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Bethesda E3 2019: The Good, the Bad, and the etc.



Bethesda have been very naughty this past year. Let’s see if they managed to make up for all that silliness at this year’s E3. No spoilers or anything, but you probably already know they didn’t. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the rest.

The Good

Well, it’s Doom Eternal isn’t it? I find myself in a constant state of flux about the whether to even pay any attention to conferences like this. Developers, directors and producers will stumble their way through teleprompter scripts talking for way too long about a game, when one could generate the exact same amount of hype from a sentence or two. Here, I could do it – Doom 2016 is the best FPS of the last decade, and the sequel looks bigger, better, more bombastic, and more brutal. Done. I don’t need to know or see any more until I sit down and it blows my balls off later this year.


The Bad

When is a door not a door? When is a mobile game not a mobile game? The answer is not “when it’s on the Switch,” because then it’s just a mobile game on Switch. When is the cake not a lie? When you eat piece of cake and realize that Elder Scrolls Blades is the real lie. Kill it. Just kill it now, please.

No. I don’t want this. You can’t make me want this!

The Obnoxious

The hooting and yelling here was the worst of the entire E3. You people are animals. You know how snot-nosed kids who put their pants on backwards are always trying to be the first comment on YouTube videos? Well, it turns out that if you transpose that to being the first to yell out during every single moment of silence at a press conference, you’re actually even more of a repugnant excuse for a human, and you should never be allowed to enter a public event again, unless it’s your turn in the village stocks.

See, I don’t want to hate this guy because he has a Young Bucks shirt on but…nah, he’s scum. Subhuman scum.

The ‘Apology’

Now this, this was cringe-worthy stuff. It’s getting a little insulting that Bethesda can make such lackluster products — especially at launch — and then come to E3 the next year and make ‘oopsie’ jokes about their terrible games. Worse still, they expect us (and by us I mean real people, not the employees in attendance here) to laugh at these jokes and forget the months of lying, month-one price cuts, broken servers, bugs, nylon bags, and customer data leaks. Honestly, Todd, I’m surprised we’re all still here too, but we’re definitely not here for Fallout 76.

We trusted you, Todd. You and your poop mouth.

It’s even worse to see Bethesda try to backtrack on the dreadful premise for their wanky game by expecting praise for adding in choices with consequence and human NPCs. They’re supposed to be in a Fallout game! Hey, but that’s not all! How do you truly try and pull up a such flagging pile of weasel dung by the skin of its arse? Stick a battle royale mode in it, of course!

The Pronunciation

Also, Jeff Gardiner, the PROJECT LEADER for Fallout 76 said “nucular” instead of “nuclear.” I think that says a lot, don’t you?

The Legend

Shinji Mikami is a bonafide legend, and Ghostwire Tokyo looks incredibly interesting. An action adventure game where you fight supernatural enemies, uncover conspiracies, and deal with the occult, all set in a gorgeous rendition of Tokyo. According to one moron in the crowd, “it’s gonna be hype.”


The かわいい ^_^

Ikumi Nakamura is freakin’ adorable. Seriously, I’d be mates with her.

Nope, I definitely don’t think this undercut the dark and serious tone of the video…

The Obligatory

Oh, Elder Scrolls Online has dragons? IT’S SUPPOSED TO HAVE DRAGONS! Oh, my word, guys, Bethesda are just releasing their games and then finishing them one year at a time.

Are all dragons just blind to giant spears or something?

The Anus

Commander Keen wants you to “get Uranus to Mars.” I generally don’t tend to go anywhere without my anus, if I’m being truly honest.

This meandering, listless tripe was legitimately described as a ‘race’

I’ve never played the original Commander Keen, but even I know that they’ve ruined it. Also, if anyone can think of a worse opening line than, “Imagine a classic Saturday morning cartoon in free-to-play mobile game form,” then I would very much like to hear it.

The Jerk

There is a man that exists whose first name is Jerk.


The Worry

Will the co-op nature of Wolfenstein: Youngblood ruin the game’s ability to deliver story insanity the way The New Colossus did? It’s a wobbly tightrope to walk, trying to get two people engaged in a story instead of talking to each other and just wanting the game to get going again. I’ve personally struggled to take in anything from the multitude of co-op games I’ve played in the past, because my mate and I just want to have fun instead of sit quietly and listen to exposition. If there’s one game that can slap the attention of two idiots back on the screen, however, it’s got to be Wolfenstein. I quietly have faith.


The Guy From Walking Dead

Deathloop looks like another classy effort from Arkane Studios. It sounds like it will play in a similar way, as the guys described it as their signature gameplay. Because we didn’t actually see any of that gameplay, it’s not clear exactly how this game will play, but I’d love it if somehow this became a two-player competitive game where you and a friend are hunting each other throughout each loop.


The Backslapping

People talking about how great your games are to pad out not having enough great games? Classy, and not self-aggrandizing at all. I definitely cared about what gaming meant to all those weird people sat in a dark room, and preferred hearing their stories of how Bethesda changed their life instead of watching footage of video games.

Oh gee, wow, great story. PLEASE tell me more

The Verdict

Well, this was a bit of a dumpster fire wasn’t it? Bethesda’s smug wanker brigade were out in full force trying to re-convince a gaming public rapidly losing faith in them that they’d done absolutely nothing wrong, all their dreadful games are immensely popular, and that we should all be playing mobile versions of beloved franchises. Give me a ruddy break.

Without their second party studios, Bethesda would be royally screwed. They are extremely lucky at this point to have geniuses like Shinji Mikami and the guys at id producing the goods for them, while they waste their time pissing away years of fan reverence with broken games and mobile phone garbage. It felt incredibly weird to watch such a beleaguered game developer able to still trot out incredible games that other people make, but in fairness it served them well in terms of their immediate future. Their main attractions, Doom Eternal and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, are sure to be fantastic, but they’d already been announced ages ago, and the long-term quality of Bethesda’s output is decidedly unknown thanks to little gameplay of anything else worth a damn. Very, very underwhelming.

3/10 should apologize again

Crotchety Englishman who spends hundreds of pounds on video game tattoos and Amiibo in equally wallet-crippling measure. Likes grammar a lot, but not as much as he likes ranting about the latest gaming news in his weekly column.

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Game Reviews

‘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.



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



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.



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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