Featured Gaming & Tech

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Under Fire For Bad Graphics

The new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Games can make a case study for a truly critic-proof game.

Both Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have sold ten million units in three days. And, despite being almost universally panned due to its abysmal performance for an AAA Nintendo Switch Game in 2022, the game has even broken records for Nintendo. 

The games have some of the best storylines from any Pokémon game, are more open-world than Pokémon Legends: Arceus (the de-facto open world Pokémon game), and have some interesting additions to the ever-growing Pokédex. They also had incredible marketing, which we covered in previous articles. The starters were almost universally loved, and the Iberian Peninsula-inspired Paldea seemed gorgeous, at least in the trailers. And, if the games didn’t run like a PowerPoint slideshow at some points and had a full Pokédex, they would probably be hands-down the best Pokémon games ever.

The game’s graphical flaws are glaring, and it’s almost impossible to play Pokémon Scarlet and Violet without feeling affected by its low quality at some point. Even gamers who don’t care about the graphics feel like Game Freak is trying to get away with far too much. Their predecessor, Pokémon Sword and Shield, was also met with similar criticism due to cutting out Pokémon, barebones story, and excessive hand-holding. 

Pokemon scarlet and violet
@ Nintendo

Fans of the games have shared funny clips of the game’s bugs and glitches, including one where the player becomes a giant Slenderman-like creature while riding the game’s mount or minor graphical bugs where NPCs phase in and out of existence spontaneously. This is also the first time that many gamers who pre-ordered the game actually went to request refunds from Nintendo. Those who pre-ordered either copy of the game already had it downloaded on launch day and paid for it once it finished.

Many of these gamers took to Reddit, Twitter and Instagram to vent their experiences with the game. Gaming YouTubers also praised the game. Not only that, but the game had a mix of new features that increased quality of life while also removing other features that were a mainstay from past games. Pokémon breeding is much easier and faster, while the games removed status effect animations on Pokémon battles, a feature that’s been in the game since Gen 5. Now, Pokémon also go to sleep and have their eyes wide open.

But, overall, while Gen 9 made several steps in the right direction, every other video game company is walking for miles.

Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise in the world, worth $118.5 billion. It doesn’t seem like Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and Game Freak are paying attention to the gamer’s concerns and might be more focused on milking their cash cow. But, that doesn’t mean many gamers have enjoyed the game. You can identify a game’s flaws while still having fun out of the many new things added.

And, of course, more children and young teenagers only care about the Pokémon, so it’s not like the game’s target audience will care if a couple of fictional birds look pixelated in the distance.

Featured Gaming & Tech

Splatoon 3 Becomes Best-Selling Game in Japan

Step aside, Elden Ring, Splatoon 3 is taking over

Splatoon 3 became the best-selling title in Japan in 2022, with around 4 million copies sold in Japan, combining retail and digital sales. Of these 4 million, at least 3 million copies are physical. The game also became the fastest-selling game ever in Japan, a record previously held by Animal Crossing New horizons. The game also made a strong debut in the UK.

A hyped-up marketing campaign plus an anticipated release were big factors in making the game a success, especially as fans believe the game has lived up to the hype, reflected in the impressive sales numbers.

Surprisingly, Splatoon 3’s main competitor for the title isn’t Elden Ring, rather, it’s Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, set to be released on November 12. 

Splatoon has always been a popular game in Japan, with its predecessor, Splatoon 2, selling around a million copies in 2017. Some of the new features of Splatoon 3 include the return of fan-favorite weapons, like the Octobrush and Clash Blaster. Reviewers and casual players stated the game weapons feel more balanced, and the maps feel tighter and more open.

The single-player aspect of the game was usually left in the dust, given the higher relevance to the multiplayer in a first-person shooter. It was present, but not exactly important.

splatoon 3
© Splatoon 3

Most of the previous Splatoon entries’ missions were simple “get to the goal” quests. This time, some missions have you dodging shockwaves until you survived the timer. You receive a weapon, with the quirkier weapons getting you a higher reward.

Splatoon 3 also features Return of the Mammalians, with more cutscenes, more variety in its mission structure, and a more fleshed-out plot. Return of the Mammalians has been praised for enhancing the Salmon Run mode.

In Salmon Run, players team up to defeat waves of Salmonids and boss Salmonid varieties, similar to the zombie modes in may popular first-person shooters.

There’s also a frequent number of Splatfest events giving players all the reasons to keep playing the game, including a Pokémon Scarlet and Violet-themed Splatfest to keep players hyped for the next big entry in the Pokémon mainline family.

The two major new weapons are the Splatana, an ink Katana with a wide horizontal attack mode and a vertical strike mode, and the Tri-Stringer, a bow that shoots smaller ink balls in sets of three.

It can fire three smaller explosives that can surprise enemies at a distance after charging.

The Crab Tank is a new special weapon, which turns players into a crab-like vehicle that can snipe enemies from medium to long distances.

There are new maps, new hubs, and a tricolor turf war that starts with one traditional team of four and two separate teams of two.

The game is available for $59.95 digitally and on retail.

Featured Gaming & Tech

GTA 6 Gameplay Video Leaks, Rockstar Devastated

GTA 6 Developers have expressed disappointment upon discovering massive leak of early gameplay footage

The gameplay from GTA 6, which some fans had previously believed to be false, was confirmed to be authentic and triggered a response from Rockstar Games. In their statement, the developers expressed it had suffered a network intrusion, where a hacker breached its systems and downloaded confidential information, including the infamously leaked footage. The game has been in production since 2014.

The alleged hacker dropped 90 videos of unreleased gameplay footage to an online forum and has threatened to leak more gameplay footage and even the game’s source code. Some of the leaked videos are over 20 minutes in length, are apparently set in Vice City and show multiple playable characters, including a woman. Rockstar Games employees were left shocked by the leak.

The hacker goes by the name ‘teapotuberhacker’ on GTAForums. It seems ‘teapotuberhacker’ wants to blackmail Rockstar as they stated, “I am looking to negotiate a deal.” This deal is assumed to prevent the release of more sensitive data. The hacker also claimed to be behind a data breach in Uber’s internal systems, though the statement remains unverified so far. 

Rockstar did all it could to take down the leaked videos. Still, as happens with leaked footage on the Internet, people are already making video theories, TikToks and memes throughout all digital venues.

© Rockstar Games

“We are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way.” Expressed the studio following the leak. Rockstar games continued, “Our work on the next Grand theft Auto game will continue as planned, and we remain as committed as ever to delivering an experience to you, our players, that truly exceeds your expectations.” Fans reacted with support and love for the company.

While the studio didn’t share extensive details on the depths of the data breach, they were confident that this would not disrupt the service for its network or games and won’t have a long-term effect on the development of their next projects.

Rockstar Games owns Grand Theft Auto, (GTA), one of the most successful video game franchises in the modern history of games. For comparison, GTA 5 was released nearly ten years ago and remains popular today, selling nearly 170 million copies as of August 2022, becoming the best-selling game of the last 10 years. Simply announcing Grand Theft Auto 6 (GTA 6)  being in development was enough to cause Take-Two Interactive’s stock to rise.

Take-Two Interactive is Rockstar Games’ parent company and owns 2K, their Private Division label to support publishing from independent developers, and another new studio known as Intercept Games.

Featured Gaming & Tech

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom To Launch in 2023

The long-awaited sequel for 2014’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was announced on September 13th

Most of the game’s details remain a mystery, with the cryptic trailer focused mostly on ancient paintings depicting various races, Zelda and Link. As this is a sequel, Breath of the Wild’s open-world will return, along with a new flight mechanic and possibly new runes.

Much of the new content has been allegedly inspired by leftover ideas from the DLC and the prior game’s brainstorming sessions. This is why the trailer incorporates the skies above Hyrule as a new feature to be explored. The first teaser trailer was released in the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct, though most fans of the series will have forgotten about the initial preview since the pandemic. During that time, the sequel was untitled. 

At E3 2021, Nintendo revealed some story elements and gameplay, on top of a planned 2022 release date. As this is a big Zelda game, everyone knew it would most likely have delays, as confirmed by producer Eiji Aonuma in 2022.

Hidemaro Fujibayashi will return as director for the game. 

the legend of Zelda breath of the wild
© Nintendo

Of course, the new trailer, along with all previous ones, has given fans enough content to begin speculating the game’s plot and gameplay. The 2019 trailer’s most notable feature was a decrepit corpse who was in an even worse state than the Sheikah monks found in the first game. Most users theorized that it could be Ganondorf, due to the mummy’s long red hair and corresponding Gerudo jewellery. 

The 2021 trailer showed a new magical effect that seems to turn everything grayscale and freeze it in place before reversing its movements. The trailer also showed a massive new weapon: a gauntlet-flamethrower hybrid. 

There are some theories that Zelda might be a playable character, due to her new short haircut. However, the latest trailer has all but confirmed the contrary.

Finally, there’s a belief that the Zonai will play an important part in the story. The Zonai are an ancient precursor race of warriors presumed extinct, whose existence is known by ruins and the Barbarian Armor set available in Breath of the Wild.

One of their recurring motifs is a red spiral pattern that can be seen in much of their architecture, present in the ruins. 

What’s certain is that players will get to explore the skies of Hyrule, an element only explored in full during Skyward Sword.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is set to release on May 12th, 2023. Watch the trailer here.

Featured Gaming & Tech

Why is the PS5 so Hard to Get in 2022?

When the PS5 came out people went crazy for it, but not because of the games available on release

Due to the relative scarcity of the gaming console, people were more interested in buying a PS5 to sell it at a markup and earn a profit, and even to this day, it’s hard to get your hands on a PS5 without paying extra.

The console was launched in November 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it sold out instantly. However, part of this was due to the very limited stock and the wide demand. The consol’s retail price was set at £449.99, which isn’t cheap in itself. However, if you want to get your hands on a PS5 nowadays, you’re likely to spend upwards of £749.99.

The pandemic caused an increased demand for entertainment tech for those stuck at home. So, when PS5 came back into stock, it sold out instantly, further increasing its value.

And, due to the newfound popularity of electronics during the pandemic, including consoles like the PS5, the UK faced a chip shortage. The chip shortage was caused when consumers locked in due to quarantine began purchasing more electronic devices than ever: laptops, headsets, gaming displays, consoles, and more.

PS5 © Shutterstock

During the pandemic, the automotive industry cut off chips orders, believing people wouldn’t buy many cars. But, this caused knock-on delays throughout the global supply chain, which caused Sony to cut PS5 shipments by approximately 3.3 million units in the fiscal year 2022. This shortage is still affecting the electronic industry today,

As for when the chip shortage will end, Deloitte Consulting predicted that it might last through 2023. The chip industry has increased capital spending, and many factories are coming in line after years of slowed production. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also been identified as one of the causes of the parts inventory shortage.

Since the shortage began, Sony has been taking measures to mitigate its effects, such as sourcing more suppliers for a greater speed of delivery in the current unstable market.

Currently, there aren’t many reasons to buy a PS5, as no jaw-dropping classic titles are coming out until December 2022. So, you might be better off saving yourself the money. However, many gamers mention how Ghost of Tsushima and Last of Us 2 are enjoyable, like Elden Ring, but other titles are lacking.

Featured Gaming & Tech

Elden Ring is the Best-Selling Game of 2022

Elden Ring is the newest addition to the Soulsborne Collection, but is it really that good?

The Soulsborne Collection to which Elden Ring belongs began with Demon’s Souls and the Dark Souls trilogy, plus the Bloodborne video games. The new game was released for the PS4, PS5, Windows, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on February 25, 2022.

As of May 2022, Elden Ring has sold 13.4 million copies, making it the best-selling game of the year. The game involves a player character known as the Tarnished, roaming the Lands between to repair the broken Elden Ring and become Elden Lord. It also had already won several ‘Most Anticipated Game’ awards before it was even published. So, it’s safe to say that people expected a hack and slash wide open sandbox with sky-high difficulties and teeth-grinding boss fights.

Typically, Soulsborne games drop a weak, skill-less character at the beginning of the narrative, providing you with the freedom to customize the character as you wish. They can level up their physical strength and resilience or find out many types of sorcery and magic if they prefer a ranged playstyle. Players then earn Runes, essentially this game’s iteration of souls, when playing in the Lands Between. They are used as currency and experience points simultaneously. If the player dies, they lose all of their runes, with only one chance to retrieve them from the spot where they fell or lose them permanently.

Elden Ring
Elden Ring © FromSoftware

The Soulsborne games never committed the sin of excessive hand-holding, unlike many modern video games. On the contrary, what usually sets these games apart is the unforgiving difficulty, barebones tutorials, and minimalistic narrative, leaving players to create their own experiences and piece out the game’s ultra-rich backstory on their own. And, this time around, combat is harder than ever: monsters telegraph their attacks much less and have a wider diversity of attacks. The narrative aspects of the time are at an all-time high.

It says a lot when most people just learn the game’s backstory from one-sentence item descriptions and inductive logic rather than from the game outright. 

Dark Souls, in particular, has a thriving community of lore masters, players still coming up with theories to better understand the world created by Bandai Namco. Elden Ring took things even further as their team hired George R.R. Martin to write the mythos for Elden Ring.

Martin is a master storyteller, the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series inspired Game of Thrones. He and Hidetaka Miyazaki developed the game’s world-building, creating a story long before the events of the game took place.

Elden Ring has been called a modern-day gaming masterpiece. You can buy the game for $59.95 at most retailers, gaming online shops and Amazon.