One of the stand-out titles on the Nintendo Gamecube for me was Luigi’s Mansion, and I was so excited when the announcement would be made that the third game would be coming to the Nintendo Switch! I knew instantly that this would be a game that would be added to my collection without much delay.
Without a doubt, the game has not been a disappointment in any way for me. The Hotel that Luigi finds himself in looks so good, and it’s quite fun navigating all the floors with their different themes. The boss ghosts to be found on each floor are fun characters, all of which offer a fair amount of challenge to catch.
The floors themselves also offer plenty of challenge with lots of puzzles to solve, and every now and again I have actually been stumped and had to come back to a puzzle to attempt it with fresh eyes.
Probably one of my favourite things about the game is the pure destructive power of Luigi with his Poltergust G-00! I can’t help myself – every single time I enter a room, the first thing I must do is vacuum everything. It’s just … SO … MUCH … FUN! If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself wondering what the overpowered vacuum is capable of sucking up, and what survives. There’s just something ridiculous about watching Luigi point the Poltergust at a sofa and decimating the cushions!
Another great thing about the third installment to the series is the multiplayer, a returning feature from the second game, Dark Moon. If you feel like a little break from exploring the perilous hotel, why not team up with other plucky plumbers to vacuum up some ghosts in the ScareScraper? And if you’re not feeling cooperative, you could always head to the ScreamPark, where you can pit yourself against others so you can see who is the best Luigi!
While there is very little to complain about here, there is one thing that I miss from the original Luigi’s Mansion. The mansion was split into different areas, and each area had a boss ghost for you to capture. The thing that’s missing for me is the other portrait ghosts and the challenges that they brought with them.
Luigi would enter the room, see the ghost but would be unable to capture them until they expose their heart. All you had was a single clue and your own wits to figure out how to use the surroundings to manipulate the ghost into showing their heart.
I found this to be a fun, imaginative challenge that always kept you thinking on your toes! While Luigi’sMansion 3 certainly isn’t lacking in challenges, I just miss this as a format, as I feel it was something that really worked.
All in all, I’ve enjoyed playing this so much, I couldn’t recommend it enough for any one else who has a soft spot for this cowardly hero!
I have played the Smash Bros. series since Melee on the Gamecube – I was instantly taken with it back then, and here and now in the present day, I’m pleased to say that Smash Bros. have only grown to loftier heights.
One of the things that I love about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is how it caters to so many people. If you’re a newcomer to the series, or a beginner with fighting games in general, then you can very quickly get the hang of the simple controls and features of the game. If you’re a returning fan then this new installment to the series is just more of what you already love, with the added bonus of every single fighter that has featured so far in the series.
This will most likely always be my favourite series of fighting games, there’s just something so fun about taking some of your favourite characters from gaming and pitting them against each other to see who comes out on top! And let’s not forget about the abundance of items that will randomly spawn on the stages for you to use! Some items can absolutely change the tide of the battle in your favour, so it’s important to know what they do and how they can help you!
One thing that I really missed from the previous installment on the Wii U is the story mode. I was so pleased to see the return of a story mode in Ultimate, I have easily spent hours and hours on this! A dramatic intro cut scene shows all of the fighters being deleted by a mysterious force made of light – all of the fighters except Kirby, who managed to escape on his Warp Star just in time. As Kirby you will travel through the world defeating evil spirits, and rescuing the fighters. Everyone you rescue will be added to your roster, so if Kirby doesn’t do much for you as a character, you won’t be stuck with him for long.
There were number of new fighters added to the roster for Ultimate, such as the long-awaited Ridley, the fiery Incineroar, super cool squid-kid Inkling, and the most adorable addition to date – Isabelle!
One small thing I like to do is collect the different costumes for the custom Mii Fighters. There are so many different options, most of which are referencing characters from various games. It can be a lot of fun to make your own characters this way, as if the roster wasn’t already big enough for us!
Playing by yourself, playing with your friends, either locally or online … no matter how you play, this is a fun game for everyone!
I barely even know where to start with Sword and Shield, the latest installment to the Pokémon series. I have a lot to say about them, so I guess I should start somewhere!
First, let’s talk about the theme.Sword and Shield are set in the region of Galar, which is inspired by the UK! As a Brit, it means there are lots of little nods here and there that I find quite amusing to say the least, and other things that I just find very satisfying to see.
From the very beginning I could immediately feel a sense of English countryside, starting off in the sleepy village of Postwick, moving onto Wedgehurst, the aesthetic was captured perfectly with the fields of crops, and grazing Wooloo (the sheep Pokémon!), and the villages and towns themselves hold a certain charm which I think reflects that of the rural countryside villages we see here in the UK perfectly.
And this aesthetic just grows more and more the further into the region you go! We have a town which seems to have taken inspiration from our famous landmark, Stonehenge, and it also has a Geoglyph on the hillside (a large design/pattern on the ground usually formed by chalk, small stones or other such materials) which is something that can be found surprisingly often in England, usually in the shape of a horse!
The PokémonCentres also have their own English charm added to them. They have a quaint decorated exterior which seems to fit in just about wherever you would find one, but it’s the interior that impressed me the most. I was simply shocked to walk inside for the first time and see on the left hand side of the room … a pub! Every PokémonCentre has its own little pub, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the tiny pictures of the berries on the taps!
The town names are another thing which I feel have been perfectly captured – I genuinely could be at home looking around for nearby villages to visit! Postwick, Circhester, Hulbury, Stow-On-Side, Wyndon … all you need to do is have a look around the UK on Google Maps, and you’ll see just how well these fit the theme.
The next thing I would like to talk about is some of the new features that I have come across so far! First, let’s talk about the updated mechanics for wild Pokémon. It seems as though Game Freak have taken the classic mechanics of the main games, the new mechanics introduced in the Let’s Go titles, and put them together to make a fantastic combination. Wild Pokémon will pop up in the grass, and they also react to you in different ways. Some will walk up to you with curiosity, others will charge at you and commence battle! And more still will flee as soon as they see you, you’ll have to sneak up to these flighty fellows! And besides these, you’ll also see an exclamation mark followed by rustling in the grass as you pass through – if you run into that small patch, you’ll find yourself in a classic random battle! Furthermore, you can even whistle or sound your bicycle’s bell to attract the attention of Pokémon – even those who might be flying in the skies above you!
Next on the list is the Wild Area. My goodness … I can hardly pull myself away from this new area! This is the first time that us fans have experienced such an overwhelmingly large area in a Pokémon game. The Wild Area has plenty of Pokémon for you to track down and catch – with a hefty level range! You have to keep your wits about you, otherwise you could find yourself being wiped out by one of these powerhouses.
A big part of the Wild Area is the dens which are scattered across the plains. You will occasionally spot glowing beams of light piercing the sky – these are emitted from the previously mentioned dens, and if you journey to one of these, you will be able to enter a raid battle! I have to say, I really, really enjoy these. Four players will take one Pokémon into battle against an enormous wild Pokémon – a Dynamax Pokémon. It is possible for one trainer to dynamax their Pokémon, but this will only last for three turns. There are many things to gain from completing these – besides the chance to catch a Pokémon that you might not be able to find easily otherwise, you will also get a nice haul of items, including a TR or two, an item which is used to teach your Pokémon a new move, but it breaks after one use (a throwback to the old school games where TMs weren’t unlimited use).
The last feature I want to mention is the camping. While you’re travelling, you can set up camp and let your team run around for a bit of fresh air. While in camp, you can observe them as they plod along, occasionally interacting with each other, you can throw a ball about for them to either catch and bring back to you, or kick around, you can take a toy out which seems to encourage a bit of rough-house play, and finally you can get cooking to feed yourself and your team! This is something I really enjoy – it’s just so fun to watch as you and your lead Pokémon take that suspenseful first taste, and then react in awe at the taste of your concoction! One of the benefits of doing this is a nice experience boost for your party, as well as any fainted Pokémon being revitalised enough to carry on for another battle!
With this new generation comes a whole host of new Pokémon for fans to discover. So far, I have been totally bowled over by the designs of these Pokémon … for the most part at least.
There have been some incredibly solid designs, and so many of them fit the theme perfectly. From squirrels to foxes, sheep to ravens … We even have Pokémon that have been inspired by Welsh Corgis, Vikings, knights, and even tea pots! This is just a small number of examples though, there are so many more that I could mention!
Next thing on my list is the GymChallenge. In a Pokémon game there are usually two main goals. Catch as many Pokémon as you can to complete your Pokédex, and defeat all the Gym Leaders and then the Elite Four. Sun and Moon saw a brief switch-up from this regular format through the Island Challenge, but otherwise the format is largely the same throughout the main series games.
I don’t know how controversial this opinion will be, but here it is: this is the best Gym Challenge I have ever faced.
I love everything about it. It is introduced to us as a rather exclusive, but nationally adored event (a rather obvious parallel with real-world sports). In order to enter, you must be endorsed, and we receive our endorsement from the champion. Every challenger is to have their own number for their uniform, and yes, you will be wearing a uniform. The Gyms themselves are massive stadiums! They must be tackled in a specific and official order with no deviations, and each Gym has a Mission for you to complete before challenging the Leader.
The best thing is without a doubt the battles with the Gym Leaders. The battle takes place in the main stadium, with endless crowds watching and cheering – they even react to the battle! The soundtrack is just out of this world, I get so swept up in it. And then once the Gym Leader has one Pokémon left … time for Dynamax! Not only that, but the crowd goes wild with excitement, and the soundtrack actually changes as the crowd sings along! You can also Dynamax at any point in this battle, but it only lasts for three turns, so choose carefully!
The way that the challenge is set out makes me think of the anime and how the Pokémon League is usually depicted – I always felt that was how it should be presented and that the games sometimes fell short of that. I may not have completed my copy of Shield just yet, but so far I have not been disappointed.
There has been a fair amount of complaint amongst fans in the run up to release day. I have seen complaints about the choice to not include all Pokémon, about the lack of innovation in the graphics, the shortness of the routes and the story in general.
I have to admit that while I understand and respect these opinions, I can’t say that I share them. It is a shame that not all Pokémon have been included, but at the end of the day, there are 400 Pokémon available for us to catch and train. That’s more than enough for me, I know I will spend plenty of time hunting them down and training up my favourites. It will be sad to see that certain Pokes didn’t make the cut, but I can still appreciate what we have been given.
I really can’t find an issue with the graphics personally – I think the environment is absolutely gorgeous. I have seen mentions about how the trainers and Pokémon pop up onto the screen as you get close to them, so that they don’t need to be rendered the entire time, and it just doesn’t bug me. They appear on screen in a very smooth way, so as not to be too jarring.
I can see why people are annoyed at the length of the routes, some of them are admittedly short. This hasn’t stopped me from spending plenty of time in each one though – with so many different Pokémon to come across, particularly with the changing weather, there is plenty of reason to hang around, see what you can find, and even to return to places that you have already been to! I have literally spent hours in the Wild Area catching anything I hadn’t already found.
There are only two things that really bother me, the first being the battle background when you are indoors. The outside and the stadiums have fantastic backgrounds that make you feel as though you’re really battling out there! But if you battle inside a building, it is a strange, hazy background which does break the immersion. It’s somewhat disappointing to see, considering they were able to achieve this with Pokémon Coliseum on the Gamecube.
The other thing that bugs me is the lack of a feature that was done so well in Let’s Go, that I really hoped it would be a reoccurring feature. You can’t pick a Pokémon to follow you around anymore! It feels like the foundation was there, with the wild Pokémon roaming around the world, but the feature itself wasn’t implemented.
My final word is that while this may have been a disappointing entry for some Pokémon fans, it ticked all the right boxes for myself personally, so PokémonSword and Shield get my full recommendation.
This has almost instantly become one of my favourite games, for so many reasons! The Outer Worlds is brought to us by Obsidian Entertainment and the more I play, the more I am reminded of two of my favourite series – Fallout and Mass Effect.
The Sci-Fi space setting, party system, and space voyaging all bring to mind the excellent gameplay of Mass Effect. But the levelling up, bold characters, and the quirky sense of humour behind the writing all point to Fallout, in particular New Vegas which we also have Obsidian to thank for.
But of course, it isn’t all recycled ideas – there is no doubting that The Outer Worlds has plenty of its own unique personality! From the moment I started to create my character creator, and I saw the vast choice of hair colours that I had to choose from … don’t expect to have much choice in the way of “normal” hair colours – they’re vibrant, bold, and occasionally two-tone!
I have pretty much cleared through the first area that acts as the tutorial area before letting you loose to explore other celestial bodies in the solar system. This has been enough to show me that the combat is enjoyable, and challenging at times. I have already found a good variety of weaponry and have started to lean towards certain preferences. I am definitely enjoying the setting, and the characters and factions that are being introduced to me – I have already had to make a moral choice in the form of diverting power to one of two areas … (Sound familiar to the New Vegas fans out there?).
From what I have seen of the game world so far, it really is quite breathtaking and imaginative. I’ve yet to grow tired of traversing across the alien landscape from point A to point B. There is a fast travel option available between certain key areas if you are the kind of gamer who doesn’t enjoy going back and forth across areas you have already seen.
For those of you who really love a good difficulty challenge, much like in New Vegas, The Outer Worlds offers you a somewhat more realistic RPG experience with the Supernova difficulty. In this mode your fast travel will be limited, you will need to eat, drink, and sleep regularly in order to survive, and certain injuries will require bed rest for you to recover. This is of course on top of all the other challenges you would expect to face with the highest difficulty setting, such as enemies having more health and dealing more damage, and even having limitations on your manual and auto saves!
I can’t wait to get further into this game and see what choices and challenges will face me, and what absurd and zany characters I will bump in to. This is definitely going to be a game that has me exploring every nook and cranny to find all the hidden little gems the world designers have hidden away.
These two games are the latest in the Hitman series, and they are actually the first Hitman games I have ever played. I fell in love with them after watching my favourite Youtubers (Outside Xbox) get up to all sorts of mischief with super-tough-guy, Agent 47.
The premise of the game is that you are Agent 47, a hitman (in case you couldn’t guess), and it is your job to eliminate the target. The areas that you will travel to are all quite large, with many different people, as well as different opportunities to take advantage of. This means that there will be many, many different ways for you to eliminate your target.
The game offers you many different challenges which encourage you to explore, experiment, and generally just see what kind of chaos you can cause! There are plenty of fun and helpful unlockables for you to work towards (everyone can find a use for an explosive rubber duck, right?).
The game most certainly has a sense of humour, if Agent 47’s undercover persona, Mr. Rieper, is anything to go by. On top of this, 47 opts for some interesting dialogue options when he is trying to pass himself off as whatever he has disguised himself as. My favourite of such situations would have to be when he dresses as an estate agent (realtor) and gives his target a tour of a charming suburban home, and with each room he gives a speech which in some way insinuates murder …
This is a great game for puzzle-solvers, as there are various challenges and options which will make the game harder, meaning you will have to think and act that much more carefully. The professional difficulty level makes the NPCs much more wise to 47’s antics, but also there are escalation missions, which are multi-stage missions which seem simple enough at first, but with each stage comes either new targets or new limitations!
Hitman has excellent replay value, simply through the main missions having so many different approaches, but also through the previously mentioned escalation missions. And did I mention that you can even create your own contracts, which you can then share with others – and so of course you can also play other player’s created contracts. There’s no denying that this game is fun and gives you plenty of value for your money.
Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Hitman Release Date: 11/03/2016-31/10/2016 (Various Episodes), 31/01/2017 (Complete First Season)
Oh how I love Animal Crossing! This is a franchise that I stumbled across on the Gamecube, and I am so happy to say that it has only got better and better as each new game has come out! As fans of the series find themselves counting down to the release of the next title, NewHorizons, I thought I should take the time to talk about my favourite game in the series so far: Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Animal Crossing franchise, the games act as a sort of life simulation game. You are a human moving into a new town, which you will quickly notice is populated by sentient animals! There are 100s of different villages in Animal Crossing, but you can only have a small number of villagers at once. Some do decide to move away, leaving room for a new character to make an appearance!
There are many activities to keep you occupied in the games, such as fishing, bug catching, fossil collecting, donating exhibits to the museum to expand their collection, earning money to pay off your mortgage and expand your house, befriending your neighbour, and even connecting with friends and visiting their towns, or having them visit you! The game follows real time and has a full calendar year with all manner of events for you to take part in. No other game can claim to show off such a great spirit of community!
New Leaf challenged the conventions of the series by saying goodbye to Tortimer, the long-time mayor across the series, and instead you end up becoming mayor! As such, you will have a lot more control over what your town looks like, through the use of Public Works Projects. You will have a list of available projects, and these can range from something as small as a lamppost to something as big as a café!
Are you thinking that the burden of being mayor sounds like too much? Well don’t you worry about that! New Leaf introduced one of the nicest, sweetest characters in the world of video games – Isabelle! This adorable pooch will be your assistant, and she takes care of running special events in the town, helping you figure out where to put your Public Works Projects, and just generally being a lovely character to interact with!
Another thing that I really love about the franchise is how self-referential Nintendo is. There are so many different wallpapers, floors, furniture pieces, and clothing options that are a reference to other Nintendo games and characters! Even some of the villagers themselves are references! Keep an eye on Ganon the pig …
This game has been put into the Nintendo Selects line, which means that it’s standard retail price is £14.99, but I have seen it even cheaper than that in some places. This is a game I can’t recommend enough if you’re just looking for some casual fun, especially at such an incredible price! (It could also be a Christmas/birthday idea for any younger gamers in the family, as it is very easy to understand!)
Now, I’m not here to get into the politics of the best Peter Parker portrayals … but if I was, I would tell you that this game gives us the best Peter Parker I have seen! (Closely followed by Tom Holland!)
I can’t get enough of Spiderman, I think he is an excellent superhero in every way, his awkward humour is second to none, and his personality is strong enough to make you forget he is just a character!
What I’m basically getting at, is that a Spiderman game is TOTALLY MY JAM.
This is by far the best Spiderman game that we’ve had so far in my opinion, featuring a slightly older Peter Parker with all the fun humour and awkward geekiness that we have come to expect from the web-slinging hero!
The gameplay here is phenomenal, the web slinging is very satisfying, and gradually gets better as you gain speed through level ups. You also have a a large choice of new moves and upgrades available to unlock as you gain levels.
As you can imagine, there are lots of things for Spidey to do around the city! There are lots of enemy bases to be cleared out, crimes to be stopped, referential collectibles to find, challenges to complete, and plenty more. As you complete these various tasks, you will also be able to unlock new suits that you will most likely recognise if you are a fan of Spiderman.
Honestly, there isn’t a single part of this game I haven’t enjoyed. I just love swinging around New York City as Spiderman, I love watching the startled pedestrians fall over as you land next to them from a great height, I love watching the story cutscenes unfold with all of the familiar faces we know so well, and I love tackling the Spiderman’s various enemies with his assortment of gadgets and skills!
You might hear a familiar voice as you’re swinging through the streets … None other than the infamous character J. Jonah Jameson! You can expect to hear him shouting about his ludicrous thoughts and opinions about Spiderman on his podcast – provided you haven’t turned it off in the options menu! Personally I find it hilarious, listening to the callers talking about how Spidey saved them and does so much for the city, and Jameson tried to put his negative spin on it.
As of yet, I have not played the DLC, so I can’t pass comment on how that is. I do know that it is definitely DLC that I will be getting though, if the rest of the game is anything to go by, then it will most certainly be worth it.
I’m not sure what else I can say about this fantastic game without making myself sound like some star-struck goof (did I successfully hide my unending love for Spiderman?) so I’ll just say this. FULL RECOMMENDATION.