Tag Archives: Switch

Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star Review (Nintendo Switch)

Full Disclaimer here, I have no idea what the Fate series is. As a complete non-anime fan, it’s with some trepidation that I enter games like this, fully aware that I’m not going to be getting everything out of it that other people would be, so if you’re a fan of the series, try to find a review by another fan of the series. This is really just for people who are into games and are thinking about giving this a shot on the Switch.

Fate/Extella is basically Dynasty Warriors sped up in an anime world. It’s much brighter, much faster, and somehow more ridiculous than Dynasty Warriors, but once the novelty of all of that wears off, you’ll find it’s very much the same game. You roam around a map made up of different shaped arenas joined by corridors fighting off hordes of enemies (and I really do mean hordes), trying to win each zone over for your sides until you have enough to take on the boss.

In between all of this there’s plenty of different characters, weapons, loot, special items and skills to find, but loot definitely isn’t the focus of this as it is in something like Earth Defence Force, instead your focus is purely on killing as much as possible as quickly as possible.

The enemies frequently number in the hundreds are for the most part look absolutely identical to each other within a level, other than the mini bosses and bosses. So you unleash all hell on these legions of identikit troops through a flurry of spins, swipes, and magic, until you’re ready/able to take on the bigger enemies.

Frustratingly there’s no lock on for the smaller bosses so the speed actually works against you, but for the most part you are a vaguely controlled whirling dervish slicing through enemies while only pressing two buttons. At first it feels like you’re not really in control at all – there’s a spectacle to be sure as you slice you way through enemies, getting combos into the early hundreds without knowing what’s going on, but on the harder difficulties you do need to get to grips with which moves to use when, usually boiling down to do you want to restore health, get away, or cause damage. That risk/reward strategy is engaging, but only really present on the harder difficulties. On lower difficulties every fight plays out the same, simply tapping buttons to kill enough troops until you’re done and can get on with the story.

The story is told like a visual novel, with lots of static images and text and the occasional choice thrown in to spice things up a bit. This is where I was hopelessly out of my depth. I had no idea what was going on and quickly resorted to skipping everything that I could (which, thankfully, is pretty much everything). Looking up the series online, it looks like it started off as an erotic anime, which isn’t surprisingly considering some of the costumes you can wear, but also doesn’t bode well for the quality of the storytelling.

After a while I realised I was rushing through the fights to progress with the story, then skipping the story to get back to the fights. Everything is so repetitive it’s hard to work out exactly where the fun is. The levels aren’t even that quick so it’s not like you can quickly plough through one when you’ve got 5 minutes with your Switch.

If you’re into the anime, I’m sure there’s a lot to like here, and if you’re into Dynasty Warriors but want something quicker and more colourful, this is exactly that – but for the average gamer, there’s nothing that’s going to impress you or change your mind about this sort of game. It’s a crazy Japanese grindfest with character designs that will put you off playing this in public.

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Mr. Shifty Review (PC)

Mr Shifty is much, much easier than its clear inspiration, Hotline Miami. Thanks to your ridiculously overpowered ability,  there’s only a couple of rooms in the whole game that gave me any problems. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with some serious power tripping in video games.

If you’ve seen X-Men 2, you can understand the main innovation in Mr. Shifty, you can teleport just like Nightcrawler. Your bamfing is even accompanied with a little puff of smoke, and you can do it five times in quick succession before it needs a few seconds to recharge. With this ability you can charge headfirst into full rooms of enemies, all pointing machine guns at you, and dispatch them all before they know what’s happened. Bamf. Punch. Bamf. Punch. and so on. Over the course of the game you also find a variety of melee and thrown weapons that can help you out like a broom, a metal pipe, a shield, and even a trident.

The whole game only took us just under three hours to beat, but that was in three sittings and we loved every second of it. Levels are short and most stages introduce some kind of new mechanic like new enemies or traps. The levels ramp up just after they’ve introduced a new idea so, for example, when you first find proximity mines you have all the time in the world to figure out what sets them off and the fact you can pick them up and throw them once they’re activated. Within a couple of levels you’re sprinting at full pelt through a minefield, grabbing one, teleporting through a wall into a room full of enemies, throwing it on to someone’s chest, teleporting back in to the room that just exploded and watching the enemies disintegrate. Moves like this are surprisingly common in the game.

The whole thing is played from the top down perspective, similar to Hotline Miami, but it doesn’t have the same visual style. The animations are quick and sometimes impressive, and the fact that bodies will stay on the floor even when you return to an area is a nice touch, but it’s not a spectacular game and you’ll be hard pushed to remember anything about what even the main character looks like once you’re done.

Everything from the music to the dialogue is incredibly generic for a video game, I think on purpose, and this gives it a certain blandness which is unfortunate when the main mechanic of the game is so engaging.

If you’ve got a spare afternoon and £10 free, Mr Shifty is definitely a worthwhile play. It might not be a classic but we really hope we see this mechanic return for more games.

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The Nintendo Switch is coming, but is it what we want?

So the Nintendo Switch has finally been completely unveiled. It’s coming out March 3rd, which is much sooner than we anticipated, but it’s also going to cost £280, which is much more than we wanted, especially considering that’s with zero games. Only five games are confirmed for launch, a figure we’re not expecting to change over the next month, so we’ve pre-ordered the console and Zelda. That’s it. We’re going to have a brand new Nintendo Console with no multiplayer games. We can’t afford a second pair of Joy-Con controllers because they’re £75. Thankfully Zelda is only £40 on Amazon, but the RRP is £60.

There were plenty of cool little features we didn’t know about, like the IR camera that can detect gestures and distances, or the high-definition rumble that helps to make the joycons feel like different objects (apparently mostly glasses full of ice). While these are interesting and we’re definitely hoping Nintendo can do something cool and make some really different experiences, we can’t help but feel these cool features will only get used in 1,2 Switch and then never again, but are responsible for pumping the price of those controllers up.

The online offering appears to be mostly terrible. Voice chat is possible but you have to do it via an app on your phone. I’m not sure if you’ll be getting game audio through your phone too, but it makes no sense to not be able to plug a controller into your headset. What if you want to do other things with your phone, or if your phone runs out of battery? It seems like an unnecessary complication for a system that already exists in a much better form on consoles from three generations ago. Not only is this voice chat awkward but you’re paying for the privilege, with the ridiculously slight incentive of getting a free NES or SNES game each month (with added online functionality) that you don’t get to keep past the month it’s available.

Of course the greatest problem with what Nintendo have shown so far is with the software lineup. Even looking past the disappointing games we get to pick from for launch, there was nothing to surprise or excite anybody. Bomberman that looks like it did on the N64, re-releases of Mario Kart and Skyrim, a barely changed Splatoon they’ve stuck a ‘2’ on to, identikit ports for Just Dance and Skylanders. There’s nothing that screams innovation beyond the minigame collection 1,2 Switch. Even that looks like it will struggle to justify a RRP of £40, as everyone is saying – it should have come with the console.

All these signs point to a Nintendo that is increasingly out of touch not just with core gamers, but with the market as a whole. Perhaps the screenless 1,2,Switch could capture people who would usually play board games but that’s a tiny market. Casual gamers won’t be tempted away from their iPads and phones, hardcore games won’t leave their consoles and PCs. Instead this feels like a meagre offering towards Nintendo die-hards like me who’ll buy any old garbage they put out. I’m sure we’ll get a Switch, and I’m sure we’ll enjoy Zelda and perhaps a handful of others games this year, but the hype level has plummeted to subterranean levels and Nintendo’s poor decision making is entirely to blame. I’d like to say maybe next time Nintendo, but unless they do something very impressive this year, I’m not so sure there will be a next time for Nintendo home consoles.

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What We Want from the Nintendo Switch

On 13th January we’re going to find out much more about the Switch. We’ll know which games are coming for launch, the release date, and possibly even the price. I always love to speculate here on TPReview so without any further ado, here are my predictions and hopes for the Switch.

Price: £249.99

The Switch is in an interesting position. It’s a brand new console that’s significantly less powerful than the other home consoles. On the other hand it’s a brand new handheld that’s significantly more powerful than other handhelds. That makes us think they’ll price it as a premium handheld but bundle in a game and a pro controller. For £250 that’s pretty good value in our eyes and we’d be more than happy with that.

Launch Titles

What we expect:

  • Nintendoland 2 – I’m hoping that won’t be the title, but I fully expect there to be something that shows off the new features of the device, just like Wii Sports did for the Wii and Nintendoland did for the Wii U. A collection of smaller games that show off what it can do with the various controllers and modes.
  • Splatoon – We know this is coming, possibly as an alternative launch box (With purple and orange controllers) and I fully expect it to be almost identical to the Wii U version, just with a new season of maps and weapons. It’d be nice if there were some online improvements like clans or voice chat but I’m not too hopeful.
  • Mario Kart 8 Plus – Mario Kart 8 was fantastic and they just need to add a new set of tracks and a few new characters to make this a worthy purchase. I think Nintendo will be generous and there’ll be a whole new set of tracks, so 16, as well as the base set and all of the DLC to date.
  • Smash Bros Switch – This will be a similar deal to Mario Kart, although perhaps a little less generous. I’m assuming the Splatoon characters will make an appearance and possibly a character from Team Skull from Pokemon Sun/Moon?
  • Wave Race Switch – Nintendo need to try and prove what this console can do, justl ike they did with Luigi’s Mansion on the Gamecube or Wave Race 64 on the N64. I think it might be time for a new Wave Race game with some fancy water physics and strong online multiplayer modes
  • Ubisoft Games – How close we are to launch means we can probably rule out a proper Rabbids game, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Steep, Watch Dogs 2, and a new Rabbids game coming to the Switch.  Ubisoft also brought us the surprisingly awesome Zombi-U last time, so maybe we’ll see a wildcard from them too.

What we don’t expect:

  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild – This will be near launch, but I’m guessing April. It’s always good to space your games out a bit and this is a big one. I think it will come out at the same time as the Wii U release on a shiny gold cartridge.
  • Pokemon Star – We know there is a third Pokemon game coming out this generation for the Switch, but I don’t expect it to be a launch title. Again, they’ll save this for a few months after launch, perhaps in the Summer hoping everyone goes crazy for Pokemon Go again.
  • Mario Switch – We know very little about this and that doesn’t seem right for a Mario Game. I think this might be held off until nearer Christmas alongside some  kind of Mario Party Game.

What we’re hoping for:

  • Warioware Switch – I love the Warioware games and this being a combined portable/home console makes it seem like a perfect fit. It’s also not graphically intensive so could remind people why the specs aren’t everything when it’s a Nintendo Console.
  • Animal Crossing Switch – It’s been a while since there was a proper Animal Cross game but Nintendo have continued to keep with franchise in focus with loads of amiibos and a couple of spinoff games. A fully-fledged online Animal Crossing game could be awesome, as long as it’s more than just a rehash of previous entries.
  • A Nintendo MMO – I’ve been wanting this for years but maybe one day it will come true. Imagine an MMO where you can do what you want in the Nintendo Universe. Want to race? Go find a karting track. Want to explore? Head to Hyrule. Want to fight? Go catch some Pokemon. It could lead to some amazing crossovers and be the ‘wow’ game that would be a system seller.
  • Nintendo Maker – Mario Maker was easily the most innovative and exciting thing I’ve played outside of VR this gen, and I want more. I want to be able to make Zelda dungeons or Metroid environments. Give us the same set of tools but with a wider variety of games. Please.

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