Tag: nintendo

The best gifts for a console gamer

Don't worry, we're not out to start a console war in our comments: If you're in the market for a new games system, the Xbox One S, PlayStation VR, Nintendo Switch and 2DS XL all made it into our holiday gift guide, for different reasons. Once you figure out which platform is best for your intended, we have a wide assortment of games and accessories, from a 400GB microSDXC card to a custom Xbox controller to the PlayStation Gold wireless headset, among other things. Find all that and more in our gift guide at the link below.

Source: Engadget Holiday Gift Guide 2017


‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’ adds gardening to its list of chores

Collect fruit, trade it with villagers, build furniture, rinse, repeat. That's been the experience with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp thus far, and if it's getting tedious, know that there's an update coming soon that'll add some variety to the mix. Next month, you'll be able to start crafting clothes like shirts, pants and shoes. Players will also gain access to a garden. As you might expect, the garden is where you can plant flowers, and you can even water friends' flower beds for them.

At this point, the flowers could just be another resource type for building stuff (like apples), but there's every chance that gardening could be a full-blown new activity. We won't know until we get our hands dirty. Even with this update, Pocket Camp is a far cry from full-fat Animal Crossing, but it's a step in the right direction. Compared to something like Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes, though, it's feeling pretty sparse at the moment.

Source: Animal Crossing (Twitter)


‘The Game Awards’ round-up: catch all the best bits

Geoff Keighley has been touting this year's The Game Awards as the gaming industry's answer to the Oscars. Now that the ceremony has concluded, we can safely say that he delivered. It had all the hallmarks of a lavish awards show: Live orchestra (check), fervent spiels (check), Hollywood a-listers (check). And, there was the return of the hotly-anticipated game reveals that -- in part -- helped nab 8.6 million viewers last time round. If you didn't catch the action online, we've got your back. Below you'll find a list of the night's winners and the game trailers that went out live from the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. As always, there were touching moments too, like a noticeably awestruck Melina Juergens getting the Best Performance award for Hellblade from Andy Serkis.

Highlights this year included Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro's ongoing bromance (which came with a side-helping of Death Stranding) -- the game's star Norman Reedus was also on hand to help out. The ceremony's most WTF moment came from Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons dev Josef Fares, whose expletive-filled intro for his next project A Way Out included a middle-finger to the Oscars and props to current enemy number one EA (the game's publisher).

Nintendo was the big winner on the night, courtesy of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's game of the year win, for which it beat out Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mario Odyssey, and Steam record-breaker PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The gaming giant also bagged an additional four gongs, bringing its final tally to five.

  • Game of the Year - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Best Game Direction - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Best Narrative - What Remains of Edith Finch
  • Best Art Direction - Cuphead
  • Best Score / Music - NieR: Automata
  • Best Audio Design - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
  • Best Performance - Melina Juergens, Hellblade (as Senua)
  • Games for Impact - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
  • Best Ongoing Game - Overwatch
  • Best Independent Game - Cuphead
  • Best Mobile Game - Monument Valley 2
  • Best Handheld Game - Metroid: Samus Returns
  • Best VR/AR Game - Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  • Best Action Game - Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
  • Best Action/Adventure Game - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Best Role-Playing Game - Persona 5
  • Best Fighting Game - Injustice 2
  • Best Family Game - Super Mario Odyssey
  • Best Strategy Game - Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
  • Best Sports/Racing Game - Forza Motorsport 7
  • Most Anticipated Game - The Last of Us Part II
  • Trending Gamer - Guy Beahm ("Dr. Disrespect")
  • Best eSports Game - Overwatch
  • Best eSports Player - Lee Sang-hyeok "Faker" (SK Telecom 1, League of Legends)
  • Best eSports Team - Cloud 9
  • Student Game Award - Level Squared
  • Best Debut Indie Game - Cuphead
  • Chinese Fan Game Award - jx3 HD《剑网3》重制版

Source: The Game Awards (YouTube)


‘Bayonetta 3’ is a Nintendo Switch exclusive

Get ready for some much-needed hack and slash action on the Switch. Platinum Games Bayonetta series is getting a third instalment exclusively for Nintendo's console. Not only that, but the first two Bayonetta games are also heading to the gaming machine, marking the first time they'll be playable on the go.

Bayonetta 3 footage (starring the titular character and her dual wielding pistols) was teased by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé at tonight's Game Awards, together with a Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 digital bundle, which lands on February 16. Nintendo is also promising a Bayonetta 2 physical copy.

Source: Nintendo (YouTube)


Tonight’s ‘Zelda’ DLC gives you a motorcycle

The next add-on pack for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes the champions from the base game (Goron, Rito and Zora) adds a slew of new challenges. And best of all, it's available incredibly soon. More than just additional shrines, the pack brings in new costumes for the Hero of Time and his trusty steed, and it pulls the King of Hyrule and Princess Zelda into the mix too. "The Champions Ballad" will be released tonight on Switch and Wii U and should give you some extra bits to play through as you're scouring Hyrule. Oh, right, and as Link you'll get to tool around the overworld on a motorcycle. There isn't a lot more you could ask for, really.

Source: Nintendo (YoutTube)


‘Mario + Rabbids’ gets a free versus battle mode tomorrow

The Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming the go-to console for games with couch co-op and local multiplayer. Need more evidence? Ubisoft is adding a versus mode to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, one of the best Switch games available. "Each player has just three available actions per turn, and how you decide to invest them is a big part of the strategy here," a post on Ubiblog reads. "You may be accustomed to moving, attacking and using techniques for each of your heroes during every turn in campaign and co-op, but versus is a different story."

This sounds like more than just a tacked-on addition too. Characters start out upgraded, and who you choose for your team will affect your strategies on the (adorable) battlefield. And if you're in a hurry you can limit battles to as few as seven turns, with time limits for each turn. The free mode goes live tomorrow, December 8th.

Source: Ubiblog


Nintendo Wii, GameCube games come to China on NVIDIA Shield

As revealed by industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, Nintendo is teaming up with NVIDIA to release some of its Wii and Gamecube games in China for the first time. While NVIDIA's Tegra chip is at the heart of the Nintendo Switch, in this case, the games will run on the NVIDIA Shield, which hit the market today in China. NVIDIA confirmed that New Super Mario Bros. Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and PUNCH-OUT!! are all available now for the Shield in 1080p, while others including Super Mario Galaxy are "coming soon."

Ahmad posted videos of Nintendo games running on the Shield (sourced from Weibo) and provided some pricing info, saying that the Shield in China costs 1499 RMB (about $226), while each remastered game costs 68 RMB (about $10). We wouldn't expect anything about this arrangement to expand beyond China in the foreseeable future, but the licensing arrangement is a way for Nintendo to crack the market officially. We don't have much information on the Shield that's available in China, but it is different from the US version, with local "content, store, search and more" plus a voice control AI powered by Baidu.

NVIDIA:

Extending the business relationship that brought NVIDIA technology to Nintendo Switch, some of Nintendo's most beloved Wii and Nintendo GameCube titles are officially headed to China for the first time. New Super Mario Bros. Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and PUNCH-OUT!! are remastered in 1080p and available on the China version of NVIDIA SHIELD, released today.

SHIELD owners in China will be able to download and play select Wii and Nintendo GameCube titles, with others coming soon – among them,Super Mario Galaxy. These amazing games have been provided to NVIDIA under license.

Customized for the China market, SHIELD is a completely localized device, with local content, store, search and more. SHIELD will bring Chinese customers a brand-new experience in gaming, AI and home entertainment with Baidu's DuerOS conversational AI system and abundant entertainment options from iQIYI.

Source: Daniel Ahmad (Twitter)


8Bitdo’s wireless SNES controller is perfect for Switch retro gaming

The Nintendo Switch's controllers shouldn't work as well as they do. That might be why options beyond a Joy-Con in each hand (or the Switch's own Pro controller) are few and far between. 8Bitdo's latest wireless peripheral, the SN30 Pro, might be worth considering for your secondary controller needs. Beside that allure of nostalgia, the SN30 Pro particularly shines with older games and tries to balance a classic design with modern controls. I picked up the (obviously prettier) European / Japanese model, the otherwise identical SF30 Pro, and had a play.

It's like the original SNES controller and PlayStation's DualShock had a wireless baby: two analogue sticks force their way into the 16-bit controller's iconic design. Iconic doesn't mean entirely ergonomic, however, and it doesn't feel as well-balanced as modern gamepads. It feels like the SNES controller you remember; it's just that the SNES came out two decades ago. Games peripherals have gotten better, if a little duller, over the years.

8Bitdo combined analogue controls with a NES controller design already, but the NES30 Pro was a little bit too small for so many inputs. The SN30 Pro feels like an improvement, simply by virtue of being larger. Like its predecessor, 8Bitdo added secondary trigger buttons on both sides as well as vibration support (although not HD rumble). It's also wireless and can be charged through a USB-C port. I kept a cable plugged into the back of my Switch's dock. I just wish the boxed cable was a little longer — it doesn't quite extend far enough away from my TV to allow me to play wired while it charges.

It doesn't quite do everything that Nintendo's own Switch controllers do: There's no Amiibo support or gesture controls. This is a Bluetooth gamepad, too, so it can connect to PCs, Macs and Android devices through Bluetooth, but let's not kid ourselves; this is for Nintendo consoles. There are also dedicated buttons for getting to the main Switch menu and taking screenshots.

The retro design brings one an arguable upgrade from the Switch's pack-in / built-in controller: its D-Pad. 8Bitdo's SN30 Pro maintains that unusual combination of spongy and springy just like you remember it, and I feel it's an improvement from the four-button assembly that the Switch has. No 3D printer needed.

This makes the likes of Ultra Street Fighter II and 2D indie games are wonderful to play on the SN30 Pro. The digital controls are a better fit, and with the former, the hadoukens seemed to flow from my fingers. The Switch is still a young console, and so I'm still waiting to see how Nintendo handles a virtual console this time around. The SN30 Pro was made for the likes of Yoshi's Island, Super Mario World and Castlevania.

For modern games with more complex control systems, a few cracks appear. Some buttons on the SN30 Pro have shifted ever so slightly to make space for the analogue sticks. The sticks seem very, very similar to the ones found on PlayStation controllers though the differently shaped SN30 Pro shell requires a bit of time to get used to. I held it a little differently, which, coupled with those sticks made for some unfortunate failed jumps in Super Mario Odyssey. The lack of motion controls was an occasional frustration too.

The original SNES' shoulder buttons have now been split into two. The L1 and R1 buttons are a little too slim though, meaning I was prone to triggering the bigger L2 and R2 buttons below. It requires slightly more precise playing -- an issue that many had with the NES30 Pro. It's a shame that the Switch's Joy-Cons are just so comfortable to play with. You might think differently, but the analogue sticks, paired with a very slim body, isn't as easy to hold.

The SN30 Pro doesn't have the smoothest connectivity, either. At first, the Switch struggled to recognise and sync with the controller, bouncing me between a few tutorial screens. Later attempts to connect were a little less problematic, but it's not perfect.

There's one smart feature: Once you start up the gamepad, you can assign which device it'll be used with by pressing a preset button assigned to Switch, Android and the rest. (There's even a cheat sheet printed on the back of each controller.)

Mat Smith, Engadget

The SN30 Pro isn't the best controller for playing actual Switch games -- I find the Joy-Cons incredibly comfortable to use. It is, however, a smart choice for a second gamepad, one that is both perfect for retro games (with plenty of those coming) and for when a buddy comes around to best you in Street Fighter (not gonna happen) or to race along in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Both the purple-hued SN30 Pro and the obviously superior SF30 Pro are priced at $50 to preorder from Amazon, set to ship December 10th. And if this isn't your favorite Nintendo controller, well, there are other convoluted methods available.

Source: 8Bitdo (Amazon)


Which gaming console is right for you?

There are three main contenders in the video game console market, and each one has unique advantages and drawbacks. The PlayStation 4, for example, is easy to use: Sony has made a powerful console designed to appeal to as many players as possible, and its gamble has largely paid off. While Microsoft clearly wants just as many people playing Xbox One, it's tackling the market via its ecosystem, which is more open than any of the other consoles. The Xbox One supports cross-play with Windows 10, and its built-in livestreaming architecture, Mixer, is an impressive tool. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch is a strange treasure, packing less power than the other two systems but making up for this technical loss with an innovative hybrid design.

Here we break down the best and worst bits of the PS4 Slim, PS4 Pro, Xbox One S, Xbox One X and the Switch for anyone looking to buy into the video game universe this fall.

PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 is arguably the most popular console of the current generation, with Sony repeatedly outselling Microsoft's Xbox One, since both systems debuted in 2013. The PS4 hit the market at $400, featuring an advanced AMD GPU, 4K video (not games, mind) and the promise of eventual HDR support -- though this base model essentially doesn't exist anymore. Three years after the PS4's launch, Sony introduced two upgraded systems, commonly referred to as the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.

The Slim lives up to its name: It's a sleeker version of the base model, shaving about two pounds off the console's frame while keeping the 1.84-teraflop AMD processing unit. It comes in 500GB and 1TB sizes and supports Blu-ray and DVD, just like the launch console. The Slim, however, starts at $300.

The Pro is Sony's true mid-generation upgrade. It costs $400 and is heftier than the Slim by about three pounds. Its most notable feature is the ability to play games in 4K via an upscaling process called checkerboard rendering. This isn't true 4K, but it's damn close; it's near impossible to spot any difference between checkerboard rendering and actual 4K gaming. The Pro doesn't feature any beefy upgrades to the PS4's CPU or memory (that's what keeps it from representing a new console generation, according to its architect, Mark Cerny), though it includes a 4.20-teraflop AMD processor.

But what good is a 4K console if games don't support anything higher than 1080p? Luckily, there's a sizable lineup of titles optimized for the PS4 Pro, utilizing checkerboard rendering or other upscaling techniques to hit resolutions above 1080p. These games include indie darlings like Abzu, Outlast 2, No Man's Sky, Resogun, Rez Infinite, Rocket League, Nex Machina and The Witness, plus AAA titles including Destiny 2, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Fallout 4, Overwatch, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Horizon Zero Dawn and Battlefield 1.

Superhot VR is one of the many virtual reality games available for the PSVR.

Over the past few years, Sony has effectively cornered the market on indie games, showcasing small studios during major press conferences and packing its digital store with irreverent, creative and massively popular independent projects. However, the company has seemingly shifted its focus recently, paying less attention to indie games to instead dive headfirst into virtual reality.

Compared with the Xbox One S, Xbox One X or the Switch, the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro have one clear advantage: VR. PlayStation VR is an impressive introduction to the possibilities of virtual reality, presented in a plug-and-play package. It's only been around for a year, but there are more than 100 PSVR experiences in the PlayStation Store, with 60 more due out by early 2018. And the PSVR hardware itself is only going to get better: An updated version of the headset is already on sale in Japan.


What the PS4 Slim does well
  • Virtual reality
  • 4K video
  • Blu-ray
  • Indie games
  • AAA games (exclusives include Uncharted, The Last Guardian, Persona 5, Bloodborne and Nier: Automata)
What it's bad at
  • No 4K gaming
  • No UHD Blu-ray
  • Dualshock 4 controllers have pretty terrible battery life

What the PS4 Pro does well
  • Everything on the PS4 Slim list
  • 4K gaming via checkerboard rendering
  • Even smoother PSVR experiences
What it's bad at
  • No UHD Blu-ray
  • Not particularly portable
  • Dualshock 4 controllers have pretty terrible battery life

Engadget

Xbox One

If any company is going to bridge the gap between gaming consoles and PCs, it'll be Microsoft. The Xbox ecosystem plays nice with Windows 10 via the Play Anywhere program: Participating titles support cross-play between Xbox and Windows 10, allowing console fans to boot up games with their PC buddies or simply play a title seamlessly across both systems. Plus, buying a Play Anywhere game for Xbox One automatically makes it available at no additional cost on Windows 10, and vice versa.

After Microsoft announced Play Anywhere at E3 2016, it had to clarify which games would actually support the new feature, changing it from "every new title published from Microsoft Studios" to "every new title published from Microsoft Studios that we showed onstage at E3 this year." Fans were wary of the change, though today a handful of high-profile games are on the Play Anywhere list, including Cuphead, Tacoma, Forza Motorsport 7, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Gears of War 4, Thimbleweed Park, Ruiner and We Happy Few.

This messaging problem has dogged Microsoft since the debut of the Xbox One. In the lead-up to the current console generation, Microsoft presented the Xbox One as an "always-on" system that would be constantly online, enabling easier updates, developer input and new types of connected gaming experiences. Customers were not impressed, arguing an always-on ecosystem would unfairly bar too many people from actually using the Xbox One, given the general unreliability of internet networks across the globe. In a series of confusing updates, Microsoft eventually reversed its decision to ship an always-on console. The company then had to play catch-up as the Xbox One's release date -- and the PS4's -- rapidly approached.

Today, there are two Xbox One models on the market: the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. While it's easy to argue all consoles nowadays require a consistent internet connection to properly function, neither of these systems is always on. However, they take advantage of modern network capabilities to enable built-in livestreaming and cross-play capabilities.

The Xbox One S is the "slim" version of the original Xbox One. It's 40 percent smaller than the base model, plus it has a UHD Blu-ray player and support for HDR gaming and video. The Xbox One X, meanwhile, is Microsoft's main event. It's the most powerful console on the market today (or ever, really), packing in a 6-teraflop GPU and 12GB GDDR5 RAM, compared with the PS4 Pro's 8GB. Most notably, the Xbox One X supports true 4K gaming and video, and it has a UHD Blu-ray drive. Of course, players have to pay for this kind of power: The Xbox One X starts at $500. The One S comes in at $300.

The PS4 Pro, keep in mind, costs $400, and it supports VR. Though Microsoft is supremely interested in the future of augmented reality, the company currently doesn't have an answer to PSVR.

Buying an Xbox One means buying into Microsoft's ecosystem, which isn't a terrible thing by any stretch of the imagination. Microsoft enables cross-play between Xbox and Windows 10, and its in-house streaming service, Mixer, makes it incredibly easy to go live on Twitch and other platforms -- in 4K UHD, no less. Plus, the One S and One X can access a robust library of classic Xbox and Xbox 360 games via backward compatibility. That's not to mention the upgraded, Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One gamepad, which has emerged as the gold standard of controllers.


What the Xbox One S does well
  • Livestreaming via Mixer
  • UHD Blu-ray
  • 4K video
  • Fantastic Bluetooth gamepad
  • Backward compatibility
  • Play Anywhere enables cross-play and seamless gaming with Windows 10
What it's bad at
  • No VR
  • Less graphically powerful than the PS4 Slim
  • No 4K

What the Xbox One X does well
  • Everything on the Xbox One S list
  • 4K gaming
What it's bad at
  • Most expensive console on the market
  • Not particularly portable
  • No VR

Engadget

Switch

The Switch is, in a word, wonderful. It's not the most powerful gaming console available today -- that's the Xbox One X -- nor does it support 4K, the most apps or the widest variety of games. Still, the Switch is everything Nintendo promised it would be, and then some: It's a hybrid console, capable of playing titles up to 1080p on a television or up to 720p on its portable, 6.2-inch display.

The Switch exclusively features some of the best games of the year (and it was a good year for games, indeed), including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. And then there are all the indie offerings -- this is a new space for Nintendo, but so far, developers have largely been happy with the company's approach to publishing. The Switch has signed on games like Shovel Knight, TumbleSeed, Stardew Valley, Rime, TowerFall, Travis Strikes Again, Floor Kids, Golf Story, Super Meat Boy Forever and Kentucky Route Zero.

The Switch comes with two tiny Joy-Con controllers, which function just fine as full gamepads, complete with Nintendo's new HD Rumble technology. However, there's no getting around the fact that these are super-small controllers, not ideal for large hands or extended play sessions. The Switch ships with a Joy-Con Grip in the box, allowing players to create their own full-size Frankenstein gamepad, though it's worth noting the controllers don't charge when hooked up to the connector. Here's where Nintendo's real hustle comes in: selling accessories. A full-size Switch Pro Controller costs $70, while the Charge Grip accessory, which allows the Joy-Cons to refuel while connected, costs $30. And then there are all of those adorable Amiibo figurines, which sell for about $15 a pop: The Switch has a built-in NFC reader just for them. The console itself costs $300.

It wouldn't be a Nintendo system if there weren't some strange form of digital-rights management built into it, and the Switch doesn't disappoint on this front. The Switch is technically adequate for the current console generation -- Zelda is beautiful on the built-in display, even at 720p -- and Nintendo finally figured out that people like to watch Hulu through their gaming consoles, but there's one glaring omission in the system's feature set: no backup option for save files. The Switch has a slot for a microSD card, though it doesn't allow players to save game data to external storage and the company itself doesn't offer any online backup services, as the PS4 and Xbox One ecosystems do. This means if your save data is accidentally deleted or your console is stolen, lost or damaged, all the hours you spent soaring around Hyrule simply disappear.

The Switch doesn't support VR or 4K, though the hardware itself remains an achievement. Nintendo attempted to make hybrid gaming happen with the Wii U, and its efforts failed spectacularly. The Switch, meanwhile, is truly comfortable as both a portable system and an at-home console. It's the only current-generation console that makes sense to take out of the house. It's perfect for plane, train, bus or car rides, bringing the living room gaming experience on the road in a real way.


What the Switch does well
  • Portable and living room gaming
  • Local multiplayer experiences
  • Strong lineup of exclusive games
  • Indie games
What it's bad at
  • Gamepads are expensive
  • No backup save data
  • Few media apps for now
  • No 4K
  • No VR

So, which console is for you?

There is no "best" console, at least not on a large scale. Each system excels and fails in its own special ways. The only determining factor is what you, as an individual, want to get out of a gaming system. Do you want the most games and players in an easy-to-use package? That's the PS4 Slim -- but go Pro if you want to show off your 4K TV. However, if your main goal is to run your 4K TV, UHD Blu-ray collection and homemade gaming PC through their paces, an Xbox One X might be worth the extra cash. For world travelers, daily commuters and party fiends, the Switch makes a ton of sense. Plus, it has a surprisingly rich library of high-quality games, everything from AAA to indie.

With three solid console lines, a flourishing PC scene, booming esports market and more titles than ever before, it's a good time to be a video game fan -- regardless of which system you choose.


‘Yooka-Laylee’ arrives on Nintendo Switch December 14th

The wait is almost over: The whimsical, N64-styled retro platformer Yooka-Laylee will arrive on Nintendo Switch this December 14th. While versions for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were released in April, the game seems custom-tailored for Nintendo's hybrid home/portable console. After all, the game was made by former Rare Ware employees (which existed more or less as a second-party studio since the NES' hey-day) and its pick-up-and-play platforming is perfect for quick sessions on the go.

If you've already cleared Super Mario Odyssey and still have an itch for an old-school 3D platformer, Yooka-Laylee could be just the ticket for you. The team at Playtonic promises single JoyCon play for all eight multiplayer modes and that they had help optimizing the game for the Switch from Nintendo and engine-maker Unity (the toolset the game runs on).

"We believe we're delivering a version Nintendo fans can be proud of," the developer writes. You can be the judge of that yourself, and see if Playtonic scrapping the Wii U version was worthwhile, in a few short weeks.

Via: Polygon

Source: Playtonic