A final reflection on the games of 2019. It’s a bit late to talk about last year but I filmed this a month ago and it needs to be seen. Consider this a preamble to the HMG redemption arc.
That’s right, 2019 was awesome, I hated it. As of right now, YouTube sucks so I’m going to be sticking with Facebook Watch or any other non-YT video hosting platform. Plus, the FB page is where all the memes are at, so follow the video to my page and SMASH THAT LIKE.
Hi I’m Chet Harrison and this is my pawn shop. Okay just kidding this a review page. Anyway, I like karting games but our pal Dale Desimone (Zeke) is an expert on these things and can tell us what we’re really dealing with here. Team Sonic Racing is a multi-platform kart racing game smart enough to release before Crash Team Racing pops up and takes over. Is this any good? YES*
*mainly for couch multi and it being multi-platform. It’s better than Mario Kart anyway. ^_-
Kart racing mayhem with slightly less cheating BS.
Mario Kart forever held the crown for mascot kart racing games, with Crash Team Racing and Sonic All-stars Racing trailing behind. Team Sonic Racing doesn’t really do much in the way of innovation. It feels a lot more like they just added a new gameplay mode to a multiplayer game that’s already been out. TSR stays literally grounded without the “transformed” shenanigans, and this time all the SEGA “stars” didn’t get any invites. Sad. But this one is actually worth your time!
Rock solid 60FPS in single player mode, but frame drop increases in local multiplayer. Split screen also tends to make the other NPC cars look a bit on the jittery side.
Brilliant recreations of classic sonic levels. I think. Sonic has had a lot of games, who knows, maybe some were pulled out of their butts?
Everything looks internally consistent, but in terms of overall quality, this game does absolutely nothing special to make it shine.
Lighting FX and color palettes are incredibly spastic on the casino circuits, with a couple sections that look half-finished.
All that said, the car detail is surprisingly thorough. All cars have mods that change the cosmetic looks of the karts (and performance). But even better, the paint schemes are complex and each individual color comes with 15+ different shaders.
TFW I can make Tails drive a faux-Batmobile.
Sky Road is an absolutely unapologetic Rainbow Road knockoff.
Once again we have a racing game with a plot that it didn’t need. I can’t tell you what happened, I skipped the cutscenes after watching a few.
This game practically encourages skipping the cutscenes, as there’s an option on each race in the campaign to skip all the dialog and go straight to the race. Major props for doing this.
What’s really egregious is how the plot is carried out. It’s just a blurred out JPG of the track you’re on with PNGs of Sonic characters saying their lines. It’s like watching a kid wave paper cutouts of the crew while mimicking their voices.
The script quality also leads me to believe that this was not only written for children, but was in fact written by a child.
The campaign itself has a neat little overworld design with normal races and special challenges to keep things fresh. Albeit the CPU drivers get a bit cheaty towards the middle of things.
Also, the challenge races were dumbfoundingly challenging. Me and my friend had to take turns playing the same challenge over and over until we both gave up. The vague instructions and tip section didn’t help.
It’s a Sonic OST, of course it’s going to have some absolutely kickass tracks. Music tracks, not race tracks (those are fine too).
Try to keep playing this game with “team comms” turned on. Every character has about 8-10 phrases total and will say them early and often. Many times they will actually say the same quip twice in a single race.
Oh and every single “quip” is the most cringe thing possible. It’s painful. Just imagine Big the Cat saying literally anything ever.
Now, when I went into the Garage in the main menu, I heard a remix of the game’s theme song that I absolutely loved. Little did I know, that it was done by The Qemists, a band I love. And DAMN is it good.
What’s different about this iteration of SEGA’s mascot kart game? This time around its the team gameplay mechanics, which add a lot of neat twists. Races can consist of up to four 3-person teams. Doing several team actions will lead you to victory.
Team actions include driving behind your team’s leader to get a “slingshot” boost, sharing/receiving powerups from your teammates, and skimming real close to a teammate who’s been hit gives them a boost. Basically there are a lot of boosts.
This feels less random than some of the other mascot kart games. The powerups aren’t very original but some of the more overpowered ones in other games aren’t present.
The only real BS factor is the enemy AI, so far playing against them on normal feels far too challenging, as it seems like the CPU team will just magically get an ultimate boost if you’re ahead for more than 10 seconds. This can be remedied by playing the game with real people.
Speaking of real people, that’s the best way to enjoy this game. Local multi supports 4 players. Three of you can be on the same team in a team race or all race with their own teams with CPU support. Or, you can go classic with a good ol’ fashioned singles race.
If you’re interested in popping the game in and playing with your friends, you’re in luck. The multiplayer starts with all 15 characters and 18 of the 21 tracks available right from the get-go. No unnecessary grinding in the campaign.
There’s plenty of variety to keep things interesting. I ended up playing this game for somewhere around 6 hours straight. Me and a buddy played a for a while, he left. I played by myself. Then a different buddy arrived and we played again. I did not get bored.
This game has the dreaded loot boxes in the form of a gacha machine. Only, you can’t buy them for real money, so no exploitative practices here. SEGA actually has ethical standards apparently.
Interestingly enough, it’s very easy to earn enough coins to open tons and tons in one go. I opened 41 consecutive boxes from time all by myself, and another solid 30 when playing with friends.
There are SOME upgrades in the loot system, BUT all upgrades come with a downside (sacrificing speeed for handling, etc). The prizes you win in the machine do seem to be based on which character you play with. I got back to back to back to back upgrades for Tails early on.
Team Sonic Racing really surprised me. Given Sonic’s poor track record, the game could have been terrible. Instead, I got a slight nostalgia kick after playing for a couple hours. If you’re a big fan of mascot kart racing games and have some friends around, it’s a solid game for parties and easy to pick up. It’s already well priced at $39.99. With summer on the horizon, it’s possible it will go on sale, many games do after a few weeks. I might say wait for a sale, but if you’re a fan of the series, go for it.
Wait I just gave Rage 2 a 6/10, does that mean this game is better? Guess Team Sonic Racing is the way to go.
The 2020 Olympics will be taking place in Tokyo next year. Besides already holding the licenses, Sega is taking this opportunity to try to make waves. First headlines were made with eh announcement of “Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game”. Coming to Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch worldwide. Sega has gone on the record calling this new title “A fun-filled sports action game where you create your avatar and compete in olympic events. That’s right, you too can go for the gold from the comfort of your living room!
Next, they announced the release of a brand new Mario & Sonic at the Olympics. It’s been a long 4 years since the last time we’ve seen these athletes on the field. Mario & Sonic at the Olympics 2020 looks much like past iterations but this time will have mini-games for your Joy-Cons. The only real question here is; will this game feature the movie versions of our two cover stars?
For those of us who have become avid mobile gamers Sega’s got something for you too, because mobile gamers count. Mario & Sonic will be attending the Tokyo Olympics on iOS and Android as well. Assuming the game will borrow some Joy-Con features and optimize for touchscreens, this will most likely be super casual. I’m predicting for sure at least one Temple Run style track and field game. Actually, bets are open.
Not excited about the Olympics!? Fine.
Fear not friends who could careless about professional sports or sports simulations. Or emotionless monsters who can’t find the humor in the “world’s fastest hedgehog” racing against the “most hard-headed plumber of all time”. There is some retro based good news. Sega is bringing a new challenger to the mini console revolution.
The Sega Genesis Mini will be available on September 19th, 2019. Retailing at the great price of $79.99 the mini console will feature 40 classic games including Sonic (of course), Castelvania, and Ecco the Dolphin. For the record, Ecco the Dolphin is the second most exciting part of this for me. What’s the first? Well I’m glad you asked. So far, 10 of the 40 games have been announced and one of those game is, Comix Zone. Need I say more?
The console itself is reportedly about 55% smaller than the original and comes with two usb powered replica three button controllers. Also packed into the box is a USB to Micro-B cable for power and an HDMI cable for graphic fidelity. Because as we all know, it’s not a retro remake unless it’s in HD.
What are some of the found memories you hope to relive with the Sega Genesis Mini? And for those excited for the olympics, what’s your favorite thing to have Mario beat Sonic at? And for everyone else, sorry you stuck around for that Vanquish sequel reveal. Believe me, you are not alone.
Alright, Sooper Vega here, just wanted to apologize real quick. The Lucky Gamer Recap has been real sloppy lately but fear not, its only because I’ve been really busy. Planning, and now being, on tour, because I’m still a Hip-Hop artist, has taken a lot of my attention. It’s cool though, it’ll all be normal again when I’m grounded. It’s also cool because we’re like a week from E3 so not much news. Well except for Pokemon! Here’s what the Lucky Gamer Recap has in store:
1. Let’s Go! Right into it!
Pokemon is finally making its adventurous debut on a home console. And no, not like the pessimist joked about it being on a Playstation console. And also not completely familiar in the way gameplay works. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee were announced by Nintendo and will be available November 16th. These are technically not considered part of the mainline series even though they bear a lot of similarities to Pokemon Yellow. The game will fuse gameplay elements of the mainline and the mobile phenomenon Pokemon Go. On top of mixing mechanics, the two games will also be connected via bluetooth allowing for transfer of Pokemon between games and more. With the promise of a new mainline entry still on schedule for a 2019 release, this should hold most fans over till then. If not well…
2. There are other Pokemon Quest!
Nintendo and the Pokemon Company must really be tired of hearing people ask for Pokemon on Switch, because they came out swinging. According to the teams “Pokemon quest is a free-to-start game that lets trainers face off against wild Pokemon.” The entire game will take place on Tumblecube Island which the player will explore to gather treasure and befriend or battle Pokemon. The game will feature new cubed reimagining’s of all our favorite Pokemon. Well maybe not all but you get the point. I do want some to double back for a second and tell me what the hell a “free-to-start- game is? I feel like Nintendo just tried to make the term “pay-to-win” acceptable. It’s out now on Switch and coming to mobile soon.
3. Whisper whisper, Fallout 76, Whisper whisper.
Apparently the unexpected reveal of Rage 2 wasn’t enough for Bethesda. No they needed to really flex their muscles this year. So they pulled up in the foreign car and whispered “Fallout 76” before riding off into the sunset. Or something like that. Not much was said about the game but rumors suggest it maybe an online experience like Rust or DayZ. It’s good for the die hard fans to know they got some more Fallout on the way but I know far too many people asking a different question. Where is the next Elder Scrolls? (Editor’s Note: It’s coming out this month and it’s called ESO: Sommerset.)
4. Sonic’s back in the race, literally.
It’s been a long time since we last played a great kart game that wasn’t attached to Mario. There have been a few good ones along the way but none which stood the test of time. It seems like Sonic and friends felt the same way. And Sonic jumped into action bringing us the all new Team Sonic Racing. It’s going to be an indirect follow up to the amazon Sonic and All-Stars Racing that released so long ago. Sporting 15 playable characters, tons of our favorite modes, and power ups to turn the tide of the race, Team Sonic Racing is making a strong play for our hearts.
5. Dirty move Xbox, real dirty move.
Alright so here’s a thing that’s rumored to have happened, that we really wish didn’t happen, but signs are pointing to it actually happened. Microsoft seems to have fired a bunch of paid staff and replaced them with volunteer staff who were trained by the paid staff. I’m going to give you a second cause that’s a merry go round of info to take in. Apparently 12 Xbox support staff lost their jobs after unknowingly training their volunteer replacements as part of the Xbox Ambassador program. The @xboxsupport twitter is now being handled by ambassadors. Microsoft hasn’t commented on the situation yet, but I’m hoping they do soon.
6. MegaMan 11 gets a release date.
There was a moment in time, a few years back, where the return of the blue bomber was extremely uncertain. It even Keiji Inafune to embark on a journey to create a spiritual successor. That game ended up being not very good. Capcom saw the opportunity and last year announced MegaMan 11. And now they gave us a date when we can play it. MegaMan 11 is coming to a console near you on October 2nd. It is set up to play just like the classic games fans are used to but it carries a brand new more bubbly cartoon look. Some could say inspired by Mighty No. 9 but I’ll say inspired by the cartoon designs of the past 8 years. Still looks like it’ll be a ton of fun, just weird to have done it without Inafune.
7. Days of Play PS4.
Sony unveiled a limited edition blue PS4 releasing June 8th. The Days of Play edition Playstation 4 has the iconic face buttons printed largely in gold. As always a matching color, in this case blue, is included with the system. The system is being released to celebrate the Playstation Day of Play event that takes place every summer and sees discounts across numerous PS4 products and games. Days of Play runs from June 8th to June 18th so make sure you check in to see what kind of deals the days bring.
Guess who’s back with goodies? Ok, maybe no actual goodies.
I’m back! Hope you guys didn’t miss me too much. I was down in Austin, TX performing at SXSW cause you know I’m still a rapper. But I have returned to you all to continue to provide the great news that should make us all feel like Lucky Lucky Gamers. Are you ready? Alright, let’s get into it. To make up for my absence I’m going to include some stuff that we missed from the past weeks. So Here’s why you should feel like a Lucky Gamer this week:
1. Fortnite and PUBG Go!
Well, they go mobile anyway. Both Fortnite and PUBG have made their mobile debut on bothered the Android and iOS app stores. Scaled down to fit and run on mobile devices without losing any of the features that players love is an incredible achievement. More so for games of these massive scales. Even more amazing and most users are reporting that the mobile version of PUBG runs smoother than the Xbox One version. I feel like that’s good and bad news. Either way a congratulations is in order for both development teams. This moment will be a big one in the history books years from now.
2. The Dino’s Are Coming to Switch.
Nintendo’s best console continues to secure incredible content to bolster its already impressive portfolio. At the 2018 Game Developers Conference Studio Wildcard announced that Ark: Survival Evolved will be coming to the Nintendo Switch. The Switch version of the game is being co-developed by Abstraction Games but fear not, it will feature all the content from the original release. Alongside the announcement, Studio Wildcard also announced that beta invites for the iOS version of the game have been sent out. With the Nintendo Switch also recently getting an announcement of other top games coming to the console like Diablo 3 and the new No More Heroes entry, things are really looking good for the unique machine.
3. Here comes a new cameo!
One of the many things this console generation will be remembered for is definitely going to be cross branding. It feels like everyday there is an announcement of some sort of cross branding going on with our favorite games. Don’t believe me? Watch this. First we have the announcement that Geralt from the Witcher series will be joining the cast of the upcoming Soul Calibur 6. It’s undeniable that he’s a perfect fit but remember that’s just example 1. Here’s example 2. Noctis, the protagonist from Final Fantasy 15, will be joining Tekken 7 as a playable character in an upcoming DLC pack. Noctis is an interesting addition to a game that already has a visit from a resident character in Street Fighter. But wait I’ve got one more for you. Monster Hunter World will be getting some Devil May Cry themed DLC. With rumors striking of a new entry in the series and the remastered version of 1-3 releasing soon this screams cross branding even if it is the same parent company. There you have it folks, the generation of the cameo.
4. Unleash the Leaks.
Every week the Lucky Gamer Recap has some leak based information. Little slip ups by retailers or job resume updates, you know the usual. This week however I wanted to give special attention to Leaks because some of them have my pants tightening. First up we have the one most exciting for me, an Amazon listing for a 2018 Splinter Cell game. Please be real. The Sega Genesis Collection is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC if a deleted tweet is to be believed. I’ll throw this rumor in with the leaks because why not. Supposedly Cyberpunk 2077 will be at E3 in some capacity. That’s the other rumor that has be losing my pants. And if a recent job listing is real then boy do the Star Wars fans have something good coming. Apparently EA Vancouver is hiring for an open-world Star Wars game. Hows that for exciting potentially fake information?
5. Official Releases in exchange.
First let’s start with an annual franchise. Call of Duty: Black Op 4 is coming to a console near you on Friday October 12th. That’s all I’m saying on that one. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third entry since the reboot, will be arriving to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on September 14th. Looks like the timed exclusive stuff is coming to an end, thankfully. The Crew 2, the follow up to Ubisoft’s open world racing project, will be releasing on June 29th on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. For those of you still willing to purchase Konami games, Bomberman R will be released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC with platform exclusive characters on June 12th. Anyone who read my review of Yakuza Kiwami and found themselves interested in the series, rejoice! Yakuza Kiwami 2 will be released on August 28th exclusively on PS4. And previously PS4 exclusive Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice will be coming to Xbox One on April 11th. Now hopefully that makes up for any of the rumors or leaks that end up being complete lies.
6. Oh my and the announcements!
With E3 around the corner this is the time that smaller studies used to announce their upcoming games and big studios announce the projects fans are expecting so they can save the surprises for late. It’s better this way. Nothing cool gets over shadowed by the big name stuff flying around all over the place. Ubisoft has a big surprise up it’s sleeve if it’s choosing to announce the slightly unexpected Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. Maybe because it’s the Omega Force 20th Anniversary or maybe its because Dynasty Warriors 9 was so bad, who knows? Regardless Koei Tecmo announced that Warriors Orochi 4 will be coming to America sometime in 2018. Narcos, the Netflix phenomena that took the world by storm sort of, is getting a video game adaptation in development by Kuju. Who is Kuju you may ask? Well I don’t know, I’m no journalist. Kidding, kidding.
7. Street Fighter TV
What roman numeral is TV? Oh right, it’s Television. Yes you read that right, Street Fighter is returning to television but this time in live action fashion. The series will be developed by Capcom’s new media partner Entertainment One. They will also be bringing the team that developed the Street Fighter Web Series that later came to Blu-Ray. It seems like video games are going to be attack mainstream media in full force. It is definitely an exciting time to be a gamer. (But for me it was a Tuesday…)
[From the editor: Good LORD Kuju entertainment puts out a lot of shovelware, they’re going to make a high profile release? I’m skeptical.]
Nintendo delivers the goods in more ways than one, and several iconic characters are seeing the limelight.
Senior News Editor and part-time rapper Vega couldn’t be here last week and I was too busy pretending I was getting better at Monster Hunter World to notice (though seriously, thank you to those who contributed). This edition of Lucky Gamer Recap will get you whaaaaa… two weeks of news? Does that mean you’re gonna get 14 hot topics this edition? No, of course not; 14 isn’t lucky, 7 is. But I promise you I’ll work twice as hard, okay?
1) Nintendo Directly Delivers Definitive Deadlines
So in case you missed it, one of those big grant Nintendo Direct thingamagigs happened. A lot of announcements were made. One of which involved WarioWare Gold, which would have been a stellar thing if it wasn’t just another 3DS compilation game. What’s up with Nintendo putting big compilation games like this and Mario Party Top 100 on the 3DS? Everyone has a switch now, c’mon Nintendo. Detective Pikachu’s on 3DS too? At least we got another No More Heroes and… oh, it’s some minigame compilation too? Ah well, at least it’s on the Switch. We also got that sweet Dark Souls port coming and with a dope ass amiibo to come with it! Continuing the course of WiiU games nobody played that are coming to Switch, Captain Toad: Treasure Track is finding it’s way to the Switch, but with additional levels and content. For some reason, Crash Bandicoot also made it to the Switch, originally a Sony exclusive. Man, if you’ve got a remake in the works, Nintendo is totally down with tossing it on to their roster. I for one who didn’t play the remake series would love to play it on the small screen.
Here’s a second paragraph on the direct, just because there’s so much to discuss! Splatoon 2, a game that’s constantly evolving with a steady feed of free content is about to get a 3.0 update that has a lot of stuff. More than 100 new pieces of gear are coming, tons more levels (so many levels), and they introduced Rank X for people who rank higher than S+. There will also be a badass new and highly challenging single-player campaign called the “Octo Expansion.” Oh, and I guess the squid kids will be in the next Super Smash Bros game for Switch, which got a tease of at the very end of the direct.
2) Dynamic Duo Deuteragonist’s Dong Dangling Discussion
In the last of crazy “why is this news?” phenomena that the internet likes to indulge in, we have Luigi. Apparently, we also got a good look at his dick. You see, I left out the part of the Nintendo Direct where they introduced Mario Tennis for a very good reason. This is that reason. Yep, you can catch a very good glimpse of the plumber’s phallus in one of the promotional shots. In fact, people were so obsessed over his schlong, they took to measuring it and the results are staggering. Apparently it’s 3.7” while flaccid. That’s… a pretty hefty package. No wonder Daisy doesn’t get kidnapped as often, Luigi is keeping her mighty satisfied. Yep, I went there. I subscribe to the whole “Peach and Bowser are shagging” fan theory, and in my eyes this almost adds more credence to the tale.
3) SEGA’S Sonic Satisfaction Starts Soforth
Just when we thought with Sonic Forces that SEGA couldn’t learn a damn lesson about how to get the Sonic Formula working, something incredible has happened. They realized just how huge of a success Sonic Mania was and decided that now was the time to make a physical release for it. Prior to this, the only “physical release” of the game was a collector’s edition that came with a ton of physical swag but a digital code for the game. Now, they have big plans for the erinaceomorph (look it up). The real-life copies of the game will be available for PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, with a sleek looking reversible slipcover with a retro aesthetic and a 32-page art book. Dubbed Sonic Mania Plus it will have such features as something called “Encore Mode” which they haven’t elaborated on, and two more characters will join the roster: Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. I had to look it up and they are indeed real Sonic characters from the Genesis age. It will retail for $29.99 and come out this summer but those who already own the digital copy with have the extras made available at a later date. Also, there will be a new cartoon miniseries, and news of a film is abuzz.
4) Battlefront 2 Mitigate Microtransations to Make up for Maniacal Multiplayer
EA’s Battlefront 2 may go down as one of the biggest follies of overreaching when it comes to negative treatment to it’s consumers. After immense pressure, EA shut down a loot crate system it had originally planned to implement. It was scrapped at the last second because the crates had gear upgrades that created a seemingly pay to win atmosphere. Well, the crates are gone, but just plain ol’ microtransactions are back. Indeed, you can still get crates, but they only contain cosmetics, emotes, and other items that don’t impact gameplay. These crates can be bought with in-game currency or premium currency. Indeed, although this is a step in the right direction, improvements could still be had. We still strongly advise simply waiting for Battlefront 3 or playing the first one, as we were not too kind to it with our review and this change doesn’t really give it any points.
5) Famous Fighter Finds Friends and Foes in Fighting Franchise
Bandai Namco has always been spot on with adding interesting characters to their Soul Caliber series of fighting games. Some more famous ones were Link, Yoda, Darth Vader, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Kratos. Now they’re about to get medieval on you, and are including Geralt of Rivia from the highly acclaimed “Witcher” games by CD Projekt Red. In case you don’t know who he is, here’s a primer: He roams the lands fighting more monsters than you fight in monster hunter, is bound by a code in taking coin for all his contracts, carrier of two swords (one for humans, one for monsters), knows 5 spells, and is a real ladies’ man (chicks dig scars). Honestly, not sure how he’ll fit in with Soul Calibur VI or what he wants to do with the eponymous sword, other than adding it to his vast collection of swords. Not a bad goal really, he’s just the ultimate collector. Now, the question on everyone’s mind: how many of the female cast will he end up sleeping with? Guess we’ll find out when the game comes out.
6) Ridiculous Rumours Recovered Remotely
It wouldn’t be a lucky gamer recap without some serious rumors. Word has it that a Splinter Cell for 2018 was briefly listed in Canada’s Amazon store, but has since been taken down. But the world could do with a new Splinter Cell game, possibly one with a new character as protagonist Sam Fisher has really been through the ringer, having stopped 3 major terror attacks, gone deep undercover, killed his own boss, thought his daughter was dead, and forgot to do the laundry that one time. The last Splinter Cell game was Blacklist from 2013. Five years off is a pretty decent vacation. Just shoot me if they decide to make it open world.
7) Tomb Raider just hit theaters and it’s not terrible.
The most recent Tomb Raider film stars Alicia Vikander as the famous Lara Croft, this time taking on the form of the rebooted character from 2013. The film has had mixed reviews, mainly that it goes over the top too frequently, but in this age of superhero films, this isn’t really a bad thing. For big fans of the new game, the adaption has been reported to be extremely faithful to many of the game’s events, sometimes even copying some of the many many injuries she sustains. This game is determined to look as authentic as possible, and if you want to see a film that is highly representative of a video game, you could do far worse than this adaptation. You can check out Chris Stuckmann’s review here if you’re interested.
Making all those alliterations was very mentally taxing and I’m never doing that again, ok?
Controllers, Clouds, Counterstrike, and Cole Train
Good news and bad news. Comparisons of titanic forces. And all the power money could buy if money could buy power. That’s what this week looks like for the gamers who can use a little good feeling. Last week brought us interesting rumors around power moves and saddening, yet exciting delay announcements. Here are the reason you should feel like a Lucky Gamer:
1. Microsoft buys more clouds and enters the rumor mill.
Microsoft is undeniably the most financially capable of the big three video game console makers. Sony’s a company shifted their focus to Playstation a few years back to help keep the entire company afloat. Nintendo, on the other hand, really only makes video games so they are stable but not as much cash flow available. That’s why the rumor that Microsoft is considering buying EA, Valve, & PUBG corp. is incredibly believable. And with none of those three having responded to comment after nearly a week (at the time of this writing) boy oh boy what might we be in for. On the factual side of business, it’s business as usual. The super company just acquired PlayFab, a backend cloud based service provider. The goal is to have PlayFab work as an extension tool to build on Azure, the current cloud. Look at you go Microsoft, look at you go.
2. Waiting for Redemption better be worth it.
Who am I kidding, of course it will be worth it. It’s Red Dead Redemption, and even though i’m not the biggest fan, I have to admit I am among those looking forward to this adventure. With that said, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Red Dead Redemption 2 has been delayed to October 26th. Watch out Ubisoft, Rockstar is coming hard. Not much was said about what cause the delay but it doesn’t really matter. The fact is they gave us a solid release date, that could change, and that makes me way more comfortable with the delay then anything else they could have said. You know, other than “We tested it and felt like our horse mechanics just weren’t as fun as Dynasty Warriors, so back to the drawing board.” Also they released new screenshots of gorgeous sunsets. And horses.
3. Unlike Sonic, Mario is doing pretty well.
This battle of icons has been raging for as long as the video game industry has been booming. It’s like Jay-Z v Nas. Yankees v Red Sox. Trump v Everything that makes sense for a president to do. So of course Mario got word of all the things Sonic has been up to and decided to 10 up him. Sonic got a TV series, Mario partnered with Illumination Entertainment to make a movie. A whole feature length film. That’s how you go big but there’s more. Mario Kart tour was announced for mobile which is set to release sometime before March 2019. Boom headshot! Well not exactly. See in the midst of all these upcoming plans Nintendo also took the time to humbly brag that the Nintendo Switch has outsold the Wii U lifetime sales in less than 10 months. With the best selling game being, you probably guessed it, Super Mario Odyssey. Damn Mario straight killing the game. It’s also the fastest selling console in the history of consoles though, so no big deal.
4. Enter new Dualshock 4 Controllers.
This is the most exciting news for me! As a playstation controller connoisseur, there is no way I was going to miss an opportunity to make a big deal over the new PS4 dual shock 4 remote colors. Midnight Blue (which actually happens to legitimately be my favorite color) and Steel Black. They look absolutely gorgeous. Both controls will be available in March for the standard price of $64.99. And this announcement comes hot on the heels of a sneaker partnership announcement too! Damn it Sony, I am a starving artist. You need to show some damn consideration for the little guys cause now I gotta come short with the rent so I can get one of each control and the Playstation sneakers. Oh well, totally worth it.
5. Yea I used this pun last week but, let’s Switch the topic.
If you’re the type of gamer who has been patiently waiting to be charged more money for a service you’ve kind of already been using, then boy is this the box for you. Nintendo announced that the Switch’s online service will be launching in September of this year. No other information was really given so it’s safe to say the previous statements apply. It will most likely run you $19.99 and give access to a Classic Games Selection and eShop discounts, much like the competition. Also, although announced by Microsoft, the Nintendo Switch is getting some rather unique content. The Switch version of Minecraft saw the addition of the Xbox characters pack. This means you’ll be able to play as Master Chief, Cole Train, Banjo, and many more on a Nintendo console. Does this mean we are getting closer to a future where Gamestop employees no longer have to say “Mario is not on Xbox”? The update also includes the Moana character pack featuring characters from the Disney movie.
6. Diablo creator announces new game while Counter Strike creator gets in trouble.
The good news. David Brevik, the creator of gaming classic Diablo, has announced he’s finished a new game which is already in closed beta. The new game, title “It Lurks Below”, mixes elements from Minecraft, Terraria, and Brevik’s original work Diablo. If all goes according to plan, “It Lurks Below” should launch later this year on Steam. This is also Brevik’s first major project since 2013 and he mad it on his own as a one man team. The bad news. Jesse Cliffe, co-creator of Counter-Strike, has been suspended by Valve following his arrest on charges of sexual exploitation of a child. It is important to reserve judgment as details are still emerging around these allegations. We can only hope, as gamers, that this gets resolved in an honest matter and none of it is true.
7. Gaming goes South by SouthWest
SXSW Gaming is headed to Austin, TX March 15th through March 17th. It’s been a little while since gaming has taken part in the SXSW festivities but it’s exciting to see it making it’s return. The video game industry is booming and it really shows with events like this popping up all over the world all year around. This year the SXSW Gaming will feature eSports, indies, VR, AAA, and Mobile, which pretty much is all of gaming. Including gaming in this world of music, film, and art is just another example of the built up appreciation of video games. Hardcode gamers rejoice, a new day is coming.
Got anything that made you feel Lucky that I didn’t mention? Drop it in the comments below.
Sonic Heroes Generations &Knuckles Forces is the newest 3D Sonic the Hedgehog videogame from Sonic Team and SEGA. It is the second Sonic game of 2017, following up the publicly lauded Sonic Mania, a 2D game that bases its roots on the old SEGA Genesis titles. Forces is intended to be a semi-sequel to Sonic Generations and once again features “Classic Sonic” and “New Sonic” in the same game, with different gameplay styles for both characters. Also featured for the first time ever in its 25+ year run, Forces allows you to also play as a custom character.
[Reviewed on Nintendo Switch]
To say that the framerate is unstable is an understatement. That said, it’s not as if every frame is crucial to your success in a Sonic game, especially the modern sonic stages where there are times where you can pretty much hold down a button and zip past everything while the motion blur cranks it up. While not technically impressive, the game does well enough to look decent, especially the backgrounds. There may not be a whole lot going on in the foreground but the background animations and skyboxes are alive and full of color. Just don’t expect anything cutting edge.
Okay, so this game’s story was bad. Really, really, REALLY BAD. To that effect, you could actually say that the plot is so bad it’s ironically good. It looks and sounds like a child with ADHD wrote the whole thing during classes in middle school. Doctor Eggman has finally taken over the world, and you can tell he has… because everyone says so and nothing is explicitly shown ever. The amount of time the vast cast of characters deliver exposition in place of showing you anything is astronomical. Yet this awfulness is practically an artform. The entire extended cast of Sonic characters, including the ones nobody cares about, are all present and accounted for. There are some scenes in the game where I’m not sure if they were supposed to be funny, but watching Sonic get his ass kicked by the new villain of this game made me chuckle. That and some of Sonic’s one-liners are genuinely good.
The sound effects are pretty weak in this game, but that’s really not important. I cannot stress this enough: the OST to this game is not only a spectacular soundtrack for a Sonic game, but a great soundtrack overall. Boasting tons of high energy tunes featuring rock, drum n bass, and even some house, it is absolutely a blast and can be enjoyed on its own. Don’t believe me? Check it out. Seriously. A+. More soundtracks need to be this good. Beside the soundtrack, you have got to admire the voice actors’ commitment to their roles. As stated earlier, the dialogue is as stupid as possible, but the sheer force and dedication to being as in character and serious as possible is admirable.
SEGA, we need to talk. Your game was a train wreck. Seriously, it was. There are so many bugs and glitches that you’d find in older Sonic games, you’d expect Sonic Team would have learned their lesson by now. Very old issues like falling off the track or missing a rail grind should not be things that are still happening in your game. This game has the opposite problem Sonic Mania had. Limited lives and difficult checkpointing were tough, but manageable. Here there are no lives and dying initiates an instant jump back to your checkpoint. However, more often than not you’ll find yourself dying repeatedly not due to the challenge or the courses. The game is actually quite easy, but the physics engine is so flimsy and floaty that some of the very mild platforming sections turn into a nightmare. There’s also a ridiculous difficulty spike that happens at the very final boss fight, where this easy game turns into nearly Dark Souls levels of suffering.
It wasn’t fun. The game was 3-5 hours long at best, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a single memorable moment in the entire game. It’s funny that the soundtrack features about 3.5hrs of music, because just listening to the soundtrack all the way through is probably a more enjoyable experience than playing this game. You will also save a lot of money, as there’s very little value to the game even at its 40-dollar price point. The very second I finished this game, I had to fire up Sonic Mania again just to make sure it wasn’t nostalgia goggles that made it good. Nope, Sonic Mania is just a superior game in every conceivable way. It’s sad that this game was the “big budget” one because it feels a lot more like a half-assed clusterf*ck that was slapped together in a couple of months.
After emerging from the ashes of its slew of awful 3D games, Sonic Mania breathed new life into the franchise. This new life was very short-lived, however, as Sonic Forces fires the hedgehog right back into the gutter. Sonic Generations showed the team everything to make a decent 3D sonic game and yet Sonic Team still found a way to screw it up. Uninspired levels, mundane graphics, poor physics, and an idiotic plot kept this game from being worth any attention. If you’re an absolute fan of Sonic and have been dreaming to have your very own original character fight alongside him, you might find something to like here. But even then, please wait for it to go on sale, it’s nowhere good enough to be bought at full price.
That f*cking missile brigade, man. The sliding scale of the bosses seems to be from 1-10 except they skipped 3-8. The bosses are either a cakewalk or death incarnate. The lives system makes this harder since if you fail during Act 2, you get sent back to Act 1. Ouch. C’mon, I know it was a staple of old video games, but times have change. You could have least let me restart on Act 2.
Usually in this space we tell you, objectively, what type of game you’re looking at in this review. But you don’t need anyone to tell you what Sonic the Hedgehog is, or what he does. You know it. Sonic Mania was developed by a total of three teams, Christian Whitehead Studios, PagodaWest, and Headcannon. The story of these developers alone is amazing. Bascially, the aforementioned Mr Whitehead took creative control over these two companies who have made several sonic fangames in the past. SEGA has possibly made one of the greatest choices in gaming history to work with a fan studio instead of shutting them down. Sonic Mania uses a mix, mash, and remix approach, featuring 12 stages including 8 dramatically changed versions of classic levels and 4 completely new stages.
There’s not a whole lot you can say about the graphics. This game recreates that original sonic artwork in the new stages. It is done to a degree where they are completely indistinguishable from the classics. Again, there’s much else to discuss. To be succinct, it is a perfect recreation.
Finally, as current EIC of this website, I can clearly explain what it means to get a top mark for story on a game that has little to no plot whatsoever. The story is told through a variety of dialogue-free scripted sequences at the tail end of every level. Just like the classics, once again. It’s all you need to go forward. There’s Doctor Eggman, he’s the bad guy and he makes evil robots. He has some gems that change reality or something. Stop him! What the heck else do you need when you are the fastest blue hedgehog in the world? When you finish a boss fight in act two of every stage, the following events adequately show you what transition is being made when you go from one stage to the other. For the first time ever you see the rationale that comes with the change of scenery. Also, Sonic himself earns more cool points simply by saying nothing than he has from years of 3D iterations and cartoons.
There’s a good formula going on for these games. In classic stages, ACT 1 has a remastered version of the classic song tied to the stage. ACT 2 takes it further by adding even more to the songs. They work either by improving or adding instruments to the original melody to really expand on just how good classic video game music needs to sound like. All of the SFX are in top form. Jumping, smashing, breaking, spin-dashing, ring loss, instakills, drowning, flying; they all sound exactly as they should. Once again, can’t say anything better.
They took the best factor from all the original sonic games to make a solid and cohesive experience. You can play as Sonic & Tails, or play individually as Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles. It’s very nice that you can play as whomever you want right from the get-go. I’m enjoying my default run as the primary duo but would love to start a new game as everyone’s favorite red echidna (who doesn’t chuckle, he’d rather flex his muscles). Now, this next bit is embarassing to say, but is a testament to the great design of every level. I didn’t actually play a whole lot of third or fourth-generation consoles aside from going to my friends’ houses to play their Sega Genesis. I know so little about some of the best levels in ancient Sonic history that this entire game feels very fresh to me. I only recognized three zones and even then, they were so different from the originals that it didn’t matter. This is a definitive new game experience for fans and for newbies.
I really with I could give this game a 1.5/2 for review (and yes I am aware that a decimal inside a fraction is nonsense) but rules are rules, so a couple nagging things kept this game from being perfect. Implementing the lives system really feels out of place in modern gaming. Nobody is trying to take extra quarters from you or trying to make the game artificially longer to make the game seem more ‘valuable’. Running out of lives is an incredibly painful experience. The bosses in the game seem to come in only two varieties and that’s either ridiculously easy or controller-throwing hard. If you’re stuck on a boss on ACT 2 of a stage, running out of lives doesn’t send you to the back to the beginning of the act, it puts you back to ACT 1 of the entire stage. So if you’re having difficulties with a particular boss, the limited lives seem only to serve you some frustration and little else. It does however make beating those bosses more rewarding, for sure. But, being angry at the game because you feel like a boss is unfair doesn’t make it fun. Other than that, this game is super easy to pick up and play. Not to mention, getting it on Nintendo Switch is a treat in and of itself, since you can play it anywhere, just like you used to on your Gameboy.
Sonic Mania is a good sonic game. A really good Sonic game. Who would have thought that just returning the basics would be the new breath of fresh air from the series. That’s great and all, but it now leaves me even more concerned about the fast-approaching Sonic Forces. In the meantime, if you liked Sonic, download this title. Get it on the Switch if you can. It’s merely $20 and worth every penny.