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E3 has come and gone, and we have some clear news on what to expect from most publishers for the rest of the year and beyond. Microsoft came out of the gate strong, with a clean presentation and a vision that paves a way for its potentially fantastic future. Nintendo was more conservatively cautious, feeding us what we need to know, but also managing expectations on upcoming releases. Sony, on the other hand, released the PS5 with a decent opening salvo, giving us some fantastic first party hits in the form of Demon’s Souls, Returnal, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Their latest console is off to a blistering start and they’re showing off some strategic acquisitions from Returnal’s Housemarque and Nixxes, with the possibility of Bluepoint Games up in the horizon. Despite delays to their marquee titles God of War Ragnarok and the uncertain release for Horizon Forbidden West,…

Oh boy, what a topic this cross-gen thing has become, hasn’t it? On one hand, these next-gen (now current-gen) consoles are sold out almost everywhere, and both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series are well on their way to breaking their own last-gen records despite supply constraints. On the other hand, there’s still a huge majority of consumers who, for one reason or the other, have not made the jump just yet. One can attribute this mostly to the lack of stock from retailers and consequently, scalpers making it tough for actual customers to get one at a reasonable price. The other reason? Cross-gen games. Weird? Yeah, I think so too. Way before the new console generation started, Microsoft have made mention of this – “over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices,” says Microsoft…

Reviewing games is hard. As specified in my editor’s piece from last year, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, and I’ve learned about it first hand as I started writing reviews last year. I fell into the trap of “yeah, it’s just reviewing games, how is it different from a feature article?” That was my first mistake. Then I fell into the other trap of “I’ll just play this game and provide an opinion.” After a while, I’ve seen a stack of rookie mistakes piling up from trying to be edgy or just attempting to re-invent the wheel. Reviewing games is hard, I just have to say it again for effect. I started to write unofficial reviews starting with 13 Sentinels, and then I did a quick review for Hades, which is definitely one of those rare games that come out once in a lifetime. They were really easy articles…

Solar Ash has been teased without a release date at the recent Playstation State of Play despite the previous promise during the infamous CES 2021 PS5 Sizzle Reel that showed a June release. Love or hate the February 25 broadcast, it confirmed the official launch of Kena Bridge of Spirits, promised Oddworld Soulstorm as April’s free PS Plus game, and surprised us with Yuffie in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, the debut PS5 port that comes with said new episode. CES 2021 Sizzle Reel Release Date window Many other familiar games featured a deep dive (Returnal and Deathloop’s new trailer), some new titles that we already know are coming (Crash 4 and Knockout City), and some new teasers (Sifu and Five Nights At Freddy’s Security Breach). That leaves Solar Ash as the elephant in the room, being the only title from previous PS5 events with an ambiguous 2021 window, previously…

There are certain games with fantastic English voice acting, but for some titles with both Japanese and English dubbed voices, a lot of gamers seemingly prefer to choose the former over the latter. Take for example Ghost of Tsushima – not saying that the English voices were bad (I’d rather read the subs if Japanese audio wasn’t available), but the Japanese dub just proved to be a more immersive experience. I’m sure many would agree! It was the same for the English trailer of Project: Triangle Strategy, where its Japanese counterpart had superior voice acting. Now, the same can also be said for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. While the star-studded English VA cast of the FF7 Remake drew high marks for their great performances (I’ll take their word for it), doesn’t Yuffie sound so much better in Japanese? You can give it a listen below: https://youtu.be/gyJ6K0dd_vc While there is…

I don’t know about you but I hated the English dub of Project Triangle Strategy — the hokey British accent trying to emulate the deep alto of the Japanese narrator and Serenoa’s unbearable prepubescent voice drove me up the wall among other things. My suspicions were further justified after hearing the voice acting in the Japanese teaser trailer. Goosebumps ran across my arm with the original Japanese voices blending with the orchestrated music. For once I actually cared about the plight of the continent of Nozaria tired of the endless wars that were fought to secure resources. Listen to them below. https://youtu.be/cr92D6QXxD0 Here’s another experiment, play the demo to get the gist of the prologue and then listen to the Japanese original voices on the Story Trailer below. Oh that’s so much more soothing to the ears. Call me a weeb, but unless it’s a game made by a Western…

The controversy behind 2020’s The Last of Us Part II was a big reason for making me buy and play the game. I’ve pretty much played every Naughty Dog game that was given on PS Plus and I actually liked The Last of Us when it first came out in 2013, but wasn’t too keen on the sequel years leading up to its release. Why were people reacting so violently about the game? Was it the developers and the crunch they endured? Maybe the treatment of a beloved character? The new “protagonist”? The game being too “woke”? I just wanted to know what pissed people off so much. “I could only find Crunch, what do you mean you want a Snickers” I didn’t enjoy The Last of Us 2. Let me qualify that, it’s a technical marvel with beautiful graphics for the PS4. The gameplay is on par with the…

Microtransactions, love ‘em or hate ‘em, are here to stay. AAA companies surely would keep pushing them into our beloved franchises and they’ll find more creative ways to monetize games. Just like blockbuster movies and TV series, product placement and in-game advertising will make their way into your gaming screens if it’s feasible to do so. Remember that time when Final Fantasy XV did some collab with Audi for the Regalia? Would have been nice if I could pay $14.99 to get a Chocobo in real life. Or maybe get Gladio as my personal bodyguard for $19.99. It’s a sweet ride, you gotta admit There’s that, and then there are the sports games. We’ve dropped an insane amount of money before with the trading cards and collectable card games in the past, so we’ve accepted microtransactions and licensing throughout our lives. I, for one, have paid a lot of money…

In The Verge’s interview with Phil Spencer by Nilay Patel, Spencer makes two separate but in my viewpoint, interconnected statements: One, he thinks we’re going to see Xbox apps in Smart TVs in the next 12 months. Second, he believes that “console tribalism is the worst thing in the industry”. I’m reaching here, but by introducing the Xbox App on Smart TVs, he’s suggesting one solution to end console tribalism once and for all. However, didn’t Microsoft also buy Bethesda for $7.5 billion to have “first dibs”? Sounds off? At our current state, all that would do is create another division of opinions on whether to use the new platform, further dividing this already divided passion group. However, points for accessibility! Think of the endless possibilities! Tribalism goes beyond the gaming world as every passion group has one. Vinyl collectors shit on CD fans, everyone’s basketball team is the best,…

We all know the scope of games made by CD Projekt Red and the tend to be pretty massive. It seems Cyberpunk 2077 will be no different as Łukasz Babiel, QA lead for CDPR, has already clocked around 175 hours into the game (and counting) on one just one lifepath alone. https://twitter.com/pjpkowski/status/1330239139996971010 Time spent on games like Cyberpunk 2077 will obviously vary from player to player. For context, Babiel works for QA, so he’s used to exploring every corner of the game and has mentioned that this is an “ongoing slow paced playtroughs on the hardest difficulty”, so the 175 hours may not be a “normal” comparison. He also said ongoing, meaning he isn’t actually done yet, which is something to consider for players planning to fully immerse themselves in the game. https://twitter.com/pjpkowski/status/1330242123338313729 It has been reported that Cyberpunk 2077 will have a shorter campaign than the Witcher 3, but…

Like its distant film cousin, there is a lot of leeway that’s been given to horror games the same way most anime enthusiasts put up with the waifu and harem BS in JRPGs. Low budget horror-comedies like Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste and Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead have a massive cult following although for the mainstream viewer, these films probably won’t cut it. In the same way, I still hold on to old school Resident Evil’s controls and the buggy mechanics of The Sinking City because of its adherence to the Lovecraftian genre. My take on all this is as long as the gameplay bugs and bad controls aren’t too distracting and even add a particular charm, then the game could be forgiven. I’m a big fan of Deadly Premonition. It has this sardonic, tongue-in-cheek Twin Peaks vibe with some survival horror elements tucked in for good measure. Combat and…

If Alfheim Online from Sword Art Online had an actual story for their world, I’m betting it’s Genshin Impact. While attempting to thwart an evil god, the fated twins are caught in a decisive battle, which trapped one of the siblings in another world. This prompts you as a player to select which of the twins you get to control. As you progress into the new world with your fairy guide, you befriend a local knight, which leads you to a quest to rescue a kingdom from a rampaging dragon. Will you find your sibling? Will you become the new hero of this world? How much money will you be spending on microtransactions? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc-GGIyC-mo MiHoYo’s new Free-to-Play title had an interesting journey leading to launch and when it dropped on September 28th, I downloaded the 11 gig app and tried it out. As of writing, I got as far as…

Hades has just been released to a nice 20% discount on the Nintendo Store. Nearly four years ago Pyre was released to the same 20% discount. Back in 2015, Transistor was given away for free at the PSN store. Subsequently, it also went on sale for $5.99 on the Nintendo Store recently. I own all three games (twice for Transistor), but I’ve only beaten one Supergiant game, and that was Bastion when it dropped in Xbox Live Arcade back in 2011. Bastion was probably the first Indie game I purchased at full price, mainly because it cost a measly 600 Xbox Live Points. At the time when I purchased Xbox Live Points, it was to secure DLC for the latest AAA game, that being Mass Effect 2. When Bastion released at 600 points as a fully playable game, I jumped at the chance of owning it. Three hours later of…

Time sure flies when you’re on lockdown or just generally social distancing. We’ve completed so many TV series and also some of our backlog on games as well. We’ve gone crazy with the Animal Crossing craze, jumped on the nostalgia trip of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, divided as a community with The Last of Us 2, brought back together again with Ghosts of Tsushima, and a great deal of us waiting for the release of Cyberpunk 2077. So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Are we ready for the next console generation? Real talk, are you? We’re just too damn broke Raise your hand if you still have a job. A home. Your health. All three? The pandemic has been hard. We’re spending a lot more money to keep ourselves afloat and many of our financial futures have been put on hold until a vaccine is found. For…

I started playing Bravely Default II demo when it dropped early this year. After changing the settings of the voices from English to Japanese, I could finally play it without it grating my ears. Reviews warned me of the high difficulty and the possibility of (gasp) grinding on a demo. First, it’s a JRPG, so grinding is inevitable. Second, the demo in question was worth its price tag – free. It had eight to twelve hours of content. The story is your basic JRPG quest, get the shiny object and proceed to save the world and bag a few waifus on the way. Truth is, I was more interested in why it garnered such a fan base, I could understand the weeb bait, but I turned to see what the gameplay had to offer. Octopath Traveller was my introduction to the Brave combat system and it worked really well with…