Friday, 20 January 2017

A Look Inside the Morphing Grid - Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers [TV&Film]

As I said in this month's Update, I was never an active watcher, and the point at which I started - Dino Thunder - was effectively The Force Awakens to A New Hope. Familiar with its concepts but presenting them in a new approach. From an evil Ranger who turns good, the comic relief trying to expose the Ranger's identities in numerous ways, and most importantly of all - Tommy Oliver returning as a core member of a team. So from someone who's first experience into Power Rangers was from Dino Thunder, what kind of opinion would that one get watching the original?

I can say it certainly is a positive one. The core five introduced to us are an interesting bunch, and carry the episodes well. Jason - the martial artist, Billy - the computer geek, Trini - all-round good girl, Zack - dancer and romantic, and Kimberly - athletic gymnast. From the first episode - Day of the Dumpster - it is clear that each possess different qualities and that each helps the others in their own way. Throughout the first few episodes, I found myself enjoying what each had to offer to the episodes. Even Bulk and Skull had entertaining scenes, and bounced off the main five well. Rita Repulsa and Goldar make for good commanders of the villains. Then we get to our sixth main - Tommy Oliver. His introduction rolls off good, with him acting kind and thoughtful, then rude once he gets turned evil. Five episodes to tell this entire story was about right, though I feel it might have done better with just four. The arc occasionally felt stretched, though I do give credit for pacing it mostly right and giving the sense of defeat and despair that lingers through most of the arc.
I also have to say this, though I can understand why they did so. Once Tommy is a part of the team, it feels that the writers needed him to be out of the action so created numerous ways of doing so - some of which not working as well as others. It comes down to using the Super Sentai footage for all morphed fight scenes, which is restricting in most cases. I seriously wouldn't want that to change though, as it works for the required purpose.
Over the course of numerous episodes, the stakes get raised, and once we reach The Green Candle it is clear we are nearing the end. Or we would, if the proposed ending had indeed happened. The seriousness mixed with light-heartedness is back as Tommy begins to lose his powers. In a highlight of season one, we see Tommy battle Goldar without his powers, then Jason in the second part. It certainly showed their dedication to the team and stopping evil. In a moment that had certainly been built up to, Tommy and Kimberly share a kiss in the final moments of the episode. With Tommy no longer a Ranger, he disappears. It's a small thing, but while the world building is certainly there, the disappearance of characters when no longer needed is jarring. It's also not dealt with very well, as season two demonstrates [though understandable why it happened].
As the proposed end comes to a close, I'm left wondering how the series deals with continuing. And Doomsday does feel like an ending. High stakes, what with the population being sent to the Dark Dimension and Rita's palace landing on Earth. The battles taking place feel like an ending, and then we get what feels like an ending when Rita retreats and the population is returned. The whole Power Ranger day also feels like an ending. It doesn't end the season though, and instead we get more episodes. It's a plus, but considering how many episodes Mighty Morphin' eventually becomes, the episode count of each season could have been reordered later down the line.

Once Doomsday is over, numerous episodes play out as they did before the supposed finale. There's a light-hearted feel to all of them that works well with the episodes. Only when we get to Return of an Old Friend do the stakes get raised again. And Tommy is the one who returns. With temporary Green Ranger powers, and the Zyu2 footage, Tommy is able to be a part of the main team, rather than backup. This part of season one also started the lyrical background songs being played during fights. It did work for the most part, as the songs were good to listen to, but they also would sometimes have me zoning out of the action.
The end of season one and beginning of season two merge almost seamlessly, with An Oyster Stew providing yet another failure of Rita's before Lord Zedd arrives to take charge. The arrival of Zedd brings a bit more menace to the villain side despite, as we see throughout the season, the ease of which the new Putty Patrollers are dispatched. As the episode Mutiny shows, they are not exactly the best foot soldiers to have. With the Rangers taking care of them in sight of Bulk and Skull, the two comic relief characters now have a new goal. Exposing who the Rangers really are. As the three-part arc continues, more powerful zords are created to tackle the stronger monsters Zedd creates, and so the Thunderzords are in on the action. With the Thunderzords being part of a new season of Super Sentai, there is no sixth zord, so Tommy misses out. Also being a new season of Sentai, yet Rangers still using Zyu2 footage, meant a mixing of footage for all zord fights. As such, throughout the first half of the season, I felt the zord fights were the weakest parts of all episodes. What also didn't help was the extended zord calling and fusion to the Megazord footage being used in all episodes, even after the mixing of footage stopped.
Zedd learns how hard it is for the Rangers to be defeated, and season two works its way to being a mix of better and worse. Zedd's plans are the same as what we saw with Rita, and are still as strong in character and fight scenes. Then the zord fight proceeds to just be tiresome. Green No More livens things up by finally erasing the Green Ranger power. Despair is back as it looks like all Rangers lose their powers for good, and Angel Grove is getting taken over by evil. Tommy proves to be the best yet again as he doesn't fall for Goldar's taunting that he is weak, and battles yet again without his powers. With his powers now gone, Tommy makes one last stand and enters the otherworld, destroying the crystal holding the Ranger powers. Now at full strength, the Rangers conquer evil and win yet again.
For the next few episodes, we get focus on characters feeling bad about Tommy's departure, with the next episode trying to repeat what caused Tommy's downfall with the other Rangers. We don't have long for Tommy's return, as there are only three episodes between Green No More and White Light. With Part 1 of White Light, Zordon and Alpha shut the command centre down to start on a secret project - without alerting the Rangers they'll be on their own for a while. When they do get called back in Part 2, they have already suffered a defeat. In a reveal that probably surprised no-one when the episode first aired, Tommy is the new White Ranger. Kimberly sure got a shock from it though, passing out as the helmet was being lifted. With Tommy now the leader of the team, the Rangers win the day again.

It's at this point that things get a bit low paced. With the episode Opposites Attract, it is the last time the actors who play Jason, Trini, and Zack are on set. Contract disputes led the actors to leave due to being underpaid, and Trini's actress had already suffered an injury on set which the pay barely covered for. As such, over-dubs, archive footage, and stand-ins are the order of the day for the next eight episodes for these characters. Which is odd considering they have actors lined up ready to take their place who feature in all unmorphed scenes and are already in their respective colours for when they become Rangers.
As it stands, after a Halloween themed episode, The Ninja Encounter introduces us to Rocky, Adam, and Aisha in an entertaining scene involving a baby stroller. The three newcomers are then shown in a tournament, beating the reigning champions. Introductions between old and new faces happen after, and Lord Zedd captures the newcomers and their teacher. With the Rangers rescuing the newcomers, Billy gets into a spot of trouble after fighting the snake that was about to attack the newcomers. As such, the newcomers learn the identities of the three Rangers, and they are introduced to the command centre and the Rangers' mission. Now, this is a three part arc, and it could have blended so perfectly with The Power Transfer arc in a four parter with nothing in between. Instead there are two episodes between the two arcs, with The Power Transfer being a two parter in which - in my opinion - didn't do a whole lot and seemed mostly to just borrow from The Ninja Encounter. In both arcs, the city is in peril. Both arcs have the newcomers captured. From my perspective, it would have made things quicker paced had those two arcs been merged together in a four - or even three - part arc and also dealt with the actor changes a lot faster. Not to go on with this too much more, but it seemed the three actors who left had been talking about leaving for a while, so why didn't the crew have the transfer while they were still there? They wanted to change the zords and villains to make things seem fresh, so why not add new faces as well? It would also have allowed the old rangers to meet and accept their replacements, as Kimberly does for Katherine in season three.
Either way, Jason, Zack, and Trini head off to the conference they were selected for, leaving the new trio with their powers. The battles continue, and Bulk and Skull get time to shine in When Is a Ranger Not a Ranger, as the Rangers get memory wiped by a monster. Now with the knowledge of who the Rangers are, the two make a sacrifice and complete what half of the Rangers were attempting to do to reverse the memory wipe. They lose the knowledge of who the Rangers are, but are the reason the Rangers were able to defeat the monster and save the day.
We get quite a few arcs after a few standalone episodes, the first of which being Rangers Back in Time. I'm not getting into all of them, but this one was certainly a fun episode. Reversed in age ten years, the Rangers are now children but have no knowledge of being Rangers. As kids, they get into a fight with some Putty Patrollers, and it's entertaining to see how they still manage to work as a team. Even a young Bulk and Skull get involved in the action. The Wedding is perhaps a weaker three part arc. Rita returns while Lord Zedd is recharging himself. She plans to use Alpha to lure the Rangers into a trap while setting up a marriage with Lord Zedd, implanting a love potion into his recharge chamber. The whole concept felt flat, with the Rangers being in Australia for a conference [yeah, the reason the other Rangers couldn't stay on, even if that one was for an extended time] being called back by a controlled Alpha and sent to a sealed building. The Rangers being trapped inside the building was about the only real good thing from this arc. The arc ends with the Rangers escaping, Rita and Zedd married, and Alpha returned to normal. Not to get too sceptical, but just two parts for the arc would have done just as good, since the only real reason for it to exist anyway was the pairing of Zedd and Rita. It was Zedd who banished Rita in the first place, so for her to return and place a spell on him to forget that would have been good enough. The wedding would have taken place as normal. Having the Rangers out of town, Alpha being controlled, could have been left out for a tighter, better paced arc.
Return of the Green Ranger is another battle with the Green Ranger, though this time it is only a copy and not the real Tommy. The other Rangers have been sent back to the 18th century, and stop a plot of evil without powers. Tommy is able to overcome the wizard controlling the clone, as well as go back in time to the other Rangers and save them. Again - two parter would have been fine. As well as that though, it feels like a been here, done that scenario. It's fine to repeat plot points with new characters, though it feels like the third time Tommy has been battling himself in one way or another in this series. An entertaining episode that pits Tommy and Kimberly against each other due to a Rita spell follows this, before two more arcs. A storybook arc places three of the Rangers inside a book, which the other Rangers need to find out how to overcome and free the others. It's certainly a good arc, and runs well with its pacing. Wild West Rangers is also an interesting arc in which Kimberly is sent back in time to Wild West Angel Grove, hiring the help of her teammates ancestors to form the Wild West Rangers to defeat Goldar. This was certainly an interesting set up, allowing most of the actors to take on Wild West personas of their characters, and it worked. Sure, between this and Return of the Green Ranger there are some errors in how time travel affects the world [notable the morphing situation] but considering the rules set out in this arc carry on throughout the franchise, I'll accept how Wild West Rangers presents that situation. After singular episode Blue Ranger Gone Bad, we get to A Friend In Need - the beginning of season three - which sets up the short-lived Masked Rider series. The arc places all Rangers but Kimberly on Alpha's home planet of Edenoi, meeting with the Masked Rider and finding out what happened on the planet. On Earth, Kimberly is sick and so is resting. Until she is called into action. Two points of action on two planets makes for an interesting arc and an entertaining third part with a flu-ridden Kimberly fighting a monster and passing her germs to it. This arc marks the last of a few things. For one, Bulk and Skull are no longer on a quest to expose the Rangers' identities. The Putty Patrollers will no longer be used, being replaced for the Tenga Warriors. And while not exactly this episode, the Thunderzords will be wiped out in the next arc.

Speaking of that next arc, Ninja Quest gives the Rangers a completely new set of powers, a new ally in Ninjor, but also sets a new villain onto them in the form of Rito Repulso - Rita's brother. With the first part completely wrecking the Ranger powers and zords, part two sets them on the quest. Bulk and Skull are also on a quest - to join the police force to attract female attention. Part three gives the Rangers their new powers, while also restoring their old suits, and put Bulk and Skull in the hands of their new boss - Lieutenant Jerome Stone. Part four gives the first real test of the new Ranger powers, and Bulk and Skull make the grade to be trained as officers. I'm not going to be that harsh here. The four parts did well in communicating what they had to, with each having its own intent. As such, the arc felt reasonably well paced.
With several episodes between that four part arc and the next arc [only two parts], a bit of foreshadowing takes place with Kimberly having a bad dream about moving to Paris. Arriving at Stop the Hate Master, it's another spell placed on the Rangers to make them fall out. Aisha is the only one unaffected by this, and has to work out how to break the spell. It's an interesting stop-gap arc before more serious stuff starts happening, though of course with the Rangers all set to be leaving, this arc is serious in its own right.
A Ranger Catastrophe takes the good turned evil plot and applies it to the Pink Ranger. New girl Katherine is in town and befriends Kimberly. The plan is simple. Kat is in the hands of Rita, and the power coin of Kimberly must be taken. Already though, the spell of Rita is breaking. It's quite a bit of character development for both Kim and Kat throughout the arc, and it's here that Kimberly's real arc starts. Katherine is still under the spell for Changing of the Zords, a three part arc that didn't really do all that much for me. Rita and co. plan to acquire the ancient zords, and with Kat stealing Kim's power coin yet again, the power struggle for those zords begins. At the end of the arc, the Rangers are in control of them with Kim's power coin returned. After another entertaining episode where Kimberly is trapped inside a vehicle with Bulk and Skull, we get to the point of Kimberly leaving.
A Different Shade of Pink has Kimberly in training for a gymnastics competition, and now would be a bad time for her to be distracted. This is her chance to become a professional gymnast, but she can't do double duty. Missing out on a training session due to fighting with the team, Kimberly is up all night practising her gym moves, getting tired all the time. Katherine's friendship with Kim makes her break the spell of Rita, and rushes in to see Kim faint. In the hospital, Kat comes clean with the other Rangers, and Kim makes her decision. In the Power Chamber, the passing of power is a simple power coin exchange, and Katherine is the new Pink Ranger.
Season three is almost at an end, with Master Vile - Rita and Rito's dad - arriving at the moon palace to conquer the Rangers once and for all. The Zeo Crystal is introduced, and the Metallic Armour - which, as far as power ups go, I found fairly pointless. In fact, this is another arc I found doing nothing for me. Kat and Tommy head to the moon palace, which the Zeo Crystal is buried under, and Tommy goes for the Crystal while Kat distracts Zedd and Rita by saying she wants to join them again. They entrap her and start turning her back to evil, but Tommy saves her after collecting the Crystal from where it was hidden. The Rangers look like they are finished, with the zords teleported away and the Rangers themselves drained from the fight. All serious stuff. Why, then, is the end of the world party of Master Vile so cheesy? Don't get me wrong, light-heartedness to counter the serious is expected, but it's the way it was presented. Master Vile strikes me as someone more serious than even Lord Zedd when he was first introduced, but this part of the arc is a total contrast to that. In the end, the Rangers recover their zords, head back to Earth and put a stop to Master Vile's takeover. And he didn't like that one bit. Then, after Dischordia gets an episode to try and destroy the Rangers...
Alien Rangers... I really tried to like you. I really did. The mini-series is set up with Rangers in Reverse, the last episode of season three. Fact is though, the first half of Alien Rangers just felt like a second run of Rangers Back In Time, with the second half effectively being the start of Zeo.
The start introduces the Alien Rangers of Aquitar. Since the world has again gone back in time, Zordon contacts Aquitar to acquire some assistance in defending Earth. Throughout the two parter, the kid Rangers once again defend themselves, though this time their memories of being Rangers are intact. A bomb is placed at the command centre, which gets difused by Alpha. And Master Vile reaches breaking point after just three defeats, retreating back home. So much for even introducing him then. The next episode has Billy create a device to return the Rangers to normal age. It serves as a way to destroy the power coins once and for all, as once Billy is restored the device is captured and destroyed by the villains. Only when the kid Rangers go on their quests to retrieve pieces of the Zeo Crystal do things get interesting. Each of the Rangers have a finding themselves moment, which will make for an arc for Tommy in Zeo. The final arc of Mighty Morphin' as a whole is Hogday Afternoon. With Lord Zedd bringing the Alien Rangers' nemesis - Hydro Hog - to Earth, a battle that could leave Earth defenceless takes place. Aisha is the one left to retrieve her piece of Crystal, and once she does, she makes a request that an orphan named Tanya brings it back in her place. With the Zeo Crystal reformed, Earth is returned to normal, the Rangers are back to their normal ages, and after sending the Alien Rangers back home, yet another bomb is set off in the command centre as Rito and Goldar steal the Zeo Crystal. The Rangers are teleported outside, and the series ends.
Okay, I admit. I liked the premise of the Alien Rangers themselves. It gave us a look at aliens surviving outside of their natural environment, and allowed some good scenes of learning new things from new people. It just felt too slow as an arc. It also felt like the battles during the quests were inserted as they couldn't carry an episode on their own. Adam and Rocky could have been condensed to one episode just the same as Tommy and Kat.

This look at the series has gone on massively long, but with a running total of 155 episodes, it is to be expected. Thankfully no other series of Power Rangers goes on for that amount of time - even two together - so from now on these should be reduced in size. As for how I view this series as a whole, it's certainly enjoyable at first. That enjoyment stays throughout the series, but despite swapping characters, suits, villains, zords, and changing up the weaponry used, there are many points later in the series that suffer from a been here, done that feel. As for referring back to what I said at the beginning, watching this series has certainly made me appreciate Dino Thunder all the more, and I can respect this series for starting the legacy of the Rangers.
Next up in this series is looking at both Zeo and Turbo. That's all for now, so bye for now.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Nintendo Switch Hands-on [Events]

After a very early morning, and with the weather still being bitterly cold, Hayden and I made our way from Stoke-on-Trent to London in roughly an hour and a half. Euston to Hammersmith on the Underground, then it was a wait to get in. There was a large crowd already waiting, so I knew we wouldn't be anywhere near the first in. It was certainly nice of them to have the reveal trailer playing on screens around the outside. Once we were inside, we were given a Switch themed lanyard and a card which would be stamped once we played the games on offer. There was also a place to put name and email address to enter for winning a Switch. Walking through the opening which was lined with a history of Nintendo consoles, the main event was already full. I'm not going to get into crowds and such, but the event itself was great.

First I want to get into the games themselves. The first of which is Arms. I found it to be a good fighting game, though it sits between technical and casual fighter for me at this point in time. The mechanics are good, having various characters with special arm capabilities, a shield, and a grab. There's also a powered-up mode that can land some powerful hits. However, aside from forward and hook attacks [and air attacks], there doesn't seem anything else to it. A more technical Wii Sports Boxing is what I could describe it as, where you have control over your character and don't always have to rely on close-quarters combat. I managed to get into the controls fairly easily, though only the motion controls were on offer. The stages on offer looked interesting, with a green-hued facility and a boxing-like arena with bounce pads around the outside. Those bounce pads can be used to gain some serious combo if used right.

Throughout the day we played some of the minigames on offer in 1-2 Switch. I'll be honest here, it feels more like a party compliment rather than the main attraction. Don't get me wrong, the games on offer are fun. It's just would they hold attention for more than an hour? That's what I'm thinking here. The gunslinger game has two people face off against each other, waiting for the shout of fire to lift their Joy-Con up and press the trigger. It's certainly fun to try and beat a friend. Dance Pose has one person break out a pose which the other has to copy. The other person then gets a try after three poses from the first. It's certainly similar to other dance games and possibly the weakest of the games due to being just a cut-down dance game. Crack the Safe is simple enough, using the rumble of the Joy-Con to indicate the pulse of the right point in the sequence. The code is three points long, and it's a competition to see who can crack their safe first. The last game we played of 1-2 Switch was Ball Count. The HD rumble is used brilliantly here, able to realistically simulate plastic balls inside a box, whether rolling or hitting the sides. The aim is to guess how many balls are inside that box, and since you have no way to see inside said box, you need the feel of those balls rolling around. As I said before, those games are good for parties, but as they are now, they need a bit more to become a main contender for one.

You might expect me to talk about the big three that were there. Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I can't say anything about them though, as I never gave them much thought. 1-2 Switch and Arms were the real reason to explore, as well as getting to experience the various ways to play with the Joy-Con. As well as that - and I know I said I wouldn't say anything about crowds - the lines for all three games were long throughout the session. As such, I know I haven't experienced all the ways to play, since Splatoon seemed to be the only game allowing play with the Joy-Con attached to the Switch itself. As well as that, I'm pretty sure Breath of the Wild allowed the removal of the Switch from the dock to experience first hand how seamless that transition is.

What I did try was some of the third party offerings. Obviously I'd already experienced Sonic Mania at Summer of Sonic, trying out new zone Studiopolis. This time I tried the reimagined zone Green Hill, and as the game was played in tabletop mode with a Joy-Con on the side, it really gave a retro feel to it. The game still looks and feels great, even on that small screen, and I certainly know which console I'll be getting it on.

Fast RMX is a futuristic racer in the style of F-Zero, though with enough different to feel like a new experience. Of course, this isn't the first game of the Fast series, with Fast Racing Neo on the Wii U proving popular. I never owned that first game, making this a new series for me. It's fast and fun, with the colour switching mechanic of the original still in place. You need the right colour on the boost strips to get an advantage in speed. The wrong colour [and it's only two] and you'll be at a disadvantage. Along with Arms, I'll certainly be getting this when it launches.

The last third party game we tried was Ultra Street Fighter 2, and it was easy enough to get into. I'm not going into too much detail with this one, as it's pretty easy to see what it looks like and plays like. I enjoyed the small session on it, though I'm not really a fan of 2D games [even though Sonic is pretty much an exception].

As for the various controller methods, the Joy-Con on its side works well, though due to being a more vertical-oriented device, either face buttons or analogue will be in the middle depending on which Joy-Con you use. It's still comfortable enough for short play sessions, though how that fairs for longer sessions is still up for debate. Using them one in each hand is a great feeling, giving the freedom of movement that wasn't always there for Wii Remote and Nunchuck. Attached to the grip gives them the feel of a proper controller, though the pro controller beats out slightly. Since the pro controller has a proper D-Pad, it feels more natural to use.

Now, you might have caught me say above I'll be getting Arms and Fast RMX when they launch. Same goes for Sonic Mania, and in fact the Switch console itself. I stand by what I have said that the Wii U is a great console, but the Switch feels like it has a lot more going for it. Wii U introduced some interesting concepts, and now the Switch is improving them greatly. We still don't know everything about this console yet, but just like Sonic Mania, there's plenty more opportunity for giving more information.

I might not have been able to experience everything about the Switch from the event, but what I have done has convinced me to keep that preorder. That's all for now, so bye for now.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Nintendo Switch Presentation [Events]

So let me just say this. In reality, I knew this presentation would be just a recap and new stuff. How could it not be when the main focus was on the business side of things. What we did get was some interesting stuff. And teases galore.

It began with a recap of the central idea, before going into more detail. Right from the off we got a release date and price, with a worldwide release of 3rd March, and the price being $300 [Europe as usual will probably mark as close to that number as possible, what with retailers given free reign]. The online services will start out free, but will change to a paid service at a later date. Region locking has now been stopped, so imported games can now be played. I'm happy about all this. Sure, I don't import a lot of games, but there has been plenty of people who have wanted to do so. The price is roughly what I was expecting, and the release date did come as a bit of a surprise. I was expecting middle of March. As for paid online, considering no other details were mentioned with that, I'm going to wait it out and see exactly how much this is going to be and exactly what we get for our money.

The console got a focus, with it having a full touchscreen. The battery life of it is between three and six hours, which is unsurprising really. A 3DS lasts as long, and the Switch is more powerful. The anologue sticks of the controllers are clickable, and both Joy-Cons have the ability to scan amiibo. The left 'Con has a share button on it. Pictures can be shared, but will move into video clips. Yeah, the features on both PS4 and Xbox One are making their way to a Nintendo console. Slowly, but surely. The Joy-Cons have gyroscopes inside, so motion control is once again part of a Nintendo system. The right Joy-Con has a camera in it, and the left one has an HD rumble. Both get strap attachments, and as well as the black standard colour, there's also red and blue Joy-Con. Having straps on these things is a good idea, especially with motion gaming. And talking of motion gaming...

1-2 Switch seems to be another of those tech demo mini-game collections Nintendo likes to release at launch for its hardware. I struggled to see what exactly it is from the trailer, and I'm still none the wiser now. From what was shown, it looks as though you need to watch the other person's reactions carefully and - as given in the trailer - be the first to out-gun your opponent. Funnily enough, it requires not looking at a screen to play. Also showing off what the motion of the Joy-Con can do is Arms. Yes, that's the name, and that is the concept of it. A boxing-esque game, the characters have super stretchy arms that can punch at opponents from far away. The idea still remains the same - knock your opponent out before they can you. But since fighting is no longer close-quarters, it opens the field up more. Out of the two, I feel I'd have more fun playing this one. While 1-2 Switch is a launch game, Arms is just tagged as Spring.

Of course Splatoon was going to feature. And not just a port, but a new game. It introduces dual-wielding weapons, more interesting special weapons, and new moves to help traverse the battlefield. There's the roll to dodge, and the dash to slip by. Then there are also jetpacks, powered by your ink supply. New stages, new fashion, new modes [though Turf War remains unchanged], it pretty much is a new game. And just like the original, extra content will be released after the game has launched. I found the original to be a great game, and had fun playing it. My only real concern, and reason I stopped playing, was needing to use the Gamepad at all times. With Splatoon 2, that's no longer a worry, as the Joy-Con are the controller of choice [or Pro Controller]. As I had expected, the map features have been placed onto the X button, with the D-Pad allowing jumps to other members of your team or your base. Just like the original game, Splatoon 2 is coming this summer.

Mario jumps for joy in... New York? Yup, Super Mario Odyssey is a jam-packed adventure where Mario's hat is a weapon and helpful platform, and he's travelling all over the world to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, who appears to have gone for a fancy getup this time around. Returning to the likes of Super Mario 64 and Sunshine, this game is an open sandbox game. This looks stunning. There's really nothing more I can say. The real world environments look great, as do the humans who inhabit them. Then we get to more Mario-like world design, and even that still looks great. While nothing much was given away in terms of how the game will play [except for a snazzy roll that Mario now has], it does show several areas, a smattering of enemies, and some hints at what we'll be doing. There's no playable demo as yet though, and the game won't be ready until the holiday this year.

Xenoblade 2 got announced, as did Fire Emblem Warriors. Both will probably be getting more coverage at E3 this year, as I doubt either is ready for the launch window. Square-Enix is treating the Switch with not only Dragon Quest 10 and 11, but also Dragon Quest Heroes 1 and 2. As well as that, they have a new game called Project Octopath Traveler. Skyrim is confirmed for the Switch at last, though considering it was in the initial reveal trailer, it's nothing new. A new No More Heroes game is also coming. Once EA had their say of bringing FIFA to the Switch, a sizzle reel played out showing lots of games. Too many to recognise all of them. I did see Steep among them, Street Fighter, Bomberman, and Rayman were up there too. To give a rough idea, it was said there are 80 Switch games in production from third parties. 80. How many of those are launch window, we'll just have to see in the coming days as developers announce those projects.

Of course, we need one last game to round all this out with, so what better than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A new trailer and confirmation of it being a launch day game, and the presentation comes to an end. However, the presentation might have ended, but Nintendo's Youtube is now flocked with all the trailers. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, for example, is coming April. The trailer shows off the new battle mode, with actual arenas [and returning ones, as I'm sure I spotted the Luigi's Mansion arena from Double Dash in there], and Splatoon content. The squids are in the game, with their own battle arena and I guess a kart set as well. It was pretty blink and you'll miss it. That wasn't the only thing though, as returning items appear. The feather, only featuring in Super Mario Kart [it let you jump over things, handy for shortcuts], and the boo from Mario Kart DS [that made you invisible to others]. There's bound to be plenty more in the trailer, and there's more trailers just waiting to be found.

So, overall? The presentation was decent. It was clear that we weren't in for a huge amount of games being shown off in detail when the first one didn't even show until fifteen minutes after the start, and it didn't need to go into detail. Just like the initial reveal, this was to give a taste. It did that quite well. So in my eyes, it was almost a success. Almost, as it did seem to drag in places, and perhaps one or two more games could have been placed in there.
Now all that's left is for me and Hayden to get to London on Saturday morning and hope the snow doesn't disrupt the trains. Then we'll get our hands on the Switch, and I can give some more in depth thoughts into how I feel. That's all for now, so bye for now.

Monday, 2 January 2017

The New Year of '17 [Network]

With the rebrand complete, the Cyber Digital Services name will no longer be appearing for any network updates. Instead, as you can see, it's just a simple Network tag.
As for expanding what I said when I posted the next part to Crossover Corruption, everything is ready, but holidays and other stuff made me forget to post. So as a revised schedule for those posts left, the next episode of Doctor Who: The Star Wars Chronicles will be coming in two parts - the first half this week and the last half at the end of the month. The start of our look through the Power Rangers series will be in the middle of the month.
There is one important event coming up. That being the true reveal of the Nintendo Switch. Hardware, software, and all the other stuff should be coming out from the event. I will be covering what I think of the games and console itself once the event is over, which is just ten days away. There's certainly been a lot of excitement all over for this, and to get the information starting from the 13th [let's be honest, there's going to be a lot more coverage over the two months until release] should be the turning point most people need in deciding if it's for them.

Another winter gone in GTA Online, and I've got some more videos to be uploading from the Rockstar Editor. As I've been pretty focused on both PC and Xbox One versions, a video from each will be posted.
Again I missed the opportunity to place a Christmas song with a Sonic Generations highlight reel, but I want to cover the game as Mania comes closer to release. So while there won't be any commentary, you can expect a playthrough of levels and bosses.

With quite a bit to get through, and with my final semester of university coming up, this is going to be one busy month. Either way - that's all for now, so bye for now.