Jan. 22, 2017

Another short one from me this time around, even though it has been an interesting week for teases and announcements.

Around OnlySP

We have gotten back into the swing of things this past week after having some downtime for the holiday season and because of our acquisition by Enthusiast Gaming. So, we’ve brought you a lot of news, as well as the first two reviews to utilise our new scoring system. DJ was enraptured by Final Fantasy XV, while Gareth heaped praise upon the PSVR god game, Tethered. We have a few interesting articles lined up for the coming weeks too, so stay tuned.

Also, we brought a new writer on board, Himanshu Talwar, who will mainly be acting as a reviewer. Please make him feel welcome.

Switching On

Nintendo finally lifted the lid on all things Switch late last week, and although I was tempted to discuss my reactions then, I decided to take some time to think and really digest what we were shown and what we have learned. Since the first details of the device leaked in the middle of last year, I have been uncertain about it. The portable/console hybridity makes the Switch a unique value proposition, but multipurpose devices usually suffer from a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ functional shortcoming. As expected, the system specifications put it far below the power threshold of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, to say nothing of the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio.

Most gamers will note, however, that although the press is overly concerned with teraflops and pixels, such concerns are always secondary to the available games. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s offerings at present do not inspire much confidence. The developers at Respawn put it down to the power gap, which means that game creators are less likely to work with the platform. The undeniable of quality of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are simply not enough; after all, the likes of Dragon Quest X, Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros., and Xenoblade Chronicles X were not enough to make the Wii U a success. Third-party support is essential, and the Switch has that at present, but it needs to be sustained.

That being said, the device’s price is a major sticking point. Not only are the peripherals prohibitively expensive, but the device is well above what many expected it to be, particularly here in Australia where it retails for $470. Only time will tell whether the device end up restoring Nintendo’s fortunes or continues the downward slide begun with the Wii U, but the odds are against it at present.

Personal Update

So, the big news from me this week is that my visa was approved, which means that the immediate future is looking very bright. I’ll let you know where and when I’m going, and how that will affect OnlySP, in the coming weeks, once a few more things are settled. In other news, I finished my playthrough of Nier, which is a very interesting little game that left me intensely curious about what the shift in developer with Nier: Automata will bring the table. I really do hope that it maintains the weirdness while adding another layer of much-needed polish. I also continued working through Planet Coaster. Watch out for my thoughts on that in the near future. Finally, I finished E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India. I found the novel to be thematically interesting, but as mentioned last week, the intensely modernist writing style transformed what should have been an intriguing plotline into a slog. Unfortunate, really, because the book provides a fascinating insight into the workings of colonial powers within colonised states, from a writer who was interested in highlighting the biases of Anglo-Indians.

What have you been up to, single players?

Damien Lawardorn
Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

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