Everything

Everything is a PC game available on Steam, PS4, and Switch. Dang, I thought it was just Steam. This is a game that I had gotten through a bundle, so I only paid $1 for it. Typically it goes for $14. …And 99 cents, of course.

You start the game as what I’m assuming is a star. You have a few thoughts, pondering your existence, possibly pondering why you even bought this game (provided you didn’t receive it for free) and next thing you know, you’re a somersaulting donkey. Or whatever other unfortunate mammal you spawned as.

Shortly after, you are told that the apocalypse will happen in 541251 seconds. Which I’m sure is meaningless. Would be cool if the game just stopped after 541251 seconds though!

So, you wander around for a bit. The game spouts some cryptic crap about how wherever you’re going is the right path, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Which I’m sure is the game’s way of saying you’ll progress no matter what direction you choose. You travel around, listen to some thought bubbles, and as you progress, you gain new abilities. Like singing. Ever heard a donkey sing before? Trust me, you don’t want to. Then you get the ability to call other animals to join you. Next thing you know, you’re a herd of singing, somersaulting donkeys. Or whatever other unfortunate mammal you spawned as.

As you progress even further, you unlock the ability to descend and ascend, because let’s face it: We’ve all wanted to see life’s perspective from something other than a donkey. Like… Grass!

Basically, you can become just about any object in the game. Just about. Y NO MOON?!

I was honestly impressed by how many types of grass you can become. Seriously, there’s a lot of grass. You can also become a tree!

As you switch between objects, plants, and mammals, the game keeps track of what percentage of that group you have become. And oh boy are there a lot! I only played a half-hour of this game, but from watching the trailer, there seem to be many different biomes you can visit and objects you can capture. There’s also this audio clip of some guy talking about how we see someone and identify them as people because they look like people to us. Basically cryptic crap like that. And a lot of it. Seriously, he does not shut up.

Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the $14. There’s some clever dialogue, a few humorous quips, but overall, it’s not very entertaining. But if this is something that appeals to you, go ahead. Become a herd of dancing trees, sing with the grass, experience I the way others experience I, because there are other Is being born as we speak. At the end of the day:

My Experience Replaying OG Splatoon

About a month ago, I decided I wanted to try replaying Splatoon on the Wii U. There was just one problem. My Wii U wouldn’t recognize the disc. Okay, try another disc. Mario Kart 8? Fine. Xenoblade Chronicles X? Fine. Star Fox Zero? Fine. Mario Maker? That thing hasn’t worked in ages. Why is every disc except Splatoon (and Mario Maker) working?! Maybe there’s some invisible scratch? A smudge somewhere? There’s this tiny little smudge that can barely be classified as a smudge. Maybe that’s it? Is it safe to clean a disc with a baby wipe? If it safe for glasses it’s safe for a disc! Or so I was told by Google! Nope. Nada. Maybe actually give the disc a chance to dry.

A month later, a new trailer for Splatoon 3 was shown. Huh, this looks closer to the original than 2. If only Splatoon for the Wii U worked! What’s that? The eshop will stop accepting credit cards after next month? Time to wishlist Donkey Kong 64!

Then I noticed it. Something… beautiful. Something I had been craving the entire month to see.

THIS WAS IT! DJ OCTOROK REVIVED HIMSELF FROM THE DEAD TO BRING MY COPY OF SPLATOON BACK TO LIFE!

Or the disc dried. Either or.

This was it! My chance to play Splatoon again! Man… Was the game always this blurry? Or this loud for that matter? I’m (really not) positive my Wii U won’t implode!

All right. Time to select a weapon and try out a match-

Welp. No biggie! Just try again! Got my weapon, the lobby filled up instantly. Wait, why isn’t there any music? The sound effects work just fine. This is getting creepy-

Really funny. Okay, just try it again. My Wii U sounds like it will combust at any moment, but I’ve gotta at least get through one match!

Maybe one more time? This time, starting up the game made my Wii U crash entirely. The next time also made it crash. Maybe I should stop- Nahhh, this is too fun.

I did eventually make it into another match. I didn’t even get to play for a minute by the time the dreaded error showed up again. Before anyone asks why I don’t just buy another disc, the thing is… The problem isn’t the disc. It’s the disc drive. Several Wii U owners have complained about random discs not being read. These users have gone through multiple discs, even going so far as to buy a brand new copy of the game. The most frequent games to have this problem are Mario Maker (well that explains that!) and New Super Mario Bros. U. It can happen with any Wii U game as we can see with my copy of Splatoon.

So the moral of the story is…

I GOT TO SEE KILLER WAIL BEFORE MY WII U CRASHED!

Update: I decided to try it again after making this post. I don’t know why, but suddenly the game works. I was able to make it through an entire match. The music occasionally cuts out, but otherwise runs fine. New moral of the story: If something doesn’t work, complain.

Why Did Final Fantasy XV Fail? The Unfortunate Truth of Versus XIII

Final Fantasy XV. The game that was in development for 10 years and went through three directors. How could it be anything short of success? While this game wasn’t a complete failure, it most certainly did not live up to its hype for most, and the series’ fanbase is split on whether this was a good game or not. Many people try to blame certain aspects of the game for its… less than favorable reviews, but I believe there is no one answer for why this game failed at what it was trying to achieve. Rather, it comes down to many not-so-small reasons that spelled a recipe for disaster.

THE OPEN-WORLD ENVIRONMENT

This seems to be one of the smaller reasons why this game failed. …At least compared to the other reasonings. The overworld is very, very, vast. Not quite as vast as Breath of the Wild, but vast nonetheless. When you have an overworld this expansive, it’s important to fill it. Which the developers did not. You have your main towns, some dungeons, a few outposts… But most of it is empty wastelands with the occasional mob or boss walking around. Most of the time you find yourself driving for a good five to ten minutes before hitting anything remotely interesting. Quite frankly, there’s not much to do…

RELEASING THE GAME BEFORE IT WAS FINISHED

This is another minor reason. Plenty of story scenes and even an entire story PATH were added in a future update. But the biggest update was the addition of playable characters. With this update, you could now play as Gladius, Ignis, and Prompto, something that had been teased years before the game’s release. While I recently made a post about games milking DLC as a way to “finish” their games, I do not believe that was the case here. I believe that this functionality simply wasn’t ready at the time of release. This game was delayed to oblivion, it didn’t make sense to delay it again. But it did feel rather odd that this wasn’t included in the base game.

THE STORY

The story is often the aspect that gets slammed the most. Most players will agree that the story feels rushed. After ten years of developing this game, THIS is what they come up with? Final Fantasy XV’s story is by no means a bad story. It’s just not necessarily what you would think of when you think of the next main series game. Or a game that you’ve been waiting 10 years for. When the game starts out, it sounds like it’s going to be this big adventure. That gets squashed within the first couple of hours. The first half of the story is shallow, focusing on Noctis’ relationships with his three friends Gladius, Ignis, and Prompto, as well as their journey to Altissia for Noctis’ wedding. It’s a very lighthearted journey despite the fact that Noctis is essentially a wanted man. There’s no sense of dread, no sense of urgency… The only sense of dread is in the music.

That all changes when you get to the second half of the game. All of the lighthearted feelings are gone. Suddenly everyone’s world is turned upside down, and there’s not much time left. Oh yeah, and the open-world overworld is gone! Yep, the empty overworld is replaced with linear passageways designed to take you from story point to story point. Without spoiling too much, the only way to get back to the open world is by this gimmick of talking to someone who will take you back in time to before this… dreadful event happened.

Then there’s the matter of Luna. Noctis’ betrothed. Throughout trailers, she looked like she would be an integral part of the story. I mean, come on! She’s Noctis’ betrothed! Some had even theorized she might be a party member.

Nope. Couldn’t be further from the truth. She shows up in short cutscenes throughout your journey to Altissia. Cutscenes that add nothing to her character other than she’s a kind person seeking to help others. When you meet her in Altissia, she’s not much different. This is the most barebones main characters in the Final Fantasy series. Even in the movie where she has a central role, her dialogue is incredibly bland. Speaking of…

THE MOVIE

In my opinion, this is one of the biggest things that hurt the game. Square Enix invested SO much money and time on this movie. The movie took three years to produce, and only the best actors were chosen to voice the three main characters. The movie itself was mixed.

But WHY did this movie hurt the game? Well, up until the movie was announced, Insomnia was to be a playable area. I mean before the end of the game. There was even talk that halfway through the game you would meet up with Luna in Insomnia where she would become one of your party members as you played through her story. This was from articles well before the game was released, and are now lost.

The point is: The movie is drawn out WAY longer than necessary. Obviously, it had to be done in order to give the movie length, otherwise it would have been a very short film. But that’s the point! This could have been included in the main game and could have fleshed out characters such as Luna, Ravus, and even Noctis.

It feels like they spent more time creating as much media as possible to advertise this game. Movies, anime, food promotions, collaborations, real-life cars… All of this time could have been dedicated to making Final Fantasy XV the best game it could be. Not milking a game that wasn’t even out at the time.

VERSUS XIII

This is by far the biggest reason Final Fantasy XV failed. Because Square Enix somehow managed to piss off their existing fans.

Okay, this wasn’t really Square Enix’s fault. They just have a really bad habit of showcasing games WAY before they’re ready to be released. Ten years, to be exact. I’m looking at you, Kingdom Hearts 3.

Final Fantasy XV was originally announced as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a game set in the same universe as Final Fantasy XIII. It was supposed to be a sort of side game to go along with XIII, and even Type 0. While Type 0 retained a lot of its connections to XIII’s world, XV did not.

The game was first shown in 2006 at E3, as a PlayStation 3 exclusive. You know, exclusive for a console that hadn’t even been released at the time. Another trailer was shown in 2008, then the game went relatively silent for a couple of years. Then we got this impressive trailer in 2011.

I think we can all agree that Square Enix was a little in over their heads when it came to Versus XIII. The game was originally going to be developed under the same engine as Final Fantasy XIII, Crystal Tools. Yeah, no. Around 2011 they realized that engine wasn’t going to be powerful enough and created another engine, which is what we presumably see here.

In 2012, there were many rumors that the game had been canceled. ….We literally just saw it the year before. What the heck? Anyway, in 2013 the game resurfaced at E3 and was revealed to be Final Fantasy XV.

As you can see, this game was supposedly much darker than the Final Fantasy XV we got. It also replaced Luna with a girl known as Stella.

Stella is just Luna with a different hairstyle and name. No idea why they decided to make that change.

The developers have stated time and time again that most of what we see in Versus XIII is what we got in XV. The story only had minor differences, such as the removal of the Goddess Etro. Because… That was a XIII thing and this game is no longer connected to that universe. Though that story point was quite interesting. Those who had near-death experiences were granted the power to see Etro’s life when another person dies. While they did keep the fact that Noctis had a near-death experience, they oddly removed this bit entirely. Originally it was going to be the reason why Noctis was able to teleport and use certain weapons, but this eventually got changed to just being a quirk of Lucian royalty.

Fans often make the complaint that Stella was so much more interesting than Luna. We got a five-minute trailer of her explaining to Noctis who Etro is, and that’s it. How can you argue she’s more interesting than Luna? How? The developers have also assured fans that Luna and Stella are essentially no different from each other. Though I do prefer Stella’s design…

Many fans shrugged off the developers’ responses, insisting that there was more to Versus XIII that was scrapped as if Versus XIII had an entirely different story than what we got. However, after doing some digging, I’m inclined to believe the developers.

Versus XIII was a game VERY early in development that was shown off to the public way too soon. There was nothing concrete about this game. Just ideas floating around in the developers’ minds, given form through trailers. Even the gameplay might not be real gameplay, but something that was created to assure fans that this game was in development. Everything about this game seemed to be a lie, something constructed to keep fans interested until they could find a way to make this ridiculous project work.

However, if this game wasn’t shown when it was, I’m almost certain that we never would have gotten Final Fantasy XV. They NEEDED the pressure from fans to keep them working on the game. If that pressure wasn’t there, I’m sure they would have scrapped the project before anything concrete came of it.

It’s unfortunate that so many fans point to Versus XIII and say “We want that! Where did that go? Why didn’t we get that?” When that never truly existed, to begin with. What we got was Square Enix’s best attempt at making that happen. It might not be as dark as the original trailer portrayed it to be, but the story we got isn’t a bad one. It might be dragging at times, rushed at times, but it should be judged for what it is. Not what it never was.

I’ll see you guys when Kingdom Hearts 4 releases and inevitably fails for not being Versus XIII.

Does DLC Ruin Games?

I’ve previously mentioned how New Horizons felt like an unfinished game that relied on DLC to truly feel finished. Or half-finished according to some. Mario Kart 8 recently got a DLC update that added (and will be adding) 48 tracks. But would it have been better to just release Mario Kart 9?

Does DLC ruin games? 

DLC has been around for quite a while now. There were several games on PS3 and Xbox 360 that utilized DLC. Most of the time it was free, but there were a few exceptions. Around 2014, Nintendo jumped on the DLC bandwagon and has proceeded to release DLC for almost every game since then.

Splatoon was released as a relatively barebones game. A lot of the weapons you see now only arrived as DLC. The Ranked modes weren’t even added until several players got to level 10. Then it was added in the form of Splat Zones. The game would update regularly, adding weapons, modes, Splat Fests, and of course general bug fixes and balancing. The thing is… These updates never felt like DLC. It just felt like regular updates dishing out new content.

The same thing occurred with Splatoon 2, except this time, paid DLC was announced. The paid DLC added the Octo Expansion, featuring a lengthy single-player campaign, as well as the ability to play as an Octoling. Even though it was paid, it never felt intrusive. The amount of content included made the DLC well worth the price. I must have poured 20 hours into the DLC campaign, and I still have yet to 100% it. On top of cosmetic glory? Heck yeah!

Taken from Nintendo’s website.

I know nobody talks about this game, but Fantasy Life had amazing DLC! Never mind the fact that players without DLC couldn’t play with players with DLC. The paid DLC included an entirely new story, along with an entirely new area, and a raised level cap. More hairstyles were included, more items, more abilities, and so on and so forth. It essentially added another 50+ hours to the game. That is good DLC.

The original Mario Kart 8 DLC on the Wii U didn’t even feel out of place. It was the first time DLC had been added to a Mario Kart game, but it was so well handled that it was a complete success. Something I still find weird to this day is that you can play these DLC courses online, even if you don’t own them. This includes the new DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. If you’re someone who primarily plays online (like me) is it even worth buying the DLC?

Then we have DLC that’s so out there it may as well be its own game. I’m talking about the Xenoblade 2 DLC: Torna The Golden Country, of course. This… DLC game has so much content that you can’t help but feel like you’re playing a stand-alone game. As a prequel to Xenoblade 2, new players can dive straight into it without even playing Xenoblade 2. In fact, it was released as a stand-alone… game because of this. But it’s still considered DLC.

Then there’s the more intrusive DLC that it’s practically just a sales pitch at this point. Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem, and even Breath of the Wild to an extent. “If you pay this small fee of one kidney, you get all of these characters, weapons, and more! Maybe we’ll give you an additional story too!” It just feels like overkill at this point. Sure, the Breath of the Wild DLC was a nice bonus, but was it really necessary? Especially when we ended up getting Age of Calamity a couple of years later. Hyrule Warriors got remade TWICE, with each new edition including all of the past editions’ DLC, on top of new DLC. Can you tell they’re really trying to milk this game? 

Then there’s Fire Emblem. Fates added an entirely new path through DLC. This path mostly reused old assets from the other two routes, but included a new story and allowed you to play as BOTH the Nohrians and Hoshidans. All three routes were originally going to release on one cartridge much like Three Houses, but Nintendo got greedy and decided to release each path for its own separate fee. Speaking of Three Houses, an additional house was added as paid DLC. There’s a small side story, but they don’t even get their own paths! It’s just the characters that you can bring with you to any path you choose to play. What was even the point?

There’s the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. That got DLC. Never mind that they chose to have an episodic release for this game, and we STILL haven’t gotten the second part. Here! Have this paid DLC to tide you over for the next two years! No thanks. I already invested 40 hours into this. I don’t want DLC, let alone PAID DLC. I want the second part. I want a completed game.

And that brings us to my last point. Games that don’t feel complete without DLC. You can argue that no game feels complete without DLC. Why bother playing a game unless you have the full experience? But then there are games where without the DLC, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I’ve already gone over New Horizons, so I won’t restate my point again. But another game that does this is Kingdom Hearts 3. 

Fans waited TEN years for Kingdom Hearts 3. I much preferred the Disney worlds included this time, but they all felt like filler… In the past two (numbered) games, there were always important plot points included in these worlds. Maybe to a less extent 2, but even the not numbered games did a good job of carrying the plot along through these Disney worlds. Kingdom Hearts 3 just has the same boring loop. Go to a world. Beat that world. Get 5-10 minutes of new story information. Go to the next world. Beat that world. Get another tidbit of story information. So on and so forth. This continues all the way until the very last Disney world. What was even the POINT of these Disney worlds? Were they just there to add content to the game? Filler? 

The story itself is played VERY safe. Square Enix gave the fans exactly what they wanted, and nothing more. The game feels like fanservice. It’s understandable, 10 years is a lot of pressure. But I can’t help feeling disappointed. Kingdom Hearts is known for its crazy contrived storylines. Kingdom Hearts 3 doesn’t do that.

Until almost the very end.

And in DLC.

The end of Kingdom Hearts 3 teases the next game. ALL of the suspense is at the end. It’s just dumped on you. It wasn’t ever built up, except for in the games that were released before 3. Kingdom Hearts 3 feels like this giant obstacle we had to hurdle over, to continue the overarching story. This is weird when you consider this was the ending to one story arc. The DLC however, fixes much of this. It adds new story content, it explains everything that the base game should have explained. It doesn’t feature filler Disney worlds. It moves the plot forward, something the game should have been doing this whole time.

And then you remember that it’s paid DLC. What the heck? 

In conclusion, DLC can be done right. There are plenty of instances of this. The problem is, most of the time companies are too focused on milking their games for more money or releasing half-finished games with the promise of more in the form of DLC. Sometimes paid. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this sort of trend is going to be ending any time soon. And we as consumers are buying into it.

PS5 Console Review

I got my PS5 a while back in January 2021. I was one of the lucky few who managed to snag one pretty early on, thanks to having Twitter notifications on full blast, waking me up for a chance at adding one to the cart. Not even purchasing! I managed to get one after staring at the Best Buy page for a good fifteen minutes, contemplating why I was even doing this. Just then, my self-pity paid off! It came back in stock, and I lost my Best Buy password! To this day, I still don’t know how I had time to reset my password and buy the stupid console. I ended up getting the console bundled with Spider-Man because I had heard that you have a better chance at a bundle since most people only wanted the console, which was expensive enough as it was.

I hadn’t even planned on getting the PS5 for another year or two. A friend had messaged me that Walmart’s preorders went up earlier than they were supposed to, and I passed thinking I would get it once games I was actually interested released. Cough, Final Fantasy 16 cough. But then I had this idea of giving my PS4 to my PS4-less boyfriend. Thus started my PS5 journey that I honestly can’t complain about considering many people had it worse than me.

So, I spent two weeks desperately trying to get a PS5. Yeah, only two weeks compared to people who spent several MONTHS trying to get one. As I said, I’m not going to complain. But this just shows how much hype the PS5 had. But how did the PS5 stack up to these expectations?

No console launch goes perfect, but on top of the overwhelmingly short supply, the PS5 is… quite fragile. And I don’t mean physically. That did get me wondering though: How far can you drop a PS5? Unfortunately, the only video I found on this was dropping it down a spiral staircase and my question was more so would it survive a four-foot drop. I did find an article about someone who dropped it from 15 feet though!

Bottom line, guys, don’t drop your PS5.

But no. The PS5 launched and there was this sort of… error that a lot of people had reported. A lot. It made headlines. What was this error? Well, it would brick the entire system making games literally unplayable. At the time, people thought it was Spider-Man causing the brick. Great, the one game I bought with it. Then it seemed to be more specifically, putting the PS5 in rest mode WHILE playing Spider-Man. And then eventually putting the PS5 in rest mode during any game. From what I can tell, this has since been patched in a system update, but out of fear, I never put my PS5 in rest mode while playing games, which makes the rest mode feature for me, useless.

Even though the PS5 launched like this, it was still a good console. You just had to know ahead of time not to do this one very specific thing or you would have wasted several hundred dollars and a lot of time. I have to say, the biggest thing about the PS5 for me is the controller. This definitely feels like the PlayStation’s most durable controller. It has a nice weight to it and a nice size. A HUGE difference from the PS3’s controller that feels like a toy, and even quite a big difference from the PS4 controller. I love the new rumble feature and the adaptive triggers. Pulling back the trigger when readying a bow will now feel more realistic, as there’s an actual struggle when pressing the trigger.

The speed of the console is another huge improvement. Games will only take an hour, maybe two to download as opposed to four or eight. Updates that would take an hour or two on the PS4 now only take five to ten minutes. Loading in games is also much shorter. Final Fantasy 14 is a great example of this, as teleports are almost instantaneous.

That being said, there’s a lot about the PS5 that I DON’T like. I don’t like this new home screen menu layout. Everything is controlled by either the circle stick or D-Pad, which I guess is supposed to mean the transition is more seamless because it’s buttonless? But it actually feels a lot more clunky to me. Navigating to and through the PS Store is a pain. You navigate to the left to get to the store, then you have to press (or tilt) down to enter the store, just to immediately go back up to get to the store menu. And if you’re like me, you end up clicking up twice and now you’re back out of the store! I also don’t understand why there’s a whole separate tab for Media. I guess in reality it doesn’t look much more different than the PS4, but something about it feels more overwhelming.

Another issue I have is that the game doesn’t confirm that you want to quit the current game you’re playing to play another when another game is selected. This is especially infuriating when you misclick on the menu and your MMO with a one thousand player queue gets closed suddenly.

There’s also like this sub-menu that pops up whenever you press the home button. This is the only way you can turn off or put your PS5 in rest mode! Nope, not on the home screen but through this sub-menu. Also, for whatever reason, the PS5’s default setting is to have the microphone on whenever you turn on your PS5. This can be turned off in the settings, but it’s kind of weird to have this setting as a default… Nothing like turning on Fortnite or Call of Duty and forgetting your mic is unmuted as you crunch on those cheese puffs. Or when your neighbors are yelling.

But those are just minor complaints. The PS5 runs really well. For the most part.

Weeks and months after initially getting the console, I started coming across more errors. For whatever reason, Whenever I unplug my PS5 (when it’s off, thank you very much) it starts having a ton of internet connectivity problems, Sometimes it won’t connect at all, or other times the lag will make online games unplayable. There was a time when for nearly two weeks I couldn’t play online games because the connection was just that bad. While I’m sure I’m probably one of the only people to have this very specific problem of unplugging the system and it not connecting, I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who has connection issues with this console. Plenty of Reddit posts complain about poor connection or no connection at all, and plenty of YouTube videos out there explain potential fixes for these problems.

But the internet isn’t the only thing that doesn’t always connect. For whatever reason, the Dual Sense controller randomly decides to drop connection with the console. It glows a weird blue, but not much else. The only way to fix this is by getting up and turning the console off manually, and turning it back on. I’ve had this issue several times now, each time more annoying than the last. And once again, I’m not the only person with this issue.

While the connection issues can get aggravating, they typically don’t happen often enough to make the console unplayable. All of the other little flaws can be overlooked as well, considering how smooth this console runs MOST of the time. I do think these issues will be fixed in later revisions of the console, such as the inevitable Pro and Slim models. Overall, this console might be a bit bumpy in places, but I do think it’s a great console that will get better in time.

Play has no limits. Except for console availability and stable connections. 

Wrongworld: Better Than Minecraft?

IT’S TIME TO MEET YOUR MATCH, MINECRAFT!

For so long, Minecraft has sat pretty, dominating all other crafting survival games. It was king. Is now the time that Minecraft FINALLY meets its match?!

Yes. Yes it is.

No, not Terraria! Nobody cares about that! I’m talking about something… bigger. Something bigger than all of us. More importantly, something bigger than Minecraft.

Wrongworld.

Wrongworld takes survival games to the next level. It takes the very WORD survival to the next level.

You don’t see Minecraft showing up in the dictionary.

But what makes this game better than Minecraft? Is it the furry texture that Minecraft could only DREAM of having without mods? Is it its captivating plot? The beloved story of a hero stranded on the wrong world? Is it the friggin’ moon?!

Man, look at that moon.

Yes, yes, and yes. Wrongworld’s furry hero braves the unknown world, the wrong world, fighting… whatever the heck these enemies are supposed to be that make noises that surely won’t send a shiver down your spine!

Taken from the Steam store page.

Does Wrongworld have biomes? Heck yeah it has biomes! Grassland, deserts, snowfields, whatever this dead looking area is supposed to be! It’s got them all! Who cares that Minecraft has more when Wrongworld does it BETTER?

Not to mention you can build an actual house. No more stacking random blocks together to make it LOOK like a house. This game’s got walls!

And I gotta tell you. The minigames? Ingenious. You can fight enemies in a boxing ring to win prizes! There’s also that one area where you have to move letters around to make the Wrongworld sign! I think! I mean, I totally know the answer. I’m just not going to TELL you because you should play it for yourself. I totally wouldn’t forget. That would be irresponsible of me.

You can craft houses, weapons, farming tools, even a greenhouse! What other games let you craft a greenhouse? Wrongworld clearly goes above and beyond the call of duty. SOMEONE GIVE THIS GAME AN OSCAR!

Anyway, that’s Wrongworld. You should check it out.

How To Make Gil in Final Fantasy 14

With expanded housing coming next month, players are probably eager to learn how they can make more gil to afford the luxury known as Final Fantasy 14’s houses (you know, when that plot of land is finally ready for purchase). Or maybe you just want extra gil. Who doesn’t?

I searched for several guides before writing this post, mostly to avoid restating what has already been said. Most guides give sound advice (except for the ones that encourage breaking ToS. Please, don’t do that. There are plenty of ways to make lots of gil without investing too much time), but there are even more strategies that don’t really (if ever) get touched on.

STRATEGIES THAT INVOLVE SOME EFFORT 

Crafting and Gathering (to save gil)

A lot of guides mention crafting and gathering will both make you a lot of gil. Some say gathering is a complete waste of time. I’m going to go somewhere in the middle of this: Gathering is more of a money saver than a money maker. The more money you save, the more money you make. Easy. Gathering can however provide a small amount of income when you gather the correct things, such as hidden or unspoiled items. Some seeds and materials can go for a decent amount on the market board. Most of the materials you need can be purchased for pretty cheap off the market board. Usually around 200 or less.

Crafting is going to be one of, if not the biggest way to make gil. Some guides say that only certain crafters make a lot of money, or that one class makes more money than the other.

This is not true.

No one class necessarily makes more than another. It’s all about the items you craft. For instance, weavers, leatherworkers and armorers can benefit from crafting HQ gear. Blacksmiths, goldsmiths and carpenters can benefit from crafting HQ weapons. Weavers and leatherworkers can ALSO benefit from crafting glam gear. And carpenters and alchemists can benefit from crafting materials that other crafters can use. This is where having crafters at, at LEAST level 80 comes in handy, as that’s when you learn the skill Trained Eye. Trained Eye raises the quality to 100% if the recipe is 10 levels lower than your level. Culinary is kind of a beast at times. Check what foods are selling well in your server and you can make a lot of gil off of this, as much as a couple hundred thousand per sale. Don’t forget you can also sell furniture too.

Something a lot of people forget about are mannequins. Mannequins are only useful for selling gear and weapons, and they’re a pain to change the price on. But mannequins allows you to commit tax evasion, further increasing the amount of profit you make. You can also force people to buy gear as part of a set, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Fetes

The crafting and gathering version of FATEs! This isn’t something I see come up often in guides. It definitely is one of the more time consuming methods, but it will make you gil. Fetes happen every two days, at two hour intervals lasting a half hour each. Yeah, you’re going to be spending a half hour MULTIPLE times per day for this one. For each Fete you complete you get 100 Skybuilders’ Scrips, for a total of 500 for each half hour you do Fetes. These Scrips can be turned in for gear, dye, mounts, emotes, hairstyles, etc, which go for several hundred thousand on the market board. Fetes also drop presents that sometimes contain Fete Tokens, which can be exchanged for dyes among other things. I wouldn’t recommend selling the mounts (even though they do sell for close to if not over 1mil) just because of how many Scrips they take. You could sell multiple of any of the other things listed above and make more gil that way. If you have some extra time, Fetes aren’t a bad way of making gil.

Treasure Maps

Okay, I can understand people not mentioning Fetes because of how long they take, but why isn’t anyone mentioning maps? You will need extra people for this, though. You need to have at least four people but no more than eight, which is where being in an FC can help. You will also need to be at least level 60. Nope, you don’t even need to be super high leveled for these. There are level 60, 70, 80, and 90 maps. Each of these maps has a chance to spawn a portal that takes you to a special dungeon. The dungeon will either have two doors that you can choose from, one allowing you to proceed and the other kicking you out. Or in later maps, there’s a roulette wheel that will pick an enemy at random to fight, or kick you out entirely. Making it to the end of these dungeons will award each player with 100k gil. That’s a lot of gil. Not only that, but each room gives you at LEAST 10k gil for completing it.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL!

Rare materials and items can drop from these chests. Both in the dungeon, and the chest that spawns before the dungeon. These materials and items can sell for over 1mil depending on the item. A lot of items sell for several hundred thousand. Some FC members and myself did some maps for a couple hours and made close to 1mil. That was before selling any of the rare items we had obtained, meaning some of us made an additional 1mil.

PASSIVE WAYS OF MAKING GIL

Roulettes

So you want gil, but you don’t need THAT much gil. Roulettes are the perfect solution. Roulettes can not only make you more gil, but they give you a ton of experience as many players know. I run a few roulettes per day (three or four usually) and typically make close to 50k. That’s 50k passive. Some people will also recommend the Challenge Log. It’s definitely worth unlocking since it can occasionally give you extra EXP and gil, but it’s by no means worth going out of your way to complete.

Gardening

This requires minimal effort, but does require a house. RIP. Selling crops or even seeds that can only be acquired by crossbreeding is probably the BEST passive way to make gil. Just remember to tend your plants every day. These crops and seeds can make you a profit of several hundred thousand gil. It always makes me sad to see homeowners who don’t take advantage of gardening.

You can use either this site https://www.ffxivgardening.com/ or Gamer Escape to see what cross breeds into what. I’m not going to list specific crops to avoid crashing the economy. More specifically, MY economy. The most important one. It’s best to just look things up yourself – and especially see what’s selling high in your server.

My Recommendation For Beginners 

If you’re someone who JUST started playing the critically acclaimed MMORPG, my recommendation would be to gather items and sell them. This is an okay method to use when you’re just starting out. I would also recommending leveling all of the crafters together if you don’t have a lot of gil. You won’t be locked out of recipes because you can’t afford that one material that another class makes. A common misconception is that you can’t make gil if your level is low. This isn’t true. You won’t make AS MUCH gil, but you can definitely still make 10-30k per item, which is great for a beginner. Obviously run your roulettes as the passive gil you earn from them helps a lot in the long run.

Other Ways To Make Gil

These aren’t as guaranteed as other methods (or even as productive) but maybe you want to do something out of the blue. Leves can give you a few extra gil each time you complete them, but they can also give gear as a reward that you can sell for a decent profit. Especially if it’s from that one crafter you don’t have leveled. Running extreme trials and selling the materials you get from it is another way. I would only recommend this if you’re trying to get the mounts. My best friend made several million gil by doing this, and she was just trying to get mounts. The Bahamut coils can drop materials that sell for a lot, or can otherwise be used in crafting and sold for a lot.

Desynthing can give you materials that sell for a bit. Company seals, poetics, and even beast tribe currency can be traded for materials and items that can be sold for a small profit. If you can grind out every region to the max level for Shared Fates, and then grind for more Bicolor Gemstones, those items can be sold for quite a profit. It takes a really long time, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re someone who enjoys FATEs, or are trying for an achievement. Custom Deliveries also gives a small amount of gil, and the scrips can be turned in for items that sell for a decent profit on the market board. Sending your retainers on ventures such as the 18 hour or even quick ventures can sometimes lead to them bringing back high priced items. This is fairly rare, so it might be better to have the retainer grind out a random material that’s going for a fair bit on the market board.

General Money Making Tips

Try to sell items that sell frequently, instead of high priced items that sell once every month or two. While it may be tempting, you’ll be waiting a long time. Try to keep your retainers maxed out when it comes to selling items. Even if you don’t have time to sell that high priced item, sell a cheap item. It adds up. If you’re REALLY desperate for gil, try buying another retainer and maxing that one out as well.

Don’t go for this.

BONUS (INSANE, DO NOT TRY)

This is just here for fun. While it is entirely possibly, it’s incredibly difficult to pull off with the current housing problem.

Step 1. Start an FC. Step 2. Find willing randos to join. Step 3. Raise your FC Rank to 6 (This is where Grand Company deliveries come in handy). Step 4. Buy a house (the hardest part). Step 5. Build a company Workshop. Step  6 (Optional). Kick your willing randos out of your FC. It’s YOUR FC now! Step 7. Profit off of FC crafts and voyages.

Happy money making!

Splatoon 3 or Mario Kart 9? Did the Wii U Ever Happen?

Mario Kart has been around for a while now. We’ve seen it ever since the SNES games. A new Mario Kart game releases each generation without fail. Super Mario Kart for the SNES, Mario Kart 64 for the N64, Mario Kart Super Circuit for the GBA, Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS. and finally, Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. No, Mario Kart Tour doesn’t count. There was even some speculation that Mario Kart 9 would also release for the Wii U. …Yeah, I don’t know where people got that idea from.

Mario Kart released in 2014 for the Wii U. Later in 2014, the first DLC pack released, featuring three new racers and eight new courses. In 2015, the next DLC pack released with another three racers and eight courses. This was the first time Mario Kart had ever received DLC, let alone paid DLC. But it wasn’t surprising. This was around the time DLC really started taking off.

In 2017, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe released for the Nintendo Switch, a month after the Switch itself released. This was a direct port of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, with all of its DLC included. Okay, understandable. Mario Kart 8 was a HUGE success on the Wii U, it makes sense to bring it over to the Switch, especially this early in its lifetime. Little strange that they didn’t release 9 instead of porting it over, but I guess it makes sense from a business stand point. They’re just releasing this to hold us over until Mario Kart 9 releases, right?

Five years later in 2022 when Mario Kart 8 may as well be dead, it was announced that 48 retro tracks would be released as paid DLC that you could by standalone, or included in the online membership program.

Seriously???

So they decided to rerelease 48 tracks that are basically a port of Mario Kart Tour’s tracks, from the mobile game, with only slight revisions to make the art style fit the rest of the game? Why? Is Nintendo just that lazy that they’re choosing to milk Mario Kart 8 with lazy ports of old courses and charge money for them instead of creating an entirely new game? Like they’ve done for literally every system?

Toad Circuit looks especially lazy this time around. I’d argue that it was more impressive on the 3DS during its time.

Don’t get me wrong, there are tracks from this new DLC that I love,. Especially the Mario Kart Tour tracks Paris Promenade and Ninja Hideout. I’m glad we get to experience these courses on a console. But at the same time, why not bring these courses back in a new Mario Kart game? That’s the thing about this DLC pack. They’re all retro courses. Some of them are retro courses we’ve seen brought back before such as Choco Mountain and Coconut mall. Why not include these 48 new retro tracks in Mario Kart 9? You have half of a game right there. Sure, it’s more work creating entirely new tracks when you can lazily port tracks over and call it DLC. But with a little extra work, you can charge 30 more dollars and sell it as a new game. This is just laziness at its finest.

Paris Promenade actually looks really nice in this game. Most of the original Tour tracks do, with a few exceptions.

The sad thing is, this DLC pack pretty much seals the fate of Mario Kart 9. It most likely won’t release until the next system.

Now we have Splatoon. A fairly new IP that Nintendo released in 2014 for the Wii U. I like to think of 2014-2016 as Nintendo’s experimental years, where they kept pushing new IPs or using existing IPs in new ways such as Splatoon, Code Name Steam, Amiibo Festival, Chibi Robo, Mario Maker, Triforce Heroes, etc. While most of these ideas were… failures, to say the least, Splatoon was a phenomenal success. In fact, Splatoon was such a big success that they decided to release a sequel for the Switch in 2017.

Splatoon 2 was also a phenomenal success, selling twice as much as the original. It was very similar to its predecessor, but now featured more weapons, new subs and specials, more ranked modes, the addition of Salmon Run, and of course, paid DLC. The paid DLC added playable octolings as well as a new solo campaign.

Both games featured events known as Splatfests. Splatfests would have a theme, such as Ketchup vs Mayo, Unicorn vs Narwhal, Pineapple vs no Pineapple, etc. Each player would pick the side they agreed with (or didn’t agree with, their choice) and would fight for that side. The winning team was determined by popularity and clout. The final Splatfest for the original game came two years after its initial release. Many fans thought Splatoon 2’s Splatfests would go on for longer considering the growing popularity and the fact that it released at the beginning of the Switch’s life, but Splatfests also ended two years later. After Splatfests ended, that more or less marked the end of updates to the game. It still gets updated from time to time to fix bugs, but weapons and stages are no longer being added to the game. The same was true for both the original and the sequel. Oddly enough, a year after Splatoon 2’s Splatfests ended, a rematch of Ketchup vs Mayo was announced. Three more Splatfests were held after that, two of which were entirely new.

Splatoon was a game that was predicted to release much like Mario Kart: One game per console. However, in 2021 it was announced that Splatoon 3 would be releasing for the Switch sometime the following year.

What? Did Nintendo just prioritize Splatoon over Mario Kart? Don’t get me wrong, Splatoon is a well loved game that many fans want to see more of. But it has literally been 8 years since a new Mario Kart game has released. Deluxe doesn’t count. They chose to make an entirely new Splatoon game and release ported retro tracks as DLC for Mario Kart 8? What even was the thought process for this???

This of course could just be Nintendo being lazy and going for the quick buck instead of investing time into a new game, which is what I’m more inclined to believe. However, at times it almost seems like they’re trying to make everyone forget that the Wii U ever existed. Games like Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, New Super Mario Bros U, Super Mario 3D World were all ported to the Switch. Games like Splatoon, Yoshi’s Woolly World and Mario Maker received sequels almost immediately after the Switch launched. Almost all of the Wii U’s successful titles (Xenoblade X where are youuuu) were either ported or otherwise received sequels on the Switch, giving you little to no reason to ever buy a Wii U. Could it be that Nintendo wants us to forget their Wii U mistake? Is this why Mario Kart 8 is on the Switch and not 9?

No, that’s a little too much conspiracy theory. But it is fun to speculate, and makes me slightly less angry that Mario Kart 9 still isn’t out.

Is New Horizons Really Better Than New Leaf?

Animal Crossing New Horizons launched on Nintendo Switch March 20, 2020. It launched roughly seven years after New Leaf launched for 3DS in Japan. New Leaf introduced so many concepts never before seen in the Animal Crossing series, such as public works projects, the dream suite, bushes, diving, more clothing options, etc. And New Horizons took things a step further introducing terraforming, the ability to place furniture outside, and deciding where neighbors move. With these new features, some features from New Leaf have been lost, even features that have been a staple throughout the Animal Crossing series. Something I have come to ask myself is, is New Horizons really better than New Leaf?

New Leaf launched with hundreds, if not thousands of hours of gameplay (depending who you are, of course). I myself have well over a thousand hours invested. This was the first (and only) time you were the mayor of your town! Shops were now placed in an area called Main Street, with the exception of the new Retail store. Similar to the City in City Folk, but much less annoying to get to. Granted, City Folk’s City had a lot of more minor stores (and Shampoodle, the hair salon run by Harriet) in the City, while New Leaf’s main facilities reside there in Main Street.

The new Retail store was similar to past games’ flea markets, run by alpaca Reese and her husband Cyrus. Cyrus would allow you to customize furniture, a series first. Reese would offer more bells for items you sold than the Nookling Shop in Main Street – Tom Nook’s store now run by his nephews. Speaking of Tom Nook, he now runs a real estate store. He’ll upgrade your house and also redesign your exterior, another series first. On top of these facilities, there are facilities for clothing, changing your hair and eyes, a shoe store, a place to have your fortunes told, and a club with mostly unfunny jokes. Run by the Able Sisters, Harriet, Kicks, Katrina, and Dr. Shrunk respectively. Also for the first time, the post office is separated from the Town Hall. I would have preferred if they stayed connected because it would be much easier to run to the Town Hall instead of having to run to a whole new screen just to send a letter. Or heavens forbid, store letters.

New Leaf also introduced bushes and swimming/diving. Bushes are small shrubs that can be planted next to each other, but no more than 12 can be touching each other at a time. They can also be planted next to trees. Swimming allows you to swim in the ocean (not lakes sadly) and pressing Y would allow you to dive can catch sea creatures. You need a diving suit in order to swim now, but previously a glitch allowed you to swim without one.

Public Works Projects was another big feature. You could place landmarks and other objects around your town, such as benches, a lighthouse, windmills, fountains, the campsite… Even The Roost, a cafe could be placed later in the game! Bridges could also be moved or removed entirely (though you have to have at least one bridge in your town) through this system. Sadly, you can only have 30 Publics Works Projects at a time, and some projects could not be demolished.

The Dream Suite is another Publics Works Project that takes the form of a building on Main Street. The Dream Suite allows you to visit what you could call “copies” of another player’s town. This allows you to visit any player who put their town up in the Dream Suite at any time, without ever interacting with them or affecting their town. Run through those flowers all you like! Sweet freedom at last! You can even take custom designs home with you. Unfortunately, you cant take anything else with you. Club LOL (which up until now I thought I was misreading this whole time) is another project on Main Street. Visiting during the day you can give Dr. Shrunk a piece of fruit and he will teach you a new emotion, the series’ version of emotes, by performing a short skit. At night, the club opens formally as a typical club. On Saturday nights K.K. Slider will perform.

But one of the BIGGEST additions to the game was Tortimer Island. The island becomes accessible after paying off your first home loan, and can be accessed by riding Kapp’n’s boat. It’s always summer on the island, so it’s a great way to get a tan. But an even better way of making money. Most players would go to the island at night and catch bugs and fish to sell off for hundreds of thousands of bells. But this wasn’t the main purpose of the island, oh no. On top of the standard five types of fruit your town could have (and the two you can either find or purchase on your island). there were an additional five: Bananas, lychees, mangoes, durians and lemons. You could take these fruits home and plant them on your island to grow the fruits’ respective trees. Not only was the island a great way to find fruits you couldn’t obtain otherwise, but there was a little something called Tours.

Tours essentially functioned as minigames. There would be games such as hide and seek, bashing a bomb with a hammer, fishing minigames, slingshot games, fossil games, ore games, you name it, it was a game. …Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. But to make this even better, you could bring friends on the island with you! You and your friends could compete in these “Tours” with the winner earning the most amount of medals. Medals could be exchanged for exclusive furniture like the Mermaid series, or clothing items such as a beach shirt or hat. They could even be exchanged for equipment such as special variants of the diving suits or a silver axe! Tours are what I remember best about hanging out with friends in New Leaf.

I could go on and on about all of the little changes New Leaf brought to the series. The implementation of StreetPass, QR codes for custom designs, owning personal exhibits at the museum, perfect fruit, ordinances… I could go on. Despite this game releasing, packed with hundreds of hours of content…

New Leaf received an update containing dozens of new features in 2016. The main reason for the update was to implement the use of amiibo. By scanning an amiibo card of a villager, you could invite that villager to move into your town. It was a great way to get that dream villager to move in right away, instead of waiting weeks or even months to find them, or asking another player for that villager. It was also a great way for Nintendo to make money, because these cards were released in packs. Six cards would come in a pack, and those six would be random. You can bet many people made money off of these on eBay, selling popular villagers for over $60, when a pack of cards went for $6.

Not only could you scan in amiibo cards, but the game was compatible with certain amiibo figures. Figures from the Splatoon and Legend of Zelda series could be scanned for new villagers based or otherwise inspired by those series. They came with exclusive items, and you could also invite the villagers to move in to your town. Animal Crossing series figures would invite characters such as Reese and Tom Nook to come visit your town in the new Campground area. While these characters couldn’t move to your island, they would give you special items that could not be obtained otherwise. Such as Celeste’s bow, or Lottie’s wig. There were a few Japanese exclusive villagers, two of which weren’t connected to amiibo, so other countries had no chance of getting them. However, Felyne from Monster Hunter appeared as a villager. The Monster Hunter amiibos only released in Japan, but could be imported, and would work fine in any region. So I now have a $200 figure that I paid less than $25 for. I’m happy! Sanrio characters and items were added later, with amiibo cards releasing in Japan and Europe. Yay for more importing!

Exclusive furniture could also be bought at the Campground. The furniture wasn’t anything super special, but you couldn’t get it anywhere else. The furniture required a new currency known as MEOW coupons, that you could get from completing tasks or scanning amiibo daily. 3DS and Wii U figures were added to the game as well, each system came with a minigame. The Wii U came with a minigame previously included in Amiibo Festival, while the 3DS came with a game called Puzzle League, based on a Japanese exclusive game of the same name. Completing levels from both of these games would give you exclusive items.

On top of this, there were several other quality of life improvements such as a storage expansion, a new decorating mode when decorating your house based on Happy Home Designer, the ability to stack fruit, and the removal of sickness. An option to sell your town to rebuild it was even added! This expansive update in 2016 added to an already packed game, giving it that much more replayability.

So you can imagine my disappointment when New Horizons launched.

All right, all right. Let’s talk first about what New Horizons did right.

New Horizons takes place on an island for the first time in the series, rather than a town. You’re not the mayor, rather, the island representative. You start the game off with two villagers, one smug and one sisterly (uchi) type, which were first introduced in New Leaf. One of the main features of this game is that you’re able to craft things, such as furniture and equipment. The other main feature, which you don’t unlock for a couple weeks, is terraforming. Terraforming allows you to build or remove cliffs, as well as reroute or entirely remove water. It gives you (almost) complete control of your island, allowing you to make it look however you want it to.

Another big feature in this game is the ability to place furniture outside, for the first time in the series. A lot of New Leaf’s Public Works Projects came back in the form of furniture. Choosing where villagers move is another big feature. Previously in New Leaf, villagers would move wheresoever they pleased, and players would have to take advantage of an exploit that narrowed down where villagers could move. Another much needed change is that villagers will now ask to move out first, and won’t move out without getting your permission. This is what every player wanted – no longer having to write down the last day they played and change the date to “time travel” back to when they last played, and slowly move the day forward until they had caught up. Finally! Autosave is another feature included, which I have a love-hate relationship with. I wish it could be toggled on and off because sometimes I like to test things out with terraforming, and if it doesn’t work out, I’d like to be able to reload to before I had started.

Other quality of life improvements include much bigger pocket space, skin tone customization, ladders to climb up cliffs no matter where you are, vaulting poles to cross over rivers, again, no matter where you are. Bushes can now be placed next to each other and along cliffs, with no restrictions. Flowers will no longer wilt, and won’t die when trampled. Custom designs can be searched for through the internet directly in game now. Purses and backpacks have also been added.

A new feature where you can travel to mini islands, gathering resources or inviting villagers to join your island was also added. You can use Nook Miles Tickets, a new… I’d hate to say currency, but that’s sure how the Animal Crossing community sees it, which can be bought with Nook Miles. You know, the ACTUAL currency. You get Nook Miles for completing tasks, similar to the MEOW coupons in New Leaf. You can exchange these Nook Miles for exclusive items, emotes, hairstyles, and what have yous.

As for facilities, we have the Town Hall, the Nooklings’ shop, Able Sisters, Museum and- Oh right. That’s it.

That’s. It.

Even City Folk had more than that with its City. You could argue this is the same amount of facilities Wild World and the original Animal Crossing had. But why are we going back to that? Why aren’t we taking advantage of what City Folk and New Leaf gave us? Why are we regressing?

To top it off, the Nookling shop only has one upgrade. One. Historically, Nook’s Cranny (both the Nookling version and Tom Nook version) has had three upgrades, taking in game months to unlock. You can get this final version of the store within a month. Actually, you can unlock every major facility within a month. I understand wanting to have players unlock basic necessities early on, but part of the fun of the Animal Crossing series is eagerly waiting to unlock more and more stuff. New Horizons practically hands you these facilities on a silver platter.

Though oddly enough, you have to unlock the Museum. Which has never happened in an Animal Crossing game.

Gracie Grace, a fashionable giraffe that sells expensive clothing and furniture sets included in City Folk and New Horizons is also missing from the game. In fact, New Horizons seems to include staggeringly few furniture sets. At least there’s an abundance of clothes.

Amiibo still work in this game similar to the last, but figures no longer give special items. Nor are the figure exclusive characters present.

This is more of a personal opinion, and some others might agree, but to me, the dialogue of villagers has been going down each installment of the series. You have the original Animal Crossing where villagers are rude and sassy, but have so much personality. Wild World tons it down a bit, but you can definitely still feel that rudeness. City Folk removes the rudeness almost entirely, but the sass still remains. New Leaf removed the sass, but villagers still felt like they had personality. Though after a while, it did get tiring hearing the same dialogue over and over. New Horizons’ villagers all feel the same. I can barely tell the difference between peppy and normal, and smug and jock. I know they probably wanted to lighten things up since this is a kids game after all, but can you at least give them some sort of personality?! I dread having to interact with my neighbors now. And that’s not okay.

When it comes to housing, housing exteriors still remains a feature. You can actually relocate your house, which is a series’ first. You can relocate any building in the game, except for the Town Hall. However… I was very disappointed with the housing expansions. It adds the side rooms and back rooms like New Leaf did, but these rooms are pathetically small, and there’s no way to expand them like in New Leaf.

But one of my biggest complaints are the tools. Previously in the series, only the axe would break. This time, EVERY tool breaks. EVEN THE GOLDEN ONES. What’s the point of having golden tools if they’re still going to break? Novelty? You can craft tools and it’s fun at first, it feeds into the whole desert island theme. But after a while it’s just plain annoying, which is why the golden tools would have made more sense if they were unbreakable. Not to mention crafting these tools is a two step process. First you have to craft a wooden version, then an iron version. You have to track down all of these materials, or run to your house to grab the materials you stored, go to a crafting bench, and then craft them. At this point, I’d rather pay the 2,000 bells. Crafting in general is annoying. It would have been much more tolerable if it was just another menu you could open, and you can use materials that are in your storage without having to actually go get them.

The barrenness of the game did get a little better with the updates. In the first couple updates, we got bushes and diving. You know, things that were available at the beginning of New Leaf. Someone please tell me why that had to be an update. Dreaming was also added, basically functioning the same as the Dream Suite. Without the Dream Suite. This time you just lay down in your bed and you’re given the option to dream. Honestly not a bad substitute. Originally you couldn’t search for dreams (which sucked). but a later update fixed this.

Redd and Leif also had to be added in an update to the game – Redd, a character who has been in the series since the beginning, and Leif who was included since the start of New Leaf. Mario items were later added in the game to be purchased, and Sanrio villagers were added to the game. Previously, you could only obtain their posters from scanning their amiibo cards.

Finally, the 2.0 update released, a year and a half after the game’s initial launch. It added The Roost Cafe gyroids, and everyone’s beloved froggy chair, all things that have been in the series since the beginning. Kapp’n also returns, but not to bring you to Tortimer Island. This time, he brings you to mystery islands, similar to the ones you can already visit with  Nook Miles Tickets. These islands are the only way to get moss, vines, and gyroids. Housing storage was also expanded upon. More vegetables could be grown, on top of the pumpkins that had been added in an earlier update. Cooking however was added. Sixteen new villagers were also added, and ordinances were brought back from New Leaf. More furniture was added to the game (thank goodness) either through the Nookling shop or the paid DLC that released alongside the update.

Harv’s Island, an island previously used to take pictures of amiibos and an event involving planning Reese and Cyrus’ wedding was also expanded. It included tiny little shops for characters such as Reese and Cyrus, Katrina, Harriet, Saharah, Redd, Kicks, and Leif. No. None of these characters had shops prior to this. Saharah, Redd, Kicks, and Leif would occasionally visit your island to sell you some of their wares, and Harriet was replaced by a mirror. Yes, a mirror. You deserved better, Harriet. In the cases of Saharah, Redd, Kicks and Leif, their stock changes on a weekly rotation, and they offer slightly more than they usually do when visiting your town, save for Redd. You can also visit whenever you want instead of having to rely on them spawning on your island. Harriet gives you a few unlockable hairstyles, but is pretty useless once you get them all. It’s nice that Katrina came back and all, but Reese and Cyrus are the big addition. They allow you to customize your furniture much like in New Leaf. And you don’t have to wait around! While it’s nice that these characters have their own shops now, I feel like I’m going through some sort of menu hub instead of an actual shopping center. It all just feels… very bland.

This information was all shown in an almost twelve minute long video, also showing off the paid DLC. All of the information looked very promising until this awful… This awful, awful, text appeared on screen.

Note how it says this is the LAST major free content update.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT awful. But it was awful to me. This was it? THIS was IT? I wasn’t keen about the game launching with… Well, what some could call barebones content. But I chose to believe in it. Even though I don’t like when games spread their content across updates that could have EASILY been included in the original game, I went along with it. We would eventually get more and more content, right? And it would eventually catch up to New Leaf if not surpass it, right?

Wrong.

There is SO much they could have done with this game! They could have brought back Tortimer Island! Give friends something to do while playing the game besides shopping and exploring an island they’ve already explored dozens of times. They could have created new facilities, brought back Dr. Shrunk or the theater from City Folk! The Auction House was a pretty cool idea from City Folk. Put things up for sale and have players from other towns bid on it. A fun way to make money, and could have been enhanced to also be an effective trading system. They could have added new facilities too, things we’ve never seen before! Even after all of the updates, it feels like crafting is almost pointless. There are a few pieces of furniture worth making sure, and I do like the seasonal items. But there’s not enough. And when it comes to equipment, I’m just going to run to the store to buy more instead of running to my house, grabbing all of the materials, navigating menus, and making it myself. Where are all of the cute Nintendo items from previous games? Where is Gracie Grace? Why is her series still missing? Why did gyroids take so long to come back? Why were bushes DLC? Why are there only 10 villagers when islands could easily fit 15?

Why are they stopping here?

Don’t get me wrong, New Horizons is still a fantastic game, one I would even recommend. Customizing has never been this easy or enjoyable before in an Animal Crossing game. Does it have problems? Yes. But so does every game. And for most people, the good this game does bring outweighs those problems. But getting back to the original topic at hand. Is New Horizons a better game than New Leaf? That’s up to you to decide. But to me, I can’t help but think maybe New Leaf managed to get more right than New Horizons did.

A capture of my own island from New Horizons.

Tales of Arise: is it Good?

Tales of Arise is a JPRG that released September 10th 2021, on all systems that you can realistically imagine. And not the Switch (key word is realistic!). It features main character Alphen liberating the realms of Dahna from the oppressive rule of the Renans. Ironically enough, I had just finished my first playthrough of Xillia when this released, so I decided to put off trying Arise. That was totally the reason and not my Final Fantasy XIV addiction, nope. How does this game stack up to other Tales games? How is the story? Is it worth playing?

Oh yeah. It’s worth playing. Minor spoilers ahead!

Starting a new game, you’re greeted with a long monologue worthy of Final Fantasy XII. I’m not a fan of games that spend several minutes explaining their plot to you before you even start the game. Next, you are greeted by some pretty nice visuals. The best the Tales series has seen. It may not be on par with other triple A games such as Horizon, Elden Ring, or even the new Rachet and Clank, but they’re definitely pleasant. The visuals become even more spectacular throughout the various realms you visit, especially with the minimal UI approach this game has taken.

Tales of Arise has you journeying across the five realms of Dahna, each with their own geological theme. It makes each area feel very fresh, even if the game remains very linear. I was hoping Arise would incorporate more of an open world approach, or at the very least, seamless transitions between the maps. The world however remains very linear, and it gets quite frustrating any time you hit an invisible wall. The gameplay however, remains very smooth. Definitely the smoothest in the series. You are no longer locked to running in very specific directions, and free run is a thing of the past. In fact, you could say the entire battle is free run. Artes are now shortcutted to buttons, and eventually holding down L2 (or ZL) along with those buttons when you gain more arte slots. Artes are no longer restricted to the direction you tilt your stick. It actually plays similar to most modern RPGS. This also makes dodging much easier.

My only problem with this new battle system is CP. Unlike most Tales games, this game does not have an MP system. Instead, offensive spells use AG, and can be used however many times you’d like so long as you have enough AG (which recovers). CP is consumed whenever a healing spell is cast. And the only way to recover CP is by using consumables (which are very expensive early on, and you can’t even buy them until you have reached the third realm) or staying at inns/resting at campfires. Because of this, I found myself fighting only the enemies that were necessary to progress. If I accidentally stumbled across an enemy with low CP, I would do my best to fight it, or outright flee if given the option. In dungeons, I would make a small amount of progress before teleporting out to rest at an inn and then teleporting back in, making dungeons last forever.

The CP system also made early boss fights very painful to fight. Literally for our heroes. I would actually consider the first boss to be one of the hardest bosses in the game. Resources are very limited, so you have to rely on getting perfect guards and perfect dodges. The early bosses are also very difficult, especially due to the AI. I had to mess with AI settings quite a bit because they would just not stop dying. So many times I had to solo a boss because it was easier to do that than constantly heal/rez my party back up. Granted, Tales games have historically been hard at the beginning and relatively easy at the end, which has always irked me. Halfway through the game I made the decision to main Shionne for bosses because I could not trust this AI’s healing.

But who IS Shionne? Who is anyone? That brings us to our characters. Alphen, Shionne, Rinwell, Law, Kisara, and Dohalim in that order. Alpehn is our main protagonist. He goes by the name Iron Mask early in the game. He wears a mask that prevents him from remembering his past and feeling pain. Literally. Even if he is immune to pain, he is still capable of dying.

Shionne is the second character we meet in this game. She is what is assumed to be a noble fleeing her homeworld Rena, and is eventually captured on Dahna. Shionne is under a strange curse referred to as “thorns”. Anyone who touches her is in for a sharp pain, which is why so many are interested in her. Shionne also manages to be the most annoying character in the game, if not the series, even rivaling Luke fon Fabre from Abyss. She doesn’t care about anyone or anything other than defeating the Renan lords who rule over Dahna. She’s very blunt and makes a lot of snarky comments throughout the game. She picks fights for no reason, and sometimes leads the party into danger because of her hotheadedness. Seriously, there were many times I had to take a break from this game just because of how annoying she was.

Next is Rinwell, a Dahnan capable of using astral artes (I’ll get to this in a bit). She also has a hatred for Renans after they killed her parents. I don’t have a problem with Rinwell so much as the timing of when she was introduced. Because Shionne is a Renan, Rinwell does not take kindly to her (that makes two of us!). Shionne being the ass she is, will provoke Rinwell with snarky comments, both intentionally and unintentionally. For a couple areas in the game, it’s just the two of them going back and forth each setting the other one off. Makes for a very annoying journey.

Next we have Law. Law is the son of one of Alphen’s friends. He’s a martial artist who also functions as the comic relief character. I was happy to see that they didn’t immediately shaft him after introducing him. Law never really gets any big moments in the game, and he definitely gets the least amount of screen time out of everyone, but he’s overall a very enjoyable character who evens out Shionne and Rinwell.

Next are Kisara and Dohalim, who join at almost the same time. When Kisara was introduced, she was very forgettable, but becomes one of the more prominent characters as the game continues. Dohalim is a lord of one of the realms. Unlike the other lords, he treats Renans and Dahnans relatively equal. Dohalim’s screen time tends to fluctuate more than any other character in my opinion. He starts out very strong, but once he joins your party you almost never see a lot of him until near the end of the game. Which is a shame because he is such a well written character.

In fact, all of these characters are well written. Even Shionne (to an extent). This is where things get different from other Tales games. Instead of focusing on having an over-the-top story, this game focuses on developing its characters. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But because of this, the story starts to become easily predictable and relies on a lot of tropes and cliches. Of course there are a couple of things here and there that are shocking, but for the most part, the game tends to feel like you’re going from point A, to point B, to point C, etc.

The Renans have been using the Dahnans as slaves for the past 300 years to collect something known as astral energy for their “Crown Contest.” Astral energy is what allows people to use magic. Renans are the only people capable of using astral artes (magic), with the exception of Rinwell who comes from a long line of Dahnan mages. Despite this, Dahnans are still able to collect astral energy by activities such as mining, building, working, etc. The Renan lords take part in the Crown Contest, a competition for gathering astral energy. The lord who can gather the most astral energy will be crowned the Sovereign, ruler of all of Rena.  Alphen and Shionne team up to defeat the five lords of Dahna. Alphen to free the slaves, and Shionne for her own motives. This style of storytelling leads to your story becoming very predictable.

Like I said, the storytelling was toned down to focus on character development. You and Alphen discover his memories together, which lead to him feeling like a fully fleshed out character, not some generic RPG protagonist. Shionne’s blunt rudeness is also explained by her traumatic past. Rinwell’s anger is quelled when she realizes her hate leads her to be no different from the Renans who are oppressing Dahna. Law learns to cope with the mistakes of his past. Dohalim has his own skeletons in his closet, and goes from being what some might consider a coward, to a strong ruler. Kisara is a bit of a tricky one… Her development is more vague, but the story allows you to see all these different sides to her. Her motherly side to the cast, her passion for fishing, and her overcoming her weaknesses.

Tales of Arise is a very enjoyable experience, and perhaps one of the best Tales games for new fans to start with. The revamped battle system makes it easier than ever to jump in. While the story might be lackluster in some areas compared to past games, its simplicity is still enjoyable. You have a cast of characters who grow and develop on their journey, and characters you hated before are now endearing to you. All of this mixed with stunning animation and incredible music makes this journey a must.