Category Archives: Opinion

Wii’ve Had Enough – Nintendo NX Rumours Have Me Hopeful

In recent years, I’ve been loyal to PlayStation. Take one look at some of the posts on this blog, and that’s pretty evident. I’m a die hard Vita enthusiast who refuses to let the little guy die, and I’m a whore for PSN Trophies. Sony have been hitting all the right notes since the PS4’s launch, and I’ve eaten it all up.

I wasn’t always this into PlayStation though. My first love was Nintendo, and you never get over your first love, apparently:
Nintendo

Yeah, whatever daddy.

Nintendo have lost me in recent years. About halfway through Wii’s life I fell from the Nintendo wagon due to lack of strong third party support, the casual focus and the inferior hardware on offer. Wii was around until 2012 and it didn’t even have HDMI output. What the fuck, Nintendo?

SNES through GameCube, however, I was Nintendo loyal. The GameCube is probably my favourite console of all time and nobody released games that were as fun and charming as Nintendo. Their games were the best in the business.

The Legend of Zelda series is one of the, if not the, greatest video game series of all time, but I only managed to get about halfway through Twilight Princess before I’d had enough of the terrible motion controls (fuck that compulsory fishing minigame bullshit), and I couldnt even get past Skyward Sword’s 10 hour tutorial session. The Super Mario series is consistently fantastic, and I was a huge fan of Super Mario Galaxy when that came out, to the point that I’m pretty sure that was the first game I ever beat 100%, but by the time it’s sequel was released I was running into PlayStation’s big strong, hunky arms.

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It’s a really sad state of affairs. When craving that sweet Nintendo fix, I often thought about biting the bullet, dropping the cash and re-entering that abusive Nintendo relationship, but today’s Nintendo is not the same Nintendo I grew up with. I didn’t even know Wii U was a new console when it was released. I thought it was some kind of incremental N64 Expansion Pak nonsense.

News and rumours have been coming out in recent weeks that Nintendo’s next console, codenamed NX, is to be revealed around May and released around October/November 2016. I’ve been watching NX related rumours like a hawk for the better part of a year and everything I’ve seen so far has me hopeful.

First off, Nintendo’s new president Tatsumi Kimishima, in an interview with TIME, has said that the NX is “unique and different” and that Nintendo are “not building the next version of Wii or Wii U.” Nintendo seem to be aware of the Wii and Wii U’s shortcomings with gamers, and seem to be set on righting those wrongs.

Secondly, back in July at a Dragon Quest event in Japan, it was revealed that Dragon Quest XI, which runs on the powerful Unreal Engine 4, was announced for PS4 and Nintendo’s next console. Making the assumption that that same PS4 version will also be the NX version, that means Nintendo’s NX will have to be technologically on par with, or stronger than, the PS4.

And third, many rumblings have been going around that the NX will be a home console-handheld hybrid, theoretically letting you take games you started in the living room with you to work or to the bathroom. This has only been solidified by Nintendo’s recent patent filing for a touch screen controller that can be taken with you on-the-go.

Each of these pieces of information is a good sign that Nintendo is trying to grab back it’s audience it has lost over the last few years, and a console-handheld hybrid is right up my alley. Why do you think I love the PS Vita so much?

There’s one other piece of news, however, that is quite worrying. Nintendo filed a patent for a console with no disc drive. If this patent applies to the NX, it looks like Nintendo are embracing an all-digital future. That’s a fine stance if you have the system memory to back it up, and a pain in the arse if you don’t.

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This also dashes any hopes of Wii U backwards compatibility, so unless Nintendo go the multi-platform route they went with Twilight Princess, I won’t be playing the new Legend of Zelda game that’s slated to release on Wii U this year anytime soon.

The anticipation is killing me. This could be another dud from Nintendo, and I might just be getting swept up in the hype, but all signs point to my Nintendo making their triumphant return, and I can’t wait to see what NX ends up being.

Just don’t name it something stupid, like Wii.

 

 

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Metal Gear Solid V’s Latest Patch

This short post will contain endgame story spoilers for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but goddamnit I am irrational internet fanboy level angry about this.

If you don’t want the game spoiled, read no further.

Seriously, major spoilers.

This is your last chance.

You have been warned.

Okay, let’s go.

I like to think I’m somewhat of an authority on Metal Gear’s crazy 28 year story. As I detailed in an earlier post, I’ve grown up with Metal Gear. It’s my favourite video game series of all time, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an absolute blast to play, but these pesky patches are doing a real number on it, aren’t they?

First of all, once the reviews were all out and everybody had had their say, Konami decided to patch in FOB insurance which lets you spend real life money on insuring your FOB and the resources stored there, effectively breaking any balance or economy FOB mode had.

Very sneaky, Konami. Very sneaky.

I was willing to forgive this though (Forgive Konami? More fool me) because I never really got into the FOB section of the game. Having a couple of hours of progression stolen from me by some dick in a different timezone sounded frustrating, and more importantly, not fun.

Hey, maybe the insurance is for people like me who just wanted to focus on the single player campaign and the achievements/trophies without being fucked with?

Here’s an easier and cheaper solution: Offline mode.

What I can’t forgive, however, is Metal Gear Solid V‘s latest patch.

It has all of the usual technical and balancing blah blah blah stuff which I’m not going to get into here because a) it’s boring and I don’t care and b) it is totally overshadowed by patching in a way to reverse a major plot point.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Spoilers follow.

 

If you’ve finished Metal Gear Solid V, you’ll know that after Mission 45: A Quiet Exit (Fuck that mission by the way. Fuck it so hard.)  Quiet leaves Diamond Dogs to go and, presumably, die in the desert somewhere. It’s a great story beat, and I enjoyed it far more than the awful ending that seems to come out of fucking nowhere in the next mission.

Afterwards, you can no longer use Quiet as a buddy. She is gone. You are supposed to miss her, which is pretty clear considering one of the main themes of the game is loss. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about “phantom pain:”

“Phantom limb pain is the feeling of pain in an absent limb or a portion of a limb. The pain sensation varies from individual to individual. Phantom limb sensation is the term given to any sensory phenomenon (except pain) which is felt at an absent limb or a portion of the limb.”

It’s this amazing bit of Kojima meta-narrative that really drives home that sense of loss, and it’s done really well. It’s probably my favourite cutscene of the three cutscenes the game has. Allowing you to play with Quiet for hours and hours only to take her away from you is a bold statement. Quiet is gone, and you can’t get her back. That’s it. It’s over.

Until last week, that is.

Great news everyone, you can now bring Quiet back, rendering her disappearance and apparent death completely irrelevant. Awesome!

To recruit Quiet again, you have to play Mission 11: Cloaked in Silence seven fucking times. Yes, seven. That sure sounds fun.

That’s not even the real problem, though. Why make a significant story statement just to reverse it three months later? I don’t get it. To quote Reddit user Jackenstein8098 from /r/metalgearsolid:

“There’s a reason you couldn’t save Aeris in Final Fantasy VII.”

And this is exactly my point. The reason characters die in fiction is to evoke an emotional response from the person consuming the story. It’s one of the few story points that Metal Gear Solid V nailed, and now it doesn’t matter. It was all for nought.

When I heard the news, I reached out to Konami for clarification on why this decision was made:

So far, no response.

I’ll let you know when they get back to me.

A Lifelong Metal Gear Solid Fan’s Woes.

It was just after midnight, and my Mum and I were sitting next to each other, eyes transfixed on the TV. We had beaten Metal Gear REX, witnessed Gray Fox’s demise, beat up our evil twin and had just received a codec call that the base we had spent hours infiltrating was about to be destroyed. My heart was racing, and I had school in like 7 hours, but we were going to see this through to the end. That is one of my first memories of Metal Gear Solid.

Being five years old at the time, I watched my Mum play through the original Metal Gear Solid. I have gone back and played it a number of times since then, but at the time the themes and message didn’t fully make themselves apparent to me. It was the characters, the music, the atmosphere, the cutscenes! It was like nothing I’d ever seen before and I was in love. Looking back on it now, it’s funny to say, but the game blurred the line between movie and video game. It was incredible.

I’ve been a fan since. I got the demo for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty on a demo disc that came with The Official PlayStation Magazine and I played it every single day until the full game was released. I can play that Tanker section with a blindfold on. I took the day off of school when the game came out (Thanks again, Mum) and beat it that same weekend. The bait and switch with Raiden, E.E’s death and the Colonel needing scissors (61!) have stuck with me, and are some of my favourite video game moments.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was much the same story. Demo disc for days on end. Pull a sickie on release day, and play for as long as possible. The ending of that game is the first time a video game has given me a lump in my throat, and I think it’s the best game in the series. The story is solid, the gameplay is fun, and the setting is exciting. It’s a must play for anybody wanting to get into the series.

My relationship with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is nowhere near as intense as the others in the series, on account of me opting for an Xbox 360 that generation. I’ve played through it a handful of times, and it has some of the greatest moments in the series, but I don’t know it as well due to my hardware choices. Platform exclusivity is bullshit, unless it directly benefits me.

That brings us to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Before I got the game, I was looking forward to seeing how it ties the loop on the Metal Gear Saga. I wanted to see the Darth Vader like descent of Big Boss that we were promised, but after spending ten or so hours with the game I realised that wasn’t what this was about. The story is kind of there, but unfortunately it’s not the story you want. It didn’t matter though, I couldn’t stop playing. The gameplay is so polished and so mechanically sound that it begs you to play more. It’s the first game in the series where the story has taken a backseat to gameplay, and I think it greatly benefits the game. One of the main criticisms I hear from people towards the Metal Gear games is that the story is too messy and convoluted to jump into, and it feels like The Phantom Pain was designed for those people. The story is there if you want to go looking for it, but the game is about creating your own stories and moments with the tools at your disposal instead of the game giving them to you, and it is incredible.

I would go as far as saying that The Phantom Pain is the most polished game of the generation so far, and I challenge anybody to prove me wrong. There may be games that look better, but no game this generation plays better than The Phantom Pain and it is addictive.

It’s a shame we’re not going to get another one.

You don’t need me to tell you that Hideo Kojima and Konami have had a falling out, and their battle has left multiple casualties in it’s wake. It’s been all over the web and it’s victims aplenty: Silent HillsThe Phantom Pain’s unfinished story, poor Guillermo del Toro’s video game aspirations. Now, I’m not one of the people that thinks Kojima should be making Metal Gear games for the rest of his life. I am excited to see where he will go and what he will do next, but what I simply will not accept is somebody else making a Metal Gear game without his oversight.

Konami has a history of getting rid of the minds that made their properties great, and then contracting external developers to make follow up titles that don’t capture the magic that the original games did. Castlevania is one example, but more notably there is the sorry state of the Silent Hill franchise in recent years. After Konami disbanded Team Silent, there was never a Silent Hill game that reached the heights the original trilogy (and arguably Silent Hill 4: The Room) did. Where is Silent Hill now? It’s being plastered onto the side of Pachinko machines, and being crammed into genres that could not be further from it’s roots and it’s a sad, sad sight.

If Metal Gear ends up like Silent Hill, it will break my heart. Let’s hope the rumours that Konami are leaving the AAA development space is true, because if Metal Gear Solid goes the way of Silent Hill, it will be painful to watch.

PlayStation Vita Will Never Die.

I bought my PS Vita through impulse, and I have no regrets.

When I got my Vita, Sony was marketing it as an accessory to the PlayStation 4. A device through which I could continue killing people in Battlefield whilst taking a shit. Having recently picked up a PlayStation 4 this, alone, sold me. Not until I had the Vita in my hands did I realise what a marvelous piece of kit it actually is, and how many games I had at my fingertips.

Whoever tells you the Vita has no games is an uninformed liar, and you should reevaluate who you surround yourself with. Do you really want to be friends with a liar? Nobody wants to be friends with a liar.

Initially the Vita was marketed as a portable gaming system that could play console quality games, and for the most part this is true. Unfortunately, due to poor sales because of poor choices on Sony’s part (I’m looking at you, memory cards) their first party studios seem to have turned their backs on the Vita, but there are hundreds of games coming out on Vita. Tons of big games.

Okay, most of the AAA titles are coming out of Japan (Toukiden 2Attack on Titan) and a lot of them are independent offerings (Super Meat Boy, Abe’s Odyssey: New ‘n’ Tasty) but they are games, nonetheless. And most of the aforementioned games are good games.

The Vita is a lean, mean, indie machine and indie isn’t a dirty word! If Japanese RPGs or visual novels aren’t your style, the diverse library of independent titles should satiate your appetite.

But we’re looking too far into the future. Forget about upcoming titles for a second, let’s look back on the titles that are already out.

Gravity-Rush-City-Kat

Games like Gravity Rush are what the Vita does best. A sort of semi-open world game, with interesting mechanics and likable characters in an episodic story. I have never played a game like Gravity Rush. It is truly unique and I would say it is one of my favourite games based on the movement mechanics alone.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss took that “console quality” tag, and ran with it. Golden Abyss may have made some questionable choices with it’s mechanics, like holding the back camera up to the light (urgh) but nobody can deny that the game would look at home on a PlayStation 3. It did what it set out to do and the results are amazing.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is literally a PlayStation 3 game that runs on Vita. Okay, the graphics have taken a bit of a knock, but you don’t get more “console quality” than an actual console game.

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Killzone: Mercenary is another great example of a game that lived up to that “console quality” expectation. The game looks great, and feels like a modern console shooter. Shooters are the 3D platformers of the modern era. It’s what the masses want, and Killzone: Mercenary gives it to them.

And that’s just a few (of the few…) console quality titles we were promised. There are more out there, and there are more still to come.

There’s also the slew of fantastic indie titles. There are literally hundreds of the little bastards. Okay, you can play them on other platforms, but most of these titles are best played on Vita. Some of them just click. Games like Rogue LegacyLuftrausersHotline MiamiOlliOlli and Shovel Knight, to name a few, are right at home on the little handheld that could.

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It doesn’t end there though! When I was younger, playing my PlayStation in my bedroom and my Mum would tell me that it was time to do something that wasn’t sitting in my bedroom playing PlayStation, I yearned for some kind of magical GameBoy-like device that would let me play PlayStation on the go, in the back of my Mum’s car, or at my Aunt’s house, or on the toilet. That now exists, and it’s name is PlayStation Vita.

The little guy has access to a bunch of PSOne Classics that can be downloaded directly from the PlayStation Store. My childhood dream has literally come true!

In addition to that, there are a number of PlayStation 2 era HD Collections on Vita, that run and look better on the little guy than they ever did on their native console, with an exception or two, but lets not get bogged down in negativity here. This is a post about opening your heart to positivity, and not letting go of a dying loved one.

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The PlayStation Vita is a fantastic little machine, and I firmly believe that anybody that says otherwise has never used one. The Vita’s following is so hardcore because the people who own them fucking believe in them.

Vita will never die, because we will not let it die.