Mass Effect 2 and 3 Available on Xbox One Store

Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, two of the most critically acclaimed games of all time (despite the ending of the latter), are now available digitally on the Xbox One. While the Xbox One has had it tough lately when it comes to new games, they are continuing to build their digital library of older games that gamers yearn for. The games cost $19.99 a piece, which doesn’t include the DLC. If you already owned the titles and bought the downloadable content previously though, you’ll automatically get them free of charge, as you’ve already purchased them.

Mass Effect 2 and 3 Available on Xbox One Store

Mass Effect 2 has a 96 Metacritic score, one of the most renowned games of all time, while Mass Effect 3 has a score of a 93, which isn’t too shabby either. In fact, if the ending hadn’t needed fixing in the first place, the game may have scored even higher. If you haven’t played the Mass Effect trilogy before or a loved one hasn’t and you have an Xbox One, this would be a perfect holiday gift. The Mass Effect Trilogy is one of the best series’ in all of gaming and it’s a shame that Mass Effect Andromeda couldn’t live up to its predecessor’s legacy.

Regardless, these games are a must-have for anyone who doesn’t own them or hasn’t played them and will fill the gap with the lack of exclusive games on the Xbox One this holiday season.


Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

Now I have to be completely clear when I say this: Xenoblade Chronicles, as a series, has eclipsed modern Final Fantasy. That is what this article is about. I am not referring to retro Final Fantasy or anything before Final Fantasy XII. As a series though, Xenoblade’s quality has eclipsed Final Fantasy; there is no doubt about that. Nothing is more evident than comparing Final Fantasy XV, which masquerades as an “open world”, with Xenoblade Chronicles X or Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Even the first game, after a game-altering event, offered plenty of exploration and incredibly fun and challenging sidequests. Xenoblade is the new Final Fantasy of this generation.

While X was more character-driven (you could argue the characters weren’t interesting, though I disagree), 1 and 2 are plot-driven with some really awesome characters to boot. Even Noctis’ companions are great characters in Final Fantasy XV and Ardyn is a great villain (ohhh Keiji Fujiwara!), but Noctis himself is so bland. The game is hollow, almost a fraud.

Tetsuya Takahashi’s Beginnings

Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

Ironically, Tetsuya Takahashi, the brainchild behind all the Xeno games, originally worked for Squaresoft. His first game, Xenogears, was originally considered to be Final Fantasy VII. That would have altered history quite a bit! The heads of Square thought the game’s themes were too complex though. The religious overtones didn’t help matters. Takahashi and his team were still young though, and contrary belief about budget issues, the development team had trouble meeting the two-year development cycle. That’s why the second disc is gutted, but a cult classic was still born.

Takahashi was still young though. He went on to create Monolith Soft and left Square. He came up with the Xenosaga series, which was meant to span multiple episodes and be a spiritual successor to Xenogears, but in Takahashi’s eyes, the games were a failure.

We released three games in the Xenosaga series, but they weren’t very well received. It was really mortifying. All of the young team members felt that way, not just the leaders. So we all decided, ‘Next time we need to make a game that players will enjoy.’ So that made the atmosphere during the Xenoblade Chronicles development very different compared to other games.

We began Monolith Soft in 1999, with funding from Namco before they became Bandai Namco. The first game we made was Xenosaga, but because we were developing it while we were building the organization, we didn’t have enough people. The programmers and the planners were all rookies. At the time, the director of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X,  [Koh] Kojima, had just joined the company right after graduating college.”

Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

“And, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but the graphics engine was only completed six months before the development deadline. That’s the schedule we were on. So—and this is a bit of an excuse—but at the time, I felt that because no one on the team making Xenosaga had any experience, it might be a little too difficult for us to make our ideal game yet.

While the stories of the games were incredible, the execution was lacking and the third game was the only one that was enjoyable from a gameplay-standpoint. Sorya Saga, Takahashi’s wife, also claims that after the story was meddled with in production and Bandai Namco took her off the project in the middle of Xenosaga: Episode II. The saga was changed forever. She was the scenario writer of the series.

Xenosaga was canceled after its third game, which was actually pretty good and was a fitting conclusion to the saga. After this, Nintendo bought Monolith Soft, and a new era was born. Takahashi began work on Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii.

Xenoblade versus Final Fantasy

xenoblade is the new final fantasy

The Xenoblade games are all open-world. They lack the “illusion” Final Fantasy XV has, which claims to be open-world but in reality the world is barren and you spend most of your time in a car driving along a road. Sure, there is some exploration, but it was not as advertised. It pales in comparison to Xenoblade, and while not as linear as its predecessor, it is a rather linear game with few rewarding sidequests. Xenoblade puts Final Fantasy to shame in this respect, and reviewers even agree. While Final Fantasy XV received an 81 score on MetacriticXenoblade Chronicles received a 92. This is despite the fact that the graphics were atrocious (they were below PlayStation 2 standards, probably because of the massive world that was created on an underpowered system).

Xenoblade X and Xenoblade 2 are sitting at an 84 on Metacritic, and there’s a chance Xenoblade Chronicles 2 could still rise, as not all reviews are in. Xenoblade Chronicles X has a user score of an 8.9, which is close to Xenoblade Chronicles’ 9.0. The games are rife with exploration, especially Xenoblade Chronicles X. It’s sad that IGN claims one of the faults of the game is that “Getting from place to place can be confusing” and that the minimap is junk. The last part is debatable, but it’s called exploration I don’t want a game that holds my hand. Xenoblade 2‘s world is incredible. The exploration and secrets about are so rewarding. Also, there was no problem with lack of direction in Breath of the Wild.

Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

Takahashi has gone back to a story-driven game with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but that doesn’t mean the world isn’t massive. There are plenty of secrets and unlockables to discover that are actually fun. The combat in the series is top-class as well. While the combat system in Final Fantasy XIII is enjoyable, the game is so linear that it’s laughable. It stops being fun. It is not an enjoyable game and the story is incredibly pretentious. Takahashi learned from previous mistakes and his religious and philosophical overtones are much more subtle.

The Bottom Line

Final Fantasy XII had some story problems and many complained about the gameplay. Final Fantasy XIII was a linear mess with an over-pretentious story no one understood with unlikeable characters. Its sequels were not that much better. Final Fantasy XV was better but not nearly as good as advertised. And it was the kind of open-world game that was promised, although it had a great villain in Ardyn.

Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

Xenoblade (all three) are superior in every facet: gameplay, exploration, story, combat (XV’s attempt at live-action combat was sad), and the series is filled with endearing characters. Tetsuya Takahashi has crafted some amazing worlds and has finally surpassed the company he left so many years ago. Nintendo is actually incredibly supportive, as opposed to Square and Namco Bandai before them.

Maybe the sales aren’t there yet for the series, but the Xenoblade games are masterpieces. The original had a limited North American release and Xenoblade X came out on a dying system. Both sold over 900,000 (Xenoblade Chronicles sold over one million if you count 3DS sales) copies. The potential is there. It’s not the 6.5 million units that Final Fantasy XV has sold thus far, but Xenoblade is still in its infancy. It doesn’t hurt that this latest game is coming out on the Nintendo Switch, which could eventually eclipse the PlayStation 4 in sales.

Xenoblade is the new Final Fantasy

Tetsuya Takahashi is a genius. As long as Nintendo continues to guide the series, there are no heights that it can’t reach. And that includes surpassing Final Fantasy in quality, which it clearly has from a quality standpoint. The next step is competing with sales numbers, which may be possible on the Nintendo Switch.

Daisy Ridley is Done Playing Rey After Episode IX

Well, this is a real shame, especially if it turns out Rey is Luke’s daughter. It’s an even bigger bummer because she’s a fantastic character and actress. Daisy Ridley will depart the Star Wars Saga after Episode IX, as she told Time Magazine in an interview. She feels the final chapter in the trilogy rounds out Rey’s story perfectly.

I am really, really excited to do the third thing and round it out, because ultimately, what I was signing on to was three films, so in my head, it’s three films. I think it will feel like the right time to round it out.

Daisy Ridley is Done Playing Rey After Episode IX

This quote is not definitive though. I don’t think they will kill off such a prominent character such as Luke Skywalkers (possibly) last apprentice. Ridley even exclaims “who knows” when faced with a potential return to the saga.

I honestly feel like the world may end in the next 30 years, so, if in 30 years, we are not living underground in a series of interconnected cells, then sure. Maybe. But again, it’s like, who knows.

Daisy Ridley is Done Playing Rey After Episode IX

Whether she’s serious or not, Daisy is saving the world day-by-day as Rey in the Star Wars films. She next stars in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, which opens in a mere 14 days. Mark Hamill has exclaimed that the film is the best Star Wars movie since Empire, and with the stakes so high, that is a bold claim. It’s coming from Hamill though. He wouldn’t just say something like that if he didn’t mean it.

Hopefully, JJ Abrams learns a bit from Rian Johnson and doesn’t try to re-create Return of the Jedi but instead kill our favorite hero, Rey.

Xenoblade Chronicles X May Come to the Nintendo Switch

Monolith Soft is thinking long and hard about porting Xenoblade Chronicles X, a masterpiece in its own right, to the Nintendo Switch. This would leave the original Xenoblade Chronicles as the only game that would be unplayable on Nintendo’s hit platform. The game actually sold rather well, and according to VGChartz sold just under one million copies on a system which was, by that point, essentially dead. It didn’t get the exposure it deserved and it ended on a crazy cliffhanger. Perhaps this is their chance to tie up all the loose ends, especially given Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s expansion pass (I know the Japanese DLC was included in the US version, but still).

This comes straight from the master, Tetsuya Takahashi, himself.

Personally speaking, there are times I feel like playing Xenoblade Chronicles X and think about how nice it would be to play it on the Nintendo Switch. Of course that will depend on demand and such, but I will think about it while discussing future plans with Nintendo.

Two words: Flying Mechs. It really is an incredible game, which is why I scored it a 10/10, and it was the culmination of years of Takahashi’s work including Xenogears, Xenosaga, and now XenobladeXenoblade Chronicles 2 has the potential to crush them all, but that’s a lot of pressure for one game. There have been rumors since before this statement that X would come to the Switch, so this would not be surprising in the least.

And it may take faster than we think if we were to believe Takahashi-san.

The ease or speed of developing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 stems a lot from our having already created this architecture with Xenoblade Chronicles X. The game portion of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is kind of overlaid on top of that fundamental architecture. I think that made the biggest contribution to why development went so fast.

Takahashi previously told Time this. Could the early rumors have been true?

Nintendo Switch 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The Nintendo Switch had the best Black Friday out of all the other video game consoles. Putting that aside for a moment, a number of children, families, and even adults are waiting until Christmas in order to purchase the console/handheld hybrid. Better yet, some may just receive it from Santa himself. Here in our Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide, we put together the must-have games, accessories, and systems that Nintendo has put out over the past year.


This year Nintendo launched the New Nintendo 2DS XL. While it is unable to do 3D like its counterpart, it is perfect for youngsters with still-developing eyes. There are so many games available on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, including most of the Zelda saga, as well as lighter, more family-friendly games. Anyhow for anyone without a Nintendo 2DS or 3DS, this is a must-buy, especially given the massive game library for the system. The system does cost $149.99, although there is always the original Nintendo 2DS if that is too steep for you at $79.99, although the former is much more likely to last longer. This particular item linked to actually comes packed in with a game, the magnificent Mario Kart 7, which is for all ages.

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s crowning achievement. It has been the culmination of years of work and finally, it’s paying off. The system was the best-selling console on Black Friday and has an incredibly impressive lineup of games to go along with it. If you’re looking for a new gaming console, have a family, or want to play Zelda and other fun games, the Switch is for you. By Christmas, the Switch will have a total of seven first-party titles published and developed directly by Nintendo, including two of the greatest games of all-time, Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. This doesn’t take into account third-party games that got Nintendo’s permission to use their intellectual property.

Nintendo 2017 Gift Guide

They have received and are receiving ports from Bethesda, one of the largest publishers in the world, as well as Rockstar Games. It is a system that brings people together and has a social component to it like no other console on the market. While families and children will love it, it’s not just a system for children; it’s a console for all ages, as Nintendo has shown with their third-party support.

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

As a 90s child, I can only reminisce about the Super Nintendo. I got it when it came out when I was five for Christmas and some of my fondest memories were playing together, with my family. In fact, it was my playing A Link to the Past with my dad which eventually drove my passion for the Zelda series. The system includes 20 of the SNES’s best games, such as A Link to the Past.

The Super Nintendo Classic is the perfect system to introduce younger gamers to the games of their parents’ generations, as well as a way for older families to rekindle their love for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and spend quality time together, as my family will be doing this Christmas.

It will be very difficult to find though, so if you are intent on picking one up, you have to be diligent. For $79.99 though, quite honestly its a steal considering what you get in the box. If you call ahead to GameStop or use their website, they are usually pretty good at telling you when they will be expecting shipments. I literally walked in, they opened a box, and I bought one as my Mom’s (as much as I want it) Christmas gift. It’s a fantastic gift for all ages.

Nintendo Switch Games

There are so many fantastic games that have been released this year for both the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. There are games for everyone, whether they be casual, children, families, or even adults. In fact, many of the games for the Nintendo Switch don’t simply apply to just one of those categories. Here are some must-have holiday titles for the Nintendo Switch.

1-2 Switch$49.99 (before discount)

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

1-2 Switch is an excellent, casual party game that is friendly to gamers and newcomers alike. This is a game that you could bring home and play with your mom and she’d understand it. She’d most likely have a great time with it. This is a must for families to pick up, even if the price is a little steep; it’s just too much fun to put down.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — $59.99

When the Nintendo Switch was unveiled, one of the most exciting prospects was being able to play Skyrim on-the-go. Bethesda followed through on their promise with a game that had surprisingly few bugs. It is the must-have third-party game for the Nintendo Switch this holiday season for those who have never experienced the original.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Ubisoft’s Mario/Rabbids mashup is nothing but pure fun. Not only that, it’s multiplayer, so you can enjoy it with a friend (isn’t that what the Switch is all about!?) Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is the most underrated title on the Nintendo Switch. It is a turned-based tactical game, but it never gets boring. This is one of the crossovers for the ages.

ARMS — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

ARMS is the wackiest brand-new IP to come from Nintendo since 2015 when the first Splatoon came out. The art style is eerily similar to Overwatch, which can be nothing but a compliment. There are also several new fighters joining the fray soon, for free! This fighting game is crazy and can either be played with motion controls with the JoyCons or a standard controller. If you don’t own a Switch Pro Controller or only have one pair of JoyCons, you will only be able to play single player. The cheaper option is to go for a Pro Controller and one player uses the JoyCons, but if not, be prepared to spend an extra $20 on brand new JoyCons.

Splatoon 2 — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

No one in their right mind thought that the Nintendo Switch would come out with a sequel to Splatoon so close to the system’s launch (it released in July). It came out, and gamers have been in love with it ever since. Despite the lack of split-screen multiplayer, it’s still one of the best shooters to grace any console in recent memory. It’s even receiving a hefty amount of brand new DLC — for free — heading into the new year. Splatoon 2 is smash hit in Japan, and the rest of the world will follow suit.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

While Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a port of the Wii U version of the game along with all of the game’s downloadable content (please do this Smash!), it is the best multiplayer experience that the Nintendo Switch has to offer. With plenty of tracks dating back the SNES days, along with plenty of new ones to enjoy, this competitive racing game is fun to the core. It can be both fun and competitive and that’s one of the game’s charms. You can also play it with the JoyCons alone, making multiplayer much easier.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 — $59.99

Nintendo Switch 2017 Holiday Guide

Continuing Tetsuya Takahashi’s Xeno series, this goes back to the original Xenoblade Chronicles‘ roots as a plot-driven game. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t much to explore though. Any RPG fan who enjoys real-time combat with compelling stories and characters need to check Xenoblade Chronicles 2 out.

Super Mario Odyssey — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

Super Mario Odyssey is already vying for several Game of the Year awards and is regarded as the best Mario game since Mario 64. That’s quite a legacy to live up to! The game is a fun-filled adventure with superb gameplay that never takes itself too seriously. If you buy any game for yourself or a significant other this holiday season, buy either this game or our next choice. It also has a two-player mode, so you can enjoy it with your family and friends!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

A launch title for the Nintendo Switch, Breath of the Wild set the standard for Nintendo’s hit console. There is plenty of exploration, puzzles to solve, mysteries to uncover, and secrets to unbury. While the story is on the light side, the new DLC pack may rectify this one flaw of the game. Everything else is perfection. The game rivals Ocarina of Time as the best video game of all time.

Other games to consider: Fire Emblem Warriors, L.A. Noire, Doom, and Sonic Mania. 

3DS Games

Pókemon Ultra Sun/Moon — $39.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

These are the last two installments in the Nintendo 3DS family of games. Time sure flies, huh? They are selling stellarly in Japan and there’s no reason they won’t be hits here as well, considering how good Pókemon Sun/Moon were.

Fire Emblem Echos: Shadows of Valentia

— $39.99

Nintendo 2017 Gift Guide

Fire Emblem Echos came out earlier this year and while there seemed to be a lot of hype around the game, it seemed to have fizzled out. It got stellar reviews and was a fantastic game though. It’s a must-have for any Fire Emblem fan or those who love tactical RPGs.

Metroid: Samus Returns — $39.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Metroid: Samus Returns is a remake of one of Samus’ previous adventures, Metroid II. It’s a side-scrolling action-adventure game that is filled with thrills and will definitely appeal to the old-school gamer. It was the highest reviewed game of the year on the Nintendo 3DS and promises not to disappoint.


Many accessories for the 3DS system of families are not really needed at this point, but there are plenty of accessories that are perfect for the Nintendo Switch!

JoyCons — $79.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

While JoyCons aren’t currently in stock at Amazon, there are plenty of places you can pick them up and if you order the Neon JoyCons today, you save $12, even though they, again, out of stock. They also come in many different colors, so be sure to check them all out!

Charging Grip — $29.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The Charging Grip should have come out of the box with the Switch, but alas, it didn’t and here we are. This grip will allow you to plug in your grip if your JoyCons die on you while playing, which happens more often than you would think. It’s the perfect gift for someone who plays a lot of Zelda without a Pro Controller.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller — $69.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a necessity, especially if you are playing games like ZeldaSkyrimMario Kart, DOOM, even Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It works great with larger hands and is the ultimate controller for Switch gamers, especially those who play more hardcore games. With at least 40 hours of play, this Pro Controller will never fail you and even rivals the Xbox One controller.


Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

What Nintendo holiday gift guide could end without talking about amiibo? Nintendo has released five Breath of the Wild amiibo prior to this past November upon the game’s initial release. In early November, they released the Champion amiibo, which are a must-have for anyone who plays Breath of the Wild. Their drops are both useful and valuable, and besides that, the level of detail on them is astonishing. Any Zelda fan would love just one, and they have been much easier to find than amiibo in years past.

We also recommend this screen protector for your Switch tablet.  It’s only $8.99 and a fantastic deal on Amazon.

For those who do not have a carrying case, this NES-style case will do just the trick nicely. It costs $22.99 on Amazon.

Of course, there’s so much more we could put in here, but simply put, these are the essentials every Switch fan needs.

Happy Holidays and we’ll be back for our next installment in the series and move on to Sony!

Xenosaga Character Crosses Over into Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Oh Monolith Soft, you have made my dreams come true after toying with my heart for such a long time. I really am trying not to be biased here, but this news is just that incredible.

Tonight, the official Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Twitter account tweeted out a video and some artwork of one of the most beloved and badass characters in JRPG history. Any Xeno fan will know her well, and she will act as a Blade in the game.

KOS-MOS is back! I can’t simply be objective here. It makes my heart flutter. Namco Bandai, Tetsuya Takahashi and Monolith Soft KOS-MOS were able to incorporate the beloved character from the Xenosaga series in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Her design is by her original character designer, Kunihiko Tanaka.

We have no idea if her role is large or small, but regardless, the hunt will be on. Hardcore fans will waste no time attempting to find her. While she may just be a side character, given her history, I doubt Bandai Namco would take the time for their artists to design her and give her a role in the game if she were to have an almost non-existent part in the game.

Xenosaga Character Crosses Over into Xenoblade Chronicles 2

This isn’t Xenosaga 4 which fans have been hoping for. That will never happen, unfortunately. But to put KOS-MOS in a game of this magnitude, especially considering that she is carrying twin Zohars(!!!!) as her weapons, well…who really knows at this point. This may open up the door for future collaborations, depending on how the game does.

Special Edition of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Reveals Soundtrack Listing

The sound collection listing from the soundtrack that comes with the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 special edition has been revealed. A long-time collaborator of Tetsuya Takahashi (he did some music for Xenoblade Chronicles and composed the music for Xenosaga Episode I), Yasunori Mitsuda, has several pieces in the 12-track sound collection; four to be exact.

Special Edition of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Reveals Soundtrack Listing

Continuing with the parallels from the original Xenoblade Chronicles, many of the names on the sound collection are more than just a little familiar; they actually worked on the original game. Many fans criticized the music of Xenoblade Chronicles X, although it was composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, who is known for his work on anime such as Attack on Titan and Netflix’s The Seven Deadly Sins, as well as Aldnoah.ZeroXenoblade Chronicles 2 does go back to the series’ roots though, as it is more plot-driven, so it makes sense that they would go back to the composers who created such magnificent music for the original game.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 comes out on December 1. One hope is that it receives the same treatment as Xenoblade Chronicles, which came out with a masterful four-disc original soundtrack. While a sound collection is nice, a full soundtrack would be even better, especially with so many great composers on board.