First Impressions: Skyrim

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

We don’t tend to play Rated M games, generally because we’ve grown up with Nintendo and their brand of family friendly games. Yet, when Skyrim was released for the Nintendo Switch, I got interested in the game mostly due to the dragons. I’m finally giving it a shot.

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I have no idea what I’m doing in Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch.

I mean, I follow along with the main quests and the little side quests I’ve picked up. The map is helpful in giving me a marker on where to go, otherwise I’d probably end up somewhere on the other side of the world, picking up an infinite number of side quests along the way.

On that note, I’m really enjoying the open world and the people populating it. The voice acting isn’t too bad and some of the more key characters have some personality, which is nice. Traveling and exploring is fun, even if I do randomly get attacked by wolves here and there. Luckily my flailing combat skills have kept me alive for most of the game. In fact, the first time I died was from a dragon, which sounds more epic than dying from a random wolf or bandit.

Speaking of bandits, I found a horse that was just chilling beside a dead bandit that I assume was once its rider. Logically, I looted the body and stole the horse to ride back to town on. The horse then decided to peace out after we arrived at the town, turning and walking back out. I followed it just to see where it would end up, wondering if the AI was loyal enough to return to the body of the dead bandit, but it went to the river and kind of glitched while it was standing near the water.

In regards to the dragons, I’m disappointed that we’re killing them. Do we ever get to tame or befriend them? The first appearance of a dragon in a game saves you from getting beheaded, and I was like, “Yes, this dragon is now my friend,” and then I had to run away without getting crushed from the debris the dragon was knocking around.

I want to soar around the skies and burn my enemies with a dragon rather than kill the flying lizards. I don’t know if that’s a thing that ever happens in Skyrim, but I would love it if it does!

Have you played Skyrim, either on the Nintendo Switch or on another platform? What do you think of the game?

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First Impression: Rocket League

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

We’ve been using our Xbox One more often lately, even if we really only have a couple of games on there. One such game is Rocket League.

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Rocket League is soccer with race cars and exploding balls. Neither Rachel nor I are really into sporty games, unless Mario Kart counts, so Rocket League was never on our radar.

Then our awesome brother-in-law got us an Xbox One with the game already on it. While we haven’t played it with him yet, we did get a couple of rounds in with another friend recently. Rachel and I were… not good, haha.

It was fun enough for playing the game the first time. We each got a goal or two into the opponents’ nets, all computer-controlled rather than other humans, with our friend being on our team and carrying us to victory. The only downside was some lag during the last couple of rounds. Rachel’s and my car would blink and teleport across the field, usually right when we were about to smack into the ball. Pretty sure Rachel’s car was frozen on the ceiling at one point, too.

It’s not a game that Rachel and I are raring to boot up again, but it wasn’t too bad. We’ll probably try it again soon, at least with our brother-in-law.

 

Have you played Rocket League? What do you think of it?

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First Impressions: Super Mario Odyssey

Double Jump Kris MiiLike the rest of the gaming world, Rachel and I have been playing Super Mario Odyssey since it arrived at our house! And my opinion on it thus far is probably in the minority…

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We’ve had Super Mario Odyssey on pre-order for a while so we would have the game delivered to our house the day it was released. The majority of the gaming world was going crazy for the newest 3D Super Mario game, and with good reason. So far, it plays wonderfully, even if the controls took a little getting used to with the Joy-Con, and the levels remind us of the classic Super Mario 64 — different worlds that you can hop in and out of with collectible items to help power up your ship to reach even new worlds.

I like the game, from what we’ve played so far. However, unlike many other Nintendo fans, I find the 3D Mario games as just okay. Don’t get me wrong, Super Mario 64 was revolutionary for its time and it’s a fun game, but it was never a game that I would willingly turn on to play by myself. Likewise, Sunshine and the Galaxy pair were not my cup of tea. Sunshine just didn’t hold my attention at all and the first Galaxy game made me feel dizzy. It turned me off from playing the second Galaxy.

So when Odyssey was announced, I figured it would be a decent game. The Switch is a fantastic console and the mechanics from Odyssey’s trailer looked different enough to keep me interested. I was mostly impressed with Mayor Pauline singing the theme song! The music is entertaining!

After playing through the first few levels of Odyssey, I’m not completely on board with it. Not yet, anyway. I’ll finish the main story with Rachel, but I’m not invested in finding every Power Moon like I was with every shrine in Breath of the Wild. At this moment, I’m more interested in continuing Fire Emblem Warriors or even going back to the DLC for Breath of the Wild.

Super Mario Odyssey is being praised as one of the best games to be released, but I’m not seeing it just yet. It’s a good game, sure, but probably not one of my top favorites.

How are you liking Super Mario Odyssey so far?

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First Impressions: Fire Emblem Echoes

Double Jump Kris MiiMonday is back… I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

The weather around where I am is supposed to be cloudy and a bit rainy all week, and I’m totally fine with that. It gives me more of an excuse to spend my downtime inside playing new video games!

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My copy of Fire Emblem Echoes arrived Friday evening and I didn’t get a chance to open the game until Saturday afternoon. It taunted me from atop my desk until I was able to start it up.

I’ve really enjoyed the past couple of Fire Emblem games, most notably Awakening and Fates was close behind it, so I was eager to try out Echoes. I know it’s a remake of a Japan-only Fire Emblem game from way back when but, other than that, I didn’t know too much about the plot.

I’ve reached about the end of the first act, and I’m really enjoying the characters! Gray so far seems to be my favorite, but the little entourage around Alm are all entertaining. The voice acting so far is phenomenal, and I was pleasantly surprised that the game has full voice acting rather than the partial acting that Awakening and Fates had.

The beginning cut scenes and story was cute, if a bit corny enough to make me chuckle at the drama. The male-fighter going off to find the more passive female main character is a little frustratingly cliche, as is the first two to three “missions” revolving around rescuing female characters, but the story isn’t too bad.

I was a little bummed when it came time to reclass a few members of my army. Some classes are back to being gender-locked after Fates had seemed to lift them, so I couldn’t have a male Pegasus Knight or Cleric or even a female Archer at the beginning. Being a remake of an older Fire Emblem game, Rachel pointed out that perhaps the gender-locked classes were kept in from the original game. It made some sense, but with the upgrades the game has had in the meantime, I’m disappointed that this aspect couldn’t be tweaked.

Overall, I’m enjoying this new Fire Emblem game and I can’t wait to keep going!

Are you playing Fire Emblem Echoes? Keeping spoilers to yourself, what do you think of it so far?

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For the Love of Ace Attorney

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If you follow our Twitter, you may have realized that we’re currently in the middle of playing Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice. We’ve been playing these games for years when we first found Trials and Tribulations on the Wii Virtual Console. It took us a while to realize that Trials and Tribulations had been the third game of the original trilogy! However, that’s just one reason as to why we love these games — while we obviously like to play them in chronological order, the series is great in allowing players to dive into any of the games and still understand them enough to enjoy them.

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Sure, we had been confused at some references, but we were able to play the game like normal anyway. We’re always excited to hear when a new Ace Attorney game comes out because as much as we love them, it’s hard to replay them. We already know the answers, who killed who, and so on. There’s no more “A-Ha!” moment or element of surprise when you’re playing them again as opposed to the second time. Regardless, I could play them forever if I could.

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Yes, I suppose the replay value isn’t as high as it could be due to us knowing the answers after the first playthrough. The stories and characters are amazing, and we replay the games for them as well as the music. Holy sugar, the music in these games is phenomenal! Every piece of music is perfect, and the way the scores match up to the scenes is amazing!

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I hum to the music all the time! I even found the soundtracks on Amazon, but… well, the prices aren’t as low as I would like. So they’re on my wishlist until I’m able to grow a money tree in my backyard. Aside from the music, I think one of my favorite aspects of the game is the characters. Each and every one has an important role to fulfill and even if they’re “enemies,” they’re still friends. They all try to help each other out and get to the truth.

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I adore how everyone is one big happy family! Obviously, like real families, they get annoyed with one another, but they all try to do their best for one another and for themselves. Playing with these characters as they struggle to hold onto their beliefs, like believing in their clients, is a fantastic lesson to all — even when everything around you looks bleak, just keep going, keep doing your best and everything else will be okay.

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Yes, the overall message of the games is awesome as well. There are a lot of life lessons to be learned, great music to dance to, wonderful characters you wish you knew in real life, and also great stories. I mean, minus the dead bodies, of course.

What do you think of the Ace Attorney series? Let us know in the comments below!

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For the Love of NPCs

Double Jump Kris MiiBeing the hero of a video game is one of the best parts of playing. Many boot up a console to escape the real world for a while, to fall into a fantasy where you help to save the world.

Along the way, you generally meet many NPCs…

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Non-playable characters, or NPCs, make up the bulk of video game worlds. Generally, they’re there to help point you in the right direction if not to just decorate the scenery. Not many have lives, if you will, outside of being in a convenient place for the hero.

Then there are others who, for all intents and purposes, have a life outside of the hero’s role of the game. For example, there’s Malon of LonLon Ranch from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. As Child Link, you meet her in Hyrule Castle Town and she gives you an egg that will hatch into a cucco (or chicken, for those of you who many not play the Legend of Zelda games) to wake up her father who is blocking your entrance to the castle.

Honestly, that’s really the only required interaction with Malon in the game. Any other interactions, either as Child or Adult Link, are optional.

Of course, the majority of players go out of their way to visit the ranch in order to gain Epona the horse later in the game. If you do go through with these interactions, you learn about Malon’s backstory, about her mother, her father, and the ranch’s farmhand Ingo. As an adult, she stays on the ranch despite the hardships of it being under Ingo’s control because she wants to protect the horses. She’s an NPC in the game, but she has a backstory and life just as the main character does.

She’s a hero of her own story, even though she doesn’t directly impact Link’s. I think it’s an awesome development for her part, considering she’s an NPC. To give that kind of depth to an NPC is one of the many reasons why Ocarina of Time holds a special place in my heart.

What do you think of NPCs? Do you have any favorites?

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Press “A” to Jump

Double Jump Kris MiiIt’s President’s Day here in the US and where I’m from, we got the day off! I hope everyone else is having a lovely Monday and that you’re enjoying it!

Having time off of the day job on a winter’s day is a good excuse to curl up with a new video game… After you get past the tutorial, of course.

Many video games have tutorials for the players to push through before they can dive into the main story line, if not some very simple first levels so the player can get used to the controls. Tutorials are important in that they help introduce the game world to the players, and I definitely appreciate them whenever I turn on a new game.

people-who-skip-the-video-game-tutorials-when-playing-a-game-for-the-first-timeHowever, there are definitely games where I wish I could skip the tutorials. For instance, I’ve been playing the Pokemon franchise since Red, Blue, and Yellow two decades ago. Pretty sure I’ve figured out how to catch a Pokemon by now.

Of course, there are franchises where a tutorial is a nice refresher, such as the simple instructions at the beginning of the Legend of Zelda games when the franchise continues on the newer consoles. The controls may be different from the Wii to the Switch, so a short interlude on how to swing a sword isn’t bad once in a while.

Whenever games offer a tutorial, I tend to play it, especially if it gifts the player with experience or bonus items. Yet, I do wish  more were able to be skipped, especially on favorite games that I find myself playing over and over. Super Mario RPG and its spiritual successors in the Paper Mario line do this with the timed hits and action command tutorials, allowing the players the choice of whether or not they wanted to go through the tutorial.

What about you? Do you enjoy tutorials or just wish to be dropped into the game to figure out the mechanics for yourself? Any franchises that you think work better with or without tutorials?

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