Posts Tagged ‘Portable’

State of the Switch, Six Months In

Well that went by quickly.

As the Nintendo Switch was gearing up for its March 3rd 2017 launch, the consensus among jaded followers of the videogame industry was that however much hype the system seemed to be gathering, and indeed however many units Nintendo managed to move in that opening weekend, we wouldn’t really have a decent idea of the Switch’s success until it had passed the three-months-on-the-market milestone – which, pertinently, was roughly the time warning bells started to sound for its predecessor, the Wii U. Despite strong, admittedly holiday-boosted late 2012 sales, the Wii U’s momentum fell off big-time in 2013 amidst a notable first-party software drought and an ongoing lack of understanding of how to market the rather odd strengths of the console. Despite some scattered sales spikes over the ensuing few years, the console never truly recovered and can now only be seen as a financial flop for Nintendo.

Three months have come and gone since March 2017 – As a matter of fact the Switch has now been on the market for half a year, and pound for pound it is thoroughly outpacing the Wii U on the sales charts. At well over five million units sold worldwide, it’s even giving the PS4 a run for its money in terms of momentum. This is certainly not some single-handed saviour of Nintendo as a company – It’s way too early to even entertain that notion – but the Switch has already marked a clear change in the Big N’s public perception for the time being. Given the ongoing interest online in how this inventive little console has been tracking, and indeed the hundreds of hours (and dollars) I myself have invested in it, let’s have a look at what the Nintendo Switch has got right and wrong so far, shall we?

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What I Think of the Nintendo Switch

Well Nintendo, you’ve done it again. You’ve successfully, shall we say, been Nintendo.

It’s been an insane weekend for the Japanese videogame giant. The curtain is now (mostly) up on the tremendously exciting Nintendo Switch, the home console that can also be played as a portable (Not the other way around, as Nintendo seems very keen to emphasise). And the general complexion of the reveal event was very, very different to what the seemingly endless supply of corroborating rumours and prediction videos would have us believe. For all the credible leaks from credible sources about specific games and features that may very well still ring true, the big Tokyo event still managed to be an almost complete surprise both in its general content and where it decided to put its focus. If “Switchmas” had been right about what we were expecting, it wouldn’t have quite felt like a Nintendo show. We Nintendo fans as a general group have a habit of forgetting that, but for better or worse, the Big N was more than happy to throw us a few reminders. This is a company that does not like being predicted, but as it turns out, even the collective power of the internet’s most well-connected sleuths couldn’t quite spoil everything. And in true Nintendo fashion, said surprises have divided the internet right down the middle.

I could go through the whole presentation bit by bit and talk about my thoughts on each individual revelation (I’ve watched the whole thing twice now, plus the entire five-hour Treehouse stream that followed half a day later and countless YouTube hands-on reactions), but there’s a better way to do this.

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– Nintendo’s Modern Console –

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The raw processing specs of the Nintendo Switch remain elusive in any sort of official capacity, though I have every reason to believe that Eurogamer’s December leak will turn out to be a fairly decent approximation. That leaves us with a console that’s more capable when sitting in its dock/outputting through the TV than when played on the go, but only as long as we’re talking about display resolution and theoretically (though hopefully not) frame rate. In it’s weakest configuration, we can expect it to be more powerful than the Wii U – that much is supported by the impressions coming out of the public-facing events of the last two days – but even at it’s strongest, it’s almost certainly going to come off weaker when compared to the standard Xbox One and PS4 models. That means the biggest triple-A third party releases will probably be skipping the Switch, unless it really takes off sales-wise and it becomes worth the extra financial investment to port down. It also means Nintendo’s first party games will continue to look amazing, and just about every big indie hit you can think of should be able to make it over to the Switch, uncompromised and fully portable. Ditto for the vast majority of Japanese RPGs and such. Swings and roundabouts, time will tell etc.
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What’s much more concrete – and refreshing, it must be said – is just about every other Switch hardware detail that has come to light over the last few days. The system will not be region locked (there are no words for how happy this makes me), it has a 6.2 inch, 720p capacitive touch screen (i.e. multi-touch, like the PS Vita or a smartphone), supports the current standard 802.11ac Wi-Fi spec, allows up to 8-player local wireless interaction, charges via super-fast USB-C – which is only just now becoming widespread on Android phones – and supports expanded memory via the reasonably cheap and easy-to-find Micro SDHC/Micro SDXC cards (At least up to 256gb according to one moment during the Treehouse stream, which would have been more than enough to fit everything I’ve ever bought on the Wii U). Its battery life is quoted as being between 2.5 and 6 hours depending on the game you’re playing, which is about what we could have expected; certainly not enough to last an international flight, but coupled with that USB-C charging port, it should easily be juiced enough to cover your daily work commute no matter what you’re playing. This is all very good news if you ask me, especially when combined with the generally premium look and – based on what I’ve read so far online – the feel of the system. This is a sleek, modern device.

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Why Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the Best One Yet

This guest writing week begins with a returning blogger, the man who wrote that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate beginner’s guide for this very site a couple of years ago. Returning to one of his favourite topics, its ZaonTheFirst.

—Written by ZaonTheFirst—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

So I am back everyone, and I have got another Monster Hunter post for you all! It has been just over a month since the release of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and let me tell you, it is by far, my favourite Monster Hunter game in the series to date. Honestly, I am glad Capcom have managed to release a game worthy of taking the title of “The best Monster Hunter game” from its previous, long-time holder, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on the PSP. These are just some of my thoughts on MH4U as a whole.
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1. Online multiplayer is always fantastic

I cannot stress how important online multiplayer is for a game like this. I say this because the whole concept is that you get into a party of 2-4 hunters (or solo if you want) and strategically take down a gigantic, hard-hitting, and yet majestic-looking beast. It’s so good to see that MH4U has included multiplayer, as opposed to its previous instalment, which to be honest is essentially redundant at this point. Just having the ability to hunt with not just random people all over the world, but your friends as well (Shout outs to all you!) has made the overall gaming experience of MH4U a lot more fulfilling, and I’ve been a lot more motivated to stick with it. To put things into perspective,
– Hours on MH3U on 3DS – 27 hours.
– Hours on MH4U on 3DS – 386 hours and still going
Online multiplayer is the main reason for such a huge difference in time spent on each game. I really think it’s a crucial feature for a Monster Hunter game, so I am glad that they incorporated it into MH4U.

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60 Changes in Zelda Majora’s Mask 3D From the N64 Original

I totally, completely underestimated how long it would take to write this. Blame Monster Hunter.

So I finished The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D on 3DS a couple weeks back, and my oh my, it was quite an experience. This is a game I once called my favourite of all time, so I wanted to make sure I devoted the proper amount of time to revisiting the whole thing. After 36 hours of gameplay (according to the Activity Log app) I had completed the Bomber’s Notebook, collected all the heart pieces and beaten the final boss. As soon as the cartridge was out of my 3DS, what was the first thing that comes to mind about the game?

Well, they sure did make a lot of changes to Majora’s Mask for this remake.

You see as it turns out, ever since Nintendo partnered with co-developer Grezzo to release the 3D remaster of Ocarina of Time in 2011, they were apparently working on this follow-up. Even as Zelda fans went back and forth on the idea that a remake of MM even existed, the developers were tweaking away, rebuilding the creepy, unique game piece by piece. But unlike with Ocarina of Time, which only received a sprinkling of non-visual changes, Eiji Aonuma and his team saw in Majora’s Mask a game with some issues, particularly with regards to a quest structure that may not have been friendly for the generation of gamers who missed out on the N64 original.

As a result, Majora’s Mask 3D is one of the most comprehensive remakes I’ve ever played. It’s still pretty much the same game, don’t get me wrong, but while playing I managed to jot down no less than sixty changes I think are worth mentioning, ranging from miniscule to massive, over the N64 original. And if you ask me, the vast majority of them are for the better. If you’ve played the game before and are tossing up whether to play it again in this new form, this list may help you decide on a purchase. If you’re new to MM, most of these probably won’t make any sense to you, and I may end up in spoiler territory. Regardless, here they are, in the rough order I discovered them.

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Vita or 3DS?

Because I play far too many portable games not to write this.
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As far as portable gaming in today’s society is concerned, the naysayers and doomsday prophets haven’t quite been proved right yet. Apple’s portable devices, while demanding a huge market share thanks to their usefulness in other areas of life, have not stamped out the need for dedicated portable gaming devices. Sales figures show as much. Call it the need for physical buttons, call it the type of development costs that go into creating dedicated experiences, call it what you may; at least for the time being, you can still get some fantastic, fleshed out experiences on dedicated handhelds.

The question is, which of the two most prominent platforms is most worth your cash? The Nintendo 3DS, or the Playstation Vita? Each has been out for at least a year by now, after all. Well, as an owner of both, I hope I can help you decide today.

I’ve broken the comparison down into five segments:

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Viva la Vita – Playstation Vita Review

Please forgive me for that horrible, horrible pun.

The Playstation Vita launched around the Western world today and I was fortunate enough to be able to pick one up. Not that it was cheap. Not in the slightest.

My wallet...

Day One haul, clockwise from bottom left: Starter Pack, PSVita Wifi Model, Preorder Bonus Box, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, PSN Voucher, Memory Card. My wallet hurts.

Just under $600 all up. Ouch. Let’s get straight to some first impression reviews. Continue reading