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NALCS Spring Split Finals in Vancouver - Day 1

A few months back, Riot Games eSports division announced that the North American branch of the League of Legends Championship Series (NALCS) was going to be coming to our own backyard: Vancouver! As “seasoned professionals” of the eSports circuit it was something we immediately set in our schedule.

Yooka-Laylee [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Yooka-Laylee is the definition of "careful what you wish for." In the rash hatred for the changing ecosystem of game development when an old title, Banjo-Kazooie, got a face-lift on the X360 we created a vacuum that was filled by the crowd-sourcing craze and brought us exactly what we asked for: a '90s platforming adventure. Unfortunately, there's a VERY good reason these kinds of games don't exist anymore. We've moved on and games are infinitely more complex today and gamers will expect more.

The Pros: 

+Character design is adorable and the characters themselves are charming.
+The worlds are bright and beautiful, which is a nice contrast to the modern shades of brown and grey.

The Cons: 

-Game ignores all modern innovation on game design and plays like an N64 title.
-Issues with camera and control highlight a lack of innovation.
-Lackluster story telling and character motivation make collect-a-quests as boring as we might have feared from a true retelling of a '90s classic.
-Worst of all, this is what we were all asking for. It delivers '90s gaming and proves there's a reason we moved on. Nostalgia can hurt as much as help. Rating : 

A few years back, the Xbox 360 saw the return of a ‘90s gaming icon in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. It strived to bring the duo into the modern era and attempted to innovate on the tradition of the original title by adding the ability to craft different vehicles to platform in a new way, while trying to also stick to the original collectible nature of the original franchise.

Poochy & Yoshi's Wooly World [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Thanks to the ability to switch the difficulty between two settings at any time on-the-fly, Poochie and Yoshi's Wooly World is a true "for all ages" video game. It'll serve up a respectable challenge to older gamers on the default setting, then knocked down to "easy" on the secondary setting it is simple enough for even young gamers to get through the main story of the title.

The Pros: 

+Adjustible difficulty for new and veteran gamers alike.
+"Choose your own" difficulty ramps quickly if you're trying to collect all the extras.
+World and character design are incredibly charming and beautiful on the 3DS.

The Cons: 

-The gap between the two settings can be a bit extreme if you're OCD about collectibles.
-Definitely a step down in graphics for the 3DS installment of the franchise, losing some of the more impressive wool look of the Wii U title. Rating : 

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: There are levels in this iteration of Yoshi’s Story that I found myself legitimately stuck on. For the first time in the franchise history, Yoshi is not just Mario for babies (or with Baby Marios). It’s a full-fledged action platformer with some real depth to it if you feel the need to sink your teeth into all the collectibles and bonus levels that the game has to offer.

Red Bull Proving Grounds Comes to Vancouver

 This past weekend the FGC eSports scene came down to Vancouver to find the best of the best in the GVRD, it was an open tournament that provided those in the area the opportunity to show off what Vancouver has to offer eSports and provide a fun environment for fans of the fighting genre to hang out, meet up with friends old and new and show off what they can do.

SnakeByte Switch Starter Kit [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The Starter Kit from SnakeByte is a great all-in-one solution for protecting your new Nintendo Switch. It includes plenty of accessories to protect your console investment including screen protector, game cases, and a hard travel case to get your unit from point A to point B safely.

The Pros: 

+Everything is of decent quality
+The price point is easy on the wallet
+Package as a whole address all of the major console complaints

The Cons: 

-Earbuds aren't much and serve as little more than a bridge to a proper pair
-Screen protector is tricky to apply correctly, especially without instructions Rating : 

 One of the biggest issues with the Nintendo Switch is how expensive everything is. The console comes with “two” JoyCon which is cool, considering it lets you play multiplayer out of the box, but absolutely everything else is an additional charge and in most cases, it is well beyond the ESP that we would have assumed it’d be on the run-up.

Square Enix Vancouver Showcase

This past week we had the opportunity to head down to a local event put on by the PR team behind all Square Enix’s recent and upcoming releases. We only had a short time to play through everything (2 hours) but we went hands-on with as much as humanly possible!

Below are some shots of the event, along with thoughts (previews) of the titles that were available to us and we had the most time (and fun!) with:

Flame x Blaze (MOBA)

Super Bomberman R [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Super Bomberman R is easily the best multiplayer title for the Nintendo Switch at launch. It evokes a sense of nostalgia, not only through the gameplay, but through the proper presentation of the Nintendo Switch hardware. Use of the JoyCon is functional and brings back that feeling of playing the NES with your friends.

The Pros: 

+Adorable characters
+Classic Gameplay
+Co-op throughout the entire story
+Battlemode is fun and easy to setup

The Cons: 

-Story is short
-Online is super limited
-Not too many viable boards offered in multiplayer Rating : 

When everyone was complaining about the launch titles for the Switch being limited to Zelda, I kept shouting back “What about Bomberman!?” I’ve been a life-long Bomber-fan since I first started playing the series on the NES. It’s a game that it near and dear to my heart, primarily because it’s a franchise I’ve always been damned good at.

Destiny 2 CE Includes Swag you Might Actually Use

This week Bungie officially lift the lid on the release of Destiny 2. It started with a logo, then continued with a cute little video showing off Cayde in the smoking ruination of The Last City, and today concluded with the full reveal/announcement of the forthcoming sequel release to the epic grind fest.

SnipperClips [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

SnipperClips is a great showcase of the co-op centric mentality of the new Nintendo Switch. At $10 it would have been a perfect example to show off to your friends what the mentality behind the new console is and where it excels. At $30 though it's a bit much to be asked for such a short experience.

The Pros: 

+Adorable characters and animations
+Simple and fun gameplay/mechanics
+Great example of the co-op/multiplayer ideas of the Nintendo Switch

The Cons: 

-Nigh-unplayable single-player Rating : 

Many have complained about the barren launch line-up of the Switch all the way through from the initial announcement straight past the release of the console. For my money, I’ve always said it’s about quantity, not quality. So, for me personally the release of a new Zelda title was reason enough to go in day one. But sure enough, after 80 hours of Zelda I found myself wonder “what else is there.”


Nintendo Switch [Console Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Nintendo has perfectly captured the emotion of their launch video into a home console. The Nintendo Switch is rife with tradition of the company and takes lessons from their hardware from the NES straight through to the Wii U. More than that, they've made a bold statement about a return to social/couch co-op gaming that we can get behind!

The Pros: 

+Fun to change between modes
+Satisfying and well thought-out transitions
+Real weight and quality in the individual components

The Cons: 

-Weak launch line-up
-Everything is overpriced (games, accessories)
-Launch issues with scratched screens and de-syncing JoyCon Rating : 

Nintendo has a history of making bold choices where hardware is concerned. Sometimes their wild attempts to deviate from the norm have produced unparalleled success, as in the case of the launch of the Wii. In other instances, their attempts to push hardware in new directions has caused a comical failure that echoes through time, like the still hilarious attempt at VR in the ‘90s with the Virtual Boy.

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