Steins;Gate 0 – No, Seriously, Don’t Invent Time Travel

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Steins;Gate

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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 just 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 thoroughly enjoyed). 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

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Team Sonic Racing – Does Teamwork Make the Dream Work?

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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

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu – An Amazing Adaptation or Shockingly Bad?

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When children hear the words “live-action Pokémon movie,” they get excited. When adults hear those words, however, they inwardly cringe. Live-action adaptations of videogames and animated properties both share notorious reputations for being pretty much always bad, so you can’t blame most of us, upon hearing that Hollywood were going to give Nintendo’s most prolific RPG series the same treatment, to place our faces in our hands and groan.

But then that very first trailer dropped and, suddenly, people started to say “Actually, this looks pretty good.” Early impressions indicated that Pokémon: Detective Pikachu would avoid every pitfall that other movies of its ilk had fallen into. Fans’ expectations went from nil to a hundred, but were we right to trust those trailers? Is it even a good adaptation of the game it’s based on? Is it something only the purest of Pokémon fans can enjoy? Continue reading

Nier: Automata – My First Yoko Taro Game

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“Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse? Or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle…and wonder if we’ll ever get the chance to kill him.”

These are the first lines of dialogue you hear in Nier: Automata, and if this doesn’t immediately tell you what kind of game you’re about to experience, then you are in for one hell of a trip; one that could only have come from a director like Yoko Taro. Anyone familiar with his work kind of had an idea for what to expect but for a newcomer like myself, no amount of research into his previous games could prepare me for what this one had in store. I thought I knew after listening to those opening lines, but that was, appropriately and obviously, only the beginning. First, though, let’s get some backstory out of the way. Continue reading

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – The Best Crossover No One Wanted

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I remember when this game was first leaked. So many people refused to believe it was even remotely true. A strategy-RPG crossover game starring Nintendo’s beloved Super Mario and Ubisoft’s iconic Raving Rabbids? Admittedly, it did sound so ludicrous that it just had to be fake but cut to E3 2017 and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was officially announced. It was all real. But what was even more surprising was that it looked really good.

The Rabbids’ name had certainly got a bit of a bad rap over the years due to many finding them obnoxious and annoying (before the Minions came along and managed to somehow be worse), but even some of the loudest dissenters couldn’t help but admit to being intrigued by this bizarre union between Nintendo and Ubisoft.

The game went on to become the best selling title on the Switch that wasn’t published by Nintendo and, as of September 2018, has sold over 2 million copies. This surprise smash hit won a lot of peoples’ hearts and I’ve been meaning to write up a review of it since the DLC came out last year. So let’s not waste any more time and dive right into the wonderfully, weird world of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Continue reading

Kingdom Hearts III – The End of an Era

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There was a time when Kingdom Hearts III was a punchline. Nothing more than vaporware; something that only existed as fan-fictions and fake box arts. It was synonymous with hell freezing over. And right now, the Devil himself is neck deep in snow. Even after it was announced back in 2013, it still didn’t feel real. But as the years went on, as we slowly saw more trailers and heard new details, myself and many others realised that this was, in fact, happening.

And now it’s out. You can go and buy Kingdom Hearts III and actually play it. But now that it exists, we must ask that dreaded question – was it worth the wait? This is a title that fans have been waiting for since 2005 when Kingdom Hearts II released, and acts as the finale to a story-line that’s been ongoing since the first game came out in 2002. Fans’ expectations have been ridiculously high so does it meet them? Is it the conclusion longtime fans deserved or is about as fun as going to an overcrowded Disneyland in the rain? Continue reading

Ten Characters I Want in Dragon Ball FighterZ

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the following:

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Dragon Ball Super
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Dragon Ball Z

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I’m not the biggest Dragon Ball Z fan (in fact, I’ve never watched a single episode of any of the various anime series) but even I couldn’t help but look at Dragon Ball FighterZ – a fighting game developed by Arc System Works – and think “Damn, this game looks cool. I want it.” And so I got it, and while I’ll probably never be “good” at it, it’s still a lot of fun to play casually.

So with the recent announcement that ‘Season 2′ will begin this year, which will no doubt see more of this series’ eclectic cast of fighters join the fray (apparently starting with Jiren from Dragon Ball Super), here are ten characters that I personally would love to see make an appearance and fight against the likes of Goku, Vegeta and co. Continue reading

Ten Anticipated Games of 2019

2018 was a very mixed year in terms of videogames. It was a year of stellar highs and abysmal lows. On one hand, the PS4 exclusive Spider-Man game proved that not only were single-player titles still in demand but licensed games could also be incredible, Octopath Traveler was a perfect throwback to SNES-era RPGs and showed how beloved turn-based RPGs still are and only last month we got Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which very much lived up to its name considering it’s a game where Princess Peach can beat up Cloud Strife in the middle of Dracula’s Castle.

On the other hand, however, gross mismanagement led to the closure of TellTale Games, resulting in several highly anticipated titles getting cancelled and its employees suddenly jobless, the lootbox craze became so bad that some countries have made them illegal, which sets a worrying precedent for the possibility of games becoming regulated, and do I even need to bring up the utter fuster-cluck that was Fallout 76?

As always, I prefer to not dwell on the past but focus on the future. We all have high expectations for 2019 and while I’m sure there’s a myriad of bullshit headed our way, there’re gonna be some amazing things too. So let me share with you the ten games I’m most looking forward to this year. Continue reading

Quarter Arcades: Pac-Man – First Impressions

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Last week, I was able to attend the launch event for a new range of miniature arcade cabinets by Quarter Arcades, a subsidiary of Numskull Designs – a site dedicated to making officially licensed merchandise like shirts, mugs, wallets and more based around our favourite videogame, movie and TV franchises. Basically, they make cool stuff, and I consider myself very lucky to have been invited to the event by their PR guy, Ryan Brown, who I was also able to chat with about their first arcade title and their upcoming plans for the range so I could write this very article. Continue reading

Spider-Man (PS4) – Does Whatever a Good Game Can

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The announcement of a brand new, wholly original Spider-Man game being developed by Insomniac Games got a lot of people, including me, very excited. It had felt like it had been ages since we got something like this – a console super-hero game that wasn’t just a cash-grab tie-in to a new movie or TV show. Everything about it looked promising and I felt like this could herald in a new age of high-quality superhero games. And judging by this game’s success, I think it’s safe to say that might just be the case.

Unless you’ve just not been paying attention, it’s no secret that Spider-Man (or Marvel’s Spider-Man – they seriously needed a better name) has been positively received. What was expected to be a moderate success has become Sony’s fastest selling first-party game ever and its first month’s sales beat the likes of God of War and Uncharted 4. It’s a good game is what I’m saying.

Honestly, I probably don’t even need to write a review about it. I’ll tell you right now; all the positive reception you’ve heard is right. If you have a PS4, this is a must buy. But, you know what, this game is SO good that I need to gush about it regardless. So rather than posit the question “Is Spider-Man on PS4 a good game?,” let’s discuss WHY it’s good. Continue reading