When it comes to video games crossing over into other mediums, the results have been mixed at best. For example, video games and comics tend to work well. Video games and movies tend to not. However, one of the more overlooked combinations that may actually be more effective than you think involves video games and television. Historically speaking, games tend to make some pretty successful TV shows. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: 8 Video Games That Would Make Great Netflix Shows
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has finally been released, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been a Crash Bandicoot fan ever since first playing Crash Bandicoot 2 when I was just 2 or 3 years old. It was the first game I ever played and the reason I fell in love with video games in the first place. So, you know I was drawn to this remastering of the first 3 games like a moth to a flame.
I’ve been playing the crap out of The N. Sane Trilogy ever since I got it during its launch weekend and have not been disappointed with what I got. The graphics are superb, the gameplay was tweaked just enough to feel modern yet familiar, the soundtrack is life itself, and the new additions, while admittedly minor, are just enough to make the purchase worth it. Sure, the loading screens are a bit annoying, but the game itself is just what I wanted it to be. I highly encourage fans of the original games such as me to pick this game up when you get a chance. It’s a new take on 3 classics that I just know you’ll enjoy.
That being said, this trip down nostalgia lane got me thinking about the other big Crash Bandicoot game on PS1. What of the 4th and final Crash game to be developed by Naughty Dog, Crash Team Racing?
Released in 1999, Crash Team Racing was the first spin-off of the series and a staple of the 5th generation racing game scene alongside Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Daytona USA among others. The game was beloved by critics and fans at the time, selling close to 5 million copies during its initial run. It’s still regarded as one of the most beloved PS1 games of all-time as well as one of the most beloved racing games ever made.
The game definitely had an impact, which is why I’m sure some fans may have been disappointed to see it not included in the N. Sane Trilogy. Granted, I’m of the opinion that it didn’t belong in this collection. It’s not a platformer like the other 3 games, it would require a whole new engine to get right, and how can you re-release CTR without online multiplayer? It would be a huge undertaking for Vicarious Visions to take on that game on top of the other 3 games. Plus, then you’d have people asking “Well, where’s Crash Bash then” (which is an entirely different conversation).
That’s not to say that I don’t think CTR should be reworked. It absolutely should. CTR is a fantastic game that aged well, plays well, and would be well-received by every human on the planet no doubt. This is especially true after seeing how great a job Vicarious Visions did with the N. Sane Trilogy. However, this does come with the question of how it can be done.
One idea is to remaster the game in the same way they remastered Crash 1 through Warped. It could be an add-on to the N. Sane Trilogy via DLC or its own separate title independent from NST. I can see the benefits of both plans. Clearly such content wouldn’t be free DLC, considering the amount of work necessary for making the game again. Giving the game the necessary gameplay tweaks, artistic recreations and new content wouldn’t come cheap. In fact, it may be so big an undertaking that it would probably be more worth it to release it as a downloadable PSN /physical title. It could be called “Crash Team Racing: The N. Sane Edition”. Sell it at $20, add online multiplayer, and you’re golden.
However, this comes with a couple possible roadblocks. Would it be worth it to Activision or fans to remaster one game for such a small price. From a fan’s perspective, sure, I’d pay $20 or so for a CTR remaster. (I’ve done it for DuckTales and I’d do it for CTR). However, I can imagine some gamer’s finding just 1 new take on an old game to be a bit less worth it. One of the major appeals of remasters is that you get several older games on superior hardware for the price of a full, new game; which would place a standalone CTR remaster at a disadvantage. If it came bundled with Crash Bash, that’s another story. Then again, that would make the package cost more, and I’m not sure enough people are fond enough of Crash Bash to justify that purchase. I would, but maybe others may not.
Then from the developer’s perspective, a remaster may be relatively easy to make considering they’re going off the original code, but it may cost a bit too much and take too much time to rework faithfully. Plus, is there really enough content in the game to guarantee a CTR remaster would sell. Sure the game has 5 modes and 15 characters, but modern racing games are still relatively packed with content. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing has at least 24 characters in it (depending on platform), and Mario Kart 8 has a good 26 characters (before DLC and not accounting for the Deluxe version). For modern standards, the game may be a bit too small for modern audiences.
That’s why some may favor a second option a bit better: a full CTR remake. Not a remaster, but a from the ground up, standalone, new features included, remake.
Fun Fact: Back in 2010, Activision was looking to develop a CTR remake developed by High Impact Games before cancelling it for unknown reasons. It was honestly a pretty good idea. Considering the enriched Crash Bandicoot history that exists now, you could expand your roster to include characters like Crunch, Nina, and Tawna. You could also bring in one-off characters like Pasadena Opossum from Tag Team Racing, The Evil Twins from Twinsanity, and Emperor Velo from Nitro Kart. Hell, throw Spyro in while you’re at it. Beyond that, a full remake would be considered a brand new game at $60. This justifies the cost for online server maintenance, and allows Vicarious Visions to add new tracks to beef up the game even more.
This would still come with one drawback — you know, besides the price being higher. Such a plan would also give Vicarious Visions the ability to go off-script (or more appropriately off-code) from the original game. This opens the game up to potentially play radically different from the original, and you know what they say about fixing something that ain’t broke. Basically, a remake could serve to tarnish the original game. Then again, it also could be a good thing for the game. After all, the NST tweaked the control of the original 3 games and I still enjoy it. Maybe they’ll take care to improve the gameplay while also maintaining the feel of the original CTR. As a result you have a whole new take on a classic game.
Additionally, when you discuss a remake of the game, you have to ask yourself if now is the time to make it happen. Should such an idea wait for after the series has a new, original platformer under its belt before going straight to a racing game? Would it allow for new characters to be introduced and new ideas to be formed? Alternatively, would the hype around NST still be there in a few year’s time, and what if a new Crash game fails? A remake definitely comes with a lot of ifs and buts to the point where Activision may not be willing to take the risk just yet.
It’s interesting to think about CTR being remastered or remade. It’s an idea I most certainly love and would support either way if and when it comes up. Though, of the two options I personally lean more towards the remake idea. It may take more time to happen and sure they could potentially make the game worse, but the NST impressed me so much that I trust Vicarious Visions to make it work. Plus, imagine a CTR remake coming out on the game’s 20th anniversary in 2019. That would be awesome! Though if they decide to instead remaster the original game with online multiplayer, I’m totally fine with that, too.
Should there be a Crash Team Racing remake or remaster? Which option appeals to you most? Would you support either option, or would you rather they leave the game alone? Leave your thoughts in the comments below so we can discuss it together!
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!
Yesterday was the final day of E3 2017, where after 2 (or in this case 4) days of sitting through developer conferences, witnessing trailer after trailer as you go, you can now recap on the events of the previous days. Many use this day to get their hands on any additional footage, trailers, or information that either either slipped you by or are dropped at the last minute. I decided to do the same so that I could see the best E3 had to offer this year and, as promised, cover some of the standalone news from the show.
That’s why I decided to end E3 week with at least one post that highlighted some of the biggest standout games of the entire convention. I’ve already dedicated 3 posts to covering the Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo conferences, so now is the time to dedicate to absolutely any and everything.
The games I placed in this “Best of” list are simply ones that stood out to me the most and are in no particular order. I obviously won’t be covering every game at the show, and I’ll fully admit that I still haven’t seen every last game that made an appearance at E3. So, there may be quite a few noteworthy games that miss the list. I am still looking into some of the games that appeared at E3, though, and if I find enough games that are worth mentioning, I’ll try and make a Part 2 to this post. If you want my take on a certain game I didn’t mention, write it down in the comments, and I’ll be glad to discuss it with you.
Star Wars Battlefront II
This was the first big announcement for me at E3. Yes, I have heard of there being a new Battlefront game before, but I was only tentatively excited for it due to what happened with the first game. What was supposed to be the best Star Wars game ever turned into a harsh lesson in how a company should not to handle DLC. However, after watching this year’s EA Play, I now believe Battlefront II is that perfect Star Wars game I wanted 2 years ago. Just the inclusion of a single player campaign is proof enough that this may be the case.
One of my favorite things about this game is how it takes full advantage of the source material. The game benefits from that attention to detail in more ways than one, and the most important of which is gameplay variety. You can shoot on the ground with a bevy of blasters if you want, or you can take the battle into the air and shoot down enemy X-wings. You can be a Stormtrooper, a rebel, a droid, or if you’re really good/lucky you can be a main character. Best of all, the game features characters from all 3 generations of Star Wars and can be on the battlefield at any time. I’m talking Boba Fett vs Captain Phasma. Darth Maul vs Darth Vader. Yoda vs Kylo Ren. It’s like a Star Wars Christmas!
… No not that one! Never that one!
This was the last and best thing Sony showed off at this year’s E3 by far. Last year I was so enamored and surprised by this announcement that I couldn’t wait to lay eyes on some gameplay footage. Having seen it, I’m glad to see everything I wanted it to be is coming true. It may not be an entirely unique game (taking a ton of inspiration from the Batman Arkham games), but that’s okay. This is a case where taking from Arkham is a good thing, especially since the Arkham series isn’t around anymore. Plus, they seemed to have customized it enough to fit Spidey’s abilities. Oh, and Miles Morales being there helps matters dramatically.
Super Mario Odyssey
When I covered Nintendo’s Spotlight event, I mentioned how this could end up being the best 3D Mario game ever. Well, since then I’ve seen a ton of gameplay footage for the game. I don’t know how, but I become more and more in love with this game every time I see it. I love this game. I love the environments, the openness, the nonlinearity, the graphics, and especially the new abilities. Using Mario’s hat to do things like fling at enemies and bounce off it was a great idea. An even better one was using it to possess objects, enemies, and pedestrians. That was extraordinarily clever, especially when you throw T-Rexes into the mix.
I didn’t expect to like this game that much, but that was before I truly gave EA a chance to dazzle me with gameplay footage. On the surface it appears to be Horizon with cool-looking, non-cybernetic monsters and giant mech suits. Nothing too original, I’ll admit. But the way Bioware is implementing the suits’ gameplay is masterful. It’s strong, it’s fast, it’s sturdy, and it can fly. The suits can fly, guys! What more can you ask for?
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Speaking of games I didn’t think I’d like as much as I did, the new Assassin’s Creed looks pretty damn, fun! It’s good to see the time Ubisoft took off to let the series breathe paid off. Choosing ancient Egypt as your setting was a great way to switch up the combat of the game, and the addition of the hawk was also a great idea for aiding exploration and seeking targets.
Skull & Bones
This was one announcement I saw late in the convention, but I’m glad I sought it out. Remember when I mentioned in my Microsoft post when I mentioned there aren’t enough games about pirates these days? Well, I think Ubisoft heard me, because soon will be Skull & Bones. Unlike Sea of Thieves’ emphasis on exploration as well as battling, this one looks to be all about the ship battles. You and your fleet of pirates sail the vast online sea, sailing, seeking, and blasting your way to victory against any rival ships that come your way.
Avast, all ye who cross my path. For while I have the aim of a blind guy with no hands, I steer a fine ship!
Sea of Thieves
Speaking of which, Sea of Thieves looks better this year than ever. I have very high hopes for this game after this year’s E3 than I did the past two ones combined. This gameplay demo showed off the game’s promise, but also its depth, something I admittedly became a bit worried about over time. Showing off how the game functions not only from an online battle perspective but also as an adventure game really made my anticipation for this game much higher.
Easily my second favorite thing at the show, this is looking to be a great zombie game a la The Last of Us. Again, not the most original looking take on the genre, but what draws me towards it personally is how it takes a creative approach getting around difficult situations. Instead of walking to your next destination, you can take your motorcycle. The devices you have access to make sneaking around enemies much more strategic, though when you can afford to your hands can get plenty done. This game also has zombie bears in it! I’ve always wanted to fight a zombie bear, and now I can.
A Way Out
Strange how a lot of games I’m looking forward to involve multiplayer or co-op, seeing as I’m a very single-player… player. One of EA’s more creative ventures sees you and a friend/online stranger playing as two inmates who are attempting a prison break. The game is strictly split-screen, too, which means you have to work together in order to pull off your plan and protect each other when you get out. If you skipped EA’s conference and don’t know about this one, I highly suggest looking this one up. Besides, the more people get their hands on this game, the more potential people I have to help me play this game.
Kingdom Hearts III
Yes, the trailer dropped during E3, so it counts. Strangely, this is the first E3 since its announcement in 2013 (holy crap) to not have this game at a conference. Nonetheless, the new footage and story details look great. I’m still trying to catch up on the series, so I can’t say what looks new about it, but I can say that I’m loving the combat of this game. All those crazy moves look powerful and fun as hell. Seeing Hades again is awesome (even in Japanese), and I like how this story will apparently deal with Sora potentially utilizing the darkness.
There will be another trailer at D23 next week, so I’ll keep my eye on that. (If it doesn’t have a release date, I’ll be furious)!
Both Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania were on the showfloor at E3. And yes, Sonic Forces looks like a ton of fun, and I’m looking forward to it, but have you seen the Sonic Mania footage that came out? I’m quite frankly stunned at how good and fun this game looks, especially for a fan project. The creativity that clearly went into this actual Sonic 4 needs to be seen. Why didn’t I think about those hand cannons to propel Sonic forward? The piano pieces, too, are a great addition as is the level design. This really is turning out to be the 2D Sonic game fans were waiting for.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
As someone who hasn’t played a Wolfenstein game before, I didn’t really get the hype for a while. In fact, I only decided to give the trailer a go this morning and to realize… I’m an idiot! This game looks mad good, has a great story and lead character from what I’ve seen. As you’ve probably gathered from me so far, I love games that let me play with creative/insane weapons or have me face off against insane enemies. I’m pretty sure fighting Nazi robots while riding a giant, mechanical, flamethrowing wildebeest falls perfectly within that range.
Metroid: Samus Returns
Finally, I wanted to give a little shine to one of Nintendo’s potentially overlooked announcements (seeing that this was unveiled during the Treehouse event and not the actual Spotlight). Huge props to Nintendo for finally giving Metroid the time of day with not one but two games. Now, the reason I’m keeping Metroid Prime 4 off the list is basically due to it being an early announcement with no gameplay. Meanwhile, Samus Returns has tons of footage to lust over and is a 2D sidescroller. As a fan of Super Metroid, this specifically interests me, and I can’t wait to try it out for myself in just 3 months.
Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back
Oh, and did I mention this was at E3 this year? Don’t believe me? Well, I’ll just leave this here and… God help us all!
There are a ton of other interesting games that I couldn’t quite cover for time reasons, but these are just a few of the ones I’m especially amped for. Let me know in the comments what your favorite games of E3 were, and what you thought of E3 this year.
For those who joined me in discussing E3 this year, I want to thank you for coming along for the ride with me. If you missed my coverage and are interested in hearing my full thoughts on some of thses games, check the links above for my full conference posts. I plan on making at least one more post about E3, so keep an eye out for that!
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!
Before I get started, let me forewarn you that I’m fresh off watching the conference as I write this. Which may turn out to be a bad thing as I left the conference a little salty. We’ll get to that soon, though.
Welcome back to those who are joining me from my previous post about the Microsoft conference. For those joining me for the first time, I’m dedicating this whole week to the gaming superbowl that is E3 as I cover the big 3 conferences: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. I will also be covering individual announcements from other conferences later in the week, but for right now it’s time to talk about Sony’s E3 conference. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: How Did Sony Do @ E3 2017?
I’ve covered a lot of movies in early development before, but few have been so hard to discuss as the tumultuous Uncharted movie. Based on the popular PlayStation exclusive series of action-adventure games by Naughty Dog, this movie has been of interest to me for years now. Uncharted is already one of my favorite, if not my actual favorite, video game series ever. I love everything about these games: the gameplay, the story, the characters, the environments, the puzzles, everything. It’s basically a modern Indiana Jones with Tomb Raider’s gameplay. What’s not to love? How is this not a setup not just destined for film? Continue reading SBox Soapbox: Uncharted Movie Is Now a Prequel (Yay or Nay?)
In a previous post, I decided to talk a little about one of my favorite game of all-time (The Last of Us) and my most anticipated game as of right now (The Last of Us Part 2). The Last of Us Part 2 is currently in early development, and the announcement is just a bit over one week old. As with all good things, fans are already taking to the web to share their theories and predictions surrounding this soon to be released continuation of a masterpiece. I, too, have theories and ideas of my own to share regarding The Last of Us Part 2, but for now I wanted to focus on one huge question that will play a vital role in the new game’s story. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: The Last of Us Part 2 | Does Ellie Know Joel’s Lie? (Part 2)
To me, The Last of Us is one of the closest examples of a game being a masterpiece. In fact, that’s exactly what it is. A masterpiece. By far one of the most fun and immediately immersive gaming sessions of my life. Its excellent mix of action-adventure, stealth, and survival-horror made for a challenging and binge-worthy experience worth having. There wasn’t a dull moment in the game, neither interactively, audibly, or visually. Not to mention that it has the best story in a video game bar-none. I can go on and on about its deep themes, compelling characters, and emotional weight which persists throughout the entire the entire game. And it just so happens now is the perfect time to do so.
Yes, I know I’m a week late to this party, but I couldn’t just not talk about The Last of Us Part 2. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: The Last of Us Part 2 | Does Ellie Know Joel’s Lie? (Part 1)
If you’re like me and are currently in the midst of either finals week or hell week, the PlayStation Experience probably happened right under your nose this year… and last year… and it probably will next year, too. Really, this event is in an awful spot for college students. The point is that I missed the show and was only able to watch it yesterday morning before getting right back to work. In case I don’t get another chance to blog until the end of finals week (Thursday), I wanted to take just a little time to talk about at least one big trailer to come out of this year’s event: Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy. Continue reading My Quick Thoughts on the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy Trailer (PSX 2016)
Note: SBR never spoils. You are safe. Enjoy!
At long last, I get to do my first WordPress video game review. I couldn’t have thought of a more fitting first candidate than my most anticipated game of the year, part of one of my favorite video game series of all-time: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
I’ve been a fan of Naughty Dog games since I was a toddler playing Crash Bandicoot 2. That game created my love of platformers and is one of my favorite games to this day. So when I finally got a PS3 in 2012, I knew my first stop had to be Naughty Dog’s latest venture with the Uncharted games. I started with Uncharted 2, then 3 and eventually went back to 1. These games are everything I want in a video game: great story, larger than life action, platforming, third-person combat, optional yet fun collectathons and intriguing puzzles. If there was ever a game made just for me, this would probably be it.
When Uncharted 4 was announced back in November 2013 (yes it’s been that long), I couldn’t have been more excited to continue the story of Nathan Drake wherever he may be. In fact, I bought the PS4 the following year just to play this game. Little did I know it would be a pretty long wait until then, topped off by at least three delays, but it was worth the investment. I now get to stand before you guys today, having finally played Uncharted 4 and loving every second of it. Continue reading SBox Recommends: Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End (Game Review)
The time has finally come to discuss the biggest video game event of the year once again: the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2016. I’m humbled by the fact that this is the second E3 I’ll be spending with you all. This wouldn’t be as fun if I was simply taking in these announcements by myself with no outlet to express that information. So, hopefully this is as fun for you as it is for me.
There have been E3 conferences and events the past couple of days, but my sights as always were set on the Big 3 companies: Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Monday saw the release of possibly the only two major showings of E3, so today I would like to share my thoughts of the show with you all, continuing this time with Sony. Continue reading My Thoughts on Sony’s E3 2016 Press Conference