Tony Cole-Cocking – Twinfinite http://twinfinite.net Video Game news, reviews, opinions, guides and videos! Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:32:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 http://twinfinite.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-logo-2-32x32.png Tony Cole-Cocking – Twinfinite http://twinfinite.net 32 32 15 Iconic Pokemon Tracks That Take Us Back Every Time http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/top-15-tracks-pokemon/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/top-15-tracks-pokemon/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:32:36 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=332382 Considering its humble origins on the Game Boy, the Pokemon series is not often thought of for its soundtrack. To disregard this would be doing it a disservice, however, because ever since the days of Red and Blue, the team at Game Freak have been pumping out some pretty memorable jams, despite the hardware limitations. […]

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Considering its humble origins on the Game Boy, the Pokemon series is not often thought of for its soundtrack. To disregard this would be doing it a disservice, however, because ever since the days of Red and Blue, the team at Game Freak have been pumping out some pretty memorable jams, despite the hardware limitations. Now, more than twenty years later, and with a wider range of instruments than beep and boop at their disposal, the series has had some absolute bangers.

But which amongst them stand supreme? It’s a (Pokemon Puzzle) challenge to be sure, because some of them are in a (Pokemon Puzzle) league of their own. We’ve done our very best to narrow them down to 15, with only one caveat: the Jigglypuff song, tragically, is disqualified from contention. Alas.

Title Screen (Pokemon Red/Blue)

Pokemon Blue

Where else could we possibly start than with the tune that began the adventure of our childhood? This iconic track is inexorably linked to the Pokemon franchise, resonating in a way that is hard to quantify. The logo lands with a crash, and there stands the trainer who will soon become legend throughout Kanto and beyond, casually tossing his Poke Ball into the air while an endless array of Pokemon cycle across the screen.

There are countless versions to select from if you’re after something more grandiose, from the symphonic arrangements of the Smash Bros series to any number of fan interpretations on YouTube (including a Trap Remix that is simultaneously bizarre and amazing), but you can’t go past the elegant simplicity of the original. Welcome to the world of Pokemon!

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5 Best Games to Play During the Winter Olympics http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/top-5-games-winter-olympics/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/top-5-games-winter-olympics/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 15:01:18 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=332746 The 2018 Winter Olympics are well underway, and already we are seeing a clear divide between the elite, and those nations just happy to be participating. Germany has been a surprise powerhouse at the midway point, dominating in luge and overall medals in several other events as well. Meanwhile, the coach of the Jamaican women’s […]

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The 2018 Winter Olympics are well underway, and already we are seeing a clear divide between the elite, and those nations just happy to be participating. Germany has been a surprise powerhouse at the midway point, dominating in luge and overall medals in several other events as well. Meanwhile, the coach of the Jamaican women’s bobsled team has quit suddenly, threatening to take the sled with her. Not even John Candy could lift their spirits at this tense juncture.

If none of this means anything to you, then never fear! Because video games are an excellent substitute for the dreaded ‘s’ word (sports), and if you still want to join in the merriment that comes with people’s brief fascination with the snow – a fascination that only resurfaces once every four years, unless you’re Canadian/Russian/Swedish/Snowman – then there are plenty of digital facsimiles to partake in. And the best part: you don’t even have to go outside!

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games

Best Games to Play During the Winter Olympics

Quick, what’s something that the Olympic Games desperately need? What’s that? You say a less corrupt governing body and more concern given towards establishing proper infrastructure in the host cities? …That’s an okay guess, but the answer we’re looking for is an imaginary plumber and a blue hedgehog having fun.

Since they first crossed paths in 2007, Mario and Sonic have been renewing their rivalry biannually, and fans are spoiled for choice with not one but two entries of the winter variety, based on the 2010 Vancouver Games, and the 2014 Games from Sochi. The former was released on the Wii, so if you’re after the freshest and greatest offering, you’ll be headed to Russia for newly added events like ice hockey and Winter Sports Champion Race. If you’ve ever dreamt of watching Super Mario engage in a thrilling session of curling, now is finally your chance, at long last. Be sure to tell your therapist all about it.

Sadly, as these games are released a year before the Olympic Games are due to take place, it appears as though PyeongChang will not be visited by the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom or Mobius. Most likely it was a passport-related issue. Frankly we don’t know how it is people keep letting Bowser enter the country, considering his myriad of legal transgressions. Further, if you’re a devout Sonic fan and you didn’t bat an eyelid about the suggestion that Mobius is canon, kudos to you.

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5 Gaming Characters Who Should Just Shut Up http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/5-characters-should-just-shut-up/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/5-characters-should-just-shut-up/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:00:47 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=330892 It’s hard to look at a picture of Mario nowadays, and not be reminded of his energetic, high-pitched voice. ‘Wahoo!’ he shouts, while bouncing off the skull of another hapless Goomba. ‘Let’s-a go!’ he declares, using a power mushroom to take the lead on the final lap of Rainbow Road. ‘Mario’s gonna put this on […]

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It’s hard to look at a picture of Mario nowadays, and not be reminded of his energetic, high-pitched voice. ‘Wahoo!’ he shouts, while bouncing off the skull of another hapless Goomba. ‘Let’s-a go!’ he declares, using a power mushroom to take the lead on the final lap of Rainbow Road. ‘Mario’s gonna put this on the… FULL HOUSE… line,’ he suggests, during a rousing session of gambling. Charles Martinet’s unique take on this iconic character works about as perfectly as possible – could you imagine a world where he canonically sounded more like he did in Hotel Mario? It’s a hideous notion; a chaotic reality where misery and madness run rampant, and all toasters toast toast.

Unfortunately, not all classic gaming characters find a partner as appropriate as Martinet, and the moment they open their mouths for the first time, we can’t help but cringe. The only solution is a hasty re-cast, or a conveniently written bout of laryngitis. What follows is a list of some of these culprits. If you’re feeling particularly bold, feel free to read it in their voice. You’ll probably hate yourself.

Tails

Sonic Tails

From his first appearance in Sonic 2, Tails quickly endeared himself to fans with his bright-eyed optimism and apparent immortality. Many an hour were spent gleefully watching him tumble into pits or get crushed by moving pillars, only to fly back onto the screen, ready to try again. Depending on how you looked at it, he was either the ultimate underdog, or a particularly kinky masochist. Whatever the case was, we dug his style.

His personality, from what we gathered in the instruction booklets, was that Sonic was his hero, and he dreamed of being just like him someday. That was all we needed: Likes Sonic. Has two tails. Can’t die. Tails was the perfect companion to the blue blur. But alas, we then entered an era of FMV, and along with that came voice acting. In just a few short years, Tails had gone from plucky vulpine ally to a grating nerd who was trying to negotiate terms with the president in a stretch limousine. Did you hear that thud? That was the sound of a shark being run over.

From here on, Tails was all about machines and whining. Despite being perfectly capable prior to this point, indeed even surpassing Sonic in utility with his abilities to fly and swim, he now insisted on being subordinate and deferring to everyone else to take charge. And of course, he sounded like a toddler with no ambition. In Sonic Adventure 2, after seeing Sonic be jettisoned into space, Tails says to Eggman, ‘What have you done to Sonic? I’ll never forgive you for this!’

Let’s experiment for a moment. You’ve just watched your best friend get sucked out into the endless vacuum of the cosmos. Before you stands the man responsible for this injustice. Say that line out loud to yourself. Now try it again, but frame it more like he just took a bite out of your sandwich. That’s about the amount of passion you actually get from this performance.

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5 Reasons You Should Be Hyped for Dynasty Warriors 9 http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/5-reasons-dynasty-warriors-9/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/5-reasons-dynasty-warriors-9/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:45:41 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=330806 Huge Open World For the first time in series history, Dynasty Warriors 9 is introducing an open world for players to roam about in. This is particularly exciting in a game where so much of the fun lies in finding enemies to slice into tiny ribbons, and the footage we’ve seen so far is absolutely […]

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Huge Open World

dynasty warriors 9

For the first time in series history, Dynasty Warriors 9 is introducing an open world for players to roam about in. This is particularly exciting in a game where so much of the fun lies in finding enemies to slice into tiny ribbons, and the footage we’ve seen so far is absolutely gorgeous. Racing through jungles, forests, rivers and snowy landscapes, all the while looking for some hapless bandit to ruthlessly murder. It’s art imitating life.

The game also promises to feature areas populated by particularly tough foes, meaning you’ll have to come back later when you’ve beefed up your warrior a bit more, and the variety of baddies on offer is intriguing, to boot. In your travels, you’ll run into weapon-toting thugs of all shapes and sizes, as well as wild animals like bears and wolves – defeating them could make for an excellent meal afterwards (the wild animals, we mean.)

One of the best aspects of an open world title is the option to dither around and accomplish large amounts of nothing in the downtime between battles. You know what? War can wait, Ding Feng wants to deck out his crib.

Hideouts present an opportunity to customize and adorn your abode however you see fit, whether they be purely aesthetic, or allow for nifty bonuses. You can use your hideout to receive mail or even invite other characters to hang out with you. Jia Xu doesn’t just crash through enemy garrisons, he also crashes on your couch.

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The Switch Needs Pokemon to Keep Steamrolling in 2018 http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/pokemon-release-switch/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/pokemon-release-switch/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 19:16:21 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=329963 In its first calendar year, the Nintendo Switch came bursting onto the scene like a gangbuster. Though its library was small (but mighty) upon launch, Nintendo peppered enough noteworthy releases each month to maintain the public’s attention, but most significantly, bookended its 2017 with new entries for both the Mario and Zelda series. The magnitude […]

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In its first calendar year, the Nintendo Switch came bursting onto the scene like a gangbuster. Though its library was small (but mighty) upon launch, Nintendo peppered enough noteworthy releases each month to maintain the public’s attention, but most significantly, bookended its 2017 with new entries for both the Mario and Zelda series. The magnitude of this perhaps isn’t fully appreciated; Nintendo pulled out its two biggest weapons in year 1, and it led to the Switch selling at a blistering pace.

Now, one begins to ponder on the risks of diminishing returns, and whether the console will lose steam going forward. Tucked away amidst the minutia of Nintendo’s latest earnings report, it has been noted that the upcoming Pokemon title for Switch is slated to release in “2018 or later.”

On the base level, this could be nothing more than typical caution from industry veterans. Development cycles can be treacherous, and the best-case scenario could actually be a summer release, for all we know. It’s wise to be cagey when there is so much that can go wrong, particularly with a franchise as important as Pokemon. On the other hand, no further details yet exist on this mysterious game. We don’t know any names, any regions, any protagonists or antagonists, any new types or cover mascots. Doubtless, many if not all of these questions will be satisfied in a Pokemon-related Nintendo Direct, along with a release date. Such concerns will be dissuaded once we have that precious, valuable date.

But what if it is the ambiguous “later?” By itself, Pokemon being pushed back to 2019 isn’t the end of the world, but in the current framework of the console wars – a battle in which Nintendo is still trying to recover from the considerable setback of the maligned Wii U – a lineup that seems thin, particularly in comparison to that of 2017, could prove somewhat catastrophic.

The major Switch releases last year were headlined by Zelda, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Mario + Rabbids. Even if you add stipulations to this list (Mario Kart was a port, ARMS was rather underwhelming for a new Nintendo IP, and Mario + Rabbids was more of a pleasant surprise than a blockbuster), the strength of those first two titles is enough to carry the load. By most accounts, Super Mario Odyssey would be a surefire Game of the Year in most other contests, but happened to have been trumped by one of the greatest epics of this decade in Breath of the Wild.

The Switch was bolstered further by the vaunted Nindies, where digital darlings like Stardew Valley, Overcooked, Shovel Knight, and Battle Chef Brigade felt right at home on the hybrid console. Some may have accused the Switch of getting off to a sluggish start, where disasters like Vroom in the Night Sky haunted its early eShop, but by the end of the year, it had quickly become a melting pot for smaller studios to find success: case in point, Matt Thorson, creator of Celeste, has confirmed that the unforgiving platformer has sold best on the Switch.

2018’s current biggest titles for the Switch include Kirby Star Allies, Mario Tennis Aces, Bayonetta 3 (plus ports for the original two games), Yoshi, and the Nintendo Labo kits. We also have a tentative release for Fire Emblem and Metroid Prime 4. All of these are sure to be fine games, which is exactly what we have come to expect from the Japanese giant. But none of them quite measure up to Mario or Zelda. It would behoove Nintendo to strike while the iron is hot, and there is no better way to do this than with the franchise that once transcended gaming.

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Pokemon may not be the multimedia juggernaut it was in the early 2000’s, but it is still one of the fastest-selling handheld series on the market. According to Nintendo’s financial data, as of December 2017, Pokemon X and Y (16.26 million pcs.), Pokemon Sun and Moon (16.05 million pcs.), Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (13.94 million pcs.) and Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (7.17 million pcs.) rank second, third, fourth, and ninth, respectively, in worldwide sales for 3DS games.

They’re bonafide sellers, but it’s worth considering that delaying the game into next year would be a missed opportunity to capitalize on all of the collateral Nintendo has been putting into the franchise at the present time. Pokemon GO keeps chugging along with creatures added from gen 3 and potentially new daily quests on the horizon, the aforementioned Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon remain fresh in our minds, whetting the appetite for what comes next, and Pokken Tournament DX continues to receive updates to draw in more players. Does this not sound like the perfect storm, building towards a crescendo that culminates with the definitive Pokemon game?

It would be infuriating for Nintendo to return to the mean after their raucous debut, but the competition is steep in 2018, to the tune of Monster Hunter: World, God of War, Far Cry 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, Sea of Thieves, and Red Dead Redemption 2 releasing on rival consoles. Nintendo had to scramble to gain the ground they did, throwing its best at us in a bold declaration of the Switch’s viability, but they could very well lose that position if they don’t continue to hit the lofty standards they set for themselves.

The 2018 Switch lineup, as presently constituted without a Pokemon release, is worth salivating over for dedicated Nintendo fans for Metroid Prime alone, but that’s a harder sell to the casual gaming market – the same market that was entranced by the Wii, and presents Nintendo’s best chance to hold a sizeable chunk of the market.

Throw a pair of Pokemon titles into the mix, however, and you have an admirable follow-up to the stellar catalog of 2017. Those hesitant to commit to the sizeable investment into a console, who weren’t swayed by the decidedly single-player focused adventures of Mario and Zelda could find themselves intrigued by the grand multiplayer scope of a new Pokemon game. After all, it was this community aspect that first caught the interest of gamers more than two decades ago. The same people who have been clamoring for a fully-fledged RPG title starring the pocket monsters to come to the home console.

It never felt right before, but it does now, and more specifically, it does particularly so in 2018, a year that is in need of a marquee title to put a stamp on the Switch as a contender; one that shows competitors that Nintendo is here to stay.

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Don’t Call It a Comeback; 5 Nintendo Characters That Need Their Time in the Sun http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/forgotten-nintendo-characters/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/forgotten-nintendo-characters/#respond Fri, 02 Feb 2018 16:58:31 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=329238 When you’ve been around as long as Nintendo has, you’ll no doubt have a few unfamiliar faces in your lineup. For every Mario, there’s like fifty Doshin the Giants. When they approach you at the party, you try desperately to figure out what their name is, where you know them from, and how you can […]

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When you’ve been around as long as Nintendo has, you’ll no doubt have a few unfamiliar faces in your lineup. For every Mario, there’s like fifty Doshin the Giants. When they approach you at the party, you try desperately to figure out what their name is, where you know them from, and how you can worm your way out of the conversation. Best bet is to just be vague, ask them how work is going. Surely Doshin appreciates idle chit-chat. Bail out before he spikes your drink.

Sometimes, characters fall to the wayside through no fault of their own, simply lost in the folds of time for one reason or another. Over the last few years, Nintendo seems to have become increasingly fond of throwing us retro fanciers a bone, adding more little nods to these fine folks of old and sometimes even reintroducing them into the franchise. That’s how Pauline became mayor of New Donk City, a town with an economy so booming, her face is literally on the currency. Maybe, then, there’s still hope for these five wandering souls to be plucked from the ether, spruced up and returned to their former glory.

Geno

Super Mario RPG

Of course Geno’s on this list. He may be the single most influential one-shot Mario character of all time. A wooden puppet possessed by a star warrior from the heavens, Geno is as no-nonsense as they come, with an impressive arsenal of attacks and techniques. He can fire bullets from his fingers, pull out a magic wand to bathe enemies in a beam of light, and even turn into a cannon to dish out maximum damage. He kind of sounds like an overpowered OC from the vivid imagination of a very lonely ten-year-old (DO NOT STEAL).

His only other appearances are as a completely unexpected cameo in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on the GBA where he hosted a minigame in Little Fungitown, and as a downloadable costume in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, aka the Smash Bros. games with the horrible subheadings. And though these were greatly encouraging for the character’s future, we’ve also had a few setbacks along the way – chiefly, the fact that last October’s remake of Superstar Saga on the 3DS removed Geno entirely. The motive for this is unclear, whether it was due to licensing issues with Square Enix, or purely an aesthetic choice, as no character is inserted to take his place. Whatever the reason, it was a slap in the face for fans of the obscure hero, and seems to put us back at square one (pun?) for the time being. At least he’s in a better position than Mallow – we haven’t heard a peep from that sucker in over twenty years.

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5 NOPE Moments in Gaming That Ruined Our Childhood http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/5-nope-moments/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/02/5-nope-moments/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 19:33:31 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=329083 Life can be pretty stressful. Mounting bills to pay, the crushing weight of responsibility, irreverent memes that don’t quite make sense to you (no, I do not know de way, dammit – so stop asking me!!) Video games are a great way of relieving that tension. There’s none of society’s ills in the Mushroom Kingdom, […]

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Life can be pretty stressful. Mounting bills to pay, the crushing weight of responsibility, irreverent memes that don’t quite make sense to you (no, I do not know de way, dammit – so stop asking me!!) Video games are a great way of relieving that tension. There’s none of society’s ills in the Mushroom Kingdom, just a friendly mustachioed man with an unhealthy disdain for turtles, so you can simply put your mind at ease…

At least, until something takes you by surprise, terrifying the absolute bejesus out of you. If you’re playing a Resident Evil or Silent Hill, you’re prepared for a fright or two; conditioned to know it’s coming sooner or later, and even the best jump scares don’t completely catch you off guard. It’s when more kid friendly titles dabble in the dark arts of utter spookiness that you’re thrown for a loop. Now that we’re cynical, jaded adults, we can look back on the moments in gaming that stripped us of our innocence (unless you were already a cynical, jaded child, in which case we’ve got no answers for you).

The Eel (Super Mario 64)

Mario 64 eel

Once we evoked the memory of unnerving Mario moments, we were well aware of where most people’s minds would go, and it’s time to put this to rest once and for all: the haunted piano is not the scariest thing in Super Mario 64. Unexpected, yes, and the first time you encounter it can definitely be startling, but it’s easy to avoid, and once you nab that red coin in the room, you need not ever bother with it again.

The same cannot be said for Unagi. Jolly Roger Bay’s most infamous resident lurks down in the depths of the water – already a disconcerting place to be with a dwindling air supply – and his dead-eyed stare will haunt your dreams for the remainder of your life. Most of the time, he isn’t outwardly aggressive, but even just lovingly brushing past him will cause you immense pain to the tune of three health units. For context, colliding with Bowser only causes two points of damage, and he is clearly out to do you harm. Unagi doesn’t need to try, he just obliterates.

Whether he’s leering at you from the sunken ship or swimming in endless laps, the eel is always an intimidating foe, but he’s at his most horrifying in the challenge titled ‘Can the Eel Come Out to Play?’ From his vantage point in the murky cavern, he watches and waits for his prey to approach. Once your curiosity gets the better of you and you swim too close, he comes shooting out, roaring as he snaps his jaws at you – clearly, he’s hungry for some Italian! Assuming you’ve survived this encounter, you’ll have to chase him down after he leaves to do his morning constitutional and snag the star attached to his rear end like it was the Gummi Venus de Milo. It was a harrowing experience that put hairs on your chest; or if you were unfortunate, your shoulders.

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Minecraft Skin Pack Brings Microsoft Legends to Nintendo Consoles http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/minecraft-brings-microsoft-legends-to-nintendo/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/minecraft-brings-microsoft-legends-to-nintendo/#respond Tue, 30 Jan 2018 23:36:41 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=328765 Master Chief on the Switch?!

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Minecraft received a pair of pack announcements today, resulting in a strange visual that few would have ever seen coming. The first brings the cast of Disney’s Moana into your game with the Moana Character Pack. From the demigod Maui to a ‘lethally stupid chicken’ (poor Heihei always gets put down), there’s no shortage of fun new folks to add to your Minecraft world.

The second, and much more startling revelation, is that the wildly popular Skin Pack 1 is now available for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U. Included among these skins are Microsoft stalwarts like Master Chief and Cole Train, as well as the return of Banjo to a Nintendo console. It’s so surreal, even the official press release makes mention of the novelty of playing as Master Chief on the Switch. Speculation is sure to run rampant as to what other kinds of crossovers could be lurking on the horizon between Nintendo and Microsoft.

Both the Moana Character Pack and Skin Pack 1 for Nintendo Switch and Wii U are available now on the Marketplace.

MORE NEWS

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Overwatch Update Adds Warcraft-Related Goodies http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/overwatch-warcraft-goodies/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/overwatch-warcraft-goodies/#respond Tue, 30 Jan 2018 22:40:55 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=328749 A new kind of Alliance.

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Overwatch’s latest patch is now live for Windows PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and is headlined by a variety of Warcraft-related bonuses and other aesthetic additions. Players who pre-purchase a Digital Deluxe version of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will receive a collection of emotes and voice lines, Kul Tiras and Zandalar player icons, and sprays featuring Anduin, Sylvanas, Jaina and Saurfang.

The update also includes the addition of pristine 4K resolution for Xbox One X users, and the usual balances and bug fixes. Junkrat’s concussion mine has been scaled back in power, with targets further from the center of the blast radius receiving less damage, while Mercy’s Valkyrie transformation has had various reductions, including debuffs to her Resurrect ability. The amusing yet horrifying glitch in D.Va’s Black Cat skin has been rectified, and her face and hair textures will now load properly.

So far, the amendments made to Mercy seem to be the main talking point on the Blizzard forums, with many decrying the changes.

MORE NEWS

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Admit It, Pokemon Red and Blue Weren’t That Great http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/pokemon-red-blue-werent-that-great/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/pokemon-red-blue-werent-that-great/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:10:42 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=327639 The truth shall set you free.

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It feels gross typing that title. As though my fingers are telling a lie, forced through some kind of witchcraft to spew erroneous slander. Pokemon Red and Blue were the titles that brought the weird and wonderful pocket monsters into the world, a franchise that became so powerful, it transcended gaming. Your parents may not know Zelda. They might even be unfamiliar with Mario. But Pikachu? Everyone recognizes that guy. In a vacuum, Red and Blue are a stupendous achievement that pushed the Game Boy to its limits, cramming so much information into the tiny cartridge, and creating a boom in the handheld market that was unprecedented.

Their place in the history of gaming and pop culture are not to be denied. But there is a curious trend that goes hand in hand with their popularity that tends to skew peoples’ perception. Ask anyone whose interest in Pokemon waned after the initial rush (genwunners, if you must) – they’ll tell you that the original games were the best in the series, and nothing else came close. Sure, if you want to talk about how much a game resonated with you, then that is fair enough, but don’t let it blind you from the truth: Pokemon Red and Blue are seriously flawed games that have not aged well. The base mechanics remain as solid as ever, and have been maintained more or less throughout the franchise’s history. But to make the claim that they were the best of all? More faulty than Focus Energy.

Let’s delve in for a moment.

Back in the late 90s, RPGs on the Game Boy had typically been massively scaled back facsimiles of existing games. You didn’t play them for the quality, so much as the novelty of taking these adventures on the road with you. When Pokemon arrived, it was something of a revelation: a fully dedicated turn-based RPG that was built from the ground up solely for the handheld device, with features like link cable trading that could not be achieved on a home console at the time. We had very little else to compare it to. The typing chart was intuitive and fun, and capturing the various Pokemon added another layer of strategy. The storyline wasn’t anything grand, but it was serviceable enough; the highlight likely being Giovanni’s double life as gym leader and Team Rocket head honcho.

The actual application of the battling system had a number of flaws that limited its appeal. Move pools were shallow, with many Pokemon lumped with a whole gallery of useless attacks that made them practically unusable. Beedrill? Scrap it. Parasect? More like Pointlessect. Seaking? Fugeddabout. Though you had 151 monsters at your disposal, most people opted for some combination of the same usual suspects. This was because other Pokemon were given an incredible selection of techniques that made them almighty; Alakazam is a prime example of a combatant with very few weaknesses that was able to run roughshod over opponents. Its low defense was masked with Reflect, the generic ‘special’ stat meant it could wall elemental attacks just as well as it could dish them out, and its purported weakness, the dreaded ghosts? The only ghost-type attack that dealt variable damage, Lick, was improperly programmed, making it completely useless. In conjunction, the Gastly family’s secondary poison-typing meant an encounter with Alakazam was bound to end in exorcism.

Three specific mechanics were so infuriatingly broken, they can be used to completely shut down an opposing team. Sleep-inducing moves take an entire turn to awaken from, allowing a speedy Pokemon to immediately put them back under in the next turn, and multi-hit moves like Wrap or Fire Spin not only prevent a Pokemon from fleeing, they completely render them unable to move. The overpowered Hyper Beam, a move with the caveat that it requires its user to recharge after launching, has that drawback removed if it successfully knocks out its target, aka the best possible scenario.

These oversights reveal a series of poor game design choices and mistakes, and there are loads more to be found throughout Red and Blue. Some are major, like the infamous MISSINGNO glitch that can either ruin your save data or yield infinite items, depending on how you used it, while others are more forgivable. The poor interface made using HM moves cumbersome, and the AI completely nullified any threat posed by even the strongest enemies. Taking a Bulbasaur into the Celadon Gym is a hilarious display of determination in the face of impossible odds: Erika absolutely would not stop trying to poison your monster until the bitter end, despite its immunity. A grass-type specialist that can’t figure out the resistances of Kanto’s most famous grass-type Pokemon? Stellar.

Puzzles in Red and Blue range between straightforward and grating. Slowly pushing boulders around caves while getting mugged by a Zubat every few seconds is hardly the definition of fun, while the riddle of the teleportation tiles in Saffron City can be solved by literally going up or down in every room. Doing this not only takes you to Sabrina, but it also allows you to forego any other trainer battles in the process. Many puzzles are slow to develop, while others, such as Vermilion City’s electric switches, are too random to be satisfying.

Some of the adoration can be entirely subjective, which makes it harder to debate. Many attest that the original Pokemon had better and more memorable designs, often citing later additions like Litwick or Garbodor as examples of the decline. And while several of Kanto’s Pokemon have rightfully become iconic, let us not ignore the fact that it also included a pink blob with a smiley face, two variations of leering balls, and a collection of angry eggs. Again, it’s subjective, so you can’t really argue one way or the other.

Pokemon Exeggcute

All of this doesn’t go to say that Pokemon Red and Blue are bad games, of course – they are simply riddled with warts and teething problems that were ironed out in subsequent releases, some as soon as generation 2. The sequels, Gold and Silver, balanced the typing chart by adding the dark type to keep psychic Pokemon in check, adjusted the aforementioned dodgy mechanics to make them more palatable, and divided the special attack and special defense statistics, allowing some Pokemon to become more, well, specialized. Further tweaks would occur with each generation; giving every Pokemon a passive ability, assigning individual attacks with their own physical or special designation, adding online capabilities for trading and battling that allowed you to challenge the best trainers in the world…

One of the major features of the Pokemon franchise is evolution, and in the same way your humble Dratini someday spreads its wings as the colossal Dragonite, so too did the games, building upon those principles of catching, fighting and trading, and expanding them in wonderful new ways. The controls are streamlined, the strategies and team-building options thriving, and even simple things we take for granted like the move deleter or move reminder, make raising your Pokemon a less taxing experience. And those original 151 beasts that we all so treasured? They’re better than ever; Chlorophyl makes Venusaur a menace in the sun, Charizard has two different mega evolutions to play with, and moves like Rapid Spin have increased Blastoise’s utility tenfold. All of your old favorites are still there and ready to go, but they’re vastly improved, and the expanded repertoire means that they don’t always have to play the same role.

Unfortunately, it may be that these words will fall on deaf ears. Those resistant to change will have their own personal reasons for sticking with gen 1, stubbornly refusing to alter their stance even in the face of undeniable facts. And you know what? That’s completely fine – Red and Blue came at just the right time for many people, bringing with it a certain unquantifiable magic that could not be replicated. As for the rest of us, we can look back on those quirky little titles fondly, but with a tempered expectation.

Going back to play Red and Blue is much like revisiting any other old game. You come for the nostalgia, you stay for a few laughs, but at the end of the day, you’re thankful that things have progressed so much further in the years that have come since.

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5 Innovations From Pokemon Crystal We Take for Granted http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/5-innovations-pokemon-crystal/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/5-innovations-pokemon-crystal/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 14:53:25 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=326708 Let's make things Crystal clear.

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It’s almost a sure thing with each new Pokemon generation that comes and goes: after about a year, an alternative version will be released with a few tweaks and adjustments. Nothing major, just enough to get you to fork out your hard earned Pokedollars to nab what is essentially the same game once more. We’re all suckers, obviously – but we’re suckers with a cute Pikachu that follows us around, so it’s probably worth it.

Generation 2 may have been the most ambitious evolution in the series, completely balancing the broken mechanics from the original games, adding two new types, and even allowing us to revisit Kanto once more. Because of the enormity of this leap, it would be a tall order for Pokemon Crystal to make an impact. Overall, it may have been forgotten in the series’ echelons, but it peppered several small nuances that have since become standard, many of which we probably didn’t even realize premiered on the humble sparkly cartridge. With the game set to triumphantly release on the 3DS virtual console, it seems an appropriate time to herald its finer details.

Female Protagonist

Pokemon Crystal Kris

Our leadoff is an obvious one, a long-awaited move that made the titles more inclusive. Pokemon Crystal introduced us to Kris, a peppy young trainer with a name devoid of creativity, and the series’ first female protagonist. Of course, the choice is purely an aesthetic one, but it allowed an eager generation of girls to finally feel like they were the trainer on-screen. It’s hard to quantify now, but back in the peak of the franchise’s popularity, there was this engrossing notion that these were your adventures, your Pokemon, your life. Prior to Kris, female players would have to add the caveat that it was ‘them during their phase when they were actually a boy.’

Considering the lead character’s silent nature, it is rather surprising that this hadn’t been a feature in Gold and Silver prior to this. After all, the Pokemon at your disposal now had their own genders, yet you were perpetually oozing machismo? In modern entries, you can even alter your trainer’s appearance, allowing even more of a sense of familiarity. Personally, I was hoping that I could make mine into an octogenarian from some unspecified region of South America, but alas, it was not to be. Fingers crossed for gen 8, then.

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5 Most Iconic Monster Hunter Beasts of All Time http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/most-iconic-monster-hunter-beasts/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/most-iconic-monster-hunter-beasts/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 14:35:13 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=327534 Dare ye hunt these beasts of legend?

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Welcome, intrepid travelers, to the wild frontier! The jungle is a lush, beautiful place, filled with vibrant life of all shapes and sizes. Your job as a hunter is to flush this fauna out, and smack it around until it’s a bloody pulp. It’s not for the faint of heart, and you may find yourself on the receiving end of some punishing blows that leave you collecting your teeth, but it’s great fun all the same.

Throughout the Monster Hunter franchise, we have been treated to all kinds of weird and terrifying beasts that require keen strategy to be able to subdue, and it’s our daunting task to try and narrow the list down to the five finest species of them all. Grab your supplies, take up your weapon, and be sure to pat your Felyne on the head (ain’t they cute?)  – it’s time to get hunting!!

5. Zamtrios

Top 5 Monster Hunter Beasts of All Time

Monster Hunter Zamtrios

Street Sharks may have been jawesome, but this mean customer defies labels. With an icy exterior and a range of punishing attacks, Zamtrios knows exactly how to lay down the hurt on hapless hunters. It will radically change up its tactics as it takes more damage, initially relying on its armor to help it repel attackers, before finally employing its ultimate form of defense: inflating itself up into a giant ball and bouncing around recklessly. It’s admittedly not quite as cool to watch it do this, and in fact it looks remarkably like it spent too much time at the buffet, but you can’t argue with its effectiveness.

Many gamers have a particular phobia for sharks, and Zamtrios does little to dissuade this, crashing out from underneath you like Jaws at a smorgasbord. However, if you can gather your courage and avoid its wicked claws and gnashing teeth, you’re in for a unique battle that is an absolute ball. Pun fully intended there, not even sorry.

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10 Best Dragon Ball Z Characters of All Time http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/top-10-dragon-ball-z-characters/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/top-10-dragon-ball-z-characters/#respond Thu, 25 Jan 2018 18:38:35 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=327420 Separating the Kaio-ken from the Kaio-can't.

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It’s hard to quantify exactly how Dragon Ball Z captivated a generation so spectacularly back in the late 90s. Despite the fact that the anime had first premiered in Japan a decade earlier, it felt wonderfully timely, combining our fascination with overpowered super beings and a storyline that bounced between playfully light and deadly serious on a whim. It rose rapidly to become crucial viewing material every morning before school, with kids eager to discuss what had just occurred in the last episode. Admittedly, they were often treated to a whole bunch of filler, with Goku and his adversaries opting for discourse instead of throwing fists at one another.

But it became legendary all the same. In each new story arc, Earth faced another threat that its band of unsung heroes would have to dispatch of. With so many skirmishes and brawls, it can be tricky to narrow down the cast to the top 10. Obviously, everyone has an opinion on this, and no two lists look the same – you might be a big Recoome fan, or something. Hopefully you’ll find yourself agreeing with a couple of the entries on these thrilling rankings that’ll get you prepped and ready for the imminent release of Dragon Ball FighterZ. If not, we are more than willing to fly off to a random location and settle this like Yamcha (in other words, dying within seconds).

10. Majin Buu

Already we’re blindsiding you with a surprise entrant that many leave out. Majin Buu is the final major villain in Dragon Ball Z, and he leaves a major impression. Don’t let his pudgy pink frame fool you, he packs a punch, and if you let your guard down, he will literally gobble you up. Majin Buu has a childlike demeanour and a serious temper, but also shows that he has a soft side, befriending Hercule and eventually changing allegiances.

Unfortunately, in doing so, he gives rise to a more powerful copy of himself that proceeds to just wreck everyone’s day, culminating at last with the heinous fiend Kid Buu. He’s a mean piece of work, and we much prefer his more jolly predecessor. Majin Buu is often seen hanging out with Goku and his pals in the subsequent movies and Dragon Ball Super, a fully-fledged member of the gang. They sure are quick to forgive someone who has a history of transforming people into candy and devouring them.

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Top 10 Mario Spin-Off Games and Side Hustles http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/top-10-mario-spin-offs/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/top-10-mario-spin-offs/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 16:46:02 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=325516 Super Mario Monopolization!

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10. Dr. Mario

Dr. Mario

Mario is a man who has worn many hats (sometimes in the literal sense), and one of his most famous personas is as that of Dr. Mario, resident physician and menace to all things virus. Entering the medical profession typically requires years of study and dedication, but in the case of our boy Mario, all it takes is a stethoscope and an unlimited supply of pills. He’s a bit of a quack, but he’s all right.

The game itself is a fun little puzzler where you’re tasked with matching colored pills with one of three variations of critters on-screen. Connecting three or more will eliminate them from the field – represented by a hilarious struggling animation by the corresponding virus in the corner – and the task, quite obviously, is to destroy all of the nasties to clear the stage. It’s pretty straightforward, but in the same vein as Tetris, things can grow frantic as the speed increases and your mistakes begin to pile up.

There have been a few different entries in the series, but the most famous version is the NES original. Dr. Mario 64 allowed multiplayer for up to four aspiring clinicians, and with that in mind, the formula would likely translate well to the Switch with its simple controls and concept. What better way to kill time than by curing sickness itself?

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10 Side Quests We’ll Never Forget http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/10-side-quests/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/10-side-quests/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 15:20:44 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=326210 Memorable. Impactful. And completely superfluous.

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Just as in life, sometimes there are more interesting things to do in gaming than the actual goal you have been tasked with. Sure, Sephiroth is about to destroy the entire planet with a meteor from the heavens… but the Golden Saucer is lots of fun, and there are fabulous prizes to be won!

The choice is academic: side quests are where it’s at in gaming, and as titles have become more robust and open-ended, the wealth of opportunities to shirk your responsibilities has simply boomed. With that, we took on the daunting task of narrowing down some of the best ones. Needless to say, the selection is absolutely huge, and we’ve had to omit a few of our favorites. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to honor them all, perhaps in a side quest of our own.

Miracle on Tenkaichi Street (Yakuza 0)

Yakuza Miracle Johnson

It isn’t easy being a criminal in a spiffy white suit that stays miraculously clean as you sprint through the streets of Japan, but there are moments of levity to be found now and then. In one particularly hilarious side quest, the protagonist Kiryu finds himself tasked with assisting in a music video for a famous American pop star. It’s sure to be Miracle Johnson’s biggest hit, as he fights off hordes of zombies in what promises to be an absolute Thriller. But he’s worried that if the extras go easy on him, it’ll look Bad. So you’ll have to protect him from legitimate harm in an atmosphere that is truly Dangerous. Basically, if you see a zombie, you know what to do: Beat It! …I swear that’s the last one.

The oddball nature of this quest makes it memorable, especially considering the quirky characters you meet in the process. The director, Mr. Spining, with his blockbuster hits A.T. and Indian Jeans, Louis, his enthusiastic personal assistant echoing his every sentiment, and of course, Miracle Johnson himself. Watching him moonwalk down the alleyway with the walking dead bearing down on him is one of the more surreal moments in gaming, and needless to say, breaking the hapless extras’ faces is a ton of fun. We just hope zombies have good insurance.

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6 Things I Will Try to Build Instead of Following the Nintendo Labo Directions http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/build-with-labo/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/build-with-labo/#respond Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:00:32 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=325664 A Labo of love.

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We’ve gone Labo crazy here at Twinfinite!! We absolutely Labo it, and cannot wait to create our own little Laboratory. Why, if we were a television character, we would most definitely be Sheriff Labo (alright, so that one was a reach). Clearly, Nintendo’s newest little venture has piqued our interest, and we cannot wait to throw all sense of dignity out the window as we don our fantastic cardboard robot armor. Some of the concepts shown in the original trailer were fairly straightforward, like the motorbike handles, whereas others – and yes, the epic flying birdie is included among them – have us rather spellbound.

The sheer scope of the project is huge, and we look forward to seeing what surprises Nintendo have in store. In the meantime, we’ve banged our heads together and come up with a few of our own ideas that could be an excellent fit for the crafty range of accessories. One of them involved a way to lessen the impact of banging heads together because, golly, that hurt!

Guitar

Guitar

From the moment the piano appeared onscreen, it was bound to open up people’s minds to all kinds of different instruments. The front-runner is no doubt the guitar, with titles like Guitar Hero and GuitarFreaks having created a huge market for it. The logistics may be a little more tricky than the piano if you want to make it a comfortable size, but let us reiterate: giant robot backpack. Anything is possible.

Beyond that, however, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to implement the necessary mechanics, particularly since we already have a blueprint for how a gaming guitar can work: a few buttons at the top for the chords, and some sort of apparatus down lower for each individual strum. The versatility of the Joy-Cons could allow for further innovation, including differing notes depending on how you learned with the guitar. Remember tilting the control stick to alter Mikau’s jams, and how deeply satisfied he looked during the process? That could be you!

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10 Characters That Need to Be in the Next Killer Instinct http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/10-characters-next-killer-instinct/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/10-characters-next-killer-instinct/#respond Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:00:55 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=323857 The competition is killer.

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Last week, Microsoft Studios Global Publishing Creative Director Adam Isgreen created quite the stir when he posed the question: what 10 characters would you like to see return in the next Killer Instinct?

The fighting game community was abuzz. Eager Jago players were quickly singing his praises, while more distinguished Sabrewulf aficionados had their own points. Even both of Kim Wu’s fans were preparing their case. As it turned out, this was merely a theoretical query, but still one worth exploring: if you could only select ten Killer Instinct fighters, who would you choose? We’ve taken a crack at it ourselves, carefully surveying our options and resisting the urge to simply say ‘as long as you keep Spinal’ and call it a day. Be warned, we will be brutal. We’re feeling a killer instinct of our own.

Spinal

Spinal Killer Instinct

Well, we’ve already established that he’s making an appearance on this list, so there’s no need for subterfuge here. Spinal is the fighting game embodiment of all of those stop-motion movies that gave you nightmares as a child and has established himself as a staple of the franchise. The backbone, if you will.

Spinal’s backstory is colorful in all iterations and particularly grim in the latest reboot. It involves being trapped as an unwilling slave in his own body, ultimately forced to set himself alight for the amusement of his tormentors – a far cry from his bizarre ending in KI1, where he literally grows bored with fighting and becomes a movie star. No matter which lore you prefer, maintaining Spinal on the roster is a must.

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What Went Wrong With Star Fox? http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/rise-and-fall-of-star-fox/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/rise-and-fall-of-star-fox/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:00:40 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=322533 Sending out an S.O.S.

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“We need your help, Star Fox! Andross has declared war! He’s invaded the Lylat system, and is trying to take over Corneria! Our army alone can’t do the job! Hurry, Star Fox!”

To longtime fans of Fox McCloud and company, the above text is ingrained in their consciousness. It, along with many more lines, can be reeled off at a whim. Some of them are common memes – “Do a barrel roll!” – while others – “Cocky little freaks!” – are simply delightful little bits of dialogue that most wouldn’t recognize, and may sound rather rude out of context. Without trying to oversell it, Star Fox 64 is practically a perfect game. Its controls and level design are tight, its boss battles are the stuff of legend, its dialogue is suitably cheesy without inducing groans, and its replayability is through the roof.

Combined with its included rumble pak accessory, the game was yet another roaring success for the early days of the Nintendo 64. It took everything that its predecessor on the SNES had introduced, added an immense level of polish, and blew our expectations out of the sky as though they were the Attack Carrier. We had moved onto a new era of gaming, and this plucky little space opera was going to be a firmly entrenched piece of that puzzle.

It’s painful to say this, but two decades later, the Star Fox franchise has become more of a punchline. Misfire after misfire, one infuriating design choice after another, and this once proud legacy has been pounded into the dirt. Its latest offering, Star Fox Zero, sits miserably atop a pile of discount Wii U games, stacked twenty high as overzealous retailers lament having overstocked it so much.

What happened here? How did all of our glorious ambitions lead us to such mediocrity? And more importantly, what needs to happen to right this ship, soaring high in the image of Falco Lombardi, instead of bumbling to the finish line like Slippy Toad?

The answer may lie somewhere in the series’ past, a mission that begins in the far-off year of 1993, where Argonaut Software’s revolutionary space shooter first dazzled players with its polygonal models. Clearly, this game has not aged well, visually; the models are simple and sometimes confusing, the jittery frame rate makes movement feel staggered, and some assets will pop up at you so suddenly, you’d think you’d walked into a haunted house. It’s a victim of its own ambition, but once you put these flaws aside and adjust to the SNES’ limitations, you’ll find some of the most thrilling challenges in the series. This game is unapologetic, and will brutalize you with a barrage of obstacles if you’re not prepared. In Titania, you are told that you must ‘retake the weather control unit,’ but you’re given no further indication of what this means. Some players cycled the endless loop multiple times before they finally happened upon the correct gate, activated the device, and progressed. It’s an element that has been lost in gaming nowadays; modern hand-holding would have clued you in right from the get go to ‘check everywhere for the weather station.’

This sense of chaotic franticness was lost in Star Fox 64, but it was an intentional shift, instead allowing players to soak in their surroundings and get a sense of the grandness on offer. The wingmen’s personalities and dynamic roles within the team were fleshed out, and we really cared about their fate. Fortunately, failure to protect them would only result in their temporary absence this time, but we still felt a pang of guilt whenever they had to flee the battlefield.

It’s important to note that this was the game that introduced us to the concept of different vehicle types, but they weren’t lodged down our throat. Two Landmaster missions, one Blue Marine level. If you didn’t like them, that was okay, because they were far and few between – and though Aquas can be a little dull, the rescue mission of Titania and train assault on Macbeth are among the game’s best levels.

Once we had reached Star Fox Adventures on the GameCube, the sharp decline began. Rare’s sprawling adventure receives a great deal of vitriol from the Star Fox community, and a fair amount of it is unjust. At a base level, it is a perfectly serviceable Zelda clone, with beautiful landscapes and a combat system that is both intuitive and satisfying. The issue is that it was a marriage that did not need to happen, and would end up shaping the franchise in lamentable ways. Forced to shoehorn Star Fox characters into the unrelated Dinosaur Planet concept, the story felt awkward and incomplete. The presumed villain, General Scales, makes for an intimidating adversary, but in the game’s third act, he is unceremoniously dispatched with to make way for the return of Andross, the apparent mastermind behind the whole plot.

Moving forward, the characters and concepts introduced in Star Fox Adventures would become canon, meaning that beloved grouch Peppy Hare was now retired, and Krystal was an official member of the squadron. As a Rare character, she may have had an interesting personality, but we just never get to see it. Once she was out of the hands of her original creators, she would become the poster girl for the series’ descent, coupled with 2005’s Star Fox Assault.

Likely the franchise’s low point, this game was a disjointed mess. Characters we had grown to love had become cheap, annoying facsimiles of themselves, the jerky controls of the Arwing felt unnatural – like a puppet on a string, instead of an aircraft – and most damningly, the gameplay strayed offensively from the core elements that had made the series successful to begin with. Wandering through ugly catacombs in search of mission targets while fending off hordes of generic enemies wasn’t just un-Star Fox, it flat out wasn’t any fun whatsoever. The game’s one redeeming feature was that its mechanics made for good multiplayer antics, but even then, it couldn’t get out of its own way: the unlockable Wolf O’Donnell was so overpowered, he could survive a hit from the sniper rifle, an assured death for every other character.

Star Fox, Assault, Gamecube,

Star Fox Command on the Nintendo DS fared a little better, allowing us to control a range of ships and pursue different storylines dependent on the choices we made, but the on-rails structure that had made the series famous was gone, replaced by large, empty arenas inspired by the cancelled Star Fox 2. It was ultimately a mixed bag, and has been largely forgotten in the Star Fox echelons.

Completely absent on the Wii, Fox and friends were shelved for a long while, with their only entry coming in the form of Star Fox 64 3D, the best game the series had had in years, and by no coincidence, a faithful port of the Nintendo 64 classic.

Star Fox Zero assured a return to form, and to its credit, it delivered on this promise to a degree. The classic gameplay sections were excellent, and manning the Arwing and Landmaster felt exactly as they should. Unfortunately, they insisted on innovating in ways that nobody asked for, obligating us to use the gamepad to direct our fire, and adding stealth sections that seemed to last forever. Remember avoiding the spotlights on Zoness in Star Fox 64? It was a tense struggle that required precise flying and an itchy trigger finger. Star Fox Zero’s equivalent puts you in the cockpit of the Gyrowing, perhaps the single worst vehicle Beltino Toad has ever produced, and hacking into computer systems. It slows the gameplay to a crawl, and along with obtuse (yet thankfully brief) segments in the Arwing’s walker mode, known to some as the metal turkey transformation, it all harkens to a point of contention that we’ve raised several times across the duration of this article.

Basically: Star Fox is a simple formula. You fly through a level, shooting enemies along the way. At the end of the stage is a boss encounter, and sometimes, the gameplay shifts to all-range mode. It doesn’t need to be tinkered with, and it doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’; the series is at its worst when it tries to branch into other genres. We don’t want stagnant on-foot segments or alterations to the cast. Wolf O’Donnell need not be anything more than an arrogant rival (and most certainly not a father figure to Fox), Peppy Hare need not be rapidly advancing in age to make way for new recruits, and Krystal? Honestly, she need not exist at all.

This isn’t to say that they need to make formulaic and uninspired sequels. The additions in Star Fox 64 supplemented the existing elements and built around them, not in spite of them. If they could just recapture this level of creativity, the Star Fox series would finally reclaim its place as one of Nintendo’s heavy hitters. In the meantime, at least Fox is typically competitive in Smash Bros. It’s all about the little victories, you know.

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The Best World of Warcraft Expansions, All 6 Ranked http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/best-wow-expansion/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/best-wow-expansion/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 15:30:15 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=322249 Crafting war since 2004.

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Teenagers sure are a fickle bunch. Loaded with hormones and opinions, their greatest intent seems to be making their mark on a world they don’t yet fully understand. But one among them is wise, refined. This teenager has seen the trappings and misgivings of this world and emerged in 2018 a much better entity. This teenager, of course, is the World of Warcraft, and it recently celebrated its thirteenth birthday.

Ranking the expansions is surely going to be a practice in subjectivity, because different people found different things to like about each one, and admittedly, all of them were quite fantastic. But we’ll do our best, implementing a thorough system of raid quality, reaction to newly added mechanics, fan interaction and retention, and darts thrown at the wall. For the Alliance? For the Horde? It matters not because this article is for you, brave warrior of Azeroth.

6. Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft - Warlords of Draenor

This expansion cops a fair bit of flak for being the one that ‘lost the fans.’ Though its release showed an initial spike in subscribers, it quickly collapsed to a nine-year low, with many blaming its tepid patches and an overall lack of content. Indeed, if you point to the major inclusions introduced in each edition of WoW (many of which add new classes, races or sometimes both), Warlords of Draenor’s calling card was its alternative take on the Outlands, and garrisons that acted as a sort of hub for players. Its time-traveling tale did allow longtime fans to see some old favorites that had bitten the dust years ago, and as many of the lands had not yet been devastated by the orcs, particular zones looked familiar, yet refreshed.

Where this expansion is at its best, however, is in its raids, considered by some to be the most important aspect of the game. Blackrock Foundry’s multiple wings and epic final boss definitely made an impression on its players. Unfortunately, the fact that Blizzard chose to do a price hike on this expansion, despite its shortcomings, most definitely made a much stronger impression…

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Switch Ports Still Need to Improve in 2018 http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/switch-ports-could-improve-2018/ http://twinfinite.net/2018/01/switch-ports-could-improve-2018/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 15:11:01 +0000 http://twinfinite.net/?p=322541 We won't settle for just anything, you know.

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In only its first year of existence, the Switch has already managed to succeed in a place its predecessor, the beleaguered Wii U, was unable to: enticing third-parties to port games to a Nintendo console. In 2017, it lured back venerable cash cows like the NBA, FIFA, and WWE series, while also attaining its own edition of Skyrim, Doom, LA Noire and more. Long carrying the stigma of ‘you only buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games,’ the Switch has another draw card that can appeal to developers: a handheld device that is capable of running home console-quality games.

Obviously, sacrifices have to be made, and models lack the polish they have in the competing versions on PS4 and Xbox One. Textures are a little muddier; load times can sometimes be a bit longer. But this seems a small price to pay to finally have such quality right there in your hands. People may have doubted the necessity of the Switch’s portability at first, but if anything, its capability to be used as a docked console on the television has been the actual novelty: the Switch is a console for people on the move, first and foremost.

Now, we’re hungry for more. Rocket League on the Switch? Yes, please. Stardew Valley on the Switch? We’ll gladly buy it for the second or third time. No longer trying to stack up against the deeply entrenched console frontrunners, Nintendo has found a niche, able to fill all of time when you’re away from your TV, a perfect supplement for anyone’s main console – console 1A, if you will.

In 2018, however, it would behoove Nintendo if third-party developers were better adjusted to this new piece of tech. In most instances, the first entry for a series on a new hardware can be a little bit rocky, dating all the way back to Madden 06 on the Xbox 360, which feels like an eternity ago.

Some of these ports have been admirable efforts to squeeze so much content into a smaller package, and for this, Bethesda is to be applauded. Skyrim has comparable load times to the PS4, and though putting the two side by side reveals the diminished visuals, on its own, you won’t even notice, too engrossed by the gripping action onscreen. Similarly, Doom on the Switch is an achievement unto itself: there is occasional slowdown, and again, reduced quality on the textures, but these are necessary admissions that do not largely detract from the gameplay. These are ports done right, and most impressively, achieved within the console’s fledgling first months.

skyrim switch, nintendo, bethesda

But that isn’t to suggest that all of the entries have been successes, and this will need to be addressed if this relationship is to continue. The Switch version of FIFA has fewer features and bewildering AI issues that its contemporaries lack, and this puts it firmly at the back of the line. It’s acceptable – but it needs to be more than that. FIFA 17 outsold competition as fierce as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in its calendar year, and there’s reason to believe this season’s edition will have had comparable success. This is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – series in gaming, and that’s not something to be taken lightly.

Meanwhile, 2K Games had a disastrous first year on the Switch. NBA 2K18 launched with bugs so severe, it was practically unplayable. These issues were soon ironed out, and the final product was a fine first effort, but a broken game simply should not be released, particularly from a AAA studio like 2K. Considering the amount of casual players who have been lured in by the Switch, some may not have even bothered to wait for a patch. The game lost them there, and it may be hard to win them back.

Then, WWE 2K18 happened. My goodness, did it happen. The slowdown on the entrances are so pronounced, you would almost think it was a stylistic choice. This isn’t as much of an issue in-game, until you dare to display three or more wrestlers onscreen, at which point you’re practically swimming in a bog. Selecting Xavier Woods should be fun – with his catlike agility and stablemates Big E and Kofi Kingston in his corner. After they’ve sauntered towards the ring with all of the urgency of a dying sloth, Woods plays nothing like he should, and you really wish the other members of the New Day would just leave you alone.

WWE 2K18

Effectively, WWE on the Switch plays like a digital version of the original Sin Cara, routinely botching even the simplest of moves. Alas, it doesn’t have the flashiness or hilarity of the hapless luchador. Adding insult to injury, even with all of their cutbacks, these games are absolutely huge, basically mandating the purchase of a micro SD card to play them. The physical copy of NBA gobbles up about 23 GB of storage, while WWE demands 24 GB. Considering the Switch’s paltry 32 GB internal space, this is a heavy investment. Despite the cover’s claims that the games require a micro SD card, you can actually play them without one, however to make room you will have to delete other save files, most of your photos and videos, and possibly your soul.

These are big games, no doubt. But Nintendo has been able to create spectacular results on the Switch without such space requirements or technical issues. Soaring over Hyrule in Breath of the Wild? Seamless. Surveying New Donk City at its highest point in Super Mario Odyssey? Breathtaking. As per usual, Nintendo knows its hardware better than anyone else, pushing it to its limits without ever sacrificing quality or playability. We can’t expect everyone else to be at this level, but we should be able to expect working products.

The Nintendo Switch had a spectacular debut; as editor-in-chief Ed McGlone said in his original piece, we want more ports, and yes, we are accepting of the fact that they will be scaled back. But if studios are not able to provide games that are at least playable moving forward, the path ahead may be a little less grand than we once envisaged.

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