Nintendo Switch Event Run Down.

 

{FULL PRESENTATION HERE}

 

It all Began with address from Kimishima the new President of Nintendo. The first announcement was March 3 for a worldwide release.

Prices were announced at Japanese 29980 Yen, $299 American dollars, Europeans were advised to Check retailers.

Switch will have modern online services, with online multiplayer services, interact with smart phone apps. Here they mentioned chatting with friends which would be a departure from how Nintendo has approached online recently.

Online will be free at launch until fall 2017, then it will become paid much like Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus. No word on how much it will cost.

The biggest announcement for me being a New Zealander is that the Nintendo Switch is region free. Which gives me a way to get games cheaper by buying from America.

Shinya Takahashi the software development leader was the next to come out, and he talked about how the Switch is intended to be a legacy system that builds on all previous Nintendo innovations from d-pad to analog, to motion controls.

Nintendo Switch is supposed to be a home console gaming system that can be taken on the go. Rather than a portable that happens to connect to a TV.

 It will work in three modes. TV mode when it is connected via the dock to your TV, tabletop mode where the portable unit sits up with the stand and can be played via the disconnected joy cons. Finally, portable mode where it is used as a traditional handheld device.

The new joy cons can be disconnected and used as player one and two controllers.  Of course it can be played in portable mode while charging the system.

The screen is a capacitive touch panel that will allow for touch interaction that Nintendo is used to working with from the DS to the Wii U.

Eight Switch consoles can be connected together for local wireless multiplayer, much like the DS family of systems can do.

General Development producer Koizumi was next out and he had the most screen time of anyone from Nintendo for the whole conference.

He began by describing the Joy Con controls and the ways in which they work. The square Joy con grip is considered the basic way of playing in the TV mode style. Although the pro controllers are also available.

 Apparently Nintendo telling us that the joy cons have clickable analog sticks is important, but they quickly got to some more interesting features.

The Right JoyCon has an NFC reader for Amiibo support, which is located near the home button that is on the right JoyCon.

Left controller has capture button, much like the share buttons that are on PS4 and Xbox one today. Capture button will initially be for screenshots only, though they have said video will be coming later.

There are accelerometers for motion control type games in each of the controllers, and each controller has Land R buttons so they can be used as fully functional multiplayer controls.

Color variations of neon blue and neon red were announced next, so more should be on the way if history is anything to go by. Wrist straps slide onto the controllers like the controllers sliding onto the Switch itself. Straps make each JoyCon into larger controllers with larger L and R buttons being part of the straps. Straps also have neon red and blue colors for people who want to be color coordinated.

Right controller has an IR camera for hand movement tracking. They demoed it being able to recognize rock, paper scissors. So we will see what comes of that.

They talked about the Left controller on has precise “rumble” for a kind of haptic feedback. Nintendo is calling it HD rumble. They demoed it by showing Koizumi being able Feel ice cubes dropping into and rolling around a glass.

Next up was the announcement of Two new games focused on the JoyCons

The first game is Called “1-2 Switch” looks to be all about reaction times tied into party mini-games like Wii Play, such as a quick draw competition.

1-2 Switch developer and Nintendo Switch hardware director Kawamoto came out next to talk about his game. It can be played without looking at a screen, it’s all focused on staring down your opponent without looking at the TV screen.

1-2 Switch will be a Launch game on March 3rd.

The second game announced is a long-range fighting game with new characters that have springs for arms. So of course the game is called Arms. Kosuke Yabuki Producer for Arms then came out to talk about his game. He likened it to a fighting/sports game with characters that have extendable arms, so that boxing becomes similar shooting. The mascot characters are called Spring man and Ribbon girl.

Arms will have Online battles as well as solo, split screen and multiple switch console play. Is out in Spring 2017 (Autumn 2017 if you are in the Southern Hemisphere).

Splatoon 2 was then discussed by Hisashi Nogami who played the part of a “Squid Researcher” which was a bit awkward but very Nintendo. He discussed new weapons which also includes special weapons that activate after spraying a certain amount of Ink, essentially super/ultimate moves. Splatoon 2 is Planned for launch in summer 2017 (Winter in the Southern Hemisphere).

A new 3D Mario game was up next, which began in a world modeled after real life, then switched to Mario style worlds. Mario was shown throwing his hat, and riding a cat statue.

It is called Super Mario Odyssey. With his hat being the new mascot similar to FLUDD in Sunshine or the Lumas in Galaxy. Koizumi is Super Mario Odyssey’s producer. And talked about how Odyssey is supposed to be a sandbox type world like 64 and Sunshine. Which I love given that the directed worlds of Galaxy 1 and 2 didn’t work as well for me.

Super Mario Odyssey is coming Holiday 2017.

I am super excited that they announced Xenoblade 2, which looks fantastic and featured shots that make it look much more like Xenoblade Chronicles with massive world sized creatures. It also seemed to have the main character wielding a new form of the Monado sword.

Next up a New Fire emblem game called Fire Emblem Warriors was teased by Koei Tecmo.

Then they began to drop development stats. So they have 50 partners and there are 80 games currently in development for the Nintendo Switch.

Dragon Quest 10 and 11 has been announced for the switch in Japan. Dragon quest Heroes 1&2 was also announced.

 A new Atlas title is an Unreal 4 powered Shin Megami Tensei game which is celebrating 20 years of Shin Megami Tensei. It has only Just started development, and the cinematic was prepared specifically for this presentation.

There is a New Square-Enix title on the way, called project Octopath Traveler (Seriously what’s up with Square-Enix names).

Toshihiro Nagoshi from SEGA came out to talk up the new system and how good it will be for gamers.

Todd Howard from Bethesda Games was next to confirm Skyrim for Nintendo Switch. He talked about being excited to work with Nintendo for the first time.

Suda 51 from Grasshopper (No More Heroes, Killer 7, Lollipop Chainsaw). He is bringing Travis Touchdown back on Switch, but didn’t actually call it No More Heroes 3. He went on to discuss Switch being an exciting platform to develop games for as an Indie developer.

Then came Patrick Söderlund from EA, to announce that Nintendo Switch will be getting FIFA later this year in a game called EA Sports FIFA.

Koizumi signs off, just before a trailer where the mandatory montage of games trailer dropped and showed a lot of new and ported games.

There is Telltale’s Minecraft, Dragon Quest, Disgaea, a proper Minecraft port, possibly a new Sonic game and many more.

The console will launch with 2 JoyCons, 2 JoyCon straps, a JoyCon grip, the Dock, an HDMI cable, and an AC adapter. There are currently two options at launch, one with grey JoyCons and one with a set of neon Red and Blue JoyCons. Each option costs the same.

Satoru Shibata of Nintendo of Europe. Appeared on video to announce events for people to try Switch around Europe before launch on March 3rd

Reggie Fils-Aimé then made a similar announcement for America

He then briefly talked to Mario creator Miyamoto about switch and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Eiji Aonuma jumps out and is asked about the launch date for Breath of the Wild he throws back to the stage for Kimishima to make the final announcements.

Last up was a fantastic new trailer for Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, it began by showcasing a few new environments then dropped into a story trailer. We finally get a look at this games Zelda and there seems to be a bit more emotion in this Zelda which looks much darker than recent editions. We hear Link being asked to save someone’s daughter, presumably Zelda

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild Will be out on the Nintendo Switch Launch day of March 3rd 2017.

Some of the peripherals were given prices just after the conference ended. The pro controller will be 69 USD, the JoyCons are 49 USD each, or 79 USD for both.

Honestly the conference dragged a bit, and didn’t really make me any more excited for the Switch. At this point I will wait and see what other games will be out at launch or very close to launch before I think of buying one. Although if some of those games are ports of Wii U games that I missed, like Mario Kart 8, or Smash Bros U that could easily make me pick up a launch system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FINAL FANTASY XV: FOR FANS AND FIRST TIMERS

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{Check out the Video}

A Final Fantasy For fans and first timers is the message that greets you when you boot up the newest addition to the famous Final Fantasy series. And after a ten-year wait since the announcement of this game, it definitely needs to impress both groups.

But how has the game actually fared. Well it depends on what you look for in a game.

I’ll start with the story, it’s interesting but feels very disconnected from the world that you are playing in there never seems to be a threat significant enough to pull you through the story. This is especially true if you haven’t seen the prequel movie Kingsglaive.

Noctis Lucis Caelum crown prince of Lucis, who with his three retainers and friends is travelling to meet his wife to be Lunafreya or Luna Nox Fleuret. Noctis is the chosen King of Light who is destined to rid the world of darkness. It is when Noctis learns of the death of his father during peace talks with the Empire of Niflheim that he must set out to gain the approval of his ancestors. And with Luna’s help the support of Eos’s six gods Titan, Ramuh, Leviathan, Shiva, Ifrit and Bahamut. So he can take back the Crystal stolen by Nifelheim and fulfil his destiny.

Theproblem for me is that I never feel pressured to move the story forward, demons only appear at night or in dungeons, and unless you have a mission to assault a Niflheim base, you only see enemies from Niflheim when occasionally drop ships appear out in the world. For me this is where the story and the world are disconnected.

Because they appear only under very specific circumstances neither the Demons nor Niflheim feel like a threat that you should be hurrying to destroy. Even though according to the games NPCs both are supposed to be apocalyptic threats.

Although the first two-thirds of XV is open and free for you to explore, as soon as you decide to proceed to Altissia to finally meet Lunafreya the game becomes very linear. Altissia as a small city has a small number of side quests. But once you decide to gain Leviathans blessing the rest of the games has you running down a hallway. Fortunately around the same time you also gain access at rest points to Umbra a dog of Luna’s to travel back to past Lucis, or Altissia so you can continue side quests.

There has been a lot of talk about Noctis and his friends Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto and how great their relationship is in-game. Unfortunately the story missions make some odd choices with these important characters that ruin them for me.

Each of them has a short absence from the party over the course of the game, and when they return they have had major changes that are not explained. I believe this is where each supporting character gets some DLC in which I assume these stories are told. It is very disconnecting when these characters that you have spent hours with suddenly change with no explanation.

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Story completion is only the beginning.

Luckily however the moment to moment gameplay is amazing.

As has been typical of Square Enix Action RPGs you are given a myriad of options in combat. You only ever control Noctis but he is able to wield any weapon in the game, which could be anything from a great sword to a revolver. Each of which has strengths and weaknesses in a given situation allowing you to play as you like. I spent most of the game with a long sword and a lance for example.

The depth of this system is extended when Noctis is able to slot four weapons or magic at a time that can be quick switched with the tap of a the d-pad, which is useful when every enemy, has its own strengths and weaknesses that you can take advantage of. Even enemies in the same family have different weaknesses which keeps you switching weapon sets to be as effective as possible.

Ignis, Gladiolus, and Prompto each have abilities that you can employ at will with a tech gauge that should remind a Final Fantasy fan of the active time battle system. These abilities range from a regroup command from Ignis that heals the party, to a gravity well from Prompto that can drag enemies together, or a colossal smash from Gladiolus with his great sword.

These abilities break up combat and can be combined with other effects to unleash devastating attacks. For example try Ingis’ Overwhelm ability while Noctis is using the Bow of the Clever, the rain of energy bolts will tear almost any enemy apart.

Noctis has exclusive access to thirteen of his ancestors weapons, some of which are the only weapon of that type in the game, such as the crossbow Bow of the Clever or the shuriken Star of the Rogue. Once Noctis has collected a few of these he gains the ability to unleash them as a type of Limit Break super attack once a gauge has charged.

Magic is also available in FFXV but as a crafted bomb of sorts that Noctis can craft after absorbing elemental energy from deposits around the world. On their own they can be useful when enemies are weak to a certain element, but they can be combined with other items to be given powerful effects.

These can be potions and the like which will heal you when that spell is used, or meal ingredients that can make spells poisonous. Some powerful items can even make spells Limit Break above the 9999 damage cap.

You can even combine Rare Coins that you pick up with your spells so that they give you massive chunks of experience. Which is helpful when you take advantage of FFXVs unique experience system.

Experience is gained as you would expect through killing monsters and completing quests, however it is only applied to your party when you rest at a campground, motel or hotel. If you have the money a hotel at Galdin Quay will double all experience, and the Royal Suit in Altissia will triple experience if you have the 30,000 Gil.

Campgrounds allow Ignis to cook for the group which will give you buffs for the following day. Ignis will learn recipes as you collect cookbooks or ingredients from monsters or vegetables found in the world. He will even copy a recipe when you eat at a restaurant so he can cook it later. These buffs can give you increased exp gain, increased attack, magic, and health as well as other supporting effects to help you out.

XV even has an end game for when you have beaten the main story, this consists of completing side quests, difficult monster hunts or dungeon challenges which open up once you complete every dungeon once. There is even a secret dungeon that is all about puzzles and platforming rather than combat. These dungeons give you powerful weapons and accessories so you can tackle the next challenge.

Essentially FFXV is two games to me, one which has a largely forgettable story and one which I have so much fun playing and keeps me interested in completing the next dungeon or monster hunting challenge.

I am sure fans will enjoy the familiar systems and game-play that is unique to the Final Fantasy series.

First Timers will have no trouble in picking up this game, it is not at all difficult to understand the core systems to be able to enjoy playing. Perhaps if you enjoy it enough you can then choose to go deep and complete the many challenges that Final Fantasy XV has to offer.