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Secret of Mana Remake for PS4 first look and thoughts

I meant to post this immediately following this year’s attendance at Comic Con 2017 in NYC, but hey, better a little late then never. They had a couple of games to test out on the main floor, the lines of which were pretty long when I went on Friday and then even longer on Saturday! I had some time to myself Saturday and decided to go and play Secret of Mana which is coming out this February (15th seems to be the exact date they haven’t changed as of the writing of this) for the PS4, Vita and PC, which is actually just a few months short of the 25th anniversary of it’s initial release on the Super Nintendo.

 

I originally had loaded a save file, which found myself at Neko’s just south of the Water Temple and had begun exploring when I was told I had to start a new game and play up to the first boss (grrr, I had watched others play up to that point and was hoping I could get a little further without being noticed!). So, I complied. I was brought back to the familiar beginning on top of the large log overlooking a waterfall with 3 young boys, and your character falls (to what one would assume is his death, but against all odds that’s not the case) and you’re soon greeted by a ghost and pull out a sword beginning all sorts of terribleness in this world. You know, that old chestnut.


A few things I noticed; The graphics were very large and in your face, but also childish. It was a bit like Final Fantasy Explorers for the 3DS. This was a game aimed for a younger audience back in ’93, so I can’t fault them for going cartoony and I can dig it. Also, voice acting! A welcome change to what was purely reading in the SNES days, it’s nice to have something to listen to and not just read. However, it’s like a low budget voice addition. Everyone keeps the same permanent face their character has with words coming between closed, or frowning or smiling features. However they look, there’s absolutely no lip movement to match the voice work, which is odd at first but hey, it’s a remake of something that had nothing like that at all and I am not going to nitpick something like this. Especially when by the time you get to the first town, EVERYONE has something to say, and by that I mean speak, with voice acting, and for that first town anyway, no two voices sounded the same. This guy and that guy, that old lady, shop keeper, all unique and I’m happy about that. I can’t imagine every single person in the game will be unique. I’m sure random NPC in this town will sound like another in some other town, but to at least be unique in the same town is pretty outstanding.


Combat…. is very slow paced as it was on the SNES which is fine, they don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. The original system worked well and with a couple practice swings, you re-learn the ropes of letting the numbers on your status bar tick up to 100 to perform another attack at full power. Once you earn your first charge up,  I feel the area of hit for that first charge attack is less forgiving, making it so you really need to be dead on with where the enemy is to connect or you whiff and leave yourself exposed. I don’t recall if it was that way for the original, but it keeps you on your toes. That first boss…. the giant Mantis creature, it was really cool to see them larger than life, with detail, and more than just a static image of facing forward only. Now, he can turn his body towards you and move his limbs. I always enjoyed that first simple boss and defeating him brought back the same memories of joy I had when I first played decades ago (that is so much more painful to write years ago and then realize it was actually over 20… old!).


Anything I could pick apart from this playthrough is…. well I very much dislike some of the “straight from the original” movements that I encountered. When the bully, Elliot, starts to “punch” the main character after you return to the Village Elder, and then the earthquake begins causing him to run around in panic, you do not see him throwing any punches like the original, and he runs around awkwardly on his set path, the exact path he did in the original SNES version only now it looks incredibly out of pace, rigid and just poorly done. These graphics are updated, I don’t see why they can’t just make that scene look a LITTLE better. It’s very jarring. I was able to play a little bit more after the first boss to see Dyluck and the soldiers preparing to fight the Witch, and even their abrupt movement to the left off screen was just rigid and looked out of place. Also talking to someone’s back causes that jarring “they’re suddenly looking right at you unnaturally”. A person turns their body to face you, it was understandable in the 2D SNES sprites of the past, but to see if now is just weird.


Anyway, none of those little complaints are going to matter in February when I will absolutely play this game and love it and play with friends and for a little while relive some childhood memories together. I honestly can’t remember (which is why I should have wrote this sooner when the memory was fresh!) if the soundtrack sounded updated, I don’t recall hearing anything other than the original score (which for the record, has been on cds, music players, iPods, etc., since I was able to download or rip music, so I know the score well) and it sounded like what I love, but perhaps it was re-scored? If it was it certainly wasn’t fully orchestrated or anything, that I would have noticed. It’s available for pre-purchase on steam already and pre-order on the PlayStation store, both of which offer wall-papers and 2 sets of bonus outfits for the heroes to wear (the tiger bikini for the girl I remember as an actual outfit from the original… so I’m unsure if things you can equip change your appearance or if these are special re-skins that you can only get from the pre-order. I only bought 2 pieces of clothing from the first shop and didn’t see any difference so I’m thinking it’s the latter. Actually, that reminds me! The equipment and accessories all had stats, which is definitely a new feature, which showed more than just defense, but included passive defenses like being poisoned, ballooned, etc. I like that. Adding depth to the equipment is something I definitely appreciate. In any case, expect a full review of the remake once I’ve had the chance to really sink my teeth in after it’s release in February 2018.

It’s the spookiest time of year! Halloween 2017! It’s Time for Super Castlevania IV!!!

Happy Halloween! The VG Boys have always enjoyed the spookiest time of the year… a perfect excuse to play games that horrify us! Or that feature monsters, scares, and in this particular podcast’s case, a whip, skeletons, a vampire lord and lots of fun! Of course we’re talking about Super Castlevania IV for the Super Nintendo! An absolute classic featuring plenty of game play elements that we all known and loved from previous titles in the Castlevania series, but this one featured a return to the original with improvements all around. Since the SNES Classic released a short time ago, this title was included (a fantastic inclusion, we believe) and it was a pleasure to play this title again. An instagram follower “@the_donn_mega” requested we do a Castlevania episode, and this stood out as the obvious choice for episode content! We’re always open to suggestions and love to hear feedback from you the viewers/listeners!
            We also added something new this episode with a trivia portion right at the beginning of the podcast, so if you think you know your Castlevania, tune in and see if you can answer the questions yourself! Any thoughts on what trivia questions you would have liked to hear, or any tidbits of knowledge you’d like to throw in yourself? Please do in the comments below! We love hearing from everyone, and look forward to chatting with you all.
We are big fans of the Castlevania series in general, and will definitely be doing more podcasts in the future covering other favorites, but we hope you all have a fun, safe and scary Halloween and enjoy the podcast! Please like any and all episodes you enjoy and subscribe to the podcast so you never miss a show!

 

The Precious! Shadow of Mordor

Precious indeed, the VG Boys are fans of the Lord of the Rings series, and Shadow of Mordor is certainly a worthy addition to video games within the Tolkien Universe. Listen to an in depth discussion of Shadow of Mordor, what makes this game so great and why you should all be excited for the sequel: Shadow of War; what looks like a worthy successor improving on everything that’s loved about Shadow of Mordor. What are you waiting for man flesh? Listen now!

Super Metroid!

Even before the release of the amazing SNES classic edition from Nintendo, we’ve been wanting for revisit Super Metroid for a podcast for a long time. For over 23 years, Super Metroid has been considered a masterpiece for its time. 

The title of the “masterpiece” can only hold true if a game can stand the test of time. In our opinion, this one has. Since the original dropped for NES, the Metroid franchise has spanned many games over many systems over the years and most recently with the release of Metroid: Samus Returns on the Nintendo 3DS. As per usual, this entry in the series also enjoys rave reviews. 

Take twenty or so minutes with us to revisit the glory that is Super Metroid via our podcast. Either stream below or take VGBoys on the go by subscribing on iTunes!

The Games that disappointed us… by not releasing!

Disappointment comes in many forms, for video games, it could be that a game fails to achieve what you expected from it, perhaps it’s boring, or has too much grinding. Sometimes it’s just completely different than what you pictured in your head… but then there are titles that never see the light of day, they are teased, mentioned, shown in clips or screenshots or just written in articles and then poof! They are a part of a long history of what could have been. It’s honestly very sad when titles that fans absolutely want and are looking forward to, usually for years on end suddenly wind up in the scrap heap. Listen to this  new podcast and hear the VG Boys’ take on games which left them wishing for more.

What games do you think should have been mentioned? What’s your pick for the top game which should have been released? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

The VG Boys are flipping the switch… the Nintendo Switch that is!

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Welcome back! Excited to kick 2017 off with an episode on the much anticipated upcoming launch of Nintendo’s latest and greatest system, the Switch. A home console with portability options, the VG Boys have their eyes on what could be another great launch from Nintendo. In honesty though, Zelda: Breath of the Wild is definitely the real reason we’re hyped for the pending release in early March. Come and join the fun that’s filled in this podcast from the VG Boys.

What are you excited for? While Zelda is certainly the biggest title that everyone is looking forward to, we want to hear what other games you cannot wait to play on the Nintendo Switch. Comment below, on our instagram or tweet us, we’d love to hear from you!

The Boys are going where there’s No Man…..’s Sky!

Part 1 Screenshot 2016-08-30 00-36-54 Part 1 Screenshot 2016-08-30 00-34-45No Man’s Sky has been hyped for an unbelievable amount of time, and anyone following along could not argue that the visuals shown, the promises made about “being able to do anything” along with space exploration, ship customization, discovering new solar systems, planets, creatures… it’s enough to make anyone’s hopes rise up through the stratosphere and keep rocketing to space to keep up with this game! Does it compare to the hype? Well that’s a whole other story… or better said a discussion. Tune in while the VG Boys discuss their favorite aspects as well as the numerous issues with No Man’s Sky.
What do you love about the game? What did we forget to mention, or maybe another flaw you experienced we should have touched upon? Comment below, and don’t forget to like and subscribe to the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Time to relive those Memories of Mana

The SNES is home to many outstanding RPG titles which are held in high standing for many retro gamers. Secret of Mana was a unique, well received and overall fun game which was also one of the very few multiplayer RPG’s available to play during the height of the SNES’ existance. It’s also one the VG Boys place as one of their top SNES titles of all time, and played together and with friends when it was new up to today. Tune in and join the discussion on this fantastic game!

E3 From Home, It’s time for a post E3 discussion!


VGBoysEvery gamer’s favorite time of year has come and gone and there were some exciting announcements! The VG Boys watched with eyes filled with joy and hearts overflowing with love for gaming and what the future of it holds for us all! Join us this week for a wrap up of our favorite announcements from this year and what we’re most looking forward to!


What did YOU like the best? Anything you’d wish we included instead? Well us too! There will definitely be a follow up via our blog for anything additional we wanted to add or further explanations on what we’re excited about. Disagree with anything we said? Leave a comment below, we want to hear from YOU!

Ultima Online Roundtable Featuring Guests David and Mike

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The VG Boys are truly excited to finally be able to feature the 90’s PC Game Ultima Online, one of the first successful and popular MMORPG’s. This roundtable session also features 2 special guests and longtime friends of the VG Boys, David and Mike who are also veterans of Ultima Online. Tune in and share the combined tales of 4 friends playing a game they truly loved. Whether it was simple adventuring, dungeon raiding, scamming, looting, killing fellow players, the terror of being hunted by other players in the wild, we’ve seen and done it all. This is a much longer episode than your typical VG Boys podcast, enjoy!


               Are you also a veteran of the Ultima Online community? What server did you play on? Anyone else from the Great Lakes server who recall any of the character names mentioned in this episode? What were the name of your characters, on any server and what was your build? We love hearing tales from Ultima and would love for you to mention anything related to the game in the comments below!