February 2019

All articles posted in February 2019.

Nintendo announces Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield for Switch

During an early morning Pokémon Direct video, Nintendo unveiled the titles of the two new games in the franchise coming to the Nintendo Switch: Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.

Set in the Galar region that is reminiscent of the United Kingdom, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield introduces three new partner Pokémon to start with: grass-based Grookey, fire-based Scorbunny, or water-based Sobble.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield starters

Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble, your partners in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are expected to launch simultaneously in late 2019.

Source: YouTube

Reggie Fils-Aime to retire as president of Nintendo of America

If you’re a Nintendo fan, you’ve probably seen Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime in Nintendo Direct videos, at events across the United States or at E3, promoting the latest amiibo, systems or games, or at least remember the meme “my body is ready”.

Today, Nintendo released a video announcing the retirement of Fils-Aime, who has worked at the gaming company for over 15 years, with the last 13 as its president. On April 15th, 2019, he will transfer the reins over to Doug Bowser (no relation to the King Koopa), who currently serves as senior vice president of sales and marketing for the company.

Fils-Aime is retiring to spend to more time with his family.

A Message from Reggie

Nintendo fans, Reggie has a message for all of you. Please take a look.

Posted by Nintendo on Thursday, February 21, 2019

Source: Facebook

Crunchyroll Anime Awards live streams on Saturday, February 16, 2019

Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2019

Crunchyroll Anime Awards streams live on Twitch

For this year’s Crunchyroll Anime Awards, the anime streaming service has partnered up with Twitch to bring more interactivity to the event this Saturday, February 16th, 2019.

During the show, viewers can take advantage of functions that allow them to cast votes for categories in real time during the live stream. Crunchyroll has also included 15 new custom Twitch emotes along with eight special emotes of their mascot Hime so viewers can share their reactions. Tier 1 subscribers to the Crunchyroll channel on Twitch can enjoy these emotes for free; subscriptions are $4.99 USD a month.

Over a thousand Twitch streamers have signed up to co-stream during the awards show, allowing their commentary to their own communities. Crunchyroll and Twitch are still welcoming more to join in. Co-streamers are also entered in for prizes if they take advantage of the voting extension, allowing their communities to entered in for one month premium memberships to Crunchyroll.

Viewers who correctly guess all the winners during the event using the #AnimeAwards hashtag on social media platforms will have a chance at a raffle to win cool prizes.

The Crunchyroll Anime Awards takes place on Saturday, February 16th, 2019 at 6:00 pm PST.

Source: Crunchyroll

Link’s Awakening coming to Nintendo Switch this year

Over the last few years, a number of titles in The Legend of Zelda series have undergone updates and re-released on newer systems: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, for example. Now, the Game Boy classic, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening comes to the Nintendo Switch in 2019.

Unveiled during today’s Nintendo Direct event, the Japanese gaming company is overhauling the graphics from this top-down game, giving it more depth and colour (more so than the DX version for the Game Boy Color).

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Nintendo Switch The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Nintendo Switch The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Nintendo Switch

Shipwrecked on the mysterious Koholint Island, Link must recover the missing musical instruments, help the residents of this paradise and awaken the legendary Wind Fish in his quest to return home.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is expected to launch this year; a specific date was not provided.

Source: Nintendo

Xbox Live to increase supported platforms

Microsoft is working to expand the platforms its Xbox Live service supports, from its Xbox consoles to games on Android and iOS devices, as well as the Nintendo Switch.

Based on the information available, Microsoft wants to take its online service to rival devices, allowing gamers to login and play compatible titles on competing systems as well as manage their profile and account information.

Xbox Live is currently available on the Xbox One console and Windows 10 PCs.

Microsoft is expected to make a formal announcement at the Game Developers Conference in mid-March 2019.

Sources: GameSpot, The Verge

First impressions of Kingdom Hearts III

Three days have passed since I received my deluxe edition copy of Kingdom Hearts III for the PlayStation 4 and from what I’ve played so far, I’ve enjoyed. Since the game was announced in 2013, it’s been a long time coming for the fans of the Disney/Square Enix adventure RPG series. So, does Kingdom Hearts III live up to its hype?

The Deluxe Edition comprises of the game disc itself in the standard retail packaging, with a black steelbox case imprinted with the symbols of Mickey Mouse, hearts, and keys. The inside of the box is clear plastic, like the standard package. There’s also a small hard-cover book with different artwork of characters, items, weapons and worlds. It’s not glamorous, but cool to flip through. Finally, there’s small enamel pin of Sora wearing a crown secured to the outer packaging. Overall, not bad for $111.99 CAD (the game itself retails at $79.99 CAD).

For those who’ve never played a Kingdom Hearts game, the story can be daunting (even for someone who’s played all or most of), considering this is the third “main” title in the series, intertwined with half-dozen spin-off titles as well as remixes and remasters of the first two main titles. Without any spoilers, the first hour or so of the game helps recap the events previous to bring the player up to speed on what’s happened, who’s who and so forth.

Kingdom Hearts III - Thebes Battle

Donald Duck and Sora fighting in the ruins.

As anyone who’s kept tabs on the development of Kingdom Hearts III knows that it this is a work of art. Over the years, clips from the game were shown at E3, D23 and whenever Square Enix felt like teasing fans, it generated a lot of buzz over how the Disney worlds are recreated in stunning detail, as well down to the outfits and weapons. With the power of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, Square Enix was able to take advantage of the hardware and the Unreal Engine to make Kingdom Hearts III so visually appealing. In an interesting twist, they kept the designs the same when dealing with cut scenes from previous games in the series instead of recreating them in this new space. I will say this, Kingdom Hearts III is cut-scene heavy, so keep that in mind as you will go 10+ minutes at a time without any battles or exploration.

Kingdom Hearts III - Mad Tea Cups

Mad Tea Cups Attraction Flow in use.

The game-play is improved and Square Enix has crammed as much new functionality into the game as they can. Attraction Flow brings various rides and attractions from Disney Parks around the world to use to as well-timed and coordinated battle tactics — using Splash Ride, for instance, lets you move around and jump to create a trail, once Finish is selected, the ride follows the trail created to take out enemies in its path. It’s a neat way to take out large groups of Heartless in one fun swoop. With Mad Tea Cups, Sora, Donald and Goofy, jump into oversized cups and saucers which spin around and damage nearby Heartless or Nobodies. It’s not as nauseating as the actual ride, though. Shotlock is new allowing Sora to target multiple enemies or one enemy multiple times — it’s tricky to use as each use depletes the gauge; once expired it needs time to refill. In conjunction with Shotlock is Airstepping which allows Sora to jump to objects or bosses in the distance (also helpful in escaping said bosses). Airstepping still works if the gauge is empty, which is handy in tight situations.

Kingdom Hearts III - Sora's Face

Sora in his new outfit in Kingdom Hearts III.

Music is a huge part of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, and yes, there are familiar themes and leitmotifs — especially “Destati”, “Hand in Hand”, and more. But on top of these classics, there’s also new music, even songs from previous worlds were remixed to give them more oomph for this game. Of course, the biggest hit is the Utada Hikaru and Skrillex composition, Face My Fears, as the opening song for the game. It fits so well into the game overall, given how everyone has to overcome their fears to find those that matter to them. The voice acting is decent, considering the return of Haley Joel Osment as Sora, Tony Anselmo as Donald Duck and Bill Farmer as Goofy, though in some scenes the voices sound slightly awkward. And in Olympus and contrary to his character, Phil does not speak at all (not sure if Danny DeVito was available for the role).

My adventure so far with Sora, Donald and Goofy is off to a great start and I look forward to the enjoying more of the magic Kingdom Hearts III has to offer.

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