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The 5 main changes needed for ‘Star Wars Battlefront II’

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Publisher Electronic Arts last week officially confirmed the existence of a Star Wars Battlefront sequel. A first look at the suitably named Star Wars Battlefront II is planned to take place during Star Wars Celebration on April 15. It’s here that fans will get a glimpse at what to expect from the game as a reveal trailer is set to drop at the event.

That being said, there is still just less than two weeks until these first details are revealed, leaving fans with nothing to do but speculate what could be. It seems only appropriate then, to look at the game’s predecessor and discuss what developer DICE can bring to the sequel. The following is therefore a list of five changes needed so that fans get the Battlefront game they wanted the first time around.

Explore the Eras

The first game’s focus on the original trilogy arguably cashed in on the nostalgia-driven hype surrounding The Force Awakens. Although this proved to be popular for mass market appeal, it was something of a safe bet given that many gamers (both hardcore and casual) would be coming off the back of a movie which fueled their excitement for Star Wars once more. In practice however, drawing from those first three movies for source material limited the game to exploring just a handful of planets, battles, and characters from the Star Wars universe. Whilst the frozen ice caves of Hoth, the Ewok inhabited Endor, and the desert wastelands of Tatooine are all part and parcel of Star Wars, the wider universe offers so much more potential beyond those locales.

Whilst there was content from both The Force Awakens and Rogue One in the form of added DLC content, neither fully embraced those movies to their full potential. There is so much more to draw from those two movies as well as other Star Wars canon. The sequel shouldn’t be locked into only featuring content that ties into an upcoming movie premiere. Rather it should look to embrace other eras such as the prequel trilogy, the Rebels TV show, as well as a renewed focus on those new and upcoming movies. Together, each of these different time periods would offer a refreshing change up for players allowing for a wider variety of vehicles, characters, and locations. In short, embracing these eras ensures that the sequel can appeal to every generation of Star Wars fans, so they can choose the time period preferable to them–which can only be a good thing.

Ground to Space combat

This is a feature that Battlefront fans have been yearning for ever since the leaked Battlefront III gameplay footage from the now defunct Free Radical. This was of course before EA got their hands on the Star Wars license and rebooted the series with a game that arguably didn’t live up to the vision that Free Radical had in mind. In what would have been the third entry in the original series, the leaked gameplay showed seamless ground to space combat without a loading screen in sight.

If the rebooted sequel is going to include any of the ideas shown from that leaked footage, then ground to space combat has got to be high on the list. If early signs are anything to go by however, the recently released Rogue One expansion to DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront could indicate their intention to include such a feature. This amounts to the game mode infiltration, where players fight to destroy a shield generator in space before landing on Scarif to continue the fight on the ground. Unfortunately, this transition is separated by loading screens where each phase occurs in isolation. This means that players can’t freely roam from space to ground or vice versa without the game’s say-so. Nevertheless, the fact this was eventually included in the first game after the base game’s initial reception could hint at DICE’s plans to flesh out this game mode even further for the sequel. This would be a huge step up from the first game and would widen scope of the sequel to bring it even closer to the battles that play out in the movies.

Single Player Campaign

It’s no secret that the single player offerings in Star Wars Battlefront were massively disappointing for players looking for something besides multiplayer. The battles and survival game modes were wave based and severely lacked any lasting appeal. In fact, the disappointment wasn’t just limited to fans; even Star Wars’ own John Boyega reached out to DICE questioning its lack of a story driven narrative. He managed to bag himself a trip to EA’s UK office and hopefully pointed them in the right direction from a narrative standpoint. If anything was going to encourage them to feature a campaign in the sequel, then an actor from the movies the game is based on should do it. EA has since confirmed the inclusion of a single player campaign for the sequel–but what form this will take is still unclear.

Perhaps the sequel should look to DICE’s own Battlefield 1 for inspiration on how to incorporate a campaign that spans across multiple locations and time periods. Squeezing the wide array of characters and events from the Star Wars universe into one all-encompassing narrative is perhaps too big of an ask. Instead, adopting Battlefield 1’s war stories narrative template would allow the campaign to jump between different events in the Star Wars timeline. This in turn would allow DICE to do each story justice without the need to thread them together–they would stand as serviceable stories in their own right.

Vehicle spawns and hero unlocks

The current system of accessing both vehicles and playable heroes via powerups scattered around the map comes with its own set of problems. The main one being that they randomly drop, so there’s no real way of knowing for sure if you’ll be able to find one of these infamous tokens. There’s also the likelihood of being shot just as you find one which makes their inclusion even more frustrating. Reverting back to set locations for vehicle spawns on maps and rewarding certain players the chance to play as a hero would be less of a frustration. The latter would also take less time than frantically running around a map looking for the next pickup. Sitting in spawn queues and dashing for the next available vehicle can be frustrating in its own right, but at least they’re predictable and frequent enough to be less so.

Free content updates (No Season Pass)

The main criticism with the base version of Star Wars Battlefront was its lack of content at launch. There were just a 6 playable heroes, 12 maps and 10 game modes upon initial release, the latter having modes more popular than others. EA proceeded to address this, to the delight of many fans–until they learned of the infamous season pass. EA outlined their plans to effectively charge the price of the full game again for four content drops featuring new heroes and locations from the original trilogy as well as the new movies. This inevitably didn’t sit well with fans and spawned much of the negative backlash over the first game. Whilst EA did offer some free content in the form of a map set on the planet Jakku from The Force Awakens, the better more substantial content was locked behind the season pass.

For Star Wars Battlefront II then, EA should look to release a game that feels complete and which has enough content for long lasting appeal. For any additional content, players should be rewarded for buying the full game in the first place with free updates which expand on the existing game rather than splitting the player-base. The latter is what the first game suffered from, as EA essentially split its online community by the have and the have-nots when it came to the season pass. This therefore weakened the Star Wars Battlefront online community and hurt the longevity of its player base.

From Kent, England, Ben is a keen trophy hunter with a passion for all things PlayStation. His game of choice is an open world RPG, having a particular fondness for games such as Skyrim and The Witcher 3. Ultimately though, he'll play anything with an interesting story and/or fun gameplay. When it comes to movies, his go-to is Star Wars - just don't ask him to pick a favourite!

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‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

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It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.


Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

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The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child

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Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

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‘Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind’: An Utterly Shameless Cash Grab

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some other trash.

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Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

In the 15 year long history of DLC, we have seen some really shameless displays. The notorious horse armor incident of 2006 and a notable day one DLC for the ending game of a trilogy notwithstanding, few companies have had the utter audacity to offer so little content for such a high price point. Enter Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind.

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some social media nonsense for people who really hate themselves. That’s really it, that’s what you get. Honestly, Square-Enix should be utterly embarrassed by this DLC.

It’s been one year: 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, or 31556952 seconds, since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Let that sink in as you begin the meat of Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind. Think of it as the extended version of a movie you really like… you know, the kind where they add 4 minutes to the 120 minute runtime.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind, really is that cynical. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the game literally starts with an exact cut scene from the base game, and a cut scene that happens to be available from the theater mode of the main game that you’ve already bought if you’re playing this DLC. Yes, the introduction to this new content is… content you’ve already seen.

In fact, that’s kind of the sticking point here: most of what you get for your hard-earned cash is footage you’ve already seen, and battles you’ve already fought, and story you’ve already experienced, just with slight alterations for context. Remember back in the 2000s, when we were super obsessed with prequels? This is like that, except even more egregious.

Generally I’m not so unforgiving as to call a company out for a forthright cash grab, but that’s absolutely what Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is. There’s just no other way to put it. You might find someone in the marketing department for Square-Enix who would disagree, but being a company that has faced just these sort of allegations for their last two major releases, Square-Enix either doesn’t read the news, or doesn’t care what people think of their products.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Square-Enix was roundly accused of shipping unfinished products in the case of both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III — their two most high profile releases of the last decade. I personally gave mostly positive reviews of both games for this very website but if you want ammo to suggest that this company is deliberately trading on the nostalgia and passion of its fan base in order to make financial headway, there are few examples you could draw from that are as obvious as this DLC.

Look, maybe you’re a really big Kingdom Hearts fan. Maybe you just really wanted to know what the context was for that cliffhanger ending in Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe you just don’t do much research before you buy something. Or maybe… you just really trust this company for some reason.

Hey, I’m not judging… hell, I bought this DLC for $40 same as anyone else. I oughta be honest that I’m not reviewing Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind as some holier than thou critic, talking down to you from my position of privilege. No, I’m an angry consumer in this particular case. I’m a person who spent enough to replace a flat tire on my car, or buy my family dinner, on a game that is clearly playing off of my love for a franchise, and using it to bilk me out of money in a method that is so clear, and so concise, that those involved in the entire endeavor should be totally embarrassed for their part in the creation, marketing, pricing, and distribution of this expansion.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, fans had their complaints about Kingdom Hearts III. “Where are the hardcore boss battles? Where are the Final Fantasy characters? Where are the secret areas? Where are the hidden plot developments?” Still, to address these particular complaints by hammering a few minutes or seconds here and there into already existing content is truly like spitting in the faces of the people who have built the house you’re living in.

I haven’t sat in the board rooms at Square-Enix and I haven’t been in email chains about the planning of projects at their company but what I can say is that there is something rotten in Denmark if this is what passes for a satisfying piece of content for the wildly devoted fans of a hugely popular franchise in 2020. Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is literally, truthfully, and succinctly, the worst piece of DLC I’ve ever purchased.

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