April Resident Evil Showcase

In case you missed it, Capcom held another Resident Evil Showcase a couple days ago on 4/15 to reveal more details on Resident Evil Village and a few other Resident Evil announcements. In case you missed it, here it is just before it kicks off.

The biggest draw for me was Resident Evil Village, the 8th installment of the main series and direct sequel to Resident Evil 7, reprising the role of Ethan Winters. No big surprise, they released a brand new trailer to tease out even more of the story, including what looks to be an even more direct role for Chris Redfield in the village. If you just want to see the new trailer, here it is in it’s 4k glory.

Not sure if there is anything more for them to say to get me hooked. I’ve already got the game pre-ordered on Steam and I’m taking day off. In case you aren’t aware yet, Resident Evil Village released on May 7th.

So why the big showcase? They had a few new announcements to make. Capcom confirmed that Mercenary mode will be returning. To be honest, I never really got into Mercenary mode in a RE game, but I have to admit that it looks fun. The added ability to buy and upgrade gear between rounds does look nice. If your current strategy isn’t working as planned, change it up, if you have the money.

Capcom also announced a new timed demo for Village. Interesting approach if you ask me, but I’m not going to complain about a new demo, especially on PC, finally. Starting May 1st at 8:00 PM EDT to May 2nd at 8:00 PM EDT, a 60 minute demo will be available to play where you can explore the castle and/or village in the new game. You can spend all your time in one area if you want, or split it between both. If you are PS4/PS5 player, you will get early access to additional timed demos, these ones being 30 minute demos of the castle and village on separate days. The village PS4/PS5 demo opens April 17th and the castle demo opens April 24th. Here is a link to Capcom’s official page with the details and when you can start downloading the demos, Gameplay Demo.

Capcom also announced that they will be releasing a VR version of Resident Evil 4 on the Oculus. If you have an Oculus and never got to play RE4 yet or are just a huge fan of RE4, this should be an interesting take on the game. They also released an official trailer for the Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness animated series releasing on Netflix this year. Looks good and I’m definitely planning on binging this when it releases.

All that is left for me now is to patiently wait for the timed demo and the release of Resident Evil Village.

Gameboy Advanced Memory Lane

March 21st marked the 20th anniversary of the Gameboy Advanced. It was nice to see everyone else reminisce about what games they remembered the most that day. All the fond memories of all those amazing games that helped redefine handheld gaming and what would be the legacy of the GBA. The jump between the original Gameboy and the Gameboy Advanced was amazing. The fact that it could handle SNES games on a system that small, and that was just scratching the surface practically on what it could handle. It really was an amazing handheld system during it’s time.

From Golden Sun, Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Advanced Wars, Fire Emblem, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and Mega Man Battle Network, there was always something great to play. Heck, I find myself brushing off my GBA SP and hoping into some of these classics from time to time. However, being reminding of all these great games got me thinking about what happened to some of these beloved games? Sure some games continued on like the Fire Emblem series which got a decent boost of fame in the US to help get the series going here; but what about games like Golden Sun, Advanced Wars, and Mega Man Battle Network? Heck, even some newer 2D Castlevania platformers along the lines of Aria of Sorrow. I know I’m not the only one who would love to see these series brought back on newer platforms.

Golden Sun was an amazing RPG and was one of the greatest looking games on the GBA in my opinion. I felt the gameplay style, while not exactly revolutionary, helped set itself apart from other RPG’s at the time and each one had stories that kept me engaged. The way they incorporated the summons that not only provided powerful attacks in combat, you could use their unique elemental abilities outside combat to get to hidden areas and open paths to new areas. I just really loved the story, characters, art style, and gameplay. True, it did have two sequels with The Lost Age releasing on GBA and Dark Dawn releasing on the DS, with the later releasing late 2010. It’s been almost a full 11 years since we have seen anything new from this series..

Advanced Wars was one of the first games that really got me into turn-based tactical RPG’s. I remember when the game was being promoted in Nintendo Power. I was a huge fan of Command & Conquer around that same time, so with this being military strategy, it was right up my alley. Just wasn’t sure about the turned-based part. Figured what the heck and gave it a chance as I liked the look. I was not let down. I loved Advanced Wars and quickly found out I also love turned-based tactical RPG’s. That game was perfect to me with a story that kept me engaged and strategy I was able to get behind to get through each map with least amount of units lost. It was a puzzle each time. Advanced Wars did get three sequels, one on GBA and two on DS. That last one being Advanced Wars: Days of Ruin in early 2008, so 13 years without a new entry.

Mega Man Battle Network was an interesting shift form the classic Mega Man platforming and is a real-time tactical RPG. To be honest, it was a little bit of a welcoming shift for me as I sucked at classic Mega Man platforming. In Battle Network, the game is split between a kid named Lan Hikari and Mega Man, who is a NetNavis (Network Navigators) named MegaMan.EXE, who only exists in the Net. Majority of the story content is played out by Lan, who then uses his MegaMan.EXE NetNavis to enter the Net where the real-time tactical RPG element comes into play. What is unique is that the combat takes place on a grid where you play a sort of chess match against the enemies. Depending on what grid space you put Mega Man on and what grid spaces the enemies are on will dictate which of your attacks can hit an enemy and if you can get hit by an enemy. Still being true to Mega Man, you can equip Mega Man with what are called battle chips to give him a unique set of attacks for an advantage in certain maps. It was an new and interesting take on Mega Man that I really enjoyed. So much so, I felt it needed a longer explanation. Unlike the previous two games I mentioned, this series got several sequels on the GBA with the last one being Mega Man Battle Network 6 in mid-2006 in the US, so almost 15 years without a new entry.

I know there are plenty of other games and game series out there that fall into this same boat for others, and not just GBA games. It just happened to be one of those days that got me thinking about all the fun I had with all the games I played on the GBA. Will we see new games or remakes of any of these series, I hope so, but I also know there is more than enough for me to play already. Have me go back down memory lane with some of the other consoles/handhelds and I can guarantee you there are other series I haven’t thought about in a while that I’d love to be brought back and made new. It’s fun to think about what studios might do with some of these IP’s on newer hardware, but I had my fun with them already. It’s always fun to hop back down memory lane though.

The Age of Re-Releases

Is it just me, or does it seem like there are more remakes/remastered video games releasing and being announced? I wager that isn’t actually the case, but there are so many that have either been released over the last couple years or all those still in the making. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving these new chances to play games I either missed or just hadn’t played in years. Just starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with all this nostalgia and history I want to revisit and wondering at what point this will slow down, if ever.

I absolutely loved playing The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake Nintendo released last year on the Switch. For me, this was the game that really got me into gaming in the first place all the way back on the Gameboy all those years ago. I played that game from start to finish so many times, I could 100% this game within 4 hours. Not speed run worthy, but a definite show of how much I loved that game. Now to play it again in all new 3D graphics and new sound, yet still look and feel like the original, it was amazing. Heck, they even threw in a few minor changes that gave the game some new appeal like the reworked claw game, fishing game, and waterfall raft ride. They even tweaked a few bosses that threw me off so much I felt like I never fought them. This to me is what a remake should be. Taking a gamer back into the past to relive those gaming moments that captured them originally. Why I’m also looking forward to the Diablo II: Resurrected release.

Now, not all of these re-releases have to be games I played for me to be interested. Full disclosure, I did buy the Super Mario 3D All-Stars game Nintendo also released last year that came with remasters of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. While they didn’t remake the games with new graphics, they did at least remaster the games so they could be played on HD TV’s. It was nice to relive Super Mario 64, but I never actually played Sunshine or Galaxy, so it was nice finally getting a chance to play these without having to find an emulator or used copies. Heck, even the Enhanced Edition re-releases of Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II were a must have. I admittedly got into the D&D RPG scene much later in my gaming history. My first run in with that type of rule set was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the Xbox. Not really a D&D game, but the first one with that playstyle and similar rule set. After seeing they were releasing remastered versions to run on current gen hardware, I could pass up playing a bit of history that help shape some of the more current RPG’s I’ve played like Pillars of Eternity.

While I’m not one to argue these games shouldn’t be remade, it does make me wonder at what point is it to much? Case in point for me, Mass Effect Legendary Edition. True, the Mass Effect trilogy came out on the Xbox 360 and that was a while ago, it wasn’t a game that really suffered graphics wise. You can definitely clean it up some, but I remember the game already looking amazing. The game never hit me as genre defining series either. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a series that really stuck out to me like other series. Now, after realizing I was only looking at it through my eyes, I didn’t consider there are newer generations who never got to play it, and there are some gamers who’s love of video games was helped shaped by this series. Also makes sense since EA announced a new “sequel” is in the works. Give gamers another chance to play through the original trilogy and get caught up before the new game releases. All my thoughts mean is that this isn’t a re-make for me. The same goes for the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword remake releasing this year on the Switch. There were aspects I loved about that game, but here is also a fair amount of things I just didn’t enjoy and made me feel like the game was rushed. For those who loved it or never played it, have at it and enjoy it. Me, I’m going to pass.

Re-releases, remakes, remasters, they are all the same. They let veteran players revisit their fondest memories of days past, and the let newcomers see what games came before to help shape what they play today. To be honest, I’m all for games getting re-released and don’t expect it to ever really slow down. There will always be gamers who would love to relive those gaming moments that helped define them and those who were to young even play certain games. While it’s hard to see how more recent titles will be re-released, I can see it happen 10 or so years down the road. Are re-release for everyone, nope; but for those they are for, have at em. Relive those memories, revisit the past, or learn about the origins. Most importantly, enjoy.

The Year of Diablo!

While I understand it isn’t the major event BlizzCon has come to be, I’m rather happy that I was able to join in this years BlizzConline event. This year being Blizzards 30th anniversary and last years BlizzCon being cancelled, I figured they wanted to do something for their community that everyone could attend. I’m rather thankful for that as I’ve never been to a BlizzCon nor payed for the virtual event. So much nicer to see the announcements first hand. On that note, if you missed the event and would also like to watch it first hand, you still can! Much thanks to Blizzard for not locking this out. Just head to the BlizzCon Schedule page or their Blizzard’s YouTube channel, and you can watch everything.

Now onto what grabbed my attention the most, Diablo. In my honest opinion, this was Blizzards biggest focus. Yes, they talked about where they are going next with the latest World of Warcraft expansion and Classic; yes, they talked about what’s next for Hearthstone; and yes, they shared more details about Overwatch 2. However, Diablo alone had three different games covered, Diablo IV, Diablo II: Resurrected, and Diablo Immortal. There was so much Diablo to go around!

First things first, Blizzard announced the return of the Rogue class to Diablo IV. Not since the very first Diablo game, has there been a Rogue specific class. Diablo II had the Amazon and Assassin classed there were the closest; and Diablo III had the Demon Hunter. This is a return to form of the original Rogue class. If you haven’t already, check out the brutal announcement trailer below. Fair warning, while not as extreme as the original Diablo IV announcement trailer, it has it’s cringe worthy moments.

Very much looking forward to giving Rogue class a go in Diablo IV. They also touched on some new Diablo IV game mechanics such as clearing out overrun settlements to allow NPC’s to rebuild them. This one really has me excited as I’m always for dynamic content that expands as you progress. They even mentioned that some of these settlements will get new vendors and waypoints as they are being rebuilt. So cool. They also touched on how Diablo IV is going to have a much more open concepts then previous titles, helping to explain why Diablo IV is going to introduce mounts. Mounts in an ARPG. To top that off, you can even attack off of your mount into a cluster of enemies as shown by the Rogue leaping off her horse and launching a rain of arrows onto her enemies before touching the ground. If you want to hear more, I recommend checking out the Diablo IV: What’s Next panel.

Next up, Diablo II is getting resurrected in full remake that releases this year, Diablo II: Resurrected. Just to be clear, this isn’t just a remaster where they just try to clean up the existing art and sound, this is a full remake with the game being almost completely rebuilt. Blizzard has teamed up with Vicarious Visions (studio behind the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remakes) to make this possible. While I say the game is being rebuilt, Vicarious Visions is doing everything they can to maintain the exact same look, feel, and gameplay fans of Diablo II have come to expect while giving it a more current gen look and introducing some quality of life improvements (they are adding a freaking shared stash, oh happy day!). If you want to get a better idea of how the remake is getting made, definitely recommend checking out the Diablo II: Resurrected Deep Dive panel. In the meantime, here is the announcement video.

Last but no least, we got to hear more about Blizzard’s newest mobile game, Diablo Immortal. Outside of this being a mobile game that helps bridge the gap between Diablo II and Diablo III, I’m not quite sure how to feel about this one. I’m not a huge mobile gamer, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this game had me slightly interested. To be honest, when watching the gameplay, I had to keep reminding myself it was a mobile game, so they are definitely going all out graphics wise. They are also fleshing out the story and lore for this one as well to make sure it feels like a Diablo game that fits into the series. Definitely not getting that shallow mobile game vibe. Unfortunately, no release date yet; but they have my attention with this one. If anything, I’ll definitely give it a try. If you want to hear more about it, recommend checking out the Diablo Immortal: Alpha and Beyond panel.

So, all in all, I definitely feel like this is the year of Diablo. Granted, only Diablo II: Resurrected has been officially announced to release this year. I still think there is a chance we get release dates for Diablo IV and Diablo Immortal before the year is over. Maybe Immortal will also be released later this year? If you are a Diablo fan, this years BlizzConline definitely delivered in my opinion. Having just recently beat Diablo III and gotten all this new Diablo news I’m ready for more Diablo. Guess I’ll just start up a few more characters in Diablo III and maybe even re-install classic Diablo II to help get ready for Resurrected. Diablo, we will meet again.

Nintendo Direct 2.17.2021 Impressions

I’m running a bit behind, but still want to post something about Nintendo’s first Direct of the year. Not to mention their first big one for some time now (COVID-19 sucks). I was originally going to setup a link for the video and break down the announcements. Fortunate for me, Nintendo did a much better job then what I was likely going to try putting together.

If you happened to have missed Nintendo’s Direct they hosted on February 17th, here is a link to their site that has the video and a very nice break down of all the announcements below it: Nintendo Direct 2.17.2021.

Now, what are my thoughts. Having been a bit devoid of major announcement for a while, I think it was a decent Direct. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m slightly bummed that they had nothing new to announce for The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild 2 and they didn’t even hint at anything Metroid. However, I think they did what they needed to do and had a little of something for everyone. So here are my big highlights:

  • Pyra/Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicls 2 will be the newest fight/s added to the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster. To be clear, they are technically the same fighter in the roster. Similar to the Dragon Quest Warrior, you can switch between the two characters during a fight fairly seamlessly, and form the looks of it, intentionally to string together some interesting combos. Seems really interesting.
  • Mario Golf Super Rush has been announced for the Switch. I love me some Mario Golf and so excited I’ll be able to play it on the TV again.
  • Splatoon 3 has been officially announced and is giving me a Wastelands/Borderlands vibe. Should be interesting. Might be time I finally pick up one of a Splatoon game.
  • Project Triangle Strategy (working title) is a new tactical RPG being worked by Square Enix. While still very much a work in progress, Square Enix released a playable demo for the game already. I already downloaded it to give it a go. First off, don’t expect the game to go easy on you and don’t expect to understand what is going on. Damn near messed up my first encounter getting used to the mechanics; but even with me fumbling around, I definitely see potential here. Also loving the art style reminding me of very much of Octopath.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is going to release on the Switch soon. While not one of the best Legend of Zelda games in my honest opinion, it does have it’s moments and I think it is very much worth playing for LoZ fans who haven’t yet played it. If you were a huge fan of it and plan on getting again, more power to you. Now, they did mention they did work on improving the motion controls to fit the regular Switch side controllers (hopefully this improves the sword combat response which never worked well for me); but they also mentioned adding full button control support for Switch Lite players, so motion controls aren’t required! Woot!
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity DLC releasing this year. Included in the Expansion Pass DLC will be a purchase bonus that will add new weapons and outfits for Link, there are two bigger releases that will spaced out throughout this year. Across each wave they will be adding some new playable characters (no details yet who), skills for existing characters, stages, weapon types, and challenges. While I’m still working through Age of Calamity, I’m looking forward to seeing what they add as I’m getting close to full completion at this point.
  • Animal Crossing New Horizon Super Mario Themed decorations and outfits are coming soon in an upcoming free update. I’m not one to really decorate my island yet, but I thinking it is time to make an exception. And yes, there are enough items to basically make your own Mario course on your island complete with warp pipes, coins, blocks, and flag pole, all while looking like a Mario character.
  • Plenty of new third party title announcements. To many for me to really dig deep as I don’t have much on them yet. However, I do want to call out the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection. Includes Ninja Gaiden 1-3, need I say more. I’ve already beaten the hell out of all three, but if you missed these and are looking for challenge, highly recommend checking it out.

So yeah, no BotW 2 or Metroid Prime 4 news, but I think an overall solid Direct. Definitely giving me some good vibes about 2021 for Nintendo. Just remember, it is still February, so there is plenty of time for Nintendo to drop some more big news. Heck, for all we know, BotW 2 and Metroid Prime 4 could be launch titles for Nintendo’s new system I keep hearing about. Either way, this is already shaping up to be a nice year for Nintendo.