Rundown (2/26-3/04) Welcome to the Future, Kid

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future-linkSo, at GDC this past week, some Nintendo developers showed off Hyrule Wars From The Legend of Zelda, a scrapped concept for Breath of the Wild that had aliens invading the land of Hyrule, also called Legend of Zelda: Invasion. It’s a very peculiar concept to say the least, and featured concept art of what looks to be Ganondorf in a Metallica shirt, and concept sketches of Link in modern clothing riding on a motorcycle. I know people are giving Breath of the Wild all the felacio its bulbous appendage can handle, but I would be far more interested in playing a Zelda game with a differing aesthetic rather than one I am am more likely to hate than love due to mechanical changes that freak me the flip out.

As was leaked at the tailend of last week’s Rundown, 2014’s critically acclaimed Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor will be receiving a sequel in the form of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. The announcement was accompanied with a CG trailer, because that is to be expected of big AAA games, and a proper gameplay reveal will debut on March 8th. My thoughts on the matter are pretty much non existent, other than how it was a well received game, so a sequel is a natural course of action. While the nemesis system and core gameplay of the first game seemed appealing, I never cared for the aesthetics, and as such find it hard to care much for what I’m sure will be a good and very successful game. The sillily named Middle-Earth: Shadow of War will release on August 22nd, 2017.

Microsoft has announced the Xbox Game Pass, a secondary subscription service where, for $10 a month, players will receive access to a downloadable library of over 100 Xbox One and backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles. Games will cycle through this library every month, with some leaving and more being added, subscribers can purchase featured titles at a 20% discount rate for full games, and add-ons for featured games will be 10% off. While the quality of the service will depend largely on the featured titles, this sounds very promising, and manages to avoid the whole streaming problem that has plagued Playstation Now. I hope this works out for the best for Microsoft, and would like to see a similar service appear on, well, pretty much every dedicated game system.

At GDC, which was apparently held this week, Spike Chunsoft hosted a panel and, in a move that rarely happens, made several announcements there. Kotaro Uchikoshi, who is best known for directing and writing the Zero Escape series, announced Project: Psync. No details were disclosed, but it is nice to know that the talented game designer is being given the opportunity to launch something new and creative. While other members of the studio will be working on a sort of reboot for the long standing Fire Pro Wrestling series, entitled Fire Pro Wrestling World, which will debut as an early access title on PC, with a PS4 released planned later on. While Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is indeed coming to PC via Steam on September 26th, the same day it released on PS4 and Vita.dr2-energy-ready-hype-all-right

On that note, THQ Nordic announced that the the 2008 Wii title, De Blob will be coming to PC via Steam on April 27th. The port is being developed by porting specialists Blitworks, so there is a high chance of it being a quality rerelease of the game, and worth checking out for people who were broke teenagers back in the late ots, like yours truly. Square Enix also basically confirmed the PC release of Final Fantasy XV, again, after showing tech demo video of the game running on GTX 1080Ti. However, Square Enix is a company whose Japanese division has not fully embraced PC gaming, and it is likely that they will continue to flirt around the idea of bringing the game to PC while also finishing their prematurely released title.

To celebrate the release of the Switch, Nintendo took this opportunity to host a digital event where they showed off numerous games that are coming to the platform throughout 2017. Or to be more direct, they released an impromptu showcase of titles from small developers, many of which are coming to other systems, but a few of them are genuine exclusives or the ever popular timed exclusives. A lot of games were shown, and they eventually revealed an even larger list of 64 titles, so I will not be going through everything. I did, however, go through most of the games featured in that showcase, which I listed in release date order.

On March 9th, right after the system’s launch, the previously announced revival of the NES classic Blaster Master, the Inti Creates developed Blaster Master Zero will launch on the Switch in addition to its previously announced 3DS release. Later on in the month, the Neo Geo Pocket inspired fighting game, Pocket Rumble will launch as a Switch exclusive, or at least a console exclusive, as the game was kickstarted for PC, and is available via Steam Early Access.

In April, the system will be graced with three timed exclusives. Graceful Explosion Machine, a side switching arcade shooter with a simple and clean brightly artstyle and what is likely to be a very nice implementation of Joy-Con rumble. Mr. Shifty, a teleportation driven one hit kill heist game that was being made for PC and was recently played by the Super Best Friends. Shakedown Hawaii, the successor to Retro City Rampage that I honestly was not expecting given the hassle lead developer Brian Provinciano had to go through in order to get his games on Nintendo systems, but the game looks like a beauteous and joyous romp regardless.

Spring will give way to Tumbleseed, a physics based roguelike about tilting around a ball that can also get power ups. It genuinely doesn’t look very impressive, but considering it’s being developed by the people behind the mobile hits Threes and Ridiculous Fishing, it should be worth looking into when it launches on Switch, PS4, PC, and Mac. Summer will see the Switch version of the beloved Stardew Valley, which can loosely be described as a more modern Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons/Bokujo Monogatari, except this version will feature the console debut of multiplayer, which is neat.

Around the same time as that, Image and Form’s Steamworld series will continue with Steamworld Dig 2, which is sure to be a fun exploration driven dig ‘em up, much like its predecessor. While autumn will give way to the continued future legend of the rhythm alien will continue as Commander Video lives on with Runner3, which will actually be a Switch exclusive, plain and simple. I would be excited, but my poor reflexes and perfectionist nature prevented me from enjoying the prior two titles, so… yeah, no.

As for the miscellaneous 2017 titles, the rising all-star of a small time publisher, Raw Fury, announced three games, all of which have unmentioned exclusive content, and their own retro vibe. These games are GoNNER, a roguelike action platformer with a simplistic yet endearingly trippy art style that will launch first on Nintendo Switch. Dandara, a gravity defying sprite-based 2D action game and a cool looking black female protagonist. And Kingdom: Two Crowns, a kingdom ruling game where the player can choose to bring hope or despair to the kingdom patrons while enjoying their rule with another person in a 2 player co-op. It’s also a sequel to a preexisting PC game that I honest never heard of until now.

Zoink Games revealed their next title with Flipping Dead, a curious little adventure game that almost immediately reminded me of the studio’s prior work with Stick It To The Man, an adventure game I was not a big fan of. However, the new mechanics and specific personality of this title make me willing to give them another chance. Plus, I kind of really want to play another game with the developers’ unique art style. The showcase then ended with the announcement of War Groove, which is basically just a fantasy themed Advance Wars with online multiplayer and multiple campaigns, which I can dig pretty substantially when this game comes out on PC, Xbox One, and Switch.

All of this news had me feeling pretty good about the Switch, as Nintendo has clearly been going after securing a library of titles, and even managed to snag some exclusives. Then I became very worried as I heard about Voez, a rhythm game for the system that is only playable in portable mode, as it uses the Switch’s largely ignored touch screen. While I understand this in one particular case, as somebody who wants to only play the Switch as a game console, I do not want there to be any games that will only be playable in portable mode, as I simply do not want to use, regardless of its supposed quality. Also, the game is coming out March 9th in North America. Way to rapidly fill up that launch line-up Nintendo.

Anyways, I should talk about the Switch itself and my thoughts on it, seeing as how it is out in the wild. While there are numerous problems that I have heard levied towards the system, I still intend to purchase one later this year. I am going to be hopefully undergoing surgery later this year, and would like to have a collection of new Nintendo games to play as I recover. I only intend to use the system as a game console that I will plug into my PC monitor and enjoy while using a Pro controller, and under that criteria, which is the only one I really care about, I think the system will be just fine. Also, the line-up seems like it will be quite promising, assuming Nintendo is not a big enough dullard to launch a 3DS successor.

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