After a long wait following last year’s E3 tease, Microsoft has finally revealed the specs behind their upcoming Project Scorpio project — and they’re a doozy.
Plenty of video games feature post-apocalyptic scenarios.
The Sniper franchise has continued to truck on for almost a decade, despite a history of lukewarm to outright negative critical reaction.
Gaming isn’t a cheap hobby. Ask any regular player, and odds are, they’ll lament choosing one game over another, or how bad the latest Steam Sale wrecked their wallets. But as a recent global study indicates, some places have it better than others, and vice versa.
The 2017 Tech Price Index is a survey of 72 countries’ technology markets, complete with sales data, market trends, and a stock of prices around the world. Rocket Internet Venture and Linio, the largest online retailer in Latin America, carried the study out. Results indicate that prices of gaming as a hobby vary wildly depending on the country.
To get their data, both companies analyzed the prices of consoles based on regional online retailers. Prices given by the largest retailers in the respective countries’ five largest cities were also factored into the data.
As the data indicates, the most expensive country to own a gaming console, by a large margin, is Venezuela. A base PlayStation 4 will run consumers close to $57,000 USD, while an Xbox One costs around $37,000. The runner-ups are still pricey, but less absurd, with the most expensive places running between $600 to $800 USD.
On the opposite end of things, Hungary and Switzerland have some pretty competetive pricing for consoles. A PlayStation 4 in Hungary will run you around $250, while an Xbox One in Switzerland costs around $222.
By and large, the study shows, gaming consoles are cheapest in both Europe and Canada. Conversely, it’s a more expensive hobby to pick up for those living in Asian and Latin American country. And, keeping in line with cost of consoles, Venezuela is the least affordable place to play games. This is due, in large part, to the hyperinflation which has done a serious number on the country’s economy.
The full list can be seen on Linio’s site, and it’s well worth looking over just to put things in perspective. If you find yourself cutting costs to save up for the Nintendo Switch or another upcoming console, you can take solace in the fact that you won’t have to take out a mortgage for it.
Originally slated for February, Gust’s sequel to Nights of Azure has been delayed until later into 2017.
Producer Keisuke Kikuchi spilled some details in a post to the developer’s official blog (quote translated on Google Translate).
“We have adjusted and tested the balance of actions,” wrote Kikuchi. “If you can spare a little more time to finish up to the quality, I think we can satisfy.”
Kikuchi also promised to include the previously-announced new heroine Lily, “who fights alongside the protagonist” in the sequel. In addition to this, he also promises swimsuit costumes for both characters.
At any rate, Nights of Azure 2 isn’t coming any time soon. A new release date hasn’t been revealed, and as is the case with these sorts of things, likely won’t be for a while. It is reassuring, though, that extra time is being taken to ensure the game is everything fans want it to be.
I quite enjoyed the first Nights of Azure when I reviewed it early last year, when I gave it a 9.
“It’s rare to see a title manage to juggle so many different things and succeed at almost all of them, but somehow, Nights of Azure does exactly that. It mashes together aspects of role-playing, action and raising sims into one stylish, original package, then ties it all together with a sprawling narrative that sucks you in and refuses to let go. Perhaps it lacks the technical polish of other games with bigger budgets, but with this much substantial content and stylistic flare, that’s easy to forgive.”
Hopefully, Gust is able to deliver a sequel that delivers as much fun and memorable narrative bits as the first entry.
Nintendo’s latest home console has the industry buzzing, for better or worse. That said, developers certainly seem interested, as eighty games are confirmed to be in development for the Nintendo Switch. Add Nippon Ichi Software President Sohei Shinkawa to that list, if recent comments to Famitsu are any indication.
“We can’t just ignore the move to portable gaming consoles,” Shinkawa told the publication. “Our games are well suited for portable gaming, so when you think about it, it is important for PS4 and Nintendo Switch to balance each other out and do well. With that in mind, from here on multiplatform development for PS4 and Nintendo Switch is very much a possibility.”
That said, Shinkawa prefaced his comments with a full commitment to Sony’s platform.
“We are a software company that has grown together with PlayStation,” he stated, “and are well aware that a lot of our fans are on PlayStation platforms. So it is not as if we will stop developing games for PlayStation. Overseas, PlayStation 4 sales are incredibly strong and we will continue making games for the PlayStation 4 platform.”
These comments shed some interesting light on the industry’s perception of the Switch. Of course, Shinkawa doesn’t speak for all developers, but his sentiment that the Switch is a compliment to the PlayStation 4 seems to be a common one. Furthermore, it’s interesting that he counts Nintendo’s platform as a handheld system, considering Reggie Fils-Aime’s recent comments that it isn’t intended as a replacement to the 3DS.
It’s also worth noting is that Shinkawa’s comments aren’t empty promises. NIS actually has a title coming to the platform: Disgaea 5 Complete, a new version of an installment in one of their tentpole franchises. If it does well on the platform, it’s not an unreasonable expectation to see other NIS franchises follow suit, and perhaps even some original titles down the line.
With NIS, Atlus, and Square Enix rallying behind the platform, the Switch is already looking like a viable platform for JRPG fans.
It seems everyone wants in on the virtual card game trend, thanks to Hearthstone. From Elder Scrolls to even The Witcher, it’s a craze that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Wisely, Hi-Rez is deciding to capitalize on that craze using their popular SMITE brand with SMITE Rivals.
Hi-Rez’s SMITE has become a major name since its launch. In a MOBA space primarily dominated by DotA 2 and League of Legends, the stalwart free-to-play game has earned a devoted following thanks to accessible gameplay and a winning art direction. Now, that following will a new playable character to sink their teeth into – The Morrigan.
NVIDIA’s been pretty aggressive about taking on the console space. Not only have they cooked up a heaping helping of portable products at varying price points, but they’ve managed to get their Tegra in Nintendo’s upcoming Switch. Today, they doubled down on this competition with the Shield TV, a product pitched squarely at the console set.
The Shield TV is a device built around NVIDIA’s proprietary GeForce Now game-streaming service and a Pascal GPU architecture. New updates to the service will bring Ubisoft games to the platform, with Watch Dogs 2, The Division, and the upcoming For Honor already confirmed. While it’s a bit silly that players will have to link their UPlay accounts in order to play, it’s still a pretty big win for the company.
Other improvements, however, definitely make the system an interesting alternative to consoles. NVIDIA’s GameStream service will now allow for 4K streaming at up to 60 FPS. On top of that, the Steam app is now supported, and gives players direct access to Steam Big Picture. This means that you’ll be able to access supported games in your library and stream them to your living room with pretty solid framerates, on top of playing them at higher resolutions via upscaling.
All of this can be had for $199 USD, which easily edges out the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in terms of pricing.
The intent behind all of this seems pretty clear. NVIDIA is going all-in on being a household name through releasing their own take on the traditional mid-tier home console. The only hurdle it faces is not having the brand recognition of something like a PlayStation or an Xbox, as well as many consumers still associating physical discs with gaming purchases.
Still, NVIDIA’s new product is nothing to sneeze at. As somebody whose PC runs on a GeForce GTX 1080, I can firmly say that the company is no stranger to quality products. If it can uphold its promise of being three times faster than other streaming platforms, the successful GPU manufacturer may have a serious contender on its hands.
In Japan, Christmas is sort of different. A lot of people still go to work, gift-giving isn’t as much of an ordeal, and one of the biggest customs is chowing down on Kentucky Fried Chicken. No, really—people preorder buckets in advance for fear of not being able to get it. But because we don’t live in Japan, us Westerners have to punch other shoppers for the right present and don’t even get to look forward to the greasy goodness of KFC on Baby Jesus’ birthday. The upside is that buying anime in the West is way cheaper than it is overseas. With that in mind, here are ten anime worth buying for the discerning otaku in your life. For the sake of this list, I’ve excluded sequels (so Evangelion 3.33 is off the table, despite being wonderful,) and only listed things that you can legally buy physical copies of in the West.
10) Wicked City
Diskotek, one of the best publishers in the industry right now, rescued one of the 1980’s forgotten gems this year. Wicked City is a nasty, twisted little beast of a movie, packed with sex, violence, and weird combinations of the two. Yet it’s not all exploitation—Kawajiri’s compelling yarn of an attempted demon/human peace contract is a tight thrill ride of a film. Featuring some truly memorable set-pieces and an emphasis on unnerving body horror, this is one for your weird cousin who doesn’t leave their room all that much. Plus, Diskotek’s new transfer is crisp and clean, making it the best version of the flick on the market right now.
9) Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun
Anime romance is usually pretty shallow and poorly depicted, mainly because it’s rooted in immature understandings of human interaction. That said, there are some diamonds hidden in the dirt, and Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun’s definitely one of them. It’s a cute, sweet tale about a high school girl who falls for a manga artist, and the wacky hijinks that follow. Nothing about it is too serious or heavy—it’s a pretty frothy, light little show from start to finish. Yet in a world where grimdark melodrama like Attack on Titan and Psycho-Pass pass for being “good,” there’s definitely a place for this sort of thing. It’s a funny, sweet show that almost anyone can enjoy, and good for giving warm fuzzies underneath the mistletoe. Plus, the comedy lovers out there will enjoy the funny visual gags in each episode.
You know what I hate? “Let’s make a club” anime. Know what Charlotte’s about? Making a club. Wait, wait, hear me out! See, what makes the prolific Jun Maeda’s latest worthwhile is its staunch refusal to fit into a box. While the central premise is that the protagonists are gathering adolescents with superpowers, that concept is a simple framework for a more complex narrative to build upon. As the series progresses, insufferable moe tropes fall to the wayside in favor of thought-provoking fantasy and sci-fi. It actively builds audience goodwill before smashing it against the rocks, recalling Hideaki Anno or Tsutomu Mizushma at their meanest. It’s a roller coaster of a show, and while some parts of it are a little bog-standard, it ultimately ends up being more than the sum of its parts. Whether you have a sci-fi fan or a pretentious anime hipster like me in your life, Charlotte’s a safe bet.
7) Parasyte –the maxim–
Few words can describe how on the fence I was about Parasyte -the maxim-. It was a modern riff on a classic manga, one that changed the art style of the show and cast Aya Hirano aka Haruhi Suzumiya as the murderous alien attached to the protagonist’s hand. Thankfully, I was wrong, and Parasyte is a stellar adaptation that even manages to find ways to improve upon the source material. It’s a blood-soaked action tale that’s punctuated by bits of dark humour and messed-up body horror, making it a perfect fit for that edgy teenager in your life. In terms of grim, punch action anime, you could do a whole lot worse than Parasyte -the maxim-.
6) MY love STORY!!!
Another cute and sweet anime about teenagers falling in love, MY love STORY!!! wound up taking me by surprise. It’s one of the rare romance anime where the protagonists aren’t complete idiots and don’t even get together in the end. Instead, it’s a story where the adorably bashful protagonists get together in the first few episodes; the rest of the series is dedicated to them clumsily navigating the ins and outs of a relationship, albeit in a very comedic sort of way. The stellar art direction, great animation and spot-on voice acting make My love STORY!!! one of the most infectious, sweet titles of the year, and one of the better romance anime I’ve seen.
5) Prison School
Here’s one for when your family leaves after the festivities are over. Prison School, which concerns a group of high school boys locked up in a prison camp for being perverts, is one of the most gleefully distasteful shows out there. It revels in its absurd premise, and takes full advantage of the TV-MA rating in the most explicit ways possible. But if you look past the fan service, it’s really a stellar anime and one of the best in years, in fact. It’s a ribald send up of masculine insecurity, one that’s rife with dirty humour and filthy punches at male sexuality. In spite of its over-the-top content (or perhaps because of it,) Prison School is one of the best adult comedies in recent memory, and definitely one for less prudish people in your life.
4) Sound! Euphonium
Kyoto Animation’s mostly cranked out garbage in recent years, so imagine my surprise when they made something that was, in fact, not garbage. Sound! Euphonium is a surprisingly slow, nuanced human drama about a high school band trying to compete at a national level. However, it’s more than that; it’s a story about budding romance, tested friendships, and teenage insecurities, all rolled up into a slickly produced and brilliantly scored package. KyoAni came back in a big way with this show, and gave me faith that they’ve still got good work in ‘em. Plus, for the LGBTQ teens in your life, Euphonium does a great job of depicting same-sex romance in a positive, sweet light that doesn’t overtly sexualize its characters.
3) Only Yesterday
Isao Takahata is Hayao Miyazaki’s second fiddle when it comes to Studio Ghibli productions. His tone, style, and themes are wildly different from his friend/rival, and by consequence, his films usually aren’t talked about as much. Which is a shame, because his works are some of the studio’s most interesting. Only Yesterday is, in fact, one of their best. It’s a touching tale of a woman’s dissatisfaction with her life, and her attempts to reconnect with her childhood dreams. This tale of an office worker turned farmer is a sweet, touching drama that moves at a leisurely pace, and ultimately reminds viewers to never lose touch with what truly makes them happy. Ghibli’s beautiful animation helps bring Japan’s lush countryside to life, along with a stellar cast and moving score. Only Yesterday is a beautiful movie that practically anyone can enjoy, and another reason to appreciate Takahata’s mastery of the craft.
2) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
The anime industry spent the last decade ripping off Haruhi Suzumiya, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down yet. However, copies will always be inferior to the original, and thus is the case with Kyoto Animation’s undisputed masterpiece. The funny, touching tale of a fickle goddess and the boy who loves her is just as entertaining today as it was in 2006, and Funimation’s mac-daddy release is as good as we’re ever going to get. Both seasons of the show are revolutionary, compelling yarns that pushed the medium to new heights and laid down a mould for other shows to lazily follow for the next ten years. It’s still one of the best shows out there, and this release is a must-have for fans or newcomers alike. Now if only the fantastic follow-up film would get a reissue.
1) Yurikuma Arashi
If Haruhi set the mould, Yurukuma Arahi is a bold attempt to smash it to pieces. Ikuhara’s latest attempt to blow minds is a flagrant celebration of queer sexuality, a critique of the limitations of yuri anime, and a bold criticism of Japan’s reductive views towards gay marriage. It’s also just a flatout great show, with endearing characters, a tripped-out premise (lesbian teddy bears!) and some of the best art design in recent memory. As somebody who routinely loses faith in the anime industry, Yurikuma Arashi was this year’s reminder that people are still capable of making some great stuff. While some of the nudity in the show makes it a little inappropriate for younger audiences, it’s still a subversive trip of a show, and the best thing the medium’s produced in years. A must-have.
That about does it, folks! Hopefully, this list helps you figure out something worth getting for the anime fan in your life, regardless of their age. Be sure to check out CGM’s other Buyer’s Guides for comics, games, and movies!