Code-cracking madness — Codemasters acquires Slightly Mad Studios

It’s time to talk about another acquisition that I and at least one other person didn’t see coming, and it once again involves the racing-game genre.  Codemasters has a handful of ongoing series in their garage, such as DirtGrid, and the official Formula 1 games.  They now own new territory thanks to their acquisition of fellow British developer Slightly Mad Studios, makers of the Project CARS IP.  If you ask me, this is a big deal because they’re two of the most prominent companies when it comes to today’s racing games, not to mention they both have really good assets and licenses.  With this purchase comes very valid questions — Is one of the four aforementioned series being canned? Which licenses that Slightly Mad Studios owned could be used in Codemasters’ Grid series, and vice versa for the Project CARS series? Regardless of what theories we come up with, the best thing we can do is to wait for Codies to give us the answer..And you bet your buttons I’m excited to know what’s up.

Review of Yu-Gi-Oh Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution — A virtual Duel Monsters museum

When I was seven years old, the kid next door and I frequently hung out on weekends and nerded out about anime things.  We’d watch the shows on a tube TV, and then we’d play a variety of tabletop games about them.  And thanks to him, I became a big fan of Yu-Gi-Oh.  I played the card game quite often, got hooked on the TV show about it, and even dressed up as Yugi Muto for Halloween when I was 10.  However, as I got ready to begin my teen years, I wasn’t keeping up with it as much due to my other interests and how busy my personal life got.  But with a little help from the folks at Konami and Other Ocean, Yu-Gi-Oh fans like myself can relive childhood memories and do a little catching up with Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution for the Nintendo Switch.

Card games with or without motorcycles

A Switch-exclusive enhanced port, Link Evolution contains over 9,000 cards that cover all eras of the Yu-Gi-Oh timeline, from the original series to the VRAINS series and everything in between.  The campaign mode has you reliving prominent duels from the manga and anime, and you must win said duels in order to earn currency and unlock booster packs that you can buy in the card shop.  There is no voice-acting to be heard, but the dialogue makes up for it since it’s a near-exact copy of the anime’s transcripts.  When you feel like you’ve made at least one powerful deck, you can enter multiplayer and play in either a custom or ranked lobby.  One gripe I have with it is that even in private lobbies, you can’t use your custom decks if they have “forbidden” cards.  It’s not a dealbreaker, but hopefully there will be a patch that allows you to disable this ruling when you make your own lobby.

Since this is just a simulation of a card game, you shouldn’t go into it expecting gorgeous graphics or a large jukebox.  However, the playing fields mimic those of the anime quite well, and the 2D characters look as if they just jumped right off the manga pages.  And although the music catalog is very thin, it’s still a fitting soundtrack.

That’s game

Konami has taken its ownership of the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game quite seriously, and they’ve once again proved it with this very addicting Duel Monsters simulation.  Whether you’re a longtime Yu-Gi-Oh supporter or you just like virtual card games, Link Evolution is a must-have for your Switch library.  Get your game on!

Microsoft E3 2019

What will Microsoft be bringing for E3? Halo Infinite? A new console? Some new exclusives? Being one of the only major game studios to make E3 this year they have a lot  of pressure to bring it. So will they?

The presentation opens with a game trailer. Looks to be Obsidian’s Outer Worlds and the long awaited release date. October 25, 2019. Lots of dialogue and fun outer space shenanigans.

Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Sesua’s Sacrifice), recently purchased by Microsoft, revealing Bleeding Edge. I am getting a sort of Sunset Overdrive/punk feel for the game. Technical Alpha for the game starts June 27.

Next up, looks like a new Ori and the Blind Forest game. Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Feb 11 2020.

From the creators of Minecraft (the less controversial creators anyway) Minecraft Dungeons which will be coming in Spring 2020 along with 4 player local and online coop.

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, taking the stage. Phil has always been a man who talks about gamers and since he took over Xbox a few years ago, he has shifted the direction of the company to make Xbox more welcome to gamers of any kind. 60 games will be shown during the presentation, along with some detail on the the Cloud and Project Scarlett, Xbox’s new console.

EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer follows. Uncharted meets lightsabers. I am so down.

Trailer for a horror game. Remnants of Alan Wake? Definitely getting an Alan Wake vibe with this one, the flashlight, the monsters. But no. It’s the Blair Witch. Coming August 30.

Cyberpunk 2077 with a pretty groovy cinematic trailer showing us a scene that is gory and ends with a nice surprise. Keanu Reeves is in this game. And Keanu Reeves is on the stage to give us the release date for the game. April 16, 2020.

Spiritfarer A cutesy building and adventure game. One that will be available via Game Pass on Day One.

Battletoads! Comes with a very cartoony style that I dig and of course 3 player couch coop. No word on release date yet.

The Legend of Wright. I am not sure what this game is, it could be absolutely brilliant or absolutely awful. My interest is piqued and it certainly looks like the most original game I have seen in some time.

Sarah Bond, head of Xbox Partnerships. All ID games show up on Game Pass on Day One. Arkham Knight, Metro Exodus, Hollow Knight, and The Borderlands: Handsome Collection come to the Game Pass today. She also touched on a few of the games that will be available for the PC Game Pass. Over 100 games at launch, including Imperator Rome, Football Manager 2019, and the Master Chief Collection, starting with Halo Reach. The beta for Game Pass starts today.

Next she brought up Game Pass Ultimate. Console Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Xbox Live for 14.99 a month. And if you sign up today. it is ONE DOLLAR. And that will upgrade your membership for however much time you have left on your Live service. (Side note: Several new games were released on Game Pass today: Thimbleweed Park, Guacamelee 2, Shenmue 1 & 2, Bridge Constructor Portal, and much more.)

World premier trailer. Powered by Satellite data and Azure AI Microsoft Flight Simulator is back. This title was huge on PC and now it is getting a modern revamp and will be available on PC and console.

Not a surprising announcement but Age of Empires II Definitive, fully remastered in 4k with new quest lines. Fall.  PC

Wacky trailer up next. As Colorado and Colorado Springs are mentioned almost 130,000 times, I can only assume the state had a hand in the game. It’s a trailer for Wasteland 3. A series… I have yet to play.

Matt Booty, head of Xbox Games Studio. Talking about the studios Microsoft purchased. He introduces Tim Schafer the head of Double Fine Productions (Brutal Legend, Broken Age, PsychoNauts) Tim Schaefer introduces us to PsychoNauts 2.

World Premier: Star Wars. Lego The Skywalker Saga All nine films one game. It does not look like they are retreadeding the old games and that this is all new, but I could be mistaken.

Dragonball Project Z RPG.

World Premier. 12 Minutes. This game looks fantastically interesting. A man is caught in a time loop. Interesting premise. Hopefully find out more soon.

Way to the Woods. You play a deer with a younger deer and wander through subways and stuff. It looks cute.

Gears of War 5 trailer with the best eyebrow lift I have seen in gaming. The game arrives on September 10th, but you can play four days early by preordering or being a member of Game Pass. There is a stress test on July 17th for multiplayer. And if you preorder or play during the first week you will get a Terminator: Dark Fate character pack.

New Elite Controller Series 2. More elite-er and probably more expensive than I could afford, but it does look very bad ass.

Dying Light 2. Spring 2020

World Premier. Lego Speed Champions expansion for Forza Horizon 4. I just got “Everything is Awesome” out of my head… annnnnnd now it’s back.

Pop Funko and Gear have joined up for a mobile game. No, I’m serious.

State of Decay 2 Heartland. New expansion to the game available today to owners of the game or Game Pass subscribers. Appears to have some branching story paths.

World Premier. Japan’s biggest MMO coming to Xbox with cross play. Phantasy Star Online 2.

Crossfire X, a PC legend, according to Microsoft will be coming to Xbox in 2020.

World Premier. Tales of Arise trailer and 2020 release date.

Followed by a Borderlands 3 trailer.

World Premier. Miyazaki and Martin. Two names that have me curious as hell about this game. Elden Ring.

And finally, Phil Spencer is onstage to talk about the next console. It will be 4 times more powerful than the Xbox One X, with a focus on smaller loading times and will come with a Solid State Drive. It launches in Holiday of 2020 and it launches with Halo Infinite.

So that was Microsoft E3 2019, what did you all think? Anything you are jonesing for? For this writer I am looking forward to Outer Worlds, 12 Minutes, Elden Ring and Cyberpunk 2077. It is a good time to be a gamer.

Graveyard Keeper is coming to the Switch soon!

So yes, it’s official, and you can stop asking them.

Announced for PAX East 2019, Graveyard Keeper, your morbid Stardew-esque obsession from tinyBuild and Lazy Bear Games, is coming onto the Nintendo Switch! Have you ever been out and about and get an itch to check on your graveyard? Well now you will be able to soon! No official date has been announced as of this writing though.

Look how happy you can be running your own graveyard, and talking to skulls.

If you’re thinking to yourself “Well, I don’t know what this game is about,” then you’re in luck! Check out our review here. It comes highly recommended by Silver, just as much as she likes Stardew Valley. So if you’re ever in the mood for a “morally questionable medieval cemetery management sim,” this is the game for you.

The Nintendo Switch Exclusive Title, Little Friends: Dogs and Cats Receives A May 28th Western Release Date!

Today, the Little Friends: Dogs and Cats Twitter account announced that Little Friends: Dogs and Cats “will release in North America, Europe & Australia on May 28, exclusively on Nintendo Switch!” The Twitter account also responded to their release date announcement tweet with news that “Little Friends: Dogs & Cats will also be playable at PAX East & EGX Rezzed!”

So if you have the time and chance to attend either event, and want to meet your future furry friend, I’d recommend getting to their booth as soon as possible.

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Image courtesy of the Sold Out Games YouTube channel.

I covered the news a couple of weeks ago and discovered that Little Friends: Dogs and Cats released in Japan last year via Nintendoeverything.com’s article. I also found out that Sold Out Games, the developers behind Little Friends: Dogs and Cats, had announced plans to release the title in the west this Spring. This was also thanks to Nintendoeverything.com’s article covering the news.

At the time, we didn’t receive a solid release date. To check out that article, click here. However, it appears Nintendolife.com reported that the developer’s behind the title released a new press release that shares more information about the game. Here’s what was mentioned in the new press release, according to Nintendolife.com.

“Developed by Imagineer, Little Friends: Dogs & Cats is the first virtual pet simulator for Nintendo Switch. Choose from a variety of puppies and kittens to pet, feed, walk and play with in an adorable pet sim that’s fun for all ages. Take your Little Friends for walks, compete in the flying disc tournament and play with their favourite toys to develop a long-lasting friendship. Or dress them up in over 600 stylish accessories to make them look their best!”

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Image courtesy of @LittleFriendsEN.

As I mentioned in my previous article, I’m really pumped for this title. From what was shown in the announcement trailer (footage courtesy of the Sold Out Games YouTube channel), I believe this title will be great for those who want to take a break from their work-life. It may also be a great game-to-play on your spare time as well.

Speaking of play-time, I want to remind you again that individuals who are attending either PAX EAST or EGX Rezzed this year will be given the chance to play the title before it’s released in the west. Yet, since the Nintendo Switch’s region free, I believe you can also purchase the title on the Nintendo JP eShop using a Japanese Nintendo account.

However, my best guess is that the title’s Japanese version does not include other languages. If you’re okay with that, then go ahead and purchase the title on the Japanese Nintendo eShop. To learn how to do that, click here (article courtesy of eurogamer.net).

We’ll be sure to update you all when or if more Little Friends: Dogs and Cats news is shared via a gaming media website or from the title’s developers.

What do you think about this news? Are you interested in purchasing this game when it releases on May 28th, 2019? Have you played the Japanese version of the game? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter, and follow us for more Little Friends: Dogs and Cats news, and everything gaming too.

Little Friends: Dogs & Cats Will Be Released In The West This Spring For The Nintendo Switch!

Yesterday, @LittleFriendsEN announced that “Little Friends: Dogs & Cats is coming soon to North America & Europe, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.” According to Nintendoeverything.com, video-game publisher “Sold Out (…) partnered with developer Imagineer to bring the virtual pet simulator to” the west.” The website reports that the game will receive a physical and digital release.

@LittleFriendsEN even uploaded a short trailer that shows the game in action. To watch the trailer, click here.

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Image courtesy of @LittleFriendsEN.

According to Nintendoeverything.com, this title released last year in Japan. Many can interpret it as the Nintendo Switch’s version of Nintendo’s hit franchise, Nintendogs. Regardless of its similarity and familiarity to Nintendo’s beloved franchise, Nintendoeverything.com noted what fans can expect from Imagineer and Sold Out’s take of Nintendogs.

Here’s the information Nintendoeverything.com shared about the game’s content including it’s game-play, breed selection, and more.

“Choose from a variety of puppies and kittens to play with, feed, pet and dress up in an adorable simulation that’s fun for all ages. Get to know their personalities and feed them their favorite food! Play with them using their favorite new toy, or take your puppy out for walks and compete in the flying disc tournament. Dress them up in over 600 stylish accessories to make them look their best. Care for your new furry friend to develop a long-lasting friendship.”

“Meet your new best friend! Choose from 6 breeds of puppy and 3 cute kittens, including Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd and French Bulldog. Give your new friend a name, care for them and develop a bond with them. Lifelike animations help bring your little friends to life.”

“Play with them! Use the Nintendo Switch touch screen to pet your new friend, or take your puppy pal out on walks to keep them as happy as you can. Play ball, practice for the flying disc tournament, and unlock new toys as you play. Play with up to 3 pets at the same time, or use the hotel to keep up to 12 furry friends.”

“Get to know them! Learn what your pet prefers to play and feed them their favorite food. With hundreds of lifelike personality traits, getting to know what each pet prefers is important for bonding with your little friend.”

“Dress up! Choose from over 600 stylish accessories to dress up your new companion. Once they’re ready, take screenshots to remember their amazing outfits.”

“Look after them anytime, anywhere! Take care of your cats and dogs on the go, or put the console in the dock to continue playing on the TV.”

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Image courtesy of @LittleFriendsEN.

Nintendoeverything.com also reports that PAX East 2019 attendees will get the chance to play Little Friends: Dogs & Cats “between March 28[th] and March 31[st] at Booth #24096.” So, if you’re a huge fan of the Nintendogs franchise, and are going to PAX East this year, I’d recommend you to give their booth a visit.

As a longtime fan of Nintendogs since its first title for the Nintendo DS family of systems, I’m excited and can’t wait to play it myself. Based on the information above, it seems like the activities are almost identical to those found in Nintendogs.

Although I would love for Nintendo to reveal an in-house developed Nintendogs title for the Nintendo Switch, I believe Sold Out and Imagineer’s Little Friends: Cats & Dogs will keep me cozy until a new Nintendogs game is announced. Furthermore,  we’ll be sure to share more information about the title when it’s released.

What do you think about this news? Will you be picking up this title when it releases this spring? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter, and follow us for more Nintendo news, and everything gaming too.

Starting and Parking — A discussion about the many flaws in NASCAR Heat 3

If you review videogames, you’ll no doubt have at least one time when you don’t want to hate a certain game but then feel you have no choice but to write about all the things that irk you about said game; You try numerous times to enjoy whatever you’re playing and ignore the issues that hound your experience, but then wave the white flag in exhaustion. This is the type of article on Silver Soul Gaming I didn’t want to write, but I’m at a point where I need to get it over with. I know that was a lengthy preface, but such a preface is needed before I go on a lengthy lecture about why NASCAR Heat 3 is full of issues and feeling like a no-fun grind.

Now before I get into the meat and potatoes here, I need to give a disclaimer; Everything that I’m writing here is based on my own point of view when NASCAR Heat 3. If you’re reading this article, please understand that I’m just trying to give my honest opinions and not trying to shame others for enjoying this racing game; Furthermore, if you’re one of those people who are very sensitive to people having negative views about games you like, this article will contain nothing of importance to you. With that out of the way, let’s continue on…

Just barely passing inspection

Before you ask, I won’t be comparing this game to today’s sims like iRacing nor oldies like NASCAR Racing 2003 Season; This is a mass-market racer that aims to be both realistic and accessible, and it gets the job done in that area. The driving itself feels satisfactory when you don’t touch the track’s slippery apron nor get subjected to the irritating ping-pong contact physics. You got pit stops, car setups, flags, a fuel tank, a tire-wear model, and a detailed damage system for the car’s body, radiator, and engine; Almost every obligatory thing in realistic racers is here, I can’t argue with that.

There’s no doubt that Heat 3 also has a truckload of licenses; All the tracks in the top three series (And a nine-track dirt racing league) are here, not to mention the biggest names in current-day NASCAR. Each of the four leagues have unique vehicle stats for top speed, acceleration, and handling. Again, credit where credit is due.

A whole garage of modes and depth

In terms of offline modes, this racer does have a good toy box; You’ve got quick races (Solo or with a friend), championship, challenges, create-a-car, and a humongous career mode. If you’ve played any NASCAR career mode, you know the drill; Work your way through four series, attract fans and sponsors, build cars, hire team members, upgrade your race shop, and get hired by bigger teams. Deep career modes are a must in mass-market racers, and Heat 3 delivers in spades.

The engine finally sputters

Now in terms of where this game swings and misses, let’s start with the AI drivers; I will give them credit for being fast and competitive, especially when you crank up the difficulty to 105. But in terms of how smart and competent they are, they race like you’re playing Burnout (Not that that’s a bad game, it’s far from bad); They will shove you into walls with reckless abandon and take full advantage of the aforementioned contact physics just to screw with you. Also, whoever at Monster Games is responsible for the AI cars plowing into you when you spin out of control needs a stern talking-to; I’ve lost count of how many times my car has been heavily damaged thanks to the AI going into Crash Mode when they see me sliding around like I’m driving on vegetable oil. Another huge annoyance is when an AI driver (Or another human driver for that matter) shoves you down the track and into pit road; When that happens, you have absolutely no choice but to go through the pit stop and serve your speeding penalty, which will probably make you want to curse up a storm regardless of how many children are around you. But what stinks most of all is that every offline mode in this game feels like a grind just because of the masochistic AI; It’s like the game is telling you, “We have lots of depth in our modes of play, but you’re gonna have to deal with these crazy AI drivers to enjoy said modes!” Not ideal for a realistic racing game, wouldn’t you say?

“But Preston,” you might be saying, “there’s online racing too! You don’t have to deal with bad AI there, right?” And I’m with you on that, I prefer racing with real players over AI drivers; But holy ravioli, the online multiplayer in Heat 3 is, to put it bluntly, pretty half-baked. I can accept random players in unranked races driving unfairly, but dealing with bad drivers in ranked (Or in this case, eSports) races crosses a line; And the reason I say that is because you get a letter grade and leaderboard rank depending on your best race time in one day, but it does not determine who your next opponents are. Every eSports lobby is set up by a player (Not the devs themselves) with a pre-determined set of rules, and it’s on from there. Compared to ranked races in titles like iRacing and Gran Turismo Sport, this eSports system is an unfinished mess. I’ve always maintained that the best races are the ones with a big group of friends that you know will race cleanly, but even that can be ruined when someone gets shoved into the pits or exploits an area on the track where they can cut corners with no penalty. And if for some reason you want to race with both AI and multiple friends, you may as well forget it because the AI is always at their lowest level and that can’t be adjusted. One more annoyance is that when you disable the stability assist in a lobby, the drivers who use stability must go to the options and turn it off themselves, which is extremely frustrating considering there’s a one-minute timer whenever two players are in the lobby and waiting for the race to begin; I know it’s probably a limitation of the Unity engine, but it’s still something that irks me and probably lots of other players too.

If you ain’t first…Well, you know

The TL;DR of all of this is that I feel that this NASCAR game has some good ideas on paper, but they aren’t executed to their full potential; I don’t hate this game, but I can’t help but notice these glaring flaws and it’s kind of my duty to talk about them on the Internet. And as I said before — If you enjoy this game, you are not wrong in any way for that; You don’t need me to tell you that, but I’m telling you anyway. I hope 704Games and Monster Games will go back to the drawing board (Or their garage stall, so to speak) and make NASCAR Heat 4 the NASCAR game we hoped this one would be. This is no championship contender, but NASCAR Heat 3 has enough power under the hood to finish the race, whether it’s on the lead lap or not.