That’s right, folks, I’m back from my vacation and ready to regurgitate some gaming news to you all once again. Spain, actually. Yeah, it was lovely. Thanks for asking. Anyway, there’s a lot to talk about this week so my vacation is well and truly over now – it’s time to talk news.
The only logical place to start this week is with the part of the article that is definitely going to eat up most of the word count. Unless you hate the series because you’re a soulless lowlife, you’ve probably already seen the mammoth 40-minute Smash Bros. Direct from earlier this week, and you’re therefore probably aware just how brilliant it was. Whilst you’re not going to see me do some kind of cheesy reaction video replete with faux-shocked, gurning YouTube thumbnail, you’re definitely going to read a lot of good things typed by these fingers about what we saw.
Bit of a double-edged sword here, but I’m not necessarily devastated. While the fighter reveals were slightly underwhelming in the wake of the sexy-yet-fake leak from last week, it’s important to remember that we have a ridiculous roster of 74 fighters awaiting us on December 7th. It’s a roster now bolstered by the additions of Street Fighter’s Ken – a shadow fighter for Ryu who looks pretty much better in every way – the Pokémon Incineroar, and Piranha Plant, who will be available as a limited-time bonus for those who buy/register the game before January 31st.
I don’t know who Incineroar is, but he does pro wrestling moves, and that’s cool. It’s hard to be truly excited for Piranha Plant, but you can’t argue with something given as a free incentive for early adopters. I’m assuming he’ll be available for purchase later, and hopefully not in place of one of the 5 announced-but-not-revealed DLC characters – one of whom BETTER BE BANJO. Of course, if buying DLC isn’t enough of a wallet-smasher for you, don’t forget that all the new fighters come with their own Amiibo. Yeah, I’ve already ordered way too many of them. Just when you think you’re out…
Despite all these announcements further boosting a ridiculous roster, the game will start with only 8 playable characters to match the original N64 lineup, and that’s awesome. Unlocking the characters in those “win and they’re in” battles was one of the best bits of the original games, and I can’t wait to earn them all the proper way. Oh, and there are 59 Assist Trophies now, including Shadow the Hedgehog, Guile and Akira from Virtua Fighter.
While Smash 4 was a brilliant and beautiful game, it was pretty short on modes that were actually worth playing – especially on Wii U. This will definitely be rectified with the inclusion of two significant new elements to the game – Spirit Mode and the game’s adventure mode entitled World of Light.
Spirit Mode looks to be a huge amount of fun. Sakurai explained in the Direct that the series staple of collectible trophies is to be axed in favour of this new mode, and that softens the blow significantly. Spirits will be made up of a seemingly massive collection of video game characters from anywhere and everywhere, and they will serve as equippable boosts to the game’s full roster. Coming in four tiers – Novice, Advanced, Aces, and Legend – each character can have a spirit equipped to boost its stats, and some of these can also employ additional support spirits that boast their own skills.
You’ll unlock more spirits by entering in Spirit Battles, that will seemingly provide a wide variety of different challenges and hazards. It looks addictive as hell, and will ensure a strong sense of replayability. Making the collectible items actually affect gameplay in their own mode is a stroke of genius, and it seems nobody will be missing trophies once they get stuck in.
The main story mode – World of Light – is decidedly lighter on the details at this point, but it seemingly revolves around a mysterious evil power turning all the game’s main characters into spirits, leaving Kirby alone to rescue them all. It appears to be played across a board game-like world map, where players move from battle to battle on their quest to save the Nintendo universe. If the trailer is indicative of the mode itself, there should be some bombastic cutscenes and spoken dialogue, although Sakurai did point out that the mode is more about fun gameplay than story.
There are significant changes to the online modes as well, with the entire thing apparently serving as a de facto ranked mode, as Global Smash Power is earned in every match, eventually determining whether you can enter Elite Battles or not. The online features are explained in greater detail on the site here, so you’re better off heading there if that’s your bag.
‘Red Dead Redemption II’ is Alive and Well
Pro tip: there’s a sure-fire way for you to sully a relaxing vacation in Spain if you somehow manage to time it with the release of Red Dead Redemption II and have to wait several days to play it for yourself while the rest of the world bangs on about how rootin’ tootin’ it is. Rest of the world isn’t too much of an exaggeration either, with Rockstar’s revelation that RDR2 made $725 million in its opening weekend. Hot diggity dawg, that’s a lot of money.
As we detailed earlier in the week, Rockstar declared it the “single biggest opening weekend in the history of entertainment.” It was to be expected really, wasn’t it? I’d imagine you could have heard about the announcement of the game a couple years back, hid yourself away in a fortress of solitude in order to learn absolutely nothing about the game, and still predicted that it would do absolute gangbusters. The biggest opening weekend in entertainment history is nothing to be sniffed at, and it seems critics agree the game largely deserves it. You can check out our first impressions for now, safe in the knowledge that while you’re reading and subsequently playing the game, the rich are getting significantly richer.
Ashe to Ashe, We All Fall Down
As if the biggest entertainment release ever and a fully-packed Smash Direct wasn’t enough this week, Blizzcon is also ongoing. It wouldn’t be Blizzy C without the reveal of a new Overwatch hero, and we got ourselves a rather topical cowgirl joining the fight in the form of Ashe. She looks, well she looks fucking awesome, to be honest.
Her main weapon “Viper” is a lever-action rifle with a holo sight, that sports rapid-fire in its primary mode or more powerful single shots when aiming down the sights. She’s also packing the “Coach Gun” as a secondary weapon. This sawed-off shotgun deals decent damage, knocks back enemies and even allows for some Quake-style rocket jumps.
If that wasn’t enough, she’s also got a bloomin’ stick of dynamite. This apparently takes a while to explode as the fuse burns down, but if you’re a total badass you can shoot the damn thing and blow it up like an absolute legend. Lastly, her Ultimate brings out a big, fat, moustachioed robot who runs head-first into enemies and smashes them into next week. Folks, I’m in love, and I think time for me to dip back into Overwatch is most certainly on the horizon.
‘Deltarune’ Plays the Anagram Game with My Heart
Undertale is brilliant. You probably don’t need me to validate it, but it’s an entertaining, funny game crammed with gorgeous music and a multitude of ways to play. If you like moving letters from one word around in order to make a different word – and “word” is being kind to these two non-words – then you’ll be delighted to know that Undertale has its own anagrammical (another non-word) sort-of-sequel named Deltarune, and Part 1 of it released this week for free.
Despite the game looking very similar to its predecessor, according to Undertale creator Toby Fox’s Twitlonger post, “DELTARUNE’s world is a different one. With different characters, that have lived different lives. A whole new story will happen…” It’s not a direct sequel, then, and Fox has also added that he “[doesn’t] know what to call this type of game,” adding, “it’s just a game you can play after you complete UNDERTALE, if you want to. That’s all.”
I’ve yet to play the game, but it looks to maintain the similar high standards of its older brother and, as per Variety, it is about three hours in length, features new characters and improved combat, and ends on a cliffhanger. What are you waiting for, then?
Skulls, Sex and Blood Bad – Murder Good
Oh fuck off, Ubisoft. The French company is planning to soak up some more money by releasing Rainbow Six Siege in “Asian Territories” but has decided that this release will require censorship of a number of tertiary elements in the game, and that these elements will be censored for the global version of the game, because that’s less work. Or did they decide that? The PR speak around this whole befuddling act of cowardice has been inevitably messy.
On the initial blog post announcing this nonsense, Ubisoft said changes were for the “global version of the game, as opposed to branching and maintaining two parallel builds.” So, the new territories will get the version they apparently demand that will remove signs depicting ladies in sexy poses, any images of skulls, and models of slot machines, and the rest of the world, who have been playing the game for years already, will have to deal with that because they’re not important any more.
Next up, a Ubisoft community manager posted to Reddit and said, “we do recognize and understand that for some elements, it is not possible to have a completely global build. Thus, there will be some things that are split build-wise.” So… it’s not less work then? Or is it more work but they’re now going to do it anyway? Further confusing matters, he added that whatever this split build is “would not engage with our existing player base.” So… they are splitting the build and this one won’t even be seen by the existing players? What the hell are they chatting here? Anyone understand this word sludge?
At the end of the day, this is all absolute nonsense. The very notion of removing a picture of a skull or a slot machine in a game where you shoot hostage-guarding terrorists in the face is beyond hypocritical, and censoring a game that has an age-rating on it in the first place is also completely trite. To then bungle the messaging around the whole thing, cause more confusion, and seemingly undermine the whole reason for the changes in the first place is, well, it’s typical Ubisoft, isn’t it? If the players of the new build won’t interact with the existing base, then why censor the existing build? Oh yeah, I remember now, they can’t be bothered.
I definitely shouldn’t have put that bullshit at the end of such a positive article. Oh well, lesson learned. Time to go and finish up my review of the shit-but-enjoyable Call of Cthulhu, then be a virtual cowboy, and I’ll see you in seven.