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  1. I am continuously surprised that people who come on this forum (and hence I assume are quite interested in videogames as a hobby) would come on here and bash a magazine like Edge based on a small discrepancy over a review score. I am currently playing God of War and it is excellent, yet it feels like all of an 8, 9 and 10 are perfectly justifiable reviews based on one's perspective. However my main point is it seems to me that is an overwhelmingly good thing for the industry that Edge exists, as essentially the only serious representation of videogames in print. I am rather proud of Edge as a representation of the medium/industry I enjoy so much, as something that takes seriously the creative power of games and discusses them at the level of any other design or creative medium. I *learn* new things by reading Edge, about the process of designing games, and the challenges that the industry faces, and that for me is fascinating. I don't always agree with everything they say, but on the whole I broadly agree with their perspective, and I think it is great that a kid or parent can walk into somewhere like WHSmith and see the medium reflected in a far more mature way than anywhere else on the internet or in print. They do a fantastic job at supporting an industry we are all fans of, and heavily invested in through finance and time. So bickering over minor disagreements seems rather churlish to me, no matter how vehemently one disagrees with a score (I for one had a lovely time over the years playing the all-star cup on Mario Kart DD).
  2. FalconGR

    EDGE 315

    Since I moved to the US I have become a big fan of the Edge app on my iPhone - that has done a great job of helping me keep up to date. Amusingly the newsagents outside Harvard (I am in Boston) stocks a small selection of international magazines, one of which is Edge. It is typically a couple of issues behind, but there is something rather fun about seeing Edge over here!
  3. FalconGR

    Which is the best Mario Kart game?

    Mario Kart is without doubt my most played gaming series of all time - I must have spent over a 100 hours on most of the entries, which is frankly scary. But I have a twin brother, and there are few finer pleasures in life than a local multiplayer grand prix. This has probably greatly influenced my selections, but I think I have converged on something like the following top 3. 1). Mario Kart 64 - I think the reason this is so divisive ultimately comes down to the fact that in single player grand prix mode, this is pretty awful. Like really bad. In fact I have probably only done each grand prix once or twice on my own (although time trial in this can be excellent). But in local multiplayer the grand prix mode really comes alive. The only other game that comes close to the genius of playing an evenly matched opponent on this is probably Halo 2's multiplayer. I think the key, as has been mentioned above, is the sense of speed in this game that has been lacking in every Mario Kart since. It feels like you really have to push on the edge in order to win at this, and you are constantly trying to just keep hold of your car. Can you fit in an extra power slide around that corner, or are you going to lock your wheels and spin out for pushing too much? It feels like a proper racing game, where mistakes have consequences and can cost you the race. The Star Cup is also perhaps the single greatest set of courses in Mario Kart history: Wario Stadium, Sherbert Land, Royal Raceway, Bowser's Castle. 2). Mario Kart 8 - This really is a fantastic game as everyone has said above, and to be honest I don't have much to add in terms of praise. It is outstanding - good handling, excellent course design and just a sheer delight to play. In single player it is almost a masterpiece, although it is hard not to feel a 175cc mode would be perfect. 150cc is still slightly too slow, and whilst 200 cc is fun, it doesn't feel like the courses were designed to be played at that speed. The DLC is also a fantastic and generous addition. However, at least for me there are a few drawbacks too and these stop in taking that top spot. In particular it is basically just a bit too easy, and the handling, although fun, is pretty forgiving and easy to master. After a relatively short time you get pretty good, after which you can easily beat the computer pretty much every time. In single player this doesn't matter so much, the game becomes essentially a time trial but in stunning courses, and is still incredible. In local multiplayer it is a huge problem. What happens is that both you and your opponent can easily win if you get out in front. Every race then essentially becomes decided by the first corner - whoever can hit their opponent with a weapon first and gets in front will win. They can make serene progress, but the opponent is now back in fourth or fifth for the time being. Inevitably they will be hit by a few weapons before escaping from the pack, and the lead has already become unassailable. A shame, as otherwise this would be a 10 for me. 3). Super Mario Kart - The original and in someways still the best. It certainly has the deepest and most rewarding handling system, where you feel like you are sling-shotting your way around the course and gathering an unstoppable momentum. The huge range in lap-times (it is not uncommon to improve lap times by a factor of 2 as you get quicker throughout the race) make this a great time trial game and almost closer to F-Zero GX in style than some of the other games. The track design is outstanding - Donut Plans 1, Ghost Valley 2 and Bowser's Castle 2 are perhaps the highlights, but the entirety of the first 2 cups is outstanding. The only downside is that I think it is fair to say the courses do become a bit less inspired as the game goes on - the Koopa Beach and especially Vanilla Lake courses are not great. The above three are all absolute classics, and really could be put in any order. And if you mostly played MK64 in single player then clearly it should be far lower down. 4). Mario Kart Super Circuit - At the time this was something of a marvel. It felt incredible to be able to carry around a full Mario Kart on the handheld (compared to something like Mickey's Racing Adventure on the GBC this was a miracle). Also it was a nice touch to allow multiplayer with a single cartridge, and the addition of all the original courses was fantastic. Only really held back nowadays by the fact that it has dated technically quite a bit, and perhaps the new courses were not so inspired as in other games. 5). Mario Kart Double Dash - Obviously a game that has its flaws, but I think it is often underrated. There are certainly far too many weapons, and the central two character mechanic is not particularly good (or even bad). However this contains some of the best course design of the series - Peach Beach, Yoshi's Circuit, DK Mountain, Sherbert Land... basically the whole Star Cup again. It was also a really good time trial game, and the all-star cup ( a grand prix of all the courses ) is something we had a lot of fun playing. 6). Mario Kart 7 - The handling is rather weird at first, but once you are used to it this becomes another really excellent handheld Mario Kart. There isn't much else to say - the new courses are consistently pretty great ( all except for the Wuhu Island ones and the last 3 track in the Special Cup are fun). Absolutely perfect to take on a plane or train to pass the time. 7). Mario Kart DS - Again a very competent/good Mario Kart, but with a couple of well-known problems. Firstly once you realise you can use the powerslide to 'snake' on this game, it rather spoils it. Also, at least on the original DS, if you try and play this for more than half an hour your hands will be in complete agony from the way you have to grip the controller. It's genuinely a problem unfortunately! 8). Mario Kart Wii - Awful. Just terrible. But a lot of people seem to really like it, which is great. There are more than enough more hardcore Mario Kart for me to play, and so widening the appeal isn't a bad thing. But I do think this is one of the worst racing games I have ever played. Also a shout-out to Diddy Kong Racing. Pretty much every Christmas we still get the N64 out and play through this again. It is an absolute pleasure in single player, and the coin collecting really subverts the course design in an original way. Local multiplayer is pretty poor, and made worse by the fact that my brother is insanely good at this game and hence it isn't a lot of fun for me (except the hovercraft courses, which for some reason I am fantastic at). Finally, whilst we are on the subject of racing games, there is a rather fun N64-era racer called SCARS. It is essentially a karting/rally game where you race as animal based robot cars. It is generally considered a pretty average game, but for some reason I am very fond of it. Some of the more interesting game-play ideas, such as underwater levels and two exchangeable weapons have since filtered through to later Mario Karts and so it's worth checking out.
  4. FalconGR

    Nintendo Switch

    It's seemingly impossible to get hold of this in the US - Gamestop are expecting their next delivery some time around Easter, and the only options they have are > $500 bundles. The guy in the shop said they received something like 500,000 stock and this is the most successful console launch they have ever seen. Whilst this sounds great for Nintendo, I can't help but think they could have done with making even more consoles available here. I haven't been able to get one despite trying for months (they were taking pre-orders only for 24 hours and I missed out). Once the Zelda buzz has died down it may be that the interest in the console fades. I am still going to get one eventually because (a) I always end up buying every Nintendo console and (b) I travel a lot for work. But that might not be the typical scenario, and it feels like Nintendo might have missed a trick here.
  5. FalconGR

    The Last Guardian

    I moved to the US in August. I think that today will justify this decision.
  6. FalconGR

    GameAwardsShow 2016 - Replay in 1st post

    The PSN sale for this is really good (at least in the US). I just got Rez Infinite, Life is Strange and Inside for 40 something bucks!
  7. I am getting this for Christmas and I absolutely cannot wait. There is something about Pokemon I just can't resist. Of course it's the nostalgia, but mostly I think it's the way building a little squad of critters and training them up gets you so helplessly involved in the whole process. I have never really got hardcore RPGs based around loot etc - I couldn't care less what my character looks like in a game or what gear he has. But give me a little Charmander to train up into a mighty dragon and I am all in. Going to break with the convention of a life-time for this though and go for the Owl starter. I want the bat as well so it looks like it is the Moon version for me. Admittedly I may be overdoing flying based pokemon, but then on Blue my final squad read Charizard-Ninetails-Rapidash-Rhydon-Onix-Nidoking. Alas I didn't fair so well in the playground, damn water types.
  8. FalconGR

    F-Zero GX

    This is still one of my favourite games ever made (unsurprisingly given my name!). I love racing games and, for me, this is the absolute pinnacle. We had a time trial competition over on the old GamesRadar forums and I remember spending countless hours in my teens practicing. I got pretty good in the end - completing the game on Master difficulty with the Blue Falcon is probably my proudest gaming achievement. The only flaw was that you couldn't do a multiplayer grand prix. But surely modern technology can now handle that and a HD re-release would be a dream come true.
  9. I'm going travelling for a while next month and after all the positive reviews I will definitely be picking this up for the trip. I'm very much looking forward to it - the only Kirby game I've really played is Kirby's Dream Land on the Gameboy. Whilst insanely easy, that was one of the first games I ever bought and so I have very fond memories of it. Oh and I forgot about Kirby's Block Ball. Now that was pretty good too.
  10. FalconGR

    E3 Nintendo - Finished

    Although it's a shame not to hear about NX, I'm actually quite looking forward to this. I will probably end up buying all of Zelda, Pokemon and Dragon Quest and so am interested to see how they are looking. It'll be better that last year at least where they just showed tonnes of average games. At least the quality should be there this time around.
  11. FalconGR

    DOOM - Rip and Tear... Anywhere

    Bought this the other day and have just finished off the first three levels. My overriding impression is that this is an entire game based around the shotgun-melee combo that was ubiquitous in Halo 2. That's obviously a really good thing.
  12. FalconGR

    DOOM - Rip and Tear... Anywhere

    Can I play this straight out the box or is it necessary to download stuff first? Given all the positive reviews here I'm tempted to pick this up today, but am currently without internet access for my PS4.
  13. FalconGR

    Dark Souls 3

    Having finished this I felt decidedly empty and have set out to rectify this by playing through Super Metroid (shamefully for the first time). My brother has been banging on about how if I like Dark Souls I should really be playing that, and he is doubtless correct. It's striking how similar the games are - they both instil this great urge to explore every aspect of their environments. I just completed my first proper expedition into Norfair and was amazed to end up half an hour later right back at a previous bonfire (sorry save point). Next having discovered the speed-booster I was able to unlock a short-cut back to an earlier section. Imagine if NX were to launch with a From directed Metroid reboot? I can but dream.
  14. FalconGR

    Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

    This. With present tense being the best one.
  15. FalconGR

    Dark Souls 3

    I'm another one who has just finished. Overall it's a wonderful game, but I do understand some of the criticisms from those whose have played other games in the series. For instance even though I'm a relative newcomer, the level design is starting to feel a bit predictable. Having played this and Bloodborne it's certainly true that one can start to second guess how areas interact, and the thrill I had in connecting the short-cuts in Central and Old Yharnam never quite materialised in the same way here (CotD/ID are exceptions, as other have said). Nevertheless, I can't really see how a game with HWoL/US/CoTD/IotBV/ID/AP can be considered anything other than brilliant - even if the bonfire design is not so complex each of these areas was incredibly distinctive and will live long in my memory. On the other hand I felt the final section (LC) was slightly underwhelming and didn't feel like one of the better designed areas. I think the peak of the game for me came around IotBV/ID and after that it became perhaps too boss heavy for my liking. I think I said in the BB thread that for me the motivation to get past a difficult boss comes from wanting to explore the next area. As a result, it becomes a bit more of a chore when I know that the only thing waiting for me is two more boss fights that may or may not prove a roadblock to my progress. Admittedly none of these bosses are too hard, but I did find myself taking at least 10-15 attempts on several bosses towards the end (ADoG, DoTBV, DA, LEP). Whilst I think this level of difficulty in entirely appropriate for one boss, when it's three in a row I think it throws the pacing of the game off a bit - it can be 4 or 5 hours in which only 10 minutes qualify as `success'. Another point that occurred to me is that I found myself at times grasping for a change of tone. I've never been a big fan of the side-quests or the mini-games in the Zelda series, and have always played those games primarily for the dungeons. However, playing Dark Souls has really emphasised to me that those features are quite important in providing some warmth and colour amidst your epic quest. I think some people have mentioned here a sense of ennui, and I sort of felt that towards the end of the game. There was a sense of I've explored X areas and defeated Y bosses - what's the point in exploring X+1 areas and defeating Y+1 bosses? I think that's related to the fact that the game is so relentless - at no point is it possible to really take a break, so to speak. Mini games and colourful NPCs wouldn't be appropriate in a game like this, but perhaps something to provide a bit more variety might have been nice. Anyway, whilst this all sounds negative this is only because I'm comparing these games with the very best of all-time (Zeldas, Marios, Resi 4, Halo, Team Ico etc). The core mechanics of this series are shear genius, and certainly they are the games I've enjoyed playing most since Mario Galaxy. One final question then is would people recommend playing Dark Souls after this (maybe after a break!)? Or will playing this first have ruined various aspects of the original for me (both in terms of it being a next-gen version and the connections between the games).

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