Bumblebee Review: Totally An ’80s Movie

There’s an inherent goofiness to Transformers that’s impossible to avoid. We’re talking about big robots from space that transform into Volkswagons and Camaros and fighter jets. Bumblebee doesn’t shy away from that–it fully embraces the fun silliness. But that’s not even the best part about this movie–that would be how it actually feels mostly like a 1980s Spielberg adventure movie, with notes of John Hughes sweetening the mix.

Those influences aren’t subtle–the E.T. vibe is real, especially when Hailee Steinfeld’s character, Charlie Watson, first encounters Autobot B127 as a scared alien creature hiding in the corner of her garage. And there are multiple extremely literal Breakfast Club gags, including a throughline of Bumblebee mimicking Judd Nelson by throwing one fist triumphantly into the air, which the movie deploys in the most perfect ways. Bumblebee also has tons of fun with the music of the era–the Transformer starts the movie with a voice, on the distant planet Cybertron, before losing his vocal capabilities in combat. Charlie teaches him to use the radio to communicate, at the same time imparting her love of alternative ’80s jams. Bumblebee doesn’t care for Morrissey’s crooning at first, but dang it if she won’t instill in the robot an appreciation for The Smiths by the end.

Bumblebee begins on Cybertron, where a big, somewhat messy action scene establishes that the Decepticons have rooted out the Autobot rebellion. You really don’t need to know anything about Transformers to appreciate this–I’m sure there are some finer points for fans, but the important bit is that Optimus Prime sends Bumblebee to Earth to keep it safe and wait for the Autobots to regroup. On arrival, Bumblebee lands square on top of John Cena’s Agent Burns, some kind of high-ranking, square-jawed military type who makes it his mission to neutralize the robot-Volkswagon threat. Also, this is apparently a full reboot of the Transformers movies–Bumblebee here arrives on Earth in the ’80s, whereas I’m told Transformers: The Last Knight had him fighting Nazis during WWII (I haven’t seen a Transformers movie since the original, so who knows?).

There’s actually quite a lot of opening action before getting to Steinfeld’s Charlie, whose relationship with Bumblebee is the movie’s actual heart, and what it wisely spends most of its time on. The CGI in the Transformers movies has always seemed impressive, and Bumblebee and the Decepticons who come chasing him seem real enough, their battles punctuated by impactful thuds and scrapes. But this movie’s real trick is making Bumblebee–a large, yellow robot from space–unbelievably cute. After losing his voice and most of his memories, B127 is reduced essentially to the status of a very smart dog. He practically wags his tail at Charlie, although he can apparently understand everything she says. The movie mines a ton of comedy out of recurring bits like Bumblebee understanding the command “hide!” too literally, and trying to crouch behind cover instead of transforming back into a car like she wants him to.

Charlie herself will be intensely relatable to many viewers, whether you’re a parent who grew up in the ’80s or a kid now. She learned how to work on cars from her dad, who’s no longer around. She rebels in relatively harmless ways like walking around listening to The Smiths and wearing too much eyeliner–typical teenager stuff that her mom (Pamela Adlon) and stepdad (Stephen Schneider) patiently tolerate. She has a crappy job at Hot Dog on a Stick and a neighbor kid (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) with a crush on her, but all she really wants is to get the car she and her dad were working on up and running. As a character, she doesn’t rely too much on tropes, and she’s extremely easy to root for.

Cena’s Agent Burns isn’t quite the villain, which is good, because Cena is too lovable to hate. The WWE Superstar seems to have a blast in this movie hamming it up, throwing exaggerated salutes and barking orders at his subordinates. Cena’s proved more than once that his comedic timing is gold (hello, Blockers), and Bumblebee occasionally puts it to good use, including in one exchange where he correctly points out that they probably shouldn’t trust the Decepticons because–duh–they literally call themselves “Decepticons.”

Speaking of which, the Decepticons Shatter and Dropkick have their own moments of dark humor, which often comes in the form of the latter begging the former to please just let him kill the humans already, or saying things like “I like how they pop!” after vaporizing a random bystander immediately after arriving on Earth. There’s also a very funny bit where Shatter and Dropkick kind of accidentally invent the internet? It’s great.

Bumblebee hits a perfect tone with a great mix of action, humor, and heart. The soundtrack strikes all the right chords, the action is mostly clear and easy to follow even when two massive robots are rapidly grappling and transforming into various forms, and the characters are instantly relatable, without screenwriter Christina Hodson relying too much on cliches. The homages to Spielberg, Hughes, and other ’80s filmmakers may not be subtle, but they are a lot of fun, and Bumblebee pays tribute in smart ways that don’t feel out of place or forced. Bumblebee was only Travis Knight’s second turn in the director’s chair, his first being the also excellent Kubo and the Two Strings; clearly he’s a director to watch going forward, and if Bumblebee is the new bar for Transformers movies, then the series is in for a bright future as well.

The Good The Bad
Good mix of action, humor, and heart Some of the action gets messy
Fun homages to classic ’80s directors like Spielberg and Hughes Rebooting the movies’ continuity might annoy some fans?
Bumblebee is actually cute
Avoids many tropes and cliches
Hailee Steinfeld is a great, relatable lead

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate real world comparison – Reader’s Feature

Assassin's Creed Syndicate - does it matter if it's a sequel?

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – surprisingly authentic

A reader compares the real London to the Victorian version found in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and is impressed at how similar the two are.

As the level of immersion continues to deepen, and our awareness and perception of the virtual worlds we inhabit and the environment around us unifies I decided to take a look at one cities digital and physical appearance.

It was in the summer of 2011, when playing through Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, that I genuinely had a moment when I stopped and paused, staring in marvel at the incredible representation of the Foro Romano in Rome. Before this I had experienced New York, among other American cities, on numerous occasions but this was the first time a European location had been reconstructed and presented as a modern digital playground.

Having visited this location on numerous occasions I enjoyed just stopping and wandering about, recognising certain key landmarks and buildings. When Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was announced as being set in London I was intrigued and excited to be able to explore the city I call home and compare and contrast some of the landmarks that are so familiar in my everyday life. My main ambition was to compare the digital representation of the Victorian era world and the current physical buildings that exist today.

This firstly required going around the game and using the PlayStation’s screen capture mode to try and get a clear shot of the building or location, ideally without the character being present. My tour began with the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral design by Sir Christopher Wren and largely, as shown, the level of detail captured digitally was remarkably similar to the building itself.

I frustrate myself on occasion with being overly analytical of small details but here the level of immersion was impressive. Technical details such as the amount of windows and arches were duplicated perfectly but also the wider, general depth of the building. The presence of the smaller tree which ‘in the future’ had grown and gained depth and size was a fun element to consider, entirely circumstantial I would imagine but still a nice addition.

Carrying on by bus, my journey in London continued to Covent Garden. Holding my trusty camera and phone at the same time I was able to get some great comparative shots, this time with the female protagonist Evie looking somewhat like a lost tourist. Once more the small details such as the arches in the roof and position of the entrance ways were recreated rather faithfully, although the colour palette used, of reds and oranges, started to become somewhat repeated both here and at other venues. But still, it captured the spirit and atmosphere of the location and standing in this corridor between the two main markets did invoke a strange sense of familiarity.

Next stop and the always busy and active Piccadilly Circus. Having visited it on numerous occasions, even when playing the game there were certain landmarks and buildings that were very familiar. Approaching the junction from Leicester Square gave a great, contrasting shot of Bond Street leading up to Oxford Street a short walk away. Although in the digital word this was beyond the game’s boundaries and inaccessible.

Still, I was able to capture a great shot which did match up in great detail between the two worlds. The intention was never to disprove the efforts of Ubisoft or cast aspersions as to the quality of its game engine, more to see and feel the level of immersion that can exist and be generated in setting a title such as this in a city more familiar than America.

Leaving the shopping district I headed down Whitehall, past Horse Guards Parade and to my final destination in Parliament Square at Westminster Abbey. This was one of the buildings in the digital world I had wanted to capture as a London landmark and when arriving was thrilled my journal concluded with this great contrasting shot.

As with St Paul’s, and perhaps because they are so well known and distinctive in their design, there were a great many elements that matched between the two versions of the building. Whether by design or happenstance I was somewhat impressed and accepting of the cleaner finish of the building in contrast to the dirtier exterior that exists today.

Overall, whilst there were some issues with the depth of certain locations, with certain attractions appearing rather flat, and a heavy reliance on a red brickwork finish across the game, this was another title I could just stop to marvel at how immersive and unified the digital and physical worlds continue to be.

By reader ATBonfire (Facebook)/around.the.bonfire (Instagram)/ATBonfire (WordPress)

The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

Why Red Dead Redemption II isn’t the game of the year – Reader’s Feature

Red Dead Redemption II – Rockstar under fair

A reader is please Rockstar’s game didn’t win the biggest prize at The Game Awards and explains exactly what he thinks it gets wrong.

I’d written this feature already, about the reasons why I think Red Dead Redemption II has been overrated, but once I saw that it failed to win The Game Awards Game of the Year prize I quickly changed the title to show how much I agree with the decision. Especially once I saw Rockstar fans complaining about the loss and immediately inventing conspiracy theories to explain it all.

Red Dead Redemption II is not a bad game by any means, I might even go so far as to call it a good game but I don’t think it is anywhere close to being game of the year (even given this year hasn’t been that great) and certainly not the ridiculous game of the generation label that some have tried to attach to it.

For me it fails in three key areas and I‘d like to address each one in turn:

1. Gameplay

This is the key one for me, such that even if there wasn’t a single other flaw the game would still be severely compromised not matter what else it got right. Red Dead is just not particularly fun to play. The game as a whole is fun to experience but the horse-riding and particularly the combat is well below the standards of even a fairly low budget third person game.

The sad thing is it’s actually pretty good by Rockstar standards, but for some reason the industry’s most successful developer seems to have little interest in gameplay mechanics and has never sought to better itself. The controls are fiddly and awkward and that’s even when you’ve got auto aim on, as it gets considerably worse without it.

Hand-to-hand fighting is even worse, with hardly any moves and strangely awkward animation that suddenly turns the game into a sub-par wrestling sim, with no sense of weight or impact. Even using a bow isn’t that satisfying and that’s usually the best bit in any historical game.

There is nothing interactive in the game which is either well made or intrinsically entertaining and that for me is a huge problem. Especially when more competent third person shooters are a dime a dozen.

2. Pacing

In terms of storytelling Red Dead Redemption II is clearly its own biggest fan. I think exploring the wilderness seems so much more entertaining simply because it’s the only place you can get some peace and quiet to yourself. Otherwise you’re listening to computer characters jabbering on and on, sometimes taking up the majority of a story mission just with talking.

GC posed the question in their review of whether the game had so talking because there was a lot of horse-riding or whether it had a lot of horse-riding because Rockstar wanted an excuse for lots of talking. You got a bit of this in GTA, where it sometimes seemed like you were controlling the Knight Rider car as it jabbered away to itself, but in Red Dead Redemption II the amount of pointless conversations are never-ending.

And they are largely pointless because they fail to fill in key details about the characters. Why is Arthur so loyal to the gang and what is he getting out of hanging around them? You can see in the game that whenever you go off and do your own thing you’re much more successful so what, in the game’s world, is the logic that’s supposed to be keeping him back? That much loyalty requires explanation but it’s based on things we’re told about but never really see, which makes it all seem just like a contrivance.

But the biggest problem is how long the game takes to get to its point. Red Dead Redemption II is just too long and even when it seems to be building to a conclusion it still takes ages to get there and you have dozens more story missions – mostly involving riding along and talking to people – to complete. Even the epilogue goes on for far too long, and far past my point of caring.

3. Innovation

The odd thing about Red Dead Redemption II is that despite the amazing graphics and huge budget it’s actually a very old-fashioned kind of game. You can tell the design was nailed down years ago and it just took this long to make, as compared to Zelda: Breath Of The Wild or The Witcher 3 its world seems very static and nailed down. The lack of real interaction with people – you can talk to them but rarely get much choice in what you say – is also very disappointing and makes the endless dialogue even harder to put up with.

Not that it has to be similar to any other game to be considered good but there’s nothing in Red Dead Redemption II that is new or original. It looks better than other games but it’s still doing the same things as other open world games from five or so years ago. Take away the presentation and the prestige of who made it and Red Dead Redemption II would be viewed as a very average game.

The graphics and atmosphere elevate it to something more but they certainly don’t make it game of the year material, and I’m glad that God Of War – which really does transform its franchise into something completely different, both in terms of gameplay and narrative – was recognised as being the better game.

By reader Rocquet

The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Most wanted remakes and remasters

Skies Of Arcadia – forever SD?

Skies Of Arcadia – will it ever come back?

GameCentral readers discuss which video games they most want to see get a comeback, from Soul Reaver to SSX.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Preston and inspired by the large number of, often surprisingly obscure, remakes being released lately. We wanted to know what games you think should return and whether you think they could be a hit again.

We had plenty of different suggestions from many different eras, but while a few names did come up often just as many were surprised to find that all their most obvious wishes had already, or were about to be, granted.

 



Sometimes say never again

This one is easy for me: Skies Of Arcadia. Occasionally there are a few vague rumblings of a HD re-release from Sega that may materialise – but don’t. Then again, we live in a world where Shenmue III is happening, so who knows?

There is only one thing to change really: those hateful random battles. I do wonder how easy it would be to change the code so you can then see the enemies in the world? I remember there were the odd shoal of fish flying around in the sky, so why not have swarms of enemies to either fly into or evade? Also have monsters and guards patrol the dungeons, Persona style?

It would require work and money. And Sega don’t like expending too much of those if they can help it.

The Discoveries could be a real pain to find, though. Some demanded pixel perfect accuracy to locate. Which when you consider altitude as well as the precise position of the map, my television has heard many a salty curse over the years as a result. Flying around, hunting down a particularly elusive one, only for the battle music to start playing EVERY. FEW. SECONDS! Well, it’s more than most people can take.

Eliminating random battles would help to alleviate that, but maybe the ability to acquire a hot/cold meter late in the game would be a big help. Add all the content from the GameCube version too, and that would be great.

As I say, this is an unlikely eventuality. But never say never, hey?
DMR

 



Licensing restrictions

An old game that needs a remake would be Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, like all of the numbered games made into one, but not by Activision. If it were possible, maybe the team behind the Skate series. They seem to know what they are doing with a skateboarding game.

Or get Neversoft to do it using the Spider-Man engine and including all of the music and secret characters, which by happy coincidence one was Spider-Man. I bought the recent-ish HD remake but it wasn’t enough and I want more.
Bobwallett

 



Real 3D

There are lots of ZX Spectrum games I’d like to see remade but one title sticks out in particular: Sandy White’s Ant Attack.

Initially I loved the game’s artwork, but the actual game was cutting edge back in 1983 and unlike anything I’d seen before on the Sinclair format.

Ant Attack offered such a cool and unique proposition, escape from an eerie looking city that’s been overrun by giant ants.

Although the isometric look of the game is iconic I’d want a first person remake in real 3D. Maybe the new game would work even better as a virtual reality title. One thing’s for sure, giant ants are scary, especially if you have no means to kill them.

The Spectrum era was great for original ideas. Many game developers were literally working in their bedrooms with no restrictions about what they could bring to the marketplace.

Ant Attack was one such original idea, and alarmingly prophetic because no matter what happens to the human race insects will probably continue to thrive.
msv858 (Twitter)

 

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

 



Second chances

I know a lot of people hate remasters because it makes the games industry look lazy and cynical from their point of view, but I can appreciate their benefits. Quite a few years ago I missed Rogue Trooper as it didn’t look like my sort of thing but when I found out it was exactly my sort of thing a few years later I regretted missing it. It was remastered recently and I snapped it up.

I also like being able to keep my collection up to date. With Dishonored on PlayStation 4 I don’t need to keep my PlayStation 3.

As for games I want to see remastered, I would choose Mr Moskeeto. The original was very… original and its miniaturised world would look great with modern graphics and the sequel never made it to the UK so a double pack remaster would be very welcome.

But, no. I don’t think it will ever happen.
Kehaar

 



On the bubble

How Bubble Bobble hasn’t had a more recent and accurate modern conversion of the original arcade, or a remake amazes me. It’s a game beloved by so many. The gameplay hasn’t dated, and it is still one of the best co-op games of all time. Something along the lines of the Pac-Man Championship Edition DX approach would be wonderful.

My fingers hurt from being crossed all this time; Inbox magic please.
SneakyPeep

GC: Never has a truer word been spoken in the Inbox.

 



Wish granted

I am not too fussy with new remakes or remasters because the two I really wanted are being done and released in the near future.

Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy VII. I mean, two of my all-time favourite games ever are being remade, and with the possibility of some advances in storylines which were not a possibility in the originals. Or maybe not! But I can’t imagine they would miss out on a chance to input some more content that could not have been done in the originals. It would not be the first time, check out the GameCube Resident Evil remake.

All I want is that quality control is kept with the above and that I will be immersed as I was back in the day. To do a remake is to expect not an exact copy of the original but an advancement of it with a bunch of new content but not a ridiculous amount, as you still want the same emotional ride the original gave. A newly recorded soundtrack will help with an orchestral or advanced synthesizer feel to it, and some top quality voice-acting also. Do what the fans would want and you’ll have a winning formula which will be respectful and a great homage to these two series classics.

I personally would like to see a remaster of Zelda: A Link To The Past and maybe a remastered Alundra, but to be honest the originals were so good it’s probably not necessary. Maybe Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind! Now that would be good for a remaster – that would be awesome! Either way all is good in my books and I can’t wait to try Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy VII and with a lot of high expectations. I’ll try to remain calm until then but if they are a success then the possibility of more surprises in the future may be on the cards.
Alucard

GC: Resident Evil 2 definitely has new areas, we mentioned one in our most recent preview.

 



Black list

If they were going to pick a remake to get me excited, it would have to be Black from back in the PlayStation 2 days.

For my money still the best first person shooter ever made and if it could get a bit of a polish without changing the gameplay then I’d probably buy a new console just to play it on.
Skygod

 

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

 



Dead horse

The one game I’d like to see be given an updated remaster is Dead Rising. This has been remastered for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC and shows that this game can be remastered and be given a proper remake. The studio who developed the first game is still in business and this is one game that truly deserves a respectable remaster or remake. With the newer 4K upscalable gaming technologies and the near arrival of next generation gaming systems such as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Two, and with PC gaming evolving frequently, a remake or remaster of Dead Rising could be done by Capcom with significant improvements and additions from the original.

What I would ensure would be added includes but in no way limited to the following: additional areas, new psychopaths, newer books, food items, weapons, new survivors, higher levels, upgraded abilities, weapons, clothes, food lockers, co-operative gameplay, and newer mall music.

On top of all of this, I would also make the game 4L right off the bat as well as an upgrade with the camera allowing players to record video while zooming into areas of the map further into the distance. I would also add a first person view mode which would work with VR headsets, giving the player a wider experience of the first Dead Rising and allow them to interact with items in the mall using the headset.

Finally, I would also add an ability for players to customise and choose the mall music that plays and which music they would like to play and in what order. This would add a greater enjoyment to anyone who wanted to explore the mall while listening to their favourite mall music. I can see Capcom doing a final remaster of the original Dead Rising as there are still vast improvements that they could make and they own the studio in Japan that developed the first game which they would have the power to do so very easily.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

 

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It’s Time To Slow Fortnite’s Updates–And The Block Is Just The Solution

Season 7 of Fortnite is in full swing, and with it comes another 10 weeks’ worth of new challenges, weapons, items, skins, emotes, map changes, balance tweaks, and everything else in-between that Epic uses to keep Fortnite feeling fresh week after week. Right off the bat, the most significant of these changes appears to be the new snow-coated section of the map, which adds some festive and suitably chilly elements for this winter season. But the brand-new Creative mode, and the way it intertwines with the The Block to showcase community creations on the shared game map, might be Season 7’s most exciting new addition, and should take some of the pressure off Epic to pump out new content every single week.

Fortnite is in a good place right now with the way its gameplay has been finely tuned, and this is born from a season of experimentation. In fairness, this has been true of most seasons, since Epic isn’t content to sit on its laurels even when Fortnite continues to be the most popular game in the world. Yet Season 6 was more experimental than usual. For starters, glider redeploy was added to the default game modes for a week or so to test its effect on the game before Epic, with the help of the community’s feedback, opted to remove it. While I enjoyed being able to flank people and bypass their fortresses by simply gliding over them, it did negatively impact the dynamic of most firefights. Fall damage was essentially removed, encouraging people to build as high as they could with no tangible repercussions, while healing or reviving squadmates became nigh on impossible due to the ease with which hostile players could traverse vast distances. Then there was the maligned addition of mounted turrets, a brief and confusing buff to explosive damage, a welcome buff to shotgun damage, numerous changes to the map as Kevin The Cube embarked upon his final journey, and the Fortnitemares Halloween event that shook up default game modes by introducing the calculated mayhem of AI zombies.

Fortnite’s strengths are built around this ever-changing environment that keeps the battle royale foundations feeling fresh. Being part of the zeitgeist is too enticing to ignore when there’s new content released every single week, whether it’s a new weapon, vehicle, or some ridiculous one-time-only event. But there were moments during Season 6 where playing Fortnite was more than a little frustrating. It’s admirable that Epic is eager to experiment and innovate when it already has a winning formula on its hands, but it often felt like changes were being introduced for change’s sake. Obviously, this all worked out in the end, growing pains and all, because the last few weeks of Season 6 were fantastic, and that has continued into Season 7. But there’s an argument to be made for slightly fewer new additions in favour of maintaining and improving upon the core gameplay’s current excellence.

This week we’ve already seen a fascinating way Epic can maintain the game’s growth without impacting its mechanics. The Block–which acts as a dedicated space for showcasing standout community creations–is a smart idea that blends the new Creative mode with Fortnite’s constantly evolving map. Creative mode provides Battle Pass owners your own personal island to do with as you please–creating your own maps, game modes, and anything else you can imagine that isn’t just recreating de_dust. The prospect of having the best of the these creations appear as a brand-new area to play in every week is incredibly exciting–even if it comes at the cost of Risky Reels–and I can only imagine that feeling increases tenfold for those whipping up their own creations.

Cattails Review – Star-Mew Valley

Cattails Review

Cattails, new to the Switch from Falcon Development, offers a lot of the same appeal as Stardew Valley – a huge open world life-sim, some RPG elements and cute, colorful retro visuals – but with cats. Yes, you heard that right, but don’t cough up a hairball, because it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Cattails might have easily turned out to be a mediocre knock-off or even an unintentional parody, but amazingly it all comes together into a really engrossing and enjoyable experience that has really sunk its claws into me, despite a few rough edges.

In Cattails, you are a feral cat – once a part of a loving family but now lost, on your own out in the wilds. Using your skills in foraging and hunting, as well as your friendly connections with new feline companions, you’re tasked with starting a new life on your own as part of a colony. Survival elements like hunger and health meters keep you searching for food and herbal remedies, but it’s nicely balanced and I never found myself a slave to the survival wheel. Especially once you get the hang of hunting, you’re pretty free to explore the vast map and make friends and a new life at your leisure.

We’re Not Kitten Around

And it’s a big map. The cat colony of which you are a part occupies one section of it, but there are 2 other colonies as well, each with their own territory. Using your fighting abilities, you can help your adopted feline brothers and sisters fight enemy colonies for territory, with victory bringing rewards like XP and money that can be used to upgrade your skills and buy items. In addition to animals and plants for you to collect (yes, there’s catnip), the map also has some other secrets and goodies to reveal. As an open world, Cattails is maybe not as much of a vibrant and diverse ecosystem as Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, but there’s still hours and hours of discovery awaiting.

The real fun of Cattails comes in the deeper life sim aspects – making friends, meeting companions and even getting married and having – ahem – kittens. This side of the game isn’t even revealed to you until many hours into the game, and moving a relationship with another cat from acquaintance to romantic partner takes a long, long time of talking, giving gifts and finally offering the red rose of love. Each companion will require specific gifts, which you’ll have to discover by studying them, and the kinds of gifts they like might not be easy to find. Mine required feathers from colored birds, and trust me those took me a long time to hunt down.

Cattails

The bottom line is that Cattails is built for the long-haul; if you’re looking for a quick game with immediate rewards for your time, this ain’t it. This is basically a second life you’re meant to put lots and lots of time into, and just enjoy the relaxation of inhabiting another world for its own sake. I personally found it mostly a lot of fun, and in a very stress-free way. There’s no real “end” to Cattails, and definitely no pressure to win or struggle against a tough challenge, unless you want to. Mind you, there are a few parts where I did feel my time was being wasted a bit – making me travel down 25 levels of a cave just to get a few gems to trade with a mole-merchant is one example that comes to mind.

The Bottom (Fe)Line

There is a kind of narrative to Cattails, involving the Temple at the centre of the map. Again, it is a long and involved process to move the story forward, usually by collecting vast amounts of rare items and animals found in scattered corners of the map. A few of the sea creatures and other exotic animals that I was asked to find seemed to be so rare that I literally never saw one in all of my hunting time – I got the sense that they, too, would only unlock after I put many more hours in. As much as I like the zero-pressure, low-stress style of Cattails, I would have liked the option to move a bit faster in the story. It’s almost as if the developers prefer that you just explore and run around the map, and they try to slow you down any chance they get.

Cattails is a surprisingly-polished and well-made game for a little indie title. The controls are easy to use, the mechanics are solid and the visuals are bright, colorful and cute. Again, it maybe lacks some of the vibrant detail of other open-world sims, and the fighting is a bit too simple. Dialogue with other cats can be fun but more response options could be added. Overall, though, the gameplay experience is an engaging one that will easily take 20-plus hours of your life away if you let it – but hey, you’ve still got eight more. If you love Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, or just cats, you’ll find this game to be a near-purrfect choice.

** A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher **

The post Cattails Review – Star-Mew Valley appeared first on COGconnected.

EA Ireland Director Fired Over Dick Remarks

Did This EA Director Go Too Far?

Philippe Grenet, who was director of global delivery service for Electronic Arts’ Irish office, has been fired for making penis remarks while talking to a female colleague. Grenet is accused of saying he was not “going to pull my dick out and put it on the table… to see who has the bigger dick.”

electronic arts feature

The conversation was reportedly made in a video conversation between Grenet and the colleague in EA’s Austin, Texas office. After the woman filed the complaint, Grenet was dismissed. In High Court, Grenet and his defense counsel said that he used “I don’t want to compare the length of my dick” as a clumsy expression that was meant to mean he “did not want to challenge” the person that he was referring to.

Grenet and his defense counsel also claim that English is not his first language and his words were “twisted out of context.” In addition, they argue that there was no proper investigation into the complaint and no fair procedure prior to his dismissal.

Grenet also says that the colleague was previously not accepted for the job he held and claims that she is motivated by malice.

EA’s counsel said that Grenet admitted wrongdoing and the publisher is within their legal rights.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Is Already This Year’s Best-Selling Video Game on Amazon

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Is Already a Massive Success

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is all but one single day old and while it’s already a massive success receiving a very positive response from critics, it’s also already showing very strong sales numbers. Today it is officially the best-selling item from the video game category to date on Amazon.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Though Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was only released yesterday it has landed itself firmly at the top of Amazon’s annual best-selling charts. Between the combination of pre-orders and the huge day one sales, it’s no wonder this Nintendo exclusive has landed in the top spot as the best-selling item in the video games category for all of 2018. While no sales numbers have been revealed yet, the Amazon website boasts the top selling items within video games right here

By taking the top spot this means that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has outsold every PS4, Xbox One, and Switch console, and accessory, every online card currency or subscription, and every other game this year. This includes some massive titles like GOTY winner God of War (24th), Spider-Man (21st), and Red Dead Redemption 2 (18th). If this success on Amazon is any indication of just how well their latest game will do, Nintendo certainly has a surefire hit on their hands. You can check out the top 10 items below.

1) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

2) $20 PlayStation Store Gift Card (Digital code)

3) $10 PlayStation Store Gift Card (Digital code)

4) PlayStation Plus: 12 Month Membership (Digital code)

5) amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector (Nintendo Switch)

6) $50 PlayStation Store Gift Card (Digital code)

7) $10 Xbox Gift Card (Digital code)

8) $60 PlayStation Store Gift Card (Digital code)

9) Nintendo Switch – Neon Red and Neon Blue Joysticks

10) $25 Xbox Gift Card (Digital code)

super smash bros ultimate hero - sonic and pikachu

It will be interesting to see if Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will end out the year in the top spot, though with Christmas and Boxing Day on the horizon, it’s a strong possibility. Plus, with the recent announcement of Persona 5’s joker being the first DLC character, Nintendo may have roped in some more fans from the Persona franchise. Have you picked up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Are you surprised by this Amazon domination? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to keep it locked for updates. 

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