jdodson1

Joined 01/23/2012

I'm an Engineer and built the video game community Cheerful Ghost and text based mini-MMO Tale of the White Wyvern.

2505 Posts

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Microsoft unveiled a ton of new details on the upcoming next gen Xbox Series X today and one in particular caught my attention. Historically Sony has provided excellent backwards compatibility between the Playstation and Playstation 2 era of console to later drop it after a time during the PS3 and entirely on the PS4. It seems Microsoft has picked up the love for compatibility in that it seems the upcoming Xbox Series X will still be able to play some original Xbox, 360 and all Xbox One games:

"Four generations of gaming: Our commitment to compatibility means existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, look and play better than ever before. Your favorite games, including titles in Xbox Game Pass, benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity – all with no developer work required. Your Xbox One gaming accessories also come forward with you."

I also appreciate that Microsoft is keeping compatibility with Xbox One hardware as well because typically console makers love to lock you in for a whole set of new peripherals. I've been considering the choice between Sony and Microsoft for some time in terms of a new console and unless Sony comes back to the compatibility fold I might stick with Microsoft for the foreseeable future.

For the entire info dump on the new stuff coming to the Xbox Series X head over to xbox.com below:

https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2020/02/24/what-you-can-expect-next-generation-gaming/


Shovel Knight launched in 2013 and since then received a ton of free content updates. It might be a bit confusing what it all is so Noclip created this handy Shovel Knight Lineage video explained by Yacht Club Games David D'Angelo.

This last weekend I put Shovel Knight Showdown through the paces playing it with a friend. It's a fun addition to Shovel Knight Treasure Trove and is a worthy brawler game. I didn't quite get the feel for each of the Knights but I appreciate that they all fight very differently. If you have friends over and Treasure Trove is on tap, you should give it a go.


I'm late to the uptake with some game releases as there are so many. This isn't something I've minded for a while now because even folks that professionally review video games can't play everything. Recently I heard a glowing review for a, new to me, retro turn based strategy game called Wargroove that takes the formula that Nintendo perfected in Advance Wars and gives it a fun fantasy spin.

Wargroove is Hard by Default

Generally speaking modern triple A games or indie titles, unless they are a rogue-like, have a normal degree of difficulty by default. If you want more of a challenge in a typical shooter you can raise it and lower it if things are too hard. Typically I keep the difficulty at the default setting for most games because, again, the default difficulty is fine for my play style. Right away I found the default difficulty of Wargroove to be quite challenging. So challenging that during the first "real battle" (third battle or so) I was shutdown six times in a row. I imagine for some turn based strategy gurus the difficulty of Wargroove is just fine, but for a more casual player it was a bit too hard. The good news is that it's easy to tune the difficulty down at anytime but I do wonder how many players keep it at the default difficulty and how far they advance in the main campaign?

Wargroove Is Loaded To the Hilt With Things to Do

Since Wargroove's initial launch in 2019 Chucklefish started with a ton of things for players to do but recently just launched the Double Trouble free campaign DLC. Since you might not know what features Wargroove has i'll paste them for your ease here:

* Choose from one of 12+ Commanders from 4 warring factions – the Cherrystone Kingdom, Heavensong Empire, Felheim Legion, and Floran Tribes.
* Strategically use your Commander’s unique “groove” ability to sway the battle in your favor.
* Battle your way through the Campaign Mode to discover the story and motivations behind each faction.
* Challenge your friends to local and online multiplayer skirmish modes with complete rule customization, as well as local and online competitive and co-op play.
* Design and share online your own complex series of battlefields, with branching story paths using easy to master in-game map and campaign editors.
* Learn more about each character you encounter through a trial of boisterous bouts in Arcade mode, fighting 5 different opponents in quick succession.
* Outwit the enemy in Puzzle mode, using your strategic skills to complete tricky challenges in just ONE turn.
* Discover the history and lore of the world of Wargroove and its inhabitants in the Codex, as well as handy strategy tips and rules for use in battle.
* Seek out hidden in-game content and unlockables – old school style!

The Double Trouble DLC comes with the all new:

* All new 15 hour co-op campaign.
* 3 new commanders.
* New thieves and Rifemen units.

The Best Part of Wargroove Might Be The Built-in Editor & User Made Campaign Maps

One huge upside to Wargroove is that Chucklefish included an incredibly rich campaign editor and tools to upload and share your creations. This "Mario Maker" toolset seems like it's rich enough to create campaigns as intricate as the ones they shipped with. From a really early look I found several high quality maps created by the community that seem to be quite good. So if you tear through the base campaign, the new Double Trouble campaign then the user downloadable maps and the ability to make your own should keep you in a turn based strategy coma for quite some time.

Wargroove is Perfect on the Switch

Wargroove is out on the PC on Steam, the PS4, XBox One and the Switch and I think it's perfect on the Switch. Wargroove is flawless in handheld mode on the Switch and since it's in 2D is very light on your Switch battery making even longer play sessions possible. When you dock the Switch you get even more screen available, and Wargroove provides that through a really cool framing technique in full 1080p mode that isn't available in 720p mode and doesn't sacrifice gameplay because of.

If you are a collector of physical games Wargroove has a pretty fun release that comes with a downloadable soundtrack and some other goodies making it much more than just the game in a box. At the end of the day if you like turn based strategy and are looking for something to fill that itch you must try Wargroove. I also want to thank Chucklefish for getting me a review copy on Switch!


Doom Eternal's launch date of March 20th is fast approaching and as such certain media outlets are covering it before launch. Digital Foundry got a peek at the game for a few hours and interviewed the folks at iD about the game.

"As well as sitting down for *three hours* to play the upcoming Doom Eternal, Digital Foundry's John Linneman also had the opportunity to discuss the new id Tech 7 engine upgrades with Doom Eternal executive producer and id software studio director, Marty Stratton. From engine upgrades to ray tracing to Switch to next-gen consoles, there's a ton of new info in this one."


WarCraft III: Reforged launched yesterday and being a huge fan of the original and the Frozen Throne expansion I was heavily anticipating it's launch. Now that the game's out I've downloaded it and played it on my PC and started the Orc prologue campaign. Back in 2002 Blizzard released the Orc prologue campaign as a standalone game demo that setup the events of WarCraft III. I always felt like it was a unique way to release a demo, with original post game content but as Blizzard recently noted, most fans had no idea it existed. Later on they patched in the prolog into the main game as a playable option but it didn't contain the incredible voice acting and most people we're either focused on multiplayer or were done playing WarCraft III to notice. All that said, WarCraft III: Reforged is back and it might be a cliche thing to say at this point but it's more true with this game than most but if you loved the original you need to play Reforged.

Let's Start With The Controversy... Because There's Always Controversy

The strongest part of WarCraft III: Reforged is the thing it's getting some negative reaction from in that originally Blizzard said that they'd change up aspects of the single player campaign considerably and it seems like they let that go in favor of giving you the original game with a new visuals. As you can see from the video above the way they showed the scene at Blizzcon this year is not how the game shipped. It seems Blizzard took the fan critique they heard from players that preferred the original WarCraft III camera and reverted back to that forgoing the more modern cinematic style they showed at Blizzcon. This has caused quite a negative fan reaction but I frankly can see both sides and I'm with Blizzard on reverting the camera style to the original.

Put simply, HD remakes are better served with fewer changes to the original source material and deciding to prefer the original camera angles is best form of respect to the original material. I know the original WarCraft III is still available to install and that version will always exist but focusing HD remakes on making fewer changes to the base game is the better choice because HD remakes are generally more more accessible because they are newer and in the case of WarCraft III: Reforged seamlessly connect to modern Battle.net and are available in the launcher making them more accessible. There's also a charm to the hokey camera angles of WarCraft III that firmly date it back in the 2000 era of PC gaming that should be experienced by a modern audience in 2020.

I Don't Care About Camera Angles, Is This Game Any Good?

If you like hero focused real time strategy games then uh yeah, WarCraft III is good, it's actually really good. But you know, I'm also incredibly biased because every couple years I come back to play the campaign. In fact when I heard Reforged was on it's way I stopped playing WarCraft III and decided to play the Reforged campaign from the start again ... for the first time.

And like I said before, this is WarCraft III with a 4K coat of paint and it's superb. The gameplay is crisp and that 2000's PC era awkward polygons of the original game are rounded out to create quite a visual treat. Blizzard did such a great job respecting the original game it's actually pretty hard to notice many changes. That said the biggest change to the game are the visuals, something they took the most inspiration from being World of Warcraft. Because, see kids, before World of Warcraft hit the streets WarCraft III was the king of Azeroth. As World of Warcraft became the biggest MMO of all time it also developed a more of a unique visual identity that was originally rooted in WarCraft III. That said, as visuals evolve and 3D tech to match it certain characters look different in World of Warcraft than in WarCraft III. One big change I noticed right away is that Thrall in WarCraft III: Reforged looks quite different than in vanilla WarCraft III. It's not a big deal but as the original is burned forever in my brain I noticed. And a lot of other models have changed too to fit World of Warcraft better and this is a change I don't mind. It's less keeping WarCraft III: Reforged for strict purists but it's not abandoning the World of Warcraft players either.

I heartily welcome WarCraft III: Reforged because it's Blizzard giving one of my most beloved games a very purist treatment. But I do understand that some people wanted what they saw at Blizzcon and I can't say I blame them for that. With that I also agree with Blizzard for keeping to the original game because at the end of the day, the game was already great it just needed a 4K coat of paint.


A local news station interviewed fans after seeing Empire Strikes Back open back in 1980 and from the outset you can tell they have absolutely no experience with film or Star Wars fans. Many of the people in line saw Star Wars multiple times, one guy saw A New Hope 17 times and you can tell the interviewer was quite surprised. The line started a couple hours before the showing of the film and again, this seemed surprising for the time and it really was. The Rise of Skywalker was a film that I decided to come to early even though my local Regal finally converted to reserve all the seats. I wanted to have one last hurrah with showing up a bit early and waiting with the fans on the night before the opening and it was a blast to do that one last time.


You can "Raze Hell" in Doom Eternal on March 20th and if the new trailer is any indication iD really did kick up the Doom lore with this game. If you remember back to Quakecon of 2019 the game developers mentioned that they are building a whole Doom universe of lore and story and Doom Eternal would be the game to bring it. I appreciated the simplicity of Doom 2016 in that right away there was a bit of story and the Doom Slayer throws the monitor to the side that your were hearing it from. I appreciated the fun nod and wink to the game being focused on quick run and gun gameplay quite a bit. With that iD has treated the new Doom franchise well and I imagine this will be no different even if they kick up the lore.


There has been news of Nintendo working to launch it's first theme park and today we got a trailer that shows off a very CGI heavy dance themed trailer for Super Nintendo World in Japan. If the trailer is to be taken seriously we'll all be wearing VR glasses in a choreographed dance number looking incredible the entire time while magically not sweating. That said, it looks like your smartphone will play heavily into the theme park and a Mario Kart experience is top of mind for Super Nintendo World. I'm interested in what this will be but the tippy top of my theme park bucket list is checking out the new Star Wars experience at Disney Land. All that said I have no problems stomping on Goombas and dancing with other early 20's kids in VR too.

*cough*

https://giphy.com/gifs/hello-steve-buscemi-30-rock-ifxLK48cnyDDi


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When Bethesda launched Doom on Switch there was some complaints about the port such as lack of 60 fps gameplay, an online requirement (something they immediately removed) and stretched visuals. In a huge update to Doom & Doom 2 on PC, Switch, iOS, PS4, XBox One and Android Bethesda brings all these features as well as quick save and load, level select, weapon carousel, added dpad weapon select, brightness options and new split screen HUD for split screen multiplayer. They also added some updated graphics that brings the health packs more in line with the original release but something they had to change because of trademark issues with the Red Cross(apparently no game can ever use the red cross for health packs anymore due to this).

https://slayersclub.bethesda.net/en/article/6Wmc158EnPeBpNBaOJpF4W/add-ons-quick-saves-60-fps-and-more-doom-and-doom-ii

https://bethesda.net/community/topic/369943/doom-doom-ii-patch-notes?language%5B%5D=en

https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/01/video-games-arent-allowed-to-use-the-red-cross-symbol-for-health/


Alienware unveiled the Concept UFO PC handheld at this years CES 2020. I've been clamoring for a PC handheld like this for years and last year bought a Switch because it was everything I wanted in a handheld gaming device minus my Steam library. The Concept UFO is essentially a handheld PC that has nearly all the features of the Switch except it runs Windows 10. The Verge has an incredible video i've linked above that gives the device it's due and even though it may or may not come out it looks quite good. With that, now that I have a Switch and the fact that so many PC only indie games are coming to it it makes a device like this less appealing. Still, taking your entire PC gaming library with you on the go seems incredibly compelling and if this ever comes to market I imagine it will find a loyal fanbase.

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2020/1/6/21048262/alienware-concept-ufo-prototype-gaming-pc-nintendo-switch-ces-2020


Recent Activity...

The Witcher Netflix Season 1 Review (No Major Spoilers)

The Witcher is a new series on Netflix. So far, it...


The Batman - Camera Test

I'm always down for a batman movie.


Tale of the White Wyvern: Support & Questions Thread

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Tale of the White Wyvern: Support & Questions Thread

So sorry, I overlooked those places. Thanks!