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GoNintendo Thought: I'm really worried about Haven's voice acting

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Happy Monday, gang! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend full of fun and relaxation. Now we're all back to the grind, but hopefully it's a quick and easy week! As always, thanks for reading.

Haven has been near the top of my most-wanted games list for awhile now. The upcoming solo/co-op RPG adventure looks right up my alley. It has a gorgeous pastel, cel-shaded approach to visuals, the soundtrack comes from the ridiculously talented DANGER, and the game's story promises to tug at your heartstrings and get you emotionally invested. I also know that The Game Bakers, the team behind the game, is ridiculously talented. They created Furi, a boss-rush adventure that was pretty damn fantastic.

From the very first trailer from Haven, I knew I was on-board. All I had to do was sit back and wait for the game to come out. Sure, there would be some trailers and gameplay along the way, but as far as I was concerned, the deal was already sealed for me. I was going to pick up this one day-one. That's how I felt for awhile now...but my confidence has been shaken in recent weeks by one simple element; the game's voice acting.

Voice acting is an element a lot of gamers expect nowadays. To see a big-budget game ship without voice acting in today's era is almost unheard of. Games are expected to be fully voiced from start to finish, with every side character and narrative piece played out to the fullest. As games become bigger and reach a wider audience, adding in features like voice acting definitely make perfect sense. Having voiced dialog is one more way for games to break down potential barriers for players who wouldn't or couldn't enjoy the game otherwise.

Of course, adding voice acting to a game isn't as simple as just getting someone to read lines. While a game's visuals and gameplay mechanics can be tweaked and refined to a ridiculous degree, finding the right people to bring life to your characters can be an insurmountable task. The team behind the game obviously have an idea for the sort of tone they'd like to hear in their characters, and finding actors who can hit that approach is a real crap shoot. You could find the perfect voice right out of the gate, or spend months going through people who can't even come close.

That's not to mention the issues that arise when you're dealing with voice actors in other languages. Casting voices in your native tongue is difficult, but obviously much easier than trying to find people who can provide what you want in a different language. Often times other teams are brought in to try and find people who can handle the job in different languages, and the original team has to hope that the companies they've partnered with are capable of finding what they're looking for.

Unfortunately, it seems that even in today's industry, voice acting can be really hit or miss. A combination of all the factors listed above has resulted in games that have a voice cast that can handle the job in one language, and another set of voices who completely miss the mark in another. Sometimes that has to do with poor casting, other times it could be tied to poor localization of the script. Lines that aren't adapted correctly into other languages can come off awkward and stilted when read, but are taken to a whole new level of discomfort when spoken.

One of the greatest examples of poor voice acting for Nintendo fans has to be Metroid: Other M. That title is certainly the most divisive in the Metroid franchise, and most of the ire it draws is related to the game's story. Part of the negativity certainly has to do with the way the story and characters were handled, but there's also an issue with the voice acting as well. I think most would agree that the voice acting in that game was sub-par, which was only amplified by the fact that Metroid: Other M went all-out on voice acting when compared to previous installments. There had been Metroid games with voices sprinkled throughout, but Other M was implementing voice acting as a major feature.

Whenever I think back on Metroid: Other M, the story and voice acting stick out in my mind like a sore thumb. I honestly felt it was a painful experience that really took away from the adventure. Again, the story definitely had its issues, but that voice acting just took everything to a completely different, lower level. For a franchise that is so heavily built on mood and atmosphere, having lackluster voices behind these meaningful characters took away a ton of that mystique.

Now Haven doesn't have the same expectations tied to it that the Metroid franchise does, but I still fear it could fall into the same trap that Other M did. In recent weeks we've been hearing a lot of the voice acting for the game, and it is getting a lot of negative attention. I think most that hear the voices would say that they aren't exactly engaging. The more voiced footage I watched, the more worried I've become. We have what looks to be an emotional journey for these two lovers, and that could very well come across in text, but the voices being put with them are so mismatched that it's hard to listen to.

I've listen to the lines over and over again, desperately trying to take them in in a different way. I consider that I don't know the full context of how they're being delivered, I don't know much about the characters speaking them, I don't know about the alien universe the game takes place in, and so on. I really have tried to come at things from a different perspective while watching, but it just doesn't help. The dialog in the recent trailers comes across as two people who aren't sure how the lines are meant to be read. They don't know the emotional intention behind them, or are unclear of the game's story. I don't want to knock their work as simply "bad," as they could very well be talented voice actors. I just think in this instance they're lost for unknown reasons.

Voice acting, in my opinion, can go one of three ways. Sometimes it can lift a game to new heights, akin to what you'd hear in The Last of Us or The Witcher. Other examples are perfectly serviceable, and provide a way of taking in a game's story that's easier than reading lines of dialog. Lastly, you have voice work that actually detracts from the game and pulls you out of the experience. Again, I turn to Metroid: Other M for an example, and now I fear that Haven is going to be the same case.

Will you be able to turn off the voices in Haven? I don't know at this point, but if it's an option, I'm certainly going to take it. I'm honestly too afraid to go in and play the game with those voices, as I worry they'll taint my experience. Once I hear those voices, it will be too hard for me to shake how I feel about them from the game itself. I don't want to have a worse overall experience because of poor voices, and I'd rather just read the dialog to myself. That way I can hear it in my mind in a way that makes sense...in a way that sounds natural and allows me to connect to the characters.

I have personally always enjoyed the way Nintendo handled voice acting in their games. For a long time now, they really haven't had much in the way of traditional voice acting. They might have a character read a word or a line at most, and then the rest of the dialog is filled with various sound effects and grunts from the voice actor. I always thought that was a neat way of adding in a bit more life to a character while still letting you hear things as you want in your own mind. The right kind of simple interjection can help point you in the direction of a character's feelings, and then your imagination does the rest.

Nintendo does seem to be moving away from that approach though, at least in some of their games. Zelda: Breath of the Wild gave us more voice acting than any Zelda game before it, even though it still kept the approach mentioned above for some elements. The voice acting in the game was...fine for the most part. It wasn't great, and it wasn't terrible, but it bounced back and forth enough to land in a middle-of-the-road spot for me. I ended up actually happy that things came across luke-warm at best, rather than flat-out bad. I would have certainly liked better voice acting and I believe the series deserves it, but I never heard anything that was so bad it hurt my experience.

Haven is clearly not taking the mixed approach. It seems that most dialog will be voiced, and there's going to be tons of chatter during battles as well. Characters are going to be speaking all the time, which only makes nailing the voice acting that much more important. We're going to be constantly bombarded with the character voices, always reminded of how poor they come across. That's going to build up extremely quickly during a playthrough, and could end up souring the whole experience. It seems like such a shame, as Haven seems like it could be something quite special.

I guess all we can do from here on out is hope that The Game Bakers realize what they have isn't working. Do you push the game back to find better voice actors? Do you rewrite dialog to help the actors out? Do you nix voice acting altogether and go with a traditional text scroll? I can't tell you what the answer is, but I will say that I certainly think action is needed. I fear Haven is never going to get a fair shake because of the voice acting, and I'd hate to see that happen.

GoNintendo Thought: What are you playing this weekend?

What's on your slate?

Thought I'd bring back an old Friday feature for today's post. Will it be a weekly thing? I'm not sure...I guess that all depends on you guys! If you like talking about what you've been playing, then I'll keep checking back in every week! As always, thanks for reading.

It's the end of another work week, my friends. Congrats on making it through! I thought I'd drop in to see what you guys plan on playing this weekend. Of course, I'll share what I'm getting into as well. Or at least, what I plan to get into. You know how the weekend tends to disappear in the blink of an eye, so who knows what I'll actually get to!

Some of you know that I'm a huge fan of Shantae, which is why you might be surprised to hear that I haven't spent too much time with Shantae and the Seven Sirens. That's not because I'm uninterested, of course! I've just been super busy with work in general, and there's been very little free time to spend on games. All I can tell you is that Shantae and the Seven Sirens is at the top of my list, and I plan to make some decent headway into the game. I can't wait to dive back in!

I've also been playing RUINER for review, and I made some decent progress last night. I'd love to tell you more about that, but unfortunately I am under embargo. I'll be bringing you a review of the game late next week. All I can say right now is that I'm very excited to share my thoughts!

Hardly a week goes by where I'm not playing Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition. It's been such a blast to play with friends. We do our best to get a sizable group together when we play, which always leads to a ton of stupid fun. Whether I'm playing as Jason or a counselor, I'm always having fun with this one. I've been really shocked with just how engaging this one is after putting 60+ hours into it. With the right people and online play, you're always in for a great time.

One last game I want to get time in with this weekend is Horizon Zero Dawn. I had been playing the title awhile back, but I eventually grew tired of it. There was something about it that was bogging down the journey for me, but I could never put my finger on it. I was into the story, and I wanted to keep playing for that reason, but I eventually felt like playing was more of a chore than an activity I was enjoying. Seeing the sequel announced for PS5 has made me want to give things another go. Perhaps I'll find more fun the second time around.

That's what I plan on playing this weekend. Who knows, maybe some other titles will find their way into my list. What are you looking to play over the next couple of days?

GoNintendo Thought: Namco Museum Archives' PAC-MAN Championship Edition demake is absolutely fascinating

What we do here is go back

I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on PAC-MAN Championship Edition next week. I love the original release and follow-up, and I'm dying to see how this Famicom/NES version plays. I just had to share my excitement for it! As always, thanks for reading.

After a Japanese announcement of the Namcot Collection, retailer leaks, and an Asian localization, we finally got word today that Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1 and 2 are heading to both North America and Europe. The collections bring together classic NES/home console versions of numerous Namco classics, including Dig-Dug, Mappy, Xevious, Galaga, Rolling Thunder, and more. It'll be great to have another way to enjoy some classic games with added bonuses, but out of both collections, I'm most excited for the one "new" title included.

Just a couple weeks back, Bandai Namco announced that Namcot Collection in Japan would have a special bonus game. Those who separately purchased 10 titles in the Namcot Collection would be able to download PAC-MAN Championship Edition. This isn't the 2007 title that hit multiple platforms, but instead, a demake of that game. All the other games in this collection are straight from the NES days, but PAC-MAN Championship Edition is made to not only pay tribute to the NES, but also adhere to what was possible on that platform.

Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1 and 2 could have been fun enough on their own. A collection of legacy games from Namco with bonus features like save states, rewind, borders, and more. Fans of those old titles are more than happy to dive into a collection that groups them into two packages, and those quality-of-life improvements sweeten the pot. That said, the addition of PAC-MAN Championship Edition has taken this package and turned it into something really special.

Companies are extremely eager to remake their games nowadays. Remakes and re-releases are a huge deal, and they usually bring in big bucks for the devs and pubs. Take a game that is well known and loved, revamp the graphics and sound, tweak some gameplay mechanics, and watch the dollars roll in. Remakes and re-releases have always been a thing, but they really started to take off during the PS3/Xbox 360/Wii era. When devs and pubs started to see how much cash these reworkings could make, countless companies got to work on making them happen. Nowadays remakes and re-releases are pretty much expected, and are something fans clamor for.

While remakes are commonplace in today's industry, demakes are few and far between. Yes, there are plenty of developers who look to emulate the visual style or sounds of legacy platforms, but that's an artistic choice. Furthermore, that approach is being utilized for a new project. Shovel Knight, Panzer Paladin, The Messenger, and other games in the retro genre are brand-new experiences that are looking to recapture elements of consoles and gaming eras gone by. A demake takes a game that already exists and ports it down to a platform that we've long since moved on from.

Fan-made demakes are somewhat frequent, but official demakes are a rare beast. This is what intrigues me so much with PAC-MAN Championship Edition. Bandai Namco actually gave the go-ahead to take a game from 2007 and port it down to hardware that was thriving in the mid-to-late 80s. This isn't something you see nowadays! It's just so out of the ordinary that I can't help but be excited by it.

The story gets even crazier when you dig into it more. Turns out Bandai Namco worked with M2 to handle PAC-MAN Championship Edition's demake. For those who enjoy retro games, M2 is the king of the ports. The company pays a ridiculous amount of attention to making sure ports of classic games look, sound, and feel like they did back in the day. They know fans of those titles expect the exact same experience when they play straightforward re-releases of those games today, and it seems there's no one better at nailing the minutia than M2.

Just recently, we learned that PAC-MAN Championship Edition was originally going to see release on the 3DS. Now while it's not perfectly clear, it does seem the plan for the 3DS version was to mimic the original release, rather than be a demake. For reasons unknown, the 3DS version didn't end up panning out. Eventually things shifted over to the Namco Museum Archives, and M2 saw an opportunity to do something special. With Bandai Namco's blessing, they went ahead to create an NES/Famicom replication of PAC-MAN Championship Edition. While bringing PAC-MAN Championship Edition to the 3DS would have been hard enough, now M2 was working with a more powerful platform, but limiting themselves even further by adhering to what the NES could do!

According to M2, the team has been working on PAC-MAN Championship Edition for 5 years now. Again, it's not clear how much of that time was spent on the 3DS version and the Switch version, but it's still an incredible amount of time to work on this one project. Even if the demake only took a year's worth of time, that would still be extremely surprising. All that time spent to replicate a platform that we moved on from decades ago. If anything, it only goes to show just how dedicated both Bandai Namco and M2 are to not just respecting the history of games, but also keeping it alive in new ways.

I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on PAC-MAN Championship Edition in the Namco Museum Archives. Seeing such a love letter to the early days of gaming tickles me a million ways over. We finally got to see some footage of the game today, and it certainly looks the part of a Famicom game. PAC-MAN Championship Edition in 2007 retained the look of Pac-Man while enhancing it with tons of neon lights and special effects. PAC-MAN Championship Edition's demake looks right in line with what the NES/Famicom could do, but still tries to keep some of those fancy bells and whistles from the 2007 outing.

What we don't get to experience in the trailer is the audio side of things, which I might be even more excited about. PAC-MAN Championship Edition has an amazing soundtrack, full of thumping beats and pulse-pounding music. I cannot wait to see what M2 and Bandai Namco have done for the demake. Will they keep those same tunes but recreate them in a chiptune style? Will they work on all-new chiptune tracks? Will it be a mix of both ideas? I am so bummed they didn't let us hear what was going on in the debut trailer, but it makes me that much more excited to go hands-on next week.

All in all, I think there's one main reason why I love seeing official demakes. When you take a game and try to make it run on hardware that came out decades prior, a lot has to be stripped away. Visuals can't be anywhere near as good, sound is limited, and features have to be cut back. With all that said, the core thing that has to be retained is the fun. A demake is forced to boil a game down to its most essential features, showing what makes us enjoy the game to begin with. When you strip a game down to its bare-bones, you're left with something that either excels in fun or doesn't. I have no doubt PAC-MAN Championship Edition's demake will be just as fun as the 2007 it stems from.

GoNintendo Feature - Minecraft Dungeons Review

A finely-crafted experience

No, your eyes do not deceive you. I decided to do a written review this time around, instead of a video. Thought it might be fun to go a bit more old-school! Hopefully you appreciate the decision. As always, thanks for reading!

Just like hundreds of millions of other people, I've spent quite a bit of time with Minecraft. There were a few years there where I would play it every week without fail. At least a couple times during the week, I would hop into the game and just soak it all in. I never really had a goal, outside of building a fort or digging around to explore. I just loved the open-ended approach that let you play as you wanted, and the atmosphere that was created by the game's unique visuals and soothing soundtrack. It ended up being equal parts fun and therapeutic.

While it's been awhile since I've played Minecraft, I've definitely felt the pull in recent years. I also still have a great affinity for the brand itself. There have been plenty of other games that have tried to capture the magic of Minecraft, be it through gameplay or graphics, but they never seem to fully achieve what Minecraft managed. That's probably why the game remains extremely popular today. Often imitated but never duplicated, as they say.

Even though I haven't spent time with Minecraft in over a year, my eyes lit up the second I saw Minecraft Dungeons. Microsoft said they didn't have plans to create a Minecraft 2, but they would explore different ideas with the brand. Minecraft Dungeons is exactly that. It's a game that takes the visuals and lore of the Minecraft world and translates it into a hack-and-slash RPG, or a dungeon crawler, depending on what you like to call it. It would be a great way for me to get a bit of a Minecraft fix, all while enjoying a brand-new experience.

Now that I'm nearing the end of my Minecraft Dungeons journey, I can say that the adventure is everything I wanted it to be. Not too complex, not ridiculously simple, and something that leaves me excited to play more when I get the chance.

If you're looking for Minecraft Dungeons to provide an experience close to what you get from Minecraft, you're probably going to be disappointed. Minecraft Dungeons certainly retains the same blocky visuals of Minecraft, and you'll see numerous enemy designs you're familiar with, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Minecraft Dungeons doesn't give you an open world to explore, you won't be mining for minerals, and you don't have to craft every piece of gear or item you need. This is Minecraft in name, not in gameplay.

Instead, Minecraft Dungeons offers up gameplay that is closer to Diablo. You'll be working your way through various levels/dungeons to beat up every enemy you see along the way. While you're on your mission to push back the evil-doers, you'll snag all sorts of loot from treasure chests. New weapons, armor, and special items can be found at almost every turn, and each level has a specific set of goodies that you'll randomly find hidden within. You're constantly swapping out your current gear for the next round of great items you found, which make you a bit stronger, faster, and better overall.

Chances are you won't find everything a level has to offer in the first run-through. There will be some secret passages in a handful of levels, as well as items that won't spawn in your first go-around. This gives you reason to go back into them and find what you missed. The pull to see what those missing items are is pretty irresistible, as loot plays such a big part in the game. Thankfully, the game keeps things fun for your multiple level play-throughs.

First up, most, but not all levels are procedurally generated. This means every time you go back in, you'll have a completely different layout. Enemies will be in new spots, the land is a completely different shape, and treasures will be scattered in randomly. This definitely helps to keep things fresh as you're grinding away for gear. Along with that, each stage has a difficulty slider that will let you lower or raise the challenge you'll take on. If you managed to run through a level no problem, you can dive back in a second time and crank things up for more of a challenge. The game will even tell you a difficulty rating based on where the slider is, so you can measure up your current level with where the slider is placed.

While you're digging around in dungeons and taking out enemies, there's plenty of gear to be found. Minecraft Dungeons has a good amount of variety in the main weapons, side weapons, spells, and armor you can pick up. When it comes to your main method of attack, there are quick, short weapons, long, fast weapons, dual-wielding approaches, one-handed options, and more. For side-weapons, there's a wide range of bows and crossbows. Depending on your level of play-style, you should be able to find something that accommodates you. The best part is picking up different weapons and finding what you do and don't like. A long, one-handed weapon might be extremely slow, but it can dish out major damage and lets you keep your distance from enemies. A short set of dual-wielded swords won't be super powerful, but you can rush in with a flurry of hits that will build up the damage quickly. It's up to you to find the attack approach that works for you.

Weapons will also have different options for leveling up as well. You may have two of the same weapon, but each one will give you different added bonuses as you level them. One scimitar could let you level it up to collect extra XP or souls from enemies, while another could allow you to set enemies on fire or have a random chance of them exploding after the final hit. No matter the weapon though, there are only three tiers to level up. That said, a weapon can have up to three different slots on it, which allows you to level it in three different ways.

The same goes for the various spells/magic you can find. Again, there's a great variety of items to find here as well. You may come across totems that let you through down temporary shields, a cube that fires out a massive laser, a book that collects souls and explodes, and more. You can equip of one of these extra goodies for use, and they can really make or break a battle. Throwing down a shield at just the right might be the reason you live to fight another day, instead of having to be revived by your friends. Again, just like weapons and armor, these extra offense/defensive items can be leveled as well.

Leveling all weapons and armor is handled through Enchantment Points. As you play through the game, the more enemies you take out, the more XP you'll get. Just as with any basic RPG, you'll eventually get enough XP to hit a new level. As you climb through the ranks, you'll earn more and more Enchantment Points. These can then be spent on upgrading your weapons and armor for the bonus effects mentioned above. The good news is that you can take back these Enchantment Points as well. If you find a new weapon that you want to use, you can simply take out the Enchantment Points you slotted into your previous weapon and use them in the new one.

It's important to point out that armor is found in full sets, instead of pieces. Most games of this style ask you to find multiple pieces that you combine into a set. A helmet, chest plate, boots, and so on. In Minecraft Dungeons, you'll uncover full sets of armor right off the bat. Your only option is to swap out one set of armor for another, meaning there's no option to mix-and-match the attributes of each. Those who play a lot of dungeon crawlers might find Minecraft Dungeons' approach to armor a bit limiting, but with the game's focus on streamlining the genre, I think the decision makes sense.

Outside of gear and loot, the name of the game in Minecraft Dungeons is wading through enemies. The game takes you through a number of different locations that are quite expansive, but the goal is always the same. Work your way through tons of enemies, side-bosses, and bosses to reach the final goal and head back to your base. There will be some enemies you'll see across all levels, and others that are exclusive to certain regions of the game. Obviously some are going to be tougher than others, and require different approaches. The usual cannon fodder can be taken out easily, but other enemies might require you to keep your distance, or focus on them above all others, as they can buff the mob around them.

While the level design is random in most cases, the theme of each level is locked in. You'll visit forests, destroyed villages, temples, mountain caverns, volcanoes, swamps, and more. The different themes really do a great job of making each area feel different, even if you're doing the same thing in all of them. The levels match the different biomes you'd get in traditional Minecraft, so you're probably going to be familiar with the thematic approach. Still though, the levels are a joy to explore, and seem to make great use of their settings to provide an engaging experience.

These levels are only enhanced by the game's soundtrack, which just like Minecraft, is absolutely fantastic. The songs here certainly pay tribute to what you'd hear in the original Minecraft in both style and tone, but they're still original tunes. Once again, I found the soundtrack to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. There's just something about the soundtrack in Minecraft that really grounds you to the experience in a deep and meaningful way, and Minecraft Dungeons does that exact same thing. This is definitely a soundtrack I'll listen to outside of the game.

Finally, and arguably most important, Minecraft Dungeons can be played with friends. That's actually how I played the entire game so far. I've played many a dungeon-crawler in my day, and while single player can be fun, I find there's no comparison to playing with buddies. Going on a grand adventure with friends at your side is sure to make the experience a more memorable one, and that has definitely been the case with Minecraft Dungeons.

Getting an online game going in Minecraft Dungeons takes a little bit of setup the first time you play, as you need to have an Xbox Live login. You don't need to pay to have this, but you'll have to go through a multi-step sign-up page to get things done. If you already have an Xbox Live account from other Microsoft games on Switch or an Xbox console, then you can plug in that information and you're good to go. I hadn't logged into my Xbox account in quite some time, so I had a few hurdles to clear, but I got everything up and running within 10 minutes.

After that, all you do is add in your friends' Xbox Live names and invite them to the game. From there on out, everything works as you'd expect with any other online game. I will note that the first day we played was just one day after launch, and there were some connection issues on the Microsoft side of things, but subsequent playthroughs were much smoother. Thankfully the game saves all the time, so you're never going to lose any loot you picked up or progress you made. The game appears to be a point now where hiccups are quite rare, and I'd imagine it's only going to get better.

There are a few more things about the online experience I want to mention. First up, Minecraft Dungeons lets you play with friends, but friends only. At this point in time, no matter what platform you're playing on, you cannot play with strangers.
Second, the game doesn't support cross-play on any platform. The good news is that Microsoft and Mojang are working to change this, and will add it as a free feature sometime down the road. Finally, when I played online with friends, we were using a separate app for voice chat with one another. While a small selection of Switch titles provide native voice chat, Minecraft Dungeons is not one.

Minecraft Dungeons has been an excellent experience, providing exactly what I hoped for. It's a dungeon crawler with a ton of charm and a lot of attention to detail. It's not overly stat-heavy or bogged down with customization options, which some might bemoan, but I find to be a welcome approach. It's not super difficult, but you can certainly make it somewhat challenging if you crank up the difficulty slider on each stage. The adventure is filled with intense battles, engaging places to explore, and multiple secrets worth hunting down. Throw in your friends and you're bound to have a lot of fun on the journey.

The only real gripe I can throw at the game is that it's rather short. While my gang has a final level to go and some secrets to hunt down, we've put 6+ hours in so far. Not exactly brimming with content, especially when compared to other dungeon crawlers out there. You can obviously play levels multiple times to grab loot you missed and dial up the difficulty as well, but you're only going to do that so many times. I'd say if you were really taking your time, you could still see everything the game has to offer in under 10 hours. It is worth noting that two DLC expansions are coming, but as you might have guessed, they'll be paid.

All in all, Minecraft Dungeons has given me a great time. It's clear a lot of time and care were put into the game, making it a wonderful addition to the Minecraft series. It doesn't feel like a quick cash-in on the brand, and expands what the Minecraft series can offer. I've had fun with almost every minute of my experience, and definitely plan on buying the DLC that comes out. Any excuse to spend more time in this game is a welcome one for me.

GoNintendo Thought: Why is Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics so limited in its 4-player online options?

The more the merrier

Hopefully today's feature doesn't come across as too grumpy. I feel it's always important to share honest opinions with you guys. My goal is to do that without being snarky or rude. Constructive criticism, as they say.
Let's hope my approach panned out in this feature. As always, thanks for reading.

Let me be clear about something. I absolutely adore Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics. I've had a ton of fun with it already, and it's most likely going to stay in my game rotation until the Switch rides off into the sunset. There are so many great games in the collection, and as long as I have someone to play against, it'll be quite hard for me to put it down. It's a perfect way to kick back, relax, and have a bit of easy-going fun with friends or strangers online. With that out of the way, there's one major gripe that has been eating at me more and more since the game launched.

Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics gives you 51 different games to play, and over 40 of them can be played online. That's a pretty sizable chunk of the experience. If you have another player with you, you two can go nuts with every option there is in that 40+ group. If you jump into a group with three other friends, your selection of games to play online becomes incredibly small.

Believe it or not, there are just 8 games in the entire collection that can be played with 4 players. That selection includes Ludo, Last Card, Mahjong, President, Sevens, Blackjack, Texas Hold Em, and Dominoes. Now don't get me wrong. In that batch of 8 games, we have mostly winners. Playing those games with 4 players can be a ton of fun. The problem is that 8 games out of the entire collection is quite limiting, and there are so many other titles included in Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics that could work with 4 players.

Trust me, I get that it's a bit silly complaining about this. I'm a long-time Nintendo fan, as are you guys and gals. We all know that Nintendo makes baffling decisions from time to time. It's part of what makes Nintendo Nintendo. They often nail almost every aspect of a game, creating unbelievably fun and exciting experiences. Then there's that one little tidbit that leaves you scratching your head. A decision that seems like a no-brainer, yet Nintendo decides to head in the opposite direction. We're left wondering how on earth Nintendo could have missed this mechanic or feature, as it seems plain as day to everyone else.

The 4-player online options of Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics is Nintendo's latest confusing decision, but it stings just a tad more than usual. The whole point of Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics is playing with others. Sure, you can play all these games in solo mode against the computer, but everyone knows that going up against real life opponents with titles like these makes them that much more fun. When the focus is on multiplayer action, why would Nintendo make a design choice that greatly limits that functionality?

I completely understand that not every game in Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics would work in 4-player mode. You're not going to have 4-player chess or toy baseball. It just doesn't work, so leaving those options out of the 4-player groupings makes perfect sense. When you whittle down the selection to games where 4-players would be a viable option, the decision to leave out the offerings becomes even more frustrating.

Yacht Dice, Matching, Golf, Darts, Toy Tennis, Shooting Gallery, and 6-Ball Puzzle are just a few examples of games that could totally work as 4-player games. These are all games where the decision to limit them to 2-player is completely confounding. While I would be willing to listen to a counter-point about introducing too much lag for some of these games, it still wouldn't explain the limitation for other games. Yacht Dice can function completely fine with or without lag. The same goes for Matching as well. There's nothing about those games that relies on split-second timing or pinpoint accuracy. Why in the world were they left out?

Of course, the biggest point of contention for fans is Bowling. We've had bowling games before from Nintendo. Hell, Nintendo practically dominated the bowling game market with Wii Sports Bowling. There are millions upon millions of people who played Bowling on the Wii, and they have such fond memories of jumping in there with 3 other players. Now we see Bowling make its grand return in Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics, and for some unknown reason, online play is limited to 2 players. I have wracked my brain for way too long to come up with a solution, and I have absolutely nothing to offer up. The omission of 4-player bowling is an absolute bummer.

The 4-player situation only gets worse when you expand your way of thinking. While some games don't work in 4-player, there's certainly an easy solution to make them 4-player experiences. Even if 4 players can't play at the same time, why not let 2 other players view the action? Why can't we have a game of Four-in-a-Row where two players square off, and the other two watch the action? Then when a winner is declared, the other two go head-to-head to find a winner, and then the two winners face off in the ultimate showdown? Again, it seems like such a simple feature to include, and it keeps more players entertained at the same time.

I understand that strangers may not want to jump into an online game where they have to sit and watch before they can play. That said, why not go the route where you lock that option to friends only? I know I have countless friends who would love to get into some tournament gaming with Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics. We have no problem sitting back and watching our friends play. We're eager to see who comes out on top for bragging rights, and we're also talking to each other through some external method (House Party, Facetime Audio, ect.) at the same time. We're keeping ourselves doubly entertained while the action is going on.

Once you run with the 4-player tournament idea, so much of Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics' collection opens up for play. You'd get just about everything that's available for online play with 2 players. You might have to weed out a couple due to the length of play, but still, you could easily get 30+ games in there. I honestly think that's a low estimate as well, and comes from a point of being extremely picky about rules. Even if you did go with that low-ball estimate, I think there would be plenty of players extremely excited to have that many 4-player options instead of the 8 that we have.

Again, I know it's silly to say this, but I'm not sure how Nintendo bungled this one so badly. These games live or die by the amount of people you can play with. Going up against the computer does the job when you're running solo, but must of us are looking to get in on multiplayer action. Be it with friends we know or strangers, that kind of multiplayer content really extends the longevity of the game by a huge deal. The potential is right there within Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics. It seems like such a missed opportunity to be so extremely limiting.

I plan on spending many more days ahead with Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics. I'll have online fun with friends, be it two, three, or four players. Sadly though, when I'm playing online, I'll be constantly reminded of how much better the 4-player content could have been. This can obviously be fixed with an update by Nintendo, but I doubt it will be. We've see the Big N jump in and make some tweaks to games after fan complaints, but it's very few and far between. I don't think that's going to happen with Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics, but I'd absolutely love to be wrong.

GoNintendo Feature: 5 games that should be in the Switch Online SNES Collection

5 must-haves

We couldn't leave you hanging for our SNES picks for the SNES Collection on Switch! We're back with our first round of 5 picks. You can bet we have even more to share in the future! As always, thanks for reading.

Last week we put together a feature on 5 games we felt deserve a spot in the Switch Online NES Collection. You knew we had to shift our attention to the SNES side of things as well. Both collections could use a boost in overall titles, but there's no doubt the SNES is hurting more in terms of quantity.

Just like last time, we're diving into our personal history with SNES games to pick out what we think would make for a great fit. On top of that, we're once again staying away from first party titles, as we can all agree that every first party SNES title deserves to be included. Let's instead let the third party titles shine and call out some gems of the 16-bit era.

Legend of the Mystical Ninja

Back when I originally saw Legend of the Mystical Ninja, I had no idea what it would be like. I picked up the box at my local rental store and thought the graphics looked nice. I decided to give the game a whirl, and it ended up becoming one of my favorite SNES games of all-time.

If you haven't played Legend of the Mystical Ninja, you're in for a real treat. This is Konami at the top of their game in the 16-bit era. The action is top-notch, offering up some fantastic platforming, side-scrolling fun. Level design is fantastic, multi-faceted, and challenging. The game's visuals are crisp and clean, while also pushing the SNES's scaling features in multiple ways. Best of all, the game's soundtrack is truly unforgettable, really showing what composers could do with the SNES.

For even more fun, throw in a friend for some local co-op. If they could get that co-op feature working for online play, Legend of the Mystical Ninja could find a whole new life. A game I've played countless times over, and will jump at the chance to run through again.

Chrono Trigger

I don't know about you, but I think it makes sense for one of the most highly-regarded and critically-praised RPGs of all time to find its way to the Switch, don't you?

Chrono Trigger isn't just one of the best SNES RPGs. It's widely considered to be one of the greatest RPGs ever released, and one of the best games period. The game was a true step forward for writing in RPGs at that time, and the many branching paths and outcomes lets players relive the adventure over and over again. It also happens to be absolutely gorgeous, and features a soundtrack that's undeniably timeless.

An unforgettable cast of characters and a tale worth retelling, Chrono Trigger definitely deserves a spot in the SNES Collection.

Mega Man X

Mega Man's jump from the NES to the SNES ended up being one of his finest adventures, and that's saying a lot for a series that held such a high bar of quality in the 8-bit days.

Mega Man's debut on the SNES gave us the classic Mega Man action we loved, but with a set of new wrinkles and twists. With Mega Man X, fans could now find multiple upgrades for Mega Man outside of the usual Robot Master weapons. Mega Man X also brought in a wall kick and dash as well, which made for a whole new way of traversing stages, and new approaches to level design as well. Even the SNES controller helped out on this adventure, as you could now easily scroll through your weapons instead of having to pause and select.

Throw in a kick-ass soundtrack, which is par for the course with Mega Man, and you get one of the best action/platformers on the SNES. Mega Man X had a number of great outings on SNES, but it's hard to top the original.

TMNT IV: Turtles in Time

There had been ports of arcade games to the NES, but they obviously didn't measure up in the graphics department, and sometimes were lacking in the gameplay as well. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time showed that the SNES was capable of bringing home an arcade experience that was extremely faithful to the original, and could even improve upon it in a number of ways.

TMNT IV: Turtles in Time was the hottest arcade game around at the time, and having it come home to the SNES was like a dream come true for Turtles fans. It was a bold, colorful, action-packed beat'em-up from Konami, who were really on a roll with the Turtles franchise at the time. There had already been numerous installments in the TMNT game series by this point, but TMNT IV: Turtles in Time is the shining gem. It was bigger, packed in more enemies, and felt even closer to the cartoon than previous titles.

This great beat'em-up from the 90s is still just as great today, and getting in on online co-op action with TMNT IV: Turtles in Time would be a dream come true.

Super Castlevania IV

Castlevania was yet another series that had become synonymous with Nintendo back in the day, thanks to the 3 NES installments. Fans of the series were happy to see that a new installment was coming to the SNES, but man, we got something leagues beyond our greatest expectations.

Once again, Konami showed that they were more than ready to push the SNES to the limits. Super Castlevania IV is everything you could want from a traditional Castlevania game and more. It's an absolute stunner in the visuals department, remaining one of the best-looking games on the platform to this day. The soundtrack continued the series' legacy of amazing tracks with remixes of classic series tunes and all-new songs that fit in perfectly. The traditional Castlevania gameplay was refined and expanded as well, with expansive levels and an expanded moveset. A whip that now worked in any direction gave you more versatility than ever before, and also made it insanely fun to swing around on grappling points scattered throughout levels.

If the Castlevania series ever returns to its roots, Super Castlevania IV is the blueprint for success. Not having this one in the SNES Collection is a downright travesty.

There's five games we think deserve a spot in the Switch Online SNES Collection, and hopefully you agree. There's certainly many, many more games that should be on the service as well, and we'll bring you a feature on those sometime in the future!

GoNintendo Feature: 5 games that should be in the Switch Online NES Collection

5 absolute gems

Let's end the week with something retro, shall we? Time to pay tribute to some NES classics that need a second lease on life! As always, thanks for reading.

The Switch Online NES Collection has a fantastic lineup of games, but it's a mere drop in the ocean of great NES content. There are plenty of other fantastic games that deserve to be released on the service, some of which showcase the best of what the NES had to offer. We know the Big N has plans to release more NES games on the Switch collection, but while we wait, we've got a few ideas as to what should be next.

Instead of focusing on more first-party efforts, we're turning our attention to third party games that deserve the spotlight. While the Big N certainly cranked out unbelievable content on the platform, there are numerous examples of third party games that stand toe-to-toe with what Nintendo did. We always want more first party content, but let's let the third parties shine this time around!

Shatterhand

A game about a guy who can punch so hard he destroys robots with one hit. What more could you want?!

Shatterhand, a 1991 title from Natsume, is everything you could want from an NES game at the time. The game's visuals are top-notch, using faux light and shadow to create a gritty, energetic look. The soundtrack is kick-ass from start to finish, as Natsume's music usually was back in the day. The gameplay was fun as hell, letting you punch through any obstacle in your way throughout this side-scrolling adventure. It even had a robot familiar system, which let you bring along mini robot companions that could add more firepower to your arsenal. Definitely a hidden gem of the NES library that deserves another chance to shine.

Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando might seem like just another platformer, but there was one major gameplay difference that turned the genre on its head. Instead of jumping from platform to platform, Nathan "Rad" Spencer had to use his bionic arm to get around. Sure, you could walk left and right, but when you got to a hole or a platform above you, jumping wasn't an option. Your bionic arm could only shoot out at one angle, leading to even tougher maneuvering. This approach made gameplay quite tricky at first, but once you got into the swing of things (pun DEFINITELY intended), moving between platforms and across chasms was a breeze.

Throw in an expansive map with some Metroidvania elements, a handful of top-down action segments, and an upgradeable series of weapons, and Bionic Command shines as ahead of its time in many regards. Plus you get to take down Hitler...or Mr. Badd, I should say. Talk about the ultimate motivation!

Conquest of the Crystal Palace

The evil Zaras conquered the Kingdom of the Crystal Palace years ago, with just Zap the dog and the infant prince Farron escaping. Now years later, Zap informs Farron that it's time to retake his rightful place at the throne by defeating Zaras once and for all.

Conquest of the Crystal Palace is a 2D platformer that gives you an interesting decision at the start of the game. You're asked to pick one of three different crystals that change how the game plays. There's a flight crystal for improved jumping, a life crystal for more health, and a spirit crystal that gives you an unlimited fireball attack. Once you make your pick, you set off into the ruins of the Crystal Kingdom to put an end to Zaras' evil reign.

Along the way, you'll pick up limited power-ups to give you new abilities, both from fallen enemies and through stores. You can also work alongside your dog Zap to do some damage as well. The adventure is full of perilous platforming and some rather gruesome enemies, along with a fantastic soundtrack to match the intense action. Yet another oft-forgotten title in the NES library that should have another chance at success.

The Guardian Legend

What do you get when you mix together The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and the shmup genre? You get The Guardian Legend, one of the most unique and ambitious titles on the NES.

The Guardian Legend confused the hell out of many players back in the day, myself included. It meshed together multiple genres to create an experience unlike any other at the time, and it was hard to grasp what was going on. Once you put in some time with it and started to understand all the features at play, you couldn't help but fall in love with the game.

In The Guardian Legend, you play as a character that wanders around in a Zelda-style overworld, traveling wherever you please in search of 10 devices that will set off a self-destruct sequence on an alien planet. You search the landscape looking for power-ups to help you on your journey, as well as bosses to battle. You even get to transform into a ship to take on scrolling shooter sections that break up the on-foot action.

It took some time for people to come around on this one, but for those familiar with the game today, The Guardian Legend represents some real forward-thinking for the game industry at the time. It's still pretty unique compared to most games today! With the way games have expanded and grown over the years, there's no doubt The Guardian Legend would find a bigger audience on the Switch than ever before.

Battletoads

You can't talk about the NES' library without mentioning Battletoads. Hell, it's hard to talk about Nintendo's legacy platforms without mentioning RARE, and Battletoads is definitely one of their greatest early works.

Battletoads pushed the NES to its limits from a technical standpoint, creating some of the best visuals on the platform. It was an amazing mix of technical wizardry and smoke and mirrors to create a really impressive look. It also took the side-scrolling genre and expanded upon it by adding levels with tons of verticality, stages that featured unique gimmicks, and ridiculously tight beat'em-up mechanics. Plus the game was hard as nails, and is still regarded today as one of the toughest games in the NES' library.

Sure, it would take some behind-the-scenes dealings with Nintendo and Microsoft to bring Battletoads to the Switch, but it definitely seems doable. The two companies have a great working relationship nowadays, and bartering for a classic NES release on Switch seems like it would be a simple deal to iron out. Make this happen, Nintendo!

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There's five games we think deserve a spot in the Switch Online NES Collection, and hopefully you agree. There's certainly many, many more games that should be on the service as well, and we'll bring you a feature on those sometime in the future!

GoNintendo Feature: How does The Outer Worlds hold up on Nintendo Switch?

A bumpy ride to Halcyon

We've spent a decent amount of time with The Outer Worlds on Switch, and we've got gameplay footage and hands-on impressions to share with you! See what we think of the experience so far.

If you like what you see, we'd love to have you subscribe!

GoNintendo Feature: Remembering what the SEGA Genesis taught me on SEGA's 60th anniversary

To be this good takes ages

Here's a first for me. I used speech-to-text to write today's feature. I've never used it and thought I'd give it a go in Google Docs. All in all, it was a pretty great experience! A few hiccups to be sure, but it definitely sped up the process. I think I'm sticking with it! As always, thanks for reading.

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Back in the 90s, kids were either team SEGA or team Nintendo. You were supposed to pick a side and fight about it on the playground. We all argued passionately, but truth be told, none of us had any idea what we were talking about. It was a silly battle about blast processing, mode7, Mario, Sonic, and a bunch of other random stuff. That's just the way it was.

When it came to discussions with friends/acquaintances at school, I firmly placed myself on the side of Nintendo. Thinking back on it now is quite embarrassing, but then again, lots of things you do when you’re a kid are embarrassing. I used to sing the virtues of Nintendo every way I could possibly think, all while hiding a dark secret. Tucked alongside my Super Nintendo underneath my 19 inch TV was a SEGA Genesis.

While I certainly do love Nintendo, I love video games in general even more. That's why even my die-hard Nintendo fan status couldn't keep me from wanting a SEGA Genesis. My love of Nintendo's games wasn't waning, but I couldn't resist the snazzy marketing that SEGA had put together. I wanted to see what Sonic was all about, I needed to get my hands on Toejam & Earl, and Streets of Rage was calling to me unlike any other.

Up to that point in my life, my parents had bought my video game systems. They purchased my NES, Game Boy, and Super Nintendo. When I wanted to get a Genesis, I had to beg and plead with my parents to get one. The discussion eventually led to a place that really scared me. My parents said that video game systems were just too expensive, and if I got the SEGA Genesis, it would be my last console from them.

Being a kid, this made me super upset. Looking back on it as an adult, it makes perfect sense. My parents weren't well off, they had bought me countless game systems and video games over the years, and they both worked ridiculously hard to make sure I could spend time enjoying my hobby. Truth be told, looking back now, it's hard to understand how they made it all work.

Are my parents really going to make the SEGA Genesis my final system? Was I willing to give up whatever platforms came out afterwards just so I could see what SEGA was up to? When you're a kid and you really want something, it's hard to look past the thing you're fixated on. I went back and forth in my mind on what I wanted to do, and eventually I decided that I didn't just want a SEGA Genesis, I NEEDED it.

A few months later, the glorious day came. For my birthday, my parents gave me a SEGA Genesis and a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog. I will never forget hooking that system up to the TV. I plugged it in as fast as I could and slammed the cartridge in so hard that I almost damaged it. I just couldn't wait to fire up the TV and see what Sonic had to offer. I had seen Sonic in TV commercials and read about him in game magazines, but now was my time to see what he was all about.

The music, the visuals, the presentation, it all seemed so different from what Nintendo was doing. I almost felt a little dirty playing it, but I felt fantastic at the same time. This was a feeling I got from Genesis titles in general. There was something about the Genesis and its games that felt a little rough around the edges, but in a very good way. Just like Sonic himself, it felt like SEGA had an edge to them. There was something back then, especially in the advertising, that made them seem like the cool choice to go with. I would never turn my back on Nintendo of course, but I couldn't deny that I was really enjoying what SEGA had to offer.

My foray into the Sega side of things would take me down a whole new path of games. Sonic the Hedgehog, Toejam & Earl, Streets of Rage, Rocket Knight Adventures, Ristar, Golden Axe, Vectorman, Shinobi, and so many others. So many games that I would have never had the chance to experience without the SEGA Genesis. These were the titles, along with countless others, that convinced me that picking up a SEGA Genesis was the right decision.

The SEGA Genesis also taught me something a lot more important about video games in general. I realized it was dumb to pledge allegiance to just a single video game company. Back in the day I did love video games in general, but I felt the need to defend Nintendo whenever discussions of competitors came up. No matter the statement, no matter the argument, I would always say that Nintendo was the best. Again, I look back on this and I really cringe. Sure, I was a kid, but it's still embarrassing to know that I acted this way.

I certainly love Nintendo to this day and I think they’ve put out some of the greatest video games ever. That said, giving the SEGA Genesis a try allowed me to expand my horizons and helped me to realize just how great video games in general can be. Countless companies, countless developers, countless publishers are all capable of putting out absolutely unbelievable software within this industry. There's nothing wrong with following a company and really enjoying what they do, but blindly ignoring what others do because of a blind allegiance causes you to miss out on hundreds of amazing games.

I'll never forget how the SEGA Genesis led me to that conclusion. I gained a better understanding of video games in general thanks to my time with the Genesis, and I grew as a gamer as a system grew on in years. The Genesis led me to be a lifelong SEGA fan as well, and I still follow them to this day. I'm always eager to see what’s next with their brands, and I always wish them the greatest success in this industry. The industry just wouldn’t be the same without them.

P.S. - Yes, my parents stayed true to their word. They never bought me another system, but they did buy me games for subsequent systems. I had to save my own money and trade things in to make it happen, but you better believe I did!

GoNintendo Thought: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition is a chance for the game to really shine

A second chance at success

I've been waiting awhile to write this one. I had to stop myself from writing, as I could gush on forever! I hope my passion about this game fuels you to check it out later this year. As always, thanks for reading!

I am 38 years old, and I've played a lot of games in my time. There are games that I really enjoyed, games that rubbed me the wrong way, and countless titles I've dabbled with and likely forgotten. I'm sure the case is the same for all of you. Sometimes you play games that slip through the cracks of your mind, and other times you find something you'll never forget. In the mix with all of those experiences are a handful of titles that really mean something to you. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is one of those games for me.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles may not seem like a big deal now, but it definitely was back in the day. Following the release of Super Mario RPG on the Super Nintendo in 1996, we started to see the falling out between Nintendo and Squaresoft. The company would release two more Japan-only Super Famicom titles in 1996, and then they would make a major pivot to the Playstation brand. Squaresoft did originally work on Final Fantasy VII for the N64, but prototype was shelved and the company moved on. The falling out and subsequent bad blood between the two companies would lead to a 7-year drought of Square games on Nintendo platforms.

What was the game to mark Square-Enix's return to the Nintendo side of things? Minus a late 2002 Japan-only GBA release of Chocobo Land: A Game of Dice, it was Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles that would Square-Enix's reintroduction to Nintendo fans worldwide. Nintendo and Square-Enix had mended fences, and Nintendo fans were going to get a GameCube exclusive out of the deal. This was a major showing of Square-Enix being back in the good graces of Nintendo, as well as Nintendo showing that they were moving past their previous issues with Square-Enix.

Not only was this going to be a GameCube exclusive, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was going to be a celebration of all things Nintendo at the time. Square-Enix was going all-out on showing that they were officially ready to support Nintendo fans. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles would make use of the GameCube's 4-player feature with a multiplayer Final Fantasy experience. This would be done by utilizing the GBA and link cables, providing not just a new way to play local multiplayer, but an option for single player as well. The marriage of all these ideas, dedication to unique features, and exclusivity for the GameCube proved Square-Enix really was all-in.

Seeing this major support from Square-Enix was awesome back in the day, and did a lot to get Nintendo fans hyped up. After getting such great support on the SNES and then missing out on the N64, this return with the GameCube really meant a ton.
Unfortunately, the decision to embrace the many unique features of the GameCube and GBA ended up being more of a hindrance to players, rather than a help.

For those who really wanted to experience the multiplayer action of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, a lot was required. Having a GameCube and a copy of the game itself wasn't enough. You couldn't plug in more GameCube controllers and pass them off to friends. If you wanted to play multiplayer, you had to do so through a GBA. This meant you needed a GameCube, a copy of the game, four GBAs, and four Link Cables. Having some of those is certainly doable, but managing to have them all was a serious hurdle.

Most people knew friends with a GBA, which meant they could jump in on the action...so long as they had a Link Cable. If you had four friends that wanted to play, but not enough GBAs to go around, that meant some were out of luck. You could either trade off with friends, or just sit back and watch the action. Obviously this was all done through local multiplayer as well, which meant you had to gather everyone around in person. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was the type of game where you wanted everyone around to play, make progress, and level up as a group. If a couple friends weren't around to play, you most likely had to hang back and wait for a better time.

There were so many steps to multiplayer that it ended up being too much for a lot of people. The game that was built around multiplayer ended up being a solo experience. There were plenty of people who ended up going the game alone, and just plugged in their own GBA to use as a controller, as it provided radar information. Any game that is built from the ground up for play with friends is never going to be as enjoyable when you're the only one playing.

Even with all the requirements, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles still sold pretty well. After roughly 4 years on the market, final totals put the game at 1.3 million units sold worldwide. Not exactly a show-stopper, but not a failure by any means. When you factor in everything the game asked of its players in terms of extra hardware, the total sales come across a bit rosier. It's clear that fans were happy to have Square-Enix back, and there was an audience who really got the most out of the game.

That is where the magic lies for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Those out there who were lucky enough to experience the game as intended, with three other buddies and GBAs in use, were in for quite a treat. There really wasn't any other game like it at the time. Gathering with your real-life friends to go on an in-game adventure felt like something special. You all had to work together to make sure you could survive levels, cast spells together, heal one another, and protect those around you as the adventure got more dangerous.

Playing Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles with four GBAs attached felt like something out of the future. Seeing everything working with nary a hiccup was like some sort of black magic. Everyone controlling their own characters through their GBA, watching the action on the big screen, glancing down at the GBA screen for other details...it was crazy! It was a glimpse into Nintendo's dual-screened future long before we knew they'd head in that direction. Seeing it all in action really was mind-boggling, and made you feel like you were part of something really awesome.

Thanks to the Link Cables, tiny GBAs, and local multiplayer aspects of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, you had an experience that made you grow closer with your friends. You all had to be in the same area physically, and you had to sit pretty damn close to one another to play. Conversations about the game were flying left and right, with decisions on where to go and what to becoming crucial to surviving. Throwing out suggestions and plans of attack with your friends and having things fall into place felt so wonderful, and every boss beaten or level passed felt like a real accomplishment with buddies at your side.

This is one of the big reasons why Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles means so much to me. I honestly don't think I've had a multiplayer game experience as engaging ever since. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has really stuck with me all of these years, and I yearn to find my way back to something like that. Working together with friends in a local multiplayer setting, using multiple devices to get the job done, celebrating our achievements in real life...it honestly felt like going on an adventure together. It created a special bond with those friends that I'll never forget, and I'll absolutely cherish for the rest of my life.

It also doesn't hurt that the game itself is fantastic! Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is an action-RPG, which is definitely my bread-and-butter when it comes to the RPG genre. Getting in there and slashing away, casting spells, and being able to actually dodge enemy attacks is something I really love. The customization, character growth, and richer story only makes the experience that much better. It's one of those games that just feels good to play, and constantly makes you feel like you're achieving something. It had more than a fair amount of challenge, with level design that pushed cooperation, and boss battles that required a balancing act between you and your friends. It's clear a ton of thought and heart went into this game's creation.

Then there's the game's soundtrack, which deserves every single bit of praise it gets. I honestly believe Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles to have one of the best game soundtracks of all-time, and it never seems to get the attention it deserves. The game has a sound that is so unique. It's perfectly tuned to the whole experience, and makes use of signature instruments to connect not just every song, but every in-game moment. A soundtrack that can be whimsical and carefree, sullen and sad, or engaging and energetic. I've been listening to that soundtrack outside of the game itself for years, and continue to do so to this day.

Looking back on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, it seems like a game that almost broke through. It wooed over a million fans, but it never seemed to break out into the greater gaming community. The soundtrack certainly has its fans, but it failed to capture the attention of a larger audience. The game's ability to foster real connections among players will be remembered by players for years to come, but so many have never experienced it. These reasons are why I'm incredibly excited for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition.

I've always wanted more people to experience Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. There were so many things that prevented a further reach for the game back in the day. The hardware requirements, the need to be together physically, the lower install base of the GameCube, and so on. It's been one of those games that I find bittersweet to look back on. There are so many great memories tied to the game for me, but it always made me sad that more people didn't get a chance to see what the adventure had to offer.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition is going to be a chance for the game to shine once again, and potentially outshine its original reach. The game is coming out on Switch, PS4, iOS, and Android, which will certainly expand the potential audience. It's also going to have online multiplayer, which is not just expected of multiplayer games today, but a real godsend for an experience like this. As I've said, the hardware requirements of the original severely limited who could play, but being able to hop online with three friends will make it so much easier to get the adventure going.

Things get even better, as the game is going to offer cross-play as well. Being able to pool together friends across platforms makes perfect sense for a game like this. Cross-play is a welcome feature in any game nowadays, but something like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition, which was built around intense cooperation from day one, will truly benefit. Find a friend on any platform, group up to form a party, and take on an adventure together. It's certain to strengthen the bonds between players no matter where they play.

Of course, there's other bells and whistles thrown into Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition as well. Spruced up visuals and audio, new character voices, new dungeons, and a Mimic feature that lets you change up how you look. Not anything mind-blowing mind you, but still fun content to check out, especially for those who had the chance to play the original. These extra features, along with the online multiplayer are set to make Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition the definitive way to experience the game...almost.

This could just be the old gamer in me, but I'll forever say that local multiplayer experiences trump online. For me, there's something extra special about actually gathering with those you love to play a game. It's a kind of bonding experience that playing together virtually just doesn't replicate. I fully recognize that online play is easier and is a go-to feature nowadays. I use online multiplayer all the time, and combined with voice chat, I really do get a ton of fun from it. That said, if given the option to play in the same room as friends, I'll take that every single time.

Will Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition be as special to me when playing online as the original release was with its local multiplayer? I certainly will keep an open mind, but I don't think it'll be able to measure up. I'll have to run through the game online and see how it all plays out before I can make a final call. That said, just thinking about in-person experiences versus online interactions makes for a tough comparison. Who knows though? Perhaps I'll be surprised with how things play out, and I'm certainly hoping that's the case.

There's still hope for some sort of local multiplayer, but things aren't looking good. Any feature we've seen on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition sings the praises of online play, but there's no word on local multiplayer. That seems just fine for a platform like PS4, but when you think about the missed opportunities for Switch/iOS/Android, it starts to sting. Those platforms are all perfect for playing locally, as they're portable. It still wouldn't be exactly the same as the original, but it could get close. I can only hope that Square-Enix is holding onto that tidbit of news for closer to launch, but I won't hold my breath.

Even if local multiplayer doesn't make the cut, I'm still incredibly excited for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition. I want to play through the adventure with friends again so badly. The wait for the Aug. launch is going to be absolutely killer. To see that world again, hear those tunes alongside experiencing the setting, and collaborating with friends is such an enticing proposition to me. I'm eager to jump back in and see how things play out this time, and also find out what kinds of bonds are formed along the way.

To tell you the truth, I'm most excited for others to play Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition. As I said, the game is very near and dear to me, and it's always been sad to think about the audience that missed out on it. I want others to give Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition a go, and I can only hope they like it as much as I do. I feel this game deserves a very notable spot in gaming history, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition might just be the thing to cement that spot in history. Older gamers who missed out the first time will have a chance to right that wrong, and new gamers will hopefully flock to it as well.

I sincerely hope Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition finds great success. It may not be revolution in terms of gameplay or visuals by today's standard, but the type of experience it provides in a multiplayer setting is just as enticing all these years later. If this game isn't on your radar, I hope I've convinced you to give it a second look. I truly believe it can provide a one-of-a-kind experience, both inside and out of the game.

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