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Final Fantasy 7 Remake review: a flawed, but fascinating, reimagining of a classic

1997’s Final Fantasy 7 was always audacious, a game ahead of its time.

I can see what Final Fantasy 7 was meant to be when I replay the original, not despite the blocky character models and the awkwardly inserted pre-rendered interludes and backgrounds, but because of them. I’ve always seen beauty in the parts that fall short, the moments where you can sense the developers’ vision of what the game could be hitting the edges of what was possible at the time.

Playing the original release of Final Fantasy 7 in 2020 reveals a game with the energy of someone trying to create a blockbuster with the resources of a high school play. The vision, and the scope, of an epic was always there. The technology was still being developed. It’s that tension that still makes the original game one of the most interesting experiences of its era. The hardware was powerful for its time, but the team already wanted — and probably needed — more.

So what happens when those technical limitations are gone, replaced with 23 years of progress?

Final Fantasy 7 Remake happens, but how you feel about Square Enix’s effort to remake Final Fantasy 7 today — greatly expanded and unhindered by the technology of yesteryear — may say more about your feelings on technology and nostalgia than the game itself. You may see the original as a timeless masterwork or a dated relic, and the lens through which you view this second chance to get it “right” will depend on what you think was “wrong” about the game in the first place.

Keeping what works

One of the most remarkable things about Remake is that, despite expanding the original game’s opening sections many times over, it still feels extremely faithful to the original.

Remake takes the first six hours or so of the original game—the part that takes place entirely in the stratified, metal city of Midgar—and expands them into a roughly 40-hour narrative. The rest of Final Fantasy 7’s story will be told in future games. And, though it’s embellished with several new narrative detours, the broad strokes of the story are mostly the same.

You primarily play as Cloud Strife, a reticent mercenary with spiky hair and a mysterious past. Cloud falls in with a group called Avalanche— who are either brave resistance fighters or cowardly eco-terrorists, depending on who you ask — to prevent the Shinra Electric Power Company from sucking the planet dry of an important natural resource called mako. But Cloud is non-ideological, at least at first. He’s just there for the money.

[Ed. note: Final Fantasy 7 is a very old game, but some of the details discussed in this review could be considered very light spoilers.]

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ERgrFVhL-n4%3Frel%3D0

Cloud’s characterization here is tricky, and only partially successful. He needs to be emotionally distant, because his unavailability is a crucial part of his character arc, but he also has to hold our attention as the central figure of the narrative. And while the original game got to take Cloud through his full journey as a character, Remake is stuck with the Cloud we know at the beginning of that journey. He too often ends up feeling like a blank slate, a stand-in for a general “hero” character, but thankfully he’s surrounded by much more expressive characters who pick up most of the slack.

There’s Barret, the head of Cloud’s Avalanche cell. Barret always felt like a clunky stereotype, with his tendency for furious outbursts and confrontational language, even in 1997. Square Enix was overly fond of this character type at the time: See also Aya’s partner Daniel from the 1998 game Parasite Eve.

That stereotype didn’t entirely define Barret then, and it certainly doesn’t now. We’re given more time to see him being tender with his daughter Marlene in the remake and, while many of us may have rolled our eyes at his angry lectures about the fate of the planet before, it’s now much easier to relate to his righteous outrage at a company that is aggressively pushing the world into an ecological crisis from which it can’t recover. Barret still suffers from some outdated racist characterizations, but the expanded scope of this section of the story at least gives him more to do, and more time to show his humanity outside of what was originally little more than a caricature.

Tifa was always my favorite member of the Avalanche crew because of her no-nonsense demeanor and her tough physicality, and she’s fine here once again, as is Aerith, the flower girl with a deep connection to the planet and a crucial role to play in its fate.

For all of this game’s expanded length, however, I didn’t come away with an enriched or newly complicated understanding of these characters. They’re familiar, and I was glad to see them again and to spend time with them, but nothing this game offers with regard to them took any chances or meaningfully affected my impression of who they are.

Related

Final Fantasy 7: An oral history

That’s less a criticism of Remake than it is high praise for the original which, in its comparatively lean six-hour Midgar intro, already made Tifa and Aerith feel like characters I was going to remember for the rest of my life.

Over time, Cloud gradually gets more personally invested in Avalanche’s struggle, and finds that a figure who has played some mysterious role in his past, the enigmatic Sephiroth, is on his own destructive quest on behalf of the planet. But Remake ends just where the original’s narrative really gets going, and turning FF7s introduction into a full release presents some interesting storytelling challenges. Without spoiling anything, it’s fascinating to see the credits for this release roll right when you originally glimpsed the world map beyond Midgar in the original game.

The moment that once offered a thrilling feeling of liberation as things really opened up has been replaced by … well, a new climax that exists as part of the larger, new story. Remake delivers an ending that makes me feel as if I’ve earned a temporary, but significant, victory, while also being clear that there’s more to come.

The whole thing still seems stretched, sadly. Most of Remake’s added running time comes not from meaningful new explorations of familiar characters and their relationships, but from things that feel tangential to the main story. For instance, an entirely new quest finds you learning a great deal about a character named Leslie, who didn’t appear in the original game at all, and who works in the service of crime lord Don Corneo.

Taken on its own terms, it offers interesting insight into Leslie’s conflicted loyalties and nicely complicates a supporting character who might otherwise have seemed simple, but it also feels a bit superfluous to the game’s narrative core.

Leslie could be removed from the game completely and the story would still work, and we know that for a fact because we’ve already played that game. What we don’t know is whether his character has only begun a larger arc that will pay off in a larger way in future releases. It’s important to remember that we’re stuck trying to judge these changes without knowing everything about how the story plays out, so some criticisms, or even some praise, should be considered temporary pending the release of future games.

Image: Square Enix

Where Remake does do some great work enriching our understanding of characters from the original game is with Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie, the supporting members of Cloud’s Avalanche cell, who were only vague character sketches before. Here, an early detour to the home of Jessie’s parents not only lets us see a suburban neighborhood where people live in relative luxury compared to those in the slums down below; it also gives us a clear sense of just what Jessie is fighting for, and what she has personally sacrificed for her political ideals. Even the people who benefit, at least superficially, from the existing power structure have reason to overthrow it.

The opportunity to spend more time with these characters early on becomes crucial later in the story as the battle between Shinra and Avalanche escalates, and the possibility that some characters could die becomes more real. More characters are now more human, and this raises the stakes of the story substantially, although the boss battles do everything they can to deflate that sense of urgency — we’ll get to that in a bit.

Painting with a more detailed brushes

Reviewing this game in the traditional sense is complicated due to the massive shadow cast by the original, but at least the creative team is aware of that. For all its new narrative content, it’s all but impossible to consider Remake as a new, standalone work, because it is so clearly, and so often, working to engage with our familiarity with, and nostalgia for, the original.

So maybe, to look at this release critically, we have to start at the beginning. What actually makes Final Fantasy 7 so beloved? What should the aims of this kind of remake be? What should be preserved, and what should be erased? It may not even be possible to separate what so many of us loved about the original release from the technical aspects of its creation, especially since removing those limitations changes the game in so many fundamental ways.

The remake trades the original’s various, and usually static, camera angles for a more modern, and now-standard, third-person perspective. But while the original’s cameras may have been borne out of necessity — due to the game’s use of pre-rendered backgrounds that were required to show that much detail on screen — the constantly shifting perspective gave the original a sort of kinetic visual energy that’s lacking in the remake. The first release, to overuse a term, is much more cinematic, despite its relatively primitive looks.

Image: Square Enix

There’s power and meaning to seeing Cloud as a tiny figure far below you, dwarfed by the industrial machinery of the mako reactor, early in the original game. There was artistry and creativity in those choices about how to frame different scenes. It was directed, in other words, even if that direction was created out of necessity. The new camera angle has virtues of its own, though. While the original game’s perspective can keep you at a bit of a remove, in Remake, as the people of Midgar’s slums suffer, you’re right there in the thick of it with them, moving through crowds as people lament their inability to find work, or express the trauma of living in such violent and unstable times.

So the remake gives as much as it takes. There are visually stunning moments here that weren’t possible in the original. Late in the game, after a colossal disaster has left much of Midgar’s landscape in ruins, you can look down and see buildings piled atop each other far below you like a mess of children’s building blocks. It’s a gutting sight to behold.

Characters have more freedom to show emotion due to the huge amount of detail made possible by modern hardware. When stunning gold and purple sunlight streams in over the horizon of Midgar after part of the massive metal plate blocking the view is removed, you feel the ways in which the world our heroes call home is experiencing massive, irrevocable change .. for good or ill. Updated visuals aren’t always just there for their own sake; Square Enix has found some added meaning in the new tools at their disposal for this release.

Other aspects of the game and its story benefit from the Remake treatment as well, perhaps none more than the somewhat infamous Wall Market section.

In the original game, Cloud and Aerith come to Wall Market to aid Tifa, who has offered herself up as a “bride” to the lecherous crime lord Don Corneo in order to extract some vital information from him, and Cloud ends up dressing in feminine garb to be allowed into his mansion. The original game suggested that Cloud’s need to dress as a woman was something to be discussed in shameful whispers, and the way it mocked the “manly” men at the local gym for possessing a feminine wig that Cloud must win doesn’t age very well.

Cloud’s quest to gain entrance to Don Corneo’s quarters is now significantly more elaborate. He must earn the approval of Andrea Rhodea, a man who runs a local establishment called the Honey Bee Inn. Earning Rhodea’s respect means sharing the stage with him in a simple rhythm game dance number, and the wonderful thing about this edit is that the sequence with two men dancing together isn’t played for laughs at all, but is instead presented as something both joyous and fun.

Image: Square Enix

Cloud is then transformed into “a vision of beauty” by Rhodea’s crew in an upbeat, sexy scene, and when Rhodea tells our newly transformed hero that true beauty is a thing without shame, and that Cloud should never be afraid of it, my withered transgender heart grew three sizes. An out of touch joke is turned into a sincere and fun moment of growth and expression in the Remake, which is quite a tonal shift from the original game. A tremendously welcome one.

I wish I felt that all of Remake’s efforts to expand on the original were this vital and successful, but many of them just weigh the game down and interrupt the effective, economical pacing of the original.

Remember the sight of a giant robot hand in the ruined underpass that Cloud and Aerith pass through? It was a wonderful throwaway detail that helped flesh out the world, but it’s now been expanded into a series of basic puzzles in which you must take control of large mechanical hands to move objects and lift Aerith to places where she can lower a ladder for Cloud. It’s these moments where Remake’s philosophy that “more is more” starts to show its own limitations.

I was sometimes reminded of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, which takes J.R.R. Tolkien’s genteel children’s book and turns it into three epic, bombastic blockbusters, seemingly failing to understand that it was the relative quaintness of the book that many of us actually adored. Just because the team now has more freedom to show something, or turn a background detail into a puzzle or side-quest, doesn’t mean that it always should, and the result is often self-indulgent.

And perhaps nowhere is Remake’s tendency to embiggen everything, regardless of the tonal cost it has on the overall experience, more apparent than in combat.

Everything larger than everything else

Combat now happens in real time, a huge shift from the original’s turn-based design, but you can only guard, evade, or use standard physical attacks when a fight begins. Your ATB (or Active Time Battle) gauge fills as you attack or take damage, and full segments can then be used to cast spells, use items, or take advantage of your special abilities.

You only control one character directly at a time, but you can switch between your party members at will, and time slows to a crawl when you pull up menus to spend your ATB gauge charges or to issue commands to other characters. Combat often turns into a fairly simple affair of using the Assess ability to view an enemy’s elemental weaknesses, exploiting those weaknesses via magic to fill its stagger gauge, and then whaling on it to finish it off. It’s more active, but is that what we’re looking for? Is that what Final Fantasy 7 needs? I’m not so sure. It’s different, but not necessarily better.

The problem with Remake’s combat isn’t one of mechanics, but pacing. This game loves its boss battles. You may think that the original FF7 loved its boss battles, and it does, but Remake game really, really loves its boss battles. Practically every boss fight against a giant mech or a malevolent spirit or a possessed house or yet another giant mech is a multi-stage affair in which you can feel the team straining, as the battle wears on and the enemy shifts from one attack pattern to another to another, to make the battle feel tremendously epic, as if this is some threat the likes of which your party and the world has never faced before.

There are diminishing returns for this kind of approach, however, and when every boss encounter is ramped up to the extreme, eventually epic just becomes another word for exhausting. It’s hard to feel like the stakes are being raised by each battle when you know a bigger one is just an hour or two away or, even worse, a comparable one has recently taken place.

Image: Square Enix

Remake also adds side quests to Cloud’s time in Midgar, but their effect on the overall experience is negligible. Side quests can be a way to deepen our sense of the world and the people who live there, but only if they’re used well.

Side quests in Remake are awkwardly cordoned off from the rest of the game. At a few points, typically upon arriving in a new town, you’ll have an opportunity to stop progressing the main story for a while and run around doing errands for people, but that opportunity closes the moment you decide to resume the central quest. This format prevents the quests from feeling like an organic, integrated aspect of the world and the lives of its people.

And the content just isn’t very interesting. You might have to find cats in different spots around the slums, or do a generic go-here-and-kill-the-monsters quest for a generic NPC. They’re filler, in other words, and not particularly enjoyable or inventive filler.

For every unnecessarily elaborate new environmental puzzle or boss battle or side quest, though, there’s a new character moment, or a conversation between characters that casts the game’s political concerns into sharp relief.

For instance, when you enter the insulated elegance of the Shinra building toward the end of the game, Tifa expresses her awareness that many Shinra employees have no understanding whatsoever of the oppression and suffering that their work fuels. They’re just ordinary people, trying to provide a decent life for their own families. Barret replies that that’s no excuse for their complicity. It’s a nicely complicated moment, one that acknowledges that Final Fantasy 7 has always been political.

Remake doesn’t deny that or try to simplify the game’s politics. On the contrary, it makes the fight for the fate of the planet feel personal and urgent, and it allows characters like Tifa to have misgivings about what the right way is to wage that battle, even as she knows the battle must be fought.

Better, or just different?

Remake is wildly uneven, poorly paced, and not entirely successful as a game in its own right. It takes a game that still feels staggeringly ambitious and often turns it into something more traditional, even if every aspect of the experience is so much more technically advanced.

But Remake is also the very best thing a game can be: fascinating. It forces us to confront our subjective tastes, and asks us to consider what we value in the games we play. Your feelings about Remake will be determined by what you, personally, valued in the original release.

It’s a mirror held in front of each member of the audience. What are your favorite parts of Final Fantasy VII, and did Square Enix enhance those aspects of the game, make them worse, or remove them altogether? Every fan of the original is likely going to have a slightly different answer to both questions.

Gaming has grown, and so have we, but what have we lost in the transition? This isn’t a replacement for the original game, it’s another take on the same ideas, blown up to fill multiple releases in a way that feels artistically justified in some ways and mercenary in its approach to becoming a commercial juggernaut in others.

We know where we’ve been, and this beginning of an updated version of that experience gives us some idea of where the modern Square Enix thinks we’re headed. The biggest question left is whether fans will agree with its assessment.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake will be released April 10 on PlayStation 4. The game was reviewed using a final download code provided by Square Enix. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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VR Has Been Around Since The 1950s

Believe it or not, VR has been around in some shape or form since the 1950s. Obviously, technology was somewhat less sophisticated than it is now, but the essential concept was there. In fact, in many ways it was around even before then.

We’ve seen VR take off in a big way over the last few years, mainly in the games industry. And it really is thanks to the games industry that it’s become so much more commercialized, but it turns out we were actually pretty late to the VR party. VR proper has been around for a good 60 years, and has been in use in everything from research, to World War II airforce training, to therapy and rehabilitation.

So although this is an obvious far cry from modern-day VR (except Google Cardboard and similar tech, which still uses basically the exact same method), but shows the very first glimmer of an idea which led to where we are now, almost two centuries later.

Flight Simulator & Pygmalion’s Spectacles

In 1929, the first flight simulator – the “Link Trainer” – was invented by Edwin Link. This was a whole-body immersion experience meant to prepare prospective pilots for flight without needing to stick them in the sky for real. It was used during World War II, and is still in use today. Check out this quintessentially- 1920s video demonstration here.

Interestingly, in 1935 the concept of VR as it is today emerged in a short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum entitled Pygmalion’s Spectacles. This work of science fiction depicts a pair of goggles that allows its wearer to move through a “holographic simulation of fictional experiences.”

“Sensorama” – The First Commercial VR

Up until this point, whatever “VR” that existed still wasn’t quite the VR that comes to mind today. In 1956 that began to change notably thanks to Morton Heilig’s invention, the “Sensorama.”

This was the first attempt at a fully-immersive entertainment experience (complete with “aromas, wind, and vibrations”). It must have felt quite revolutionary at the time, but still not exactly on par with Weinbaum’s futuristic vision.

1967: The First Head-Mounted Display

Okay, so actually Heilig had already come up with The Telesphere Mask in 1960, which was in fact an HMD. But it lacked motion-tracking capabilities, and had no computer input. A few years later, the first HMD with these two features did emerge, however.

Ominously referred to as “The Sword of Damocles,” this massive, clunky contraption – although an HMD – was fixed to the ceiling, and thus didn’t let you move around whilst wearing it. Let’s be thankful things have changed since then.

Moving Inside The Head With VR

As the fantasies surrounding VR became more popularized throughout the 70s and 80s, so did the idea of using VR for more ‘serious’ endeavors. Like using it as a means of helping understand what’s going on inside our heads.

In the 1990s, researchers and psychologists began using VR in the treatment of psychological disorders such as phobias – including the fear of heights – which did and still does prove effective.

The Present & The Future Of VR

We don’t have to look far these days to find some truly breathtaking advancements in the field of VR, especially within the gaming industry. Most recently, we have Valve Software’s massive push towards a future of better VR gaming in the form of Half-Life: Alyx, which truly has stretched the boundaries of VR gaming.

Although people have been dabbling in the concept of VR for decades already, we’re only really just getting started now. The hope (and reality) is that future generations will look back on this article and think “that’s cute.”

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Everything Cut From Resident Evil 3

As some older players revisit one of their favorite games with the remake of Resident Evil 3, it becomes clear that major changes have been made in the form of cut locations, weapons, and features. It would be fascinating to learn more about the design choices made while developing this remake, and we hope that some developers will eventually shine a light on the many design choices made in the new game.

No Branching Paths

The original game features several points where the player would be faced with a sudden decision to make. Without getting into spoilers, this took the form of the Nemesis arriving without warning and Jill needed to decide to stay and fight or run for safety, forcing her to find key items in other locations. The premise was interesting, but ultimately made no real difference in terms of player progression.

Crafting ammunition was new feature in the original Resident Evil 3, and it gave players a great sense of control with regards to how they wanted to play. Enhanced ammunition is simply handgun bullets or shotgun shells that are far more powerful than their normal variants. After making the same type of ammunition seven times in a row, players would then have the option of crafting regular or enhanced ammunition, and it made each playthrough unique if someone wanted to specialize in only one weapon.

For some reason that is not explained, the entire concept has been ignored for the remake.

A Lack Of Costumes

Depending on which platform one used, the original game had eight costumes, some of them serious, others silly, and one from Dino Crisis. Right now, we only really have one alternate pre-order outfit, and one that can be purchased with points. Future DLC might bring more costumes, but we can only hope that this will be the case.

A Weird Adaptation Of The Mine Thrower

In the original game, the Mine Thrower was a weird, unnecessary weapon that was a blast to play with coupled with the infinite ammunition perk. Launching a mine into the chest of a shuffling zombie, only to see them burst after a few steps was great fun, but the weapon had no use in the normal game, nor could ammunition be crafted for it.

Rather than improve on the design to be more practical, Capcom again decided to implement the idea of this weapon as a type of ammunition for the Grenade Launcher, again without the ability to craft additional rounds.

No Time For The Clock Tower?

In the original Resident Evil 3, the clock tower was a fairly important place. This is where Jill solves several puzzles, fights Nemesis, and Carlos too has several things to do while Jill recovers inside the chapel within this building.

For some reason, the Clock Tower has been cut almost entirely and only makes an appearance for a boss fight. The overwhelmingly linear structure of much of the progression in the game might account for this, since this area did feel far more like it belongs in the Spencer Mansion than the middle of Raccoon City. Still, the removal of an entire area seems quite odd.

In fact, the same can be said of several other locations that have been removed seemingly without reason. The graveyard, park, and factory have all been cut from the remake as well, which brings us to a major change in the game.

A Whole New Ending

Of all the changes, this one might bother older players the most. Whereas the original game ends in Jill needing to work her way out of a factory to reach a helicopter before the city is destroyed, the remake sweeps all of that under the rug and repeats many of the themes and general designs of the lab at the end of Resident Evil 2.

This is one change that is completely unnecessary, because the boss fights in that area could easily have taken place within the large, wide open factory of the original game. Certain adjustments would need to be made, but that is also because the final boss is somewhat bigger than one might expect. Still, the decision was made to shift the ending of the game elsewhere, and it simply feels off.

No Barry Burton, no Jill Sandwich References

The complete removal of Barry Burton is a travesty. Everything else in this list can be explained in some way but taking out the man who coined the term “Jill Sandwich” should be nothing short of a crime. Barry had better show up in some DLC, otherwise this whole remake will have been for nothing.

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The VR Games Launch Roundup: Earthquakes, Obelisks and Oral Hygiene

VRFocus presents a brand-new list of five virtual reality (VR) titles being released over the next week. This week’s list features at least one videogame for the owners of all major headsets, including a host of long-awaited re-releases. To help give you a preview of each title you can check out the accompanying YouTube video at the bottom of this article. Make sure to keep following VRFocus to get further news on each one including possible updates, expansion packs or possibly re-releases for other headsets.

Form – Charm Games

Canadian game studio Charm Games first released puzzle experience FORM in mid-2017. Set in a secluded research facility in Alaska, you take on the role of physicist Dr. Devin Eli, who, as a result of childhood trauma, possesses the unique power of geometric visualisation. In an attempt to discover more about a mysterious artefact, The Obelisk, you must explore this doctor’s memories to unlock the secrets it contains. Unlock a series of puzzles within your own mind, which are built to be solved using tracked motion controllers. VRFocus previously awarded the original HTC Vive version a 4/5, describing it as a “mesmerising experience from start to finish.”

  • Supported platforms: PlayStation VR
  • Launch date: 7th April

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories – Granzella

Previously only available in Japan, this action-adventure survival game will be available to PlayStation VR users next week. On a seemingly ordinary summer day, your trip to this city turns into a disaster as a gigantic earthquake terrorises you and your surroundings. You must team up with fellow survivors and fight your way out as collapsing buildings and unstable ground surround you. Your decision-making abilities could be the difference between life and death in a city on the brink of collapsing completely.

  • Supported platforms: PlayStation VR
  • Launch date: 7th April

Virtual Battlegrounds – CyberDream

Built from the ground up for virtual reality and set in this war-hungry dystopian island, in Virtual Battlegrounds you must fight to become the last one standing. Featuring an array of physics-based weapons, you can run, swim and jump your way to victory both on your own or with friends in solo and quad modes and also featuring AI bots. VR users can play while standing or seated, with a host of other comfortable playing options available.

  • Supported platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, Windows Mixed Reality
  • Launch date: 8th April

Ironlights – E McNeill

In this VR duelling game, utilise a series of physics-based weapons to take on your opponents in both single and multiplayer modes. Choose from several fighting styles including Knight and Ninja. Users can even play a single-player game while waiting for a match! Replay features allow you to watch a playback of your fight, which you can export share to the world.

  • Supported platforms: Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index
  • Launch date: 9th April

Virus Popper – Starcade Arcade

This educational title aims to help people learn about the importance of personal hygiene. Wash your hands and make use of powerful disinfectants and sprays to fend off viruses, while avoiding touching your face. Indie developer Starcade Arcade, states that they aim to “make a fun and friendly way to share important messages without adding to the fear and panic in the world right now.”

  • Supported platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, Windows Mixed Reality
  • Launch date: 9th April

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons – What To Do With Bunny Day Eggs Besides Crafting Ugly Furniture

It’s pretty safe to say that the “Bunny Day” event in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a little annoying. Players are being inundated with eggs while trying to go about their normal routines, delaying the catching of certain fish and bugs. It doesn’t help that even balloons are carrying eggs, sometimes wasting precious slingshot durability.

Unless you just really dig the ugly furniture line, there has to be something else to these eggs…right? Nintendo couldn’t have just added them as a way to deck your house out like Easter will never end. We haven’t found too many alternatives, but here are some other ideas you can try with your eggs.

Sell Them

This is probably the most obvious answer you’ll see, but you can just sell the eggs. Considering it doesn’t take that many to craft the only items worth a toss, you can safely bring your extras to Nook’s Cranny and make some bells. Each egg will only bring in 200 bells, but that’s still more than your island’s native fruit.

Eat Them

Again, maybe this one is obvious, but you can eat the eggs. Any eggs you pick up act like fruits, so you can eat them to fill up your fruit meter. This is only really useful if you’re trying to remodel your entire island and want to move some rocks or uproot trees. If you eat eggs and then hit a rock, you’ll destroy it and waste precious materials.

Mail Them To Friends

If your friends legitimately want the Bunny Day furniture, you could always mail some eggs to them. One of the neatest additions to New Horizons is the ability to send letters via the magic of the internet. As long as you’re “Best Friends” with someone, you can just gather some eggs up and send them away.

Bury Them On Your Friends’ Islands

Why not torment your friends by visiting their island, burying some eggs, telling them you spotted a fossil, then running away as they dig up their billionth egg? It’s fun for the whole family!

Line Them Up In Your Home Like Ted Bundy

We’ve all gone a little crazy because of this event, so why not express that to your neighbors with an egg vigil?

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Review: GRIP: Combat Racing VR

If you own any of Oculus’ headsets then you’ve probably bought a videogame or two from its dedicated store, perused through the reviews and looked at the star rating before purchase. One little feature that you probably overlooked is the comfort ratings, ranging from ‘Comfortable’ to ‘Intense’. It’s handy, especially as rival Steam doesn’t tell players if a particular title might get a little OTT for some. A consideration all should bear in mind when selecting GRIP: Combat Racing which has added virtual reality (VR) support.

GRIP: Combat Racing is an extreme racing experience which is all about lightning-fast cars, lots of guns, and some ludicrously twisted tracks to race on, through, over, under – almost anywhere there’s a solid surface. The normal flat version which has been available since 2018 was already great at what it does, with all the Steam comments testament to that fact. But the VR version is like GRIP: Combat Racing’s evil twin sibling cackling in the corner, tempting you to the dark side because once you step into VR it’s never the same again.

If you’ve ever played titles like Rollcage or Wipeout you’ll be familiar with GRIP: Combat Racing VR’s setup and its massive selection of options. To start with there’s single-player with classic race, ultimate race, elimination, speed demon modes, then the deathmatch arena and finally Carkour – which is almost utter insanity in VR. Then there’s multiplayer and its raft of modes before you get to the campaign to test those skills across a selection of tournaments.

After that, you’ve got the garage, the cars to be unlocked and the various customisation options to your wheels (if the vehicle has them), paint job and more. While some VR titles may only offer three or four hours of game time and little replay factor, GRIP: Combat Racing is the complete opposite as there’s so much on offer. If you’re looking for a racing title that’s value for money at full price or discounted then GRIP: Combat Racing is it.

This is a videogame about speed and destruction, where you can zip along at a fair old speed normally before you even hit the boost button or boost ramps. They can then be used in conjunction with the item pickups to offer all sorts of offensive and defensive capabilities which makes GRIP: Combat Racing super fun to play.

Not only that, but the track design is also some of the best in this genre of racing videogame. You have plenty of choices when it comes to the best line to take, stay on the ground, hit the jump button for some ceiling racing or run up and down the walls when available. GRIP: Combat Racing easily puts a smile on your face when things are going well and can quickly remove it when you get shot at the finish line.

However, and this is a big, however, GRIP: Combat Racing VR should not be entered into lightly. As mentioned at the start, VR experience comfort ratings were created for a reason. If Steam had them GRIP: Combat Racing would be listed under ‘Ultra Intense’. One of the major hooks to the gameplay is the undulating track design making your vehicle twist and spin all over the place at points – especially when shot mid-air.

This has all the hallmarks of a nausea-inducing experience, a big no-no in VR. Heck, even the promotional trailer for the videogame makes vomit jokes. But here’s the thing, for some reason whatever developer Caged Element Inc. has done to make sure none of this happens has worked. Having played a great deal of VR this might be the VR legs talking, so anyone particularly susceptible may want to be cautious, or at least play with the viewpoint.

Half expecting the bumper (first-person) view to be the worst, this proved to be easy to drive and the most immersive; even when doing a 360 flip with a mid-air twist, landing on the track backwards. This should have been really disorientating. The standard third-person view behind the car is the more comfortable solution in case you were wondering.

With the end of March, start of April offering so many VR choices GRIP: Combat Racing VR has come out of nowhere to be a bona fide surprise. It looks good, there are options for days and most importantly the gameplay is entertaining. GRIP: Combat Racing VR is pure digital witchcraft, making the addition of VR look seamless. Plus it’s a free update if you already own the original title, which is a bonus.

  • Verdict
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    Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Best Fish To Catch At Night

    If you’re busy most of the day with work, there’s nothing better than kicking of your shoes and doing a bit of virtual fishing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. To make things even better, many valuable fish can be caught at night, meaning you’re not missing out on much during those daytime hours when you’re pulling in real cash as opposed to Bells. Night fishing in both freshwater and saltwater can be a lucrative endeavor in New Horizons — but these fish are the real reasons you’ll want to stay up late.

    Saltwater Night Fishing

    If you prefer to keep towards the coast, you’ll be able to reel in a few of the most expensive fish in the game while night fishing. Even better, two of them are available year-round. Here’s what you can hope to land when fishing after 4PM:

    • Barreleye: Available year-round between the hours of 9PM and 4AM. Sells for 15,000 Bells.
    • Coelacanth: Available year-round and all day long, however it prefers rainy weather. Sells for 15,000 Bells.
    • Great White Shark: Available from June to September between the hours of 4PM and 9AM. Sells for 15,000 Bells.
    • Saw Shark: Available from June to September between the hours of 4PM and 9AM. Sells for 12,000 Bells.
    • Hammerhead Shark: Available from June to September between the hours of 4PM and 9AM. Sells for 8,000 Bells.

    Freshwater Night Fishing

    Things are a bit more seasonal for freshwater fishers. The best year-round fish you can hope to real in is a Ranchu Goldfish, but they are only available during the day. Night fishers can instead expect to see the year-round Koi or try to hook one of many seasonal species.

    • Koi: Available year-round in Ponds between the hours of 4PM and 9AM. Sells for 4,000 Bells.
    • Golden Trout: Available from March to May and September to November in Clifftop Rivers between the hours of 4PM and 9AM. Sells for 15,000 Bells.
    • Stringfish: Available from December to March in Clifftop Rivers between the hours of 4PM and 9AM. Sells for 15,000 Bells.
    • Arowana: Available from June to September in Rivers between the hours of 4PM and 9AM. Sells for 10,000 Bells.
    • Arapaima: Available from June to September in Rivers between the hours of 4PM and 9AM. Sells for 10,000 Bells.

    There are dozens of seasonal fish that night anglers can expect to fight. Keep your eyes peeled for those shadows in the water and bring plenty of bait — you never know what’s waiting out there in the dark.

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    How Riot Games Avoided Backlash When Debuting Mobile Titles

    2020 has been a great year for Riot Games so far and fans have been enjoying and looking forward to several mobile ports of their popular PC games. Interestingly, when Riot Games was first set to announce their mobile versions of Legends of Runeterra, TeamFight Tactics, and more in October of 2019, there was serious concern among the team that fans would react negatively, and there was good reason to consider this as a real possibility.

    While the team was hard at work, it was difficult not to look at how people reacted when Blizzard decided to announce Diablo Immortal during BlizzCon 2018. While it was clear that Blizzard expected players to react in a positive way, the overwhelming rejection of a mobile game in place of a real PC sequel weighed heavily on the minds of those working at Riot Games. Speaking about the need to prepare for such a reaction, and how best to avoid it, was Ryan Rigney, the League of Legends Global Communications Lead.

    This notion of surprising and delighting a core audience, along with showing love for the product, can also clearly be seen in the announcement of Path of Exile Mobile. Even more, developer Grinding Gear Games leaned into the memes in their trailer, at Blizzard’s expense of course.

    The point here is that ultimately, consumers are often far smarter than business gives them credit for. The announcement of Diablo Immortal serves as a perfect case study for how not to treat a loyal consumer base, whereas both Riot Games and Grinding Gear Games fall on the opposite side of the spectrum. By making games with careful attention given to the core audience and not infantilizing their desires, mobile game announcements need never be a negative experience, if done correctly.

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    Modern Warfare 2’s "No Russian" Doesn’t Hold Up

    Once upon a time, 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was considered one of the edgiest games of its time, but really only for one reason: the notorious “No Russian” mission.

    In the “No Russian” mission, you play as a double agent assigned with the task of acting as a terrorist as you walk beside multiple actual terrorists with the hope of ultimately undermining them after all is said and done. The mission really consists of three parts.

    The first part has you in an elevator in an airport with the terrorists. One of the terrorists looks at you just before the elevator doors open and utters the now-often-cited phrase: “Remember. No Russian.” Here, he references the fact that none of the terrorists are to speak Russian to disguise their nationality.

    RELATED: Call Of Duty Warzone: Ranking Buystation Items From Worst To Best

    The mid-section simply involves an all-out spree in which you nonchalantly walk around the airport shooting all civilians in sight. However, though you don’t need to shoot any civilians, you are are still able to within the mission. This section lasts for a while.

    The final section of the mission sees your character get offed by the antagonist, Vladimir Makarov, who orchestrated the entire act. This concludes a mission that was ultimately more insulting than anything else, and is certainly dated by today’s standards.

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2‘s “No Russian” mission has ultimately aged very poorly. It is retrospectively tone-deaf now that numerous tragic mass shootings have transpired, resulting in far too many deaths. In hindsight, the mission appears to be made purely to spark controversy and debate, which it had done at the time. Some argued it was unnecessary, while others argued that it made the campaign more impactful somehow.

    Alas, real-life shootings such as the Las Vegas shooting, the Pulse Night Club massacre, the Christchurch massacre, and numerous others have turned “No Russian” into more of a head-nodding mission than a harrowing one. It’s a stark reminder that these kinds of things have happened on a more frequent basis than we would like, yet nothing seems to change, and no video game mission could really build on the situation.

    While the “No Russian” mission has been burned into the consciousness of many FPS fans, it need not be remembered as effective political commentary. Rather, this is an art piece, part of an otherwise great game, that falls flat with the passage of time.

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    Half-Life: Alyx Review – An Amazing Return To City 17

    The Half-Life series possesses a combination of historical significance and fan enthusiasm that few other franchises can match. With that kind of tradition and audience, Valve releasing its long-awaited continuation as a VR exclusive is controversial. However, the moment Half-Life: Alyx’s intro text faded and I opened my eyes to a Combine-infested Earth, I was convinced. The phenomenal atmosphere of City 17 is apparent from the moment you see a towering three-legged Strider knock debris loose as it ascends a building, and that feeling of awe continues all the way to the game’s jaw-dropping finish. Centered on Alyx Vance, a main character from the series made playable for the first time, Half-Life: Alyx is an unforgettable adventure that undeniably pushes VR forward.

    The gameplay is equal parts shooter and puzzler, encouraging immersive exploration of the beautifully realized environments. These components are enhanced by the VR control scheme, which feels tight throughout and only becomes more natural as you play. The story (which is set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2) finds Alyx on a journey to rescue her father from Combine captivity; you don’t need to be a fan of the series to appreciate the narrative, but diehard fans have their patience rewarded.

    Half-Life’s stark world has never felt so alive as it does here. Whether you’re marveling at the disgustingly realistic viscera on corpses in the sewers or counting the teeth on the ceiling Barnacles waiting to suck up passersby, the gorgeous setting is immersive. I watched for nearly a minute as a headcrab scrambled over a pile of luggage to get at me, pulling bags down and falling on its back in an unscripted display of the game’s impressive physics. Intricately detailed faces follow you through conversations, and gorgeous vistas take your breath away. Seeing Half-Life staples rendered with modern technology, explorable in virtual reality, is truly stunning. Experiencing it with this level of closeness and interactivity gives me a new appreciation for the series’ specific brand of dystopian future.

    Controlling Alyx feels great thanks to the gravity gloves that help you manipulate the debris in your environment. If you see a chunk of Resin (the currency used for weapon upgrades), you simply reach out and flick your wrist back. This sends it flying toward you, and then you grip to catch it when it reaches you. This never stops feeling satisfying, and using it in conjunction with other actions, like storing ammo over my shoulder and managing more complicated weapon reloads, feels instantly intuitive and fun to master. By the end, I was using my hands independently like a pro, unless any enemy got the jump on me and my panicked movements had me pulling the trigger on an empty gun and scrambling back for some breathing room.

    The gravity gloves are technically called R.U.S.S.E.L.S. – named for Resistance techie Russel, a lighthearted voice in your ear who guides you through City 17 in pursuit of Alyx’s father. Every time he chimed in on my earpiece was a welcome relief from the oppressive surroundings. I especially depended on him for levity in some of the more horrifying sequences, including a nightmarish encounter with a creature called Jeff. Despite its status as a prequel, the campaign ventures into new territory for the franchise and pushes it forward in compelling ways. From a story perspective, Half-Life: Alyx is an enjoyable and essential entry in the series.

    Combat isn’t the highlight, but it still produces exciting moments. You find only three weapons, all of which can be outfitted with game-changing upgrades like a grenade launcher or laser sight. Combine soldiers soak up headshots on the higher difficulties, making careful use of cover a necessity. I learned to make smart grenade throws, move around my environment carefully, and loot bodies mid-fight, the latter of which was enhanced by lifting corpses with my hands to access ammo and health hidden in back pockets. It is as satisfying as it is morbid. Firing, reloading, and switching weapons all feels great in VR thanks to responsive controls and smartly designed guns that subtly highlight the action required. For example, a red underglow on the pistol slide you forgot to pull back helps negate a lot of frustration of not knowing why your gun won’t fire. Ducking behind cover feels natural and fair, and listening for enemy reloads before popping out is satisfying.

    The freedom of room-scale VR sometimes clashes with the linearity of Half-Life: Alyx’s design. Zombies won’t be pushed back if you wield a chair like a lion tamer, and in one puzzle I attempted to pull a large crate under a garage door to stop it from closing and watched as the door pushed the crate down under the map and closed unfettered. But if you play by the rules, you are rewarded. Physics puzzles are fun to solve, and shooting for enemy weak points like Combine gas canisters result in beautifully grim death animations as you wave goodbye with your in-game hand.

    Puzzles litter the world, with some that are necessary for progression and others that unlock optional caches of extra ammo or health. One puzzle type requires you to guide electricity from circuit to circuit by pointing your multitool around a room to illuminate the maze, which is a fun way to explore the environment. However, other puzzle types quickly wear out their welcome, including guiding one point to another along a globe while avoiding Tron-like red lines, or remembering pairs of colors and matching them after they disappear. Some of these are repeated so often that I would sometimes skip the optional loot just to avoid going through the motions yet again. 

    I experimented with every movement mode on offer, which includes blinking for those prone to motion sickness and full thumbstick locomotion. I eventually settled on sliding, a middle ground option where you select your target destination and move quickly to it with full physics presence. This felt the most natural and helped me avoid even the slightest motion sickness through the whole campaign, which is never a guarantee for me in VR. Other options like view-based subtitles and choosing a dominant hand for weapons are implemented well.

    Half Life: Alyx is a must-play game worthy of the series’ legacy. Despite some puzzles and encounters that feel like filler, the overall experience is strong. The stunning setpieces, beautiful world, and smart writing stand out no matter the medium, and mark a return to form for Valve. If you were waiting for a killer app before you made the investment into virtual reality, this is it.











    Valve ups the ante for virtual reality with a rich campaign and clever controls

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