Our fifth podcast is now live! This edition includes the rumoured Xbox Scarlett!
Thoughts on comments from Nihon Falcom and reports on Xbox Scarlett being a streaming service! Mega Man X and Sonic Mania Plus! How many Nindies per week?!
Thoughts on comments from Nihon Falcom and reports on Xbox Scarlett being a streaming service! Mega Man X and Sonic Mania Plus! How many Nindies per week?!
Title: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
Copy Provided By: Bought it with my own money!
If you’re wondering where I have been since my last article, this game is the sole culprit. Never since Xenoblade Chronicles X has a game grabbed my attention so thoroughly and kept me hooked from start to end over nearly 50 hours of playtime.
First I would be remiss to not mention the soundtrack. As I have been told is normal for Falcom titles, this game nails a mix of sombre, energetic, rock and orchestra at just the right moments. Such variety keeps the game from feeling stale and helps push it’s identity as an adventure first and foremost.
Below are two examples of this varied soundtrack: The Theme of Dana, and the theme for the first area of the game proper.
In terms of plot, Ys VIII is relatively simple. What you get is a very personal story, around a group of castaways on an island simply trying to survive and escape, before the greater mystery unveils itself and the two segue into each other very well. The star of the show isn’t the overarching plot lines, which do keep you guessing, but the Castaway Village.
Every character in your party of 6, or any of the people you rescue, and wholly unique. Some are snobbish aristocrats. Some are military men with a more artistic side. One is an insufferable artist. This clashing of characters and ultimate teamwork is incredibly satisfying to watch as almost everyone accepts that they are kindred spirits despite their backgrounds.
You spend a lot of time learning about them, via the timed side quests you get, and gifts you can hand to them. This raises their approval, which improves how you do in the Raid defense missions and Hunting missions. Maxing out Approval nets you a fully voiced heart to heart conversation with the character in question too, revealing more about the small but varied cast.
Of course, raising approval, taking part in raids and hunts all raises the main character, Adol Christin’s, “Reputation”. With a high enough reputation stat by end game, you earn the best ending and bonus content.
Ys VIII is an Action RPG. You use Y to switch between your active party members at any time, which is handy for enemies that require a certain weapon type.
This kind of dynamic means you will never be short on health, and battles can be quick or slow depending on the volume of enemies and how you approach them. Using charged attacks lets you use Special Skills, which level up independently of characters and have various effects such as counters, ranged attacks, Area of Effects and more. 4 can be assigned and swapped out at any time, just like party members.
Bosses are also a highlight, a range of impressive beasts to take on that all require different strategies.
Combat is incredibly fluid and frantic, and with status effects and plenty of customisation the game never feels stale, in even in the more restricted Dungeons, where you want to craft meals and bring medicine to help along.
Characters also have gear to equip. These impact stats via one body piece and one arm piece, with two accessories. Further, the Switch release comes with all included DLC costumes for some visual variety.
Adventure Gear is an excellent feature that assists in what is a Metroidvania style structure. Each area connects to another by either immovable blockade that requires rescuing castaways, or Adventure Gear that is found as you progress such as a Double Jump.
These always come right as you start to feel restricted, and exploring previous areas leads to more items, gear and Castaways. This constant loop of exploring, reward and crafting items, weapons and more, leads to a very satisfying experience.
Of course, side quests are aplenty and do run on a time limit, so a complaint is that you can potentially miss them. Same with raids, that attack Castaway Village periodically, diverting from your current task, though you can fast travel. Side Quests and Raids are essential to the best ending of course.
Ys VIII has a surprisingly length post game. There are several super bosses and one very, very, VERY large dungeon to clear that nets you plenty of gear, including a reward of party size adjustment and adding different weapon types to a single character.
All this can then be carried over the New Game Plus, and there is even a Time Attack mode. Plus, plenty of Raids and Hunts come up at the end of the game as well. You won’t be left wanting with this title.
Even completing the map gets you rewards for every 10% so simply walking around is a reward in of itself. This is a game that gives you what you need when you need it and lets you make your own path, and rewards you.
To be frank, this game isn’t the most impressive, being a Vita title originally. This is evident in some shapes and objects, as well as texture work. Passable, but it does look better in handheld mode. The game also did crash once or twice, but that doesn’t detract from my experience due to very frequent autosaves.
The fact you can miss quests is perhaps the biggest gameplay flaw. But, with frequent trips that you make to the Village anyway, you likely won’t miss them if you are diligent!
I suppose there are the odd graphical quirks as well. Some are incredibly hard to replicate, so the frequency is uncertain, but it never detracted from the experience.
This is my final takeaway from this game. The odd quirks and errors in text are by no means a detraction from the game. The gameplay is exceptionally solid, the game is rewarding, and most of all Ys VIII never slows down. There is always somewhere new to see.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is an entry in a franchise I am ashamed to say didn’t catch my eye until Nintendo shoved it in my face earlier this year. I see this sentiment from a lot of people in all honesty, so the new light should push the series to new heights. It absolutely deserves it.
Ys VIII on Switch, for all it’s technical snags and weird text, is excellent. Simply an outstanding Action RPG well worth your time playing and enjoying.
I don’t say this lightly, but Ys VIII is my favourite game of 2018 thus far. That surely speaks for itself.
Thanks for reading, and if you like, you can check out other articles on the site! Sorry I vanished because of this game… but exciting things are to come. See you all later and Happy Gaming!
Crash Bandicoot on Nintendo Switch is perfectly fine. These remakes of the original trilogy comes over, gameplay intact from PS4.
Naturally the resolution is lower at 720p when docked, and lower in handheld mode. With this comes graphical downgrades. Some expected, like shadows and the fur textures being limited or removed. Some however, like reflective surfaces, are omitted entirely.
These missing aspects certainly stand out, even compared to the PS1 originals. It’s no deal breaker, but in certain stages like the future themed areas from Warped, lot of charm is lost. This was clearly in the name of smooth performance, as the game maintains a fairly constant 30fps.
Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is a collective remake of the original Crash titles. With this comes various improvements, notably to Crash Bandicoot (The Original), such as better game design choices. This includes making Gems easier to get, forgoing the No Deaths requirement outside of Colour Gems.
Not all changes are positive. The use of one unified physics scheme across all 3 games (Based on Crash 3) leads to conflict with level design in Crash 1 and 2. This is simply due to level design in a platformer being built around what the character can do, with Crash 1 and 2 at times simply not being built for Crash 3 controls.
Additionally, some vehicles control with unusual weight and slow turning that limits mobility, adding frustration to Crash 3.
Further, the DLC stages Stormy Ascent and Future Tense are included as standard alongside various Quality Improvements made since the initial PS4 release.
Ultimately, this is the definitive way to experience all 3 games. As the de facto portable experience, this release is excellent.
So let’s address the downsides of this port. First, as noted, it doesn’t look as good. I feel as though some cutbacks aren’t necessary but if it’s in the name of smooth performance, it’s agreeable.
This lack of interest in even attempting to get the game running by the development staff hints at corporate apathy. There are Switch specific issues that hint at a lack of care on various parties.
Firstly, using any controller other than Joy-Con while docked, before undocking the system, leads to the game being unable to recognise the Joy-Con in Handheld mode. This means using a Pro Controller on your TV before swapping to handheld mode, means you need to reboot the game.
Further, swapping which wireless controller you are using, at least when undocked, leads to the same problem. The game doesn’t respond to swapping controllers or modes unless you use the Joy-Con.
— BLP-Sean | NLInklings (@BritishPlaying) July 1, 2018
Who holds responsibility for this we will never know. Is it Nintendo for not performing adequate checks during the Lotcheck process? Is it Toys For Bob, the team behind the port? We may never know, but Crash Bandicoot on Switch doesn’t support these basic aspects of the system.
I am extremely mixed on this release. On one hand, the game is smooth, responsive and absolutely worth a purchase for fans. If you have another console, this becomes a tougher sell, but for a portable Crash experience, this is fantastic.
The catch is some cutbacks feel extreme, and the lack of Switch functionality including screen recording (though this may be tied to CPU usage by the game) and controller swapping leaves a sour taste.
This feels like the most basic of ports. Its solid, it’s a great game, but it doesn’t react to the basic functionality of the system. As noted, it’s like the port was rushed and not intended.
But that doesn’t deter that this is a great way to experience the game. If you can overlook the cutbacks and system specific issues, this is an absolute must for platformer fans.
That’s all for this Impressions piece! Crash is back (Again!) and we hope you have fun wumping from islands and through time. Let us know what you think on social media, and Happy Gaming!
Thoughts on Fortnite! Cross-Platform Play shenanigans and Mega Man 11 absolutely not coming to Europe at retail too! Everyone is Here in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!
Plus, hear what we have been playing this week. Then our thoughts on E3 2018 and Sony does….what to your Epic Games account?!
Sony has a history of pro-consumerism. The PS4 is built upon this logic. Just like I have noted in the past however, it’s not holding up. It only took a few years to break down into hostility.
Hop back to E3 2017 for a moment.
Unfortunately it’s a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders, and I’m not going to get into the detail of that on this particular instance. And I can see your eyes rolling.
We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base
Everybody has to take their own decisions. We’ll do that. Like I say, we have no philosophical stance against cross-play at all.
That said, to my knowledge, there is no live conversation ongoing at the moment.
Source (Seriously read it all, it is pure gold!)
This is how Sony’s Jim Ryan responded to Eurogamer about not allowing cross-platform play with other consoles in both Rocket League and Minecraft. No one consistent answer was given.
Yeah this isn’t a good look but wait, there is now more.
This was based, we assumed, on fear, and wanting to keep their install base. A company that built a base on pro-consumer moves in the wake of the Xbox One now does the things they said they wouldn’t.
Now however, we see what it is truly based on.
Fortnite just released on the Nintendo Switch! This would be great news. Turns out, if your Epic Games account has ever touched a PS4, that account can now never be used on Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. No, deleting the link doesn’t work. Once it’s been there, it’s locked away forever.
The same is true in reverse. If you link an account to Switch or Xbox, it won’t work on PS4. This is a huge problem, as Fortnite links progress to your Epic account, which we should stress is a third-party account.
Many PS4 users have found this to be an issue, wanting to play on Switch. This has gone beyond simply not allowing play between systems. This is now wrestling a third-party account and wanting you to only play on PS4.
This is hostility towards other systems. They want to be the only place you ever play games, and they are doing their damnedest to keep their users to them, by inconveniencing them going elsewhere.
So the constant lies about why they don’t want cross-platform play. The newfound hostility towards the other systems. This all stinks of what we know now as “Arrogant Sony”. Remember the PS3 launch? Top of the world, can do no wrong, and it backfired. They believed consumers had no choice in who they went to, they thought they were on top of the world. Then they fell.
Now the PS4 bounces back, pro-consumer for all of what seemed like 20 minutes. Sure, they want to keep their lead, but now, what benefit is there to playing third-party games on a PS4?
On PC, you get mods. Xbox One X, you get the best console performance. Switch, you get portability. On PS4, you get tied to the system with a brick around your ankles.
Across all of the above, except PS4 of course, you can all talk, play against or with each other in games. In Fortnite, your progress even carries over. This is the future. Developers want it. Epic Games wants it. But the dinosaur that is Sony will not let it happen.
They want control. But the power is with the players now more than ever.
Some believe the one with the largest install base has nothing to gain. But they do. In the (Increasingly likely if you pay attention) scenario where the PS5 launches and falls behind the next Xbox, these past practices will have caused people to move away. Sure, it’s fine now, but people don’t forget. Especially now the biggest game in the world is the subject.
The answer is simple, play where you want, but remember that the noise will only grow as more and more games adopt this approach. There will be a time where they have to allow it. If not, the mantra of the PlayStation falls apart at the seems.
This is more than Microsoft taking shots at Sony. This is consumers not being treated fairly, and developers not being given the freedoms they deserve.
Thanks for reading, and this is an issue that now more than ever needs to be scrutinised. Perhaps the future will change things, but Sony is in a position of power to abuse now…but anyway, go boot up Fortnite and play with whoever YOU want! Happy Gaming!
Thoughts on Battlefield V vs Call of Duty! Pokemon Let’s Go and Mega Man 11 not coming to Europe at retail too!
Plus, hear what we have been playing this week. Then our thoughts on some pre-E3 reveals and the comments about…a new portable PlayStation?
Firstly however, we need to cover our E3 2018 plans! In our Discord community we have a channel with the full schedule and discussion of E3. Secondly, we will be posting pre and post E3 thoughts in our bi-weekly podcast both before and after E3. We may even live-react to a few of the events, but more on that at a later date!
So what can we expect from E3? Well it’s hard to say. Overall it feels like a potentially solid show with few standouts, so let’s see why.
EA is first to bat at the show this year, and that’s probably a good thing. Where EA typically stumbles is in engagement. A very corporate show mixed with online personalities and a lack of really exciting and unexpected news leaves a lot to be desired.
When talking about games, outside of a boring presence, we know Battlefield V is confirmed to appear. Anthem is also a very likely shoe in given its recent delay to 2019. No doubt Star Wars will be teased in some capacity as well after Battlefront II…launched last year.
Oh and of course, FIFA 19, Madden 19 and so on. Maybe some more Need for Speed, it’s hard to say. Of course the jury is still out on if the Nintendo Switch will make an appearance for any of these games after previous comments.
Verdict – A shallow but serviceable event. Just bring coffee.
Microsoft is in the worst position heading into this E3. After launching Game Pass and seeing its latest first party titles falter, there is only one known first party release in the pipeline. Crackdown 3 was meant to release last year but got delayed to 2018, and this E3 would mark 5 years since it was revealed. Hopefully it gets a date and sticks it this time.
Of course, Microsoft needs more than that. In what is billed as their biggest show ever, and what is now confirmed to be 2 hours in length, they need to come out swinging. Any less, and the Xbox One misses its final chance at meaningful exclusive software. Phil Spencer has been talking a big game for years, but yet to show anything.
Forza Horizon 4 is a lock in for this year, but beyond that maybe a fix to the Halo Collection at long last, 4 years after it launched? Gears of War? Maybe get a RARE IP back in action? There will at least be waves of indies. Microsoft really needs to swing and as this years wildcard, they may just do that. But any less than amazing and it will be time to write the system off.
Verdict – It better be good, but we simply can’t say. Prepare for disappointment.
Bethesda is planning a short but sweet conference again this year. No doubt they will feature a final push for Wolfenstein 2 on Switch as they did last year with Skyrim. Hey, maybe they can announce a Fallout thing or something?
Of course, RAGE 2 is showing up, a now confirmed and very different game to the original. DOOM 2 is also rumoured (And welcomed!) but it may be a year too soon. Of course The Elder Scrolls is on everyone’s minds now, but that’s not likely this year.
Starfield is very likely however. This mystery IP is due a reveal any time now, as we know nothing except it exists. If it proves a strong title, it could be a show stealer. The short but sweet nature of this show leads me to feel they don’t have much to announce however.
Verdict – It could be good, but there won’t be much quantity.
Square Enix is returning to E3! That could be amazing or absolutely horrifying.
No doubt we will get details on Final Fantasy XV’s announced 2019 DLC (Why?) and Kingdom Hearts 3 will get its release date at long last. Final Fantasy VII may show up in some form but don’t expect it.
The confirmed Avengers title will likely show for the first time. What this game can be is anyone’s guess but a new reveal would be excellent. Naturally Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Dragon Quest XI will feature.
Also expect Octopath Traveler and Dragon Quest Builders 2 to appear. One as a final push and the other to finally show the damn thing. Of course this is Square Enix, you can expect a random game or two for fun.
Verdict – Probably going to be the high point. Lots of games we know are coming and plenty surprises are possible.
Ubisoft is in a unique position. Of course we will get updates on announced titles like Starlink and The Crew 2. No doubt they will also flaunt Beyond Good and Evil 2 as well, after a big reveal last year.
Watch Dogs 3 is expected, forming a new bi-yearly cycle with Assassins Creed, but no doubt DLC will appear for that. Their VR projects also took a bit of focus last year, so updates would be welcome.
What Ubisoft could show that is unexpected is a mystery. They likely won’t have another collaboration with Nintendo already, nor a new South Park title. This will most likely be an update on the known games and quantities moving forward.
Verdict – Solid but nothing stellar.
Learning from their mistakes of showing stuff years in advance and disappointing us at E3 2017 by repeating E3 2016, they announced their plans in advance.
Sony will be focusing on 4 main games, in what I suppose is a 4 act structure: Spider-Man, Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us: Part 2. With the exception of Spider-Man, making its third appearance, these will all be gameplay reveals and maybe even release dates.
The question is why such a large push for Spider-Man when other games could do with the spotlight such as Dreams? Third party announcements like exclusive DLC, VR news and a few indies will break up the pacing between each big game, but the pace threatens to drag with already known quantities if they hold on them for too long.
PS4 is very much on autopilot now.
Verdict – Solid, but a bit repetitive and unremarkable.
Nintendo has already stated one thing. Only 2018 titles will show here. That and their main event is only on Switch. 3DS announcements will come in Treehouse Live if any.
With that in mind….eh. This really does seem like it could be lacklustre. Only focusing on the upcoming 6 months of content feels risky, but with Fire Emblem and Yoshi due out this year, one of which we haven’t even seen yet, and a confirmed focus on Super Smash Bros. it can at least be solid. Add in Pokemon and hey it could be great.
But we all knew about those games anyway, some for well over a year at this time. Plus on the third-party front I don’t expect much. This will be the Smash and Fire Emblem show. If neither of those interest you, don’t expect much else. This could just be pessimism, but it feels like an unfortunately low-key second show for their new system.
Verdict – Potential great, if third parties show, and if the game selection is greater than anticipated. Most likely just average otherwise.
And that’s it. We will see how right we are on the money and if we can be pleasantly surprised after E3! What do you think we will see? As always Happy Gaming, and stay tuned to the NL Inklings community for our takes on the events!
This podcast includes the Dark Souls delay on Nintendo Switch, our initial impressions of Nintendo Labo, and God of War being patched!
Check it out below, and Happy Gaming!
Consumers and armchair analysts can argue all they want about the merits of Nintendo selling cardboard. Included with each Labo kit is the ability to produce Toy-Con and even make your own custom creations. However, in terms of sales it would seem Labo hasn’t hit home.
Around the internet on message boards you can see examples of “I told you so” and “Well who thought $80 cardboard would sell?” and this attitude is both unfairly dismissive and forgets the history of the game industry.
Cast your minds back to the PlayStation 2, a system on top of the world. What do you do when you have success like that? Find new ways to use to device you have already sold to people. Sony did just that with the EyeToy! This is an odd little peripheral that projected your body into the game for what was at the time the height of motion control in gaming.
Of course people don’t remember it now. It existed though. The EyeToy had games exclusive to it, but it required the PS2 to function. It was a platform on top of an already successful platform. A “Sub-Platform”. A peripheral.
Jump ahead to the PS3. Despite early struggles it ultimately became a respected and well selling console. What would a company do with a device already in homes? Introduce a peripheral, with exclusive games, but still tied to the core hardware. Introduce both PS Move and Wonderbook.
You won’t remember Wonderbook. It would be a challenge to find one these days, but the PS Move lived on and still is available as a peripheral. Of course the thing to remember is sometimes these peripherals will fail.
But why will they fail? Well they simply don’t catch on. A peripheral has a maximum base to sell to that is equal to that of the platform it needs to even function. So for something like Kinect, it could only sell to, at most, the total amount of Xbox 360 users.
Price and purpose: If a peripheral is too expensive it obviously won’t catch on especially if the perceived value is low.
Sometimes one has to take a look back to see the failures before judging the present successes. PlayStation VR is a new way to experience video games and has numerous exclusive titles. It also has a very hefty price point to enter. On top of that, it needs the PS4 to even work! PlayStation VR, for all it is its own platform, remains a sub-platform wholly dependant on PS4.
How did it succeed? It was periphery to a system already in homes. It gave a new way to play games. A new experience. But one thing it doesn’t do is detract from the system it is attached to.
This is the thing with peripherals. They need to be understood and accepted as supplements to the platform they need to function. They can offer new takes on existing experiences like VR or offer new experiences all together. But generally no one should expect a sub-platform to sell like a new platform.
Simple! Nintendo Labo is a peripheral. The fact that it has multiple kits under one name should tell you future kits will (Probably) exist. Additionally, it is entirely dependant on Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo Labo lets people use the Switch in new ways. It is an educational tool teaching engineering, creativity and programming in an accessible way.
Toy-Con Garage lets people learn and understand basic programming. The technology behind making the cardboard creations work is simple yet technical.
Labo as a peripheral is ideal. It does something different from the already hot core device, to bring in other people. It’s only crime is potentially price.
If Labo fails then we simply move on. In the same we moved on from weird Wii accessories and Wonderbook and EyeToy and Kinect. A peripheral failing isn’t the end of the world. After all, it never hurts to try.
To loop back to the earlier dismissive comments – if that attitude prevailed we would likely see peripherals die out. The fear of trying and failing would end with not trying at all. It is better to try and then fail than not try at all. A peripheral can’t damage a platform. If the peripheral is marketed well then it can stand as its own thing and thrive as a supplement to a system.
But if it does come to fail, well the platform it is attached to didn’t fail. Only the peripheral. The platform did well enough beforehand to make this venture worthwhile.
Following on from yesterday and a discussion about mid-tier games not needing to sell millions, Labo is in the same position. It doesn’t need to be PSVR or WiiFit. If handled sensibly, if marketed to the right people, Labo will do just fine.
There is no harm or shame in trying something new with your existing hit platform. By being dependant on something that already exists, success or failure really doesn’t matter, so long as it isn’t incredibly expensive to develop the peripheral. But the success of the base system doesn’t guarantee success for the peripheral either!
To conclude, it all doesn’t matter. Success or failure the Nintendo Switch will continue on its path just like the PS2 did, or the SNES with its add-ons. Labo ultimately needs Switch. Switch doesn’t need Labo.
But it is always nice to have something different there to supplement too.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this piece please share on social media via the buttons below, and let me know I shouldn’t play with cardboard! Happy Gaming!