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By Asher Madan
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Xbox Series X review: A fantastic but restricted adventure
by Asher Madan
This is a spoiler-free review of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
On the surface, Guardians of the Galaxy appears to be a standard third-person action game that places you in the shoes of Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, as you race to save the galaxy from certain doom. However, it's much more than that due to the various mechanics introduced throughout this adventure. You'll gain new abilities, solve puzzles, resolve disputes, and, of course, shoot through legions of enemies.
While the combat and puzzles are great, Guardians of the Galaxy truly shines when it focuses on the dynamics between Peter, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot. The game touches on a lot of poignant topics like the cost of war and discrimination, but at its core, it's all about overcoming loss. Through this, the title manages to become more than the sum of its parts. Read on for my impressions of this fantastic game from developer Eidos-Montréal and publisher Square Enix.
Many of you may be hesitant to pick up Guardians of the Galaxy because it's from the same publisher as Marvel's Avengers. Luckily, the focus on playing as one character, in a solely single-player game, is a refreshing change from what we got a year ago. There are no microtransactions or paid boosts. If you purchase the $69.99 Digital Deluxe Edition of Guardians of the Galaxy, you get a few high-quality outfits from the comics and films that don't impact gameplay whatsoever, like making you more resistant to damage. Better yet, the best outfits are earned through exploration and progression through the story.
It's worth keeping in mind that Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in a universe that's separate from the films. Each character has their own unique story that's revealed through this 25-hour-long experience.
Characters and story
The Guardians of the Galaxy are a team of misfits who have banded together in the wake of a massive galactic war. They take odd jobs in order to make enough units to survive in this post-war landscape. Think of them as "heroes" for hire. They're from different planets and come from dramatically different backgrounds. However, many of them have shared, conflicting pasts and it's a miracle that Peter, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot manage to work together so well.
If you're familiar with the comics or movies, you'll know that Guardians of the Galaxy takes a more lighthearted approach to universe-threatening events than, let's say, the Avengers game. This hilarious tone permeates the entire game and is enhanced by cameos from popular characters in the company's catalog, like Mantis.
If you're familiar with the latest Avengers films, you'll immediately recognize the scale of destruction possible if the main antagonist isn't stopped. If I told you what the tale revolved around, it'd ruin the surprise. Luckily, you'll know exactly what I'm alluding to once you pass the first mission. What I can say is that it's personal and definitely one every player can relate to.
Guardians of the Galaxy allows you to make a number of decisions that can take you down different branches. For example, there are dialogue and story choices like saving an animal instead of hiding a bunch of illegal equipment. Others seem like basic options to side with one character over the other, and don't have much of an impact on how the game plays out.
Choosing different prompts grants you varying allies and enemies. For example, if you successfully recount an incident where Star-Lord was inebriated and sang with a random alien, he'll help you down the line. Similarly, if you side with a character named Nikki Gold, she'll give you a device that lets you open any door on a ship called Hala's Hope. This can make traversing some environments a lot easier when you reach that part of the story. This also enhances replayability because the journey varies depending on your choices.
Prepare to manage interpersonal crises between all of the Guardians of the Galaxy members because there will be a lot. If you take the time to talk to everyone while they're on the Milano — your ship that's controllable during certain levels — you'll be able to learn more about them and hopefully, ease their anger or frustration towards you or other members of the team.
Guardians of the Galaxy only allows you to control Peter and his actions. The success of every battle and dialogue choice rests on your shoulders. In my opinion, this focus is better than being able to control every character because this adds a more strategic element to gameplay. You have to learn how to command your team properly. Additionally, imagine trying to solve puzzles by having to choose what each character did all the time. Better yet, having to switch to Groot during combat just to heal or resurrect an ally. That would detract from the focused gameplay that revolves around leading a team.
Star-Lord is great at shooting anything that moves with his blasters, but that's not enough. In order to effectively take down enemies, you have to constantly direct your teammates. If you push down on the Left Bumper on an Xbox controller, time slows down and you can choose a particular ability to use against any combatant. Rapidly lowering the health of an enemy also allows you to initiate takedowns by pressing the B and Y buttons together.
Gamora does amazing single-target damage with her blade and all of her other skills are tailored towards that. Drax, oddly enough, doesn't do as much damage as Gamora, but he strikes a good balance between taking down single targets and damaging a number of enemies if he's pouncing on the ground. Rocket is by far my favorite because he has some unbelievable gadgets at his disposal. He's the only one who can throw lethal grenades, and also possesses a barrage of endless missiles. His missiles — they're unlocked as you make more progress in the campaign — can take out half a dozen opponents at a time. Lastly, Groot is good at ensnaring enemies so the rest of the team can do increased damage. Eventually, he gains the ability to heal and resurrect. This comes in handy when you're facing the final bosses of Guardians of the Galaxy. Keep in mind that standard attacks don't have a cooldown, but all special abilities do. You'll have to wait a few seconds to use them again. This includes Star-Lord's deployable overshield and Groot's healing.
Sometimes, if you keep on encountering enemies at every turn, Guardians of the Galaxy can get a little frustrating. You just want to move on to the next area. However, it's not too repetitive. Luckily, the moment you start to feel some annoyance, the story leaps forward. The pacing is almost perfect in my opinion. What does get repetitive is the combat dialogue though. Your teammates say the same phrases again and again if you take a long time to clear an area.
Guardians of the Galaxy features forgiving combat at lower difficulties, but it gets very difficult as you crank it up. Luckily, the Huddle Up ability gives you a second chance by pausing the action. If your team's not doing so well, you can always trigger this, give them a pep talk by selecting one of two dialogue options that can either heal you or the entire team, and reset cooldowns. I'd use Huddle Up when you're truly desperate because there's no reason to waste it. However, when you use Huddle Up, it plays an amazing song so there may be an added incentive to trigger it when you're in the mood to hear the game's stellar '80s music selection during combat.
Guardians of the Galaxy often manages to surprise you because, just when you think you have the hang of combat, it'll throw a boss at you that's as tall as a skyscraper. Boss battles aren't the quick time event-laden fights you'd expect. You have to target certain body parts, dodge attacks, and use your teammates' abilities to succeed. For example, let's say you're fighting a famous monster from the Marvel universe that has tentacles. You'll have to tell Groot to ensnare its tentacles, that'll give you the opportunity to do a lot of damage, and eventually, Gamora will be able to slice them off.
As you progress through the game, you gain new blaster powers. These happen automatically and you don't have to do anything to unlock them. As mentioned earlier, you have to direct your teammates, but you also have to solve puzzles. For example, you may have to melt a frozen structure to create a passageway or freeze a pipe leaking poisonous fumes in a ship. Some enemies also have shields that can be disabled by hitting them with the appropriate elemental bullets.
Your teammates also have certain strengths that come in handy, but you have to tell Gamora, Rocket, Drax, and Groot what to do. Gamora can slice a number of structures and boost you to higher ground, Rocket can hack almost anything, Drax can lift heavy objects, and Groot can create bridges. You'll need to utilize your powers and that of your team's to traverse every level.
Apart from that, Guardians of the Galaxy features Perks that allow you to increase your health, the rate of fire, or even scan enemies during combat to uncover their weaknesses. I managed to unlock all but one Perk during my first playthrough, but I imagine it'll be possible when I start New Game Plus. You can easily find crafting materials scattered in every level and they can be used at Rocket's Workbenches to make you a more capable fighter.
Lastly, there are special abilities that can be unlocked through leveling up. After every enemy encounter, you gain experience and points. These points can be used to acquire new powers for yourself or your teammates. For example, Gamora gains devastating sword skills while Groot gets area-of-effect damage. Given the fact that you can't skip enemy encounters for the most part, you shouldn't have a problem unlocking everything during your first playthrough.
Environments and exploration
This game features some basic exploration — you can find additional outfits, artifacts, lore, and upgrade materials if you venture off the beaten path — but it's still very constrained. You're essentially going from one area to the next, either fighting enemies or solving puzzles, until the end of the level. The structure is a lot like Devil May Cry 5.
Guardians of the Galaxy guides you through each area and contains over a dozen chapters. The environments are varied and you'll get to see everything from barren wastelands to frozen mountains. The enemy variety also changes a lot based on where you're at. For example, you start by fighting basic blob-like creatures and eventually take down yeti-looking fiends.
While the environments in Guardians of the Galaxy aren't recycled, there are many combat scenarios that are, especially towards the end of the game when you're tracking down a mysterious figure from the Marvel universe. Here you basically have to keep on fighting through fog, again and again, in the same exact area, until you're given the option not to. This felt a little odd to me because it's unnecessary because the game is quite lengthy as is. There's no need to pad it further.
My only major complaint with Guardians of the Galaxy has to be its extremely linear nature when it comes to exploration and traversal. I've played countless games over the years, but this has to be one of the most rigid experiences ever. Luckily, there's one area in Guardians of the Galaxy that allows you to explore at length, and it's populated with a ton of mini-games. I won't spoil it for you, but you can go to a bar, get a drink, play the lottery, gossip, and do so much more. This was a welcome reprieve because I was really hoping Guardians of the Galaxy would allow for more freedom like the Mass Effect series.
Dialogue and music
Guardians of the Galaxy features some of the best voice acting I've ever heard in a video game. Every character is phenomenal and gives a perfect performance in my opinion. I'm usually one to nitpick when it comes to voice acting, but I honestly couldn't find any fault in this game. Drax is by far the funniest with his deadpan humor.
If you view the Xbox Series X gameplay posted above, you'll notice that everyone from Gamora to Mantis sounds natural and the conversations feel effortless. It's clear that a lot of care went into making sure the dialogue delivery was second to none because, given the film-like nature of this game, it's imperative to get that right.
Guardians of the Galaxy also features a killer soundtrack filled with hits from the 1980s. You won't be hearing a lot of the music that's in the game on YouTube because it's copyrighted. There are tons of amazing tracks that blend perfectly with gameplay. When you're on your ship, you can also select which tune to play. I've listed some of my favorite tracks below.
Never Gonna Give You Up performed by Rick Astley The Final Countdown performed by Europe Wake Me Up Before you Go Go performed by WHAM! Holding Out for a Hero performed by Bonnie Tyler We Built this City performed by Starship Hit Me With Your Best Shot performed by Pat Benetar Don't Worry, Be Happy performed by Bobby McFerrin Since You Been Gone performed by Rainbow There are over thirty fist-pumping classics in there that have universal appeal. You won't be disappointed. The rest of the soundtrack is also great and includes a bold musical score from composer Richard Jacques as well as ten original songs from Eidos-Montréal Senior Audio Director Steve Szczepkowski. Guardians of the Galaxy features a fictional band called Star-Lord — that's where Peter gets his nickname — and Szczepkowski wrote their music. While the tracks may not be as bombastic as Hit Me With Your Best Shot or Wake Me Up Before you Go Go, they fit well with the 1980s' theme.
Performance and visuals
Guardians of the Galaxy looks utterly incredible on Xbox Series X. Textures are unbelievable, but the standout feature has to be the characters' eyes. They're uncannily expressive and may just be the best eyeballs ever created in a video game. Guardians of the Galaxy is easily one of the best-looking games available right now on any platform, and there's a ray-tracing mode in the works for current-generation consoles.
The build I played lacked a major patch, but even without it, it's a polished title. I just encountered some camera glitches a few times when I was trapped in a corner fighting hordes of enemies. Other than that, there aren't any pressing issues on Microsoft's console. I didn't encounter any noticeable frame rate drops during my playthrough either.
From my analysis, Quality mode boosts the resolution to 4K, but locks the frame rate at 30 frames per second (FPS). The performance option lowers the resolution to 1440p, but the game gains the advantage of 60 FPS rendering. 60 FPS greatly improves the feel of combat because input lag is reduced.
I played the title on Quality mode because to me, Guardians of the Galaxy is more like an interactive film in an action game's wrapper. I wanted to experience it as the highest resolution possible on a 4K display. I'm glad I went with that because it was a glorious experience.
Guardians of the Galaxy isn't perfect, but Eidos-Montréal has done an excellent job with staying true to the source material and capturing the essence of every character. The game is about family, relationships, and overcoming loss, together. It has some incredibly dark moments that are masked well through the title's hilarious tone.
The combat, music, and voice acting are phenomenal, I just wish I had more freedom to explore the wondrous planets you land on. Had Guardians of the Galaxy adopted a semi-open world approach like the recent Tomb Raider games, it would've been a breakthrough experience. I'm hoping there's a sequel that gives us just that while maintaining the tone of the original.
You can purchase Guardians of the Galaxy from the Microsoft Store or the platform of your choice for $59.99. The game releases on October 26, 2021 for Nintendo Switch (Cloud), PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
Square Enix provided a review code for Guardians of the Galaxy. The game was tested on an Xbox Series X console.
By Asher Madan
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack costs $49.99 a year
by Asher Madan
In September, Nintendo revealed that Nintendo Switch Online would receive a new tier that included Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games. Nintendo Switch Online is the gaming giant's subscription service along the lines of PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold. Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is the upcoming membership option that launches on October 25.
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack's price point wasn't announced back then, but the company gave us a complete rundown today. Keep in mind that the standard Nintendo Switch Online membership comes in at $19.99 a year, or $34.99 for the family plan. However, Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack will cost $49.99 for 12 months.
There's also a family plan in the works that'll cost $79.99 a year, and you can add 8 Nintendo Account holders. You can take a look at the video above for an explanation of the benefits and differences.
Fan reactions have been quite mixed since this announcement. While many gamers are praising the ability to play Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games on the Nintendo Switch, the limited library and high price point have been criticized by others. The fact that the newly announced Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Happy Home Paradise expansion is included with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is also seen as a positive given the popularity of the base game.
More titles like Banjo-Kazooie and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask will be added down the line. We'll have to wait and see how many Nintendo Switch owners upgrade to this tier come October 25. Are you interested in Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack? Let us know in the comments below.
Nintendo shoots down the Switch Pro 4K rumor... again
by Chandrakant Isi
Nintendo is all set to launch the updated Nintendo Switch OLED on October 8. However, that hasn't stopped speculations regarding a Switch Pro model with 4K gaming support. A recent report from Bloomberg claimed that third-party game developers including Zynga have access to Nintendo's 4K development tools. Hinting at the initial development of a 4K Switch console, this news spread like wildfire, and eventually, the Japanese company had to step in to address the situation.
Nintendo Japan's official Twitter account stated that Bloomberg's report "falsely claims that Nintendo is supplying tools to drive game development for a Nintendo Switch with 4K support." In the following tweet, the Japanese company reiterated that it has no plans for any new model save for the Switch OLED.
The latest update from Nintendo is going to be a bit disappointing for the fans who have no option but to make a "switch" to the latest PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X to experience 4K gaming. However, it is worth noting that Nintendo usually focuses more on gameplay experience rather than a mere visual upgrade. So, packing in more powerful hardware at this point may not align with its strategy.
Launched in 2017, Nintendo's Switch still brings in strong sales numbers. Going by the figures from June, the Japanese company has moved over 89 million units of its Switch console. It has surpassed the lifetime sales of the Sony PlayStation 3 that sold around 88 million units. These numbers are expected to jump further with the launch of Switch OLED, which is priced at $349.99.
By Asher Madan
Diablo II: Resurrected Xbox Series X review — A classic reborn
by Asher Madan
This is a spoiler-free review of Diablo II: Resurrected
As you may have assumed after reading the title, Diablo II: Resurrected is a remastered version of Diablo II and its expansion, Lord of Destruction, which released in 2000 and 2001, respectively. It features all of the content that launched twenty years ago, but adds modern refinements like upgraded visuals, a redesigned user interface, and an expanded stash. This new version was developed by Blizzard Entertainment and Activision's Vicarious Visions studio. On the whole, it's an impressive project, but it may be a little dated — particularly when it comes to inventory management — to be thoroughly enjoyable for all gamers.
Characters and environments
For those of you new to the franchise, Diablo II: Resurrected is a dark fantasy isometric action game where you pick a unique hero and work your way through a number of environments, pursuing a mysterious figure known as the Dark Wanderer. You'll traverse somewhat randomized swamps and deserts in a quest that eventually pits you against the titular villain.
Diablo II: Resurrected features a number of unique environments and locations that increase in splendor. While the camp you start at is quite understated, you'll eventually explore desert cities carved out of rock and venture into crypts that haven't been opened in generations. The visual variety is quite astounding and there are a number of biomes throughout the adventure. Each area also has distinct enemies that increase in difficulty. Diablo II: Resurrected constantly keeps you on your toes because complacency leads to death.
The plot is simply fantastic and I'd forgotten how many twists and turns are woven in there. It has been almost twenty years since I played the original. Running Diablo II on my old HP laptop, in my college dorm, has to be one of my best memories. It was a great way to relax after studying biology and chemistry the whole day. Diablo II not only featured a rich story, but the build-up to the climax has to be one of the best in gaming history. Even to this day, many other titles can't match it. The stellar plot is a testament to the writers who carefully constructed the narrative and slowly let the player figure out what was going on.
For the most part, Diablo II: Resurrected plays like a traditional hack-and-slash experience. You equip increasing powerful weapons and armor, while taking on greater challenges. However, each hero has unique abilities that make the fight against the legions of Hell a little easier. For example, the Druid can transform into a werewolf or "werebear". The Amazon, Assassin, Necromancer, Paladin, and others have their own skills to choose from, though some are more dramatic than others.
To illustrate this, let's compare the Druid and the Paladin. The Paladin has a number of devastating abilities like the Holy Bolt that vanquishes enemies or the Holy Shield to protect himself from arcane damage. He's a strong character, but the Druid is just so much more fun. Transforming into different creatures never gets old and requires you to experiment with more balanced builds if you want to use brute force and magic at the same time. I'd recommend trying all of the characters — particularly the Assassin and Druid since they were part of the Lord of Destruction expansion — to find the one you like the most.
Diablo II: Resurrected pays homage to the original's graphics, but with greatly enhanced effects. If you were expecting a visual upgrade along the lines of Diablo III, or the upcoming Diablo IV for that matter, you’ll be disappointed. Diablo II: Resurrected stays true to the look of the cult classic, but features all-new textures, animations, and cutscenes.
It's clear that a tremendous amount of work went into this game. Diablo II: Resurrected also adds wet surfaces, better weather, real-time reflections, and much more. Suffice to say, it's a noticeable upgrade if you compare the two versions side by side.
If you haven't played Diablo II in a while, you may feel that the game looks relatively the same, it just runs at a higher resolution. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. When you kill enemies like Dark Hunters, encounter a pool of water in the middle of a marsh, or witness the light shimmering on a wet brick bridge, you’ll realize that Diablo II: Resurrected is a modern game. Blizzard and Vicarious Visions have done an excellent job with the new graphics. Because of this, the remaster shines.
If you're ever curious as to what the original looked like, you can always press Left Trigger and the View button together. The View button is commonly referred to as the boxes button on the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One controllers. I promise you you'll be shocked and astounded by the results. I had personally forgotten how clunky the old animations were.
Diablo II: Resurrected offers two modes on Xbox Series X. The default, oddly enough, is "Quality". This boosts the resolution to 4K, but locks the game to just 30 frames per second (FPS). Despite how crisp Diablo II: Resurrected looks on Quality mode, I wouldn't recommend it because the input lag is horrendous. I would go as far as to say that it's unplayable on this setting because it feels like you're trudging through molasses.
Luckily, there's a "Performance" option that lowers the resolution to around 1440p — based on our estimate — and boosts the frame rate to 60 FPS. This dramatically enhances the experience because the title is much more responsive. When you load Diablo II: Resurrected, your first step should be to go to "Settings" and change the visuals from Quality to Performance.
It's curious as to why we don't have a 4K 60 FPS mode on current-generation consoles, at least for "Offline" single player. To me, it seems like a problem with optimization more than anything else. Unfortunately, I don't think Blizzard or Vicarious Visions will go back and change this on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Inventory management has to be my biggest gripe with Diablo II: Resurrected. While it's a little cumbersome to use a thumbstick to hover over objects, it gets worse when you want to sell tiny gems or other miscellaneous items to a trader. You have to inelegantly maneuver the cursor over them and hold a button. Understandably, this isn't an issue with a mouse and keyboard, but it's one of the most torturous acts on consoles. Surely there's a better solution.
Diablo III's circular inventory system was tailored for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One — despite some questionable results — and is a marked improvement over Diablo II: Resurrected. The development team should've included a similar setup that was made for thumbsticks in this remaster.
Now that's out of the way, let me tell you about why you should consider playing Diablo II: Resurrected with a controller. Instead of clicking enemies or clicking where to go, you can control your character directly through the thumbstick. This gives the game a more action-focused feel because you're directly connected to everything happening on screen. Let's say that you want to kite an enemy, but there aren't a lot of options except for a massive tree. Well, with a controller, you can just run around the tree and keep hitting the foe whenever the time's right. This added maneuverability isn't really found with a mouse.
Using your abilities or casting spells is just as simple as it is with a mouse and keyboard, in my opinion. You can bind whatever you want to a button or combination of buttons. Just look in the general direction and press. The standard abilities bar can be augmented by holding down Left Trigger. This gives you even more slots to bind abilities to.
The revamped user interface really doesn't live up to the hype on consoles, but the fact that you directly control your character with the thumbsticks is a blessing. You're also given a few extra inventory boxes for good measure. In my opinion, the controls are the most prominent changes that improve quality-of-life the most. As you know, the inventory still requires using a cursor and its few extra slots don't dramatically ease hauling loot. You'll still have to make a number of trips back to town to sell or store gear.
Diablo II: Resurrected features online and offline modes. As mentioned earlier, Offline is the single-player setting and you can take on endless enemies on your own. However, if you choose to create an "Online" character, the difficulty goes up a little, but you can team up with more than half a dozen players to help you along the way. I'm positive that all of them can hire mercenaries, so you essentially end up with a small army by the time you take on Diablo.
Aside from the launch day login problems, Diablo II: Resurrected servers still suffer from occasional rubberbanding — you move in one direction and suddenly you're teleported back several feet to where you once were. I plugged in the Xbox Series X directly to the modem and it still exhibited the same problem on a 1Gbps connection. Hopefully, Blizzard and Vicarious Visions have a fix in the works because it can lead to an untimely demise if you're playing online.
Overall, Diablo II: Resurrected still holds up surprisingly well even after all these years. It's a must-play title. The story is captivating, and slowly unraveling the mystery behind the Dark Wanderer is quite thrilling. I just wish the teams had completely revamped the inventory system for consoles.
Diablo II: Resurrected relies on constantly finding better gear, and having to manually control a cursor to select items is tedious, to say the least. Luckily, you get used to it, as it becomes second nature after a few hours. While the game is brimming with nostalgia, and is clearly designed for those who've played Diablo II before, it should still appeal to newcomers. It's a very good remaster, but the aforementioned design choices are holding it back from greatness. The original didn't have any noticeable issues that I can recall, but it seems like the PC version is the way to go because Diablo II: Resurrected works the best with a mouse and keyboard given its inventory situation.
If controlling the inventory with a cursor seems like a dealbreaker, you should check out Diablo III due to its radial menu. The game brings you up to speed rather quickly with what happened in Diablo II and its expansion.
Diablo II: Resurrected features cross-progression so you can experience it on any platform and retain your progress. Unfortunately, you'll have to spend another $39.99 to buy it on another system.
It'll take players around 20 hours to complete Diablo II: Resurrected's campaign, but if you're looking to slay demons on the highest difficulty there is, then it's probably going to be around 150 hours of playtime. It's a substantial game with addictive gameplay. Despite the problems, I can't recommend it enough because it's just so much fun! You don't even realize how quickly the hours fly by.
You can purchase Diablo II: Resurrected from the Microsoft Store or the platform of your choice for $39.99. The game was released on September 23, 2021 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Blizzard Entertainment provided a review code for Diablo II: Resurrected. The game was tested on an Xbox Series X console.
Nintendo Switch Online "Expansion Pack" will add N64 and Sega Genesis games
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
During the today's September Direct presentation, Nintendo unveiled a brand-new tier for its Nintendo Online Services platform that will contain a selection of retro games from the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive) consoles. A couple of new controllers matching the new announcement were also confirmed for the Switch.
Named the Expansion Pack, this N64 and Genesis game carrying new tier will sit on top of the standard Nintendo Switch Online membership, and it is slated to go live in late October. The games announced to be available exclusively via the service at launch were as follows:
Nintendo 64 Sega Genesis The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Starfox 64 Super Mario 64 Mario Kart 64 Mario Tennis Yoshi's Story WinBack Dr. Mario 64 Sin and Punishment Ecco the Dolphin Musha Streets of Rage Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Castlevania: Bloodlines Gunstar Heroes Shining Force Ristar Shinobi III Contra: Hard Corps Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Golden Axe Phantasy Star IV Strider More titles like Banjo-Kazooie, Pokémon Snap, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Paper Mario will be added later as the Expansion Pack service matures. Unfortunately, pricing was not revealed today, but it is slated to sit higher than the current $19.99 per year cost of the regular membership.
Meanwhile, the company is also bringing out official Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis Wireless Controllers for the Switch. These will come in at $49.99 each but once again, no exact release dates were revealed today. Check them out in the tweet above.