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Nintendo... Nintendo: Super Mario 3D All Stars

Nintendo... Nintendo, this isn't winning me over. I'm not speaking against the gameplay, but Nintendo could've knocked this collection out of the park by giving Super Mario 64 an update. That's the least they could've done for Super Mario 3D All Stars. There have been fan projects shut down by Nintendo for making visual enhancements, and they gained some serious attention (including the unfortunate attention from Nintendo that didn't involve working with the team who made it). Why not capitalize on the attention that was able to gain... by answering with breathtaking visual?

This was my reaction to the commercial.

At worst it could've resembled Super Mario Sunshine. It would've been best if all 3 games were on the same visual level as Super Mario Galaxy, that would've been more of a head-turner. Maintaining the same clunky outdated graphics won't make the games bad, but it does maintain that "Been there done that" outdated look.

Look at this. I'm not biting my tongue because its... Nintendo.

Look at the Resident Evil remake on Gamecube. That was a must buy (that I still own), and if you didn't own a Gamecube at the time... you were probably drooling over the game. Nintendo needs to understand that it's okay to update games when the looks start to fade. There are 3 games in this collection, so at least it's not Super Mario 64 alone, but Nintendo could've done better.

 


super Mario 3d all stars


Mask Up Mondays: NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 (Season Game 7)



Wearing masks stops the spread, so imagine COVID-19 if everyone acted accordingly and wore their masks. People are dying, people are losing their jobs, people are being evicted, companies are losing business, essential workers are getting sick, and that only increases the scarcity of everything when you think about it. It doesn't require you to wear it in your car, just wear it in stores and public buildings around others, and when you're in crowded spaces and areas where you will interact with things where the public, in general, will go (i.e. gas stations).

Not sure what type of mask is most effective? Take a look at this lab test from June, where the Florida Atlantic University researchers developed a cough emulator lab configuration to determine what the most effective mask would be. The focus is air droplets and how effective certain masks are, and we have the most effective masks in the test available for you w/ a coupon code to save 15% off. So take a look at the video to verify for yourself, and... let's flatten the curve.

Dear Developers: Bad Impressions

I had to come at team Xbox based on how they were hating on Sony for the newest Unreal Engine reveal on the PS5, but... this... THIS (seen below), I do not contest. Sony screwed up with the recent pre-orders, you didn't know who was open for pre-orders until you went to the site and saw that they were sold out in most cases. So I can't get mad at Xbox for reminding everyone that they have options available for pre-order... soon (by way of a subtle jab).

I don't see the tweet swaying the decisions of the die hard Playstation fans, but we never know who it may entice. I'm still leaning towards Playstation for myself because of the exclusives, while Xbox i'm more like, see ya on PC (if the game comes out).



When it comes to both the Playstation 5 Digital Edition & the Xbox Series S, they're the more affordable options... but if I recommend any console... it would be the versions that allow for the use of a disc. I play games on PC primarily, and most of my games are digital (98% are digital)... but I'm wary of digital on console because the support window begins to count down on its life cycle at launch. I get solace when discs are involved.

Speaking of discs, I'd have the option of enjoying 4K Blu-ray with a disc drive (and the standard PS5 will only cost $100 more). From a value standpoint, it will cost more now... but what will you be able to use that available disc drive for? Well, I'm glad you asked... self! Used PS5 games + PS4 discs + movies + shows!

Think of how the price difference will be when it comes to older digital PS5 games versus physical discs. The price in most cases will be more for the digital version (the price tends to hold stronger in digital form) unless there's a sale. 

Anyway, I believe that someone's head is going to roll over the PS5 pre-order madness. 


Dear Developers,

When it comes to console launches if you don't know what's what... it's best just to keep quiet and make no sudden moves until you have a handle on a potential issue. This includes bugs, but in this post, I'm talking about console pre-orders.

I won't put this on the actual dev team, because they aren't the ones who make these sorts of decisions. I'm directing it straight towards the decision-makers that bang the start button on pre-orders and launch dates.

Don't say that pre-orders will "be available starting as early as tomorrow at select retailers", list who they are, Sony. Gamers and the parents of gamers... should never come across a staggered pre-order window where one company allows them ahead of another, only to turn around and be left out in the cold because the pre-orders are sold out (on the site they were available on, and also the site they went back to).

I understand that there is a pandemic going on (approaching the PS5 + Xbox Series S & X launches), but... that doesn't mean that anyone gets a pass for fumbling the pre-order process. If you wanted to stagger the pre-orders or that's the way it occurred based on the retailers, then list the dates and don't leave your customers guessing. There is a pandemic going on, and money isn't as easy to come by for most citizens in the U.S. (before the pandemic money wasn't as easy to come by if we're going to be honest).

I won't rag on Sony too bad, mainly because customers weren't screwed out of money or something... and this doesn't make or break the quality of the product, but it is a bad impression worth learning from.


Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time... Reviewed!

Before I dive into this review, I definitely have to give a shout out to the dev team for supplying a copy of the game for this review.

I have not played a videogame based on a movie, or a cartoon in a long... long... long time, so it's good to experience one that was a sheer joy to play (for the most part).

Story: The emperor's son... is back to take down the evil Aku! In Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, you're brought up to speed where Jack is down for the count... compliments of his own girlfriend. Ashi's hands were tied by her father, Aku (the father-in-law you'd never want)... as he used her as a puppet against Jack.

Jack's love for Ashi, caused Aku to lose control and the Marty McFly of samurai was saved... which revealed that Ashi has inherited Aku's powers, including the ability to travel through time. The couple was able to escape through time... but Aku wasn't going to let things go that smoothly, as he sent a laser beam flying through the couple's little escape hatch. Instead of destroying them, Jack blocks the laser beam and was knocked back in time... or so it seemed. That's where your adventure begins.


Visuals: You know when the game is about to begin because you're introduced to the in-game version of Jack, which looks like a 3D version of the... 2D version. Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, maintains the toon-ish look... but in a way that allows you to appreciate the cel-shaded art style. It looks like you're playing through the cartoon (for the most part).

The animations in the game make it even better because you aren't just making your way through a painful gameplay experience in order to reach the cutscenes, the in-game character animations are smooth.


Gameplay: Yes, the game has a toon-ish look... but don't underestimate the gameplay (we're still talking about Samurai Jack here). The game plays just as good as it looks, and if you look at the animations of Jack... the slashes and strikes are quite accurate.

Once you get a feel for Jack's movement and the weapons, you're able to become a more efficient fighter... there is no awkward movement getting in the way. You may be able to find success mindlessly pressing the attack buttons, but... there will be times where you have to utilize some form of strategy to succeed and... obtain the best score possible. By the way, the control scheme for the Keyboard + Mouse is solid... I was able to play the game without bailing out of frustration so that I could come back with the nearest controller.


Scores are based on the time you complete a level, the number of enemies defeated, whether or not you used items, and the number of times you continued.  

So there is replay value available in addition to depth... based on the skill tree, weapons + ranged weapons, items (which include prayer beads and their ability enhancements), jewelry, and more.


The skill tree has three different aspects: 
Spiritual Skills + Combat Skills + Physical Skills


Enemies are as tough as you want them to be, although they won't be a walk in the park (mainly the bosses) if you aren't playing on the easiest setting (that's a good thing). I recommend a higher difficulty setting for the warriors in the room. The beetle drones are the basic enemies, which can deliver a decent challenge, and it goes up from there... especially the boss fights.

I really like the way Samurai Jack loses clothing when his health gets low to represent that they were ripped in battle. When you're health is replenished, his clothing reappears.

Tip: Don't go full-on Rambo with your ranged weapon... because they can be depleted (until you get more) and that doesn't work when you need the ammo the most.

I would say save the ranged weapons for boss battles, but there were actually situations where it was needed most for targets firing at me from a distance.

One thing I didn't like (at times)... was the camera angle in side-scrolling areas. It went from 360 to a side view which would've been fine if you didn't have to deal with certain enemies that required you to face them and use a ranged weapon. I tried to attack enemies the way it was set up, but... it was a pain.

Another tip: During these situations, go back to the extent that gives you control of the camera and use your ranged weapon (if you have one) in order to take out these enemies so that they don't shoot you down when you're most... vulnerable.

Jack will travel to 9 different lands, which have a decent length to them but... despite the ability to make your way around a level and find hidden areas, the game is still quite linear. One reason I don't label this as a con is the fact that every game doesn't have to be open world, it just has to deliver a great gameplay experience + story and I believe that Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time does this. Open world can lose steam if you lose sight of why you're even playing the game, so I don't mind this game keeping me on track and locked in on the action. 

I say that to say the linear approach doesn't suck.

There are just as many bosses in this game as there are lower-level enemies types, but outside of Aku and the Giant Beetle Drones, I won't spill the beans as to who they are. Expect to see a lot of familiar faces in this game (duh of the day), this includes allies like Ashi, Sir Rothchild, Da Samurai (which reminds me of Sho'Nuff from "The Last Dragon"), the Scotsman, and more.



Price: Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, comes in at a kickass price of... $39.99 and is available on all major platforms including the Nintendo Switch.

Overall, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is an enjoyable game that delivers adventure, challenges, a decent amount of replay, and a story that delivers.

Story 5

Visuals 4

Gameplay 5

Price 5

4.75 out of 5 Cool Points


Top Audiences Last Week + Playstation 5 Showcase!

Top 10 + the PS5 showcase? Good time!

USA
Hong Kong (is on 'Merica's heels)
Netherlands
Germany
Canada
United Kingdom
France
Ukraine
Australia
Ireland

United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and... Japan came close!



          

Star Renegades


Star Renegades


HFactor Hydrogen Infused Water... Reviewed!

This came right on time because I need to drink more water. Don't tell my wife or my mom that I said that. Shout out to HyEdge for supplying HFactor Hydrogen Infused Water!


Package Design: As you see, HFactor team sent over a variety pack, along with one of the bigger pouches of water. The pouches are durable and with the built-in straw, you're able to drink every last drop. This product is also made in source-reduced packaging.

It has been hot (ha... hot... Hot... HOT), and it has been kicking my behind... but I still have to get out and get active. I'm glad this package arrived at the time it did, so let's jump into finding out what the product is.

According to HFactor, the product came about after decades of research... due to evidence of what hydrogen infused water does for the body. They say that it enhances how the body feels, functions, and renews itself.


The company says that reverse osmosis filtering (which I've heard of before) ensures the purity and taste of HFactor Hydrogen Infused Water by way of delivering pure hydrogen + pure water (that's it).

That said... it's time to get my drink on in order to determine how I feel after drinking HFactor, and I can't forget about the taste.


Taste: The first flavor up to bat is... watermelon. It doesn't have sugar (neither have sugar according to the packaging), and it tastes like its sugarless. It just has a hint of something that reminds you that watermelon is on the premises. Other than that... (don't laugh at me but...) it tastes like water... with a little something extra (which is likely based on the process used to produce the water). I'm not crazy about the Watermelon, the Blood Orange, the Honeydew, or the standard unflavored product. 
I don't hold that against the product, that's all on me because... I'm not crazy about the taste of water, I'm very particular but... all isn't lost... the Tart Cherry is a win. It's not just tolerable, I can drink this one enjoyably.

I'm not sure what they did differently with that flavor, but it doesn't just have a hint of fruit... it has more flavor. I would like the others to have more flavor if they're going to be... flavored.



One thing I will say is that this is best served nice and cold, so follow the recommendation from team HFactor... which also suggests that you consume the water within 30 minutes time (I'm totally guessing that has something to do with maintaining the quality before the contents in the air do something to it). 

Usefulness: Now when it comes to the increased athletic performance and reduced inflammation from exercise... I give props to this product, it delivers. It worked after going to the park to play soccer with my daughter, but... it also helped in a way that I didn't expect.

I generally get up around the 3am (Eastern) window, and one of the days after a really hot day at the park I woke up with head tension. I went in the fridge and grabbed one of the pouches (watermelon I believe), and although I wasn't crazy about the flavor... my head tension went... POOF. Hey... screw the flavor at that point, I was surprised and also felt a bit more awake.

I wasn't sure why that was, and how I could gain relief so quickly... but the product brings more oomph to H2O... and apparently helped me get over a dehydration headache.

According to Medical News Today, the brain can contract or shrink from fluid loss. This is obviously movement that causes the brain to pull away from the skull... which is where the headache comes from. So think of your brain as a grape, and if you don't remain hydrated... it can essentially dry up a little like a raisin. Once rehydrated, the brain goes back to normal and poof goes the headache... which explains what happened with me. I thought it was really cool to find that out, and the fact that the product helped my head tension dissipate so quickly.

I've drunk water to relieve head tension before, but it didn't help me that quickly... so I have to give that credit to HFactor.

Other days I went out for P.E. and came back to drink more servings of the HFactor water, and felt better after the fact. I wasn't sore or anything after P.E. but I didn't feel sun-sapped after drinking HFactor. I had a heavy workout on one of the days that I drank the water and I wasn't that sore after the fact.

Price: Pricewise, you get 12 pouches in this variety pack for... $29.99. That's about $2.50 a pouch for 11 FL OZ, I think it would be easier to swallow at $1.50 to $2.00 per pouch unless I have a dehydration headache... then I'm all in. I'd go for the 12 pouches of Tart Cherry... which I discovered is on back-order at the time of this review, it's the only one on back-order (everything else is in stock). Perhaps that should be a sign for team HFactor to reevaluate the other flavors.

Overall, this is a quality product that actually worked for me. Tart Cherry was good, can't speak for the taste of the other flavors but... I'm speaking as a soda & juice drinker.



Package Design 5

Taste 2 (Tart Cherry is a 5)

Usefulness 5

Price 4

4 out of 5 Cool Points


Check out HFactor Hydrogen Infused Water here.