Review of Mischief Makers — Shake-shaking things up

If there was anything the Nintendo 64 was knee-deep in, it was platforming games. Not only was Super Mario 64 an absolute masterpiece in the genre, but there were a handful of second and third-party platform gems in the 64-bit console’s library. And no matter how obscure a game may be, you know it has a strong cult-following when lots of gamers request it to be re-released on a digital marketplace…Which brings us to a 1997 2.5D platformer called Mischief Makers, developed by the fine folks at Treasure.

Stop and shake it

To set the scene, the Planet Clancer is faced with the growing possibility of war, not to mention the Emperor is tricking the inhabitants, known simply as Clancers, into doing indisputably evil things. The brainwashed Clancers kidnap one of the planet’s visitors, that being the robotic mastermind Professor Theo. Luckily for him, the professor’s robotic assistant Marina Liteyears witnesses the capturing, and she sets off on a journey to not only bring her creator to safety, but also protect Planet Clancer from all of the threats that are about to unfold.

Every level puts your 2D platforming skills to the test. And thankfully, Marina has plenty up her…Robots have sleeves, right? Marina can perform both normal and long jumps, and the C buttons grant her special moves like rolling, sliding, and even boosting herself in any direction. However, these moves are afterthoughts compared to the game’s emphasis on grabbing and shaking the many objects and NPC’s you’ll come across. Grabbing things in mid-air and launching yourself towards platforms far away from you will become very vital as your journey progresses. Along with a truckload of platforming playgrounds, you’ll be faced with a handful of boss fights against rogue Clancers and other cold-hearted villains.

Shaking, not stirring

For a 1997 N64 game, Mischief Makers is full of good-looking level backgrounds, well-animated characters, and above-average cutscenes that some gamers may have thought the N64 just couldn’t pull off. In terms of sounds, you’re not gonna hear a lot of voice-acting (Although it was performed well) due to the console’s limitations, but you’ll still be treated with plenty of well-composed songs that are very fitting for each level and boss fight you go through.

In terms of replay value, Mischief Makers‘ length depends on how long you are willing to explore each level and whether or not you can succeed at the bonus tasks in the special events. If you’re good enough, you’ll be able to find all the gold crystals, one of which is found in each level. The amount of gold crystals you have at the end of the adventure determines how long the ending will be, so you’re gonna need a lot of patience and platforming prowess if you want the full experience.

No tomfoolery, no hijinx, just mischief

Just because a game falls under the radar due to its console’s heavyweight-filled catalog doesn’t mean it’s a meaningless game, and Mischief Makers strongly proves that. It doesn’t fit into the same league as heavily-revered platformers like Super Mario 64, but if you’re looking for an obscure platformer with an entertaining (And sometimes funny) plot and a deep pool of replay value, Mischief Makers will not disappoint you. Also, I don’t recommend taking a shot for every time Marina says “Shake, shake!” Alcohol and robotics don’t mix!

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Preston’s View on the Ups and Downs of Each E3 2019 Press Conference

Another Gaming Christmas (a.k.a. E3) has come and gone, and a hefty number of new games and expansions were shown off to the numerous attendees. Out of all the companies that showed up to the party, only seven of the biggest publishers hosted press conferences to announce their lineups. Now that the convention has concluded, the time has come for me to tell you my opinion on the pros and cons of each individual conference. You are more than welcome to tell me your own views, whether they compare to or contrast with mine.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Electronic Arts’ catalog, but I found this to be a slightly underwhelming edition of EA Play. The star of the show, in my book, was the demonstration of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. So far, I really like the combat and parkour-like platforming. And from what I’ve seen in the cutscenes, the plot will not disappoint. EA is really trying to prove that you don’t need the Battlefront name just to be a good Star Wars game. The new editions of FIFA and Madden NFL were displayed, the former of which has a mode that is akin to FIFA Street. Everything else about EA Play was simply updates/expansions for Battlefield V, The Sims 4, and Apex Legends. It wasn’t a terrible conference by any means, but I feel like EA could’ve brought more things to the table, like the latest game in the Need for Speed franchise.

Microsoft’s press conference was well above average this year, with the star of their show being the Project Scarlett console. This mean piece of machinery promises super-short load times, 8K resolution, and 120 frames per second. The first confirmed launch title for this new console is none other than Halo Infinite, which isn’t really a surprise to me. Microsoft’s current console, the Xbox One, is receiving a new remote play functionality similar to that of the PlayStation family. There’s even a new controller coming called the Elite Series 2, which has a 40-hour battery life, a charging dock, and Bluetooth compatibility. PC gamers will be happy to know that the Xbox Game Pass will soon finally be arriving to Windows computers. To close this paragraph, I’ll list all of the other games and updates that were displayed at this conference:

  • The Lego Speed Champions pack for Forza Horizon 4
  • Cyberpunk 2077, starring Keanu Reeves
  • Gears 5
  • Elden Ring
  • Phantasy Star Online 2
  • Psychonauts 2, developed by the newly-acquired Double Fine
  • The Battletoads reboot
  • The Outerworlds
  • A reboot of Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
  • Bleeding Edge
  • Minecraft Dungeons
  • A game based on The Blair Witch Project
  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  • Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
  • Tales of Arise
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Borderlands 3
  • State of Decay 2: Heartland
  • Spiritfare
  • Wasteland 3
  • Dying Light 2
  • Way to the Woods
  • Gears Pop
  • The Legend of Wright
  • 12 Minutes
  • Crossfire X

As you can see, Microsoft had an absolute butt-ton of games on display this year. I applaud them for their lineup, and I can’t wait to hear more about Scarlett.

Bethesda didn’t have anything mind-blowing to share, but they had a truckload of updates for their current games and trailers for their upcoming titles. We even witnessed announcements for the beginnings of new IP’s — An action game called Ghostwire: Tokyo, and a firearm-filled game called Deathloop. And finally, Bethesda announced their streaming service called Orion, which sounds like a competitor to Google’s Stadia. All aboard the streaming bandwagon! The remainder of Bethesda’s presentation included…

  • Doom Eternal
  • Fallout 76, which is soon getting NPC’s and a 52-player battle royale mode
  • The Nintendo Switch port of Elder Scrolls: Blades
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood
  • The Elder Scrolls VI
  • Commander Keen mobile game
  • “Rise of the Ghosts” expansion for Rage 2
  • Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot VR game
  • “Scalebreaker” DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online
  • “Moons of Elsweyr” expansion for The Elder Scrolls Legends

I’m not an enormous Bethesda fan, but I can’t complain about their conference this year, even if they didn’t announce any new IP’s. As long as the games are good, it’s a win-win for everybody.

Indie game giant Devolver Digital had a thin catalog to show off (Kind of like EA), but that doesn’t mean their conference was bad. Before I list the individual pieces of software they showed off, I should mention they now have an 8-in-1 self-rip-off compilation called Devolver Bootleg. Never thought such a collection would be a thing, but Devolver’s proved me wrong. Now that that’s out of the way, here are the other titles and expansions they displayed:

  • Fall Guys Ultimate Knockout
  • An arcade light-gun game called Enter the Gungeon: House of the Undead
  • Carrion
  • “Picnic Panic” DLC for The Messenger
  • My Friend Pedro

I never delved into Devolver Digital’s catalog, but there’s always the chance I’ll give one of their games a shot. Hopefully some of you readers are happy with their lineup.

Next up to the plate was Ubisoft, and their flagship announcement was that of Uplay Plus, which costs $14.99 per month and rivals subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia Pro. If I had a shot of Pepsi for each company that’s jumping on the streaming bandwagon…Anyway, here are the games and expansions that the French publisher had at their show:

  • Watch Dogs Legion, which takes place in London and allows you to recruit and take control of nearby players
  • Upcoming episodes for The Division 2, along with the announcement of The Division on Netflix
  • A zombie-filled shooter game called Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Quarantine
  • Roller Champions, a game that depicts a futuristic version of roller derby (I’m actually really intrigued about this one)
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint (Did I mention a cute doggo appeared on stage?)
  • An action game called Gods & Monsters

Ubisoft doesn’t need Assassin’s Creed or FarCry in order to have a good E3 conference, and they proved that this year with ease.

The RPG-loving folks at Square Enix took their turn next, and delivered a pretty stellar press conference this year. It may have been mostly about Final Fantasy, but there was nothing wrong with that and they had a fine amount of other software to talk about. I’m definitely curious about the racing game they’re publishing (No surprise considering how many racing games I’ve reviewed here, right?), Circuit Superstars. I’ve written an entire article recapping this conference, so feel free to read that one for my full analysis on it. https://silversoulgaming.com/2019/06/11/squaring-off-a-recap-of-square-enixs-e3-2019-press-conference/

Last but the furthest thing from least, Nintendo stepped onto the stage and put on what was probably the best conference of E3 2019. There were no 3DS games to be found, but plenty of games for the Switch. The Big N’s lineup at this presentation included…

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has been delayed to March 2020
  • Hero from Dragon Quest and Banjo-Kazooie coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in development
  • Dragon Quest XI: Definitive Edition
  • Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Which I am absolutely amped up for)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, which has a dungeon-maker mode
  • Resident Evil 5 and 6
  • No More Heroes 3
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Panzer Dragoon remake
  • Contra Rogue Corps
  • Contra Anniversary Collection
  • Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  • Alien: Isolation
  • Astral Chain
  • Pokemon Sword and Shield, which work with the Poke Ball Plus
  • Daemon x Machina
  • Trials of Mana, which is a Seiken Denetsu 3 remake
  • Cadence of Hyrule
  • Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (So pumped this series is coming to Switch!)

With an incredible press conference like this, I can see why a blue puppet named Arlo claimed that Nintendo is back. They are indeed back to being relevant again, and they ain’t budging!

It wasn’t quite perfect, but I really didn’t have much to criticize about this year’s E3. The remainder of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 are going to be packed to the grim with some enthralling games and services, even if it seems like the whole streaming-subscription thing is going to be a rapidly-spreading infection (Not that game-streaming is stupid or anything like that). This is probably the most challenging article I’ve written, but all’s well that ends well (No smoke from my keyboard, don’t worry about it). Hope y’all enjoyed E3 2019 as much as I did!

Squaring Off — A Recap of Square Enix’s E3 2019 Press Conference

If you’re an adamant RPG fan, chances are you’ve been full of anticipation for Square Enix’s press conference at E3 2019.  Whether it was remasters, games based on licensed properties, or DLC, the Shinjuku-based publisher hit a lot of home runs at this year’s edition of North America’s biggest gaming trade show.  Ready for a discussion about it? If you keep scrolling, that means you are.

It would be an unpardonable sin if Square Enix didn’t talk about the highly-anticipated remake of Final Fantasy VII, and they made sure to give us some good info about it.  Something that really stuck out was the news that the game would be on two Blu-Ray discs instead of just one, which is a small reminder of the fact that the original PS1 version was on three discs.  We also learned that the battle system will be either a hybrid or Kingdom Hearts system, depending on your preference.  We have been waiting for this remake for an ultra-long time, and the wait ends on March 3.  But this isn’t the only news from the Final Fantasy universe — We are also getting the Shadowbringers pack for Final Fantasy XIV Online, a mobile game called War of the Visions, and remakes of Final Fantasy VIII and Crystal Chronicles.  Things are really looking up for Square Enix’s flagship franchise.

The team at Crystal Dynamics has been working diligently on a new Avengers game, and although it ain’t releasing until May 15 next year, we got some good updates about it.  Along with four-player co-op and always-free DLC, the game will have a star-studded voice cast that includes Nolan North and Troy Baker.  I’ve always liked Marvel Comics games, so I’m hoping this one delivers the goods.

You don’t hear much about driving games from Square Enix, but they are indeed publishing one called Circuit Superstars.  The top-down racing may remind you of the Micro Machines games.  I’ve got confidence this charming racer will provide hours of driving-game hilarity.

OK OK, stop shouting in my face, I’ll talk about Kingdom Hearts now! This winter, Kingdom Hearts 3 is  getting an expansion called Re:Mind.  With this pack, you get to play as Riku, Roxas, and Aqua, and you even get to unlock Sora’s Oathkeeper form.  Not much more to be said, but it should be an awesome piece of DLC for this extremely popular series.

The other pieces of Square Enix’s presentation included…

  • Outriders, a co-op shooter from the makers of Bulletstorm
  • Oninaki, an action-RPG from Tokyo RPG Factory
  • Dragon Quest Builders 2
  • The Last Remnant Remastered now on Switch
  • A pair of SaGa games — Romancing SaGa and SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions

It’s important to come to E3 with a bang, and Square Enix brought plenty of bang this year.  Even if you’re not a fan of RPG’s like this company mainly dabbles in, I do recommend you pay attention to their 2019/20 roster of releases.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Release Date Finally Announced

Square Enix has released a new trailer tonight for the Final Fantasy VII Remake which reveals the release date as well.

Square released the trailer as part of their Final Fantasy concert and has a lot of new footage. Along with the footage, the trailer reveals the game will release March 3, 2020. Square Enix already confirmed the game is still releasing in episodes so this is presumably the first one.

The highly anticipated remake was originally announced in 2015 but we’ve only heard anything about this year. For more on the game and all things Square Enix check out their E3 press conference tomorrow at 6 p.m. PST. In other JRPG-that-took-a-long-time news, check out new info on Kingdom Hearts III’s new DLC.

Kingdom Hearts 3 RE: Mind DLC new trailer and winter release date

At the Kingdom Hearts: World of Tres orchestra event in Los Angeles, Kingdom Hearts creator Tetsuya Nomura revealed details about the Re: Mind DLC. After showing a trailer, he announced that fans can expect to purchase this DLC this winter for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The trailer opens with young master Xehanort speaking to the master of masters in the keyblade graveyard. Coming back from his world tour, Xehanort goes on to tell the master of masters that he has realized how “necessary” he is. Also shown in the trailer was sora wielding the OathKeeper keyblade with a new transformation to go with it.

The biggest reveal was that Roxas, Riku, and Aqua are now playable during the keyblade graveyard boss fights. However, it is unknown if this will be during the main story or in a data battle like feature seen in Kingdom Hearts 2.

The trailer comes to a close as Xigbar and Luxord have a cryptic conversation with hints of tie ins with Kingdom hearts Union X.

Square Enix “Marvel’s Avengers” supposedly will have CO-OP and character customization.

Square Enix and Marvel’s Avengers game surprisingly had gameplay details leaked ahead of their E3 2019 event.

According to E3 Coliseum listing found by Evan Filarca on Twitter, players will have customizable heroes and the game will have co-op gameplay.

This is what we know about Marvel’s Avengers so far:

This is the perfect Avengers experience. Epic action-adventure that combines cinematic storytelling with continuous single-player and co-operative gameplay. Avengers assemble in teams of up to four. Master extraordinary abilities, customize your heroes to fit your play-style and combine powers to defend the ever-expanding world under constant threat!

“Сontinuous single-player and co-operative gameplay” makes it sound to me as if there would be near constant updates to the game, as well as the possibility of different game modes. As for the rest, it sounds very similar to DCUO: DC comics MMORPG. However, we wouldn’t know for sure until Square’s E3 presentation.

Square Enix announced the Avengers game back in January 2017 with a short teaser calling it the Avengers Project. The short trailer slowly panned across iconic weapons like Captain America’s shield and one of Iron Man’s repulsors. Since then, no major details have been released. Now, with it being showcased at 9 p.m. ET on June 10th we will have to see what else Square Enix has in store for us.

Kingdom Hearts 3 now has Critical Mode

In an announcement made by series director Tetsuya Nomura, Kingdom Hearts 3 now has a Critical Mode with the new update just released on April 23rd. This is essentially an ultra hard difficulty, and has been in previous Kingdom Hearts games before.

Critical Mode always has a baseline that you deal less damage (as little as half) and you take more damage (up to double), but specifics vary from game to game. It can also change the rate you receive EXP and MP, as well changing the rate at which your abilities refresh. So it makes it tougher, but not impossible to beat.

I haven’t played any Kingdom Hearts games (I know, blasphemy), it sounds fun to me once you know the game, but what are your thoughts on it? Are you going to play Kingdom Hearts 3 on Critical Mode? Let us know in a comment!

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-V