Opinion: Battlefield 1’s Single Player Is the Right Way to Tell War Stories

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How a US publisher and a Swedish developer handled a sacrosanct Australian story.

November 11, which actually rolled around late last week, was Armistice Day. In 2016 it marked 98 years since the signing of the armistice which ended the First World War. It famously came into effect at 11am in Paris on November 11, 1918; the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It’s well-known history, and November 11 is commemorated in a host of countries around the globe. In the US November 11 is Veterans Day, a federal holiday acknowledging those who have served in the US military. In the UK Armistice Day is commemorated on the nearest Sunday as Remembrance Sunday and is marked with a national service and a march at The Cenotaph in Whitehall. In Canada November 11 is Remembrance Day and is a federal statutory holiday in six of its 10 provinces.

November 11 is recognised in Australia, too, but its commemoration is much more modest. It’s not a public holiday and the nation doesn’t grind to a solemn halt. For that we have Anzac Day on April 25, which we share with New Zealand.

For those overseas unfamiliar with it, Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, originally to honour soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire in 1915. It now commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in war and on operational service.

The story of the ANZACs at Gallipoli is, for better or worse, a fascinating part of the Australian identity. But while you can’t get through kindergarten here without becoming well-versed in ANZAC facts, myths, and everything in between, it’s not something I expected an American video game publisher and Swedish video game developer to even be aware of.

It turns out I wasn’t giving either of them quite enough credit.

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When EA confirmed its Battlefield series would be using the First World War as the backdrop for its 2016 instalment I absently wondered whether Australia might get a nod in the game, in some capacity. But it’s not something I ultimately gave much thought to. Sure, we can get the Socceroos and the Matildas in FIFA but, if EA can’t see fit to squeeze a single antipodean automobile into Need for Speed these days, what hope did we really have of a cameo in Battlefield 1?

Then, in the lead up to the game’s release, it was revealed that one of the segments of Battlefield 1’s fragmented, anthology-style single-player mode would indeed be set at Gallipoli and feature a story based on the ANZAC campaign. It’s called The Runner.

Battlefield 1 now had a hook I felt I couldn’t pass up.

Suddenly I was extremely interested. Competitive multiplayer shooters just aren’t my bag in the slightest, but Battlefield 1 now had a hook I felt I couldn’t pass up.

Yet I remained cautious. How would DICE handle it? It’s probably no coincidence DICE chose to tell a story about a pair of ANZAC runners considering the 1981 Australian war drama Gallipoli (directed by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson) was about a pair of runners, and is probably the most noteworthy attention the ANZAC story has had at an international level.

But could DICE tackle their own take with the required reverence? Because as chilled as we are for a nation where our spiders eat our snakes, there really isn’t any room for error when it comes to Anzac Day. Even the word ‘Anzac’ is so heavily protected that if you put the word ‘cookie’ after it (instead of ‘biscuit’ or ‘slice’) the government will eat you.

Opinion: Battlefield 1’s Single Player Is the Right Way to Tell War Stories

There is no such thing as an Anzac cookie.

DICE, despite my apprehension, did a good job. Yes, the tale itself is a brief one in the scheme of the whole Battlefield 1 package. Yes, the moment to moment gameplay is polished and engaging but not especially memorable. And yes, at times it’s a ridiculous hodgepodge of anachronistic weapons and entirely unrealistic scenarios. What DICE did, however, is nail the little things.

First and foremost, DICE cast someone who could deliver a convincing performance with Australian television actor Peter O’Brien. To rely instead on a fudged Australian accent would’ve been a disastrous miscalculation on DICE’s part. At the very least we should be thankful the responsibility of casting grizzled ANZAC runner Frederick Bishop wasn’t left to the producers of Skylanders Academy.

Just as importantly, however, the script seemed to hit all the right notes. A casual jibe at the Kiwis. A resigned dig at the Poms. Swearing in every second sentence. At some points DICE dialled the down under-ness up to 11, and still I never really found myself cringing. At least, not at the dialogue (giving the Turks flamethrowers was pushing it; I don’t remember those from history class).

Opinion: Battlefield 1’s Single Player Is the Right Way to Tell War Stories

“You’re not a Kiwi, are you?”

Now, there have been some very valid concerns raised regarding Anzac Day in Australia over the years, particularly regarding the danger of it being trivialised by commercial opportunists looking for a quick buck or by public officials looking to drum up some superficial support. The risk of turning what’s supposed to be a very sober reflection on a century of horrible, horrible sacrifice into a wild national party seems to grow greater every year, too. There’s also a distinct difference between earnest observation and excessive glorification and Australian supermarket chains, newspaper publishers, and politicians alike usually aren’t great at understanding the difference.

There is, however, no denying its importance to many Australians. 2015 marked 100 years since the Gallipoli landings and it was the first year I would take my own young children to a dawn service, which are held all over the country every Anzac Day. It’s only six kilometres to the usual site of the nearest service from my house on the semi-rural fringe of Sydney. We hit stationary traffic after just a single kilometre. It was eerie; like trying to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night only to find your entire family and several of your neighbours lined up at the door already.

Ahead of us was a line of taillights stretching all the way off into the darkness and, to our rear, headlights crawled slowly down the hill behind us to join the queue. I’ve never seen as many cars on the road in my town as I did that morning, ever, at any time of day, or any time of year. It’s a sight I’ll actually never forget. Hundreds and hundreds of people – thousands, probably – had taken to the street to begin their day off in a dark, cold, muddy paddock to remember, amongst other things, a horrible, unsuccessful military operation that has come to mean a great deal to Australia’s national identity.

Opinion: Battlefield 1’s Single Player Is the Right Way to Tell War Stories

Some things haven’t changed in 100 years.

In a decent final touch as The Runner concludes DICE has been careful to highlight soldiers from both sides of the Gallipoli campaign, recognising not only the Australians and New Zealanders, but also the Turks. Despite the fact that the latter were largely faceless for the duration of the three missions themselves, DICE highlights that from the battle emerged the leaders that would go on to spearhead the Turkish War of Independence and found the Republic of Turkey.

Now, certainly some Australians already have a tendency to forget that soldiers from New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, France, India, and Newfoundland also participated in the Battle of Gallipoli, and the slightly romantic narrative of standing fast against the might of the Commonwealth and France on the part of Turkey is a nice diversion from the grim reality of the Armenian Genocide (which began just a day before the Gallipoli invasion and saw an estimated 1.5 million Armenians – men, women, and children – exterminated by the Ottoman government). The Runner’s lens is narrow, and the closing text doesn’t examine these points, but I still believe what DICE did include was ultimately well-intentioned.

In fact, despite regular, hefty doses of artistic license I believe most of what DICE has attempted with Battlefield 1’s solo campaign is well-intentioned. The diversity of the stories it tells alone seems to indicate a real desire to illustrate the depressing breadth of the First World War and the broad group of nations and peoples that found themselves tossed into the fray. I’m actually surprised at how discordant it all seems with the multiplayer, really (which unsurprisingly just turns WWI combat into a sporting contest). It’s also a shame EA’s social media muppets temporarily undermined DICE’s work here with a hopelessly asinine and insensitive Twitter campaign that the publisher was forced to quickly yank. If you missed them they were a series of unfunny memes that trivialised WWI and were especially out-of-sync with Battlefield 1’s bloody, destructive, and deadly opening.

Opinion: Battlefield 1’s Single Player Is the Right Way to Tell War Stories

Though there are a few moments of levity sprinkled throughout The Runner.

I hope the positive reception for Battlefield 1 encourages more developers to seek inspiration from the past when creating historical action games. For mine, something like Call of Duty is definitely due for it; particularly considering the segmented, multi-national approach is something the series embraced wholeheartedly in the original WWII-based instalments. My favourite Call of Duty games by far are the ones peppered with historical set-pieces, like the assault on Pointe du Hoc, or the defence of Pavlov’s House during the Battle of Stalingrad, or the capture of Pegasus Bridge in the early hours of D-Day. Infinity Ward didn’t invest in tying them all together; the stories just stood alone. DICE has approached Battlefield 1 the same way.

It was nice to see a slouch hat in a AAA shooter.

I can’t say I really mind where the stories come from – the Call of Duty examples above feature heroics from Americans, Russians, and Brits. I just want more of them.

That said, I do remain impressed that DICE and EA chose to prioritise a story I’m intimately familiar with as one of Battlefield 1’s single-player vignettes. I won’t lie; it was nice to see a slouch hat in a AAA shooter.

Now, if only someone could explain to the Need for Speed team what a bloody ute is.

Luke is Games Editor at IGN’s Sydney office. You can find him on Twitter @MrLukeReilly.

Final Fantasy XV Review

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Final Fantasy XV’s four heroes are the beating heart of the experience.

Final Fantasy XV opens, quite fittingly, with a splash screen that reads: “A Final Fantasy for fans and first-timers.” Having played every numbered entry since the first, I can see both reverence for the old and a courtship of the new in this latest chapter. I’d like to say it’s an elegant fusion of the two, but in reality it’s more of a duality – a conflict that reaches into nearly every aspect of Final Fantasy XV. In the end, its beauty, charm, and commitment to the bond between its four protagonists keep it glued together, even when some of its design and story elements threaten to pull it apart.

Prince Noctis and fellow travelers Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto aren’t a loosely assembled band of strangers uniting to face evil, like in so many other roleplaying games – they are close, long-time friends, and it’s this closeness that gives Final Fantasy XV’s often incoherent story all the heart it has. While the danger that befalls the land of Lucis never truly materializes until the end of the tale and the would-be romantic element of the story never gets more than a handful of weepy, insubstantial cutscenes, the mutual respect, understanding, and kinship of these four is fleshed out and reinforced beautifully whether in combat, on the road, or everywhere in between.

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Fully real-time combat is the single biggest departure from the turn-based systems of the past, and while it doesn’t feel like the other main-line Final Fantasy games in any regard, the way it makes you and your three AI-controlled compatriots feel like a cohesive fighting unit kept it mostly enjoyable for me. Well-placed flanking strikes are rewarded with big damage and slickly animated team-up attacks, and commanding one of your buds to use one of their stylish-looking special attacks at just the right moment can be a literal blast. Especially here, the banter flies as they cheer each other on and pick one another up when they fall. They turn monster-slaying into family bonding time, and I love it.

Brothers in Arms

It certainly doesn’t hurt that they’re all exceedingly competent in battle. Assuming you keep their gear up to date and you aren’t poking things too many levels above you with a pointy stick, they’ll generally notch almost as many kills as you will, which is great when taking on medium- to large-sized groups. They switch between whatever spells and weapons they have equipped fairly intelligently, and even swoop in to get you on your feet if you’re incapacitated. Though Noctis is more well-rounded statistically (and can wield any weapon type), his three wards feel more or less like his equals. That their usefulness makes battles look like Avengers-style swirling melees isn’t the only upshot, either; it also makes them feel vital, further reinforcing the themes of closeness and brotherhood that make up the backbone of the story.

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While the visual and thematic payoffs are big, the actual mechanics of battle are sadly quite thin. Holding circle performs a continuous combo string on whatever is closest, and holding square allows you to dodge or block nearly all attacks from any direction as long as your mana holds out. This can turn combat into a fairly passive experience at times, though Noctis’ teleportation abilities do make things slightly more interesting. Warping up to a distant cliffside to catch your breath and then blindsiding your target with a huge warp strike that sends them tumbling to the ground certainly looks and feels great, as do the wide array of cool-looking parry animations for countering specific enemy attacks.

Battles look like Avengers-style swirling melees.

But such cliffsides are always expressly designated and marked with a nice shiny icon as a place for you to do exactly that, and parrying those attacks is a simple matter of following big flashing button prompts with extremely generous timing windows on them. In this way, Final Fantasy XV regularly packages and serves you these impressive-looking combat moments rather than having you truly earn them dynamically, which kept me from ever really feeling like Noctis’ power was my own.

It’s not so strange for melee combat to be straightforward in a Final Fantasy game, where tactical variety typically comes in the form of a diverse set of magical abilities and/or Summon spells. However, it’s in these categories where Final Fantasy XV’s combat is weakest, largely because of all of the limitations placed on their use.

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Spells are both tied to a cooldown period and are limited-use consumables that need to be replenished by absorbing elemental energy from designated deposits and enemies – not completely unlike the much-maligned Draw system of Final Fantasy VIII. Even worse, spell variety is downright anemic, with only the most basic black magic stalwarts of Fire, Ice, and Thunder (and their second and third rank equivalents) making the cut. An odd spellcrafting system allows you to make small tweaks, like a fire spell that heals the caster, or an ice spell that poisons the target, but such effects are usually secondary and comparatively limited in magnitude. Fortunately, what magic lacks in variety, it generally makes up in overall usefulness thanks to the devastating amounts of damage it’s capable of dealing.

What magic lacks in variety, it generally makes up in overall usefulness.

Speaking of mass devastation, it wouldn’t be a Final Fantasy without Summon spells, and Final Fantasy XV’s are positively spectacular-looking. These are traditionally the biggest guns in your arsenal, and it’s no different here. I have yet to see a fight that a Summon can’t end in jaw-dropping fashion, but disappointingly, that’s only happened a mere handful of times for me. You won’t acquire your first Summon until deep into the 40-hour journey, and even once you do, you cannot call them in at will. Even after playing all the way through and getting some hints from Square Enix on how to trigger them, the exact method still eludes me. The secret seems to be a random mix of how badly hurt my party is, how badly hurt my enemies are, and how long I’ve been fighting for. This unpredictable nature kept them from adding any extra element of tactical choice to the action, but the upside is that every time I got to call one in it felt special and rare.

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This minimized role of magic hurts, though, seeing as how the melee elements don’t provide a lot of interesting decisions to make or techniques to master, unless you count wrestling with the occassionally unruly camera. Especially in enclosed spaces, and even during some climactic boss fights, the camera becomes your biggest enemy, sometimes completely obscuring the action from you, which can be frustrating. That all said though, the promise of gorging my retinas on more eye candy and watching these four bond ‘n’ battle like better-dressed versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kept me looking forward to my next scrap.

The Open Road

The open world of Lucis is huge, and its towering geographic features and sweeping, wide-open plains give it a rare sense of scale. Though exploring it was easily my favorite part of Final Fantasy XV, the logistics of getting around take some getting used to at first. There’s actually a fair bit to learn if you want to travel safely and efficiently. Time is constantly flowing, and traveling at night, even by car, is dangerous. You’ll need to think about keeping your ride fueled up, paying for chocobo rentals for long off-road trips where your car can’t go, where to spend the night, and even what to eat. Though initially inconvenient, these extra steps do make the simple act of getting from point A to B feel like an actual trip. There are fast-travel options between previously explored points, but generally you have to actually make each journey at least once. This deliberate, regimented structure really drew me into the world, and also gave the relationships between the characters time to develop in innumerable little ways.

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I know Ignis’ favorite brand of coffee and why he doesn’t mind doing all the driving and cooking. I know Gladiolus’ favorite food and that despite his gruff, aggressive demeanor, he likes to pull out a book and quietly read during long drives. I can tell you for sure that Prompto hates bugs but loves chocobos, which he sometimes sings about for no apparent reason at all. These details aren’t connected to events in the plot, either; just observations I’ve made from hours of car rides, long walks, and meals shared. I can’t remember the last group of video game characters I could speak about with this level of familiarity, and it’s because Final Fantasy XV turns every aspect of this travel routine into an opportunity to showcase their personalities.

I can’t remember the last group of video game characters I could speak about with this level of familiarity.

But there’s more than just bromance on the open road. There are tons of side missions to participate in, including plenty that have a higher level requirement than the final leg of the main story (which means you’ll have plenty to do post-game). The search for some optional weapons for Noctis led to hidden dungeons and some of the best boss fights, though some of the higher-level hunting missions feature baddies that give even those bosses a run for their money. If all the traveling and fighting is getting to be too much you can just do some chocobo races, bet on monster fights at the arena, or (my favorite) fish the day away in pursuit of the perfect catch. It’s all a little spread out, but between the banter, the vistas, the combat, and the side activities, I was always engaged in one way or another.

It’s just a shame that the story more or less washes its hands of the open world for most of its second half. You can return to it pretty much whenever you’d like to, but narratively, it’s dropped in favor of a series of one-off areas that are extremely linear and generally less interesting than what I’d been doing in the first half. One particularly painful section temporarily strips Noctis of his friends, his powers, and his gear, forcing him down narrow corridor after narrow corridor for almost two hours.

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Here especially, Final Fantasy XV feels like two different games: one for seasoned adventurers with wanderlust in their heart, and another for people who want tight levels and scripted action scenes. Sure, I could have gone back to the open world to take a breather when I needed to, but I don’t want to have to choose between advancing the story and having fun – but a decision that Final Fantasy XV’s back third had me constantly making.

That isn’t to say it’s all downhill once Lucis is in your rear-view though. One chapter is spent in a stunning city at sea, featuring a full, Venice-like gondola system and some truly breathtaking views. Another had Noctis warping in mid-air from dropship to dropship in an attempt to repel an Imperial onslaught, and the final hours of the journey brought more than one memorable boss fight as well as a great emotional payoff for Noctis and friends. While some parts of Final Fantasy XV’s procession of linear experiences are infuriating, many of them are memorable in their own right. I just wish I hadn’t been pulled away from the open world to experience them.

All the Small Things

There are so many things, both big and small, that give this series its own distinct flavor, and for all the ways that Final Fantasy XV diverges from the established ideas of its numbered predecessors, it also pays loving homage to its lineage – and it does so with alluring warmth and panache.

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Part of this can certainly be chalked up to the generous dollops of fan service Square Enix has spooned over the entire experience. You can collect and listen to the soundtracks of every Final Fantasy ever, 16-bit portraits of your party members raise their hands in approval as you browse the wares in a weapon shop, and Prompto sometimes belts out an acapella version of the old Final Fantasy victory music like a 10-year-old singing along to his favorite musical. There are oddly expensive curios hidden away in select item shops that you just know are going to be part of some silly hidden quest, and of course there are fully fleshed-out mini-games that you can lose hours to before you know it. It’s all just so quintessentially Final Fantasy-esque – you know, there’s always a Cid, there’s always crystal, and all of that.

There is always a Cid, there is always a crystal.

But Final Fantasy XV’s charm comes in plenty of flavors besides nostalgia too. Its various well-realized cities range from sleepy coastal factory towns to opulent Euro-chic metropoli, and they’re flush with back alleys, street vendors, locals buzzing about how their wife just got a promotion, and tourists fawning over the delicious local fare. The many rest stops and outposts in between smack oddly of 1950s middle-Americana, complete with family-style chain diners that serve exactly the kind of food you’d expect, and family-owned motels of questionable health standards.

All of this stands in stark contrast to the high/techno-fantasy motifs that modern Final Fantasy games are known for, a look represented here mostly through the brief glimpses we get of the capital cities of the story’s two warring factions. Little slices of it intermingle with the pervasive rustic trappings, though. Sleek, menacing Imperial dropships look practically alien as they cast their shadows across abandoned ramshackle farmhouses, and your car, aptly named the Regalia, is a stark symbol of the relative privilege and power Noctis is a product of. Though the story never leverages these visual themes, the way they mirror the rural/urban dichotomy of many developed, real-world countries made the realm of Lucis all the more real for me.

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Further solidifying this sense of immersion is the technical and artistic prowess that brings it all to life. Never compromising in either scale or detail, Final Fantasy XV is constantly and thoroughly beautiful. Long draw distances and well-tempered daytime lighting make the open plains of Lucis feel airy and vibrant, but not at the expense of texture quality. Spell and hit effects are polished to a high sheen, and even the most basic of low-level enemy fodder are bristling with little details to pick out. It becomes especially apparent when playing with a PS4 Pro in high-resolution mode on a 4K TV. Pro owners without a 4K set can opt for standard resolution, which will look comparable to a regular PS4 but runs just slightly smoother. No matter your setup, though, seeing Iron Giants, Behemoths, and Chocobos at this level of fidelity is a huge treat.

The Verdict

When I’m riding chocobos across the beach at dusk with my three friends and hunting iconic Final Fantasy monsters in a huge, picturesque open world, Final Fantasy XV feels like nearly everything I could want from a modern Final Fantasy. But when it funnels me into linear scenarios and drab, constricted spaces that plunge the simplistic combat into chaos, my blood boils a bit. There is so much good here, so much heart – especially in the relationships between Noctis and his sworn brothers. It just comes with some changes and compromises that were, at times, difficult for this long-time Final Fantasy fan to come to grips with.

Super Mario Run Review

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Super Mario’s smartphone debut is a fun and frantic chase for hidden coins and high scores.

Super Mario Run asks you to surrender some direct control of Nintendo’s mascot, but what it gives you in return is a stylish, addictive platformer you can play with one hand. Slick new moves and highly replayable stages make Mario’s iOS debut feel like a parkour collect-a-thon loaded up with Nintendo charm. Admittedly, Mario games have looked better on Nintendo’s own platforms, but Super Mario Run’s elegant mechanics and great level designs kept me coming back in search of hidden coins to grab, and scores to topple.

At its core, Super Mario Run is an automatic runner that utilizes simple touch controls to perform all kinds of actions. You can extend the duration of Mario’s jump, delay his fall mid-air, or somersault off of foes to reach high places. Like any solid game, these smooth moves are easy to pull off but difficult to completely master, and there’s plenty of open screen space towards the bottom, so my fingers were never obstructing my view. I always felt like I had enough room to react and pull off a slick maneuver, even though I couldn’t stop Mario’s constant forward movement.

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It’s a good thing too, because you’ll need to fully grasp Mario’s new repertoire of moves in order to conquer the some of the tougher stages, which continually push you through pitfalls, over Goombas, and around a multitude of hazards. Whether you’re being chased by Bullet Bills or traversing a trap-lined castle, the 24-stage campaign really captures the feel of Nintendo’s 2D Mario series. The slower, one-screen puzzle stages aren’t as exhilarating by comparison, but they offer a nice change of pace, giving the campaign some time to breathe.

Coin Hunt

The challenging special coin runs are the real hook that kept me coming back, and they’re my favorite part of Super Mario Run. Each stage has five special pink coins that sit just out of reach until you figure out the trick to nabbing them. Get all of them in one run, and a purple set appears in even harder to reach locations, and then a third black set of coins after that. It’s a maddeningly addictive challenge that constantly put my skills to the test. If you happen to miss a hidden coin, a simple tap of the screen will rewind your run a bit, but while this gives you a second chance to snag a coin, you’re sacrificing the precious time you need in order to clear the stage. It’s a smart risk/reward system that kept me mindful of the clock while I frantically searched for that last hidden coin.

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Super Mario Run’s asynchronous player-versus-player races, called Toad Rally, shifts the focus to pulling off stylin’ moves in quick succession. These competitive stages aren’t quite as memorable as the campaign, but they offer a decent playground set in one of six level themes to show off sick maneuvers in a race against ghost data based off of your friends. The winner gets to sway a crowd of Toad spectators into moving into your fully customizeable Mushroom Kingdom in Kingdom Builder.

The challenging special coin runs are the real hook.

Kingdom Builder is a nice laid back distraction compared to the campaign and competitive PVP, and it fleshes out the remainder of Super Mario Run’s gameplay loop. In it, you spend the coins collected from the other modes to dress up your own Mushroom Kingdom, building it up one Toad house at a time. The rewards are mostly cosmetic, but there are some additional characters you can unlock for use in the campaign, which definitely motivated me to keep playing. Learn more about secrets, tips, and what Super Mario Run doesn’t tell you by visiting IGN’s wiki.

That Old Feeling

Super Mario Run is a joyful romp through the Mushroom Kingdom, but it doesn’t feel as fresh as an all-new console Mario entry might; there aren’t any new power-ups to use or enemies to fight. Nintendo’s strong level designs comes to the rescue by offering highly replayable stages, but they also feature the same three-hit boss fights with Bowser and Boom Boom over and over. These encounters feel a bit like relics from Nintendo’s past, and it’s a shame they’re not as smart or clever as the rest of the campaign stages.

Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run looks identical to the modern “New” Super Mario style, but in smartphone form.

Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run for iOS marks Nintendo’s first Mario game on smartphones.

Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run is coming to iOS this holiday season.

Super Mario Run  Review

It wouldn’t be a Mario game without an underground level, and Super Mario Run includes almost all the level types we’ve come to know in core Mario games.

Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run official screen shot shows off the game in its portrait-orientation.

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Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run marks the first time Nintendo’s most recognizable face is playable on smartphones.

Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run works in portrait or landscape orientations, with the same simple one-touch jump controls and familiar Super Mario world created by Nintendo.

Super Mario Run  Review

In addition to the new Super Mario Run app, emojis based on the Mario universe are planned for the iOS 10 update.

Super Mario Run  Review

Toad Rally is the Super Mario Run battle mode, and allows two people to compete for the most coins.

Super Mario Run  Review

In addition to the core single-player experience of Super Mario Run, there is also a competitive mode.

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Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run is an endless runner in the proven Mario universe, running on iPhones this holiday season.

Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run will work on iPhones and iPads and marks Mario’s first foray into the world of smartphones.

Super Mario Run  Review

Tapping the phone makes Mario jump in the endless-running Super Mario Run, with no other controls to interfere.

Super Mario Run  Review

While not a fully-featured Super Mario game, the art style follows that of the modern Mario games on Wii and Wii U, with all the familiar sound effects and graphics.

Super Mario Run  Review

While no price was given during the presentation, Nintendo promised it is a one-time purchase, with no further purchases or microtransactions.

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Super Mario Run  Review

Super Mario Run is a premium, endless running app coming to iOS this holiday season.

Super Mario Run  Review

Miyamoto pointed out the fact this is the first Mario game that can be controlled with one hand. Tapping the screen lets Mario jump, and longer holds equal higher jumps.

Super Mario Run  Review

Mario creator and beloved game designer Shigeru Miyamoto took to the stage at Apple’s event to talk about the new iOS app.

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Visually, Mario’s mobile debut falls mostly in line with other 2D Marios. But if you stop moving long enough to notice, the flat backgrounds and simple effects look a little lifeless compared to other vibrant mobile runners, like Rayman Jungle Run, which is disappointing. On the other hand, the animations are terrific; Mario has never moved with more energy or grace in a 2D Mario game.

The Verdict

Super Mario Run is an elegantly designed platformer with strong hooks that kept me coming back. Once I wrapped up the main campaign, the addictive, replayable stages urged me to perfect my coin runs. Kingdom Builder and Toad Rally provided further motivation to keep dashing for the finish line, so I could invest the spoils in my own Mushroom Kingdom. While this isn’t the best-looking Super Mario game by a longshot, it successfully distills the core fun and charm of the Mario franchise into a smart, one-handed experience.

Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

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Snakebyte has some Nintendo Switch and NES Classic accessories in the works.

Germany-based manufacturer, Snakebyte group, has announced new accessories for the Nintendo Switch and the hard-to-find NES Classic Edition.

Snakebyte describes the accessories as “designed to enhance the portable nature of the Switch console.” One of the two is a foldable headset that can be used for gaming on the go. The Foldable Headset delivers clear gaming audio using 40mm diameter drivers according to the product description.

Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

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Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

Nintendo Switch Accessories Announced by Snakebyte

snakebyte Nintendo Switch Accessories Gallery
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The company’s Nintendo Switch Starter Kit, on the other hand, is a collection of useful items to protect the system’s tablet screen and enhance your gaming experience. The kit includes a carry bag, wired stereo earbuds, screen protector, cleaning cloth, along with control caps and game cases. Snakebyte also announced an NES Classic Edition USB power adapter and a Gamepad extension cable that adds a 9.8 feet to your controller length.

Nintendo is set to unveil price, launch lineup, and release date of its upcoming new platform, the Nintendo Switch, during a presentation streamed from Japan next week 8pm PT / 11pm ET on January 12 (that’s 4am GMT / 2pm AEST on January 13). Check back in to IGN for a special pre and post show, as well as all a rundown of all the news as it happens.

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Jose Otero is an Editor at IGN and host of Nintendo Voice Chat. You can follow him on Twitter.

PSA: Forza Horizon 3 Update Bug on PC Can Wipe Your Save Game

Forza Horizon 3 players on PC should be careful today, as an issue with a new update can corrupt your save file.

That’s according to the game’s developer, Playground Games, which has been tracking the issue throughout the day on its forums. Initially, the problem was simply a matter of being asked to re-download the full game. That’s problematic in its own right–the game is over 50 GB, presenting a headache for those with data caps and/or slow download speeds. More concerning is what cropped up later: corrupted save games.

“PC players who completed the download of .37.2 and then started a new game save will have a corrupted saved game,” the post states. “Avoid creating a new saved game on .37.2, and only play on .35.2 to avoid this issue. As long as you have an existing save and have not created a new one on .37.2, your saved game will work correctly once the update is available.”

The post goes on to say the broken update has been removed. If you’re running the .37.2 version of the game, you “should immediately uninstall that version of the game, then re-install.” The version ending .35.2 is the one you want to be on. You can see this number in the bottom-left corner of the launch screen, as pictured below.

PSA: Forza Horizon 3 Update Bug on PC Can Wipe Your Save Game

It’s unclear if corrupted PC saves will also impact files on Xbox One; Horizon 3 features cross-save support between the two platforms. In any event, you should double-check your game version even if you haven’t opened the Windows Store, as it’s possible it was downloaded automatically.

Filed under:
Forza Horizon 3
PC