[Disgaea 2]SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2’ Review, Plus ‘Disgaea 6’ and Today’s Other New

  Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for June 29th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a little bit of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate news to look at before we get into a full-sized review of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. After that, we have a handful of new releases to look at, and I don’t think any of them are bad. Rare! We also have the usual lists of new and outgoing sales, but they aren’t too exciting today. The lists are there anyway, because who knows what you might find that I overlooked? Let’s get going!

  Kazuya Mishima Arrives in ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Today

  Announced in Nintendo’s E3 Direct a couple of weeks ago, Kazuya Mishima from Tekken is the latest character to join the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In typical fashion, Mr. Sakurai went into detail about the character in a video and announced at the end that Kazuya would be coming the very next day. And that is today! Neat. You can buy him separately or get him as part of the Fighters Pass 2. With just one character left to come, the latest group of Mii Fighter DLC costumes seem to be knocking out some hotly-requested choices that didn’t make the cut. Dante from Devil May Cry, Shantae, the Dragonborn from Skyrim, and Lloyd of Tales of Symphonia lend their looks for this penultimate batch.

  

  Like the old adage says, you don’t really know what you have until it’s gone. Fifteen years ago, people were complaining that there were too many Tony Hawk games and that they weren’t doing enough to differentiate themselves from each other. Can you imagine? Too many Tony Hawk games! Too similar, please make some fundamental changes! Well, those folks soon got their wish. The skyrocketing Guitar Hero series needed a developer, and the Tony Hawk creators Neversoft ended up being it. With that, the series largely shifted over to another developer who took the games in a very different direction that wasn’t very popular.

  After a few of those, people were ready to have their old Tony Hawk games back. Luckily, the Guitar Hero series had largely fizzled out. Unluckily, so had Neversoft. So the new developer did its best to try to remake the first game in the series, to middling results. Perhaps unwisely, Activision then had this same team attempt to make a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5. It went very badly. Like, “worse than Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1″ badly. The series was put on hiatus, and that developer went with it. Would we ever get that old THPS flavor again?

  

  See, it’s actually really easy to mess up a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game. There’s a very particular feel to the controls and physics that can be hard to imitate, and if you fail at that then nothing you do after that will matter. The level designs are also quite important. They’re easier to copy than the gameplay mechanics, but if you have to generate any original stages you really need to understand what made those Neversoft levels sing. There’s thought behind the placement of every object, every rail, every ramp. They look like open areas, but to a veteran’s eyes a good Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater level looks like a bunch of combos waiting to happen. Making a good Tony Hawk game is hard, and the developer who was best at it is long gone.

  But you know who isn’t gone? Vicarious Visions, the developer that served as one of the franchise’s back-up teams for the entire Neversoft era. It made those impressive Game Boy Advance ports. It made the PlayStation 1 version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. It made the excellent Nintendo DS games. And it was Vicarious Visions that got the call when Activision decided to take another crack at this whole Tony Hawk revival thing again. The idea was to take the levels and pro skaters from the first two games, incorporate some of the added gameplay mechanics of the third game, bring back as much of the original soundtrack as possible, and put the prettiest possible face on a game that felt just like the classics, a task that was aided by having access to some of the original data from those very games.

  

  This is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, and it made its debut on the big-pants consoles last year. People really liked it, and I’m quite sure we’ll be seeing further adventures of Mr. Hawk as a result. But could it be crammed onto the Switch’s more humble hardware as other recent Activision throwbacks have been? Vicarious Visions itself took on the job, having cut its teeth on the platform with the rather solid port of Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy. We’ve been down this road enough times to know that there would be some compromises, so the real question comes down to what sacrifices and how severe they are.

  First of all, in terms of game modes and options, everything made the transition intact. All of the multiplayer modes across online and splitscreen, all of the customization options, the park editor, all of the levels, you name it. The hit comes in the visuals, but as with many of the other Activision ports on the Switch, the cuts are sensible and leave the game largely intact. The biggest loss comes from kicking the action down to 30 fps from the 60 fps in other versions. It’s not as bad as you might think, mostly because it is a relatively rock-solid 30 fps (outside of multiplayer where things can get dicey in some levels). The classic games were built around a 30 fps target, so you probably won’t notice anything amiss if you’re moving directly to the Switch version of the remake.

  

  As for other visual changes, the geometry has been trimmed a bit and the resolution is lower. It still looks fine even on the big screen, though. More obvious are the extended loading times. Again, things Switch owners are probably used to by now, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s not egregious loading, but it’s long enough to make you wonder who might be failing to recognize Tony Hawk at whatever diner he’s eating at today. And that’s really it. Those are the compromises you’ll have to live with if you want to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 on the go. Certainly not bad, as this kind of thing goes.

  While you’ll have to give up on some of the visual razzle-dazzle and brisker loading times of the other versions, this is a fine way to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. It’s easily the best handheld Tony Hawk game yet, and that’s worth quite a lot. And while those with other options for playing on their TVs would do well to exercise them, if this is your only means of playing this superb reboot, I don’t think you’ll be upset with it in the least. Vicarious Visions has done an excellent job with the development of this game, and an equally impressive job porting the game to the Switch.

  SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

  

  SwitchArcade Highlight!

  Well, you probably saw my review of this one yesterday. This sixth Disgaea game shares a lot of good points with its predecessors and has some nice new features, but a combination of technical issues and some odd cuts mean it’s far from the slam dunk you might have hoped for. It’s not bad, and the usual Disgaea humor and grinding opportunities are here to enjoy, but if you were super-excited for this game I would recommend lowering your expectations a little. Handily my least favorite of the Disgaea games to release on the Nintendo Switch so far, but it’s still a Disgaea game.

  

  SwitchArcade Highlight!

  Wow, Zombies Ate My Neighbors! That’s a really great game that was ahead of its time in a lot of ways and is still incredibly unique in others. Dotemu handled this one and it plays quite well. Clearly based on the Super NES version. Choose Zeke or Julie and head out on a mission to save your stupid neighbors from zombies and other monsters using a wide assortment of weapons and items. Play with a friend for extra fun! There are some nifty extras in the museum section of the game, but overall this one is quite thin on the usual options. You can make a suspend save when you need to stop playing and… well, that’s all. Not even so much as any display options. Also, they cut out the title screen for some reason. You just go directly to the game itself, which is a bit of a bummer cuz I dig that title screen music and the MOOOHAAAHAAAHAAA when you hit start. Oh well. Your purchase of Zombies Ate My Neighbors also includes Ghoul Patrol, if for some reason you feel like playing that.

  

  SwitchArcade Highlight!

  It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. Sky: Children of the Light isn’t going to be unfamiliar to many of the people reading this site. It got a lot of noise when it launched on mobile and has built a strong following over the last couple of years. It’s an open world social adventure game where you play as one of the titular Children of Light, flying around and exploring various dreamlike worlds with other players. It’s free to start and as long as nothing dramatic has changed from the mobile version it should be easy to play it without breaking the bank. But there are things to buy if you’re that-way inclined.

  

  This is a fresh version of the 2005 game where you play the little gray man, so to speak. It’s silly as heck and goes all-in on its B-movie feel, and I’d be telling fibs if I said there wasn’t any joy to be had in zapping all those silly Earthlings. You’re Crypto-137 and you’ve arrived on Earth circa the 1950s. You need to harvest human DNA and destroy the American government using a wide array of alien weapons and psychic powers. You can even go for a little joy ride in your flying saucer and turn its arsenal on cities to raze them to the ground. This Switch version doesn’t look as spiffy as the versions on the big-pants consoles, but it runs quite well and remains good, stupid fun. I’ll be reviewing it soon if you need more details.

  

  The latest from DevilishGames is a very ambitious one by the developer’s standards. Onirike is a 3D action-adventure game with plenty of platforming and puzzles. You play as an odd character named Prieto who can turn invisible. You’ll have to use Prieto’s skills to explore and cultivate flowers to reveal the story behind the world and its inhabitants. You’ll need to skulk around deadly soul devourers and move carefully, because Prieto isn’t much of a fighter. This game certainly has a cool look to it, but I’d have to spend some time with it to say if the gameplay end of it holds up.

  (North American eShop, US Prices)

  Pretty short lists on both fronts today, friends. The outbox has a few good games in it at least, with West of Loathing, Chasm, and Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion being my personal favorites from the bunch. With all the hot fire being spat in the new releases today, perhaps we should see this as a bit of mercy. Check those lists anyway.

  Select New Games on Sale

  

  Deiland: Pocket Planet ($11.99 from $19.99 until 7/5)

  Lichtspeer: Double Speer ($2.99 from $9.99 until 7/12)

  Mousecraft ($2.99 from $9.99 until 7/12)

  Warsaw ($11.99 from $19.99 until 7/12)

  Regalia: Of Men & Monarchs ($9.99 from $24.99 until 7/12)

  Airheart: Tales of Broken Wings ($6.29 from $17.99 until 7/12)

  Cinders ($7.99 from $19.99 until 7/12)

  Butcher ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/12)

  Spellkeeper ($1.99 from $5.99 until 7/16)

  Safari Pinball ($2.00 from $2.99 until 7/19)

  Adventure Pinball Bundle ($2.24 from $8.99 until 7/19)

  Abbie’s Farm for Kids & Toddlers ($8.99 from $9.99 until 7/19)

  Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 30th

  

  Adventures of Chris ($7.49 from $14.99 until 6/30)

  Bite the Bullet ($7.49 from $14.99 until 6/30)

  Caesar Empire War ($3.99 from $4.99 until 6/30)

  Chasm ($9.99 from $19.99 until 6/30)

  Die for Valhalla! ($2.39 from $11.99 until 6/30)

  Double Cross ($4.99 from $19.99 until 6/30)

  Grand Slam Tennis ($3.19 from $3.99 until 6/30)

  Joggernauts ($3.74 from $14.99 until 6/30)

  Legendary Eleven ($1.99 from $9.99 until 6/30)

  Legends of Talia: Arcadia ($2.09 from $2.99 until 6/30)

  Mable & The Wood ($3.74 from $14.99 until 6/30)

  Mexican Train Dominoes Gold ($1.99 from $3.99 until 6/30)

  

  Paradox Error ($3.99 from $4.99 until 6/30)

  Postal Redux ($5.99 from $9.99 until 6/30)

  Sakura Succubus ($6.99 from $9.99 until 6/30)

  Steamburg ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/30)

  Tetsumo Party ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/30)

  The King’s Bird ($4.99 from $19.99 until 6/30)

  Thea: The Awakening ($7.19 from $17.99 until 6/30)

  Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion ($11.99 from $14.99 until 6/30)

  West of Loathing ($6.93 from $11.00 until 6/30)

  Zombie Raid ($3.19 from $3.99 until 6/30)

  That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with another bunch of new releases to look at before getting to the heavier days that close out the week. There should be some news to check out, and almost certain some sales to consider. That will likely be the lot, as I’m still working on a few other reviews. I hope you all have a great Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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