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I Pre-Ordered The Nintendo Switch–Did You?

Hey gang, Brian here. We are just over two weeks away from the launch of the Nintendo Switch. And the closer we get to launch the more I keep hearing people argue about whether or not it’s worth pre-ordering, or if people should wait until there are more games out for the system, or the price drops, or some bundles arrive.

I pre-ordered mine the day the went up. Why? Because there was never a doubt for me that I would be getting the new Nintendo console. I bought the WiiU, the Wii, the New 3DS Xl, the 3DS, the DS (a few times), and a slew of GameBoy models over the years. I got the NES for Christmas the year it came out, and the original GameBoy as well. In fact,the only time I wasn’t an avid Nintendo player was during the N64 and early GameCube eras (when I was mainly gaming on the Genesis, Dreamcast and Playstation).

I am a fan of Nintendo, and one of the things I love about them the most is how they don’t follow what Sony and Microsoft do. The Switch is nothing like the PS4 or Xbox One, and I love that. To me, it’s more an evolution of what they were trying to do with the Wii, and as a PS Vita owner, it seems like a better and more versatile version of the PS Vita.

So, it was a no-brainer for em to order the Switch. I’ll play Zelda at launch, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to pick up some classic games (or even more recent Wii or WiiU games I missed) through the eShop. The Switch isn’t my only console, so it doesn’t need to have everything for me.

Now don’t get me wrong–Nintendo has done plenty to screw up this launch, as they usually do. The launch lineup is weak, the accessories are way too expensive, the streaming features aren’t available at launch, and we still have little idea what the online service is actually going to look like. Nintendo has a way of shooting themselves in the foot and making things more complicated than they need to be. The launch of the Switch appears to be no different.

But that won’t stop me from enjoying the heck out of the Switch when I get it on March 3rd.

I hope the Switch is a huge success for Nintendo. A healthy Nintendo is good for the games industry. What I’d love to see more than anything is for them to phase out the 3DS and truly move forward with one platform. There are tons of 3DS games that never really used the second screen anyway and could become eShop games for the Switch. And of course, the DS and GameBoy libraries should be available for the Switch as well. The Switch could bring it all together.

It probably won’t, because this is Nintendo. But I will still love them, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the Switch.

So–did you pre-order the Switch?

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Resident Evil 7 Is Stuffed With Easter Eggs, And Not Just for Series Fans

I played through the the first hour of Resident Evil 7 smiling from ear to ear. Not because the game wasn’t scary–it’s constant sense of impending doom is nerve-fraying at times.

What had me downright giddy was the both the amount and quality of Easter eggs for horror fans from the very opening moment of Resident Evil 7. I’m not even talking about RE Easter eggs, I’m talking horror movies and games in general. Here are just a few of the ones I noticed:

-As the game opens we see MC Ethan Winters driving to Louisiana in a scene that evokes both Evil Dead and The Shining. The car is most definitely a nod to the Delta 88 from the Evil Dead movies, and the shot of him driving immediately reminded me of The Shining.

-While walking through the woods, Ethan gets his first glimpse of Jack Baker, in a scene that brings to mind the “monster at the end” scene from Episode 3 of True Detective. In fact, the whole opening area of the game feels very much inspired by True Detective, and I suspect that influence will be felt throughout the game.

-The entire guest house you start the game in looks like the sloth set from Se7en.

-Ethan watches a VHS tape of a couple paranormal investigators checking out the house, and there is a basement scene that features a note-perfect Blair Witch reference.

-The entire basement segment of the guest house features direct nods to Evil Dead, and the floating corpse Ethan encounters is designed exactly like a deadite (I think it looks just like Scotty).

-There are several hallway shots that are homages to P.T., and once scene with a ringing phone that is an almost direct shot for shot scene from P.T.

-In addition to the True Detective vibe, there is a distinct Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe in the design as well. Mia’s design feels very influenced by the 2003 remake. And the family of RE7 is a nod to the TCM franchise as well, in my opinion.

-And that’s just in the first hour. The game itself is super creepy and builds tension right from the outset, and the Easter eggs are just making me love it even more. I can’t wait to get further into it.

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GAMES WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT: FEBRUARY 2017

2017 has started off with a bang, as January already brought us one of the biggest releases of the year in Resident Evil 7. February is up to the challenge though, as it also has one of the most anticipated games of the year, which is one of a couple big PS4 exclusives.

 

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Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World (3DS)–February 3
As if Woolly Yoshi wasn’t adorable enough on his own, Poochy came along to add even more cute to this updated port of the WiiU game. In addition to sporting a better framerate than Yoshi’s Woolly World on WiiU, the 3DS version has an additional runner mode called Poochy Gold Rush.

 

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Nioh (PS4)–February 9

Dark Souls meets Onimusha. If that doesn’t get you excited to play this game, we don’t know what to tell you. After playing some of the beta over the past few months, this game feels like it has just enough Souls DNA to satisfy fans of that series, and the setting of a monster-infested 1600s Japan makes it feel different enough from the Souls series to stand on its own.

 

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For Honor (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Knights versus Vikings versus Samurai–a medieval royal rumble. For Honor has been described as a shooter with swords, and features competitive multiplayer modes where the focus is on brutal melee combat as opposed to ranged battle.

 

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Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)–February 28
From the developers of Killzone comes the PS4’s most anticipated game of the year. Horizon: ZD is an action roleplaying game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world run by machines. Players take on the role of Aloy, a hunter who can use melee, ranged and stealth attacks to defeat the robotic enemies of the land and scavenge them for materials that can be used for craft, or even turn some of the machines into allies by hacking them.

So, February looks like a pretty good month to be a PS4 owner, although there is a little something for everyone in there. March is shaping up to be a monster month as well, as the Nintendo Switch will be launching alongside another huge game–The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. So far, 2017 is a great year for gaming.

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Games We’re Excited About: January 2017

Ah, January–the dead month. As much as year-long game releases have spread the love out over most of the year now, January is still a pretty quiet month for releases. But there’s usually one big release stuck somewhere in the month, and this year it’s a brand new Resident Evil game. But it’s not the only one we’re excited about this month. Here’s our short but sweet list:

 

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Road Redemption (PS4, Xbox One)–January 15

Remember Road Rash, the motorcycle racing/brawler hybrid from the SEGA Genesis? Well, developers Pixel Dash Studios and EQ Games do, and they’ve created a spiritual successor that builds on the gameplay of the original. While Road Rash featured melee combat, Road Redemption is adding in firearms as well. I feel like it’s time for another vehicle combat game, and I have super fond memories of the original Road Rash.

 

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Resident Evil 7: Biohazard–January 24 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Is this the one? The game that finally returns the Resident Evil franchise to its former horror-filled glory? Over the past several years, the only RE game I’ve played that came close to capturing the old magic was the first Revelations game for the DS. But everything we’ve seen so far from RE7 looks absolutely terrifying. I don’t think I’m ready for the VR version yet, but I cannot wait to play it on the big screen, with my headphones on and the lights turned off. Bring it.

 

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Hitman: The Complete First Season (PS4, Xbox One, PC)–January 31
I’ll admit it—I’ve never been a real big fan of the Hitman series. But the latest iteration and the episodic way in which it rolled out has received such critical acclaim, that I need to see what the fuss is all about. This collections features all the locations and episodes from the first season, and Ubisoft is boasting that it contains over 100 hours of gameplay.

There may not be much coming out this month, there’s enough. And we still have a ton of games to catch up on from last year and before (not to mention everything we grabbed during the Steam Winter Sale). What are you excited about in January? let us know in the comments below!

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Games We’re Excited About: December 2016

December is usually a month that is either barren, or a month in which games are sent out to die. This year, it’s neither of those things. in fact, December is shaping up to be a pretty great month for game releases, including some platform exclusives and one of the most anticipated games of the decade. Here are the games we’re excited about for December:

 

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Super Mario Maker 3DS (3DS) – December 2
A handheld version of the WiiU masterpiece that won several game of the year awards last year? Yes, please. Super Mario Maker lets you create your own Mario levels using assets from several of the franchise’s most popular games. The only drawback of the 3DS version of Super Mario Maker is that you won’t be able to upload created levels and share them online. You will however be able to share them through StreetPass, which certainly fits within the 3DS approach to playing locally together.

 

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Dead Rising 4 (PC, XBox One) – December 6
Frank West returns as the main character for the latest entry into the zombie-killing franchise. Dead Rising 4 is ditching the time restrictions of previous games in order to allow players to explore the world more. More time for picture taking, we guess? Selfies are a big part of the game, and we all know how long it can take to get one just right.

 

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The Last Guardian (PS4) – December 6
Yes, it’s really happening. One week after getting a new final Fantasy, we are getting the game that has been in development for almost ten years. But troubled development aside, we can’t wait to dive into a fantastical world and experience the latest story by the geniuses who brought us Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

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Super Mario Run (iOS) – December 15
Mario. On a phone.
Announced during an Apple press conference, this runner will have Mario blazing through at least six worlds and three game modes, including one in which you compete against friends.
Brian is a little bummed this isn’t coming to Android devices just yet, but he’ll get over it when he’s playing on his iPad.

 

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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier (All Platforms)–December 20
The third season of Telltale’s series will once again start Clementine, but it’s a few years later and she’s a teenager now, although it will be told through the eyes of Javier, a new character. The season will consist of five episodes, but release dates for the reamining four have yet to be revealed.

 

So, there’s a little something for everyone this month, and some great stocking stuffers to go with new consoles this holiday. We’re still about five months behind on our backlog, so we’ll be playing 2016 releases well into the New Year.

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GAMES WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT: NOVEMBER 2016

It’s here, it’s here! November is here!
That’s right kiddies, the big month for game releases is upon us, and there are some blockbusters coming this month. There’s also some smaller games we’re pumped about too, so without further ado, here’s our list of games we’re excited about this month:

 

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Owlboy (PC) – November 1st
After being in development for nine-plus, the gorgeous retro metroidvania game by D-Pad Studio is finally arriving this month.The story involved  a young boy names Otus who must save his village from pirates. The game’s mechanics are inspired by Super Mario 3 and Kid Icarus.

 

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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – November 4
SPAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCEEE! That is where infinite warfare happens–at least for this year’s installment of the CoD franchise. Ship combat and a new zombie mode will accompany all the usual bells and whistles. No matter how tired you think the franchise might be, CoD’s multiplayer is always top-notch, and this year shouldn’t be any different.

 

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Dishonored 2 (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – November 11
I’ll be honest, I missed out on Dishonored the first time around, but I’ve since picked it up and have been enjoying it. I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll finish the first one before diving into the sequel, so I will probably wait ta bit before picking up Dishonored 2. But I’m still excited for it.

 

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Killing Floor 2 (PS4, PC) – November 18
I’ve watched the Killing Floor series from afar over he past few years as it continued to gain popularity on the PC. The horde-based cooperative shooter began as a mod and ended up as a full-fledged retail release in 2009. Killing Floor 2 Now it’s coming to consoles, and I can’t wait to get my hand my hands on it.

 

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Final Fantasy XV (Xbox One, PS4) – November 29
Early word on the latest installment of this legendary franchise has been good. I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t spent much time with the last couple Final Fantasy games. But I started with the series on NES and have so many memories of playing Final Fantasy VII on my original PlayStation that I will always have a soft spot for FF. Will this be the one that brings me back? We’ll see.

That’s our list of November releases we’re looking forward to. What’s on your list? Let us know in the comments.

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Overwatch has Become My Shooter of Choice

After playing a couple promising levels of Battlefield 1’s single-player campaign, I decided to jump over to multiplayer. While I hadn’t played a lot of Battlefield 4’s competitive modes, I’ve always been a fan of Battlefield and I spent quite a bit of time with Battlefield: Hardline’s multiplayer. I’ve never been great at it (I’m just not that good of a shooter player), but I always enjoyed the class-based system of Battlefield and the fact that I could be rewarded for playing support characters. I came to prefer it over Call of Duty and halo, primarily for that reason.
But then Overwatch came along. And much like Dark Souls did with RPGs for awhile, Overwatch has kind of ruined other shooters for me right now.

It took me about three matches of Battlefield 1 multiplayer to get sick of the meat grinder that involved me spawning and being sniped or destroyed by an explosion within thirty seconds, only to rise and repeat for the duration. And even though I was in a squad, the tendency of a lot of players to lone wolf in the giant maps of battlefield means my support activities (healing, providing ammo) can rarely be maximized.

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And so, it was back to Overwatch, where I am consistently rewarded for doing my job, and I can tangibly see the results of my contributions to the team. Whether I’m throwing up ice walls with Mei, keeping my teammates upright with Lucio, or making choke points impassable with Symmetra (who I am still learning), I get a lot of satisfaction in every match. Even in a loss it’s easy to understand what went wrong and how I might have done something differently.

Not that other shooters don’t reinforce team play. But with Overwatch, it’s woven into the DNA of the game so much that if you’re not interested in team play, the game really isn’t for you. Sure, there are some classes that are more lone wolf than others, but succeeding in Overwatch means that each person has to fulfill their role. And I love that.

Notice I haven’t even talked about the aesthetics of Overwatch, or the leveling and loot system. That because for me, all of those things are secondary to the core gameplay loop–work as a team, fulfill your role, be successful. I actually think the loot system is kind of broken, as the higher you level, the more frustrating it is to unlock items that you could care less about (sprays, skins for characters you never use, voice lines, etc.). It’s my one real grip about the game. But the moment to moment gameplay is so well crafted, I really don’t even care that much.

When From’s Souls series arrived, it took a while before I could enjoy other RPGs again without constantly comparing them to Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. I find myself in a similar place now with Overwatch. Battlefield 1 is not enough to pull me away, and I don’t think Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will be, either. And with Overwatch’s new character Sombra being announced this week, the game just keeps giving players reasons to be excited about it. I don’t see me putting Overwatch down anytime soon.

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Games We’re Excited About: October 2016

Last generation, October was a month packed with AAA releases every single week–arguably the biggest month of the gaming year in terms of releases. But over the past few years, that has changed dramatically. There’s still plenty to be excited about this month though, with a variety of new games and re-releases that we can’t wait to dive into. here’s our list:

 

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Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 &2 (PS4, Xbox One)–October 4th

I grew up on Atari (yes, I am old)–it was my first console, and along with arcades laid the foundation for my lifelong love of video games. Being able to play Adventure, Asteroids, Maze Craze, Dodge ‘Em, Combat and the rest of this 100-game collection on Xbox one and PS4 is going to be awesome. Each volume costs $20, but that’s a small price to pay for my childhood.

 

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Dragon Quest Builders (PS4, Vita)–October 11th

Minecraft meets Dragon Quest? Yes, please. This game has the potential to be absolutely huge, especially if there are enough RPG hooks in it, which is the one area Minecraft is a bit lacking in.

 

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Gears of War 4 (Xbox One)–October 11th

Set 25 years after Gears 3, the next entry in the series focuses on J.D. Fenis, the son of Marcus and Anya.

 

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PlayStation VR–October 13th

I’m not hugely excited about VR, but when I do dive into it, I’ll be getting the PSVR. I’m already in the PlayStation ecosystem, and I’m really dying to play that until Dawn VR game.

 

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Battlefield 1 (Xbox one, PS4, PC)–October 21st

After playing a bit of the beta for this one, we could not be more excited. Horses vs. tanks, gigantic maps, stunning visuals and the buttery-smooth gameplay of Battlefield? Bring it on!

 

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Civilization VI (PC)–October 21st

The last Civ game I really got into was Civilization: Revolution, but I think I’m ready to step up to the big leagues with Civ VI.

 

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (Xbox one, PS4, PC)–October 28th

Confession time–I didn’t play Skyrim last generation. I know, right? I put over 300 hours into Oblivion on both PS3 and Xbox 360, but could not find the time to really get into Skyrim. So, I am beyond excited to have a new version for this gen. I will be all over this game.

 

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Titanfall 2 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)–October 28th

I dabbled in Titanfall, but the lack of a single-player campaign meant that it never hooked me. Respawn has corrected that misstep with Titanfall 2, and as a result, I’m actually excited for it. The multiplayer was great the first time around, so I’ve no doubt that will continue to be the case.

That’s our list of October releases we’re looking forward to. What’s on your list? Let us know in the comments.

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PS4 Pro Reveal–Good for Gamers, Bad for Sony

playstation-4-pro-vertical-product-shot-01-us-07sep16The big PlayStation Meeting event yesterday was pretty much a disaster for Sony, and one that didn’t need to happen. If you missed the press event (and you did not miss much), you can read the details over on the PlayStation blog.

My takeaway from the PS4 Pro reveal was that if you don’t own a 4K TV, there is literally no reason for you to even care about the new version of the console. That, and the fact that Sony is leaving it up to developers to take advantage of the PS4 Pro’s additional capabilities to me means that there will be a whole lof of devs that don’t even bother (see Kinect, Move, the WiiU tablet, etc.).

Sony did a lousy job of messaging the PS4 Pro, and actually gave Microsoft the opportunity to cut the legs out from under them immediately following the PlayStation event:


So, if you’re interested in 4K gaming, you can grab the Xbox One S for $100 cheaper than the PS4 Pro will be when it launches November 10th. If you’re interested in 4K gaming and are planning on getting the PSVR, then your best option is the Pro.

I feel like this is a completely unnecessary error on Sony’s part. There is absolutely no reason for them to be launching the PS4 Pro right now. They are winning the console war. They have their VR headset coming out in October, and it will be compatible with existing PS4s. The only good reason to reveal the Pro would have been if it had the PSVR capability built in and you didn’t need the external box that comes with PSVR. But that’s not the case. Sony is saying PSVR will be “better” with PS Pro, but with the exception of improved visuals, what exactly does that mean? Any way you cut it, the PS4 Pro seems unnecessary, especially from the company that is already winning the console war. The slim reveal would have been just fine. The PS4 is already great. I love mine and do most of my gaming on it.

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So why is this actually good for gamers, then? Because the PS4 Pro is not going to fracture the PlayStation user base like it could have, any more than the Xbox One S did to that user base. Both of these consoles are mainly graphical improvements over the originals, similar to one PC gamer having a slightly better graphics card than another. At the end of the day, unless you are a 4K TV owner and care about such things, there is not much reason to care. And, if you’ve been waiting on getting a PS4, you now have more options. If I was just jumping in, I would be keeping my eye out for a price drop or some sweet bundles on the original models, as stores get rid of their existing stock to make way for the slim.

Now the Scorpio? That’s a whole different story, and that’s much closer to an Xbox 1.5 from what we’ve seen so far. That will have the potential to split Microsoft’s user base, and they should be watching everything that happens in wake of this PS4 fiasco. The difference for Microsoft is that they are behind, so they need to shake things up.

Sony did not. We’ll see if this comes back to bite them.

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The More Info That leaks About The Nintendo NX, The More Excited I Get For It

Over at Let’s Play Video Games today, Laura Dale provided some updates to information that has been leaking on the upcoming Nintendo NX (you can read that article here).

So, we’ve been hearing for a while now that it would be a tablet-like unit with detachable controllers, but eh first diagrams that leaked had me questioning how that was going to work for local multiplayer. In those early concept images, both of the detachable controls had an analog stick, but one had buttons while the other had a D-pad.

In the most recent info though, it’s not being reported that the D-pad will be split (like the PS4 D-pad), meaning there is a distinct button for each direction. This makes a lot of sense, as it means that the four direction buttons can double as face buttons, making both detachable controllers able to function in the same way.

This seems like a super small detail, but I’m really excited about it.

So, it looks like the NX will be region-free, will use cartridges and will be able to hook up to your TV for big screen gaming. As a mobile device it can be used for either single-layer gaming or local multiplayer.

Most importantly, this looks to finally be the fusion of Nintendo’s handheld and TV consoles that I have been wanting for years. I can’t wait until we hear some definitive news from Nintendo in September!!

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