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Review: Dragon Quest III: The Seeds Of Salvation – Third Time’s A Charm

When it comes to legendary JPRGs in the West, you can rattle off the usual suspects pretty easily. Final Fantasy VII, Persona 4, Chrono Trigger… you get the picture. However, Dragon Quest III is criminally overlooked. With the recent rerelease of the Erdrick Trilogy on Switch, this gives players a new opportunity to check out one of the best releases in the entire series. While Dragon Quest enjoys some moderate notoriety in the West these days, Dragon Quest III is clearly a notable step up from its predecessors and is one of the best JRPGs you can buy on Switch today. It does come with some notable caveats, however.

Dragon Quest III is a prequel to the original Dragon Quest and tells the story of Ortega, who is tasked with the quest of defeating the fiend Baramos. While we saw some flourishes of a story in Dragon Quest II, it’s this amazing third entry which allows the franchise to really hits its stride in terms of plot. The winding storyline keeps you engaged, and the expansive world lets you keep discovering new nooks and crannies to explore. Dragon Quest III’s world is a genuine joy to poke around in and will keep surprising you as you progress. NPC interactions are one of the biggest highlights in the game, and the way that they are written makes this an incredibly fun romp through a lighthearted fantasy world.

Armed with one of the strongest soundtracks a Dragon Quest title can have, the rearranged MIDI tracks composed by Koichi Sugiyama shine, and let Dragon Quest III’s lighthearted fantasy romp really bring out its personality. It’s a treat to go through the game and keep being delighted by the music in new areas.

There have been a few improvements made in Dragon Quest III, most notably a full heal option, where you’re able to swiftly get your entire party’s health back up with a single button press (as long as you have the required items, of course). Additionally, you have one extra party member, and you can compose your party however you’d like. Further pushing the boat out is the addition of a day/night cycle, where you’re able to face off against different baddies if you’re lurking around in the evening hours.

The battle system has been slightly reworked to factor in more engaging gameplay, with more skills that add a new dimension to the tried-and-true “whack it with a sword and maybe cast a spell” strategy that the previous two games in the series employ. As ever, the random battles persist in this release, and can still be frustrating; without the addition of a turbo button to ease up on those enemy turns, things can get frustrating as you wait for enemies to slowly attack your party.

In comparison to Dragon Quest I and II on Switch, III does not seem to suffer from the same issue of character art not being in line with the backgrounds, and they manage to blend in pretty seamlessly. This also lets you really see the Akira Toriyama sprite-work shine. Unfortunately, there is still a slight stuttering issue while exploring maps, but it’s not enough to distract you from the game completely.

Conclusion

Dragon Quest III might be slightly more expensive than its two younger brothers on the Switch eShop, but it stands tall as a great way to explore the world of Dragon Quest for the first time. Even when compared to modern JRPGs, Dragon Quest III still stands tall as one of the best in the genre. If you had to pick just one of the three rereleased Dragon Quest games, pick Dragon Quest III – we can promise that you won’t be disappointed.

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Review: Dragon Quest II: Luminaries Of The Legendary Line – The ‘Difficult Second Album’ Of Enix’s Classic Series

Dragon Quest II has a reputation. Not only is it the sophomore entry into the juggernaut JRPG franchise, the second of Dragon Quest’s Erdrick Trilogy, but it’s also known as one of the most difficult, unbalanced JRPGs to this day. News of its re-release on Switch is great news for series purists who want to take a beating and look back at the legacy of the Dragon Quest series. However, for folks wanting a great Dragon Quest experience, you might want to look elsewhere.

Set 100 years after the events of the original Dragon Quest, you pick up Dragon Quest II as a descendant of the legendary hero Erdrick once again, and also as a descendant of the original game’s protagonist. This time, you’ll see more hallmarks of the series start to appear. One of the biggest differences between the original Dragon Quest and this sequel is the fact that you now have an entire party of characters at your disposal.

This is both a blessing and a curse. The game decides to drip-feed you these party members as you continue on in your adventure, yet its hallmark random encounters can suddenly drop a horde of monsters on you which your growing team is likely to struggle against, leading to some incredibly frustrating encounters – even early on in the game. Needless to say, you will definitely need to make sure you’re properly-equipped before leaving even the starting area of the game in order to stand a chance at making it to your next destination.

Like its predecessor, you’re left to your own devices to explore the world as you see fit, and the game expects you to go and hit every landmark on the map in order to get a full understanding of the world, your place in it and the secrets hidden within the game. Luckily, Dragon Quest II also features a map system, so if you are in dire straits while out exploring its expansive overworld, you’re able to make a quick stop to restock and replenish your party’s HP.

When it comes to length, Dragon Quest II is a bit long in the tooth, and more often than not this feels like a bit of bloat to pad out the runtime; however, some of the new elements – such as the ship – are great time-saving measures. Like the original Dragon Quest for Switch, we would have liked to have seen more done to streamline the experience when it comes to random battles and slow traversal of the game’s overworld, but that would require a pretty extensive re-tooling of the game’s mechanics, and would drastically alter the way it plays – which is perhaps not what is expected with these ‘faithful’ ports.

The gooey details of the port are in line with the original Dragon Quest’s release for Switch, which is to say that there are redrawn assets in the form of enemies, NPCs and player characters that are of a slightly higher resolution than the rest of the game. Enemy designs, in particular, are more evocative of someone trying to upscale sprites than be more faithful to Akira Toriyama’s brilliant original artwork for the monster designs. Additionally, while exploring the map, there is consistent stuttering, which is in-line with the original game’s release on Switch.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to be desired for Dragon Quest II, both as a game and as a port. Considering the final stretch of the game, it’s a difficult one to recommend and spend your time on when Dragon Quest III and Dragon Quest XI are on the same system. While it’s great that Switch fans now have access to more Dragon Quest goodness than ever before, this one is a reminder that even the best franchises experience growing pains, and is only suitable for diehard Dragon Quest fans only.

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Wild West FPS Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger Rated For Switch By The ESRB

Update – Sun 20th Oct, 2019 13:05 BST: Following a rating by the ESRB earlier this month, Techland has seemingly started teasing Call of Juarez: Gunslinger for Switch.

It recently sent out a postcard to select media (thanks, VG247), showing a picture of a gunslinger playing what appears to be the recently rated game on the Nintendo Switch. The back of this postcard says “more” will be revealed on 24th October. Take a look below:

Keep an eye out for a more official announcement next week.


Original Story – Wed 9th Oct, 2019 04:15 BST: A Nintendo Switch version of the western-themed first-person shooter Call of Juarez: Gunslinger has been rated by North America’s Entertainment Software Rating Board.

This game was first released in 2013 by publisher Ubisoft and was acquired by Techland in 2018. It’s the fourth entry in the Call of Juarez series and received positive reviews by critics when it was originally released.

There’s been no mention before now about Call of Juarez: Gunslinger coming to the Switch, so we’re guessing a more official announcement is on the way. In the meantime, take a look at one of the original trailers for the game:

Is this a game you’ve been wanting to see released on the Switch? Comment below.

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Poll: Box Art Brawl #13 – Goemon’s Great Adventure

Main

Smell that? Yes, that aroma of blood, sweat and tears can only mean one thing: it’s time for Box Art Brawl, the series where we lock box art variants of the same game in a cage and see which one survives to the bitter end according to votes from you bloodthirsty lot.

Last week North American Trevor Belmont triumphed over his European and Japanese selves with that version of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse comfortably winning approval. To be honest, we thought round 12 was going to be much closer, but NA bagged over two-thirds of the vote and left Japan and Europe to depart with bloody tears in their eyes.

This week we’re sticking with Konami but jumping to the Nintendo 64 with Goemon’s Great Adventure, or Mystical Ninja 2 Starring Goemon as it was known in Europe. The Ganbare Goemon series has a loyal fanbase, but it’s been a long while since we last saw the mystical ninja and he’s arguably slipped off the radar a bit. Well, we’re here to remember his heyday with the cover of this 2.5D side-scrolling sequel.

Let’s take a look and see which mystical ninja has the stealthiest skills…

North America

NA

With Goemon centre-stage and striking a similar pose to the one on his first N64 game cover, Ebisumaru and the pre-rendered gang gather behind him as red, fiery shards of energy burst from the rear of the group. It’s big, dynamic and uses practically every colour on the spectrum. The logo arguably gets a bit lost and we found our eyes constantly drawn to Goemon’s odd-looking feet.

Europe

EU

The European version eschews the rendered look for a more traditional ensemble piece of art. It’s similarly colourful, but more characters equal more action and the logo stands out a bit better, despite having some odd colouring going on in the diamond behind the text. The black info strip down the side provides a calm counterpoint to the energy of the main image, but that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

Normally it’s the North American and European covers which share the same key art, but this time it’s Europe and Japan…

Japan

JP

Yep, Europe used the same key image as the JP cover, although the portrait orientation means we get a better look at the moon above the mountains. We see more of the art, although we’re not sure if that’s an improvement on the landscape perspective of the PAL version. The Konami logo in the top left is joined by a red strip across the bottom that repeats the company’s name and once again the title is a mishmash of colours and elements.


If we could mix-and-match the parts we wanted, there’s surely a killer cover here somewhere – unfortunately, we’ve got to pick between them. Actually, that’s wrong – you’re doing the picking! Once you’ve decided which ninja deserves your undying loyalty, give him a click below and hit that ‘Vote’ button:

A disciplined professional in combat and self-defence, it’ll be fascinating to see how the ninja performs against himself. Box Art Brawl will return next week for another round – we hope to see you then!

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Fatal Frame Producer Wants To Bring A New Entry In The Survival Horror Series To Nintendo Switch

Fatal Frame Wii U

There’s quite a good selection of survival horror games on the Switch, but one series currently missing from the line-up is Fatal Frame.

Speaking to Nintendo Everything, series producer Keisuke Kikuchi said he’d be open to revisiting Koei Tecmo’s terrifying IP.

Yeah, I do want to make a Fatal Frame on Switch. I think it’d be a ton of fun to play with the console in handheld mode and moving all around.

He also said how he was “very happy” to be regularly asked about the series, but is currently focused on Fairy Tale RPG, due out on Switch and multiple other platforms sometime next year.

Fatal Frame started out on the PlayStation 2 in 2001 and in more recent years has been released on Nintendo platforms. The last one popped up in 2014, as a Wii U exclusive.

Would you like to see this scary series make a return? Comment below.

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Random: God Of War Director Praises Witcher 3 On Switch, Says It’s “Some Kind Of Dark Sorcery”

Witcher 3 - Nintendo Switch

Bringing a game like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition to the Switch was previously palmed off as impossible, yet here we are now playing it on this exact system.

While there are plenty of people out there who still can’t believe such a large and visually stunning title has been released on Nintendo’s hybrid device, God of War creative director Cory Barlog was recently asked via Twitter what he thought about it and responded by saying it’s dark sorcery:

It is a portable version of a game that is like 3x the size of ALL the games I have ever made combined! It is some kind of dark sorcery that did to get it run on the Switch so I am more than cool with the graphical tradeoffs required to realize this glorious feat of dev magic.

As much as he loves playing this expansive game on his Switch, he feels it was a “missed opportunity” to not call it The Switcher:

I absolutely LOVE being able to play Witcher III on my Switch Lite. Having said that, it’s such a missed opportunity that they did not call it: The sWitcher III: It sWild Hunt, eh? Or just – sWitcher III Game Industry, I’m available for all your naming and marketing

It’s great to see a port for a Nintendo system receive such high praise from an individual who has mostly worked on Sony IP.

If you would like to know how The Witcher 3 was made possible on the Switch, be sure to check out the in-depth Digital Foundry breakdown.

What do you think about the above praise from a guy who has worked on a well-known game series like God of War? Tell us below.

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You Can Now Get Switch Joy-Con Inspired By The GameCube Controller

GameCube JoyCon GamePad

The GameCube controller is arguably one of the most comfortable gamepads of all-time and unlike the Switch Joy-Con, it is less likely to give you hand cramps due to the ergonomic design.

Taking all of this into consideration, the gaming accessory manufacturer SADES has now released a wireless Joy-Con (left and right) modelled on the GameCube’s controller. As you can see above and below, the right analog is swapped out with C-Stick and you’ve even got the same button layout featuring the kidney-shaped X and Y buttons.

Switch GameCube Joy Con

These GameCube Joy-Con controllers are available now from Amazon for US$59.95 and are available in black (it’s a pity there are no indigo or spice colours available). Below are some extra features and details about it:

-Unique Game Cube design button, hours of comfortable game play with curve ergonomically designed grips.
-The wireless Home button wakes up the host, which provides quick and convenient.
-Built-in near field communication NFC function for Amiibo. The dual strong vibration motor will bring you a different experience in the game.
-Two Joy Con can be used independently in each hand, or together as One game Controller when attached to the Joy Con grip.
-Randomly updated. Includes 1 Micro USB cables for charging purposes. Compatible with Nintendo Switch as a Replacement for Joy Cons.

Is this the Joy-Con set you’ve been wanting? Leave a comment below.

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A Hat In Time On Switch Has A Bigger File Size Than Other Versions Of The Game

A Hat In Time

If you downloaded a copy of A Hat In Time on Nintendo’s portable system when it was released earlier this week, you might have noticed the hefty file size. It takes up a whopping 16GB of space, which is believed to be four times bigger than the PlayStation 4 version and twice as big as the PC release.

Normally when it comes to Switch ports, it’s the other way around – with significantly smaller file sizes. In this particular case, though, A Hat In Time is around the same size as a digital copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and nearly three times as big as Super Mario Odyssey.

It’s hard to say what exactly is going on with the size of the Nintendo release. If Gears for Breakfast doesn’t work some magic in future patches, the game might only increase in size – with the Nyakuza Metro downloadable content also “coming soon” to this version.

Will you be making some space for this game on your system’s internal storage or micro SD card? Leave a comment below.

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Feature: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rescue-Palooza! Is The Turtles Game You’ve Always Wanted

TMNT Rescue Palooza

From the silver screen to the small screen to the even smaller screen on your Game Boy, the world’s favourite comic book pizza-lovers have featured on displays of all dimensions. But, while the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles originated in pen and ink, many people remember them primarily as the stars of classic arcade games.

1989 saw Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael make their console debut in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the Nintendo Entertainment System, an 8-bit title that served as many a fan’s first exposure to playable turtles. Heading into the early ‘90s, Turtles beat-em-ups came thick and fast, reaching its undisputed pinnacle in 1991’s arcade classic Turtles in Time. However, this only really cemented its iconic place in Turtles culture when it was ported to the SNES.

Merso X is a dedicated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan with fond memories of battling the Foot Clan in Turtles in Time. The side-scrolling beat-em-up remains hugely popular to this day, but it can be hard to find it nearly 30 years after its release (just take a look at eBay if you don’t believe us), so he set about remaking it as a ROM.

“This project started as a remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 (AKA: The Manhattan Project) for the NES, then became a remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (the NES port of the original arcade game),” he explains on his website. But this was more than just a port; Merso X wanted to update it, like he had seen when Super Mario All-Stars got a SNES update back in the day.

“That was the first time I saw an 8-bit videogame get a re-release with music and graphic updates,” he tells Nintendo Life. “Since then, I’ve wanted to see every NES and Game Boy game get a SNES do-over.” But updating the classic arcade games himself took a lot more work than he’d initially expected.

“For characters that appeared in the original NES games, like the turtles themselves, I took the original sprites and recoloured and edited them in Photoshop,” explains Merso X. The updates were meticulous, as he was keen to maintain accuracy to his beloved TV show.

But, when he was looking into the details of these games with such intense scrutiny, Merso X started to take issue with small discrepancies between the game and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lore. So, he decided to take it in a different direction, pivoting his game from a faithful remaster to a brand new title.

“I wanted to have some flexibility in terms of enemy placement and behaviour,” he explains. “But, I knew that if I were to take these liberties, the game would stop being a faithful adaptation of the originals. So, to make it more fun for myself, development-wise, I decided to use the original games just as a template, while creating essentially a new game.”

If his workload was a lot when he was remastering the game, it increased tenfold with the new direction. For the story, he took inspiration from the classic TV show. He sent his draft script to some of the biggest Turtleheads he knew, including the owner of the world’s biggest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection known as “The Sewer Den” Jon Zelenak, and retro toy blogger Eric Setzke. The resulting story took inspiration from old-school Turtles lore to give the game that classic Turtles feel, and makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rescue-Palooza! feel just like an official game.

As well as coming up with a story to accompany his edited and updated sprites, Merso X wanted new characters – and lots of them. However, for many of his favourite cartoon villains, there were no suitable sprites available because they had never appeared in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game before. Undeterred, he assembled a team of volunteers to edit completely unrelated sprites, such as the Joker’s goons from Sunsoft’s Batman game, which became Ace Duck after significant alterations.

However, the team soon realised it would be quicker to design some of the characters from scratch. “For characters like Irma, Burne, Mona Lisa, Miyamoto Usagi, and others, I created all-new sprites by taking screenshots of the show, resizing them, and placing pixels on top, one by one, using an already defined colour palette,” he explains. “It was very time consuming, but somehow less tedious than adapting the sprites of Tournament Fighters characters.”

Thanks to the time and effort of Merso X and his volunteers, Turtle-Palooza! is a faithful replica of the iconic ’90s NES Turtles style. Fans are able to play a game that feels like a genuine ’90s throwback with a fresh story and a full complement of brand new characters.

Rescue-Palooza! was downloaded an unprecedented 100,000 times in its first month, played by everyone from die-hard turtleheads to SNES enthusiasts who needed some much-needed ‘cowabunga’ in their life. Fans couldn’t wait to play a brand new SNES port for free on their own computer, especially when they saw the quality of the game and the effort that Merso X had put into it.

Merso X’s ROM hack evolved into so much more than a faithful recreation, and it has more than earned its place alongside the official titles – even if it’s not designed to turn a profit, and is unlikely to ever see release on any home console. The popularity of the Nintendo Switch’s NES and SNES libraries shows that gamers still have an appetite for retro games, but it takes a lot of work to make a brand new game that is good enough to get noticed.

“I spent a lot of time and effort ensuring that this game felt more special than the typical fangame,” Merso X explains. “This hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

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Review: BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre – Hellishly Good Fun That Needs More Polish

Just one look at the logo and key artwork for BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre, and it’s clear that this isn’t a game to be taken seriously. Everything from its logo and key artwork to the way it insults you upon death is designed to elicit a chuckle. But if you’re easily offended by colourful language, innuendos, or over-the-top violence, then this might not be the game for you. Otherwise, BDSM is a functional (if uninspired) twin-stick shooter that’s engaging enough to see through to the end.

BDSM stars Lou, the gun-toting, booze guzzling son of the devil himself, and it’s up to him to save Hell after it’s possessed by, well, people. What follows is a fairly straightforward action romp taking place over 4 chapters set in their own unique areas of Hell. You’ll mostly be fighting off waves of enemies with a typical roster of weapons including a revolver, shotgun, machine gun and more. There are some additional objectives such as rescuing NPCs trapped in cages, and all the chapters end with a really challenging boss encounter.

To mix up the standard twin-stick gameplay a bit, each weapon has a secondary function mapped to R. So for example, you can empty the revolver’s cylinder in one go, which is great for mowing down smaller enemies, and the machine gun has a handy grenade launcher that blows huge chunks of health off the bigger, more formidable foes. On top of this, collecting red orbs from downed enemies fills up your rage meter. Once this is full, you can unleash a powerful beam of fire that disintegrates normal enemies and temporarily makes you invincible. It’s a good way of gaining the edge if you find yourself getting overwhelmed.

BDSM is a perfectly fine example of the twin-stick shooter genre, but it falls down a bit thanks to its rudimentary graphics and overall lack of polish and fluidity. It’s much more fun on higher difficulties with an increased number of enemies, but the boss battles can feel a bit unbalanced and you’ll often find yourself dying without really knowing what actually killed you (and be prepared for some lengthy load times before you’re back in the action). Still, it’s worth a go if you’re in need of a decent run-and-gun title after the intensely disappointing Contra: Rogue Corps.