Sunday, 27 November 2016

Nintendo Switch: Ideas of Games From Me [Gaming]

The Nintendo Switch was announced last month, and between now and January when the full information reveal is set to be, I'll be covering some things here. As mentioned in the monthly update, this month is games I would like to see.

The first is a game I have an idea of, though changes every so often. It expands on what Wii Sports Resort gave us, including numerous other ideas within that. I am talking about Mii Resort Paradise, in which I gave numerous ideas for in a post way back in March 2015. Look on it if you want to gain some idea behind the thoughts to it, but I'll be covering some of that stuff here.
Wuhu Island would be open to exploration, and numerous sports would be included. After all, there's a tennis court, a bowling alley, a lot of water, and a separate island for golf. Then there's all the other sports from Wii Sports Resort such as skydiving and sword fighting. All of these would be brought into one hub - the island. That's not to dismiss quick access for when you want to just get into a game. And just because it starts with sports, don't think it has to be locked to sports. Numerous other things could be open on the island. It might be just one island, but an RPG of sorts would give something extra to the game. The Alola region of Pokémon Sun and Moon is made up of islands, and each one is within the size of Wuhu Island. Of course, no RPG is complete without a story, and for that there are many to choose from, whether simple or a bit more complex.
As I said, it would start with sports as the main package, but whether through free or paid download content, could be added upon a huge amount. And the hotel of the island would serve as the access to all of this. Quick access to sports, loading up a new adventure, jumping online, etc., would all be done through the hotel. There'll be stuff for the collectors as well, since you need the best equipment to play better and you also need a good look. I'm unsure whether it might be going overboard to include room decoration within that, especially since your room will be the last place you'll spend most of your time within this game. Everything will also have that Nintendo charm that comes within their range of characters, especially Mii's.

Mario Kart is Nintendo's flagship racing series, and these days seems to be expanding into other Nintendo franchises. It'll be a while yet before we get onto the level of Super Smash Bros. for franchise representation, but for now the smattering of crossover content has gone well. And now it seems Mario Kart 8 is coming to the Switch with new features added. DLC Packs 3 and 4 are more than likely, but I want something more. Something a bit more... technical. 200cc mode was added when DLC Pack 2 hit the Wii U version, and with the hints within the Mario Kart 8 footage from the Switch reveal trailer, I'm hoping for something the same.
Allow me for a moment to talk about Double Dash. In that game, we had tighter steering, a more looser handling system, and items could not be held behind you at all. There was also two characters, and with that came two items. Getting the comparison yet? What I'm saying is that while you can't necessarily have two characters to a kart with all the air-gliding, underwater driving, and anti-grav, the main other element can still be taken from it, as well as putting a new spin on the handling physics to make a new mode. That is, of course, one way to interpret the hints.
The other way is to say "Why not take what Double Dash is and upgrade it to fit the modern age?" Rather than being called Double Dash 2, it would take the old naming system of including the name of the console within the game's name. So Mario Kart Switch Dash. I'm not going too far into this, but it would feature many of the characters introduced to the series since Double Dash. The new items would stay, as would the new features - reworked to fit within the two-to-a-kart gameplay. Most stuff can be reworked to fit into how Double Dash worked. While that would be interesting to see, there's also something else I'd much rather see.

The Gamecube had some excellent games during its run of the market, but these days are becoming increasingly difficult to come across for a decent price. Enabling a Gamecube Virtual Console on the Switch would enable many to experience those games. I do understand that emulators take some working on to get right, but considering Microsoft have Xbox 360 games emulated on the Xbox One, and PS2 games are right at home on PS4, I don't see any reason why Gamecube cannot come to the Switch, especially as there seems to be quite a lot of grunt behind it this time. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if one had been worked on by Nintendo for the Wii U but like with most other major projects got moved over to the Switch. It would certainly explain the Gamecube controller adapter which then never got used for anything other than Smash 4. Kirby Air Ride and F-Zero GX are two games I would love to get my hands on, and if Game Freak are planning a Pokémon game in the style of Colosseum and Gale of Darkness for the Switch it would make a bit of sense to put those two games on the Switch so people can get an idea of what could be a part of the new one.
And talking of retro games, I'd much rather have a much better option of playing them than buying individually. Inspired in a way by EA Access, this service would allow people to play retro games while at the same time getting early access to new games for a small amount each month [or a slightly discounted yearly fee].

Talking of EA, they are talking about putting a big game on the Switch. While most would expect a sports title or Mass Effect, I'm thinking about something else. Star Wars. The Wii U missed out on one of the biggest Star Wars video game releases in ages - Star Wars Battlefront. In fact, the Wii U pretty much missed out on any Star Wars games. The Wii got both Force Unleashed games, as well as two The Clone Wars games. Now admittedly, that is more to do with the state of the Star Wars gaming scene at the moment, but now that numerous projects are on the go from EA, at least one of them should be coming to the Switch. None of them will be ready for the launch, unless they've been very quiet on that front. Now yes, we did get LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the Wii U, so that should count for something. As for the game on the Switch I'd want, I'd like to at least think one of the cancelled projects is getting revived in some way, though 1313 might be a bit too similar to the game Visceral is working on. With more than a year between the two, it might be possible though. And wouldn't it be great if a Star Wars game got released as close to the fortieth anniversary as possible?

Games that I've mentioned thus far are definitely ones I'd buy. I'd also buy a new Animal Crossing game, and considering the main series skipped the Wii U - as well the portability of the Switch - it seems very logical to assume a new main Animal Crossing game is headed for the Switch. I'd hope as close to launch as possible, though any time within 2017 would be fair game. If it can expand upon what New Leaf gave us, and fix certain issues with Personal Works Projects, than that will be good. The idea that the town was growing and more shops opened over time worked well, but they felt a bit cramped within that street. Allowing all of that back into the town, or having a separate area that you would own that serves as an urban location, would help with the space issues and finally break the barrier that the series has been trying to and allow greater customisation of our towns. Rather than have us move to a new town that's struggling, we are instead prospecting for a place to start a new town - with the help of Isabelle, of course. In a slight change, the rural part of town no longer has a beach. That's for the urban area. We place where our house and the town hall will be in the rural area, and get our first two shops opened in the urban area. We can place areas for residents to build their houses when they move to the town. The idea behind this is expanding the mayor role of our character by starting the town, not just picking up where the last one left off. And by expanding the town into rural and urban parts, it allows for a lot more space overall. I'll see about going into quite a bit more detail about this later down the line, as I find this concept would be interesting. It gives a greater goal while still retaining the relaxed pacing the series is known for. While there's a lot more stuff to build up, in no way would it need to be done all at once.

I'm rather unsure about suggesting this next one, as it is a series that has different representation on both handheld and home console. It is the Wars series. On home console, it has taken real-time strategy and crafted Battalion Wars. For handhelds it takes turn-based strategy and crafts Advance Wars. Both have skipped over this current generation, so it could be time to bring the series back. While it certainly wouldn't be necessary to do so, it would be interesting to see Advance Wars styled like a Battalion Wars game, while keeping all the turn-based strategic gameplay intact. It would need to at least overhaul how it is presented - whether using more detailed sprites or going for a new art style. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin went for a darker tone to its story, but I feel the one thing that the Wars series has done well was keep a light-hearted tone despite the war setting. Even Battalion Wars, with its brighter colours, didn't feel like a real war, despite the real-time gameplay. I'd be more willing to accept a new Battalion Wars first, but Advance Wars has always felt the stronger of the two. Intelligent Systems always do a good job on the games, and also with the Fire Emblem series. And since the DS had no Fire Emblem games, it only made sense to have a series that could fill the gap. With Fire Emblem getting two games on 3DS, now seems like a great time to have an Advance Wars game.

Quite a few ideas have been covered, and most of them will be expanded on in other posts. Mario Kart will be talked about in the next Switch post, which will talk about games that have been confirmed, and I'll definitely be expanding upon that Animal Crossing idea. Of course, Star Wars as a whole is going to get mentioned a lot next year, so video games will be a part of that. Any new game that gets shown at Celebration Orlando I'll be sure to talk about. Well, I'll be covering the whole event with pre- and post- show blog updates. That's all for now, so bye for now.

Friday, 11 November 2016

What I'm Waiting For - Volume 5 [Gaming]

It seems to be a recurring thing that these happen at the first and last thirds of the year. Since the last one, a lot has been happening in the gaming world. Forza Horizon 3 has been released, and I've had a blast playing it. The Nintendo Switch, PS4 Pro, and Xbox Scorpio have all been announced. There's also been a lot more throughout the year. But this isn't a recap of the year in gaming, this is What I'm Waiting For, and we'll start with a recap of what was discussed last time.

It's odd, in a way. Usually when I do one of these the games I mentioned in the previous one have been released. As it is, the games I mentioned last time, are all but weeks from release. Planet Coaster has been in beta for two days now, with the full game set to release on the 17th. While I haven't played the beta, I have enjoyed what I have seen for the game, and am looking forward to getting my hands on it.

Pokémon has Sun and Moon releasing on the 23rd for Europeans, and throughout the year info dumps have been happening that have revealed quite a bit about the game without giving too much away. There's also been the Special Demo, like what we got with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, so I've at least been able to experience a bit of what the game is like for myself. And I have to say, it has been good.

Sonic the Hedgehog got both Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017 announced, and we've seen a small amount of Mania since. I've already said I'll be going into detail about these elsewhere, so that's all I'm saying about them.

As for the games that this volume of What I'm Waiting For is covering, the first is one that might just be the Nintendo Wii U's swan song. If it doesn't get overlooked by the Nintendo Switch version, that is. It is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A whole day dedicated to it for Nintendo's E3, and a lot more information since, this game is looking like it's a big departure from previous games while still keeping familiar pieces. The game seems more like an RPG, in that you're scavenging for items and weapons to stay alive. Sure, the dungeons and puzzle elements still remain - and they look as good as ever - but there's the feeling that this game is straying from series conventions while at the same time going back to the series roots.

The original games certainly had the feeling of discovery - the non-linearity, shall we say - that newer games seemed to lose when bringing in more complex stories. That's not to say having a good story is bad, but having a good story embedded into the world for you to discover does have its merits. And the world is something interesting. It was said during all the time at E3 that the area of focus was just one. There was a lot in just that one area, and if more areas are as diverse, it's going to be one great adventure waiting to explore. While I haven't been looking out for information since E3, I have been keeping the game on my radar. One thing to consider is this. It was confirmed for Wii U, then announced for the Switch some time later. So which version to get? The obvious choice would be the Wii U version, since the game was originally being built for that system. You also have to factor in the Switch, and how much use the Wii U might get if some of its best games get ported or get new entries at launch. And if it has some awesome new games that make buying one in the first place an easy choice.

The other game I'm putting here is Yooka-Laylee. While I didn't pay it much attention at first, I find myself thinking about exploring other games outside of the series I know. In the last month I've branched out with RPG's and bought myself Dragon Quest VII, so Yooka-Laylee is answering the need to branch out with 3D platformers. It certainly looks like an interesting game, and since Playtonic Games have former Rare employees within their fold, it should be a grand adventure of being back in the early 2000's - when 3D platformers were all the rage.

Of course, this is a modern take of such a genre, so it should be interesting to see what new things have been added. The latest trailer looked good, and the world itself looked diverse. The characters are also a great bunch. The main two - Yooka and Laylee - are based off a chameleon and a bat, two of my favourite animals, and have a very cartoony design. The whole game is a cartoony style, which fits with the platformer design. Not counting Mario or Sonic, it has been quite an age since I last played a 3D platformer. At some point I considered buying Rare Replay to be able to play some of those Rare developed games that a lot of people highly recommend. Upon seeing Yooka-Laylee, I decided against that to get this instead. Once it releases first quarter next year. And since it has been quite an age since I last played a 3D platformer, I don't really have any expectations to set this up against, other than the fact I hope it turns out a lot better than Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric [though from what I have read, that wasn't entirely Big Red Button's fault].

It sure has been an interesting What I'm Waiting For, this. Writing a recap about two games I haven't even played yet, with two new games that in some way I am unfamiliar with, both of which will be releasing first quarter of next year. Next up in terms of posts will be that one where I'm talking about games I'd like - and those that could come - on the Switch. That's all for now, so bye for now.

What I'm Waiting For Series

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Animal Crossing Direct [Gaming]

Yesterday I mentioned the Animal Crossing Direct in the monthly update, and now it has aired, I'm here with a post. This will be short and sweet, just like the Direct itself.

The Direct took place on the set of a campsite. A campsite that features within the game itself, with producer Hisashi Nogami taking the role of Harvey - the guy who owns the campsite. This campsite is where visitors come once you have scanned their amiibo or amiibo card with Wisp, who is summoned from a magic lamp. A new currency is available, called MEOW coupons, that allow you to buy new items at the campsite. And these are new items. A wealth of them were shown off, including a car and some sweet Splatoon gear. The Legend of Zelda also gets some representation in the game, with new items and gear - including Link's outfit from Breath of the Wild. Splatoon and Zelda are also represented with special villagers as well. All of this is interesting stuff for those that have the required amiibo to use, and with the ability to get villagers to move in by visiting them in their RV's - much like the tent space already in the game, I'm sure those people will be happy. And for those that want access to the special characters, it may or may not get them to buy some amiibo. Of course, there are a lot of uses for the Legend of Zelda related amiibo in the series' own games, so this is just one extra incentive. There's also a neat amiibo Camera feature added into the game, so pictures can be taken with your favourite villagers in the real world.

Away from amiibo, video game consoles have been added to the game as items. Unlike in the Gamecube version though, there aren't a selection of games to buy. Just one locked to each console. Those that own or have played amiibo Festival on Wii U might remember the Desert Island Escape game. In it, you had to move around an island in a grid-based system, trying to find items to help your villagers survive while ultimately trying to build a raft to escape. The Wii U console item now allows this to be played within New Leaf. The 3DS item allows an Animal Crossing version of Puzzle League to be played within the game. They will be a part of the fortune cookie items from the Nookling's shop. However, those owning Animal Crossing amiibo figures can use them to greatly increase the chances of receiving both items. amiibo are still required to play the Desert Island Escape game as far as I'm aware.
Other little things to make life easier have been added. If you find yourself with a massive amount of items [for instance my town has numerous items scattered across it that I haven't wanted to get rid of but could no longer store] there is now a storeroom you can add more items to. Those that have played Happy Home Designer will be familiar with the way decorating takes place in that game, and that system has now been brought over into this game. If you want to restart your town, Tom Nook will now assess the value of it, and you'll be able to start with the funds of that assessment within your new character's bell account in the new town. I personally would have wanted a way to keep certain cherished items and designs, but you can't have everything just transferred over. New town, new beginnings and all that.
On Tortimer Island, a turn chat off option has been added, as well as a quick return option. No need to talk to someone to return back to the mainland saves quite a few seconds, especially if you'll just be returning after you'll sold everything.

So when is all of this available, you might ask. And the answer is right now. At the start of the Direct, they said the update is live. All of this in the update is now available. Yes, there might be a few things I have missed off as well. I've covered the important stuff, and so get updating the game and get exploring the new stuff. That's all for now, so bye for now.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Natural Open Void [Network]

So with the Nintendo Switch announced at last, I gave my thoughts on the reveal. And with no new information coming from Nintendo until January, I feel this could be the perfect time to offer some ideas into games that could come for the system. One of which is something I've said would have been perfect for the Wii U, but with development now entirely on the Switch, it will have to do. I won't cover too much on games we know are coming, since I plan to cover those elsewhere.
The Doctor Who: The Star Wars Chronicles Look Back, Look Ahead posts are now finished, which opens up the way for other blog posts. I don't have a series as yet, but I'm putting planning into one throughout this month. It'll go live next month.
I've been toying around with doing another What I'm Waiting For post, though I feel this one wouldn't leave me much choice at the minute. Since I want to cover all that Sonic the Hedgehog in 2017 has to offer separately, I'd have to consider my options.

Elsewhere, work on university projects is coming about nicely. Since it is my last year, focus is put onto a final major project, and over the next two months as development continues on the pre-production I expect I'll have some of it to share.
Now I said in September's update that I would have something on the horizon for the beginning of October for the SONM Youtube channel that I contribute to. That ended up being the end of the month, but I'm glad I held out. SONM recently started up a weekly Mario Kart 8 tournament of sorts, just for fun. I've been taking part, and for the second week - which had a Halloween theme - I made sure to save all sixteen races to the in-game Mario Kart TV station [first four in favourites, the rest auto-saved as recent races]. All of those were then uploaded to my MKTV Youtube channel without music, downloaded from there, and cut up even more to make one super highlight reel of all the action. This has the possibility of continuing, should I remember to save the highlights again.
For other videos, I haven't forgotten about GTA Online. I won't be featuring any stunt races of my own this time, but there certainly will still be a video this month.

The last thing I want to mention is the fact Nintendo have a Direct coming up, focused entirely on Animal Crossing. There's an update coming soon for New Leaf on the 3DS, and this Direct will tell us all about it. Japan also have another game on focus - that being Miitopia. While I won't be watching the Japanese Direct, I'll certainly be keeping a look out for any information on this new game. If I feel there's enough to cover, I certainly will.