On Zed Games this week we lock it down, Cage style. Firstly chatting this weeks gaming news brought to us by Maylee, then taking the zen moment with a parrot in Zahra’s review of Bird Alone, and lastly a going toe to toe in a discussion on the PlayStation Showcase and locking down Q!
Zelda Tumbles, Amazon Doubles Down, & Activision-Blizzard Again?
More in Activision-Blizzard-Microsoft News
The EU Commission into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard has been approved after an extensive investigation. Microsoft has agreed to provide free licenses for the next 10 years to cloud streaming services allowing residents in the European Economic Area to stream Activision-Blizzard games on any cloud platform, addressing the competition concerns identified by the Commission. However, the merger still faces challenges with the FTC filing in the US and continues to be blocked pending appeal in the UK. 1-4
In other Activision Blizzard News, the company has abandoned its original plans for Overwatch 2’s separate co-op PvE mode… a major selling point that got players to move somewhat objective free from Overwatch 1 to 2. Now the game will incorporate co-op gameplay and experiences into the live-service model, disappointing fans who had been eagerly anticipating the depth and progression of the original vision.5-7 These views have been best summarised by user Uchihagod53,
“The f**k was the point of [Overwatch 2] then?”
Zelda: The Good, Bad and … ooo look at the pretty colours…
Fans have been disappointed at the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, with a player finishing the game in just over an hour and a half (speed runner gymnast86),8 the inability to pet dogs,9 and lack of unlimited bombs.10
Despite this, Tears of the Kingdom has received overwhelmingly positive reviews with around 97 on Metacritic and OpenCritic, making it the highest-rated game of 2023 and the highest-rated Switch game to date. The critical success of Tears of the Kingdom has made it the biggest Zelda game launch in the UK and is expected to be one of the biggest and best-selling games of the year worldwide.11, 12 Players can also look forward to more in the future with Eiji Aonuma (the series manager and producer of Tears of the Kingdom) stating that future Zelda series games will continue to embrace the open-world format introduced in Breath of the Wild. Aonuma compares this shift to how Ocarina of Time established a format for subsequent Zelda games in the late 90s.13
Amazon Doubles Down on Lord of the Rings MMO
After talks broke down between Tencent and Amazon in 2021, Amazon decided to abandon their stake in a Lord of the Rings MMORPG.14 However, the rights for the franchise recently reverted to Middle-Earth Enterprises leading to new discussions with Amazon and the eventual partnership between Amazon’s New World team and the Embracer Group. The game is currently being pitched as an MMO separate from the Lord of the Rings projects, rather aiming for gameplay experiences over faithful adaptation with an over 10-year lifespan.15-17
However Lord of the Rings Online fans are not worried about this game taking over the franchise even in the face of potential server shutdowns and resource allocation, instead pointing to the lacklustre performance of Amazon’s MMO New World.18
And Here’s Some Tasty Gaming Bytes
- You can finally 100% The Burning Shores DLC of Horizon Forbidden West, now that they’ve added the ONE Brimshine Sliver so that you can finally buy and upgrade everything.19
- In a new acquisition to the gaming community Sea Lions have become gamers, with US Navy’s Spike traversing mazes WITHOUT fishy bribery and showing delight when winning games.20
- And finally the relaxing, co-op-able game Powerwash Simulator has hit 7 million users,21, 22 making us ask the question,
“Why meditate when you can simulate?”
And now for some upcoming games.
On Friday 19th, build your own racer in Lego 2K Drive coming to everything.
Monday May 22nd, multiplayer tactical roguelike Inkbound comes to PC.
Tuesday May 23rd, save the post-apocalyptic world in the tactical RPG in Miasma Chronicles or save it as a platforming pixie preservationist in After Us, both coming to PC and Next Gen Consoles. Or lighten up with a cartoonish platform shooter Glitch Busters: Stuck on You coming to PC, PS4 and Switch. Explore the hand-painted puzzle platformer Planet of Lana coming to PC and Xbox. Hit the nostalgia nerve with Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! on the Switch. And Star Trek: Resurgence is coming to PC, PlayStation and Xbox.
And next week on Thursday May 25th, the sequel to Do Not Feed the Monkeys, Do Not Feed the Monkeys 2099 is coming to PC and Switch. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. And lastly Tennis Manager 2023 is coming to PC.
Mainlining Zelda Zelda
Vampire BBQ, Soccer Scans, and Other Vampire and Sport News
Fire Up The BBQ!
Redfall, the co-op first person shooter that has you fighting off legions of vampires, has teamed up with Smokey Q, an Australian business that specialises in all things BBQ seasoning, to bring the ‘Bite Back Spice Rub’, a unique blend of spices and seasonings to celebrate the game’s release.
The spice rub is supposed to capture the taste of slain vampires, with ingredients such as charcoal powder for added smoke, paprika, and a touch of heat from chipotle. It is gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
The founder of Smokey Q, Paul Lange, described the challenge of making vampire ash sound delicious as exciting, so if you have a very specific craving, it may be worth checking out. In addition, all net proceeds will be going towards Cure Cancer’s blood cancer research. Very appropriate!
In more vampire news, Vampire Survivors, a game that is heavily influenced by the choices you make, has an animated show on the way! The studio will be teaming up with Story Kitchen, who has members that have worked on John Wick, and the Sonic movies.
The studio has said “… the most important thing in Vampire Survivors has always been the story, so we are very excited for this and we hope you are too! It’s still early days for the show, but I can already say that we will be involved so that we can ensure it doesn’t have any vampires (probably)… This won’t affect game development in any way.”
FIFA’s Iffy Body Scans
Sydney Leroux, an olympic gold medalist, and a member of the United States women’s national soccer team, isn’t thrilled with her character’s appearance in the newest FIFA release.
She’s not alone, in that many other footballers are criticising their characters’ appearance in FIFA ‘23.
“Please tell me I did not do an entire body scan for that…” Leroux tweeted, before looking back at FIFA ‘16 where her appearance was significantly more accurate. “They had the headband, the braid, the neck tattoo, the overly plucked brows… deflate my boobs a bit and put a different jersey on. I’ll keep the brows at this point.”
Introducing to the Court of Duty…
Rumor has it that Kevin Durant, NBA champion and a former MVP, will be slam-dunking into the operators lineup for Warzone 2 and Modern Warfare. The official Call of Duty twitter posted a little clip showing an operator parachuting down, mid-dunk, with ‘Easy Money Sniper’ spray painted on the side of a building in the image, notable for being Kevin Durant’s Instagram handle.
Nothing is confirmed yet, but internet sleuths have dissected the few details and the profile of the operator, and it would hardly be the first time an NBA crossover happened.
And now for some upcoming games!
- Jected – Rivals (PC)
- Mia and the Dragon Princess (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Propagation: Paradise Hotel (PC VR, Quest)
- Space Gladiators (PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Duru – About Mole Rats and Depression (PC)
- Hometopia (PC)
- These Doomed Isles: The First God (PC)
- Another Fisherman’s Tale (PC VR, PSVR 2, Quest 2)
- TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 3 (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch)
That’s it this week in gaming news!
Everything’s Better With a Kazoo
Choo Choo Mudder Licker
Join us in the dining cart as Zed Games’s Hazel and Caroline punch your ticket to 4zzz’s April Atonement and THE Zed Games x Netherworld Video Games Trivia Night~!
So stow your luggage, and take your seat as the team joins you on Zahra’s train themed express, reviewing Blocks Tracks Trains & Tiny Rails!
Kiss, Marry, TRIVIA!
Time for some Kiss, Marry, TRIVIA! this week on Zed Games
This week Zahra leads the charge pulling in Cameron, Maylee, and Tom from Netherworld to talk Trivia, play a couple of rounds of Kiss Marry Kill gaming style, and chat this week in gaming news.
Click the play button to listen in, or find us at any reputable podcast deli in the freezer section.
Emulators, E3 Bender Style, & CashCom.
Emulators & Mods Under Fire
Easter weekend has been an interesting time for emulator enthusiasts, mod makers and enjoyers alike.
This weekend saw the quiet removal of Universal Windows Platform apps, UAP’s, utilised by Xbox Series S|X owners to run emulators for older PlayStation 2 and GameCube titles1. Those users are now facing an error code stating that they are running software that “violate[s] Microsoft Store policy.” This continues the crackdown started in mid-2022 after UWP’s were removed from the storefront. However, those with developer mode active are still able to run this software, skirting the issue.
In more mod news, YouTuber PointCrow, a Nintendo speed racer and content creator, has released the mod he offered a $10,000 bounty for in late 2021. The mod to make Zelda: Breath of the Wild multiplayer.
While the mod is still available and works through the emulator Cemo, Nintendo has copyright striked every single video where the mod is featured or utilised. So if you and up to 31 friends want to run around Hyrule together, you now can (with limitations).2
Lastly in modding news, are you a Half-Life fan, but can’t run a virtual reality headset? Well, now you too can jump into the world of Half-Life Alyx. While the mod has been available for a while, the creators are finally confident enough that you can play the game from start to finish to tag a 1.0 on the release. So, grab your gravity gloves with your mouse and keyboard and get at em!3
E3 is Dead! Long live everybody doing their own thing
So while E3 cited developer disinterest for the gathering, there’s been a remarkable turnout of developers running their own shows.
Xbox has announced they will be platforming an Xbox Games Showcase & Starfield Direct on June 11, 10-12 Pacific time. Yep, that’s two whole hours of nothing but Xbox games; however, it’s rumoured that at least 30 minutes of that could be dedicated to Bethesda’s new IP Starfield.4
Nintendo is pulling out all the stops, with the first convention outside of Japan coming to Seattle in September. Nintendo Live 2023 is promising live stage performances, tournaments, photo ops, and “…a new way to experience the games and worlds of Nintendo…”. With similar shows in Japan sporting live concerts including holographic performances of Splatoon 2 and KK Slider, this could be one worth keeping an eye on.5
Lastly, QuakeCon 2023 is returning to FPS, and by that I mean first person suitable… as in it’s their first in-person even since before … since 2019. This is a fan favourite BYOC event (bring your own computer) with gaming, esports, and meetups. Think huge LAN party and you’ve got the right idea. Wish I could go.6
Capcom Continues Charging for Nostalgia.
The recently released remake by Capcom of Resident Evil 4, came out of the gate with flying colours with a Metacritic score of 93 and the promise of a free update/DLC in the works. Well, this dropped with The Mercenaries Mode and a sprinkle of microtransactions that Capcom have been seasoning into recent Resident Evil releases. This monetisation of nostalgia fast tracks weapon-exclusive upgrades allowing you to max out weapons faster. While still available in base games, the grind requires you to level all the item’s stats as well as in-game currency to purchase the upgrade. Or shell out near 5 bucks for ONE weapon’s upgrade.7
And now for the Upcoming Game Releases
Friday April 14th, explore the afterlife in De-Exit, a voxel puzzle, platformer coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. Ultra Pixel Survive, a mobile game trying to take the microtransactions OUT of the pixel adventure genre, coming to Playstation, Xbox, and the Switch. And Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection coming to PC, PS4, and the Switch.
Monday April 17, float around in this roguelike twin stick shooter in Beyond the Long Night, or suffer the night in the first-person horror game Suffer the Night. Both coming to PC.
Tuesday April 18, delve into the tactical roguelike Desktop Dungeons: Rewind coming to PC. Put on your boxing gloves and dance shoes to get your beat on in the rhythm-based fighter God of Rock, race with your favourite Disney or Pixar character in Disney Speedstorm, or you could play Minecraft Legends. All coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and the Switch.
Wednesday 19th, Final Fantasy 1-6 Pixel Remasters and its Collection coming to PS4 and the Switch. Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores DLC coming to PS5, and become a shipwrecked conquistador in Survival: Fountain of Youth, coming to PC.
And finally on Thursday April 20th, go insane in the Lovecraftian co-op Eresys coming to PC, go kill things with a witty companion in Stray Blade coming to PC and next gen consoles, or get your lemmings… I mean tin soldiers in line in Tin Hearts, coming to Switch.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie – Review
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the latest addition to the ‘video game movies can be good’ evidence pile.
Produced by Chris Meledandri and Shigeru Miyamoto (basically Mario’s dad), and the awesome talents of Illumination, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has the bros themselves, Mario and Luigi, sucked into the magical world of warp pipes, mushroom people, and power-up blocks. Unfortunately, Bowser is set to destroy everything, find love, and reign supreme.
As we settled in the cinema surrounded by kids, big and small, we were immediately hit with a wave of nostalgia as the titular characters appeared on the big screen, looking much more appealing and familiar than their last foray onto the big screen. Animation-wise everything looked gorgeous, with the video game characters requiring only a few tweaks to maximise their characterisation and expressiveness. Coupled with Illumination’s team, the world of the Mushroom Kingdom took on a kind of beauty never really expressed in the games.
The musical score was an auditory delight, with familiar themes making an appearance constantly, as well as the additions of a few rock and love ballads. We were especially thrilled to hear the ‘DK Rap’ at the appropriate moment.
Turning game logic into movie logic is a challenging thing, and incorporating familiar mechanics into the movie world, and the powerups, was an experience all on its own. It was a lot of fun to see a powerup block, to see what the powerup was, and then to witness how that powerup would be used was hysterical. That wasn’t the only example of how the movie translated video game mechanics into the world, with my favourite mechanic being a Mario Kart mechanic, where you’re required to build your kart. The addition of this mechanic was clever and overall just a lot of fun, adding a lot of character to the setting, and being a familiar call-back.
And that was a common theme. As adults who grew up with these games, it was a joy to spot various references and additions, nudge each other, and meet each other’s grins as our inner child fed on the nostalgia. And for the kids who also grew up with these games, just perhaps with more pixels, it was a satisfying movie, with thoughtful nods and delights for them. Really, I don’t think anyone left the cinema without feeling a bit like a kid, in the best way possible.
I’m not sure if it’s a very rewatchable movie for the adults, but it was a lot of fun to watch through for the first time. For the kids, easily something I’d rewatch a couple of times. There were scenes that had me laughing, cheering for our heroes, appreciating the references, or even needing a tissue for (sue me, I’m a sap).
It’s a fun movie, a beautiful movie, and definitely a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours. Everyone’s performance was lovely, especially Bowser’s, the music was a treat, and we all left the cinema feeling that urge to boot up the Nintendo64, Switch, or NintendoDS and continue the nostalgia trip.
Zed Games were provided movie tickets.