Rundown (7/07-7/13) The Lattice Method

Back in grade school when I was learning long multiplication, my teacher introduced my class to a method to simplify complex multi-digit multiplication problems into single digit problems known as the Lattice Method.  It involves taking the equation, making a grid or rather a lattice, and then splitting the equation into several single digit multiplication problems, the answers of which are added up at the end to determine the overall answer to the equation.  It was always my preferred method of multiplication, but once I started attending high school, none of my teachers understood what this method was or why I was doing it, and since then I have never heard anybody reference this method, at all. Which is weird because while it is a bit time consuming and requires a sizable amount of space to write out, it is a very easy and reliable way to calculate an equation.  Anyways, that’s all I have to share this week. Time for video games!

Seeing as how Pokemon Sword and Shield are a few months away, it’s time for the usual hype cycle to kick up in the form of piecemeal announcements casually distributed over time, ultimately revealing the vast majority of information about the games prior to launch since, let’s be real, everything’s going to get leaked anyways.  Hell, a lot of it already leaked this past June.  Anyways, this new trailer showcased more general footage, a trio of new Pokemon, new characters, and Gigantamaxing, which is basically just Dynamax X Mega Evolutions, turning select Pokemon into more powerful variations with unique designs that… really are just Mega Evolutions.  

Alcremie is a sapient pile of cream and strawberries in a move that will draw ire amongst the heretics who dare to insult the purity of Vanillite, and from a gameplay perspective is a pure Fairy type capable of Gigantamaxing into a 30 meter tall cake… I love them.  Rolycoly is a sapient hunk of coal with evil red eyes that provides heat and power to the region, will most likely serve as this game’s secondary Geodude, and presumably turn either into a burning coal monster or a maybe a diamond themed Pokemon akin to Carbink.  They would be cool if a pure Rock type were less… rubbish mechanically. Duraludon is a steely dragon, which is actually a rather beneficial type come to think of it, that looks like a bulky cheap robot suit from the 60s, or in other words MechaGodzilla, and will likely serve as this generation’s single stage dragon type.  Which limits their viability, but… eh.

As for the new waifus and husbandos characters, they are once again leaving a stronger impact on the greater fanbase than the new Pokemon themselves, with artists racing to get in on this new fangled hotness to draw in more followers, patrons, and supporters, and making pages and pages of lewds of them.  Overall, I look forward to seeing this building cast in a somewhat reduced capacity throughout the game, and wishing they were afforded more characterization given the amount of time and work went into their designs, animations, and overall creation process. Also, good on Game Freak for making the choice between versions hard, as people will need to choose between Bea, a fit fighting girl with visible abs exclusive to Sword, and Allister, a spooky masked ghost boy exclusive to Shield, who will probably get shygal’d, femme-boi’d, and generally paired with Bea by artists because they were announced at the same time.  

But that was not the most notable Nintendo news this week, as the rumors were obviously true and Nintendo unveiled the Nintendo Switch Lite, a smaller version of their wildly successful system that is most notable for being a cheaper and more limited version of the original model.  It is a handheld-only device that cannot connect to a dedicated screen via the Nintendo Switch dock, lacks HD Rumble and the IR Motion Camera, and has a redesigned controls interface that removed the detachable Joy-Cons.  You can still connect Joy-Cons if you want to, but the system lacks a kickstand, so good luck playing it without an accessory. Oh, and it also has a D-Pad.

The system will launch at the attractive price point of $200 on September 20th, but comparing the features available between this and the original Switch… it’s kinda rubbish, if only due to the lack of a TV mode.  I would understand needing to buy an additional controller and dock, which would set someone back $160 at MSRP, but as far as I can tell, there is no clear reason why TV mode is disabled.  Because now the system cannot Switch. You guys took the Switch part out of the Nintendo Switch. You have a Nintendo Switch No-Switch!  

Actually, thinking about it for a bit and trying to fan-canon this reality into something more palatable, they probably tested the Lite with a dock, but the dang thing overheated or something, so they just disabled TV mode.  It’s easier than reengineering everything, and a lot cheaper, so it is a reasonable enough explanation. That, and this is a good way to get people to double dip. Nintendo made oodles by selling people multiple 3DSes, so I can imagine that they want to achieve similar results here.  Or in other words, the reason the Switch Lite is lacking in some regards is because it’s good for capitalism. Hooray!

Following the successful PC release of Earth Defense Force 4.1 a while back, it was only a matter of time before December 2018’s Earth Defense Force 5 was ported to the platform, and it abruptly came out on July 11th.  Yes, this iterative installment in the cathartic insect, robot, and alien kill-a-thon series is available on my platform of choice, and is indeed on my radar.  But as I pointed out in my review of EDF 4.1, I think that this series should make a few significant changes going forward, none of which seem to be implemented in EDF 5.  Oh well.  It should still be pretty fun regardless.

Moving onto localization news, because you can never have enough of that, in an interview with Easy Allies Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo stated, assuming this translation is accurate, that Falcom is looking into ways on bringing over Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki to modern systems in the form of enhanced ports.  Once these plans are solidified, Falcom will begin talking to foreign publishers about localization, which is something that Trails, or Kiseki, fans have been pleading for ever since Trails in the Sky came out in the west.  

I am glad to see an acknowledgement being made about bringing these titles to the west with an official English translation, but I cannot say that I personally care all that much about it.  In short, I played Trails of the Sky for 10 hours a few years ago, was disinterested in its meticulously crafted world and characters, found the combat fairly plain, and thought that the game was an unsightly blend of beautiful low poly environments and ugly pre-rendered character sprites.  Seeing as how these two titles iterate upon Trails of the Sky mechanically, thematically, and visually, I cannot say that I am all too interested in checking them out.  I know people will tell me that in order to understand this series you need to play every game but… honestly, hearing that just makes me want to brush off this series rather than eventually give it another go with Trails of Cold Steel.  …Which I will maybe possibly get to within the next year.  Goodness is my schedule stupidly packed…

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