Monthly Archives: February 2017

*Originally Published In Penmen Press*

A new year begins, and the anticipation for upcoming titles starts right back up. This year is especially big for the video game industry as Nintendo, the longstanding industry titan will be launching their handheld home console hybrid, Nintendo Switch. Along with that will come some very high profile game launches. Let’s dive right in and look at the biggest titles of this year’s launch schedule.

On Feb 21, the critically acclaimed “Halo Wars” series will be getting its second installment. This RTS reimagining of the classic shooter franchise has been a major success, appealing to fans both old and new. The second title will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10.

On Feb 28, “Horizon Zero Dawn” will launch, combining the aesthetic of a futuristic technologically advanced world with tension of a dystopia and tribal division. This game is looking to be one of the most creative launches this year, and will be available exclusively on PS4 and PS4 Pro.

Mere days later on Mar 3, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” will launch on Wii U and Nintendo Switch. Perhaps the most anticipated game of the entire year, this title will reinvent the conventions of Zelda, bringing the game back to its open world roots. With fully voice acted cutscenes, and a world that can be explored from the time you purchase the game, this is shaping up to be the most interesting Zelda yet.

Later in the month, on Mar 21, fans of the “Mass Effect” series can get their hands on “Andromeda” which is the newest game in the RPG series. Bioware is back in space, and this time, players can explore an entirely new set of planets on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

For the first three months of 2017, there will be plenty of big game launches. As we approach the spring, even more titles such as “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” and “Injustice 2” will be on the way. Here’s to keeping games in 2017 as interesting as possible.

*Originally Published In Penmen Press*

Nintendo has recently turned to mobile titles to pay tribute to some of their most beloved intellectual properties. From “Miitomo” which personalizes the interaction between players, games, and their own avatars to “Super Mario Run” which gives new players a basic introduction to the wonderful world of gaming’s favorite platforming superstar. Perhaps no mobile title yet has been as strong a tribute as “Fire Emblem Heroes” which takes the beloved series to new territory.

A beautiful celebration of the beloved strategy franchise, “Fire Emblem Heroes” takes the most base elements of the core series, and adds enough pull to lure in new fans. As mobile titles take over the world in their influence (largely due to free-to-play models making them accessible) it’s great to see a title that uses that influence to keep traditional handheld titles relevant.

“Fire Emblem Heroes” is essentially, a lite strategy game that allows players to participate in 4v4 battles featuring a combination of a new original cast and the most revered heroes in the franchise. Take the role of tactician, as you use your rare ability to summon heroes from many worlds. Whether it’s Marth or Roy (commonly known for their appearance in “Super Smash Bros”) or Eirika and Eliwood, players will get to delve even deeper into the franchise, perhaps finding an interest they didn’t know they had.

The combat of “Fire Emblem Heroes” is substantial, keeping most of the core elements of the original games while maintaining some level of simplicity. The visual style is new and fresh, as well as somewhat humorous. The sound design is brilliant, and true to the series’ roots. The social experience is also quite well executed, with adding players as friends being as easy as the click of two buttons. Perhaps eliminating the friend codes for specific requests would be ideal, as friend codes have never worked particularly well for Nintendo.

The launch of this title incredibly well timed with “Fire Emblem Echoes” coming out in a few months, and “Fire Emblem Warriors” coming out next year. Nintendo is clearly trying to capitalize on what was once an incredibly obscure franchise. With “Fire Emblem Heroes” now being available on IOS and Android, the franchise will no doubt hit the homes of many players far and wide.