Does the Wii U Still Have a Life?

It may only seem like yesterday that the latest mad contraption to come out of Nintendo was released. Surprisingly, this November the Wii U will hit the three year mark. It’s easy to criticize the successor to the Wii considering the lack of sales and games in comparison. One thing that the Wii U defiantly strives for is quality over quantity. Anyone buying the console today would have the luxury of choosing between such terrific titles as Super Mario 3D Worlds, Super Smash Bros Wii U, Bayonetta 2 & Splatoon. Yet this is just a mere taste of what is on offer.

Since Nintendo’s Digital Event at E3 many people have speculated (including myself) that the Wii U has been written off by the company. Nintendo’s showcase consisted of 3DS games or for the majority nothing we hadn’t previously seen. Then during this years Pokemon World Championship the announcement everyone has been waiting for was revealed. Pokken Tournament will be arriving on the Wii U in Spring 2016.

 

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The reveal of the title was not a shock. The choice of console it will be released on is. The general gaming community believed that the Tekken inspired fighter was sure bet for the NX. Now there is the possibility of a ‘Twilight Princess’ situation where the game is released on both platforms, but I think this is unlikely. So the question is, if the Wii U is being put to sleep so soon why release the clearly popular Pokken Tornament on it? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Possibly, as this reveal seems to encourage the thought that the Wii U may be sticking around for quite a bit longer. How long is impossible to tell (especially with Nintendo).

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As a proud owner of a Wii U, I feel it would be a shame to abandon the platform so early. True the audience has only just risen to the 10 million mark, but I can guarantee the bulk of owners love the console dearly, forgiving its lacking features. Speaking of which that’s another point to consider, does Nintendo really want tor risk the 10 million loyal customers that have stuck with them through thick and thin. That’s a lot of sales that could be lost straight from the NX’s release. Most probably the NX will be backwards compatible so those that skipped the current generation will be treated to the vast library already on offer. Something I am quite jealous of.

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For the time being it would be great for those Wii U owners to be gifted more fantastic exclusives. Pokken could be the beginning of the the second coming. If we get surprise addition come the next Nintend0 Direct, I would like to be optimistic and believe the Wii U will be around for at least a couple more years. What sadly puts a hole in my prediction is supposedly at E3 2016 the NX will be shown to the world. How far along in development is again another question.

Do Nintendo have other ideas? Have they gone back on their plans to focus all attention on the NX? Could it be behind schedule forcing them to prolong the Wii U’s life? Its time we got some answers. This is the thing with Nintendo, you may think they are easy to read, then they do something so off the wall no one would have ever predicted it.

Image 4A Pokemon game on a console is a rare outing, one that is likely to help boost sales so you would have thought Nintendo would preferably rather see a strong start for their next console as apposed to a strong finish for their last. Imagine if you buy a Wii U for Pokken in Spring, to then find yourself mere months later being asked to shell out for another. Personally I dont see a friendly consumer approach. Though, when times are hard you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. It’s just how many eggs can Nintendo afford to break?

Do you think the Wii U still has a life? Or are the curtains closing on Nintendo’s current console? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

Why Splatoon is My Favorite Shooter Since Team Fortress 2

Splatoon

I’ve owned Team Fortress 2 since 2008. It was the very first PC game I ever bought and was recommended to me by one of my best friends. It also happens to be the game that introduced me to every other mod brought to life by Valve who have continued to update the game since 2007. As you can imagine, not only is the game absolutely bursting with content and replayability, it also holds a pretty sentimental place in my mind.

Now, I’ve strayed many times from Team Fortrees 2, but I’ve always managed to come back. I’ve put well over 800 hours into the game, which is nothing compared to the thousands of hours other players have invested into the game. But it wasn’t until I got my hands on Splatoon that I ever felt myself having the same type of fun I do playing TF2.

Friends with benefits

Part of this feeling stems from how accessible and casual the game feels. Each match is limited to three minutes each and it really seems like it’s the perfect amount of time because you never get the chance to wonder what to do next before the game is over and the winner is decided. Maps are also on a four hour rotation which means every four hours you get a pair of maps to play on for regular queues and a separate pair for ranked queues. This might seems a bit backwards, but it really aids in helping players learn maps quickly. By the time I get bored with one set a new one is usually right around the corner.

The length of matches are in pretty stark contrast with Team Fortrees 2 but the casual atmosphere of the games feel the same. In TF2 I enjoy playing payload maps that consist of 16 on 16, which means that while I do have the ability to try and carry a team with the help of a medic, I can also blend into the background and just let things happen.

Splatoon has this very same feeling. You only win the match by covering more of the level with your ink than the opposing team. No one can really carry the team here since four players spouting ink will always be better than one, so you end up losing the sense that you’re the most important player on the team and I actually find myself more relaxed. I sit back, do my job, and have a ton of fun doing it.

Carrots on a stick

The constant stream of progression and new content is another part of the game that keeps drawing me back in. Nintendo launched the game with a handful of maps unlocked and enough weapons to not be boring, but there’s actually a lot more content on the disk. What they’re doing is rolling out maps and other content in an escalated manner so that there always seems to be something new to look forward to.

Splattershot Image
Splattershot Image

The leveling system adds to the progression since you unlock weapons and new gear as you level. Leveling is quick in the beginning but begins to slow down once you get around to level 10. A lot of time grinding out XP is filled by trying out all of the weapons you get that completely change the way your character plays and this can be further compounded by adapting your stats to your play style by equipping additional gear.

Staying fresh

There are no classes in the game, and gameplay doesn’t feel anywhere near as varied as TF2, but the objective and weapons do make that game feel more interesting than Call of Duty or Battlefield. Covering the map should be a player’s primary goal but there are unstated roles that help contribute to this goal in different ways. I personally enjoy hanging back with a roller and playing defense. In the beginning of the match I stay behind so my team can go push up and set the frontline to our advantage. Once I have everything painted I creep around and defend our turf so no aggressive players can snag some for their team.

On the opposite end, sometimes I’ll grab a Splattershot so I can go on the offensive. This role revolves around pushing your turf up and forcing their team to play more defensively which doesn’t give them the chance to grab any of your turf to have as their own.

Splatoon isn’t without its flaws, but they’re minor ones I can look past. The shooting genre has been primarily dominated by military shooters for years now and it’s incredibly refreshing to see Nintendo (of all companies) push forward with a new IP that adds an innovating experience to the genre.

Splatoon Tips and Tricks: Ten Steps to Conquer Multiplayer Game

Game

It warms my heart for Nintendo’s new IP to be accepted with open arms by the online community. With so many games coming out to scrutiny, it’s refreshing to see people acknowledge when an actual good game comes out. That being said, I’ve noticed some people were having trouble with the multiplayer, but fear not, here are 10 Splatoon tips that will almost guarantee victory!

Step 1: Do Not Use Motion Controls

The motion controls are the default setting in this game, and they are really bad. If you want to get far in this game, the second you can you should go into your settings and turn motion controls off. This game is much more fun when you don’t have to wiggle the gamepad to aim.

Step 2: Keep Your Eyes on the Map

There’s no voice chat in this game, which makes it impossible to strategize with your teammates, so the map is really useful. Before you head anywhere, always take a glance at the map on your gamepad to see if any of your teammates are there already. If the answer is no and it’s not hounded by the opposing team, head there. If the answer is yes and your teammate has it under control, then try a different area of the map. This makes it so more ground is inked at a quicker rate.

Step 3: Only Use Rollers if You Know How To

Beginners tend to have the most fun with the rollers in the game because they are so much different than any other weapon in a shooter, but don’t be fooled by their fun factor. Yes, the rollers are a very satisfying weapon to use, but they give you less points for ground covered compared to a gun. So, unless you know how to be faster than everyone else and avoid the other team, I would highly suggest staying away from the rollers. Personally, as far as guns go I’d recommend whatever guns have the best firing rate or range.

Step 4: Upgrade Clothes, and Not Just For Looks

It took me a bit longer than I’d like to admit to notice that the different shirts, hats, and shoes you wear give you different perks. Perks can range from a faster swimming speed to making your special bar fill up faster. So look cool, but also make sure that your clothes give you perks that suit your fancy.

Step 5: Test Weapons

Before you decide what weapons you want to buy, make sure you test them in the shop. Not every gun or roller is for everyone, and you should make sure the weapon fits your personal play style before you spend more of your in-game money.

Step 6: Do Not Ink the Walls

This step is really self explanatory, but it’s one of the easiest mistakes to make. Walls do not give you points, nor do they count for territory covered. So, keep your focus on the ground around you.

Step 7: Run

This game is fast paced, don’t take your time filling out every nook and cranny. Only if you’re in the lead during the last 20-10 seconds should you go back and fill out small open spaces within the ink you already sprayed. The rest of the match, move as fast as you can while shooting as much as you can.

Step 8: Observe Your Teammates

Like I mentioned in Step 2, there is no voice chat in this game. That doesn’t really effect a lot of players, since many people play multiplayer games without chat on anyway. But, because there’s no voice chat you have to observe what your teammates are doing. If your fellow players are going one way, make sure you don’t follow them. You’ll cover more ground and gain more points if you go on separate paths.

Step 9: Learn How to Attack Properly

The primary goal of the game is to ink the ground, but there is a secondary goal of getting rid of the opposing team when they get in your way. It does take a little time to really get good at it, but the next step will help you train.

Step 10: Beat the Single Player Mode

There is a story mode in Splatoon, and it shouldn’t be ignored. It plays like a reverse Super Mario Sunshine mixed with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. If that didn’t sell you, just trust me when I say it’s worth it just to get to the amazing final boss. This mode also helps train for multiplayer, so use it to hone in your sweet squid skills. It’s very short, I beat it in about 3-4 hours, but it’s a lot of fun and strangely addicting.

So that’s it! Practice up, ladies and gentleman and I hope to see you in the arena soon! And as always…. Stay Fresh!

Splatoon Global Testfire Impressions

Splatoon

Nintendo killed it at E3 last year. From Zelda to Yoshi’s Woolly World, it seemed that everyone had at least something interesting to look forward to. Out of left field Nintendo announced Splatoon, a third-person shooter for the Wii U. It looked vibrant, colourful, fresh, and full of character.

It was a game that intrigued me despite a few worries I had about the product, and having played it during the global test, I’ve learned a lot more about what the game has to offer.

The Bad

Playing With Friends? I Think Not

I’d like to get the obvious out of the way and say that I’m puzzled at Nintendo’s choice to completely shun any sort of party and friend play. In the 90s Nintendo dominated the multiplayer scene, and yet they seemingly skimp as much as possible when it comes to modern multiplayer.

Why can I not play with my friends in a party? Why can’t I hear them speak? Why must I use third-party applications to have fun with your game?

I shouldn’t have to ask all of these questions, as all multiplayer games offer at least some sort of party play.

Matchmaking Since 2015

As I just mentioned, most multiplayer games use a tried and true formula that makes the experience smooth and enjoyable, something Splatoon seems to have completely disregarded.

Half of my time with Splatoon was spent looking at menus and error codes. Whenever I’d try to join a public match, I’d be told that the lobby was full and promptly booted to the main screen again for another try.

Instead of reaching for say, ten accessible lobbies to try and place the player in, it seems that the game tries to connect to one random lobby (I hope it’s at least based on ping) and if it’s full or the connection is bad, you have to start the entire process over.

Why do we have such archaic framework for your prime multiplayer experience? Why can’t there be an algorithm that searches for several lobbies at the same time, putting the player into the best and quickest fit with the least amount of trouble? At the very least give us some half-functioning browser like Battlefield has. At least then I’d know if my lobby is full before joining.


Motion Controls Are The Future

The Gamepad is a remarkable controller. It feels comfortable and light while offering several beneficial and innovative features. Why, however, Nintendo feels the need to force motion controls on us at first is beyond me.

To learn the game you have to play the tutorial, yet the tutorial only offers motion control rather than a prompt asking the player what they’d prefer. I felt sick swinging my viewpoint around with the Gamepad, and I don’t think it’s viable at all in any sort of competitive setting where quick aiming is a must. I’d much rather use thumbsticks, which are thankfully not entirely disregarded.

I would like to say that for what they are, the motion controls function well. It’s probably one of the best implementations of motion control for aiming, but it still doesn’t jive with me.

Options Menus Are For Punks

 Most games allow the player to pause the action to change up some key settings that anyone might want to customize. Not in Splatoon however, as it seemingly revels in the fact that it disregards basic game functions.

Want to adjust your sensitivity? Do you feel that the volume is too high or the brightness too low?

None of these settings are accessible through the pause menu, rather, you must exit to the main screen just to change these settings; an extremely inconvenient and annoying prospect.

Something like camera sensitivity or inversion is essential to a player’s ability to play the game. Something like this might only need a slight tweak to get that perfect feel, so having to go in and out of games just to adjust your sensitivity is beyond ridiculous to me.

I had to put up with several bad matches just so that I could test out the sensitivity until I found something that I felt fit my style of play. Furthermore, if you consider the bad matchmaking system in place, it makes doing this time-consuming and utterly frustrating.

Class Changing Ain’t Easy

 This is yet another misstep that turns out to be agonizing for no good reason. If you want to change your class in Splatoon, you can’t just do it upon death like almost every other class-based multiplayer game. Rather, you have to again drop to the main menu and start the matchmaking process over again.

I’ve now mentioned twice how bad the matchmaking is handled, so you can see the problem with all of these drop-outs.

It’s OP!

It seems that the paint-roller class has some balancing issues. While other classes slowly take away the opponent’s health or have a large charge time for long-distance shots, the paint-roller nearly instant kills anyone it comes in contact with. You essentially just roll the paint on the ground and charge enemies like a bull, racking up kills left, right and centre.

The downside to this class is that you can’t engage anyone that isn’t directly on even ground with you, but it hail’s in comparison when you consider how easy it is to downright slaughter other players.

 I admit that it is probably too early to start yelling OP, but the paint-roller seems to be the obvious choice for not only kills, but how quickly you can paint the map in your favour. (a key factor of who wins and who loses).

One Map, Or Two?

I am having a lot of trouble remembering whether I played one map or two maps. I am leaning towards two but they were both so grey, white and samey that I couldn’t really distinguish what map was which.

It is probably too early to make this point a bad point, as I am sure Nintendo made the rest of their maps varied, but the two maps we got to test felt so similar that I am still wondering as I write this, how many I had access to.

Splatoon

 The Good

Give Us Smooth, Give Us Silky

It is no secret that Nintendo loves colour. Every game they create has beautiful, vibrant visuals that age incredibly well. Splatoon, while not as colourful as something like Yoshi’s Woolly World, is still a vibrant and colourful experience.

The maps start out pretty basic, but as your team and the enemy start slinging paint all over the level, it becomes increasingly messy and colourful until you’re fighting in what appears to be a neon rave.

It’s really pleasing to the eyes and the OCD to have the ability to literally add colour to the game, especially in a competitive multiplayer setting.

Mini-game Inbound

I previously mentioned how awful the matchmaking and connection issues are, but what I left out was the one saving grace to all of this nonsense: a loading-screen mini-game.

I am a sucker for mini-games and this doesn’t disappoint. Whenever the game is doing any sort of matchmaking, you are left to play a jump-centric platformer game on the Gamepad’s screen.

It certainly doesn’t fix the issues I’ve presented, but it makes it much more enjoyable to suffer through!

 Lag Is A Thing Of The Past

With any multiplayer experience, it’s probably too early to tell how the game will function after launch, but if we can take anything away from this experience, it’s that we won’t be suffering from a lot of lag.

Splatoon runs like a dream when it runs, and that is saying something. I encountered no lag or framerate issues, nor any sort of choppiness with the other players in the lobby. It was nice to see no rubber-banding, no warping, no lag spikes. All of it felt great and smooth, and I’m grateful for this after spending months with Battlefield 4, or, as I like to call it, ‘a test of patience’.

Prepare For Battle

 Splatoon doesn’t have much downtime when you are actually in a match. It’s actually surprising how frenetic and consistently engaging the action is. You hardly spend time wandering around, as the maps feature many tight corridors and many flanks for sneaky engagement. Couple this with your ability to spawn anywhere you please (as long as you land on your paint), and you won’t be searching for things to shoot very often.

The addition of your squid form makes it all the better as well. When you’re a squid, you can quickly swim through your ink and hit big jumps for mad air that give you the boost you need to enter the fray as soon as possible.

It makes for fast-paced gameplay and it makes you feel more active in your pursuit of victory.

The Gameplay Is Where It Counts

I think that one of the best aspects of Splatoon thus far is just how well executed the gameplay is. When we get past the pretty colours and the fluidity of movement and map design, we’re left with what is essentially a tight shooting experience.

The classes are varied and they possess unique abilities such as a bubble shield or a paint radar that obliterates everything in it’s proximity, The weapons all have their unique feel and functions that vary in importance depending on the encounter, The controls feel responsive and fluent; you don’t have to spend much time fighting with them.

When you partner all of these things with nuanced maps that compliment the gameplay exceptionally well, you’re in for a great time with a game that knows what it is trying to do.

splatoon


I’ll Be Damned If It Doesn’t Feel Good

When all’s said and done, Splatoon is a game that feels great to play. The controls are tight, the action is consistent, the classes are varied, the mechanics are unique and engaging, and the art and sound design is top-notch. Nintendo nailed the gameplay, despite the fact that they almost completely disregarded some of the important UI and matchmaking tricks that modern shooters utilize.

It was a very flawed experience, and despite that, I am still anxiously waiting to play more.

Splatoon Full Match Gameplay

Splatoon

Splatoon, one of the most surprisingly unique games of 2014’s E3, has finally had a full match shown off in the form of a toaster-esque video from the floor. The game shocked everyone for its innovative design and light-hearted fun.

It looks like an absolute blast to play and being able to witness a full match in progress is a nice touch. Nintendo’s showing was a great start, but an edited multiplayer match disguises the flow of the game, so for the first time, fans can see how the game truly plays out.

While this game looks absolutely bonkers, it still has an argument to make about longevity, as it could very well be a title people put down after only a few short hours. They need to give us a reason to keep coming back, and I haven’t seen it yet.

This cannot be the last we see of Splatoon however, so keep your eyes peeled!