Nintendo Direct Recap

Today’s Nintendo Direct was chock full of announcements and new details about many upcoming games and had a few surprises as well.

The switch version of Overwatch that’s been rumored for a few days was the first thing Nintendo showed and is releasing on October 15. The trailer also showed of motion controls for some of the heroes as well.

Nintendo then jumped straight into Luigi’s Mansion 3 details showing off some new levels of the haunted hotel and a new multiplayer mode which pits a team of Luigi’s and Gooigi’s against each other.

The first surprise release was a free-to-play Kirby game called Super Kirby Clash which will be available today. Also releasing today is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s third fighter Banjo Kazooie which was detailed in a separate video after the Direct.

The fourth DLC character was announced during the Direct though. He is Terry Bogard from the series Fatal Fury and will release in November. Along with the Terry announcement Nintendo revealed there will be more paid DLC characters coming to Ultimate after the fighter pass finishes.

Pokemon developer Game Freak also has a new game coming to Switch called Little Town Hero which is coming out October 16. It’s available for pre-purchase today and seems to be a turn based fighting game that draws inspiration from Pokemon.

Speaking of Pokemon, the stream went over 4 new details for Sword and Shield. Character customization returns but now will have more depth and options allowing you to accessorize and even choose makeup. You can also set up a Pokemon camp in the wild and play with your Pokemon, experiment with curry recipes and visit other trainers’ camps. Two new Pokemon were detailed; Polteageist is a teapot shaped ghost type and Cramorant is a duck-looking water-flying type.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Nintendo announced a few new IP’s, revealed new remakes, detailed already announced ones, and introduced new SNES games coming to the online subscription. They also announced a smorgasbord of new ports including a classic Star Wars game, Doom 64 and an Assassin’s Creed collection including Rogue and Black Flag.

The final announcement was Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, a remake of the Wii title coming in 2020. For more details on that as well as things like a Tetris 99 update, The Witcher 3 port, and Animal Crossing New Horizons, check out the video below.

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Review of Pokémon Snap — For those with the benefit of Pokémon photography

For those of you who don’t know me very well, something I really wanted when I was a child was my very own camera.  Not because I was jealous of those in my family who owned one, but because I developed a fascination with walking around and taking pictures of the beautiful pieces of nature that surrounded my home.  I know it sounds like I watched too much Discovery Kids when I was a lot younger, but this wish of mine was actually influenced by a very interesting spin-off in the heavily-revered Pokémon franchise.  Replace the turn-based strategy with on-rails photography, and you get Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64.

Gotta photograph ’em all

Released in the summer of 1999, Pokémon Snap tasks you with taking pictures of 63 Pokémon in their natural habitats.  You and your trusty ZERO-ONE vehicle travel through seven courses that make up Pokémon Island, and you must use your photography prowess and a handful of gadgets to make sure your pictures look as nice as possible.  Every time you complete a trip, you must choose which of your shots will be shown to Professor Oak, who gives your pictures ratings based on size, pose, and technique.  Even though the amount of courses seems small, the goals of timing your shots correctly and searching for all the included Pokémon will have you hooked.

This was the first game to have 3D Pokémon character models, and the team at HAL Laboratory did a fantastic job designing both those and the courses’ graphics.  There can be a little slowdown when things like smoke and fire cover a big portion of the screen, but it’s only temporary.  In terms of sound, the voice-acting for each character (Both human and Pokémon) is above average, and each course comes with very appropriate music.

Snap, crackle, Pika

This Pokémon game doesn’t have nearly as much replay value as the main series we know and love, but it’s a unique game within its franchise.  If for some reason you enjoy photography simulators, or if you simply enjoy on-rails games of any kind, Pokémon Snap will no doubt be a very charming addition to your N64 library.  It could definitely use a sequel on the Nintendo Switch, especially if it’d allow you to share your in-game photos directly to Facebook and Twitter.  If we can’t bring our cartridges to Blockbuster anymore to print out our photos, we may as well go the social media route.

How an Event Pulled Me Back Into Destiny 2, Again

So as of this writing, it’s update day! I figured that while I’ve got some time, I’ll write up something about Destiny 2.

I’ve been a Destiny player since the first game came out, and I’ve had a blast during this whole journey in that game and the sequel. However, I haven’t done much PvP at all because I’m not really a PvP player, so most of my experience in this game has been PvE. I’m usually an on-and-off player, but that changed with this event, the Solstice of Heroes.

With this event which runs until 8/27, a repeat of the event around the winter solstice, you get a suit of armor with specific objectives attached to it. First, Eva gives you a helmet. Then she sends you to a new area called the EAZ- European Aerial Zone.

New Area- European Aerial Zone

The EAZ is a floating island above the EDZ. According to the lore, it is made out of the memories of the triumphs that Guardians have faced. Essentially, it’s a ruined area of the EDZ that is floating in the air, so be careful not to jump off the edge.

Each time you come, you and two other Guardians face a new type of enemy- Fallen, Hive, or Cabal. I haven’t seen Vex here, maybe it’s because not many Guardians in the lore have survived the Vex? Anyways, a new enemy type comes up each time.

Bosses Galore

When you arrive, you have 5 minutes to defeat minibosses all over the map. As you do, orbs will drop according to what element you kill them with. If you match the element of the day with your subclass and pick up 30 orbs, you’ll get empowerment. Each element gives a different state of empowerment- arc gives absurd speed, solar gives a destructive nova, void lets you turn invisible when you crouch, along with other effects.

After defeating the minibosses, the final boss, or sometimes bosses, show up. Some of them are tougher than others, like fighting all three Cabal bosses by yourself while the other two just go AFK… That was an experience, but I did it.

Anyways, during the boss fight, some Taken will show up. Called the Prismatic Taken, once you defeat them, you’ll receive a Prismatic Orb, which instantly gives you empowerment when picked up.

Hunt for Your Loot

After defeating the final boss, a single chest shows up. Open it, and each player receives a Solstice Package, full of goodies like items and currency. But you can’t open it just yet. You need 15 Solar Key Fragments to open it. Depending on how many minibosses you defeated, you’ll have that many chests to find all over the map that contain these fragments, or more packages. Some are easier to find than others, but you have 2 minutes to find them. Good luck, and have fun!

Meanwhile, Back at the Tower

After completing your first round of EAZ, head back to Eva. She asks you to meditate at the statue, which gives the rest of the armor pieces, the Drained armor. Each of these also have objectives, ranging from Crucible and Gambit matches to Strikes in the playlist, to collecting elemental orbs. This took me a couple hours to do, most of it being the strikes playlist and Gambit. I learned that Gambit is actually pretty fun, but that I still don’t really care for Crucible.

While completing these objectives, you can pick up bounties from Eva to earn more Solar Key Fragments, as well as earning them via Strikes, Crucible, Gambit, and Public Events. So honestly, it’s not hard to earn the fragments.

After completing the first set of armor objectives, meditate at the statue again, and you’ll get a Renewed set of armor, and a new set of objectives, this time longer. I’m still working through these, but they’re not too bad, especially if you’re doing it with a friend.

Once more, after this set, return to the tower and meditate. You’ll recieve the final set, the Majestic set. If you complete these final objectives, the armor is Masterworked. I don’t think I’ll be able to do this, but there is good news. Once you hit Majestic level, you get this armor in the new expansion Shadowmoon, and there is a set bonus for it as well.

Overall, this event is really fun, for me. It got me into Gambit, and I’m having fun just running around working towards a new set of armor that I can get in the new expansion.

I’ll be playing this live on the SSG Twitch channel on Friday 8/16 at 10 am EST, so come on by and hang out! You can also find me playing on my personal channel from time to time.

Nintendo Announces the Nintendo Switch Lite Coming This Fall

Nintendo revealed the Nintendo Switch Lite this morning and a release of the mobile-focused console for September 20 this year.

The announcement video showcases the handheld-mode exclusive console and some of the features it will include. The new version comes in yellow, gray and turquoise, with the joy-cons integrated into the unit. The directional buttons will now be replaced by an actual d-pad and the kickstand on the back is gone.

The unit is smaller overall and will play exactly like the original console in handheld mode with a 720p screen resolution. And that’s it. This version doesn’t connect to the TV at all. Because the joy-cons are integrated the ir motion camera and hd rumble have been removed entirely. This means some games that require motion controls will force you to buy extra joy-cons if you don’t have them already.

The unit will launch at a price of $199.99 on September 20 which seems like a great price point for younger, casual or traveling gamers.

Personally I won’t be getting this despite the great price. I’ve always preferred gaming on a TV over a mobile device which this doesn’t support. So sadly I’ll just be waiting for the original Switch to lower its price, if it ever does. Oh and there’s a Pokemon Sword and Shield edition that looks pretty cool, check it out below.

Bathe in the Fires of Radiation- Thoughts on Fallout 76 Nuclear Winter

Bethesda announced a while back that they were planning new content for Fallout 76 over the course of the year, and announced at E3 that they were putting a new mode in Fallout 76. Enter Nuclear Winter- a battle royale mode of the game to see who can become Overseer of Vault 51. Was this something that the fans asked for? No. Was this a good move on Bethesda’s part? That remains to be seen.

What will draw people in?

One thing that Bethesda did was make the game free to play for anyone from June 10-17. This is a way to get people to play the game, and the addition of a battle royale mode is to bring in a new group of players besides those already playing.

Now, generally battle royale players are only in it for the action, so what would bring them into the Adventure mode of Fallout 76?

The first thing Bethesda did was that you have to create your character in Adventure mode and leave Vault 76 before you can queue for Nuclear Winter. This lets players get a grasp on the controls and gameplay of the core game before going against the challenges of the new mode. You use the same character in Nuclear Winter that you use in Adventure mode, so any S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points you have carry over.

The second thing they did is one of the mechanics of Nuclear Winter is special perk cards. All of them that I’ve seen so far are max rank cards, however you need the right number of perk points in that attribute to use that card. For example: First Aid requires 6 Intelligence points to equip. If you have 6 points in Intelligence in Adventure mode, you can use it. But if you create a fresh character, you only have one point in each attribute in this mode, so you can only equip cards worth one point. Therefore, if you want to equip better cards, you have to play Adventure mode and level up, gaining more S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points.

So why are we all here at Vault 51?

The premise of the mode is that you’re one of the candidates who is vying to becoming the next Overseer of Vault 51. The Vault has been transformed around this unusual style of electing an Overseer, and the residents fight for their lives in the Appalachian Wasteland to be the last man standing. Fun fact: you can actually find the door to Vault 51 in Adventure mode, but you can’t go inside it. What about the giant ring of fire? According to a terminal in Vault 51, the fire storms were caused by the nuclear strikes happening around the area. Seems fitting.

While you’re waiting for the match to start, you can explore Vault 51. However, some parts are locked behind restrictions. Nuclear Winter runs off a ranking system called Overseer Rank. The higher your rank, the better rewards you get, and the more lore you can learn about how this Vault and competition came to be. Items like terminals, corridors, and even holotapes are locked behind level restrictions. Personally, I don’t like this feature because I want to learn the lore as I go, no matter how much I play. I think the reason Bethesda probably did this is to get people to keep playing and get higher ranks in order to fulfill their curiosity.

Fight for your rewards

Now for the battle

When you first enter the mode, you have the option to fill your team with random people if you’re not already in a party of 4, or play solo. Once the timer runs out, the map comes up on the screen and you pick your deployment spot. This isn’t your typical jump out of an airship deployment, you spawn at the location you pick. There are spots that are better than others for loot, but so far it seems that there aren’t specific hot zones where people consistently land every match. This is probably because people are still learning where the good loot spawns.

Keep an eye out for these, and listen for the Best crates’ beeping

Once you’ve spawned, grab a gun and some armor so you can defend yourself. Once you’re armed and armored, move towards the next zone, as in any other BR game. After a timer runs out, the ring of fire begins to close. Stay within the ring, or you’ll take periodic damage to your health, as well as radiation. The longer you stay outside the ring, the faster you die because you can’t heal from radiation in this mode, yet.

Oh yeah, one other thing I forgot to mention- you can launch nukes in this mode. Find 4 nuclear codes plus the nuclear briefcase, and launch a nuke wherever you want. Nuke codes can be found on enemies, in loot crates, and via terminals.

Outside of this, it’s your typical BR game- kill enemies (including AI enemies like ghouls, mirelurks, and Scorchbeasts), loot their bodies for better guns and armor, and survive till the end. But what happens if you’re on a team and you win? Well, everyone on the team becomes Overseer. To me, this defeats the purpose of the battle. I think that if you’re in a team and make top spot, you should have to battle your teammates until there is only one standing. That would fit this mode better because only one person would be Overseer.

So what’s the verdict?

It’s a battle royale at its core, but it still holds the Fallout feel that I love. A couple things that people should know though:

  • Power Armor is the best armor in the mode, but it barely beats out Marine Armor, and you’re not a walking tank like in Adventure mode. Don’t get careless when you find some.
  • Guns spawn at max level and with random modifications
    • The .50 caliber machine gun is the best gun that I’ve found for this mode
    • Automatic guns seem to rule the mode, but snipers are always around too
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings, especially the high ground.
  • Higher cost perk cards give better abilities, and cards from different classes can provide bonuses to the same types of things, such as rifles, explosives, etc.

Overall, I was having a lot of fun in this mode, even though I’m still bad at battle royale games in general. I feel like I have a better grasp on it since I’ve spent a lot of time in Adventure mode, as compared to something like Apex Legends or Fortnite where you have to play the battle royale portion in order to learn the map.

With the free trial until the 17th on PC, Xbox, and PS4, go ahead and give the game a shot. If you don’t like it, uninstall it. If you do like it, spend some time in Adventure mode, learn about the world and the items you can get, and gain some levels so you have an advantage with perks in Nuclear Winter. Fallout 76 didn’t start out with the best launch, but Bethesda is continuing to push free content and updates to improve the game. I still have fun with this, and the community on Twitch for the game is really awesome.

Have you own thoughts on the mode, or Fallout 76 in general? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

-V

Bethesda’s E3 2019 Press Conference Recap

Bethesda’s E3 press conference may have been a day ago, but we’ve got you covered with a quick recap so you don’t miss anything.

The Main Stuff

The first game they went over was Fallout 76 and the upcoming content for the much maligned game. The newest DLC, called The Wastelanders, will feature the return of human NPC’s to the game with new questlines. This DLC arrives in the Fall but there’s a battle royale mode, called Nuclear Winter, coming to the game as well. Nuclear Winter will be available to test this week as a part of the game’s free week from June 10 – 17.

Ghostwire Tokyo was then announced from developer Tango Gameworks, the studio behind The Evil Within series. A trailer didn’t reveal an gameplay but was an intriguing set up for the world. People are disappearing and a character with a bow seems to be fighting them. The game’s creative director Ikumi Nakamura was clearly excited to show off the game and is one of the highlights of the conference.

The Elder Scrolls online revealed a new cinematic trailer for the Elsweyr expansion and that more info would come at QuakeCon. They announced they have added more server capacity to accomodate players. The Elder Scrolls Legends will also be getting an update called the Moons of Elsweyr.

The next new game revealed is a revival of Commander Keen for mobile. From the same studio behind ESO, this game features Billy and Billie as they build inventions to progress in the story and has a battle mode as well. It seems like an odd way to revive a series, but we’ll know more when it releases.

In Wolfenstein news, a new trailer dropped for Wolfenstein: Youngblood and looks like more Wolfenstein but with a friend, which is fine in my book. Wolfenstein Cyperpilot was also announced as a VR game set in the same universe.

Arkane Lyon also announced a new game titled Deathloop and released a stylish trailer. There was no gameplay in the trailer but the game takes place in a place called Black Reef where the inhabitants live in a “time of madness”. Check out the trailer here.

Doom Eternal of course was a big part of the conference and got an extended gameplay demo as well as a release date. The game is coming on November 22, 2019 and has a collectors edition that comes with a helmet. Battlemode, the games multiplayer component will feature a slayer versus 2 human controlled demons.

Bethesda also revealed Orion, their own streaming technology designed to “optimize game engines for performance in a cloud environment”. They demonstrated the tech by streaming Doom 2016 to a phone onstage. Check out more info and the full reveal in this video.

Extras

  • Rage 2 is getting new vehicles, including a motorcycle and mech, as well as cheat codes and weekly updates. Story DLC is coming as well called Rise of the Ghosts.
  • The Elder Scrolls Blades, the mobile game, is coming to the Switch this fall.
  • Todd Howard mentioned that Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI are still in development.
  • Bethesda seems shifting a lot of the info normally revealed at E3 to Quakecon, especially for Doom Eternal. They may be trying to distance themselves from E3 like Sony.

Breath of the Wild Sequel In Development!

Revealed at Nintendo’s E3 2019 Direct, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild now has its sequel in development. We only saw a cinematic trailer, but that is enough to get anyone who has played Breath of the Wild to be intrigued.

As a note, while I have played Breath of the Wild, I have not completed it, so I am going to describe the trailer to the best of my ability.

The scene opens up inside Hyrule Castle, still exhuding Calamity Ganon’s menacing mist, but now with a green spiral. This appears to be a lifeforce of some sort. Link and Zelda look like they’re dungeon delving, complete with torches and backpacks. They’re looking for something sinister. A figure is in the middle of a large room, mist and lifeforce surrounding it, as if it’s feeding. A hand is holding it, and we see flashes of events. Stepping closer, life flashes into the figure’s eyes, and outside, the castle begins to rise.

This is all that Nintendo has given us for now. Hopefully in the near future we will recieve more information on the game. I hope to finish the game by then as well.

What are you looking forward to in the sequel? Leave us a comment below!