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Gaming Roundup – Of Mice and Marios

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

Today we talk a range of topics ranging from electric talking mice wearing hats to plague-ridden rats.

DETECTIVE PIKACHU, I CHOOSE YOU

Detective Pikachu came out in cinemas last week, and for audiences, it’s doing well at catchin’ ‘em all. It’s taken the title of strongest opening weekend for a movie based on a game in the US,. Beating the previous record set by 2001’s Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider movie. It took in $58m compared to Tomb Raider’s $47m, although that’s not adjusted for inflation.

Worldwide, it’s made $153m. Currently, this hasn’t done much to threaten the previous worldwide record holder, Warcraft. In the UK, it made a respectable £4.9m in its opening weekend. Knocking Endgame off its throne for the weekend (although the Marvel movie is on £80m so far, so it’s not likely to feel too threatened).

It’s impressive stuff, especially as Detective Pikachu is such a rare occurrence anyway – it’s a good video game movie. I’ve posted my full thoughts HERE, so you can see why!

SUPER MARIO MAKER 2 DETAILS

Speaking of Nintendo, and back to the world of games, this week saw a short presentation of Super Mario Maker 2, coming to Switch next month. Have to admit I wasn’t too bothered by this one, as I couldn’t see how they’d add much more to the previous Wii U level builder.

Boy, was I wrong. Super Mario Maker 2 makes its predecessor look bare-bones and worthless in comparison based on what Nintendo showed. Far from adding a few tools, Nintendo will be adding a Super Mario 3D World theme. Along with the ability to make desert, snow and forest levels [plus the ANGRY SUN makes a return < Ed.].
There’s also, somehow, a story mode, which is pretty much a new Mario game on top of the level builder. They’ve also added a bunch of multiplayer options. There’s the ability for two people to build a level together, and multiplayer co-op and racing.

I’m shocked see how much they’ve added, and I’m a lot more interested now.

WOLFENSTEIN TAKES CUES FROM DISHONORED

Speaking of announcements that got me a lot more interested in games. Developers working on Wolfenstein: Youngblood stated they’ve taken some inspiration from fellow Bethesda stablemates, Arkane Studios. This means Youngblood will feature more open-ended levels with many solutions, like Arkane’s Dishonored games.

I’ve never been into Wolfenstein as a series as I’m not a huge shooter fan. Offering up the ability to play your own ways and devise different approaches to combat has me much more intrigued. Dishonored and its sequel were both brilliant games, so I welcome more of that.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood will be out on 26th July for all major systems except Switch.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT CLASSIC LAUNCHING SOON

A month after Youngblood launches, Blizzard are set to launch World of Warcraft Classic. In celebration of the truly massive MMORPG’s 15th anniversary, World of Warcraft Classic is a rollback of the game to its v1.12 build from 2004. With a much sparser world and some very different quests. It’s nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. It wouldn’t suprise me if current players get a little disappointed with rolling the game back so much. But it’s always nice to get a peek at gaming history and see how far these things have come.

It launches in August and will be available as part of a standard WoW subscription. Although existing subscribers have access to the beta right now.

BAFTA RECOGNISE EPIC

We’ve already had the BAFTA Gaming Awards this year, but BAFTA have announced that they’re giving a special achievement award to Epic Games. This is an ill-timed announcement. Coming hot on the heels of criticism of their exclusivity purchasing, as well as reports of poor workplace conditions.

But, the award has little to do with that. Instead, much of the focus of this award seems to be on the success of Fortnite and the ubiquitous Unreal Engine. The one which powers half the industry at this point. It’s hard to deny the influence Epic have because of the Unreal Engine, and Fortnite’s success is crazy, so the award does have merit. It’s just not given at the best time.
Wouldn’t be the first time the BAFTA crowd has handed special awards to controversial figures. The award has previously been given to Marc Merrill (whose company, Riot, is currently facing sexual discrimination lawsuits) and Markus ‘Notch’ Persson (who currently sits alone in a mansion angrily tweeting out bigoted views, driven mad from Minecraft success).
On the flipside, it has also handed to much more beloved figures such as Nolan North, Amy Hennig and Brenda Romero, so it’s not all bad.

SKULL AND BONES DELAYED

It’s generally accepted that Black Flag is the best Assassin’s Creed. It’s likely for this reason that Ubisoft announced a game that took all the piratey joy of that game and removed the Animus and other assorted lore. But, Skull & Bones is going to take a little longer to arrive than anticipated.

Announced at E3 2017, Skull & Bones was on for a 2018 release but then, pushed back to this year. In a new announcement this week, the game is delayed indefinitely, and confirmed to not be at E3 this year. Quite what’s caused such a huge delay isn’t clear. Fingers crossed it’s a combination of wanting to make a better game and avoid the issues of crunch that have been widely talked about recently.
At some point, we’ll all get to play pirates, but for now we have to be patient for a little while.

SAINTS ROW THE THIRD IS BUGGY ON SWITCH

Saints Row: The Third saw a Switch port last week, but it’s not had the best reception. Widespread reports of game-breaking bugs, frame rate issues and input lag, making the game worse to play than any of its other variants.

Publisher Deep Silver have confirmed that they’re aware of the issues and are issuing a patch. That should be available for download at the time this goes up. But, they’ve admitted that this won’t fix every issue and are urging players to report any technical issues with an online form.
If only there was a process by which they could have tested this before launch. Because that could have avoided all the negative reaction they’re receiving. Shame that. Anyway.

SWITCH OUTSELLS PS4 IN JAPAN

Japan’s gaming scene is very different to ours. Due to long work hours and a lot of train travel, the Japanese tend to prefer portable gaming to fixed home consoles. So for this reason it’s not all that surprising to see sales of the Switch overtake the PS4. Nintendo’s system currently sits at 8.1m total units sold, surpassing Sony’s 8m. It’s especially notable as the PS4 has had a three-year head start, yet here we are.

Of course, worldwide there’s a very different picture. The Switch currently stands at 35m units versus the PS4’s 90m, so it’s unlikely to dent that lead outside its home country. But it does put the stark difference in gaming habits in full view. To see Nintendo’s hybrid system do so much better than the most globally popular games system at present is encouraging.

NEW RELEASES

The big release of this week is Rage 2, the latest in Id Software’s range of over the top shooters. Id took the original Rage and infused it with a colour-splattered punk rock aesthetic and threw in all the fun guns and abilities they could. It’s been getting some mixed reviews, with particular criticism levelled at its sparse open world, but it does seem like there’s still some fun in there.
If that’s all too much for you, and you want something a little more old-school to play, the Castlevania Collection from Konami is also out this week. Bringing together the classic NES trilogy, a duo of Game Boy titles, Super Castlevania and Bloodlines. I also reported the other week that it contains Rondo of Blood, but I was completely wrong on this. Instead it features the before ( Japan-only) Kid Dracula. A silly cutesy spin-off where the main character is a chibi Dracula. It did introduce a boss that became a Castlevania series mainstay, so it does have some historical relevance here.
Finally, my Game of the Week is A Plague Tale: Innocence. A survival horror game set in France during the Black Death. Two siblings venture into the wilderness, avoiding Inquisition soldiers and plague rats in equal measure. It looks to have elements of The Last of Us in its storytelling and relies on stealth. I love stealth and more intimate storytelling, so this looks like it’s worth checking out if you also love those things. Not recommended for people who hate swarms of rats though.

[Also Ubisoft is giving away Steep for free for UPlay users here, until 21st May. See Leigh’s thoughts on YouTube about it here too < Ed.]

And that’s it for this week! I’ll see you again very soon with more news and releases from the world of gaming, but until then, follow me on YouTube and Twitter for more gaming stuff, and follow our podcasts for more general geekery. See you next time!


Find Leigh on Twitter at @TheCheapFerret and on YouTube at Bobthepetferret


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