Opinions Are Just That – The Hype Killer

It has been a while since I did one of these opinion pieces, so let’s do a fun one!

I will fully admit that I am the type of person who can get caught into the hype of something. It can be fun sometimes chatting with people about their excitement about something at the time of learning about it. While most big named things may make the collective populace lose their minds, it takes a special game to be announced that makes me lose control. I don’t have a game I’m currently hyped for at the moment, but once announcements are made at the beginning of Summer, I will most likely have something to look forward to. While it is easy to build up hype, it is also easy to destroy it. There are many ways the hype for something can flicker out. So for fun, I wanted to talk about some of the ways the hype for certain games is ruined for me. Some of these aren’t complete deal breakers for me, but it does stop me from acquiring the game sooner than I anticipated. If you participate in any of the behaviors that I’m about to list, please don’t stop for my sake.

False Advertising

This is a simple one to explain. You hear that a game is being announced that is right up your alley. Let’s say that it is a remake/remastered that you love and that it is getting new features that make it accessible for today’s standards. The day finally arrives where you can purchase the game and enjoy the things that you were promised, only to find out that that is not entirely true. You either notice that a key feature in the old game is gone and replaced with something that ruins the essence of the original, or you notice that your brand new game has a bunch of microtransactions that were not mentioned in the advertisement. Suddenly, your game is ruined by additions or subtractions that don’t make it worth playing at all. This is a hype killer that I’ve been running into a lot recently and has become one of the reasons I wait for sales or buy used copies when a game looks like trash.

My example for this is of course Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered that came out a few couple years ago. I will never stop talking about my disappointment with this game. The day before the game was released, people discovered that one of the key elements of the game was gone: local co-op. Yes co-op was there and they took it an extra step by implementing cross-platform play, but they got rid of the option for you and your friends to start in the same village together. The idea of the caravan was to set out together to protect your village; not just jump into someone’s game and help them complete dungeons. I am going to stop here before I get into another rage frenzy about this game.

Bad Business Practices

While I’m on the subject, let’s talk about the other thing I pointed out in false advertising. Companies sure do love them some money. I mean as a business you want to make money, but there are times where it just feels like greed. Practices like Battle Passes and Microtransactions are not inherently bad, but when the game revolves around it, or some of the best items in the game are locked behind it, then it just comes off companies wanting you to spend more money after you already purchased a $50 or $60 game.

Oh look. I’m beginning to see a pattern. The latest game that made me feel this way was Chocobo GP. I was excited for this game since I enjoy kart games and Final Fantasy. Things were looking good for the game, until reviewers started to point out that the game was heavily bombarded with microtransactions. Not only did the game cost $50 USD, but on top of that Square wanted me to spend more money on in-game currency and a season pass on a game that wasn’t working properly at launch. This was the easiest nope for me when I learned about it, and also one of the more disappointing ones since from what I can tell, it is a fun racing game. I just can’t get by supporting business practices like this even when it happens to the cute and adorable Chocobo.

Social Media/Nobody Shutting the **** Up About Something

This is where things get personal. I like talking about video games with people. I like sharing the joy and excitement with others when a new, fun experience is happening. What I absolutely dislike though is when everyone is sharing, jamming in your face, constantly referencing, praising something to the highest level, and berating others for not appreciating how [insert game here] is/will be the best game that ever exists. I can handle it to the point where I feel like I’m being oversaturated with seeing it everyday and feeling like I can never escape it. Any interest I had in playing it is suddenly gone since the fans want me to believe that no other game can compare to their prized possession. I will recognize that the game is good, but I will not play a minute of it if I can help it. 

I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, but there is one game that I have absolutely no desire to play ever since it came out in 2015. That game is Undertale. Do I think Undertale is a good game? Absolutely. Do I think it is one of the best games ever made? Debatable. Do I think Undertale is the pinnacle that all games should try to be? No. For a good while it felt like I could never escape any discussion about this game. Don’t get me started about the whole thing about Sans being Ness because I will just argue that they are all just code in a game that can be easily beaten with a BACKSPACE button. Everything is Undertale and everything that comes out after it is essentially Undertale as predicted in the Tale of Under. Jokes aside, I don’t want to hate the game for being what it is, but it really sours my mood when it is in your face everyday. 

The Last of Us can go in this category as well. I played the beginning and felt nothing since the internet kept talking about it and you could see it coming a mile away.

General Loss of Interest Over Time

This feels like the most natural way that hype can die over time. Something gets announced one day and then the final product doesn’t come out until 3+ years from now. You like the idea that something is coming when it is announced, but start to get impatient when it takes forever to come out. I know people like to pull up the quote about rushed and delayed games, but if I’m still waiting for a game announced in 2016, then I’m going to start focusing on the games around me.

I don’t have any good examples for this category personally. Metroid Prime 4 is a good example, but I’m convinced that it is going to get canceled at some point; so my excitement for it is pretty low. 

Bad Timing

Sometimes a game comes out at the wrong time. This is an aspect that most people don’t consider a lot. The timing of a game’s release is a crucial part of game development. If you are confident in its sales, releasing a game during the peak holiday times will lead to better sales. If not, then it gets drowned out by better titles. Sometimes releasing a game at a random point in time is a gamble since you may have no idea how sales will go; unless you are very cocky about it selling well. For me, if multiple titles are coming out around the same time, I will pick and choose which one I’m most looking forward to and then place the other title in my wishlist. Other times, a game will come out that I would be excited for if it came out one or two years prior.

The perfect game that I can use for this example is Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. Monster Hunter Generations on the 3DS was a sour experience for me since they opted to exclude G/Master Rank out of the game. The base game was fine, but the exclusion of the challenging part of the game made me resent the title. When news dropped that Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate was coming out only in Japan, my hype died instantly. This was fine since Monster Hunter World was coming out soon and filled that monster hunting itch that needed to be scratched. What baffled me was that a few months later, Capcom released Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate that same year. Talk about bad timing for those who were already playing World. I could have given Generations Ultimate some proper game time, but with me fully invested in World, I did not have the same hype for it when it was first revealed. 


So those are my hype killers. If you share similar feelings with me or have other examples, please share with the rest of the class.

Opinions Are Just That – Game Freak’s Gamble

This game looks bad for 2021 standards. You would think that Game Freak and the Pokémon Company would spend more money and resources to make this one of their greatest games ever. This is a freaking open world Pokémon game! 90s kids have been dreaming of a game like this since the original Red, Green, and Blue came out. It took twenty-five years and five generations of gaming later, but we finally have an open world Pokémon game that we wanted for so long. And the reception? About what you would normally expect from the internet these days. Why does this game look like a late PS2/early PS3 game? Does no one at Game Freak know how to make a good game anymore? Why am I paying money to play a game that could look so much better that other smaller game developers could make? Hopefully all of those buzzwords caught your attention, because in my opinion, I believe that this game will be fun to play even though the visuals leave a different impression. What if I brought to the table the idea that this could be a changing point for the company and we are seeing their transparency unfold before us? I’m about to attempt to explain my point of view about this unreleased game (at the time of this writing) and the highs and lows of its current development.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be Game Freak’s fourth 3D console game. Out of their previous 3D games, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee!, Pokémon Sword & Shield, & Little Town Hero, I would argue that the Let’s Go games have the better visuals and polish over the others. While the Let’s Go games visuals were meant to be bright and nostalgic, Legends seems to be going for more of a darker, dimmer time. There is no doubt that this game is taking inspiration from other open world games, but there is a big difference from this game and other studios that have produced wonderful (if not glitchy) open world games.

Game Freak has never developed a 3D open world game before. As far as I can tell (I looked everywhere), this is the first game in a genre like this that the company is developing solely by themselves. To put that into some perspectives, Nintendo had Monolith Soft help them with their visual environments for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo wanted to make sure that Breath of the Wild‘s world was inviting to explore and asked a company who does it really well to help them out with it. Legends has no one but Game Freak working on it. The company who mostly stuck to handheld games up until the Switch’s release has to suddenly break out of their mold to develop new games in a different style that they haven’t been using in almost twenty years. I know someone is quick to point out games like Pokémon Stadium, Coliseum, Pokémon Snap & New Snap, and Poképark on the Wii. Those are 3D games that were not developed by Game Freak (HAL Labs (Stadium), Genius Sorority Inc. (Coliseum), Bandai Namco (New Snap)). Heck, most of their remakes aren’t even developed by Game Freak themselves like in the case with Brilliant Diamond and Shiny Pearl.

So the obvious question. Why doesn’t Game Freak partner with, or let a different studio develop this game? That is a legit question. It feels very idiotic for a company who has never developed a game like this before to create one on their own with no one to help them. Unless Game Freak has talented developers who are confident in their programming skills, this game will feel like a fraction of what it could truly be if they hired some experts or a larger team to help them with it. I wish they would offer secondary help with the environment design, but I can also understand why they may not want to get outside help and develop this solely on their own.

Change is unavoidable. In the past, Game Freak knew how to make fun, charming 2D games that took advantage of the hardware they were working on. None of the Pokémon games on the handheld systems looked bad and only improved as time went on. Even when they moved to 3D models for Pokémon X & Y, they got better improving their work when Sun & Moon came out. Game Freak knows that their game development has to evolve as well. The Switch can handle so much more than the handheld systems did, so now they are forced to change the way they develop to meet the quality standards that their fans want. If I were a game designer in their shoes, I would want to attempt to push my team to our limits and try to create something out of our comfort zone that I know fans would enjoy. Game Freak could have easily paid the money to get all of the outside resources they could want to make this one of the best looking Pokémon games to date. But, they choose to do this themselves to grow as a studio. The best evidence for this can be seen in the recent trailer for the game.

Video from The Official Pokémon YouTube Channel

The game looks so much better from the one that we saw back in February. I can’t jump on the bandwagon to say that Game Freak is being lazy with the graphics in this game. From this trailer alone, the game looks more polished than they did five months ago. Some would say of course that is how game design should be. If that is so, then what we see is what we may get; and I’m totally fine with giving the game a chance if they are committed to the risk they are taking. Do I personally think the game is going to look better than what was shown in the new trailer? Not really. I am a “keep expectations low” kinda guy, so if the finally game looks like this, then I will be totally satisfied. Do I think this game will be riddled with framerate issues at launch? Oh definitely so! It’s these types of low expectations that make me still interested in the game rather than nitpick about how I would solve all these issues on my own. Besides all of that, this makes me excited on how the next game may look and perform. People criticized Sword and Shield for the “tree of low quality,” but I can understand how things like this can take time when you are under contract to make a game that you may be unfamiliar with the technology. I am willing to give Game Freak a chance with a game like this, even though I believe the safer bet would have been to inquire help from another studio to help with their graphic designs.

But, opinions are just that.

Where To Start In 2020 🤔

Since 2017, it feels like gaming has gotten bigger and more and more big titles have been released. 2020 doesn’t look different with people anticipating several big titles coming out this year. While there are some titles that I am drooling to get my hands on, I can’t help but also wonder what surprises are waiting for is. So with this short list, I want to let you know what I’m looking forward to and games I would like to be announced or released this year. I have no insight if any of my predictions will come true or not, but if so I would like to take credit for calling it first.

Game #1: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered

I admit I was upset when I heard that this was being pushed back later this year, but I am still excited to revisit this game. Crystal Chronicles is such a unique game that felt limited due to multiplayer setup. With the ability to play wireless and cross play with PS4 and mobile devices, this will bring the series back to the public eye.

Game #2: Persona 5 Royal

Going into Persona 5 the first time, I was blown away by the presentation and aesthetic of the game. However, after finishing it I felt that the enhanced version would suit my taste better than the original. While I still have no idea what new story elements and dungeons the game will add, I am excited to journey with the Phantom Thieves again (my wife will probably finish this game twice before I get the chance to…again).

Game #3: Animal Crossing New Horizons

I have a feeling that a lot of people will be lost on their own deserted island once this game comes out. All of the new customization tools look amazing and new elements like enhanced graphic details and tools will make this Animal Crossing the greatest yet.

Game #4: Final Fantasy VII Remake

I told myself that I was not going to get this until all the parts were released. But after watching the trailers and gameplay, I got to have it. This may cause blasphemy among my peers, but I have never beaten the original game (Sephiroth intimidated the hell out of me the first time). I want to play through the original before this comes out, so I will tell myself good luck with that.

Game #5: Persona 5 Scramble

I think I am more excited for this title than Royal at the moment. I enjoy a good mindless hack and slash game, and a Persona themed one sounds delightful.

Game #6: Ghost of Tsushima

I originally got Sekiro mix-up with this title and I really enjoyed Sekiro. I know the two games are not related, but playing another game that makes me feel like an unstoppable shinobi is all good with me!

Game #7: Tales of Arise

The Tales of series has always been one of my favorites, and it looks like they are pulling all the stunts for this game. I thought Zestiria and Berseria had beautiful graphics, but this makes them feel like early PS3 games. While we still know little about the game, it is a definite day one purchase for me.


Dream Announcement #1: Breath of the Wild 2 releasing Summer 2020

We first learned about Breath of the Wild 2 during Nintendo’s E3 presentation last June. While nothing about the story, gameplay, or anything else has come out since, we are all looking toward this game fixing some issues that we had with the first. Ah who am I kidding, this is Zelda! We will still love it anyway 🙂

Dream Announcement #2: Tales of Collection 1

Last year I completed my task of acquiring every Tales game that was released here in the states. So what better time than after I went through all of that work for Bandai Namco to announce a collection of the first four titles: Phantasia, Destiny, Eternia, and for the first time in the states, Destiny 2 (Eternia was renamed Destiny 2 in the states). This would make me stop everything that I was working on just to play though all of these again (hopefully the definitive versions of each).

Dream Announcement #3: Fire Emblem Echoes: The Blazing Saga

With the success of Three Houses, Nintendo could revisit their Echoes sub genre by remaking the the Gameboy Advance titles. Either bundle both Blazing Sword and Binding Blade together for one long epic title, or start with one and release the other down the road.

Dream Announcement #4: Dragon Quest IX DX

I remember last year that the developer of DQ9 were talking about the success of the game and everyone was like “GIVE US A REMAKE AKLSDFJAOGHOAKLFJ!” I was among those that screamed this and I want to believe that they were viewing the interest of a potential remastered version. This would make my younger brother happy as he adore that game and we had good times playing together. If any developer is reading this, please please please please please!

Dream Announcement #5: Super Jump Ultimate All-Stars Shippuden Gaiden

“ERROR 403: IMAGE WILL NEVER EXIST

Don’t stop believing

Bandai Namco apologizes for Jump Force by releasing the DS version of Jump Ultimate Stars to the Switch. There are no new features and the only added character is Minoru Mineta from My Hero Academia.

Dream Announcement #6: Golden Sun: Golden Dusk

Did anyone play Dark Dawn and remember the ending? When I first finished it I did not realize that I had reached the end. Then the credits rolled and I was like dafaq? Maybe one day we will see the release of all the games that have been lost emerge surprisingly this year and we return to our message board theories.


So what are some games that you are looking forward to this year? We are still in the beginning of this new year and decade so who knows what is in stored for us. Chances are after this post goes up, something amazing will be announced that will get me hyped (like Pokemon DLC).

Thanks for reading,

DanamesX

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch): The Remake That Needed To Be Remade.

On February 13, 2019, the world was treated to a trailer for a re-imaged version of Link’s Awakening. Considered by a large group to be the best Zelda handheld game (I am in the vocal minority that the Oracle games are better, but more on that in a future post), everyone was excited to see how they would recreate the world on the Switch. And then when everyone saw the toy box ascetic, it kinda threw some of us off, including myself. Nevertheless, I was still excited to replay one of my favorite Zelda games one better hardware than the Gameboy Color.

WHY IS EVERYTHING SO GOSH DARN CUTE?!

Booting up the game for the first time introduces you to the opening shipwreck cutscene that you can not skip for the first time. I think it was a brilliant design choice to have the opening in an animated style and then transition to the toy style to distinguish the real world from the dream world. This is revisited at the end of the game when you awake from the dream. Everything looks brighter and expressive which is expected on a more powerful console. GREEZO did a fantastic job of making everything feel like the original. With their previous projects on Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask 3D, it feel like you were playing the original N64 but just on the 3DS and thinking to yourself “yup this is how these games would look and play if it was on the 3DS.” Link’s Awakening is like that, but instead it feels like “yes this is how I remember Koholint Island looking like on the Gameboy.” Nothing felt out of place and the new surprises felt natural that I would have missed it years ago (except Dampe….I don’t dream of Dampe).

I died from cuteness when I saw Link’s running animation XD

I actually had it set in my mind to complete everything in this game (and still plan to do so). At the end of my first playthrough, I was missing 4 seashells, 13 pieces of heart, one bottle, and one figurine. Every area beckoned me to explore everything and kept me going to uncover every secret I could. I did not know that in the original you could dash into trees and find seashells that way (which brings about all new questions; do seashells come from the sea or trees?) or if you bomb holes in out of reach places, most likely a shell is in there. If you know what you are doing, there is not much challenge to be found until a bit later in the game or if you are playing hero mode. With Tracy’s secret medicine and three fairies that you can keep on you via bottles, dying in the game comes from either inexperience or carelessness.

Wait….what is that in the distance? Is that Death Mountain? …..no, it’s worse than that, Tal Tal Mountain.

I lost so much time getting lost and having to reclimb this stupid mountain all the time. If at any point you go off track while trying to reach your destination, you have to start from the bottom all over again. That means you will have to bust out your ocarina to get to the closest location to the stairs, which is near Dampe’s shack which constantly reminds me that Dampe is here, go through the first cave where that one green slime always hits me and makes me fall in a pit even when I anticipate it’s arrival every time but it somehow always gets me, and then determine which path you should take that won’t lead you back to the bottom again where Dampe’s smug shack greets you. I understand why Papahl always gets lost and tired on the mountain because it drains all your energy and makes you crazy enough to eat an entire pineapple rind and everything!!!

Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system.

I don’t want this to get longer or a full blown review. There are a plethora of reviews out there already and I just wanted to gush about this game for a while. I can easily recommend this game to anyone who has or has not played the original due to all of the quality of life changes. You can debate with yourself if the price tag is worth it currently, but I had no worries about it based on the value I got from it. If I had to give it my own personal rating, I would give it an 8/10 because *chocobo squawk* Tal Tal Mountain and Dampe.