Grandia I and II are getting a Switch release late this year

No word on an actual release date, this particular announcement is going to release some time this winter. But, this is seriously a surprise! Grandia II has been re-released a number of times on the PlayStation 2 and PC. However, Grandia I has not seen as much love. Other than a downloadable version for the PS3, the original game in the Grandia franchise has not seen as much attention. From the buzzwords in the news, it also appears to be a HD remaster, whatever that means these days. So, I wouldn’t expect all that much except for some higher resolution textures and a wide screen aspect ratio.

What I am more curious about is the localization options. Are we going to get the Sega Saturn release graphics? Will we receive the English voice acting seen in the PlayStation One release? Many questions remain… Nevertheless, this news excites me that TWO of the best JRPG’s of all time are coming to a great console.

 

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Metal Gear changed everything

Today, July 13th, Metal Gear was released for the MSX2 computer in Japan and Europe all the way back in 1987. Since then, the franchise has received numerous sequels and spin-offs. In the process, it has influenced generations of video games along the way.

 

You’ve given gamers and game developers so much. Thank you Hideo Kojima.

The “half-step” console that nobody wanted

The Sega 32X.

Before the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X, there was an infamous add-on to the Sega Genesis. My friends and I would always joke about what a waste of money it was and the fact that it was likely a piece of junk. In an age where producing an upgraded version of a current console to sell to hungry consumers exists, Sega of the 1990s tried something bold and almost succeeded.

I was never on team blue, but in retrospect, it was either pretty cool or probably pretty disappointing arguing for blast processing. This time around, trying to be ahead of the curve proved to be disastrous for Sega.

Also, do check out more of the Gaming Historian, it’s a great channel filled with well produced mini-documentaries.

Slipstream is pretty awesome

Steam has plenty of games on it and it’s pretty easy to miss a new release in the shuffle. Especially ones sporting pixel art. So, when a cool game like Slipstream gets released, something needs to be said.

The obvious comparison is Sega’s Out Run and rightfully so. The sense of speed and drifting functions are nailed pretty well. The game comes with a handful of modes and tracks, all of which bring back a classic arcade racing style.

Presentation wise, the graphics highlight the 16-bit era and the controls are fluid and responsive with a gamepad. By far the best thing about Slipstream is its music. There are a ton of burning hot tracks that feel super awesome when you’re cruising, almost as if ansdor knew people would be listening to the soundtrack on a cool evening driving with top down in Miami Beach.

Don’t be shy, pick this up on Steam.

Chrono Trigger surprisingly releases on Steam! But…

I would be saying hooray! …But, this may not be the exact release you want. So, how could you release Chrono Trigger and mess it up? Well, maybe it has some annoying load times like the US PlayStation release?

Let’s not start with the negatives out right, but the good things the Steam version does.

  • It’s out on the PC, for everybody!
  • Extra dungeons from the DS port (arguably the best version right now)
  • Gamepad support
  • Autosaves
  • Other Steam goodies like trading cards, if you’re into that

So no, the load times aren’t an issue. But probably the main gripe everyone is going to have is this:

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I mean, look at it! This is not the Chrono Trigger I remember. Sure, the interface is not my favorite, in fact I could probably deal with the new menus and be fine. However, two other things stand out. The font is ugly. It straight up does not fit the feel of the game. It’s huge, plain and out of place. Like the font itself is too modern looking for its own good.

Second is the graphics filter. You can tell the graphics are smoothed out in the Steam release, which initially isn’t a turn off, but the more I played it, the more it felt like I was looking at a blurry painting. The Steam release has some different colors, objects and a few other noticeable changes. For comparison, here’s a screenshot of what it should look like on the Super Nintendo.

Chrono_Trigger_Gato_Fight_Intro[1]

At the very least, we got Chrono Trigger, again. Not exactly in the best form, but at least we got it. And I can’t not recommend this game to someone who hasn’t played it or doesn’t have another medium to play it on.

Iconoclasts review and impressions

At first glance, Iconoclasts might look like another pixel art styled game, but style is one of the many things that bring its charm. From the very start, there is something endearing about the game. It’s easily seen and felt throughout.

You play as Robin and occasionally some of the other characters that grace the games presence. Robin is the game’s displaced, silent protagonist who has just recently lost her father and lives in a dystopian like world where things are heavily controlled, particularly the building and repairing of technology. One substance, ivory, has been powering most of the worlds technology and is nearly depleted.

Many things are at play in Iconoclasts, story elements bob and weave, coming in and out of the picture at the right moments, emerging at pivotal times and revealing themselves in just the right way. Dialog and cutscenes play out in text, sometimes emoted for extra emphasis. And believe it or not, you get a real good sense for each of the characters, feeling their purpose and motivations. They don’t feel fake or tacked on. The story is one of the best parts of Iconoclasts.

Controlling Robin is easy, fluid and simple. Most movements and attacks work as expected. Because of the that, the puzzles never feel difficult, but a treat to figure out. Like any Metroidvania inspired platformer, you can expect the check boxes to be met and completed within the boundaries of the game’s own merits.

As mentioned above, the graphics style don’t always do the game justice, but the more you play it the more it grows on you along with the game’s soundtrack. From the characters expressions to the animations to the level design… the more you play it, the more you realize it was all meant to be.

Iconoclasts has a decently long play length, but can be mastered, if you’re up for that. It also doesn’t feel that difficult, but that can also be changed if you feel the need to. Boss fights are fair, creative and are actually a big highlight. Collectibles are scattered throughout the world and are useful to an extent, but once you find a loadout that works for you, you probably won’t be needing to craft with them too often.

I never felt bored with Iconoclasts, frustrated or angry. I had genuine, honest fun through my entire playthrough and always wanted to see what would come next for Robin and her companions. Just remember that as you play this that one guy, Joakin Sandberg, pretty much did all of this.

The Mega Man X stage select theme is amazing

You probably already know that it is. I was actually trying to compile a list of some of my favorite character/stage select themes and I could only come up with a few that I really liked. For example, the Street Fighter II and Mega Man 8 are pretty great, but nothing matched the affinity I had for the X1 theme.

But, let’s start with the ones I do like. Street Fighter II. It progresses nicely, doesn’t get on your nerves when it repeats and prepares you mentally for the fight, as all character select music should do.

 

 

And the aforementioned Mega Man 8 stage select song is decent too. It pulses with a great dance beat and synths that are easy going. It’s also kinda upbeat and doesn’t over do itself by being too complicated.

 

 

Street Fighter III: Third Strike definitely goes for something different. It’s hip-hop, funky and just down right cool sounding. It might be the only video game rap song that doesn’t sound dumb as you listen to it. It’s straight dope!

 

 

Nothing hits harder than the Mega Man X stage select theme. And I mean nothing. Just listen to the guitar riff, the snare drum and driving bass… it gets you pumped and ready for battle.

 

 

This song is just begging for a great hard rock or heavy metal cover. And I found a few that are actually pretty good. What actually surprised me the most was how good it could sound remixed on a Sega Genesis. Still, not as good as the Super Nintendo original.

 

 

Basically, we’ve learned that Capcom makes the best character and stage select music, ever.