Avatar for secularsage



  • Registered 3 years ago
  • Last active 12 days ago
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I write. I research. I play games.

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Recent comments

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 12 days ago

    @photoboy You know, it's interesting; most of what gamers outside Japan know about Mario as a character comes from non-canonical works (like the Super Mario Bros. Super Show and the movie) rather than the games. I don't think any of the Famicom Japanese games even referred to Mario as a plumber (here's the manual for Super Mario Bros in both Japanese and English.), and the idea that Mario came from Brooklyn, while certainly prevalent, isn't ever mentioned in the games (unless it's been tossed in as a joke in one of the RPG-style adventures; I'm not sure).

    In fact, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island seems to imply Mario was born in the Mushroom Kingdom (since he's being delivered by a stork). Most of the later games treat him like he belongs there, and Odyssey seems to support that (since the citizens of New Donk City have more realistic proportions).

    The most persistent idea about Mario is that he's a plumber when the reality is that he seems to be more of a handyman who moonlights in other professions. He's a carpenter in Donkey Kong, fixing pipes in Mario Bros., and appears in many early Famicom/NES games in all sorts of different roles, including as the titular Dr. Mario. Shigeru Miyamoto has explained that Mario's profession really relies on the scenario here, which is supported by the fact that whenever Mario puts on a costume, he gains special powers.

    Posted in The Good and (Maybe) Bad of Super Mario Odyssey

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 12 days ago

    Watching the gameplay demos, I've grown concerned this game will be style over substance. Since New Donk City was revealed, many have made the obvious comparison to Sonic Adventure - a game that took the Sonic series in a new direction, but one that wasn't necessarily loved by all its fans.

    Since limitations have always been a core design philosophy of Mario games (timers, concrete objectives, limited power-ups, and so forth), it'll be interesting to see how removing some of them changes the feel of the game. What I've seen reminds me a lot of Super Mario Sunshine, and while folks are nostalgic for that game now, it was pretty jarring when it came out.

    Posted in The Good and (Maybe) Bad of Super Mario Odyssey

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 12 days ago

    E3 is such a weird event; it's hugely successful (attendance grows every year), but it's less and less important as a showcase for upcoming games and even more of a huge hype-a-thon. When they tried to change the format to be more businesslike, it lost its sparkle, and it only really works with big events and dramatic reveals. It makes sense to turn it into a public-friendly convention down the road rather than a straight-up trade show, and that's what it'll be in a few years.

    I also hope folks are prepared for Beyond Good & Evil 2 to be a game that won't live up to its hype, because that tends to be the pattern with Ubisoft early reveals - they show a concept off and then pressure the development teams to ship games that aren't ready. This one's even worse because there's a decade+ of expectation based on the repurposed name. Don't be surprised if Michel Ancel leaves the project for creative differences.

    Still, while the overarching sentiment is that this wasn't a particularly exciting E3 beyond a handful of games, if you look at the release calendar for the next 365 days, there are some potentially amazing titles on the way. For example, I don't know how people can watch that Spider-Man gameplay and be anything less than excited for it; if the game lives up to the promise of what was shown, it's going to be an incredible experience.

    Posted in The Winners and Losers of E3 2017

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 13 days ago

    It's hard to tell from afar, but based on what's been shown thus far, mine would be:

    Super Mario Odyssey
    Dragonball FighterZ

    As much as I love original IPs, this E3 suggests we've got a sea of sequels, spinoffs and licensed games ahead in 2017-2018, and these three all look pretty sharp.

    Posted in USgamer Community Question: What Is Your Favorite Game of E3 2017?

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 13 days ago

    First of all, those who are outraged should channel their energy into coordinating a campaign to lobby Sony and their third party publishing partners. They will be far more effective than those griping on Twitter or Reddit (or the PlayStation Blog, which Sony reps only seem to read comments from for a few hours).

    Secondly, Sony people saying dumb stuff that seems out of touch with reality is as old as the PlayStation brand, and Sony's always been slow to catch up to trends and loathe to change its policies expeditiously. It took most of the PS3 generation for PSN to catch up to Xbox Live, and it's still not as good as it could be, despite years of user complaints. They clearly have a difficult internal environment that keeps their divisions siloed and slow to react.

    But with all that said... I really question how much the most recent desired features (cross-platform play with competitors and backwards compatibility) matter to the average PlayStation gamer. A lot of it just seems like Internet noise to me.

    Posted in PlayStation 4 is Sitting Out On Cross Platform Play, and Players are Confused

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 14 days ago

    The problem is that the main reason for buying an Xbox One X is to make your games look better on 4K TVs.

    4K TVs are likely to have a slow adoption rate (much like 3D TVs before them) since they are not a required or revolutionary consumer upgrade. They also need to be quite large relative to the average current TV size to benefit from the added resolution.

    Further, many current gen games already look good in 4k because the TVs process the video signal and make things look crisp and clean instead of muddy.

    Therefore, I would not expect an Xbox One X to be a very compelling purchase for most gamers, and since Microsoft is already struggling to make a case for why gamers this gen should own an Xbox instead of a good gaming PC, the probability is that high-end gamers will migrate in that direction, not continue to buy more powerful Xboxes.

    Posted in Counterpoint: The Xbox One X is Right to Prioritize Power, Even if it's at the Expense of Affordability

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 16 days ago

    Microsoft claims they're listening to gamers, but they're clearly hanging around the wrong living rooms. Every year since the announcement of the Xbox One, they've shown a startling level of disconnect with how people buy and play console games. It's hard to believe after they got so much right with the 360 that they could squander that lead so miserably with the One and offer such a weak alternative platform to the PlayStation.

    First of all, the good news is that the Xbox One platform (even at the cheapest tier) will continue to play all the latest XBO and multiplatform titles. That means no one who invested in the XBO loses.

    Secondly, the Xbox One X is a mid-generation console geared at a premium audience that probably doesn't exist. Stripped of all of the hype of a new console generation and lacking any exclusive content that requires an upgrade, it's going to sound like a more expensive Xbox that plays the same games you can already play on older hardware. Microsoft has been so focused on their trump card of backwards compatibility that they've convinced themselves gamers want a new, more expensive box to play games they could already play on TVs most don't yet own. It's baffling, and it completely ignores all of the more obvious opportunities like portability or novelty (VR, mixed reality, etc.)

    Finally, Microsoft still has yet to announce or release a really big exclusive game for this generation that's not a sequel or retread. Everything they've shown off this year that's exclusive to the Xbox is niche at best, and their previous big and broad exclusive efforts (Halo 5, Gears of War 4, Dead Rising 3 and 4, Ryse, Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall) ranged from OK to good, but didn't make a compelling case for the system or establish big Xbox-only IPs. And while it's nice that Killer Instinct and the Forza games have turned out so well, they're not big system sellers the way a strong exclusive action game might be.

    In short, releasing a $499 mid-generation console is nuts. Microsoft clearly heard what it wanted to hear and missed out on the fact that console gamers are far more interested in a good lineup of software than they are in raw graphical power. Those who do care about power get into PC gaming, not console gaming.

    Posted in The Internet Reacts to the Xbox One X $499 Price

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 17 days ago

    I'm still struggling to understand who their target audience is supposed to be. Gamers who live on the bleeding edge of graphics are PC gamers, not console gamers. Microsoft did a smart thing with that Xbox One Elite Controller - improved quality is something a niche of console gamers cares about - but the Xbox One X (or XbOX, natch) is appealing to a 4k gamer that I'm not certain actually exists at this point. It'll be years before 4K TV that require a better console really catch on.

    At least they're keeping the $300 (or $250 this week) model available as well, and at least it'll continue to run the latest games. That's a good thing.

    Posted in The Xbox One X Doesn't Have Nearly Enough Exclusives to Justify its $499 Price Tag

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 23 days ago

    I've been playing Persona 5 on my Vita (at least some of it), and I ask myself constantly why Sony couldn't re-position this platform as an essential accessory for the PS4. It can stream almost any PS4 game (which mostly works, though the missing buttons being mapped to touchpads are a caveat), it can play a sizable library of cross-buy games natively and it's able to run media apps.

    The biggest problem the Vita's had to endure is the memory card issue; Sony got so paranoid about piracy they insisted on expensive, low-capacity cards. They really needed to do a re-release with better memory options, extra buttons for remote play/PS Now and a 4G radio. Ah well. It's still a good platform and it's too bad Sony gave up on it.

    Posted in Sony Doesn't Really Like Talking About the Vita

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 27 days ago

    @tigergt33 I think the goodwill towards Aksys comes from the fact that the games are loaded with SP and MP content (as you mentioned) and that they're niche enough that the audience is happy to buy the regular updates if they want to keep playing. (It's also feasible to skip an upgrade here or there without losing your competitive edge.) Aksys was even smart enough to figure out that the story mode didn't need to be integrated with the fighting mode, which is pretty incredible when you realize they essentially ship a long visual novel with each new Guilty Gear release.

    Capcom got a lot of the same goodwill with Street Fighter IV's various incarnations because the new content justified the upgrade.

    Personally, I wish more game devs would take the Skullgirls approach of just making a great fighting game and turning to the community for continued financial support to create free upgrades for everyone who made the initial purchase.

    Posted in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's Rumored Roster Is a Disappointing Mirror of MvC3