Tag Archives: Nintendo Switch

5 memorable bits from E3 2017

As Lucius mentioned, I sort of already went over the games I was happiest to see at this year’s E3, so I thought instead for my end of E3 post I would put together a short list of my favorite E3 bits instead. In no particular order:

  • The new info on Super Mario Odyssey really won me over. I hadn’t stopped to think about it, but people had noticed that all the costumes shown in the game are actually taken from Mario’s cameos from other games, including the Mexican outfit from Qix and the explorer outfit from Mario’s Picross. (Nintendo Life has a nice summary video if you’re interested.) I love game references like these, so I got a big kick out of this. Can we also be expecting doctor and referee outfits for Mario? 😉
  • As Lucius posted, the Amiibo line shows no signs of slowing down, and I’m as excited about the squishy Metroid Amiibo as everyone else; somehow it seems even cooler than the yarn Yoshi Amiibo, although I’m at a complete loss as to why that should be (and probably shouldn’t overanalyze it, haha). I like that Nintendo keeps experimenting with new and fun things to keep the line feeling fresh (even if their actual in-game usage is still fairly ho-hum overall).
  • GoNintendo posted a video about two touching moments that happened during the Ubisoft press conference, where basically Davide Soliani, the director of the newly revealed Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle  and Michel Ancel, the director of Beyond Good and Evil 2, got a little emotional as their games were revealed. I’m right with GoNintendo’s RawmeatCowboy that this was worth noting and applauding even though it wasn’t planned at all. It’s all too easy for the overly vocal and demanding (i.e. whiny and immature) people on the Internet to criticize all the hard work that goes into creating any video game, but seeing these developers’ passion for their projects up close and at a big event like E3 is a great reminder that behind all the stupid hype, corporate crap, and focus on sales numbers and Metacritic scores are individual humans who are artists as much as game developers and who deserve our admiration and respect.
  • Also from the Ubisoft presentation was the announcement of Starlink: Battle for Atlas, a game that is entering the video game toy market with customisable ships. I definitely don’t need more toys to clutter my life, but seeing these little ships completely reminded me of the Transformers I had as a kid, and I was hit with a distinct burst of nostalgia. I’ll be keeping my eye on this game to see what how it ends up, and I may even get tempted into picking up a couple…
  • The 3DS has been inundated with puzzle games, so I’m not sure I’m going to be rushing to get Sushi Striker: The Way of the Sushido when it releases next year, but I love wacky games in general and the art style looks great. It’s being developed by indieszero, known for their work on the NES Remix games, so it should be a solid game, despite looking too much like Puzzles & Dragons.

A pretty good E3 all around, and the rest of 2017 is looking pretty good for gaming as well. Now I just have to find the time to play all of these games…

Leave a comment

Filed under E3, E3 2017

My E3 cheers and boos so far

Well, the first day of Nintendo Christmas has come and gone, and as usual there were some disappointments, but overall this has been a solid E3 for Nintendo fans so far.odyssy

First off, the cheers:

  • There have been two big 180s for me in the past two days. The first was Super Mario Odyssey, which I haven’t been that excited about as I’ve mentioned before. But the ability to possess objects and enemies immediately opens up tons of gameplay possibilities, and the examples they showed (a Bullet Bill, a dinosaur, and even inanimate objects like springy posts you can use to catapult yourself) already make the game feel like a ton of fun. The exploration also looks more fun than the previous, more mission-based Mario games.
  • The second 180 for me was Mario + Rabbids. The game was leaked awhile back, and it sounded pretty iffy. I like the anarchic Rabbids in general, but I wasn’t looking forward to even more Mario & Luigi type RPGs. It turns out the game is actually in the vein of the XCOM games, which I haven’t really played, but looks like a great change of pace. The Rabbids humor looks like it’s meshing really well with the Mushroom Kingdom, and although it’s disappointing there only seem to be 8 characters (Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi and their Rabbids counterparts) it looks like Ubisoft has successfully captured the feel of the Mario games, which is great to see.
  • The remake of Metroid II looks fantastic. It’s a tad bit disappointing it’s not a new entry, but the remake of the original Metroid (i.e. Metroid Zero) was great, so I have high expectations for this remake as well. Developer MercurySteam has worked on plenty of Castlevania games, and from the footage they’ve shown it looks like they’re doing a great job.

fewrrs

As for the boos, they’re actually not really boos, but more like mild crotchety complaints from an old geezer rather than big thumbs down. They are:

  • At the top of my list, just because I’m so hyped for the game in general, it was great to see more of Fire Emblem Warriors, but I was really disappointed that they only showed footage of swordfighters. This makes sense from a game standpoint since they’re showing the beginning of the game and it probably eases the players into all the general Warriors mechanics before diving deeper into the more-complex, FE Warriors specific mechanics, but this has the upshot of making the game look like a generic Warriors game. The developers reassured the audience that the game will feature plenty of characters, and many types other than swordfighters, but would it have killed them to show at least one mage or pegasus rider? I just hope they’re saving these reveals for the other days. We have a strong hint that Tiki, a dragon, is playable in the game as they revealed an Amiibo for her, and it would’ve been awesome to have seen some footage of her.
  • I’m kind of annoyed at announcements of games that are just “this game is being developed” with zero info. In Nintendo’s case there were two big reveals that were just that: Metroid Prime 4 and a mainline Pokemon game for Switch. I can understand why companies want to build the hype for projects that will take a long time to be released, but even a bit of concept art or, well, basically anything, would be better than just a completely bare announcement.
  • I’m fine with there being new Yoshi and Kirby games, except that I feel like Yoshi’s Woolly World was just released (it was released two years ago and its 3DS version was released just this past February), and I feel like Kirby has had plenty of games released (perhaps too many) in the past few years. To be fair, it’s been a while since a regular console Kirby game has been released, though. (Kirby and the Rainbow Curse was also released in 2015 but had unique mechanics, whereas the more-traditional platformer Kirby’s Return to Dream Land was released in 2011 on Wii.) It’s disappointing that there are so many other great Nintendo IPs that continue to be neglected, like the Wario platformer series.
  • Lastly, Nintendo announced even more Amiibo than I was expecting, with at least a couple to accompany pretty much every new game they showed off, and they all look great. The downside… having to decide which ones I really have to have. Collecting just the Fire Emblem Amiibo is already hurting my wallet and my desk and shelf space, so this is just a personal twinge of regret rather than anything bad about the announcements themselves.

So that’s my brain dump for E3 so far. Two more days to go!

6 Comments

Filed under E3, E3 2017

E3 2017: 5 new and exciting things from the Nintendo Spotlight

At a svelte 30 minutes, Nintendo’s E3 presentation was far shorter than its rivals – but it packed a few truly stunning reveals into its relatively slim running time. The low points were undoubtedly Reggie Fils-Aime’s interminable ramblings, where he stirred in metaphor after metaphor and ended up producing a truly inedible word soup.

“The game is fun. The game is a battle. If it’s not fun, why bother? If it’s not a battle, where’s the fun?”

Oooookay Reggie, I sort of see where you’re going…

“It’s a test that you pass, or a quest that you fail. A race against time. Fun and battle always locked together. But the game is also something else. It’s a passport to new worlds. Maybe even an odyssey.”

Nope, sorry, you lost me.

Anyway, onto the games. (Or battles?)


#5 Pokemon on Switch

Tsunekazu Ishihara from The Pokemon Company looked up from his notepad for long enough to tell us that a new Pokemon game is on its way for the Switch – and that was pretty much it. It’s exciting news, but all we know is that it’s in development and that “it may not release for more than a year”.


#4 Xenoblade Chronicles 2

We knew that this game was coming, but now we finally get to see a bit more of it in action. My first impressions were a little lukewarm compared to the reveal of the previous two games. The first Xenoblade Chronicles had the unique gimmick of taking place on two enormous giants, and X had giant robot suits and dinosaurs to dazzle the eye, whereas XC2 looks like it treads more traditional JRPG territory by comparison. BUT, with all the flying ships whizzing about, it has a strong Skies of Arcadia vibe – and that’s a very good thing indeed. The slightly ropey English voiceover may take some getting used to though. Apparently it’s still set for ‘Winter 2017’, although I will take that with a pinch of salt – both previous games slipped quite considerably.


#3 Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

We already saw this game at Ubisoft’s conference, but it’s worth highlighting here because – against all expectations – it looks like something utterly amazing. Basically, it’s Mario does XCOM, a sentence I never thought I’d ever write. As a huge fan of the XCOM games, I’m intrigued to see how this plays – and it looks pretty funny, too. Man, XCOM with a sense of humour – we live in interesting times…


#2 Super Mario Odyssey

This game looks seriously bonkers. And that is a very good thing indeed. The big change is that Mario can possess enemies by flinging his cap at them, which immediately brings to mind the underrated N64 classic Space Station Silicon Valley. It opens up all sorts of avenues for explorative gameplay, and from this first extended look, it seems Odyssey could very well beat Super Mario 3D World in terms of sheer imagination. The variety of environments is impressive – the design team has really gone for broke on this one. And Mario possesses a FLIPPIN’ T. REX AT THE END. Mental.


#1 Metroid Prime 4

In the end it was just a title, but it was enough. METROID PRIME 4. Three words that have sent the Twittersphere into absolute meltdown. Ten years after the last Metroid Prime game, and following the tepid reception to Other M and Federation Force, Nintendo has finally listened to the fans and given them what they wanted. And – bombshell upon bombshell – MP4 wasn’t even the only Metroid game Nintendo announced.


Those are my highlights, but we also saw glimpses of new Kirby and Yoshi games – neither set my world alight, although they’re sure to please fans of the series. The other big news was that Rocket League is coming to Switch – and already people who own the game on other systems are talking about getting the Switch version as well, just for the portability. It seems that Nintendo really hit on something that people love when they came up with the Switch, and judging by the strong games line-up in their presentation, the company has a rosy year ahead.

4 Comments

Filed under E3, E3 2017

Spiffing Reads: Nintendo Switch, Invisible Warcraft Bunnies and the Worst Game Ever

This week on Spiffing Reads, we kick off with a couple of interesting opinion pieces on the Nintendo Switch…

nintendo-switch-joy-con

Don’t Judge Switch by the Stagnant Competition (Kotaku UK)

This article struck a chord with me, particularly in how it accuses many in the games industry of not being able to look past technical specs. “There are a few problems with how we look at it, the first being the hardware bores who talk tech in terms of upper limits rather than capabilities. The deathly-dull teardowns of components, the red-meat comparisons for the troll brigade, none of it’s illuminating. It’s not that specs or framerates or resolutions are unimportant, just that they’re much less important than the overall experience they’re being used to create, which gets lost beneath meaningless technical gotchas.” Personally, I stopped caring about tech specs once they stopped counting ‘bits’.

Switch’s challenge is unique software, not PS4 competition (GamesIndustry.biz)

Another fascinating article from Rob Fahey, with some really interesting points about the timing of the Switch’s launch in the console cycle in comparison with its predecessor, the Wii U.

howard-t-ackerman

The six worst US presidents in video game history (The Guardian)

I have to thank this article for reminding me that in a gaming world somewhere out there, J. K. Simmons is the US President.

The Invisible Bunnies That Power World of Warcraft (Kotaku UK)

I love this story. It turns out that some of the spells in Warcraft are powered by invisible rabbits – and they’re just one of the bizarre animal-based shortcuts that programmers have used to save time.

walkman-tetris

How a Tetris clone on the front of a tape-player led to spiritual enlightenment (Eurogamer)

This is something a bit different – an article from a self-confessed ‘non-gamer’ about how gaming changed her perception of the world. I’ve experienced a bit of ‘Tetrishead’ myself, but nothing like she describes. A great read.

THE PUNCH HEARD AROUND THE WORLD – by Mr Biffo (Digitiser 2000)

Nothing to do with video games, this one, but a very well written and interesting article about the internet reaction to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer getting punched on live TV. Mr Biffo echoes my own feelings – as much as I loathe neo-Nazis, beating them up is nothing to be celebrated. And if anything, it’s only going to strengthen their resolve.

sqij

The story behind the worst game ever made (Eurogamer)

It’s always interesting to hear tales from the eighties gaming scene, which was basically a kind of pixellated Wild West where anyone could do pretty much anything and get away with it. But even then, it’s hard to believe that a publisher could release a game that literally doesn’t work at all and still get away with it. Sort of puts modern day-one patches into perspective.

sin-city-video-game

The Sin City game that never was (Eurogamer)

My first thought on reading this headline was that Sin City would make a brilliant video game, particularly with it’s stark black and white (and red) stylings, a la the under-rated MadWorld. But then I read how the publisher and writer kept demanding horrible, horrible changes to the characters and script, to the point where it was a mercy that the game was eventually killed.


Spiffing Reads is a regular feature where we pick out the best gaming articles of the week. If you’ve read anything interesting, please let us know in the comments.

2 Comments

Filed under Spiffing Reads

The Nintendo Switch Presentation – A Bit of a Disappointment

nintendo-switch-console

I didn’t get up at 4am this morning to watch the Nintendo Switch Presentation – I’m not a masochist. But I logged on first thing to devour all the juicy information that Nintendo revealed about their new console. And it left somewhat of a dry taste in my mouth.

The main thing I was hoping for was games, games, games. Nintendo have been pretty quiet in 2016, with only a handful of titles trickling out of their studios for Wii U and 3DS. So I assumed, like many, that they’d been beavering away on Switch games and would reveal a bevvy of titles to launch with their brand new console. This doesn’t appear to be the case.

Super Mario Odyssey looks bloody great, even if the ‘real world’ sections seem slightly odd. Watching the trailer made me salivate at the prospect of playing another 3D Mario game, but it won’t be out until ‘holiday 2017’. It was the same story with many of the other ‘launch’ titles. Most will be coming later this year (or probably next year, or even the year after that in case of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which I struggle to believe will launch this year), and only five titles will be ready for launch day: 1 2 Switch, Just Dance, Skylanders, Super Bomberman R (hey, Konami still make video games!) and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Zelda is of course a must buy, but since it’s also coming out for the Wii U, I don’t really feel like I need to rush out and buy a Switch at launch – especially since the other launch titles are somewhat uninspiring. I’m sure many other people will be feeling the same way. There seems little point in getting a Switch until the number of games is at least in double digits.

In general, the games that were revealed were – apart from Mario and Zelda – fairly underwhelming. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Fire Emblem Warriors look great, even if they’re both seemingly very far off. But Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe come across as slightly tarted up versions of the Wii U games I already own, so I don’t feel the need to rush out and buy them. Arms looks fun, if a little lightweight. And the rest… well apart from new versions of FIFA and Street Fighter II, that was about everything of note.

It’s not exactly an inspiring list. What the hell have Nintendo been up to for the past couple of years? Where are all the amazing first party games?

And the price! My god. £280 for a Switch with no games included, and £75 for another pair of JoyCon controllers. Yowch. At this selling point, Nintendo have priced themselves out of the casual market, and they’re also charging a good £80 more than it would cost for a PS4 with pack-in game – yet their console is significantly less powerful than Sony’s machine. As a fan of Nintendo games, I will end up buying a Switch at some point – but I wonder who else will.

Anyway, let’s take a look back at my ‘wish list for Nintendo Switch‘ and see which ones we can tick off:

Battery life of at least 8 hours

Nope, nope, nope. They reckon it will have battery life of 2.5 to 6.5 hours depending on what you’re playing. That, frankly, is rubbish.

A new ‘proper’ Metroid game

Uh uh. We got Mario and Zelda, while new entries in other Nintendo franchises were notable by their absence.

One terabyte of storage – minimum

Pffft, definitely not. The Switch will have 32GB of storage. 32GB. I’m starting to wonder whether Nintendo know what the hell they’re doing.

Game saves on the cloud

Possibly. It’s not quite clear at this point, but they’ve certainly announced a new online service. Speaking of which…

A subscription-based Virtual Console service

Well, Nintendo’s new online subscription service promises a free NES or SNES game each month, so that’s something at least, if not quite the ‘Netflix for old video games’ that I was hoping for. But next to Sony and Microsoft’s monthly free game giveaway, it seems positively stingy. And the wording seems to suggest that the games will only be playable for a month before they get deleted from your hard drive, which seems even stingier. Hmmm.

More amiibo

A big fat no. Corrin is still MIA.

Some sort of crossbuy thing

Nope. Although this one might still be a possibility.

GPS-enabled games

Hmmm, there was no mention of GPS. But then again, Nintendo didn’t reveal hard specs for the console either. Put it down as a maybe?

Improved Streetpass

Again, no. At least, not that we know of. UPDATE: The Switch definitely won’t have Streetpass. Or Miiverse, which seems like a bizarre decision, as the social network is one of the Wii U’s best features.

StarFox 2

Nope. Yeah, I know it was a long shot.

To sum up, I think the Nintendo Switch is a great idea. The idea of a home console you can take with you on the move is very appealing, and it has some neat features. The JoyCon controllers in particular look pretty nifty, and the ‘HD Rumble’ they feature sounds like a great innovation. (Apparently they can simulate effects like ice cubes rattling around in a glass in your hand.)

joycon_controller_map

Other features sound good, but hardly essential. It’s good to hear the console is region free, but that’s only going to appeal to a minority of people who import games. And the fact that you can play with eight players on one console is great, yet will only be utilised by a tiny percentage of the audience. Especially as the JoyCons cost £75 a pair.

Which brings me on to the two big negatives hanging over the whole presentation like the permanent wreath of cloud around Zelda’s Death Mountain: the price and the lack of games.

Really, the Switch needed to be £200, £250 max. At £280 with no games, it’s already put me off buying one at launch, and I’m sure the same is true of many others. A console seen as ‘underpowered’ compared to its (now ageing) rivals shouldn’t cost nearly a third more than them. And the price of the accessories is eye-watering. The infrared camera on the JoyCon is a nifty idea (apparently it can detect hand gestures and will be able to record video in the future), but it’s also a gimmick that is unlikely to be used often, and we could probably do without it for the sake of bringing down the crazily high cost.

But the main reason for buying any console is the games, and I just don’t see enough of them. Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains the big draw, but that’s already coming out for the Wii U, a console I already own. The rest are either ports of old games, niche titles, reworkings of Wii U games or so far in the future that they don’t even have a name yet (like Shin Megami Tensei – New Title).

nintendo-switch-officiail-specs

It feels like Nintendo are making the same mistakes all over again by launching an expensive console with poor battery life – just like they did with the 3DS, which saw a price cut mere months after release. And it seems like only yesterday that the late Satoru Iwata was publicly apologising for the Wii U games drought, yet here we are again with a Nintendo console that has gaps in its release schedule so big that you could drive a bus through them.

It was only last year that Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime claimed that the company had learned from its mistakes on the Wii U. Certainly, this time around Nintendo has managed to convey much more clearly what their new console does in comparison to the muddled messaging around the Wii U. But Reggie also said this:

“We have to do a better job from a software planning standpoint to have that continuous beat of great new games that are motivating more and more people to pick up the hardware and more and more people to pick up the software.”

Judging by the sparse line up of Switch games for the year ahead, Reggie hasn’t been listening to his own advice.

9 Comments

Filed under Opinions

A wish list for Nintendo Switch

nintendoswitch_hardware-0-0

We’re only days away from the Nintendo Switch press conference, and I’m very excited to find out more about Nintendo’s next console. In an ideal world, these are the things I’d like to hear.

Battery life of at least 8 hours

The Nintendo 3DS was hobbled at launch by weak batteries – the most you could expect was about 4 hours of gaming, and turning on the 3D feature drained the batteries even quicker. Thankfully, later editions improved the battery life somewhat, but seeing as the Switch is much more powerful than the 3DS, my worry is that it will drain power like nobody’s business. If they can get it to run for around 8 hours off one charge, I’d be more than happy.

A new ‘proper’ Metroid game

Come on Nintendo, you know you want to. After Metroid Prime: Federation Force was released to the sound of a deflating balloon, Metroid fans like me are more determined than ever to play a new, ‘proper’ installment of the seemingly dormant main series. This could be a long shot though, as the Metroid games have never been huge sellers.

Metroid: Other M was the last entry in the main series, but that came out back in 2010.

Metroid: Other M was the last entry in the main series, but that came out back in 2010.

One terabyte of storage – minimum

The ‘deluxe’ version of the Wii U still only came with 32 GB of storage, and the basic edition had just 8 GB. Considering the size of modern games, this is a piddling amount – and if Nintendo want to encourage downloads from the eShop, they’d better up the hard drive size of the Switch considerably. One terabyte would be about right. But if they go down the route of using SD cards, I sincerely hope you don’t have to unscrew the back of the console to switch them, like you have to do with the New Nintendo 3DS.

Game saves on the cloud

The introduction of the Nintendo Account now at least unifies the 3DS and Wii U eShop experience, and Miiverse works the same on both consoles. But with the Switch I’d love to see all of my purchases and saves registered to the cloud, so I can easily switch consoles and don’t have to worry about losing games – which is exactly what happened when my 3DS was stolen. Not to mention the faff I had to go through to upgrade to a New Nintendo 3DS XL.

A subscription-based Virtual Console service

It seems pretty likely that we’ll be getting GameCube games on the Switch, which is great news – I’ve already picked out the games I’d most like to see. But I’d love to get more out of the Virtual Console. I’d love to play through all those old NES and SNES classics on my Switch, but buying them all individually is not only horrendously expensive, it’s also a waste. For every classic game I’ve bought and loved (Gargoyle’s Quest, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones), there’s another one I’ve bought and pretty much given up on straight away (Mega Man II, Kid Icarus). If Nintendo charged a subscription fee that allowed access to the entire library for a fixed amount each month, I’d be throwing my money at them – and I wouldn’t keep feeling burned by buying old games that disappoint.

More amiibo

Just more amiibo. I love the damn things, keep ’em coming. Preferably more Fire Emblem ones. Speaking of which, what’s happened to that Corrin one we were promised?

What happened to the Cloud, Corrin and Bayonetta amiibo?

What happened to the Cloud, Corrin and Bayonetta amiibo?

Some sort of crossbuy thing

I’ve bought quite a few indie games on the Wii U and 3DS – the ‘Nindie’ scene has been brilliant on both consoles. But I don’t particularly want to buy them all again for Switch. If games like Severed get rereleased, I’d like the option to download them for free without having to buy them again.

GPS-enabled games

Pokemon Go showed just how effectively GPS location can be used in games, and some patents suggest that the Switch will have in-built GPS. I’d love to see how Nintendo could use this in games like Animal Crossing and, well, Pokemon.

Improved Streetpass

I love Streetpass. It’s a great idea, and seeing a new Mii pop onto my console from the 3DS of a passer by is always a treat. But what if rather than simply say hi to other Switch users, your Mii could invite them to do battle? Perhaps you’d both have to accept within a minute for it to start, but before you know it, you’re playing against someone you’ve only just met in a bus queue. The one big failing of Pokemon Go was that it was too passive – huge crowds assembled, but they were all playing alone. An upgraded version of Streetpass with real-time challenges could make gaming more social.

StarFox 2

Come on Nintendo, we all know you finished the game. Why not go ahead and release it? I mean, it’s been more than two decades now…

starfox2_snes_game_box

9 Comments

Filed under Opinions

10 GameCube Games I’d Love To See On Nintendo Switch

gamecube-console-set

Eurogamer recently reported the rumour that the Nintendo Switch will have support for GameCube games on the Virtual Console. If true, this is fantastic news, as the GameCube has an enviable library of titles to draw from, many of which never reached the audience they deserved. Big hit titles like Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door are a sure bet for revival on the Switch Virtual Console, but there are loads of excellent GameCube games that are less well known or successful yet nonetheless deserve to see the light of day again. Here are the ten GameCube titles I’d love to play on the Nintendo Switch.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

This was the first Fire Emblem game to embrace 3D and voice acting, and it was the first to feature Ike, now immortalised in Super Smash Bros. and as a rather fetching amiibo. I never got to play it at the time, so I’d really love to get my hands on this one. Seeing as previous Fire Emblem titles have already made their way to the Virtual Console, I reckon there’s a good chance we’ll see this one appear on Switch.

fire-emblem-path-of-radiance

Doshin The Giant

I’ve written before about how much I love this game. Doshin the Giant is a bit like a cross between From Dust and Black & White – you control a big, friendly, yellow giant called Doshin, and you gain worshippers by clearing land for them so their villages can grow bigger. And YOU grow bigger as more and more people start to love you. But at the start of the next day, you find yourself back to normal size and the process starts all over again. It’s weird, relaxing and utterly, utterly wonderful.

doshin-the-giant

Skies of Arcadia Legends

Skies of Arcadia originally came out on the Dreamcast, and it’s one of my favourite RPGs of all time. The ship battles were great, and assembling a crew from across the world of floating islands was compelling – plus those famed SEGA blue skies were very much in evidence. The GameCube version adds the ‘Legends’ subtitle, along with lots of extra discoveries and tweaks. Most notably, the only real problem with the original has been fixed: the frustratingly high encounter rate has been reduced, so you can explore in relative peace without being pounced on by enemies every five seconds.

skies-of-arcadia

Lost Kingdoms II

Although it’s not particularly well known, the first Lost Kingdoms was one of the best games for the GameCube – I’ve written about what makes it so good right here. The sequel is even better, but it was released right near the end of the GameCube’s lifespan and is pretty difficult to get hold of now: it currently goes for £30-40 on eBay. Both games were developed by FromSoftware, the folks behind Dark Souls and Bloodborne, although the Lost Kingdom games are a darn sight easier than those later titles. The series’ USP is that you battle enemies using cards, which transform into allies that fight on your behalf. Almost a year later, Phantasy Star Online Episode III (also on GameCube) would go on to use a similar card battling system. Speaking of which…

lost-kingdoms-ii

Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution

The third Phantasy Star Online game switched to a card battling system that divided fans of the series. Now, with the rise of Hearthstone and its ilk, card battling is very much de rigeur, so in many ways this game and Lost Kingdoms II were ahead of their time. In other words, now seems to be an ideal point to re-introduce them to the world. Of course, the multiplayer online element is crucial to Phantasy Star Online Episode III, so any re-release would require those servers to be dusted off and kicked into life again. The sheer expense of this might put paid to any hope of it seeing a second life on Virtual Console, but here’s hoping that SEGA and Nintendo see sense.

phantasy-star-online-episode-iii

Chibi-Robo!

We’ve seen a few Chibi-Robo games over the years, but generally the sequels have been disappointing and not a patch on the charming GameCube original. You play a tiny household robot tasked with cleaning up after humans, but you’re constrained by having to constantly top up your batteries by plugging into the mains. The real draw though is the domestic drama that plays out in the background as the family weathers a pending divorce. Shigeru Miyamoto had a hand in its development, so perhaps that fact alone will be enough to secure it a Switch rerelease.

chibi-robo

P.N.03

P.N.03 was announced as one of the ‘Capcom Five‘, a bevvy of GameCube exclusive titles that looked set to revive the fortunes of the ailing console. The other four were Killer7, Viewtiful Joe, Resident Evil 4 and Dead Phoenix: but Dead Phoenix was cancelled, and the other three quickly lost their exclusivity and were launched for rival consoles. P.N.03, on the other hand, remained exclusive to GameCube – probably because the game was somewhat of a commercial failure. Yet despite its lack of success, it’s a real cracker of a game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, and it offers a vibrantly different take on the run and gun shooter. Lead character Vanessa Z. Schneider is balletic but, counter-intuitively, has somewhat restricted movement, leaping left and right, backwards and forwards to precisely measured distances. This movement set in turn demands precise shooting and dodging, and it remains a unique and fascinating game that sticks in the memory.

p-n-03

Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest

Although this Japanese release was localized for the North American market, it never made it to Europe, so bringing Cubivore to Switch would provide the first opportunity for gamers in the UK to sample its weirdness. You play a carnivorous cube that starts off with one flappy limb, and the idea is to make your cube stronger by eating other cubes, which cause it to mutate. Different colours give different abilities, and you can mate with lady cubes to spawn a new generation with new mutations – as well as an extra limb. Limbs are important because you can only attack cubes with an up to one more limb than you have, so you need to max out your appendages to take on bigger baddies. Oh, and in a rather gruesome twist, you defeat enemies by wrenching off their limbs. How very un-Nintendo.

Battalion Wars

Battalion Wars is a spin-off of the Advance Wars series, but rather than being a turn-based strategy game, it’s a cartoony third-person shooter. However, it still retains some strategy elements, as you control a squadron of troops that you can switch between, ans each can be given specific orders, such as holding position of attacking certain targets. In essence, it’s a bit like the venerable Second World War game Hidden & Dangerous, but without the extremely slow pace, realistic setting and brutal difficulty. A sequel was released for the Wii, but the series has been dormant ever since, so it would be great to see it revived on Switch.

battalion-wars

Eternal Darkness

Despite the best efforts of director Denis Dyack, Eternal Darkness has yet to receive a sequel, which is a crying shame as it was one of the most original and creepy games of its time. Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s writings, it tells the tale of attempts to revive ancient gods that are set to wipe out mankind. The game starts with Alexandra Roivas investigating the murder of her grandfather in his mansion, where she comes across the Tome of Eternal Darkness. The book details the many attempts by individuals to thwart the revival of the Ancient Ones, and as Alexandra reads each chapter, you take control of whoever wrote that particular passage. There are 12 playable characters in all, everyone from a Roman centurion to a Franciscan monk, and each chapter plays very differently according to the abilities of your character. But the game is most famous for its ‘sanity meter’ which fills up as you encounter more and more ethereal horrors. If it maxes out, weird, disorienting effects occur that often break the fourth wall – your TV might turn off, or the game will suddenly announce it’s deleting your save file. The magic system is also pretty clever, as you pick out runes to cast a spell: the more runes, the more powerful the spell, but the greater time you’re left vulnerable while casting. If we can’t have a sequel to this wonderful horror game, the least Nintendo could do is revive it on their next console. And there are hints it might be on its way.

eternal-darkness

So that’s my wish list for GameCube games that should be revived on Switch – which ones are you looking forward to seeing?

13 Comments

Filed under Opinions