Category Archives: Brett Williams

Rime’s Switch price tag is a giant middle finger

Late last week, the final details about upcoming indie adventure game Rime were revealed. The Tequila Works’ title has soldiered through a troubled development cycle that saw it dropped as a PS4 exclusive to release on PC/PS4/Xbox One on May 26 and on Nintendo Switch at a later date. This is great news for those who have been intrigued by the game since its gorgeous reveal trailer at PlayStation’s Gamescom press conference in 2013. The game was revealed to cost $30 on all platforms, with one exception. While we don’t know when Rime will see its Switch release, we do know that it will cost $40. For those who struggle with math, that is $10 more expensive than the game’s incarnations on other platforms.

What the f*** is that about?
Continue reading Rime’s Switch price tag is a giant middle finger

Advertisements

Recent masterpieces debunk open-world fatigue

It is safe to say that open-worlds have become this generation’s defining gameplay feature. Immersive worlds, diverging paths, exploration; these buzzwords and phrases characterize a large portion of the AAA gaming space. Games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Grand Theft Auto 3 paved the way for The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V to capture the time and imaginations of the gaming community. The success of these titles has caused the feature to percolate into the rest of the industry, leading to a landscape dotted with sprawling worlds and open air.

With this much proliferation, and the time required to truly digest games of this magnitude, many in the community and the press were worried about open-world fatigue. Players can only sink so much of themselves into a game at a time, while games are becoming more difficult to unpack as map sizes expand. The multiplication of the genre has aIso led to a multiplication of mechanics and ideas, with games imitating successes as well as common problems. Many open-world games were becoming stale, with generic collectibles and connective tissue tying the experience together between impressive story beats and dynamic events. With this blandness came a series of essential questions.

Had open-worlds exhausted their ingenuity? Could an open-world rise about the crowded genre and stand out? Are we tired of open-worlds?

I think it is safe to say that his notion has been debunked.

horizon-world

Within the span of a single week, we have potentially entered into a golden age of open-world gaming. PlayStation exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn and Nintendo exclusive The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have dominated the community in an uncharacteristically busy first quarter. There is no wrong choice when deciding between the two, which is a testament to the products that their respective teams have created. The games are both masterpieces, but what is most special about the two titles is that they are wonderfully different games, despite the easy open-world RPG comparisons. Breath of the Wild is all about exploration – be it the world, the mechanics or puzzles. Horizon, meanwhile, shines in combat, featuring spirited battles against incredibly realized cybernetic dinos.

The fact that both of these games can so successfully capture the magic they are reaching for is a testament to the flexibility of the open-world format, and it bodes well for the future of the genre that two games can be so good, yet so different. An open-world is such a flexible canvas that the repetition often found in the genre was a bit disconcerting. While certain games brought something special to the formula, think The Witcher 3’s sidequests or Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System, many more settled for a generic world filled in with generic gameplay. Horizon and Breath of the Wild prove that we can still be surprised by open-worlds, and that we have plenty to look forward to.

hyrulebreathofthewild

When I stated that we were potentially entering a golden age of open-world gaming, it was less hyperbolic about the present than a positive outlook of the future. In just a few weeks, Mass Effect Andromeda looms to take the series’ galactic exploration and complex relationships to the next level. After that, the newly announced Middle Earth: Shadow of War hopes to see the Nemesis System catapulted to new heights without the shackles of the previous console generation. This holiday, Red Dead Redemption 2 will see Rockstar return to the Wild West with their consistently brilliance game design in a setting begging to be explored in intricate detail. This doesn’t even account for Assassin’s Creed, one of the biggest culprits of bland open-world design, which took time off to truly create something meaningful. If these games follow in the footsteps of Horizon and Breath of the Wild, then we will be in for a truly historic year in gaming.

All of this in a genre we are supposedly sick and tired of.

Set aside fanboy squabbles. The fact that two games, and exclusives at that, can breathe such life into a heavily reiterated genre bodes well for this generation’s defining trait. While the meaningless multiplayer that came hitched to the previous generation rarely pushed in any meaningful new directions, open-worlds have proven the ability to evolve and improve. Horizon, Breath of the Wild and even Pokémon Go, which is definitively an open-world game, have  reinvigorated a sense of community and wonder many thought we wouldn’t reclaim. If this is the direction gaming is headed, we have a lot to be excited about.

So get out there and go exploring.


Brett Williams is an Associate Writer for MONG with a talent for scaling high towers and digital topography. You can follow his nonexistent ramblings on twitter.

Does Nintendo Switch seem rushed? Blame Breath of the Wild

Impressions of the Nintendo Switch are flooding the internet. While the hardware itself has garnered positive reviews, the thought that it is launching bereft of features has become pervasive. Entertainment apps, a web browser, a robust online experience and a strong launch lineup are but a few of the items missing from the Switch’s March 3rd menu. Kotaku reporter Jason Schreier summed up these feelings in a recent tweet, saying “Switch right now in a word: undercooked.” Many devout followers of the industry are wondering why Nintendo would release a seemingly unfinished console for what amounts to an early-adopter beta test. With the system’s heavy hitters not landing until later this year along with the full version of a new online system, why didn’t Nintendo wait until November and launch with a stacked lineup and a full sampling of features? The answer to this question is simple; The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Continue reading Does Nintendo Switch seem rushed? Blame Breath of the Wild

Inside the mind of a Switch early adopter

The Nintendo Switch is less than two weeks away from launch, and the flexible new machine has been a divisive topic of discussion that has dominated the community. While many, myself included, are incredibly excited for March 3rd, there is a massive contingent of gamers that do not agree, and are not afraid to share their opinions. In fact, given what we know, or rather, what we do not, many could not possibly understand why anyone would be excited about the Switch. The future early-adopters and I have been called morons, fanboys, Nintendorks, Nintentards and a number of other clever names and Nintendo puns. Despite these assaults on our intelligence, there is a passionate community who couldn’t be more thrilled for the console.

Continue reading Inside the mind of a Switch early adopter

Like them or not, Season Passes are here to stay

Season passes are the black sheep of the gaming community. They deviously pry into our collective wallets in search of our precious cash, often in exchange for content we don’t fully understand. This earns them a spot atop our hit lists, and whenever a new pass is announced we grab our torches and pitchforks and set out to pillage the internet with angry comments across the datascape. The only thing that rivals the ire that season passes draw is, arguably, Nintendo. And luckily for us, these two juggernauts of vitriol crossed paths when Nintendo announced a season pass for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Continue reading Like them or not, Season Passes are here to stay

Fire Emblem Heroes Review

I Need a Hero

When Nintendo first announced their partnership with mobile developer DeNA, Fire Emblem was one of the series that immediately jumped to mind as a fit for iOS and Android devices. Cue Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo’s third foray into the mobile market and a bite-sized version of the hardcore strategy-RPG series. Wrapped in a shell of free-to-play (F2P), Gacha-style mechanics based on the franchise’s likeable cast of warriors, Nintendo has succeeded in creating an entertaining game that is true to the spirit of Fire Emblem while being accessible for franchise rookies.

Continue reading Fire Emblem Heroes Review

MONG’s 10 Most Wanted for the Switch Virtual Console

The Nintendo Switch is less than a month away, and while we have been treated to a slow trickle of information and a Super Bowl commercial, there is still plenty we don’t know about Nintendo’s newest console. Of these unknowns, the questions surrounding the Switch’s Virtual Console iteration are the most tantalizing. Rumors of GameCube releases on the platform have sent the industry buzzing and the motion-capable Joy-Con leave the door open for a possible Wii renaissance. There is no argument about the potential of Nintendo’s classic games service, but will Nintendo capitalize on the monumental opportunity at hand?

Continue reading MONG’s 10 Most Wanted for the Switch Virtual Console