main

PC News and Reviews

Intel Core i9-9900K Processor Review

October 19, 2018 — by ThinkComputers.org0

9th-gen-chips.jpg

With AMD’s second generation Ryzen launch we saw the Ryzen 7 2700X take the top spot ahead of Intel’s Core i7-8700K in terms of overall performance. Intel still had stronger performance in games, but the Ryzen 7 2700X was very attractive to not just gamers, but creators, designers, etc. With 8-cores and 16-threads it really is a great processor. Now it is time for Intel to strike back and today we have probably the most anticipated Intel product of the year, the Core i9-9900K. This is Intel’s first 8-core, 16-thread mainstream processor, packing in clock speeds of 3.6 GHz base and a single-core turbo frequency of 5.0 GHz. Intel calls the Core i9-9900K the world’s best processor for gaming and today we are going to see if that is true and how it stacks up against other processors out there.

Special thanks to Intel for providing us with the Core i9-9900K Processor to review.

The 9th Generation Core lineup

So initially Intel will be launching three processors that will make up the 9th generation Core series. They are the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K, and Core i5-9600K. As we mentioned the Core i9-9900K is an 8-core, 16-thread chip running at 3.6 GHz with a boost up to 5.0 GHz. It features 16 MB of Intel Smart Cache, is fully unlocked, supports dual channel DDR4-2666 memory, and is a 95W part. The chip is also being manufactured on the 14nm process.

Intel’s pricing (per 1000) is set at $488. Although pre-release pricing for the i9-9900K is $529 at our favorite online retailer.

What’s New?
There is not a whole lot new with the Intel’s 9th generation Core series. The biggest announcement is that Intel will be using solder thermal interface material (STIM). This should help with temperatures and enabled higher overclocks.

Also the new Z390 chipset now has native USB 3.1 Gen 2 support and integrated Intel Wireless AC.

Keep in mind that you can run these new chips on Z370 motherboards (with a BIOS update of course).

Packaging
Our pre-release sample came directly from Intel and sadly it was not the cool dodecahedron packaging we’ve all seen, but Intel did step things up this time. Typically processor samples from Intel would come in a small unmarked black box not much larger than the processor itself. This time we actually have a very cool 9th Gen Core i9 box!

Opening the box up we see the processor presented under a pentagon. On the inside of the box it also says “Performance Unleashed” with the Intel logo.

Getting the processor out it looks much like other Intel processor’s we’ve reviewed in the past. Here are a couple of quick shots of the front and back of the chip.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

PC News and Reviews

Intel Core i9-9900K 8 Core and 16 Thread 5.0 GHz CPU Review Ft. Z390 AORUS Master Motherboard

October 19, 2018 — by Wccftech.com0

Intel-9th-Gen-Core-Coffee-Lake-Z390-CPUs_8-1030x579-960x540.png

PRODUCT INFO

AORUS Z390 Master

October, 2018

Type Motherboard

Price $289.99 US

Introduction

Intel has come a long way with their mainstream processor platform. The platform has largely seen stagnation in terms of core and thread count over many generations since the first Core series CPU that launched back in 2010 but last year brought a big change to the CPU giant. What seemed to be a generational core clock bump has now turned into a generational core count bump while keeping the clock speed improvements.

The Coffee Lake-S 8th Generation family, was the first big core count jump on the mainstream 300 series platform. It was an opportunity for Intel to show that they don’t only hold the IPC or clock speed advantage on the mainstream segment but they can also offer good multi-threading CPU performance. While the jump to 6 cores and 12 threads was great, the competition was offering up to 8 cores and 16 threads on their mainstream platform.

dsc_0192-custom-3Related Intel Core i9-9900K 8 Core and 16 Thread 5.0 GHz CPU Review Ft. ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate Motherboard

Intel is now unleashing their own 8 core parts with their new 9th Generation lineup, also known as the Coffee Lake Refresh. The interesting part is that while there is the famous Core i7 SKU with 8 cores, they are also launching their first mainstream Core i9 part with 8 cores. Both parts are very interesting in their own right and the price to performance difference is something which gamers have been looking forward to, especially when Intel is terming the Core i9 SKU as the best gaming processor on the planet, which is something I’d extensively be looking into in the performance benchmarks.

aorus-z390Related Gigabyte & AORUS Launch The Next Generation Z390 Motherboard Lineup – Full Roundup Including The AORUS Xtreme and AORUS Master Heavy Weights

Today, I will be taking a look at the Core i9-9900K flagship CPU on the AORUS Z390 Master board. The CPU retails for $488 US in the market and is supposed to offer high-end CPU multi-threaded performance with enthusiast level overclocking capabilities, all at a premium price point. The Z390 AORUS Master retails for $289.99 US which is a great price for a high-end motherboard design like it.

Since the launch of Coffee Lake processors, Intel is also offering a new platform that is marked under the 300-series family. The Intel 300 series platform features several chipset SKUs but the top of the line is the Z390 PCH which replaces the Z370 PCH as the flagship mainstream SKU.

The Z390 platform is designed to support both 8th and 9th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs. Since the new processors are part of a refresh, Intel did not restrict 9th Gen compatibility to just Z390 boards or 8th Gen compatibility to just Z370 boards. We have more details on this in the LGA 1151 socket section so here, we will be taking a look at the Z390 feature set and what it offers over the previous 200 and 100 series platforms.

Intel Z390 PCH Features:

The 9th gen desktop platform has a range of new features that mainly include:

  • First performance Intel Core i9 desktop S-series processor
  • Up to 8 cores
  • Intel Z390 chipset compatible
  • Solder Thermal Interface Material (STIM)
  • Intel Wireless-AC 802.11 AC and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Intel Wireless-AC Adapter
  • Up To 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Ports
  • Up to 16 threads, 5.0 GHz, 16 MB cache, and 40 platform PCIe lanes (16 CPU + 24 PCH)
  • 9th Gen CPUs Compatible with all Intel 300 series chipsets
  • Intel Optane memory and Intel Optane SSD support
  • Thunderbolt 3 support

Expected Intel 300-Series Kaby Lake Refresh and Cannon Lake PCH Features:

Chipset Name Coffee Lake S (KBL-R) PCH / Z370 Platform Coffee Lake S (CNL-H) PCH / 300 Series (Z390/H370, B360, Q370, H310)
Process Node 22nm 14nm
Processor 8C, 6C, 4C (6 Consumer SKUs at Launch)
Enhanced IA and Memory Overclocking
Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT2 (Up To 24 EUs)
Consumer Only
8C, 6C, 4C, 2C (Full corporate/consumer SKU stack at launch)
Enhanced IA and Memory Overclocking
Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT2 (Up To 24 EUs)
Corporate/vPro & Consumer
Memory Up To DDR4-2666 (Native) Up To DDR4-2666 (Native)
Media, Display & Audio DP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0a w/LSPCON)
HEVC & VP9 10-bit Enc/Dec, HDR, Rec.2020, DX12
Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
DP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0a w/LSPCON)
HEVC & VP9 10-bit Enc/Dec, HDR, Rec.2020, DX12
Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
SoundWire Digital Audio Interface
I/O & Connectivity Integrated USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Thunderbolt 3.0 (Alpine Ridge)
Integrated USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Integrated Intel Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi / BT CNVi)
Integrated SDXC 3.0 Controller
Thunderbolt 3.0 (Titan Ridge) w/ DP 1.4
Storage Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Security Intel SGX 1.0 Intel SGX 1.0
Power Management C8 Support C10 & S0ix Support for Modern Standby
Launch 2017 2018

Intel isn’t moving away from the LGA 1151 socket anytime soon. We are once again looking at the same socket which has been doing the rounds in the mainstream market since 2015. There is, however, a major difference. There’s no backward compatibility with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors.

That brings us to the next significant detail about the Intel 300-series platform. Intel is confirming that the 9th Gen Coffee Lake processors retain compatibility with the 300-series chipset. It’s nice to see compatibility retained but it was also expected since 9th Gen is a refresh of Coffee Lake CPUs and high-end motherboards based on the Z370 chipset still allow for full overclocking support on the 8 core processors, even though the Z390 series is tailored around those CPUs with better PWM supplies.

A more detailed analysis was posted by David Schor a few days ago which confirms the change in pin configuration on Coffee Lake processors. This allows support for both 8th and 9th Gen CPUs without any major issues.

According to David, the reason we don’t have Coffee Lake processors compatible with older series motherboards that feature the LGA 1151 socket is the change in pins. For instance, if the pin config changes on a processor, the sockets on the motherboard need to be configured as such. It’s not a process that can be done via software as its more of a hardware level change.

When compared, the Coffee Lake processors have 391 VSS (Ground) pins which is an increase of 14 compared to Kaby Lake, 146 VCC (Electrical) pins which is an increase of 18 pins compared to Kaby Lake and about 25 pins that are reserved and a decrease of 21 pins from the 46 reserved on Kaby Lake.

Kaby Lake -> Coffee Lake

  • VSS (Ground): 377 -> 391 (+14)
  • VCC (Power): 128 -> 146 (+18)
  • RSVD: 46 ->25

Intel LGA 1151 CPU Pin Configuration (Coffee Lake vs Kaby Lake):

So one thing is clear, Intel was, in fact, telling the truth about electrical changes to the processors and socket in the 300-series platform. Furthermore, it’s not just the reserved pins from Kaby Lake that have simply been populated. There are pins aside the reserved ones that were swapped with VCC pins and indicate a design tweak.

While we can put many theories to rest with this new detail, I think much of the confusion could have just been avoided if Intel clarified this themselves. Of course, if you are making the boards with a new PCH and new series of processors on the same socket that ran the previous CPU line, consumers would definitely want to know more about why the new platform that has the same socket cannot support their older chips. We previously heard about the LGA 1151 V2 naming scheme and that may have sorted some confusion but as we can tell, all motherboards still use the LGA 1151 naming scheme which may lead to people thinking that their 6th and 7th generation processors can run on the newer boards.

Cooler Compatibility With LGA 1151 Socket

Keeping the same socket has some advantages in the form of cooler compatibility. All users who are running the LGA 1151 socket or even LGA 1150 boards can use the same cooler on the Z390 boards without any hassle. The socket has the same dimensions and no changes are made aside from electrical changes that are specific to socket and processor pins. The socket assembly and mounting remain the same.

Intel does offer a separate boxed cooler but it will be a much better choice to get an AIB cooling solution since those offer better cooling performance. It is recommended for the unlocked SKUs that users run them on a high-end air cooler or liquid cooling solution. Custom loop cooling will deliver even better results.

Share on Reddit

PC News and Reviews

Intel Core i9-9900K 8 Core and 16 Thread 5.0 GHz CPU Review Ft. ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate Motherboard

October 19, 2018 — by Wccftech.com0

Intel-9th-Gen-Core-Coffee-Lake-Z390-CPUs_8-1030x579-1-960x540.png

PRODUCT INFO

ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate

October, 2018

Type Motherboard

Price $299.99 US

Introduction

Intel has come a long way with their mainstream processor platform. The platform has largely seen stagnation in terms of core and thread count over many generations since the first Core series CPU that launched back in 2010 but last year brought a big change to the CPU giant. What seemed to be a generational core clock bump has now turned into a generational core count bump while keeping the clock speed improvements.

The Coffee Lake-S 8th Generation family, was the first big core count jump on the mainstream 300 series platform. It was an opportunity for Intel to show that they don’t only hold the IPC or clock speed advantage on the mainstream segment but they can also offer good multi-threading CPU performance. While the jump to 6 cores and 12 threads was great, the competition was offering up to 8 cores and 16 threads on their mainstream platform.

dsc_0270-custom-2Related Intel Core i9-9900K 8 Core and 16 Thread 5.0 GHz CPU Review Ft. Z390 AORUS Master Motherboard

Intel is now unleashing their own 8 core parts with their new 9th Generation lineup, also known as the Coffee Lake Refresh. The interesting part is that while there is the famous Core i7 SKU with 8 cores, they are also launching their first mainstream Core i9 part with 8 cores. Both parts are very interesting in their own right and the price to performance difference is something which gamers have been looking forward to, especially when Intel is terming the Core i9 SKU as the best gaming processor on the planet, which is something I’d extensively be looking into in the performance benchmarks.

20181005-3Related ASRock Unveils An Army of Next-Generation Z390 Motherboards For Intel 9th Gen CPUs – Z390 Taichi Ultimate and Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 Take Center Stage As The Flagships

Today, I will be taking a look at the Core i9-9900K flagship CPU on the ASRock Z390 Taich Ultimate. The CPU retails for $488 US in the market and is supposed to offer high-end CPU multi-threaded performance with enthusiast level overclocking capabilities, all at a premium price point. The Z390 Taichi Ultimate retails for $299.99 US and is considered a premium offering in this price range.

Since the launch of Coffee Lake processors, Intel is also offering a new platform that is marked under the 300-series family. The Intel 300 series platform features several chipset SKUs but the top of the line is the Z390 PCH which replaces the Z370 PCH as the flagship mainstream SKU.

The Z390 platform is designed to support both 8th and 9th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs. Since the new processors are part of a refresh, Intel did not restrict 9th Gen compatibility to just Z390 boards or 8th Gen compatibility to just Z370 boards. We have more details on this in the LGA 1151 socket section so here, we will be taking a look at the Z390 feature set and what it offers over the previous 200 and 100 series platforms.

Intel Z390 PCH Features:

The 9th gen desktop platform has a range of new features that mainly include:

  • First performance Intel Core i9 desktop S-series processor
  • Up to 8 cores
  • Intel Z390 chipset compatible
  • Solder Thermal Interface Material (STIM)
  • Intel Wireless-AC 802.11 AC and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Intel Wireless-AC Adapter
  • Up To 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Ports
  • Up to 16 threads, 5.0 GHz, 16 MB cache, and 40 platform PCIe lanes (16 CPU + 24 PCH)
  • 9th Gen CPUs Compatible with all Intel 300 series chipsets
  • Intel Optane memory and Intel Optane SSD support
  • Thunderbolt 3 support

Expected Intel 300-Series Kaby Lake Refresh and Cannon Lake PCH Features:

Chipset Name Coffee Lake S (KBL-R) PCH / Z370 Platform Coffee Lake S (CNL-H) PCH / 300 Series (Z390/H370, B360, Q370, H310)
Process Node 22nm 14nm
Processor 8C, 6C, 4C (6 Consumer SKUs at Launch)
Enhanced IA and Memory Overclocking
Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT2 (Up To 24 EUs)
Consumer Only
8C, 6C, 4C, 2C (Full corporate/consumer SKU stack at launch)
Enhanced IA and Memory Overclocking
Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT2 (Up To 24 EUs)
Corporate/vPro & Consumer
Memory Up To DDR4-2666 (Native) Up To DDR4-2666 (Native)
Media, Display & Audio DP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0a w/LSPCON)
HEVC & VP9 10-bit Enc/Dec, HDR, Rec.2020, DX12
Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
DP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0a w/LSPCON)
HEVC & VP9 10-bit Enc/Dec, HDR, Rec.2020, DX12
Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
SoundWire Digital Audio Interface
I/O & Connectivity Integrated USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Thunderbolt 3.0 (Alpine Ridge)
Integrated USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Integrated Intel Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi / BT CNVi)
Integrated SDXC 3.0 Controller
Thunderbolt 3.0 (Titan Ridge) w/ DP 1.4
Storage Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Security Intel SGX 1.0 Intel SGX 1.0
Power Management C8 Support C10 & S0ix Support for Modern Standby
Launch 2017 2018

Intel isn’t moving away from the LGA 1151 socket anytime soon. We are once again looking at the same socket which has been doing the rounds in the mainstream market since 2015. There is, however, a major difference. There’s no backward compatibility with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors.

That brings us to the next significant detail about the Intel 300-series platform. Intel is confirming that the 9th Gen Coffee Lake processors retain compatibility with the 300-series chipset. It’s nice to see compatibility retained but it was also expected since 9th Gen is a refresh of Coffee Lake CPUs and high-end motherboards based on the Z370 chipset still allow for full overclocking support on the 8 core processors, even though the Z390 series is tailored around those CPUs with better PWM supplies.

A more detailed analysis was posted by David Schor a few days ago which confirms the change in pin configuration on Coffee Lake processors. This allows support for both 8th and 9th Gen CPUs without any major issues.

According to David, the reason we don’t have Coffee Lake processors compatible with older series motherboards that feature the LGA 1151 socket is the change in pins. For instance, if the pin config changes on a processor, the sockets on the motherboard need to be configured as such. It’s not a process that can be done via software as its more of a hardware level change.

When compared, the Coffee Lake processors have 391 VSS (Ground) pins which is an increase of 14 compared to Kaby Lake, 146 VCC (Electrical) pins which is an increase of 18 pins compared to Kaby Lake and about 25 pins that are reserved and a decrease of 21 pins from the 46 reserved on Kaby Lake.

Kaby Lake -> Coffee Lake

  • VSS (Ground): 377 -> 391 (+14)
  • VCC (Power): 128 -> 146 (+18)
  • RSVD: 46 ->25

Intel LGA 1151 CPU Pin Configuration (Coffee Lake vs Kaby Lake):

So one thing is clear, Intel was, in fact, telling the truth about electrical changes to the processors and socket in the 300-series platform. Furthermore, it’s not just the reserved pins from Kaby Lake that have simply been populated. There are pins aside the reserved ones that were swapped with VCC pins and indicate a design tweak.

While we can put many theories to rest with this new detail, I think much of the confusion could have just been avoided if Intel clarified this themselves. Of course, if you are making the boards with a new PCH and new series of processors on the same socket that ran the previous CPU line, consumers would definitely want to know more about why the new platform that has the same socket cannot support their older chips. We previously heard about the LGA 1151 V2 naming scheme and that may have sorted some confusion but as we can tell, all motherboards still use the LGA 1151 naming scheme which may lead to people thinking that their 6th and 7th generation processors can run on the newer boards.

Cooler Compatibility With LGA 1151 Socket

Keeping the same socket has some advantages in the form of cooler compatibility. All users who are running the LGA 1151 socket or even LGA 1150 boards can use the same cooler on the Z390 boards without any hassle. The socket has the same dimensions and no changes are made aside from electrical changes that are specific to socket and processor pins. The socket assembly and mounting remain the same.

Intel does offer a separate boxed cooler but it will be a much better choice to get an AIB cooling solution since those offer better cooling performance. It is recommended for the unlocked SKUs that users run them on a high-end air cooler or liquid cooling solution. Custom loop cooling will deliver even better results.

Share on Reddit

PC News and Reviews

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming SLI/ac Motherboard Review

October 19, 2018 — by ThinkComputers.org0

asrock-z390-phantom-gaming-1-1-1000x563-1-960x540.jpg

With the launch of Intel’s 9th Generation Core processors, including the Core i9-9900K, Intel has also introduced the Z390 chipset. Since Intel’s official announcement we’ve already seen quite a lot of motherboards Z390 motherboards announced. Today we are taking a look at our first Z390 motherboard, which happens to be the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming SLI/ac. It sits right in the middle of ASRock’s Phantom Gaming line and features a 10-phase power design, 2.5 Gigabit LAN, SLI and CrossFire support, and much more. Let’s get this board on the test bench and see what it can do!

Special thanks to ASRock for providing us with the Z390 Phantom Gaming SLI/ac motherboard.

Features

Supports 9th and 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors (Socket 1151) Phantom Gaming 2.5 Gigabit LAN Digital PWM, 10 Power Phase Supports DDR4 4300+(OC) MHz 2 PCIe 3.0 x16, 4 PCIe 3.0 x1 NVIDIA® Quad SLI™, AMD Quad CrossFireX™ Graphics Output Options : HDMI, DVI-D 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec) Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps 6 SATA3, 2 Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3) 2 USB 3.1 Gen2 10Gb/s (1 Type-A + 1 Type-C) 8 USB 3.1 Gen1 (4 Front, 4 Rear) Intel® 802.11ac WiFi + BT 4.2 ASRock Polychrome SYNC

Packaging
ASRock is keeping the same type of colors and branding that they used on their Phantom Gaming graphics cards. On the front of the box there is a large Phantom Gaming logo and it lets us know we do indeed have the Z390 Phantom Gaming SLI/ac.

Flipping over to the back we have a full overview of the board and some of the main features are detailed.

Getting everything out of the box we have our I/O shield, 2 SATA cables, SLI HB bridge, WiFi antennas, screws for the M.2 slots, software setup guide, quick installation guide, user’s guide, case sticker, and a driver and software CD.

PC News and Reviews

MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk Motherboard Review

October 19, 2018 — by ThinkComputers.org0

msi-mag-z390-tomahawk-1-1000x563-960x540.jpg

With the Z390 launch MSI has introducing a new naming scheme for their motherboards. At the top of their product stack is their MEG models which include their “Godlike”, “Creation” boards. In the middle you have the “MPG” series which includes their “Carbon” boards, and finally you have MAG (Arsenal Gaming), which will include their “Tomahawk” and “Mortar” boards. MAG is setup to be mid-range, but still pack in a lot of features. Today we are checking out the first MAG board from MSI, the MAG Z390 Tomahawk. This board has a very aggressive look which lends itself to gamers and MSI has added the pre-installed I/O shield as well. You are also going to get dual M.2 slots (one with an M.2 cooler), USB 3.1 support, dual Intel LAN, USB 3.1 gen 2, and of course RGB lighting. Read on to see if this is the Z390 board for you.

Special thanks to MSI for providing us with the MAG Z390 Tomahawk Motherboard to review.

Features
– Supports 9th / 8th Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium® Gold / Celeron® processors for LGA 1151 socket
– Supports DDR4 Memory, up to 4400(OC) MHz
– Integrated I/O design: Pre-installed I/O Shielding for convenient installation. Extended Heatsink Design ensures even high-end processors to run in full speed.
– Premium Network Connection: Dual Intel LAN for both intranet and internet, Intel CNVi Ready
– Lightning Fast Game experience: 2x TURBO M.2, Intel Optane Memory Ready. M.2 Shield Frozr, Intel Turbo USB 3.1 GEN2
– Set Core Power Free: Core Boost, 8+4 pin CPU power connector, DDR4 Boost
– MYSTIC LIGHT: 16.8 million colors / 29 effects controlled in one click. MYSTIC LIGHT EXTENSION supports both RGB and RAINBOW LED strip.

Packaging
The MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk comes in a nice retail box, on the front there is what appears to be a Tomahawk missile.

Flipping over to the back there is a photo of the board and many of the features are detailed. There is also an overview of the I/O ports.

Getting everything out of the box as far as accessories go you have two SATA cables, an RGB extension cable, MSI Gaming case badge, screws for the M.2 slots, a driver and software CD, quick installation guide, and users’s guide.

Gaming News

The World Ends With You: Final Remix: The Kotaku Review

October 12, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

pydwm37vw62ti5jfvac6.jpg

Screenshot: The World Ends With You (Square Enix)

If you have never played The World Ends With You before, the Nintendo Switch version released on Thursday night is not a bad way to get into it. Final Remix retains the game’s great sense of humor, its fantastic music, and Tetsuya Nomura’s most restrained character designs. But if you have played it before—say, if you’re a big fan of the original 2007 Nintendo DS version, like me—you will most likely be disappointed by the Switch port.

The World Ends With You is an RPG about a misanthropic teenager, Neku Sakuraba, who finds himself trapped in a deadly game in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. He has seven days to fight for his life for a chance to be reborn. To his chagrin, he is stuck with a partner, Shiki Misaki, who he doesn’t particularly like at the start. Then again, Neku doesn’t like anyone. When I picked up this game right before college in 2008, I had a lot in common with Neku and his irritating, dour moods.

Screenshot: The World Ends With You (Square Enix)

Playing this game actually changed my life. As Neku learned to reach out to other people, and in so doing learned that everyone, no matter how superficial they may seem, has an inherent value in life, so did I. The World Ends With You made me stop playing games for a while in an effort to be more social. Part of what made it so impactful was that the systems of the game were all targeted towards reinforcing its core point: Don’t shut yourself off from the world. Enjoy it, and all the people and experiences it has to offer, to the fullest.

In order to combat enemies efficiently in the original version of the game, you had to make Neku cooperate with his partner. You controlled him on the bottom screen with the stylus, while using the buttons to control Neku’s partner on the top screen. If you got it right, you could pass a glowing puck back and forth between the characters, charging up a special move that did a lot of damage. It sounds unwieldy, but it illustrated the struggle to connect with another person. Once you finally got in a rhythm, you understood, both in the game and hopefully in the wider world, that the work it takes to work together with others is worth it. By the time I reached the finale, I had grown so attached to these characters that it was hard to say goodbye. After completing the game’s 25-hour story, I went on to log another 125 grinding through optional bosses and missions, as well as revisiting particular chapters of the game that I thought were the most interesting.

Advertisement

I can’t see anyone getting that obsessed with the Switch version of the game. It’s less a port of the DS version than a port of the mobile version of the game, meaning it uses the mobile port’s touch-screen controls. There’s no real way to get around them. When the Joy-Cons are attached to the console, they simply stop working. You have to use the touch screen. When the Switch is docked and the Joy-Con are detached, you have to use motion controls that mimic the gestures you’d be making on the touch screen with your finger. I tried to play the game that way, but it’s simply atrocious. If you’re lucky enough to find a comfortable position to hold your hand in while you’re swinging around a Joy-Con, getting the game to recognize some of the more delicate motions you make is a struggle.

Not that it’s any easier when you use the touch screen. After playing through the game’s story I realized that there’s about a half-second delay on any gesture you make on the touch screen. Attacks in this game are determined by pins you win off enemies or buy, and different pins use different gestures to trigger their attacks. Some of the attacks that Neku uses require you to do things like draw a circle on the screen. Because it takes a moment for the game to register that you’re making a circle, and in that time enemies are attacking you, using attacks like those are just not very feasible. You’re better off just getting a couple pins that fire projectiles, not moving from the center of the screen, and then calling down your partner when those pins are on a cooldown.

Advertisement

Screenshot: The World Ends With You (Square Enix)

In Final Remix, there’s no struggle to get your partner to cooperate with you. You just call them down by tapping on the screen or, later in the game, by swiping or dragging. Having your partner be able to attack on command ends up making the game too easy. There’s no real reason to investigate the game’s deeper systems, like the clothing, or evolving pins into more powerful forms. I beat the game’s final boss by standing in one place and swiping.

While the game’s most powerful moments were undercut by the neutered mechanics, there are still highlights. Minamimoto, a math-obsessed villain, is still hilarious, as are the punch-clock mooks Uzuki and Kariya. This time around, the moment when Neku is forced to consider the humanity of two characters, Nao and Sota, that he had previously written off as vapid, it was a bit more poignant for me, perhaps because I’m older now and less angry about “the preps.” The writing is still strong, as is the voice acting. But the gameplay bored me to tears, and the last thing I want anyone to feel while fighting demons in Shibuya is boredom.

Advertisement

Screenshot: The World Ends With You (Square Enix)

If you’ve never played The World Ends With You before, maybe these things won’t bother you. If you’re a returning player, however, it’s hard to ignore. There’s not much new content, either. The allure of a new storyline mission, called A New Day, was all that kept me going ‘til the end of the game. There are some neat features in this new mode, like battles that impose novel challenges. Sometimes enemies will split and multiply while you fight, making you defeat them quickly. Other times, Neku’s health drains over the course of the battle but he can regain health by defeating monsters. However, once I realized that this scenario reused a boss fight from the main game, I decided I wanted to put it down for a while. Although the game allows you to retry any fight—including boss fights—on the easy difficulty so that you can just enjoy the narrative, I didn’t really feel like engaging with the same content from the main game a second time.

There’s plenty of you with 3DSes collecting dust somewhere in a drawer, like mine is. If that’s you, go figure out where to grab a copy of the DS version of this game. It really is worth it, and if you’re at the same place where I was when I first played this game, it might just change your life. If that’s not an option for you, then I suppose playing Final Remix is a fine option, but it may leave you confused as to why The World Ends With You evangelists have been hoping for this franchise’s return after all these years.

Gaming News

NBA 2K19 MyCareer: The Kotaku Review

October 4, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

tsdrexiwtzto63a5cnlj.png

Oh no, not this again.

Nope. As we’ve done the last few years, this is only a review of 2K19’s MyCareer mode, not the entire game. I think its scope, coupled with the focus 2K places on it in terms of creating and selling their game, make it interesting enough to warrant this focus.

For the longest time, if you wanted to play a proper singleplayer sports game, the NBA 2K series was your only option. Its MyCareer mode, which lets you create a fictional player then live through their career in the NBA, helped (along with Fight Night) pioneer the idea that a sports game could do story and cutscenes just as well as action or RPG titles could.

It’s what first drew me to the series 5-6 years ago, and ever since then I’ve spent countless hours crafting my own personal journeys through the league, turning a long line of raw and untested college kids into all-stars and world champions. Indeed like it is for many others, it’s practically the only thing I play NBA 2K for, since I’m not interested in managing a team or playing online.

This year, my guy was Benji Adebayo, a cocky but lovable youngster who, having gone undrafted thanks to some questionable personal choices, winds up toiling away in lesser leagues in pursuit of his NBA dream, first in China, then in the G-League.

I like Benji! He’s a raw talent with a good heart, somebody who is making mistakes but learning from them at the same time. After the “Poochie Design Session” garbage that was 2K18’s “DJ”, 2K19’s “A.I.” (your all-purpose nickname for commentary and cutscene purposes) is just a nice normal kid, hardly a groundbreaking template for a sports game character, but I’ll take cliche over last year’s disaster any day of the week.

Advertisement

That’s Blake Jenner in the middle. The game’s prelude also features performances from Anthony Mackie, Aldis Hodge and Michael Rapaport as a frazzled G-League coach.

2K took a lot of flak last year over 2K18’s MyCareer, and not all of it was down to the insidious nature of the game’s reliance on microtransactions. The singleplayer story mode itself was also deeply flawed, built on a ludicrous premise and full of grating and artificial personalities, and the inability to skip even the most pointless cutscenes became infuriating only a few minutes into a career.

In some ways, the company has responded top this. 2K19’s The Way Back, a cinematics-heavy prelude to your NBA career, gets the series back to what it does best, dropping AI into a corny little storyline about redemption, self-improvement and growth as you shed an entitled and arrogant persona on your way to getting a shot at the big-time.

There are arch-rivals to hate, small-town players to befriend, questionable hangers-on to navigate and a girl to romance, and for the most part it’s just lovely. Loaded with cameos and with a storyline that feels like it’s actually building to something, it’s the strongest 2K plot in years. While it lasts.

The Way Back is a fantastic prelude which sets expectations that there are plotlines that will continues once you graduate from the G-League, since both your rivalries and friendships carry through there, but the second you actually make it to the NBA, even though those fictional characters line up against you in actual matches, the story dries up almost completely.

Advertisement

Aside from the odd comedic cameo from an NBA player (most of which involve them breaking into your apartment) and stuff like shoe contracts and text messages, where you could once expect MyCareer’s story to pop up occasionally between matches as an incentive, now there’s just the grind of playing match after match, sitting through Gatorade ads and running around the game’s dystopian open world hub, the Neighbourhood.

Without a narrative to drive you forwards through an NBA career, what’s left to entice you to grind through season after season? It’s certainly not the satisfaction of player progression, which once again has been tied to the game’s insidious obsession with Virtual Currency (VC). You can practice and perform well all you like, but unlike normal singleplayer game experiences, that won’t improve your stats here.

Instead, the only way to level up in NBA 2K19 is to pump VC into your stats. And yes, you can earn this organically through hours and hours and hours of gameplay (you’ll earn a small amount of VC after every match), but much of that time will be spent toiling in the salt mines of incompetence, as your low-level player misses shot after shot and lumbers around the court like Shaq circa 2010.

2K19 is relentlessly asking you to spend VC, in every menu and in every store that litters the Neighbourhood, the hub world that connects the game’s various shopfronts. It makes the whole game gross. Like a slick film that clings to your skin, and no amount of showering can get it off. The player is being ambushed at almost every screen, cajoled into spending more money on a game that they’ve already paid $60, as though this were some predatory free-to-play phone game and not a AAA home console (and PC) title.

Advertisement

This is a singleplayer sports experience. I’m never competing against anyone, never comparing my box scores to anyone else, this is just about me and the story I’m creating in my own house in my own time. Why can’t I just enjoy the experience in peace?

All of this extraneous drama is a damn shame, because once again the basketball on offer is great. Really great this year, actually. There aren’t many big changes, but loads of little tweaks to stuff like layup and shot percentages, interior behaviour and defensive isolation cover make the on-court action a load of fun.

No other sports game can match the physicality of 2K19. Almost everything I love about the game is born from this: the way players move, the way collisions are detected, the ability to drive to the basket through traffic, set a screen, crossover a defender, each player looks and behaves like a giant lump of bone and flesh instead of a floaty, artificial video game man.

Matched with fantastic commentary and presentation, gorgeous visuals (at least on the PC version I played) and a raft of mostly-welcome cameos behind the mic from NBA legends, by most measures this should be the best sports game on the market.

Should be. Like, this is literally a game about being a basketball player, asking you to play entire games of basketball. If that basketball was fun, then surely MyCareer by extension is also fun.

Advertisement

Yet 2K19’s VC bullshit stinks so bad that it wafts over all the good stuff on the court. Virtual Currency doesn’t just suck a lot of the fun out of the game, it stripmines the experience to the bone. The player should be at the centre of a big singleplayer adventure like this, the focus on their performances and the story unfolding around them. Instead, in 2K19 the player is reduced to a mark.

2K19’s MyCareer represents some of the very worst in exploitative, money-hungry design in all of video games. The fact it permeates a singleplayer experience so thoroughly makes this year’s MyCareer a hard pass, no matter how well the initial story is told or how much fun you have actually playing basketball.

NBA fans deserve to be treated like fans, not the target of a publisher’s petty grift.

PC News and Reviews

Moshi Kameleon Kickstand iPhone Case Review

October 4, 2018 — by ThinkComputers.org0

specifications-moshi.jpg

If you have any mobile device you should take some precautions to protect it, especially if you’ve spent the money on an iPhone. For me when I look at cases for my iPhone I want something that is stylish, but functional as well. That is why Moshi’s Kameleon appealed to me as it has a really sleek design, offers good protection, and even has a kickstand to make watching media and seeing messages easier. Is this the case you should get for your iPhone? Read on as we find out!

Special thanks to Moshi for providing us with the Kameleon Kickstand iPhone Case to review.

Specifications

Packaging
The Moshi Kameleon comes in a typical retail box you would find at an Apple store or similar wireless retail store. The front is open so you can get a look at the case.

Flipping over to the back there is a list of features.

PC News and Reviews

Fractal Design Define S2 Case Review

October 3, 2018 — by ThinkComputers.org0

define-s2-specs.jpg

Fractal Design’s Define Series of cases has to be one of their most popular. We’ve reviewed quite a few of the Define cases over the years. Well Fractal Design is back with a new Define case in their Define S2, which is a successor to the original Define S case. This case improves upon the original and of course has that Fractal Design quality we know and love. Some of the main features of this case include a large tempered glass side panel, modular open-layout design, sound dampening properties, ModuVent top cover, and three included 140 mm fans. There are quite a lot more too, so let’s jump right in!

Special thanks to Fractal Design for providing us with the Define S2 Case to review.

Specifications

Packaging
The Define S2 comes in Fractal Design’s typical retail packaging. On the front we have an outline of the case and it lets us know we have the white tempered glass version. Fractal Design will be offering the case in Black, White, Gunmetal, and Blackout versions.

Flipping over to the back there is an exploded view of the case and some of the main features are listed in a few different languages.

Opening the box up the case is nicely protected by large pieces of Styrofoam and the case itself is inside of the plastic bag. The tempered glass side panel is protected on both sides with a plastic film as well.

Gaming News

Super Mario Party: The Kotaku Review

October 3, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

s7kguuqnrr7x3uyw6cg7.bmp

“Who are you rooting for?” I asked my housemate, a non-player heckler watching a full-up game of Super Mario Party. Without missing a beat, he responded gleefully: “Chaos!”

Mario Party is a video board game series that’s all about swing. You get a star. You move a few spaces. You lose a star. You steal a star. Someone steals it back. You earn some coins. You win all the puzzle games, but you lose all the rhythm games. Then, somehow, thanks to the random roll of a die, you trigger a cartoon bomb with a gentlemanly gray mustache and all your coins vanish. A game of Mario Party is a grand swing from tragedy to triumph and back again, and the only reason why it’s so fun is because the whole emotional journey is told in the language of “weird Nintendo.”

Some Mario Party games don’t strike that balance. Maybe they’re too cruel, or too infantile, or the mini-games aren’t preposterous enough. Super Mario Party, out October 5 for Switch, is one of the best entries in the long-running series because it harmonizes these competing elements of delight, catastrophe, and absurdity. Super Mario Party also takes advantage of the Switch’s versatility in surprising, if inconsistent, ways, shaking up the formula of the old-school multiplayer party game. Over the last weekend, my apartment was an open-door Super Mario Party party, and despite startling upsets between first and last place, and my once being referred to as a “stone cold Mario Party bitch,” we never once felt like quitting Super Mario Party, partly because of how well it harnessed human social interaction in the service of gameplay.

Super Mario PartyImage: Nintendo

Let’s start with the basics: Super Mario Party is a four-player board game. Players choose a signature Nintendo character, roll some dice and move around the board collecting items and coins. Between each round, players are thrown into a three vs. one, two vs. two, or a free-for-all mini-game. Coins are awarded to winners. And with those coins, players can buy stars on the board if they pass by the star’s location. That location moves each time a player gets the star, which inspires some light strategizing. Overthinking ultimately doesn’t amount to much, because players can also win stars randomly from landing on certain spaces, or steal stars from each other. At the end of the game, Mario Party gifts extra stars to players who, say, landed on the most unlucky spaces, won the most mini-games, or traveled around the most. Whoever has the most stars wins.

It’s clear from the start that Super Mario Party is a heavyweight in the series because, in this version, traditionally evil Nintendo characters like Bowser and Bowser Jr. are playable. Moving around the map with the game’s trademark villains doesn’t stop feeling novel, if a little unnatural—but don’t worry, NPCs still treat them with fear and reverence, even when they’re stealing their stars. Also playable, aside from the obvious cast of well-worn Nintendo heroes, are Shy Guy, Boo, Koopa Troopa, Monty Mole, Goomba, a single Hammer Bro, and Dry Bones.

Advertisement

Super Mario PartyImage: Nintendo

Super Mario Party’s starting boards include Megafruit Paradise (floating tropical islands made of fruit), King Bob-omb’s Powderkeg Mine (a risky, bomb-littered lava den) and a lackluster stage called Whomp’s Domino Ruins. After that, you can unlock another board with more exciting gimmicks. There are, from what I can tell, only four boards. This is a travesty. Especially because just one or two are worth writing home about. It is impossible for me to fathom why this is the case for one of Nintendo’s biggest titles on its big new console.

The stages rely on a few tired Mario Party tropes, like landing on a space and getting warped or transported elsewhere, or paying a fee to move the big stone guy to another pathway, or landing on a certain space enough times to explode an area-of-effect bomb. They feel a little over-polished in places, lacking in idiosyncrasies. It’s cute to see sand squids on Megafruit Paradise, but there isn’t anything particularly fresh about the stage design itself. A few quality-of life changes, like having a visual indicator of what number of spaces you’ll need to roll to hit a certain spot on the board, cut down on the silly, time-wasting stuff caused by previous games’ strange UI choices.

The action at the core of every Mario Party game, as with the board games that inspired them, is a fundamentally random one: Rolling a die. Super Mario Party takes a couple of steps towards making that a bit less random. . While each character can always choose to roll a traditional six-sided die, they also each have their own custom dice block. For example, here are the six sides of Bowser’s die: -3 coins, -3 coins, 1, 8, 9, 10. So you have a 50 percent chance of moving a great many spaces, and a 33 percent chance of going nowhere and losing money. Other custom dice are less risky and more about stability, like Mario’s (1, 3, 3, 3, 5, 6).

This adds two layers of strategy: For one, picking your character is now more than a matter of pure aesthetics, since the custom dice are different. Two, you always have the choice of dice blocks, so you can pull out the best one for whatever situation you find yourself in.

Advertisement

The other addition to the die-rolling aspect of the game is allies. Super Mario Party lets players team up with NPCs by landing on ally spaces and finding ally items. These spaces give players an NPC (chosen from the roster of characters that aren’t currently being played in the game) who follows them around and might even help out during some mini-games. Players will also then have the option to use their ally’s custom dice block whenever they roll. The ally also rolls an extra die for every turn, though, adding more spaces to your roll, so you need to take that into account when strategizing as well. You could also just not strategize at all and plan to get lucky.

Super Mario PartyImage: Nintendo

Now let’s get to what the people really care about: mini-games. Nintendo makes good use of its most multifaceted console in this updated take on the classic Mario Party formula. Super Mario Party’s mini-games draw on a frankly staggering array of genres and ideas, many of which take full advantage of the Joy-Con motion controls. There’s a mini-game in which the Joy-Con represents a pan handle and the player must cook each side of a cube of steak by flipping it over. It’s finicky, and requires a little swivel alongside a toss, but in a way that feels true-to-life. There’s a three vs. one mini-game in which the teams compete to see who can vacuum up the most dust bunnies. There’s a mini-game in which players must race each other in tricycles, which they pedal by whirling around a joy-con. There’s another in which a volcano explodes, exuding popcorn and rocks, and players must dodge the rocks to catch popcorn in a cup.

Then, there’s my favorite, Slaparazzi, in which players earn the most points by being the closest to a moving camera. They only have the option to run and to punch. That leads to hilarious photographs of Rosalina punching Shy Guy out of the way for her chance in the spotlight. There are also wacky, WarioWare-ish mini-games, like one that asks players to take turns petting a giant worm in a forest clearing. Whoever wakes the worm up loses. These games are when Super Mario Party is in its prime. The mini-games are in equal parts ludicrous, exhilarating, fun, and total bullshit, which, if you’ve ever played Mario Party, is an ideal combination of qualities.

Super Mario PartyImage: Nintendo

This is a noob-friendly Super Mario Party, befitting a noob-friendly console that has sold 20 million units. That’s a lot of people to please. Super Mario Party will certainly please a lot of them, as well as the occasional parent or non-gamer Switch-owners will inevitably rope into a game. Most mini-games feel novel and a little challenging to master, even on Normal mode. For me, playing them any more than that in the span of a few days doesn’t feel tiresome. It made me excited to dig into them more. Nintendo is the master of the low-barrier-to-entry, high-skill-ceiling formula, and in most Super Mario Party mini-games, it feels like a guiding principle.

Advertisement

Mario Party has a reputation for ruining friendships and slash or causing divorces. My theory is that it’s partly because many iterations of it aren’t super fun on their own, so players feel the need to spice things up by backstabbing each other. It’s also partly because it’s fun to look someone in the eye and ruin their day with the excuse that it’s all part of the game. Few Super Mario Party minigames feel needlessly cruel, which shifts the onus on players to pour meaning and bias into their in-game behavior. I like that, but for me, it cut down on bribery, deals with the devil, and mutual back-scratching—social engineering dynamics I thrive off but that other players may find mean-spirited.

Super Mario Party makes some effort to mitigate friendship-ruining behavior. At various times during gameplay a motherly (and somewhat condescending) voice says, “Ready…….. Yeah!” as players are instructed to do air high-fives with the Joy-Cons. The reward: a few coins. Ironically, it inspired a few snipes between friends who weren’t coordinated enough to snag the extra coins.

Super Mario PartyImage: Nintendo

There’s more to Super Mario Party than just the series’ bread-and-butter board game. There are other modes that vary on Mario Party themes, and they’re not throw-away filler. They’re charming, clever, and surprising. Players can navigate to them using a menu that Super Mario Party refers to as a “party pad”—perhaps a sad reminescence to Nintendo’s Wii U days—or wander aimlessly around a poorly-laid-out lobby, stopping at various stalls to participate in various modes. The lobby (called the Party Plaza) is not cute enough to make up for how inefficient it is, but it does make the game feel a little more experimental.

Preeminent among these modes is Partner Party, a co-op version of the classic mode in which players can move freely across the board and share dice rolls. Coordinating movements with another player, and strategizing over how to get stars or foil opponents, adds a very welcome—and somewhat adult—level of complexity to what’s often referred to as the boring half of the game. It’s the other half that suffers here, though. While Mario Party’s team minigames are excellent, and demand cross-couch instruction-screaming, they’re the only ones you can play in this mode, and having such a small portion of the minigames available is a big bummer.

Super Mario PartyImage: Nintendo

Advertisement

Another mode, River Survival, has four players using their Joy-Cons to paddle on a raft down a tumultuous river. Between dodging rocks and aiming for speed boosts, players can hit bubbles that unlock co-op mini-games. Winning gives them more time to complete the multi-branching course. It is pure joy, although, again, the mini-games quickly recycle. And Sound Stage, probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in a Mario Party game, is a treasure trove of rhythm-based mini-games in which players stand—yes, stand up—and move their controllers in sync with some activity: pulling tablecloths from under stacked wine glasses, twirling batons like a color guard, and striking poses. Sound Stage works so well in great part because of the incredible music, which oscillates between honky-tonk and Nintendo remixes (with NPC fans clapping on-beat in the background.). There’s also an online multiplayer mode, which Kotaku was unable to test by review time because the service is not yet online.

In Super Mario Party’s first trailer, one detail intrigued me and my colleagues above all else: the minigames that used two side-by-side Switch tablets. Models in the glamorous, millennial-stacked trailer took two Nintendo Switches (that’s $600 worth of tech) with a tank game on each, and in the middle of a coffee shop, arranged them together and connected them with a finger swipe. Seamlessly, the tanks rolled from the first screen to the second and fired at each other. What? At E3, Nintendo would not talk to Kotaku about how that worked. I still think it is literal witchcraft. (It’s probably local wireless.)

IRL, these games are bonkers. Seriously bonkers. It turns out that the perfect setting for the tank game, Shell Shocked Deluxe, is actually something like a coffee shop: A place to while away a little social time with friends. There’s also a baseball game, Mini League Baseball, which elicits small screams and angry fist-pounding from me. Two players pitch and catch balls while two others bat and are on deck. This results in a cutely competitive team game, which, with two Switch consoles, lets one team have the batting perspective and the other the fielding one. Puzzle Hustle and Banana, Split are ruthlessly co-op, asking two plays to spatially reason in unison, and in the latter instance, twist two consoles around so parts of a puzzle line up.

Here’s the thing: Not everybody has access to two Switches. It’s a little presumptuous to assume that even the majority of Switch owners would. And that presumption isn’t limited to these mini-games: To even get four people playing a game of Mario Party, you need four Joy-Cons. In fact, every player must play the game with a single Joy-Con held horizontally. I hate this. I don’t know whether that’s rational. Perhaps some of Mario Party’s mini-games require Joy-Con enhanced motion controls and force feedback, but could they really not have been done with a Pro Controller?

Super Mario PartyImage: Nintendo

Advertisement

You can’t play Super Mario Party any other way—not with a Pro Controller, not with dual Joy-Cons, not in handheld mode. To me, that last one is especially wild. Party games like Super Mario Party are the only occasions on which I’ll dock my Switch, and yet, it’s astoundingly strange that I can’t even navigate a menu in this game without detaching my Joy-Cons.

With these modes, Nintendo flirts with something new. Considering how few maps the game’s classic mode is offering, though, I can’t help but wonder what compromises were made.

Despite a few minor hiccups, Super Mario Party offers precisely what I wanted: a refreshed, ridiculous and majorly replayable virtual board game that won’t totally end my friendships, but might put a few at risk. It’s saturated with small (and large) touches that give the game character, but respectfully relies and improves on classic mechanics. Chaos still reigns, yet with more opportunities for strategy, Super Mario Party has aged at pace with its audience.