Overview of the Nintendo Switch: An Underwhelming Console

The Nintendo Switch has been out on the market for a while now, so it’s high-time for an analysis of its current benefit-detriment cross-section. Let’s see how it stacks up to its market competitors and predecessor console.

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To get everyone up to speed, here are all the Switch components that lag behind the competition, i.e. Sony’s PS4 Pro and Microsoft’s Xbox One (soon to be Scorpio):

1.) 32GB of internal storage. For frame of reference, the baseline PS4 had 500GB and from the start people were ardently whinging about how that wasn’t nearly enough. 32GB won’t cover a modern game. Watch_Dogs can’t fit on this system in its default form. You can upgrade storage via SD cards, but that’s an additional purchase and therefore not a factor in assessing the baseline model.

2.) Minimal third-party support. A console relatively devoid of heavy-hitting publishers. Ubisoft is working on a peculiar Mario-Rabbids crossover and SEGA is bringing Sonic to the Switch, but beyond that there’s little fanfare from third-parties.

3.) $300 price tag. Currently, the PS4 and Xbox One are in the same exact price range and offer infinitely more value in terms of both game selection and hardware, which doesn’t bode well for a new console struggling to make a splash in the market pool.

4.) Charging for online. Nintendo’s market niche-cornering has never been focused on the online multiplayer demographic, and it shows. Without Battlefield, Titanfall, Rainbow Six, Call of Duty, Forza, Gears of War, or any other relevant multiplayer game slated to be on the Switch (besides Splatoon 2), the service doesn’t seem to be justifying its price all that well.

5.) 3 hour Switch battery life. Playing a graphically demanding game results in 3 hours of battery life. That’s less than half an average plane flight’s duration, and that’s exactly the situation Nintendo was advertising this feature for. Worse, some airlines are experimenting with restrictions that prevent you from bringing your Switch in carry-on, negating the purpose entirely.

6.) Accessory pricing. Scraping $90 for a pair of controller handles, known as joy-cons, is the current tag. Not even the main controller, mind you, as that’s the Switch’s removable screen itself. It’s a steep price point that sets a rough precedent for the accessories department, to say the least.

7.) Under-powered. Nintendo had five years to stare into their competitors’ eyes and work toward surpassing the PS4 and Xbox One in every way, and instead of rising to the challenge they’ve chosen to opt out of the race altogether. Objectively speaking, the hardware in this system isn’t competitive with boxes that have been out for nearly half a decade.

In conclusion, things are looking somewhat grim for the Switch. While Nintendo diehards have caused the console’s launch to be a massive success, sales are already starting to stagnate and repeat the pattern of the Switch’s failed predecessor, the Wii U. With only ports of Wii U games on the system at the moment (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild), there’s virtually no incentive to invest in a Switch right now and there won’t be until Super Mario Odyssey secures a release date.

“Alien: Covenant” Review

It’s slow, it’s stupid, it’s sinfully bad.

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To put it bluntly, nothing happens in the first hour. There’s minimal characterization of the cannon fodder, lots of scenic shots of nothingness and absolutely no plot. Then, when we do get to the plot, we get the most underwhelming origin story explaining the xenomorphs’ creation, effectively ruining every other movie in the series. Then there’s an abysmal finale that tries to recapture the magic of the original Alien but utterly blows it, making a tense alien hunt no more than a five minute ordeal (and I do mean ordeal; it’s a minor inconvenience for the characters) that you’ve already seen the entirety of in the trailers. And that’s the thing, there are some cool shots in the trailer that never even make it into the movie.

Here’s the scoop: Ridley Scott thinks he’s made a very smart movie–but really, it’s a smattering of glorified philosophy 101 topics served to you across two and a half hours of lackluster horror. That, coupled with the most inept team of space colonists ever as the emotional “pull” of the flick, leaves you with a forgettable, damning piece of evidence as to why Ridley needs oversight on these projects. Or, better yet, hand the reigns off entirely to Neil Blomkamp and watch him make a far superior Alien 5.

The 5 Best Movies of 2016

5.) Kubo and the Two Stringskubo-main_0

It’s an animated movie with hutzpah; something that isn’t widely promulgated these days. Featuring beautiful art direction, great music and a narrative containing serious, mature themes that will resonate with child and adult alike, Kubo is a gem in the modern day animated dirt mine.

4.) The Accountantmv5bndc5mzg2ntyxnv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjq2odawote-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_

This is on here because the first hour and a half was a remarkably delicate, thoughtful handling of a sensitive subject matter interlaced with guns, powerful flashback sequences and (against all odds) interesting mathematical content. Riveting stuff. Not to mention the second half wasn’t that bad either.

 

 

3.) Hacksaw Ridgeimg

I don’t normally watch WWII period pieces, but when I do I make sure Mel Gibson’s directing ’em.

 

 

 

 

1.) All I See Is You and The Autopsy of Jane Doe

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It’s a tie! While I like All I See Is You just a tad more because it speaks to my experiences in relationships (I know, yikes) and operates on a level entirely above and beyond any other romantic drama I’ve seen, the reality of the matter is that it’s a more flawed movie than The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Jane Doe accomplishes exactly what it sets out to without a single misstep. In any case, they’re both horror masterpieces and my movies of 2016.

The 5 Worst Movies of 2016

My definition of worst for the sake of this list: anything that let me down so substantially that I feel it was a waste of my time on this earth. Disappointed, wronged, call it whatever you want. I’m calling it “worst.”

5.) Neighbors 2: Sorority Risingimages

This is the kind of inane movie that panders to the brand of feminism people like Laci Green preach. It’s utterly idiotic in every way, to summarize. The jokes fall flat, the characters of the first are brought back for a pointless sequel, Seth Rogen drops the ball, you get the gist.

4.) Sausage Party

And look at that, Seth is back on this list already! The funniest thing to come from his two 2016 releases is the fact I usually like his brand of humor. Yet here we are, with a raunchy, incoherent mess of a two-hour food orgy. Literally. Ever think about the CGI artists who pay for their children’s food by animating a hot dog ass-fucking a bagel? You do now. Continue reading

Review of “Assassin’s Creed”

As a marketing tool, this movie fails. It only contains content that fans of the series will appreciate, meaning it’s preaching to the choir and no one else. With that said, I liked it—a lot.acm.jpg

I think the biggest problem with this movie, the only one by my estimation, is the abysmal writing. It’s atrocious. Dialogue is beyond shoddy, the plot itself is a mess and every single aspect of this movie that was dictated by the screenplay is garbage. The writers, Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage should honestly be so embarrassed that they omit this credit from their resumes. Every single Assassin’s Creed video game features better writing than what’s on display here, and that’s saying something.

Here’s the good news: everything else is spectacular. If you go in expecting a visual extravaganza filled with superb acting, video game Easter eggs, historical celebrity cameos and dope Spanish Inquisition action set-pieces, you’ll walk out satisfied. Given the awful hand director Justin Kurzel was dealt with the aforementioned screenplay, the cinematic God-king himself made the most of it and delivered on everything he possibly could from his position. The movie looks stunning. Sounds stunning. IS stunning.

The Game of the Year Award for 2016

The first few months of this year didn’t seem to exist, as far as video games were concerned. No relevant triple A releases, no worthwhile indie games, nothing. Between January and August, one of the only two new releases I purchased was The Culling, an early-access mess of a game that revamped every piece of in-game weaponry with new nerfs and buffs bi-weekly, to the point where you never knew what weapon would have what impact. Hence why I dropped it. What started out as a very tense Hunger Games-style multiplayer madhouse dissolved into overly long, drawn-out matches of poke the bad guy with a spear forty times until one of you gets bored and dies. Such a shame.

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The other new release was Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, a fine if unremarkable game. Terribly short but notably sweet, it’s nothing more than a faint whisper in my memory at this point.

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From there I snagged Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in early September, the best half-complete product I ever bought. If acts 2 and 3 of the story had been included and the overall narrative delivery hadn’t been so utterly pedestrian, this would’ve been my game of the year easily. Ah well, maybe the trilogy’s finale will feel like a complete product when it comes out in three to four years.

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Two disappointments and one neutral release in and finally the holiday heavy-hitters started to make their arrivals, kicking off with Titanfall 2. I still haven’t touched a second of the campaign, instead soaking up every last multiplayer match the dying community will afford me in the time it has left. Given the positive word of mouth circulating around the story component however, I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt and say it’s a great purchase overall. We’re one for four now, those of you keeping tally at home.

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Next up came Hitman, the surprise show-stealer of 2016. Featuring insanely creative and aesthetically inventive levels, a refined and revamped mechanics set for Agent 47 and an overall sense of bold direction no other game this year had, the DRM-laden episodic caper from Square Enix comes out on top. Two for five.

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And lastly, at the twilight of 2016, after the horrendous PC launch had subsided and my unwavering love for Dishonored grew to a fever pitch, I picked up Dishonored 2. Having just gotten past the infamous clockwork mansion, I can attest to the game’s merits. It’s wonderfully inventive in its level design and gameplay structure. But its story is weak and contrived, its launch was terrible and because of these things I can’t grant it nearly the amount of praise I heaped upon the original.

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So where does that leave us? Nowhere, frankly. This year was a bust for games as I don’t see myself actively pitching any of the aforementioned titles to anyone simply because they’re “that good,” though Hitman comes close. Hell, I didn’t even mention Unravel, a cute little platformer I bought solely because the lead developer put on a good show at last year’s E3. I’ve played one level and it’s nothing to write home about, though it’s serviceable and deserves a mention on here for being heartfelt—something these soulless sequels and corporate cash-grabs could learn from. Notice how all of the major releases above have a literal or proverbial “2” at the end of their titles?

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My God.

I almost forgot the worst game of 2016. The absolute worst port in the history of PC gaming, as far as my firsthand experiences are concerned. It stuttered more than a nervous high-schooler with a lisp, screen-tore like an iPhone made of wet paper and shit the bed so frequently that its myriad of disabilities almost distracted me from the piss-poor narrative and lacking runtime lurking beneath the surface. The studio’s fallen since the heydays of Max Payne and Alan Wake.

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My Thoughts on Titanfall 2’s Multiplayer

Before we go any further, here’s the situation: I’ve played the first five minutes of the campaign and that’s it. Why skip out on the best new addition to Titanfall? Because the single player will still be there for me to explore long after the online community has dried up and died, meaning I need to hop on the already-decomposing corpse that this game touts as a multiplayer component before it’s gone.share-image.jpg

On PC, the community is small. Very small. Less than a month after launch only one game mode is ever reliably playable (guess which one), and even then, only barely at odd hours on weekdays and weekends alike. At most I’ll see 1,000-something players online in my region on a Saturday afternoon. It’s rough. And it’s sad because, just as was the case with Titanfall 1, it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer game this year.

Initially, Titanfall 2’s multiplayer feels like a step in the wrong direction from its predecessor. For a start, maps are bigger, introducing brief moments of nothingness that NEVER existed in the original. This couples poorly with the fact that wall-running is now less emphasized, which inadvertently jacks up the barrier to entry when versing the droves of players who’ve already figured out how to circumvent a map’s superficially slow design. Then there’s the increased danger of AI specters and grunts, resulting in actual deaths from what were previously useless computer-controlled minions. Throw these things together and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of frustration and shaken faith in the game’s quality—early on, that is.

Sink enough time into the game and overcome the steep learning curve that Titanfall 1 veterans such as myself had to suffer through and eventually you’ll discover Respawn knew exactly what they were doing. They’ve essentially shifted the focus of Titanfall multiplayer to be more centered around situational awareness rather than blazing fast reactionary processing, something I can’t say I’m a fan of but do understand the appeal toward. It’s a far more tactical affair, to say plainly.

While only one of TF2’s maps holds a candlestick to any of Titanfall 1’s extremely memorable multiplayer landscapes, be it the orange sands of Demeter or massive skeletons of Boneyard, the sequel focuses less on making memorable moments and shooting dioramas and more on increasing the game’s skill ceiling. Again, not my preference but it’s a welcome challenge. What IS my preference is the insane amount of customization they’ve added, not only cosmetically but also in terms of weaponry and equipment. Gravity stars are the best FPS addition in recent memory, sucking in opponents so you can whip out a pocket shotty and blast them while they’re trapped in a temporary wormhole. Shit’s lit.

In conclusion, while I fundamentally disagree with certain changes Respawn has made, I respect all of them and understand the vision behind the product. It’s a fun game, no doubt, which is why I’m sad to see such a small community. If you can get it for sub-forty U.S. dollars, snag it and hop in, the water’s fine—just a bit different than last time.