Showing posts from November, 2016

Why'd You Buy That For?

PS4, Wii U, 3DS and Vita. I now have the full, current gen set. Or at least until March, when the Nintendo Switch comes out. I am not buying a Switch. But then I wasn't going to buy an Xbox One, until I did. In my defence, I waited three years and only pulled the trigger once the price had been slashed and there was an exclusive game that I desperately wanted to play. And not one of those it'll-be-on-PS4-in-ten-months exclusives. A proper, fuck you Sony exclusive. The price was ¥22,000 and the game was Fake Burnout Paradise, better known as Forza Horizon 3 . Despite routinely selling less than a hundred Xbox Ones per week here in Japan, Microsoft decided to go ahead and release the S model this month, which sent the price of the original box tumbling. I got the lowest priced set, the Master Chief Collection bundle, and am now in the market for a larger living room, so that I can store this gargantuan bit of kit. I was after a racer, something with the freedom an

Valkyria Chronicles & Rethinking My List

I'd forgotten how much I liked Valkyria Chronicles. I first played it back in early 2009, but that's ages ago and my memory isn't what it used to be. Back in September, at Tokyo Game Show, I played a demo for the latest Valkyria, Azure Revolution. It was unspectacular but served to rekindle my interest in the series. A few days later, I picked up the Chronicles remaster on sale; I finally got around to playing it this month and I'm very happy that I did. VC still looks lovely. The beautiful, soft pencil-drawn-effect visuals are the perfect contrast to the far darker narrative themes: imperialist aggression, weapons of mass destruction, expansionism, racism and lost youth. The setting is a fictionalised version of 1930s Europe, but it's different enough that the more fantastical elements do not seem entirely out of place. The soundtrack is memorable and I genuinely cared about the members of Squad 7, working hard to ensure that not a single one perished on t

Final Fantasy XV - Missing the Hype

There was a time, not that long ago, when I'd get very excited about a new Final Fantasy. I remember reading FFIX import reviews and counting down the days until the UK release, flunking a university exam because FFX came out the day before, and queueing up at 6am one frosty December morning to get my hands on XIII. I've bought hardware for the sole purpose of playing FF (GBA for Tactics Advance), paid through the teeth for US imports (IV, V, VI and Tactics before they got a PAL release) and even attempting to understand PCs for a couple of months so I could lose myself in XI. Despite my history with the series, I have little interest in Final Fantasy XV, and that feels a little weird. My interest peaked during the PS1-era, but I remained an avid fan throughout the 2000s and into the teens. Things began to change with the release of XIII, a terribly flawed game that I nevertheless poured over a hundred hours into. The characters were wanky and the story nonsensical


1. The Nintendo Switch The NX is now the Switch, a home console/portable hybrid that may or may not run Skyrim. It looks smart and the trailer suggests a more mature target audience than we might usually expect from a Nintendo product. That being said, I'm sure that Nintendo will also be courting their usual, youthful demographic. I like the idea of a take-away tablet that will play everything that runs on my TV, though I do wonder if I'd dare take something that large and fragile looking outside the house. In this instance, I think portable might mean play-in-bed and on the toilet. It's certainly not something that I can imagine kids playing outside the home. The 2DS is a typical child's machine, sturdy and compact, and I expect Nintendo will continue to push that as their platform for younger gamers. If Nintendo are positioning the Switch as a gadget for adults, then it will be compared to other tablets, a comparison that may be unfair and unflattering. An