Gaming Roundup – They Really Cast Chris Pratt as Mario

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, casting choices both good and bad, and Star Wars game rumours.

Nintendo Direct News

Nintendo held a Direct last night, which had a bunch of fun stuff. Here’s just some of the things we saw.

New games announced include Voice of Cards, a tabletop-style RPG from Nier director Yoko Taro, Chocobo GP, a revival of the Chocobo Racing sequel that basically just looks like Mario Kart with spells, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land, the first fully 3D Kirby game set in a world that looks like a cartoon version of The Last of Us for some reason.

We also got confirmation that beloved RPGs Disco Elysium and Knights of the Old Republic are both coming to the Switch. The latter isn’t the remake announced in the PlayStation Showcase, instead it’s just a straight remaster. In addition, an ActRaiser remake and a collection of Castlevania GBA games are both now out on the Switch as well.

N64 games are coming to the Switch at last, as predicted, but they’ll also be surprisingly joined by Sega Mega Drive titles too. Both will be getting a wireless controller that resembles the original system, meaning that soon you can control games on your Nintendo console with a Sega controller. What a world we live in. Oh, and Nintendo are charging extra for these collections. Because of course they are.

We also got some exciting new looks at Splatoon 3 and, FINALLY, Bayonetta 3. As a fan of both franchises, these were highlights of the show. Splatoon has a bunch of new weird weapons and abilities, including a spider mech and some disturbing stretchy squid-kid hybrid thing. The world will also see the return of mammals in the story mode, in the form of Captain Caveman style creatures.

Bayonetta, meanwhile, sees the Umbra Witch gain a fancy new look and some summoning powers that see full scale kaiju battles erupting alongside the usual combo-heavy action. There was also a fun bait and switch at the start as the trailer went out of its way to look like an Astral Chain sequel instead.

But the most discussed news of the night was the reveal of the Super Mario animated movie cast. And oh boy is it a ride. As you might expect from a Hollywood production that’s absolutely terrified of hiring proper voice actors for anything that should require them, it’s a star-studded cast of familiar faces who are utterly unfit for their roles.

Let’s start with the most obviously terrible – Chris Pratt, star of Parks and Recreation, Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, will be playing Mario. And no one approves of this casting. Other reveals include Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad and Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong. The only casting choice that made me say “oh no, I could see that” is Jack Black as Bowser, since Jack Black can make anything work, no matter how ridiculous.

I would say we should be thankful they haven’t cast James Corden but that’s a sure-fire way to summon him.

I suppose we should have expected this from the moment it was announced the movie was being made by the Minions studio, but here we are.

Hayley Atwell Cast as Lara Croft

Somehow I completely forgot to include this in last week’s roundup, despite the fact that it’s news that’s completely on my radar and has me very excited.

Netflix have cast Lara Croft for their upcoming Tomb Raider animated series. Hayley Atwell, perhaps best known as Peggy Carter in the MCU, has been cast as the iconic archaeologist adventurer, in quite possibly one of the best video game adaptation castings I can think of in recent memory.

While I haven’t watched Agent Carter (it’s a Marvel property, why would I?) I did look up clips after this announcement, and she is absolutely perfect casting. She has the right voice for Lara, and can deliver lines with the right level of sharp sass the character is known for. I would say that she could even give my current favourite Lara actress – Keeley Hawes – a run for her money.

I’m excited to see how this animated show turns out.

Quantic Dream Working on Star Wars?

Rumours have been circulating this week that a Star Wars game may be coming from an unlikely source – Quantic Dream. If you don’t recognise the name, they are the French studio responsible for the likes of Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human.

It’s an odd combination, and suggests a heavily story-driven Star Wars title, as opposed to the lightsaber fights and/or spaceship battles you’d expect from games in the franchise. Not sure many people were asking for a game focused on a heavy-handed choice-em-up with some terrible dialogue, but here we are.

It’s been reported in numerous sources, but this is not yet an official announcement, so take this news with a grain of salt.

New Releases

New Releases

In new releases, Kojima’s Uber-Eats-guy-in-a-pandemic sim comes to PS5. Death Stranding: Director’s Cut adds a bunch of new features and expansion content (including racing for some reason) but is still fundamentally the same tedious and nonsensical game that released in 2019. Still, if this is your jam, now you can watch Norman Reedus fall down a lot in 4K.

In smaller releases, there are a couple of options for those who like their games on the more grim side. If on a Winter’s Night, Four Travelers (PC) is a spooky murder mystery point-and-click set on a 1920s train, now releasing on Steam after a stint on itch.io. Source of Madness (PC – Early Access) is a Dark Souls inspired 2D roguelike full of horrors and magic powers. And Sheltered 2 (PC) is a management game about trying to maintain a shelter in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

For those looking for games about crafting, Potion Craft (PC – Early Access) is a game about being an alchemist, where the gameplay sees you solving puzzles through potion recipes and haggling with potential customers. And Teacup (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox) is a cute story-driven game about a young frog searching for the perfect tea recipe.

Gamedec (PC) is a cyberpunk mystery story with RPG elements set in a futuristic Warsaw. Solve the mystery and earn the trust of those around you to uncover the seedy underbelly of the digital landscape.

Sable (PC, Xbox) is a sci-fi open world game with a stylish cel-shaded look and a gorgeous theme song by indie musician Japanese Breakfast. You play as the titular Sable as she explores the deserts and ruins of ancient spaceships in a game that looks like it sits somewhere between Journey and No Man’s Sky. Definitely intriguing.

Games of the Week

Indie Game of the Week this week is a game I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a while now. Kena: Bridge of Spirits (PC, PlayStation) is the debut game of animation studio Ember Lab, setting out to be a Zelda-style adventure of discovery. You play as Kena, a shaman whose job is send spirits on their final journey, and to heal the lands their presence infects. You’re accompanied on your journey by spirits of the Rot, who aid her in her efforts.

As you’d expect from an animation studio, this game looks absolutely stunning, with vibrant animation that looks like it’s ripped straight from a Pixar movie. The Rot who assist you are adorable too, with massive eyes and a full selection of custom hats for them to wear. I’ve only played a little bit of this so far, but it’s been nothing but pure joy so far.

Overall Game of the Week this week is Lost Judgment (PlayStation, Xbox), the sequel to 2019’s Judgment, itself a spin-off of Sega’s Yakuza franchise. Detective Takayuki Yagami is back for another case, this time concerning a revenge case with suspicious circumstances.

I loved the first Judgment, which brought together my love of Yakuza and my love of detective stories, so this surprise sequel is absolutely on my radar. Expect more intrigue and twists with a side dose of Yakuza-style silliness, and now with a tiny dog sidekick. What more could you want?

And that’s it for now! See you again next week with more from the world of gaming!

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