Catching Up – Xbox One in 2018

We’re approaching the end of 2018 and I’ve just got myself a brand new Xbox One S, five years into the lifespan of Xbox One. It’s a new world for me as I’ve been playing nothing but Nintendo stuff for the last few years, having a great time it must be said. I never had a PS4 either so this is my first time dipping into the 2013 “next-gen” console family, which is now this-gen, or half-gen to the Pro and X which will be last-gen again next year. Phew. Whatever you want to call it, I have a lot of gaming to catch up on and I thought this was a unique perspective worth a little writeup. I was lucky enough to get my XB1S bundled with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 4, two very expensive new release games. The whole bundle was $100-200 AU cheaper than a Switch or PS4 by themselves, which is ridiculous. Xbox is priced very well and has huge support in Australia, and I was in a good spot to take advantage of it. It just felt like the right time with Nintendo’s Switch holiday lineup mainly focused on two games I’m not that interested in. I got home with my new Xbox and it felt like Christmas again. The old, fun, child-like Christmas, not the new HD remake “Adult Christmas” which is full of disappointing social engagements. This was going to be fun on my own terms.

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Xbox Adrift: Can Microsoft save the Xbox One? Should they?

An Xbox One X floats across a stormy sea.

Xbox One has the smallest presence in the gaming industry that the brand has ever had. It’s plain to see that while SS Microsoft sprouts wings and sails towards the clouds, Xbox is a raft floating hopelessly adrift in a choppy sea of home consoles. Microsoft are an astonishingly successful company who have been more than happy to abandon unsuccessful side ventures. Yet despite Xbox costing the company billions and forcing them to obscure the financial performance of the division every annual report, they remain committed to the brand. With the battle for the living room over and lost, it’s time for Microsoft to let go of consoles and reposition itself in the gaming industry. Continue reading “Xbox Adrift: Can Microsoft save the Xbox One? Should they?”

GrooveRider – Extreme Slot Car Racing

While Americans have been updating their Wii U’s and drawing dicks in Nintendo Land, I’ve been playing GrooveRider, the best slot car game ever made. Browsing the Playstation Store I noticed this PS2 classic for $8 with an average user review of 4.5 stars. Could a slot car game really be that good? Sure, why not? I downloaded it immediately without even consulting the internet, because that’s the kind of risk worth taking.


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Sonic Heroes

Sonic Team sat down and listened to the fans for this game. “Actually make Sonic the main focus, ditch the crap-rock, fix the camera!” they cried in absolute pain as Mr. Naka ran them over in his race car while listening to Crush 40.

“I DISLIKE YOUR COMMENTS AND WILL BECOME A SUCCESS IN THE UK, A HAW HAW HAW”

About an hour later, Sonic Heroes was finished and on retail shelves. What’s this? Sonic’s got team based sex antics going on now? Oh okay. This obviously requires several teams of freaks. Remember those idiots from Knuckles Chaotix? Of course you don’t, because the world was trying to forget them. BUT NO, Sega will jog your memory. “HERE’S ANGSTY PURPLE THING, HAPPY BEE AND BIG SLOW CROC” they yell as crumbs stick to your face.

In total, there’s four teams of three characters. Each fart around the very same levels, but with silly different bits of storyline that all eventually cross over. It’s a game about talking to dead people. Every team has a fast character, a flying character and a ANGRY BREAK DOWN WALLS character. ‘Cept Big the Cat’s angry in a ‘where’s my brain’ kind of way. You need to switch between these characters all the time. This manages to totally destroy the whole Sonic feel. You might be running really fast for a few seconds then UH OH it’s time to switch over to slow breaking down walls character to.. you know.. break down some walls that are there for no reason. I’m sure Robotnik (or Eggman as Sega like to call him now, another delightful decision) has nothing better to do than stroll down to the beach and put up some walls. “I enjoy long walks on the beach. So I can put some walls all over it”. The flying characters are typically there just so you can fly for a few seconds only to somehow glitch up and end up falling into an endless background JPEG. How can Cream even manage to lift Amy and Big? His name is Big for a reason (THIS IS NOT SEX RELATED). Cream’s arms should totally break off and blood would cover the entire level. Knuckles would be all “hooo-waaaah”.

Sonic Team attempted to give some of the levels a retro look. The checkerboard textures that were very present in Sonic 1 are back on the Seaside Something or Other level, there’s a new Casino level. And um. There’s a level that’s.. er.. has the word Metropolis in it. Sadly, the levels are very VERY poorly designed. Very. They drag on for far too long, typically have very little checkpoints and require more rail grinding or breaking stuff than running. In fact, you won’t be running much in this game at all. Doing so could result in death, thanks to the return of terrible camera man (Lakitu’s confused cousin) and some shocking clipping. There’s an entire level called Rail Canyon. Can you guess what this level requires you to do? Sell ice cream. The fun part is where bomb trains crash into you and you witness the Game Over screen for the 7th time in the last three minutes. Jumping from rail to rail should of been easy, it’s not. There are times when you press left or right + jump and UH OH YOU’RE NOW SPAZING IN THE AIR? Death. To top this all off, Tails feels the need to yell “I’m falling!” when you’re falling. They’ve changed his voice actor for this game, too. I think they’re going for that three year old feel now.

When you get to a switch, one of the characters will insist on blurting out “I wonder what this switch will do?” WELL JESUS, I DUNNO. MAYBE IT’LL MAKE ENEMIES APPEAR LIKE THE OTHER SEVEN HUNDRED HAVE? Music is another sore point. Once again, we have the pleasure of dreadful rock music and other depressing lack of melody lack of meaning music to fall down holes to. Though I did rather enjoy Casino Park’s music, it was catchy as hell. Too bad the level involved confusing pinball machines of doom.

The game will last you a long time, I spose. If you can be bothered to play the same levels as the other characters (which you’ll need to do in order to actually complete it). There’s a sad 2 player mode where you fall down holes together, also. I think the game also has an options menu. Some stuff just doesn’t work in 3D. Sonic’s that stuff. I can’t wait for the Shadow the Hedgehog game. WATCH OUT PRINCE OF PERSIA.

This game gets two breadrolls out of a bakers dozen.