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This Week in Gaming News: Zombies, Gangsters and Female Soldiers

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The real beauty of being a fan of the games industry is that, even on a slower news week, there will always be something to cause outrage and excitement in equal measure amongst the gaming community. For me, this week has provided quite a lot of excitement, as well as an unexpected/forgotten about delivery of a Dark Souls Remastered pre-order. Whoops. Not to worry though, as I’m going to review it for you now I’ve got no choice in whether I buy it at launch or not, so if I seem a little salty during next week’s article (yeah, yeah, more than usual, you cheeky buggers) then you’ll probably know why. Speaking of which, I should probably start playing it, so let’s get on with the news.

‘Resident Evil 7’ Has its Head in the Clouds

Resident Evil started off the week in pretty bizarre fashion, and ended it with some absolutely sexy rumors about one of my most anticipated things ever. Starting with the former, Resident Evil 7: biohazard Cloud Version is an actual, real, legitimate, really real thing. Nope, I don’t know why either. Now, despite it being a real thing, it’s actually not a tangible thing, because this version of Resident Evil 7 – one of the best games of last year, and easily in my top five Resi titles – is to be streamed directly from Capcom on your Nintendo Switch. Your Japanese Nintendo Switch, anyway.

Capcom released a trailer on Monday, but it was basically fucking nonsense. I’m pretty sure it was one of the trailers from the original launch with a new logo slapped on the end, but I can’t be bothered to check that for legitimacy. It’s not important anyway, because the game has already released in Japan as of May 24th, and gameplay videos – like the one below from wccftech – are already surfacing from the big J.

The version being streamed to the Switch is actually the PC version, and it therefore looks like it actually runs pretty well, and doesn’t suffer any graphical downgrading (as far as one can ascertain when comparing a YouTube video against one’s memory of a game that one played over a year ago). I was good and ready to shit all over this idea and talk about how it’ll run about as well as a bow-legged dog with two heads, but colour my mouth a nice shade of shut, as it actually looks like a pretty decent idea.

The key with Nintendo is precedents. It’s all about proving something can be done and hoping they don’t forget about it. The game costs about $18 for 180 days of playtime, and you really can’t argue with that for value. The test is whether this comes out of Japan, and whether it gains any traction as a model in the West. I can’t see why it wouldn’t, and an entire Netflix-style library of AAA games that are streams of better versions from more powerful machines sounds pretty enticing to me.

‘Resident Evil 2 REmake’ Details Are Super Exciting (Providing They’re Real)

Hoo boy, this one makes me very tingly. Now, granted, these aren’t officially confirmed details, but I’m thinking the most important aspect of this supposed leak is that it brings the game back into public consciousness and should hopefully mean that an E3 reveal is almost a guarantee. For a quick reminder, we already know from Capcom that the game will be rebuilt from the ground up, is looking to capture the spirit of the original, and… well, that’s it. But thanks to gaming site Rely on Horror, we maybe know some more details about the game, perhaps.

According to these ‘leaks,’ the remake will be built in the same engine as Resident Evil VII, but will feature a mix of the over-the-shoulder camera view of Resident Evil 4 and a “stylized” fixed-camera, reminiscent of the original game. The source also claims that the game will hit 1080p and 30fps on PS4, with 60fps and 4k “at times” on PS4 Pro, making it Capcom’s “best-looking title to date.”

Gaming News Resi 2 Remake

Some classic Engrish-on-Japanese-clothing right there. We do it, indeed.

The final part of the rumor details that we’ll be able to play through a campaign for both Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, as in the original, but that both campaigns will be longer and contain new areas and content. It’s all very promising stuff, and certainly fits in with the spiel Yoshiaki Hirabyashi, the game’s producer, gave when announcing the game back in 2015 as a response to fan feedback. This is a game for the fans, as requested by the fans, and it should be FANtastic. It’s been a long time since we heard anything at all, so surely this year’s E3 is the one. Please?

‘Battlefield V’ is Apparently More ‘Historically Inaccurate’ Than Usual…

…and this time it’s vaginal. Trust the worst parts of the gaming community to overreact to basically anything, but the needless hatred surrounding the trailer and box art featuring a female soldier is… well, actually it’s pretty much par for the course. Historical inaccuracy is the flimsy line being used by sexless basement-dwellers everywhere to deride a game trying to include a female character in a World War II shooter – a shooter that also features the escapades of several other super soldiers whose bullet wounds will miraculously heal if they stand behind a wall for a few seconds, and who had an unlimited set of lives to burn through as they killed entire armies single-handedly. We’ve all seen genuine historical documentation about these immortal behemoths, but a woman holding a gun during the war? Preposterous!

A woman in a World War II game?! I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous…

I think I’ve made my sarcastic point, so let’s punctuate that by saying that if you have a problem with a female character in a World War II shooter, you’re a piece of shit, and let’s move on to some facts about the game. The female in question will be one of the playable characters in the game’s – wait for it – single player campaign (remember those?) that will follow Battlefield 1’s format of splitting the game into several playable “war stories.” As well as playing the female Norwegian resistance fighter, developer DICE has teased that you’ll be killing Nazis in Greece, France, North Africa and Rotterdam.

Polygon reports that there are also some new multiplayer modes, notably a four-player raid mode named Combined Arms, and a 64-player mode called Grand Operations, where players compete in huge objective-based matches, with each round affecting the state of the proceeding one based on the performance of each team. If necessary, the mode culminates in a sudden death match where players only have one life each. How’s that for historical accuracy, lads?

Of course, Battlefield V will feature microtransactions – which is now apparently less egregious than featuring a woman – but won’t have randomized loot boxes. Talk about humility, right? Only having microtranscations for cosmetic items is practically on a level with giving to charity these days. Thanks, EA. The game’s out on October 19th, with the Deluxe Edition out on the 16th and an early trial version for EA/Origin Access on October 11th. Plenty of time to stay angry about that Norwegian girl, then.

‘Yakuza’ 3, 4 and 5 Are All Coming to PS4

Sometimes I get the feeling that I give too much page space to remastered games, but then I think that it’s not me making them and I’m just the messenger, so leave it out, you knob. Having put my hypothetical nemesis in his place, it’s now time to talk about remastered games – three of them! Having discussed the Shenmue 1&2 Remaster a few weeks back, it is with great pleasure that I can bring you news of yet more fighty, open-worldy Sega RPGs being remastered for current gen. The company announced this week that all three of the PS3 Yakuza titles will join Yakuza 0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 6 on PS4, meaning the console will eventually host the entire catalog of main series titles. That. Is. Awesome.

Gaming News Yakuza 3

Get ready to run an orphanage like a gangstaaaaaa

The only problem I have is that the games are to be released individually, as Famitsu confirmed that Yakuza 3 will hit Japanese stores on August 8th. This is disappointing (especially as I own all three of these games on PS3 already), as several other franchises, like Batman Arkham, Bioshock, and Metro 2033 have all released updated last-gen games for modern consoles as collections rather than shipping one game at a time. There’s no word on the price of each game yet, but it still seems a little cheeky to me.

A problem I absolutely don’t have is that the games will all run at 60fps and display in full 1080p, because that’s bloody lovely. The Yakuza series has had a fantastic 12 months with 0, Kiwami and 6 all releasing to rave reviews and commercial success, and Sega isn’t resting on those laurels at all. If you haven’t played any of the Yakuza titles before, you’re about to have seven excuses to make if you’re going to avoid them as a PS4 owner. Well, unless they don’t come out in the West.

PlayStation Mini Confirmed?

Last, and probably least, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO John Kodera was quizzed by Japanese publication Mantan Web about the possibility of Sony releasing a mini console akin to Nintendo’s recent NES and SNES Classic Minis. As per GamesRadar, he responded by saying there are “no official plans” he can discuss, but that “our company is always digging up past assets, and I think there are various ways to do it. There have been discussions happening (in the company) on what kind of ways there are.”

While this is pretty vague and non-committal, it at least shows that Sony are discussing something with regards to either a mini console or some other form of retro platform. The current state of PS4’s retro offerings is not good, and a mini console would almost certainly sell like hot cakes, but GamesRadar’s Connor Sheridan also pointed out that the storage space required by the PS1’s CDs might be difficult to replicate as easily as the smaller cartridges used by the NES and SNES.

Gaming News PlayStation Mini

Could this powerful beast really be shrunk down?

Let’s just say for now that it might be a thing, and if it is, then here’s a brief list of ten titles – some I’ve played and some I’m desperate to play – I’d like to see on the hypothetical PlayStation Mini (or you could check out our very own Top 70 Sony PlayStation Games for way more):

  • Chrono Cross
  • Final Fantasy VIII
  • Mega Man X4
  • Parasite Eve
  • Ridge Racer: Type 4
  • Silent Hill
  • Suikoden II
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
  • Vagrant Story
  • WWF Smackdown 2

And with that, we’ve come to the end of another news week. I’ll let you all go away and make up your own fantasy PS1 Mini games roster and I’ll see you in seven days (or so).

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.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Maxwell N

    May 26, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    That powerful was already shrunk down significantly with the “PS One” in 2000.

    https://tse1.explicit.bing.net/th?id=OIP.NlDv1WEjnPcVSxsfpeSD7gHaFa&pid=Api

    Honestly, nobody would mind if they just reused that mold and added internal storage with games preinstalled. They’ve been doing that stuff in China for ages.

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Let’s Discuss the Revamped Sonic the Hedgehog Design

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The internet has breathed a collective sigh of relief following the release of a new trailer for the upcoming Sonic The Hedgehog movie. Some leaks a few weeks back that turned out to be correct showed the design that we see but the trailer shows a lot more of the new redesign of the world renowned video game character. The movie has been the subject of much attention-mostly negative- after the initial trailer was released six months ago. The first trailer (which initially announced a release date of November 2019) was incredibly poorly received due to the odd design choice for the titular character. With small eyes, a tiny snout and human teeth, the original design was weirdly realistic and resembled an odd humanoid rather than the blue cartoon hedgehog that we all know and love.

The first design for Sonic looked a bit like a child in a Sonic the Hedgehog suit. Creepy to say the least.

The new trailer shows off a brand new look for Sonic which is far more in sync with what we already know for the character. He is definitely an animated character, with the exaggerated features that he has always had in every other iteration. The movie itself still looks cheesy as hell but it looks like a tolerable, even kind of enjoyable sort of cheesy.  The controversy surrounding the terribly received first Sonic design has been so prolific that some even argued that the whole thing has been a marketing ploy and that the character was never meant to look as bad as he originally did. Whatever the case may be in terms of what went down behind the scenes of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, it is clear that even if the film is terrible it will attract a substantial audience of people just curious as to how the whole thing is going to turn out. As a fan of Sonic since the 90’s when I was little, I’m probably going to be one of those people.

Sonic is now appropriately cute, fluffy and more in line with his usual style.

I’m still kind of hoping it can break the curse of the video game movie-like Detective Pikachu did- but alongside the aforementioned cheesiness, it looks like a pretty generic movie aimed at kids rather than diehard fans of the Sonic franchise. Flop or not, at least Sonic is looking far more adorable and less like he might murder you in your sleep. It also shows how the filmmakers were willing to listen to their audience and implement changes following feedback. Incredibly vocal feedback at that.

The comparison between the two designs shows just how much the animators have worked to create a brand new Sonic. Their hard work has certainly paid off.

Sonic the Hedgehog is due for theatrical release on February 14th, 2020.

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Anamanaguchi – [USA] (Album Review)

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Few acts boast such renown amongst uber-nerdy video game enthusiasts as Anamanaguchi. Unveiling their debut EP ‘Power Supply’ in 2009, the Chiptune pioneers have pushed their unique brand of 8-bit powered Rock and Pop across various releases, including 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game soundtrack, and 2013’s Kickstarter funded 22 track LP ‘Endless Fantasy’. And with ‘Endless Fantasy’ being their last LP (excluding their stuffed to the brim ‘Capsule Silence XXIV’ compilations), to say fans have anticipated ‘[USA]’ is an almighty understatement.

Six years is a while, so has Anamanaguchi’s latest batch of tracks been worth the wait? Seasoned fans Harry and Kyle are on the scene to offer their takes, from how ‘[USA]’ stacks up against the band’s other offerings, to its effectiveness as an artistic whole.

Background With Anamanaguchi

I first heard Anamanaguchi around 2010. At the time I was neck deep in my Slipknot phase (a phase I’ve yet to grow out of judging by how much I replayed ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ this year), so their goofy electronic schtick didn’t tick my boxes. But as time passed I developed a stronger fondness of them, so much so that I enthusiastically backed their 2013 LP ‘Endless Fantasy’ on Kickstarter. Now I’ve seen them live twice, followed their progress over the years, and can proudly proclaim my superfan status. – Harry

The late 2000s saw a shift in pop culture: suddenly, geek chic was all the rage. G4 was at the height of its popularity, pixel art infested countless pieces of media, and video games were undeniably cool. Few other pieces of media encapsulate this cultural zeitgeist more than Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. Based on the popular comic by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the Scott Pilgrim game featured Anamanaguchi’s crunchy pixelated Rock sound, which melded perfectly with the colorful 16-bit beat-em’-up gameplay. Older Anamanaguchi albums are more than just music: they’re a trip back in time to a brighter, more innocent era of pop culture and gaming. – Kyle

Introducing [USA]

I was excited for ‘[USA]’, but that’s stating the obvious based on my prior words. The LP kicks off with its titular track, introducing affairs with an amalgamation of predictably glitchy bleeps ‘n’ bloops. It’s straight up Anamanaguchi, their Chiptune flair intact. This is good, as Anamanaguchi sans Chiptune is like spaghetti sans sauce (still awesome, but lacking a key ingredient). “USA” is chanted as instrumentation morphs stylistically, crescendoing in dynamics and tempo, and setting the stage for the lead single.

“Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” is an LP highlight. Stepping out the gate with Vocaloid-y singing, an aesthetic of grandiose gorgeousness is speedily cemented. This later juxtaposes with the rapid-fire rhythms of Luke’s drumming and manic synthesizer arpeggios that run around like an 8-bit-ified (Sega Master System) Sonic the Hedgehog. This mental meld of melody, Drum and bass, and all manner of other musical magic finally sinks into a sea of atmospheric spookiness, concluding in an out of left field (yet utterly engaging) way. “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” avoids predictability through each and every beat of its journey, but nails catchy accessibility to a tee. A masterclass in creative songwriting, it sets ‘[USA]’s’ bar sky high. – Harry

The weeks to ‘[USA]’ releasing were positive ones, marked by enticing singles like “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” and “Air On Line”. Anamanaguchi’s distinct Rock-flavored Chiptune style had undergone a stylistic shift in the band’s 2013 release ‘Endless Fantasy’, where the band shed off some of its punk flair in favor of dreamier synth tones. In the six years between LP releases, Anamanaguchi experimented with singles and EPs featuring sonic palettes characteristic of modern J-Pop (“Pop It”, “Miku”). While the band stretched its legs with poppier beats, it did mark a further departure from the traditional Rock-oriented sound that had defined much of their earlier work.

‘[USA]’ in many respects displays a return to Anamanaguchi’s roots. Tracks like “On My Own (feat. HANA)” and “Air On Line” boast driving guitar riffs, thumping drums, and fluidly complex intricacies. Yet, it’s more than clear that Anamanaguchi has evolved beyond their geeky beginnings to cultivate an airy soundscape of bright pastel colors and crystal clear tones. It doesn’t always hit the mark, but the highs that ‘[USA]’ can reach prove that the guys have still got it. – Kyle

Negative Bits

Unfortunately, said sky high bar is scarcely met again throughout the rest of ‘[USA]’. Plenty of tracks, like “The C R T Woods” and “Overwriting Incorporate”, are serviceable, but fall short of the laser focused compositional direction and melodic magnificence that Anamanaguchi are so super slick at. ‘[USA]’ suffers from banality, with tracks like “Tear” and “We Die” meandering noisily without focus, and big chunks (particularly the interlude-like tracks “Speak To You [Memory Messengers]” and “Apophenia Light [Name Eaters]”) feeling akin to ‘Capsule Silence XXIV’ cuts (i.e. decent demos, but not kickass LP standouts). – Harry

Much like Harry, I found a large chunk of the album rather dull to get through. Admittedly, Anamanaguchi has an undeniable talent for their synth instrumentation. However, what pushes their work beyond generic electronic music is their ability to anchor that instrumentation to a melodic through line built on catchy hooks and unexpected turns. “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” is one of the few tracks that manages to pull off this floaty, ethereal sound because it moves forward with purpose and constantly engages your curiosity. The same can’t be said for several of the other synth-heavy tracks, too lost in their own sound to offer anything truly engaging. – Kyle

Positive Bits

Nevertheless, there are flashes of brilliance here. “Sunset By Plane (feat. Caroline Lufkin)” is Anamanaguchi firing on all cylinders, delivering energetic poppy bombast in spades. Porter Robinson’s co production is evident in “Air On Line”, resulting in a smooth stomper of happy hooks. “B S X (feat. Hatsune Miku)” incorporates choppily glitched-out singing from the iconic Vocaloid, serving as a pseudo-sequel to the 2016 single “Miku”. “On My Own (feat. HANA)” sees Anamanaguchi’s Chiptune/Pop/Rock melting pot bubbling away again. And speaking of Chiptune, it’s wonderful to hear mountains of 8-bit eccentricity throughout ‘[USA]’, proving even as their sound matures, Anamanaguchi still celebrate where they came from with beaming pixelated smiles. – Harry

As a whole, ‘[USA]’ still deserves a place worthy of praise in Anamanaguchi’s discography. Porter Robinson only collaborated with the band for “Air On Line”, but his style bleeds wonderfully into tracks like “Up to You (feat. meesh)” and “Sunset By Plane (feat. Caroline Lufkin)”. The kawaii-infused J-Pop rhythms and hooks are infectiously catchy, but don’t let that fool you: Anamanaguchi haven’t lost their edge. “B S X (feat. Hatsune Miku)” and “On My Own (feat. HANA)” show that the band can reach back into their deep musical pockets and bring out their signature hard Chiptune Rock to surprise you with something intimately familiar. – Kyle

Final Thoughts

In typical Anamanaguchi fashion, ‘[USA]’ is ambitious from start to finish. ‘Endless Fantasy’ is bloated, but stylistically spot on, whereas ‘[USA]’ trims the fat, but gets a little lost in its journey. Glistening gold sits alongside stale pies, and that description is a fitting metaphor for elements of ‘[USA]’: it’s odd, and doesn’t make much sense (and perhaps that in itself is a metaphor for the real life USA?).

Still, when Anamanaguchi’s latest is good, it’s really good, and there’s bundles of genius in the 8-bit boys yet!

Check out, stream, buy or consume ‘[USA]’ in your preferred capacity by clicking HERE!

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Star Wars Fan Films Embrace the Essence of A Galaxy Far, Far Away

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There is no doubt that dedicated fans are capable of creating brilliant, fan-made content, but the Star Wars fan base has a habit of going above and beyond in making incredible works of art that often surpass official entries in the franchise. Two relatively recent short fan films — one released last week, the other released in March of this year — are great examples of this.

The first is a 1970s/80s-style cartoon from YouTuber Wilkins Animation called Dark Empire Episode One: The Destiny of a Jedi. This animated short is incredibly reminiscent of classic cartoons — so much so that it is difficult not to feel a pang of nostalgia upon watching it. The style gives off a He-Man vibe due to the quirky animation, stellar voice work, and vibrant colour scheme. The story is set after The Return of The Jedi as Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO embark on a mission to save Luke and Lando, who are stranded on war-torn Coruscant. I won’t spoil anything in case you want to check it out for yourself, but the story is engaging, and I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to see more when it came to an end.

Have a watch below if you want to see more, and to check out Wilkins Animation’s Patreon to support their work, click here.

The second fan made film is a slightly older (from March 2019) one called Battle of the Dreadnoughts, by YouTuber EckhartsLadder. The film is significantly shorter than the 12-minute Dark Empire cartoon, clocking in at about three and a half minutes. It depicts a space battle between the New Republic’s Viscount Class Star Defender and the Empire’s most dangerous of all its weapons, the Eclipse Super Star Destroyer. Battle of the Dreadnoughts may be short, but it is astounding in quality. Upon my first viewing, I was certain I had accidentally clicked on a scene from the movies rather than a fan-made project. The accuracy, attention to detail, and sheer scale blew my mind and — as with the Dark Empire animation — left me wanting more from the content creators involved.

Check out EckhartsLadder’s Patreon here and their Twitch account here.

There is no doubting the talent of the Star Wars fan base, but these two films in particular are incredible works of art both in their own right and as Star Wars fan projects.

For more Star Wars, have a read of our Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer breakdown.

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