Harry Potter 20th Anniversary

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of a very magical publication. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone debuted on June 26, 1997 in the U.K. Twenty years has given us seven main books, several spinoffs, a theme park, a plethora of movies, and of course, video games. Unfortunately most of these games aren’t very good, which is astounding to me. Watching Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them last year made me realize you don’t need Harry to tell a good story in this universe. There’s so many other tales to tell and games are the perfect medium to realize J.K. Rowling’s vision. Why then hasn’t there been any true greats?

 

Understandably there’s a lot to deal with when creating a game based on an intellectual property. There are rights to consider along with following a tome of lore. The most important factor is money. It’s simply easier for companies to rush a movie tie-in game through development, which will sell regardless of quality, rather than to invest on something original. Sad, but true and yet there is hope. Lord of the Rings has made some great strides recently and it’s only getting better.

 

What we have right now though for Harry Potter is poor. The games based on the seven movies try to haphazardly follow the plot, but because a game can’t be a narrowed, short experience like a movie, these tie-ins are padded out with awful mini games, clunky platforming controls, wonky combat, and a laundry list of other groans. The one thing I will give props to is allowing players to explore the campus of Hogwarts albeit in a truncated fashion. So there are good ideas, but they’re caged in a shell of mediocrity.

 

As always I’ll discuss all that and more with the accompanying video retrospective. Before I sign off though I wanted to give a quick shout out to my aunt who bought me the very first book and opened my eyes to the wonderment of Harry Potter. Thanks again and happy 20th Harry!

 

 

3DS Review: Fire Emblem Echoes

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a complete remake of the second game in the series, Fire Emblem Gaiden, which was released for the Famicom in 1992. As was the case for most Nintendo sequels, like Super Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Fire Emblem Gaiden was treated like a black sheep. It kept what was started in the original, but turned everything on its head. Were these changes good, or bad? More importantly how does it hold up twenty-five years later with this fresh coat of paint? Find out in my video review. Enjoy!

 

Glory of Heracles 30th Anniversary

This month celebrates one of the more obscure RPG franchises out there. The Glory of Heracles, or Heracles no Eiko, series started way back on the Famicom. Tojin Makyo Den: Heracles no Eiko launched on June 12, 1987. It’s a simple little Dragon Quest type RPG based on Greek mythology. True to its name it follows the exploits of Heracles, or as he’s more commonly known in the Roman sense, Hercules. That’s only the case for the first and Game Boy game however. For the rest of the series he becomes a supporting cast member more or less, but the emphasis throughout is still based on Greek mythology.

 

Speaking of other entries it’s important to note that only one game of six ever left Japan. That was Glory of Heracles, which released on the DS in 2010 in North America. It’s also worth mentioning that this was the last entry in the series as well and the first in almost two decades. Needless to say it was a weird series for Data East to make, but one still worth preserving in the annals of our industry. A dedicated group of fans even translated some of them, which I go into more with the accompanying video retrospective. There’s also a list below of the games and their release dates. Happy 30th Anniversary to Glory of Heracles and enjoy!

 

Glory of Heracles Series

  • Tojin Makyo Den: Heracles no Eiko (6/12/87 NES)
  • Heracles no Eiko II: Titan no Metsubo (12/23/89 NES)
  • Heracles no Eiko III: Kamigami no Chinmoku (4/24/92 SNES)
  • Heracles no Eiko: Ugokidashita Kamigami (12/27/92 GB)
  • Heracles no Eiko IV: Kamigami kara no Okurimono (10/21/94 SNES)
  • Glory of Heracles (5/22/08 JP & 1/18/10 NA DS)

 

 

E3 2017: Nintendo Spotlight News

Nintendo had more of a showcase than I thought they would. Threw me off balance, but that’s good. E3 2017 was kind of lacking in surprises, but were these surprises handled well? My opinions are in the accompanying video and all of the news is listed below Enjoy!

Nintendo News

  • The show kicked off with a new trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 set to release this Holiday
  • A new multiplayer Kirby was teased for a 2018 on 3DS
  • They also teased a new core Pokémon title for the Nintendo Switch, but no details were given other than that
  • Another brief teaser, with just a tittle, announced Metroid Prime 4
  • A new Yoshi game was shown with a trailer and its coming in 2018 for the Switch
  • Fire Emblem Warriors got a new trailer
  • Nintendo went over the DLC plans for Breath of the Wild including The Master Trials and The Champions’ Ballad
  • The Breath of the Wild Champions are also getting Amiibo
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle received a new trailer
  • Rocket League is getting ported to the Nintendo Switch
  • Super Mario Odyssey got a new trailer announcing new gameplay mechanics and that it’ll launch on October 27

 

E3 2017: Ubisoft Press Conference News

Ubisoft was the first big show of the day and I thought it lacked energy. Some interesting games at play, but they made me feel a bit off. So grab the news below and you can view my opinions in the accompanying video. Enjoy!

Ubisoft News

  • The show opened with the official announcement for Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, which is set to launch on August 29 for the Nintendo Switch
  • Ubisoft showed off a new trailer for Assassin’s Creed Origins
  • The Crew 2 was unveiled, which is set to release in early 2018, but there is a Beta you can sign up for
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole got a new trailer
  • Transference was announced as a new horror themed VR game coming in Spring 2018
  • Skull and Bones was revealed as a brand new IP based off of the naval combat from Assassin’s Creed, it was shown off onstage with a multiplayer gameplay demo, and it’s due to launch in Fall 2018
  • Just Dance 2018 was announced with a live performance onstage and it will release in October
  • South Park: Phone Destroyer was unveiled as a card RPG for mobile devices and it’s set to release sometime this year
  • Starlink: Battle For Atlas was announced, which is a new type of Toys to Life concept based on spaceship combat and it is set to launch in Fall 2018
  • Steep: Road to the Olympics is an expansion for the first game and it will launch on December 5
  • Far Cry 5 got a new gameplay trailer
  • Beyond Good and Evil 2 was officially revealed with a CG trailer and it’s a prequel

E3 2017: Bethesda Press Conference News

Phew, what a late time to start a press conference, but Bethesda closed out the night with a bang. Didn’t start well though. Anyway you know the drill by now. The news is below and my opinions are in the accompanying video. Enjoy!

Bethesda News

  • The event began with two new VR games due out this year: DOOM VFR and Fallout 4 VR
  • Creation Club is a mod hub for Skyrim and Fallout 4 and will launch this Summer
  • The Elder Scrolls Legends will add Skyrim and Dark Brotherhood content this year
  • The port of Skyrim for Nintendo Switch will support Amiibo
  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider was announced and will release on September 15
  • Quake Champions has an open Beta up now
  • The Evil Within 2 was announced and will launch on October 13
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was announced and it will release on October 27

 

E3 2017: Sony Press Conference News

Sony was the last big press conference of E3 2017. Did they top their performance last year and more importantly how did they compare next to the others? Check out the crazy news below and follow my opinions in the accompanying video. Enjoy!

Sony News

  • The show began with a new trailer for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  • Horizon Zero Dawn is getting DLC, The Frozen Wilds, and it’ll be out by the end of the year
  • Days Gone received a gameplay demo onstage
  • Monster Hunter World was announced with a gameplay trailer set to release in early 2018
  • A complete remake of Shadow of the Colossus will be released in 2018
  • Marvel vs Capcom Infinite received a new story trailer, plus there’s a demo you can download on PS4
  • Call of Duty: WWII got a new gameplay trailer
  • A slew of PlayStation VR games were announced including Skyrim VR, Star Child, The Inpatient, Monster of the Deep: Final fantasy XV, Bravo Team, and Moss
  • God of War received a lengthy new trailer, teasing an early 2018 launch
  • Detroit: Become Human got a new gameplay trailer
  • Destiny 2 received a new trailer
  • Spider-Man closed out the show teasing a 2018 release

E3 2017: Microsoft Press Conference News

After EA’s debacle last night Microsoft was a breath of fresh air. There were some pacing issues, but a lot of great games too. I go more into my opinions in the accompanying video, but if you want just the facts then read on below.

Microsoft News

  • Project Scorpio was revealed as Xbox One X and it will launch worldwide on November 7 for $499
  • Forza 7 was the first game to be shown off on the Xbox One X, which is due to launch on October 3
  • Metro Exodus was unveiled, the third game in the Metro series, and is due out in 2018
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins was officially revealed onstage with a trailer and a gameplay demo and it is set to launch on October 27
  • Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is getting a port to Xbox One later this year
  • Deep Rock Galactic was revealed with a gameplay trailer
  • State of Decay 2 was shown off with a gameplay trailer and will launch in 2018
  • The Darwin Project was shown off onstage as a mock multiplayer test with a Shoutcaster going over the gameplay
  • Minecraft is going to unify servers across all platforms
  • Dragonball FighterZ was unveiled with a quick trailer aimed to release in 2018
  • Black Desert is getting an Xbox One port
  • The Last Night, The Artful Escape, and Code Vein all got new trailers
  • A gameplay demo of Sea of Thieves went over various mechanics in the game and it will launch in early 2018
  • Tacoma will launch first on Xbox One and PCs on August 2
  • The VR game, Lucy’s Tale, is getting a port for Xbox One called Super Lucky’s Tale on November 7
  • Cuphead will debut on September 29
  • Crackdown 3 is set to release on November 7
  • An indie showcase quickly showed off indie games such as Osiris, Raiders, Unruly Heroes, Path of Exile, Battlerite, Surviving Mars, Fable Fortune, Observer, Rotorcraft, Dunk Lords, Minion Masters, Brawlout, Ooblets, Dark Light, Strange Brigade, Riverbond, Hello Neighbor, Shift, and Conan Exiles
  • Ashen got a new gameplay trailer
  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm was announced as a prequel starring Chloe and Rachel which will premiere in August
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War was demoed onstage
  • Ori and the Will of Wisps was announced
  • Original Xbox games will be joining Xbox One’s backwards compatibility program later this year
  • BioWare’s new IP, Anthem, closed out the show with a gameplay demo and will release in 2018

 

E3 2017: EA Press Conference News

Not going to lie. EA’s press conference was the one I was least looking forward to. Year after year my hopes and dreams are shattered by poor performances and pacing. This year is no different. They felt so soulless despite the fact that EA had some good games to show off. I go more into my opinions in the accompanying video, but if you want just the facts then read on below. Here’s to the beginning of E3 2017!

EA News

  • The show opened with Madden 18, which revealed it’ll have a story based solo campaign similar to last year’s FIFA
  • In the Name of the Tsar, a DLC expansion for Battlefield 1, will launch in September and take players to the Eastern front of WWI
  • A quick trailer was shown off for FIFA 18, which will continue Alex Hunter’s story from the previous game
  • Need for Speed Payback was shown off with a gameplay demo
  • A Way Out was announced, a game from the developers of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, for early 2018
  • A quick teaser was shown off for BioWare’s new IP, Anthem
  • NBA Live 18 will also feature a single player mode and will include some RPG mechanics as you play around the U.S.
  • Star Wars Battlefront II closed out the show by showing off a quick trailer for the single player campaign, a live multiplayer demo showcasing Naboo, and it was announced that all DLC going forward will be free for the game

E3 2017: Preview and Predictions

It’s hard to imagine being more hyped for E3 2017 right now, but holy crap it’s almost here! I look forward to covering all of the conferences as usual, but before we get to the present let’s rewind the clock and look at E3 2016. What did EA, Bethesda, Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Sony promise? Did they make good on what they showed off? Plus I spout off some predictions, which turned more into wishes. I’ll never give up on Mega Man Legends 3. There’s more in the accompanying video podcast below. Enjoy!