wasn’t exactly impressed or excited. At the time, Sonic Forces had left me rather bitter about how Sega was handling the series, and I didn’t think they had earned enough goodwill to only hint at a new title and expect me to be invested. However, as time passed and more info was revealed, I was eventually coaxed back like a badger out of its sett. The fact that Sega had brought Sumo Digital on board to develop it was the primary reason since I really enjoyed their last two Sega-themed racing games, especially Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.
But there was still some scepticism, and I wasn’t the only one. The focus was entirely on Sonic and friends this time and, rather than do what every other mascot kart racer did and just copy and paste Mario Kart, Sumo Digital were doing something very different and making a racing game where players would race in teams and have to work together in order to win. It was certainly a unique premise, but after being consistently disappointed by so many Sonic games over the last few years, there was this constant fear that I was setting myself up to be let down again.
So is Team Sonic Racing a worthy Mario Kart alternative? Is it even as good as Sumo Digital’s previous work? Or is it just a gimmicky failure? Continue reading