By Ronald Gordon
Hello and welcome back to the Roundup! It’s the Critics Circle’s method of highlighting the articles written by interns and members alike. Fall is on the way as Summer is coming to a close, so that means plenty of new game releases and announcements are on the horizon. This week we’ve got plenty of news from all over, starting with a review of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and ending with some outside news – with plenty of articles in between.
Isaac brings a review of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and how its emotional moments left him reeling from their impact. “Not only is every corner of vast Aionos filled with details and lore, but the main narrative is an emotional roller coaster.” Isaac’s says that Xenoblade 3’s world is not just an expansive one, but an impactful one that rewards exploration as well. “Exploration is also integral to Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and it makes the world feel full and alive. Every region of Aionos presents some kind of searchable structure, enemy or NPC for you to interact with.” You can really get lost in Xenoblade 3’s world, much like Isaac did in his time playing, and that’s a great thing for such an emotionally driven game since it keeps you playing even though the toughest experiences.
Newest intern Khloe Wilkerson writes about Live A Live and how it left her in awe at how good it was. With a story spanning across seven protagonists all across different time periods, Live A Live tackles a lot with its concept and fulfills a lot more through its story. “Its ability to combine all seven into a cohesive whole inspires the creators of JRPGs almost three decades on, making it so cool,” writes Khloe, expressing how Live A Live’s handling of its premise kept her engaged, and how the meaning of each story appealed to her. “Each tale has a message to convey or a novel element to offer the genre such as lead, defend, and protect what is yours, and forbid anything evil. There is always some kind of good in these stories even when, in the heat of battle, it may not seem like it.” It’s a wonderful review, I’d definitely suggest reading it if you want to learn more.
Jatin Gundara is a recent winner of the Circle’s Teen Fair Game Writing Challenge, and an avid fan of Chrono Trigger. Growing up, the game that Jatin had as his awakening to gaming was Chrono Trigger’s DS port. While it may be an unconventional game for someone so young, Chrono Trigger holds a special place in Jatin’s heart because of the smart way its important components blend together. “A component that is key to Chrono Trigger’s undying appeal is its beautiful art direction and sound design, the pinnacles of design in video games, retro or modern. The detail that went into each sprite, dungeon, and map of this game is utterly astounding, especially when considering the technical limitations of its time,” he writes. The care and time put into making a game like Chrono Trigger isn’t lost on Jatin in the slightest, his appreciation throughout the article is refreshing to encounter. It’s definitely worth the read.
In an article on Observer, founder Harold Goldberg talks about an interactive film called Immortality and how it can astound movie fans. Immortality plays off the ideas of interactivity in movies and does so beautifully in Harold’s eyes: “Immortality’s raw content is sometimes offensive. And its pace is slowed by consideration of the facts. That’s only right. It’s not fast-moving like a shooter or fighting game. It invites you to play with purpose, carefully piecing together plots, theories and clues, thinking deeply about what you’ve just witnessed.” Immortality is something unique, and something that people should embrace as a great piece of interactive media; take Harold’s review as proof that it’s true.
Moving onto Members, Tony Polanco gives us a quick heads up about the Meta Quest 2 and what’s to be expected when it comes out. The new Meta Quest 2 has been in the works for months now, and while there have been many articles summarizing the machine’s specs, Tony takes a different turn with his article. Beginning with a brief warning, “The Meta Quest Pro VR headset could be announced on October 11, 2022, during the Meta Connect conference at 10 AM PT.” Tony reminds people that Meta Quest 2 could be coming soon and why that may be a good or bad thing. “Zuckerberg didn’t delve into other specifics, but it has already been confirmed that the Quest Pro will be a ‘high-end headset’ with a price tag to match. While a figure hasn’t been officially revealed, it’s speculated that it could cost as much as $1,500.”
Alyssa Mercante tells you how you can play the new Disney Dreamlight Valley game, without Xbox Game Pass. Although Game Pass’ list of games is growing as the days go on, it won’t be long before their current roster is replaced by other games. If you’re really in the market for a bit of Disney Dreamlight Valley and lack Xbox accessibility, you’re not out of luck just yet. “Disney Dreamlight Valley is going free-to-play across all platforms sometime in 2023, but if you don’t want to wait you can get access to the game right now by buying one of three Disney Dreamlight Valley Founders Packs.” Granting early access to not only the game but tons of in-game currency, Founder Packs allow any who are interested a fascinating look into a whole new world of possibilities.
Destiny 2’s King Fall Raid is made easier by Whitney Meers’ excellent guide on how to Beat All the Areas. The final boss of the most recent event for Destiny 2 was actually a part of the original game, the familiar face of Oryx the Taken King: “The goal here is to defeat Oryx, The Taken King, and while you may consider yourself an expert if you beat the original, this new iteration has some revamped mechanics and changes that will throw off even the most experienced of players in this FPS game.” While the many hurdles in between the player and Oryx have been reshaped to be more of a challenge, Whitney brings advice ranging from changing character builds to referencing strategies from expert players. If you find yourself struggling even getting to Oryx, I’d highly suggest giving her article a read.
Lastly, save your money on microphones with Jorge Jimenez’s article on Budget Mics to invest in. Everyone who wants a career in content creation for Games needs a good microphone for the task at hand. Unfortunately, despite there being a vast number of choices, there aren’t a lot of good microphones that those on a budget can afford. Jorge brings an end to the worry of not having enough money by gathering up the best cheap microphones on the market. “Would you believe that some of the best microphones for streaming and gaming cost less than $100? I’m not kidding; the audio quality on the best cheap microphones I picked out can rival even some premium ones that are double, or in some cases, even triple, the cost. And the best part? Your listeners probably won’t hear the difference.” Check it out if you’re thinking of starting a streaming career and need a cost effective mic to start out with!
Beyond the Circle
In recent news the Church Mod for Nier: Automata has been released to the public. The mod that was originally disguised as a hidden part of the game, throwing the Nier: Automata fandom into an uproar, went from a hoax to an addition to the game’s mod list on Nexus Mods. IGN writer Ryan Leston explains, “And while some fans may have been disappointed that it wasn’t an official tease, many in the community have embraced this as a new era for the series, given modding the game was thought to be practically impossible.” Adding new portions to games like Nier is terrific news for the various modding communities. Ryan also adds the history of the Church mod in his article, so I highly suggest you give it a read if you’re out of the loop.
Ronald Gordon is a New York Videogame Critics Circle senior intern. He was the first of our writers – or any intern anywhere – to complete an internship at Rockstar Games.