Rundown (10/28-11/03) Everyone is Here and Everyone Is Dead!

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For as much as some people love criticizing them, it cannot be argued that despite faltering in numerous other areas, Nintendo is absolutely excellent at garnering excitement, hype, and fervor from its fanbase. Whenever a new Nintendo Direct happens, the excitement is often contagious, and while this does have the adverse effect of causing certain unscrupulous individuals to channel their excitement in ways destructive to themselves and others, one can argue that individuals such as them are simply inclined towards such hateful tendencies. Anyways, another Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct happened, so let’s start with that.

Firstly, prior to this announcement there was a supposed leak that people have dubbed the “Grinch leak” wherein the characters Ken (Street Fighter), Shadow (Sonic), Isaac (Golden Sun), Chorus Kids (Rhythm Heaven), Banjo Kazooie, Geno (Super Mario RPG), and freaking Mach Rider from Mach Rider. The ride through this rumor was a turbulent one, but was almost instantly disproven with the reveal of the prior two characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Ken from Street Fighter, serving as an Echo Fighter of Ryu, along with Incineroar from Pokemon Sun and Moon. Both of whom shared a positively delightful trailer that involved the themes of death that have littered this game being further accentuated with Little Mac being slammed against a giant electrical scoreboard, where the glass inevitably shattered and filled his body, the electricity left him with burns, and the impact broke some of his bones.

Following the full cast of 74 fighters being revealed, the elusive Spirits mode was detailed as being the one thing that Smash Brothers as an intellectual property has been missing. Gacha mechanics! In lieu of featuring any trophies in this installment, Ultimate is instead refreshing the Sticker idea from Brawl by having official art from those games serve to represent characters, known as Spirits. These Spirits each have their own level, attributes, and type, all of which can be equipped by fighters to enhance them. With Spirits primarily being earned by partaking in rotating time-sensitive missions where the player must overcome a gimmick match of sorts meant to represent the Spirit in question. In addition to all this, Spirits can be sacrificed, sent home, and used to conduct various time related waiting driven tasks, again much like one would expect from a Gacha game.

In addition to various online alterations and, as far as I am aware, improvements, the game will feature a season pass with a total of five characters to be released throughout 2019, but beyond those, there is a sixth DLC character that was revealed, and it is one of the oddest yet interesting picks I could have imagined. As a potted Piranha Plant is now a character in Smash Bros. With its lengthy neck, small form, and unique movability, they are certainly the most unique character to come from this Direct, being such a goofy outlandish concept that does have a lot of potential as a unique fighter. And hey, they’re free to early purchasers of the game, so that’s pretty nifty.

So far, this is all impressive, pleasing, and neat, with my biggest gripe being the inability to rearrange the character select screen to represent character per franchise… at least when everybody is unlocked, which should thankfully take quite a while. But I was still on the fence about the game, as I am a friendless person who drifts from game to game with regularity. But then, just as things were nearing their end, the new adventure mode World of Light was revealed. An expansive adventure that tasks the player to explore the world after a destructive force murdered every character in Smash Brothers aside from Kirby, and it is up to him, the hero of Popstar, to venture through this expansive reformed world to free the other characters from the clutches of weaker spirits in order to bring peace and tranquility to all of Smash World! And there are also skill trees!

Or in other words, it is basically the closest thing to Subspace Emissary that I could have asked for, and even features some returning bosses. Honestly, it is really quite hard to make me lose my cool during a game trailer, but this one did it. It did it so well that I might just feel compelled to check this game out when it launches this December.

Shifting over to a piece of news I feel more obligated to mention than anything else is the unsurprising success of Red Dead Redemption 2’s launch. With it being the biggest entertainment launch of the year, biggest release in Playstation Network history, biggest opening weekend in entertainment history, and only superseded as the biggest launch in entertainment history by Rockstar’s previous title, Grand Theft Auto V. I cannot say that I am particularly surprised by this, but I also cannot say that I get why this title is warranting such adoration other than the fact that it is Rockstar, and Rockstar games tend to do well, barring some of their more experimental endeavours from generations of yore.

From what I have heard about the game, it is a slow, meticulous, and plotting affair set in an uncaring world that is positively bogged down with realistic attributes with the intention of creating something more palpable and immersive as opposed to something with regular gratification distribution. Yet despite just about all of those attributes registering as negatives to me, the game is still one of the biggest successes of this generation, and has been met with nothing but critical acclaim. It really does not make a whole lot of sense to me, but then again the prior Rockstar titles I attempted to play and enjoy, L.A. Noire and the original Red Dead Redemption, both struck me as dull affairs set in bleak worlds with stories that would have been better served if delivered through a different medium. Oh, and bad movement. But the public has spoken, so I guess I am just an out of touch and bitter old crone, and have been since I was a teen. Ho-hum.

It has been about a year since Sony announced their intentions to remaster PS1 classic fantasy action game Medievil for PS4, and as to be expected, it is a group up remake of the title with detail rife visuals and and updated presentation that have been applied to the same level design and game mechanics from the original entry, likely with some minor alterations to attempt to modernize things. As to be expected, it looks quite nice with its detailed and moody environments, and I can easily see it having a similar, if less successful, reaction as the one given to the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. That is to say, much adoration and fondness in addition to quite a few vocal criticisms of its gameplay being a bit dated, and how certain imperfections should have been smoothed out. Which is really one of the two things people want out of revisions of classic titles, yet have weirdly started to accept the absence of.

Speaking of 90s relics being brought back for the modern era, there’s another Bubsy game on the way. Yes, after the first two games were released on Steam under dubious means, and partnering up with Black Forest games to create an overpriced mediocre platformer that assuredly had a small budget, the current owners of the immensely valuable Bubsy the Bobcat intellectual property have contracted Bit.Trip and Runner3 developer Choice Provisions to create another entry. This title, Bubsy: Paws on Fire, is set to be a side scrolling runner game with four unique characters, over 100 stages, and a supposed plethora of hockey and likely repetitive one-liners, while still looking like a fairly cheap and blasé platforming romp, despite coming from talented developers. This new product shall launch prior to the end of the 2019 fiscal year with a release on PS4, Switch, and PC, under the assumption that the brand recognition of the central character will allow them to offset development costs and come away with a modest profit.

Shifting back to news that actually interests me, next week a Kickstarter will be launching for Umineko When They Cry Gold Edition. A new version of the cult classic visual novel, and successor franchise to the much beloved Higurashi series, that seeks to add in a full English dub and an updated presentation using assets from the PS3 version of the game, which will be made freely available to all owners of the Steam version of Umineko. While the graphics update is not a major deal, as the 07th Mod already implements those assets, albeit in their own way, a full dub for a massive visual novel series like this is more than a little enticing, and based on the preview video shown for the dub, they certainly chose some very talented voice actors for the job. Also, just to clarify, this trailer shows excerpts from a dramatized audiobook that will be freely released via iTunes if this project is successfully funded. Now I’m almost glad I waited on the Umineko train… though I still would like to finish Higurashi sometime before the end of the decade *coughs*.

Oh, yeah, and not only is Warcraft III getting a remaster, but Diablo is getting a mobile game that people are all upset about.  I would say more, except  I am apathetic towards Blizzard as a developer, and my mother just fell and hurt her arm, so now I’m going to need to help her all weekend.  And due to scheduling difficulties, there either will be no review on 11/7 or 11/14.  Cheers.

(Header image was drawn by Triple-Q)

Edit: I forgot to mention that Toby Fox released a demo for a successor to Undertale.  Kinda surprised I managed to forget about that one considering how, well, I started playing it last week.  The game is called Deltarune, and is pretty neat.  Check it out or wait for the full thing in a couple years.

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