Game Under Podcast 107

Yes, yes, like an ancient virus released by melting permafrost, the Game Under Podcast is back.

Tom is joined by regular co-host and Devil May Cry 2 supernostalgic Aarny to discuss one of his favourite childhood games, and Devil May Cry 5.

Has Aarny grown up and realised his childish folly? Has Tom bought any Diesel clothing since playing Devil May Cry 2?

Listen here, and find out.

Diesel May Cry.

Diesel May Cry.

Hardware Review: New Nintendo 2DS XL

I was recently shown the sixth entry in the 3DS hardware family, the “New Nintendo 2DS XL” which was good enough for me to go out and get one for myself. Released in mid-2017 for approximately $250 AUD, what was striking to me about the N2DSXL was the large screen, which was the single most disappointing component of the first 2DS (my review here).

The size difference between the N2DSXL and original 2DS is apparent even to me.

The size difference between the N2DSXL and original 2DS is apparent even to me.

The comparative form factor is also more useful for those with fully-grown human hands, though the directional cross pad and placement of the face buttons are the same size (though the face buttons have more negative space between them.

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One of the first surprises, when opening the box, was the presence of a power adapter. Usually Nintendo does not include these for late-cycle hardware revisions, nor indeed in their Classic console series. I once read that there was a punitively high tax in Japan on the inclusion of power adapters (which I was unable to confirm through a web search because the first 8 pages wanted to send me to sites that sell power adapters). Beyond the adapter there are a few augmented reality cards to play with, which I recall were the same included with the original hardware, and the usual manual.

The orange-sickle colours are not offensive to me, but if you prefer, themed hardware options (Pikachu and Animal Crossing) for about $50 AUD more are available.

The orange-sickle colours are not offensive to me, but if you prefer, themed hardware options (Pikachu and Animal Crossing) for about $50 AUD more are available.

The stylus is stored at the base of the unit this time (took me a little while to find it).

The stylus is stored at the base of the unit this time (took me a little while to find it).

Once the unit is turned on the difference in light quality is apparent. Prior DS and 3DS formats before the “new” hardware always had a dim quality by comparison.

A DS cartridge was used for this review so I could compare it to the prior DS hardware. This shot above was taken with a camera pointed at the screen (no capture or editing software used).

A DS cartridge was used for this review so I could compare it to the prior DS hardware. This shot above was taken with a camera pointed at the screen (no capture or editing software used).

The top screen in particular is so large (compared to other Nintendo handhelds) that after a few minutes of playing a game you are playing without distraction and completely subsumed by the experience.

Out of interest I compared the second iteration of the DS to what is likely the last version of the 3DS.

Out of interest I compared the second iteration of the DS to what is likely the last version of the 3DS.

After playing with the N2DSXL for over an hour I did not find my hands were sore, as they often are with most longer gaming sessions with a handheld. I’ve since played it for over 6 hours with little battery loss, despite the larger brighter screens.

The N2DSXL is likely the last iteration of this hardware — Nintendo has not many more options to add, though they may go down the the miniaturisation route, as the did with the Game Boy Advance Mini. With Nintendo enjoying the the success of the portable Nintendo Switch, it must be difficult for them to see a way forward. Perhaps an affordable, ruggedised version of the Switch, more suitable for the rough treatment children generally apply to the items they love most is a happy medium.

Compared to one of the first “multi-screen” handhelds, it’s great to see Nintendo stick to a concept so doggedly.

Compared to one of the first “multi-screen” handhelds, it’s great to see Nintendo stick to a concept so doggedly.

If you have a substantial DS and or 3DS library picking up the N2DSXL is an easy decision, as it is the best hardware format available for those games.

Tom Towers Returns to Reading in 2018

Keen Gundies will recall the series, Tom Towers Reads In [insert month here]. Well, writing about reading is a self-deprecating exercise in frustration, so it didn’t take long for it to be abandoned. But this year it’s returning, and now it’s about an entire year broken up into several volumes! Now the suffering will be entirely the Gundies’, because it’s already all written.

Fear not, for it isn’t all edited. So Gundies may yet be spared.

But for now, here is the first volume; as transplanted from thevgpress. Read it here, or read it there.

All latter volumes will be exclusive to Game Under.

Appreciate this fantastic cover here, as the iron man has been lobotomised in the feature itself.

Appreciate this fantastic cover here, as the iron man has been lobotomised in the feature itself.

Darkest Dungeon 2 Announced

As if the Red Hook knew I was on a grim-dark media binge, they have announced Darkest Dungeon 2 in a foreboding teaser trailer which you can watch below.

Wayne June, whose voice is made out of pure testosterone, is thankfully still present as the ever-oppressive narrator, and the game looks to be set around a snow-laden mountain instead of the musty and restlessly dismal Estate of the original.

With more than 80 hours played of the original (and the first expansion pack, which I reviewed here) I am delighted I can, again, self-flagellate via video games.

- Aaron Mullan

Apex Legends - First Impressions


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Apex Legends, the alleged apex predator of the Battle Royal games, has just been released into the wild of the internet for the eternally hungry and salacious gamers of the fibre-optic forests to devour. Following their last game, Titanfall 2 - a criminally underlooked FPS that features the most fluid running and gunning I’ve ever played - Respawn Entertainment have decided to venture down the booming free-to-play battle royale genre route.

From my very limited time with Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and Epic Games’ Fortnite, I can tell that Respawn decided to make their vision of battle royale the most fluid yet. The movement is fast, the shooting is tight and the whole experience feels sleek; especially for a game that’s been out for just under two weeks. I distinctly remember Battlegrounds taking quite a few months before it finally found its legs, and even then it still didn’t feel anywhere this good.

Apex Legends irons out all the obvious kinks and problems of the genre by making traversal effortless. It doesn’t feature Titanfall’s wall-running, or double-jumps, but it still feels just as slick as you can utilize ziplines to navigate around the map, and even relaunch yourself using certain balloon points to relocate to a completely different zone. I spent a lot of time in Fortnite running around just to get blasted in the back of the head by someone three miles down the road, so at least in Apex Legends I can zipline to my inevitable grave at a lightning-quick pace.

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Within the gameplay itself, you can choose between eight decently-diverse Legends. Much like the heroes in Overwatch, these Legends each have different personalities, skins and abilities focusing on a certain playstyle. They feature one passive, active and super ability each. For example, Bloodhound’s passive ability tracks the movements of his enemies; his active ability pulses, briefly, showing location of any enemies, or traps within a certain radius; and his super ability enhances his senses for a limited time, allowing him to see enemy tracks, while also making him super fast. The core-gameplay of shooting - which is almost exactly the same as Titanfall 2 - isn’t at all affected between the Legends, but the abilities do create some nice diversity that’s otherwise lacking in battle royale games.

When you die - which I do so much you’d think I believed it was the ultimate goal of the game - you turn into a banner which your teammates can use to revive you if they deliver it to specific access points littered across the map. So, even if you suck as much as I do, you still have a chance to come back for another try. Even if it does conclude with the obvious: me getting shot dead while spastically spraying bullets at every point my enemy isn’t located.

The most interesting feature comes in the form of the Ping system. No longer do we have to actually communicate in these games to create a tight unit, now all we need to do is push a button and it pings whatever it is you’re looking at. If you ping a building on the horizon, it will notify your teammates that you’re heading that way; if you ping twice in any location it will notify them there’s an enemy present; and pinging a weapon or item will point it out for your teammates to pick up. On paper it doesn’t sound like it would work as smoothly as it does, but it’s a surprisingly intuitive system. The enigmatic Colonel594Mustard and I became seemingly-lifelong squadmates over the course of a short-lived match. We pinged this and that and gave each other very clear instructions of what we were going to do at all times, entirely without uttering a word to each other. I still think of Colonel594Mustard fondly as I type this, and I hope he’s doing well out there in the eternal war of Apex Legends.

I started writing this impression as an admittance of being legitimately bad at these types of games and denouncing them forever in a blazing article, but after playing a few more hours, I’ve actually gotten marginally better at it. I no longer bumble around the map like a headless chicken with an itchy trigger-finger til I inevitably meet the one saviour who mercy-kills me. I actually have a sense of what to do now, I’ve even gotten a few kills myself. In one match I actually took out a full squad, which naturally ended up with me dying at the hands of the sneaky dude who just watched this whole battle from the bushes like a sexual predator. So, admittedly, I am finding myself enjoying Apex Legends after all.

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Apex Legends combines Titanfall 2’s slick gameplay, Overwatch’s heroes and PUBG’s everything else and smooths it all out into one refined package. Basically, if you’re even mildly interested in anything this game has to offer, I suggest checking it out. I mean, hey, it’s free-to-play after all. What else do you have to lose other than your precious and incredibly limited time on this earth?

- Aaron Mullan

Hollow Knight: Silksong Announced

Team Cherry have just announced Hollow Knight’s highly anticipated sequel Hollow Knight: Silksong, which is to be released on the PC and Nintendo Switch. What was first announced as a DLC for the original game has expanded into its own fully fledged adventure which features a brand new kingdom, touts 150 new enemies and bosses, new combat abilities, navigation tools, quests and more.

You can check out the announcement reveal trailer below.

And you can also check out my overwhelmingly positive review of the original game here.

- Aaron Mullan


Recent Events on St. Kilda Beach

Some things happened recently on the used-syringe and broken beer bottle-ridden St. Kilda beach. I wrote some satire about these events.

If you don’t know what satire is, and apparently a lot of people don’t these days, I feel it is important that I point out that my use of multiple parenthesis is not because I believe the left-wing bias in the media is a Jewish conspiracy, but because I am mocking morons who might believe such silly nonsense.

Indeed, I don’t even believe there is a left-wing bias in the media: any political bias in any entity big enough to be called “the [something]” is by default in support of the status quo (assuming the status quo is stable, of course; and nothing is more stable than the Australian parliament at the moment), regardless of what it is; well, that and profit of course—which is probably more important, if we’re being honest.

And what is profitable? In precise order: Horror, whatever may save us from such horror, a vision of every day existence that is characterised by an unbearable ennui merely so that any minor event may be sensationalised whenever required, sensuality and, lastly, eccentricity (whether to be patronised or mocked).

Now, you may be wondering why sensuality is so low on the list, but the product that is being sold is the audience’s attention to advertisers, so the objective is to keep the audience watching and not to institute a system of positive reinforcement through encouraging associations; not to mention that it makes the eroticism of the ad breaks all the more contrasting and alluring. Anyway, if sensuality were enough to keep your attention for extended periods of time, you’d be masturbating while reading this (if you are, I’m very flattered), rather than off buying a packet of cigarettes because you saw some glamorous strumpet sucking on a fag . On other hand, you’re less likely to buy them if instead of an attractive logo (what’s even better than porn? Logos! Chimpanzees will give up food while electrocuting themselves, just so they can have a single glimpse of those iconic Golden Arches—note I don’t even need to tell you what Golden Arches refers to!—Bonobos, on the other hand, will pick the porn every time) or a scene of simulated fellatio, there is a picture of a hideous tumour on the packet instead. And, incidentally, this may well sustain your attention for a longer period of time (depending on how fast you can bring yourself to climax) than a fag’s white smoke blowing all over a strumpet’s face.

Err, what was I saying? Anyway, even if all this makes me sound terribly cynical, at least I understand what satire is. Or do I? You be the judge.

St. Kilda beach at the height of Australia’s infamous  Sepia Australia   policy .

St. Kilda beach at the height of Australia’s infamous Sepia Australia policy.

Metal Gear S&M

I recently completed Metal Gear Solid for the first time (my pirated copy stopped working after the raw eroticism of the Grey Fox struggle), which we’ll hear all about if we ever record another show.

On sating Grey Fox for a second time I was reminded of a fan fiction parody I wrote for my GameSpot blog, and thought I may as well post it here. Don’t forget to bring some tissues, as it’s a bit of a, nudge nudge, wink wink at a blind bat, tearjerker.

As a bonus, here’s a rhyming review for Metal Gear Solid 4 that I have no recollection of having written:

Oh Kojima what were you thinking
You had a great game
That ticked all the boxes
Then you did some tinkering
And took Dawkins’ influence too far
And ruined the ending
It was really bizarre.
All you had to do
Was end it at the sunset
Instead you ham-fisted it
And ended it with a bum-fest.

It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure. - Sade

It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure. - Sade

Game Under Podcast 106

In episode 106 of the Game Under Podcast, Tom and Phil celebrate ten years of the VG Pressrom Podcast, and with the help of their randomly appearing, but always special, guest Aarny, they discuss the Devil May Cry series.

Just how good is this series? You can find out here.

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