Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch) review

Nintendo / Monolith Soft
Nintendo Switch

What a difference seven years makes.

Back in 2010, the first Xenoblade Chronicles launched in Japan. The UK got it a year later, but North American audiences were annoyed that they seemingly weren’t getting a sniff.

This resulted in Operation Rainfall, a protest campaign run by US gamers who wanted to see Xenoblade Chronicles (as well as The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower) released in their region.

Eventually, nearly two years after it launched in Japan, Xenoblade Chronicles was finally released in the US. Nowadays, though, it’s a different story.

A handheld port of the game hit the New 3DS in 2015, and this time the gap between eastern and western releases was a mere eight days.

The Wii U spiritual successor Xenoblade Chronicles X did take a while longer (seven months) to make it outside of Japan, but when it did it enjoyed full parity with Europe and the US getting it on the same day.

And so now here we are with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the first ‘proper’ sequel and the first to have a proper worldwide launch day. We’ve come a long way. Continue reading “Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch) review”

Resident Evil Revelations 1 & 2 (Switch) review

Capcom
Switch, Xbox One, PS4, Steam, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, Vita (Switch version reviewed)

We aren’t even nine months into the Switch’s life yet and it’s already proving itself to be a fantastic device for ports.

That may not always seem like a good thing: after all, the Xbox One and PS4 were criticised in their early days for having their libraries artificially increased with enhanced ports of previous gen games.

It feels different on the Switch, though. Its handheld capability means fans of games like Doom, Skyrim and LA Noire are happy to re-buy their old games on Nintendo’s system, the addition of portability appealing more than better textures or frame rate.

The Resident Evil Revelations games don’t get to use this ‘novelty’ as a selling point. The first made its debut as a handheld game, enjoying 3DS exclusivity for a year and a half – while its sequel was released on the PlayStation Vita.

Both have already had the handheld treatment, then, but it’s fair to say the Switch version blows the 3DS’s low resolution and the Vita’s low-poly visuals and poor frame rate out of the water. Continue reading “Resident Evil Revelations 1 & 2 (Switch) review”

Review round-up: Doom, Skyrim, LA Noire, Rime, Kirby Battle Royale

It’s been longer than usual since my last review round-up so here’s a special bumper edition, packed to the chops with mini-reviews.

This week:

• Get your ass to Mars in Doom on Switch
• Take an arrow in the baws in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Switch
• Speakeasy or forever hold your peace in LA Noire on Switch
• Getting outfoxed in Rime
• Bowing to the altar of the eternal loading screen in Moon Hunters
• Kicking it old-school in Lumo
• Point-and-click quirkiness in Violett
• Getting cheap but surprisingly non-nasty in Knight Terrors
• Speeding away from mobile roots in Gear Club Unlimited
• Having a good feline about Cat Quest
• Talking fascism and abortion (seriously) in Wheels Of Aurelia
• Passing GO with reckless abandon in Monopoly on Switch
• Smacking the hell out of a bunch of fighting bollocks in Kirby Battle Royale Continue reading “Review round-up: Doom, Skyrim, LA Noire, Rime, Kirby Battle Royale”

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch) review

This review, like all the reviews on Tired Old Hack, contains no major spoilers. The only plot mentioned takes place during the game’s intro, and any worlds or items mentioned are limited to those previously revealed in official promotional material (trailers, screenshots etc).


Nintendo / Nintendo EPD
Nintendo Switch

“It’s cute listening to you playing that game.”

When I reviewed Super Mario Galaxy a decade ago for Official Nintendo Magazine, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 three years later for the same publication, I was on my own.

Sitting at Nintendo UK’s headquarters, I was essentially left to my own devices in a room with nothing more than a Wii, a television and a copy of the final code freshly emailed over from Nintendo’s Japanese office.

This time, reviewing Super Mario Odyssey in the comfort of my own home, I’m not alone. My wife Louise has been sitting in our wee home office, using our PC while I’ve been playing on the living room TV next door.

Back then, the Galaxy games felt special. I could tell I was playing something out of the ordinary, something that connected with my inner child in a way that was nothing short of pure joy.

I felt it again with Odyssey. But this time those feelings were reinforced by Louise saying to me after my second night with it:

“It’s cute listening to you playing that game.”

Usually when I’m reviewing something I’m pretty much silent, save for the odd “fuck off” when I die. But Odyssey has me spontaneously laughing, giggling, whistling along to the music and gasping as I play, to the extent that my wife hears the difference.

This game is a Galaxy challenger. This game is a Galaxy beater. Continue reading “Super Mario Odyssey (Switch) review”

VHS Preservation Project #4: The N64 Magazine Video

The Video Game VHS Preservation Project is an attempt to digitise as many video game VHS tapes as possible for the purposes of preservation. Click here for more information.

The fourth tape in my VHS Preservation Project is the one I’ve watched more than any of the others.

The N64 Video was given away with the first issue of N64 Magazine in the UK, and shows a bunch of gameplay footage as well as Nintendo’s 1996 Shoshinkai (Space World) promotional video.

You also get occasional glimpses of some cancelled N64 games. Watch with my commentary and I’ll point them out. Continue reading “VHS Preservation Project #4: The N64 Magazine Video”

Layton’s Mystery Journey (3DS) review

Nintendo / Level-5
3DS, iOS, Android (3DS version reviewed)

I remember back in November 2008 when Professor Layton And The Curious Village was released on the DS in the UK.

The DS was massively successful at the time, partly thanks to the likes of Brain Training and partly thanks to the fact the Wii was doing similar degrees of gangbusters.

As such, following a TV ad campaign, the first Professor Layton game sold out all over the UK and became nigh-on impossible to buy until well after Christmas.

Now, here we are nearly a decade later and it’s fair to say the situation has changed. Nintendo is once again massively popular thanks to the Switch and 3DS, but the Layton series doesn’t appear to have enjoyed the same continued success.

Instead, Layton’s Mystery Journey is out tomorrow and it’s fair to say social media isn’t exactly white hot with hype surrounding it. Continue reading “Layton’s Mystery Journey (3DS) review”

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions (3DS) review

Nintendo / AlphaDream
Nintendo 3DS

There aren’t many game series that manage to last more than a decade with the same developer intact, but AlphaDream has been rocking the Mario & Luigi games for 14 years now.

Although it continues to see critical success with each Mario & Luigi game released though, the fact that the first title in the series – Superstar Saga on the Game Boy Advance – is now nearly a decade and a half old means many of today’s gamers never got a chance to play it.

That problem has now been resolved with this 3DS remake of Superstar Saga, and it’s a testament to the 2004 release that so little of the core game has been changed here. Continue reading “Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions (3DS) review”