My idealisation of VR and XR

Admittedly, my experience with VR, AR, and XR is rather limited – I have only tried VR and AR once or twice, and I have not had the opportunity to experience XR yet. Therefore, it is really difficult to dictate any device as a ‘favourite’ without having experienced them all. That said, I still have my own ideas and perceptions of what I desire with these devices. Hence what I write here will be a subjective analysis of the products based on my understanding of the devices and the ideas/technologies they represent.

Favourite VR Device

To me, the outstanding feature of a VR device is not necessarily how well the virtual world can be presented to the user – truth to be told, I think a good monitor(s) can really help with immersion. Instead, when I think of innovation in VR, I think of the controller. VR allows users the capabilities of 3-Dimensional inputs, with movements no longer restricted to just 2 dimensions. So what is the next step?

Image result for valve index controllers

Presenting the Valve Index and its unique controllers! Unlike most of the controllers on the market right now, these controllers do not just track your movements, but they track your fingers too! This allows for much more sophisticated controls – you can now pick up a ball just like in real life, instead of just pressing down on a button. With the controller straps, you could also go hands-free allowing actions users to ‘throw’ objects around naturally. While there has definitely been progress in hand-tracking technologies (such as with the Oculus Quest), I feel that the controller coupled with the hand tracking would allow for seamless transitions in gameplay/interactions between moving a character and performing hand gestures. Lest you end up with weird control schemes like in the Xbox Kinect, where users could use arm gestures naturally, but had to resort to doing weird actions with their bodies to move around (see: Star Wars Kinect).

While I have many thoughts about the other VR devices in the market, I think a short and concise summary of the product and my thoughts should suffice. Ranking from my favourite (after the Valve Index) to least favourite, they are:

Oculus Quest: A standalone VR headset with a relatively cheap price can go a long way in making VR very accessible. Even its short battery life has a silver lining – it is important to rest your eyes once in a while! Also, hand tracking!

PlayStation VR: Another accessible VR headset, that is if you already own a PlayStation 4 console. As the power of the hardware is limited by the PS4, it means that all the software that you buy can be played without any performance issues from having a weak CPU. With the support of Sony, the PlayStation VR also feature an extensive collection of high-quality games to play.

Oculus Rift S: The ‘OG’ VR headset is still quite decent, but the other options either have something unique, or are just more accessible. It also features a cable that helps to provide more power to the headset, but I can see that being a hinderance when users are trying to use the device.

Nintendo Switch VR Kit: While I am a big fan of the creative approach that Nintendo used to enter the VR market, the fact that you have to physically hold the ‘headset’ to your face the entire time looks really, really tiring. It also doesn’t help that it has a very limited library of games. Despite the ability to play older games with a new perspective (ie. The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey), it is hard to really judge how influential the new perspective can be without trying it out myself.

Favourite XR Device

On to XR, however, I am much less uninformed about the technology here. I wish I have had a chance to try out one of these products at least once, but I haven’t had the luck. To me, I think XR should be a device that one can use to enhance their daily lives, and I think the demo for Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 really sold it for me. Featuring hand-tracking (which I have already mentioned how much of a gamechanger it could be above), eye-tracking and voice-commands, it seems as though there are many different ways to control and enhance whatever the user is doing. Best of all (not really, but still pretty significant), it features a flip-visor, so that users can easily switch between the mixed reality and… reality without the hassle of removing the headset. Of course, the price is pretty steep, but if we’re looking at my favourite XR headset, this is pretty much what I want XR to be and more.

Image result for hololens 2

Once again, here are the other noteworthy XR devices ranked (after the Microsoft HoloLens 2) as follows:

Oculus Quest: I like it because it can do both VR AND XR, which really gives the user a lot of flexibility on how they want to use the device. Once again, my bias of hand-tracking is still present and swaying my opinions, especially for XR devices, since the user’s own body should be part of the mixed reality.

Magic Leap 1: Despite the lack of hand-tracking, the Magic Leap 1 does feature eye-tracking and voice commands, which still goes a long way in helping users interact with the virtual elements around them. Moreover, the Magic Leap 1 is also available with prescription lenses, which can prove to be helpful to someone like myself. However, the lower field of view compared to the HoloLens 2 seems to play a big part in ruining one’s immersion.

RealWear HMT-1: The RealWear HMT-1 is clearly designed for industrial workers, and while I can definitely see its use and impact, it is simply not what I am looking for in a XR headset. That said, I have to say that aesthetics and functionality wise, I love how the headset is part of a safety helmet, further emphasising what it is for.  

Review of Dark Souls 3, the Game Referred to by Journalists as “The Hardest Game Ever”


After more than 500 hours of playtime in this game, I can safely say that Dark Souls 3 is my favorite game.

Game description

It is an action role-playing video game from a third-person perspective. The game focuses heavily on high-intensity combat with the ability to dodge, block, parry, and stamina management as each action costs stamina which adds a certain challenge to the game.

The screenshot of the game UI. This is the first boss that you will face in the game and it is surprisingly difficult for a first boss.

Action screenshot from the same boss.

Link to the YouTube gameplay

Content (Graphics)  

To start, the game looks amazing visually for a game released in early 2016. The art style is inspired by culture from the late middle ages (1500 – 1600) and the amazing, slightly surreal gothic architecture adds to the unique aesthetics of the game. The music and art style really immersed me in the game and gives a certain dark and gloomy personality to the game which fits the main story.

Content (Gameplay)

The combat in this game is nothing short of a masterpiece. It is extremely fast-paced where I need to be aware of your enemies and surroundings at all time as a few hits are enough to kill my character. Not only that, there is a stamina bar which gets depleted every time you do an action (attack, dodge, run) and thus, it requires me to pay attention to stamina management too on top of the difficult, action-packed combat. While this overwhelmed me in the first few hours, it wasn’t long before I got used to it and started to really enjoy the fast-paced combat system. The difficulty of the combat keeps me on my toes at all time while playing the game which prevents the game from being boring/too easy near the end where most games would start to die down in terms of excitement or challenge (Card 38, The Lens of Challenge).

Despite the game being really-difficult, it is still very fair to the player. The enemies have well telegraphed attack animation with incredibly-accurate hit boxes which can be countered by dodging or parrying at the right timing. This is a skill than can be acquired through practice and it is not unfair to the players as experienced players can even complete the whole game without being hit once by paying attention to the enemies’ attacks. Moreover, the game starts of easy and gets progressively more difficult later-on which gives time to the players to get better at the game as the game progresses. I can really feel myself improving as I continue playing the game and it shows in the decreasing rate of my character dying (Card 39, The Lens of Skill).

The difficulty level is also mitigated by the appropriately-designed reward system. This game rewards players that are willing to take risks by exploring the harder areas early-on to get really-good weapons and armors that can carry them for a good chunk of the game. While playing this game, every reward that I got, be it item or weapon or armor, still give me a sense of pride and accomplishment as all the rewards require you to defeat a hard boss or reach a hard-to-reach areas. Moreover, each reward is always worth the effort it takes to get them where the harder it is to obtain the reward, the better it is. This amazing reward system is what made me want to keep playing the game as I feel like I am getting significantly-stronger after every reward that I get (Card 46, The Lens of Reward).

The game world is completely explorable and there is no explicit direction pointing towards the next checkpoint or goal. As such, you are free to explore the game without being forced to proceed in a certain way. While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea as this could possibly cause some players to get stuck and unable to proceed, I still find it to be enjoyable. By not having a clear direction, I feel truly immersed in the game as every direction is point my character to is completely based on my own decision and not influenced by the game’s storytelling or guidelines. This gives me a sense of freedom in gameplay as it allows me to choose what I want to explore in the game (Card 79, The Lens of Freedom).

The game’s story is not based on expositions or dialogue but more on the world-building. There is rarely any interaction or dialogue and the expositions are extremely cryptic. However, the game world is rich with unspoken stories. For example, a certain cursed area of the map shows signs of decay and the enemies gets more and more distorted as my character slowly fight his way to the center of the curse. As you progress through, more and more information about the curse slowly gets revealed before the climactic fight with the boss of the area. There was no dialogue throughout this whole section, but I still managed to get what the story is and how it happened. Moreover, each item in the game has a backstory to it (even objects like a candle) and this allows me to understand the story even more. This unique approach to story-telling really hooked me in as the lack of exposition is mitigated by not only the story-rich game world but also my imagination as to how things could have happened (Card 78, The Lens of Story).

Referring to The Elemental Tetrad

Amazing gothic aesthetics that fits the game’s dark tone and gloomy atmosphere which is complemented by the somber story of the game. The incredibly-accurate hit boxes of every single enemy in the game and the main character really shows how incredible the game’s technology is and the graphics is quite amazing for a 2016 game.

The combat mechanics are where the game really shine where the fluid, fast-paced, and action-packed combat managed to keep the me engaged throughout the whole game. Usually a game feels stale when approaching the ending of the game, but this game still managed to keep me on my toes the whole time even until the 2nd time I played it. The need to manage my stamina, while at the same time avoiding enemy attacks, and the fluid player attack animation makes every enemy encounter exciting.

Overall, this is a very solid game with fluid combat and awesome art style. Despite the game being almost 4 years old, it still has an active community playing which shows just how amazing this game is. I would give it a 10/10.

Overcooked 2 Review

Image result for overcooked 2 story
Poster for Overcooked 2.


Just as the saying goes: “Too many cooks spoil the broth “. Who would think that creating a cooking game for a party of 4 bring about so much chaos in terms of swearing and screaming! Overcooked 2 is a 2v2 Versus / Local Co-Op 1-4 players  party game where you try to manage the chaos in your kitchen while serving dishes on time.

Imagine trying to serve a plate of French fries, your friend trying to find an extinguisher to put out the fire, your friend fell into a trap: this chaos and catastrophe perfectly sums up a simple level in Overcooked.  

Lens 78: The Lens of Story  

Cut-scene from Overcooked 2 Co-Op Mode

You and your friends become cooks to save the Onion Kingdom through venturing different maps to cook and serve food to save the day! Throughout the game, you get to experience different rounds depending on the progress of the storyline and face different scenarios and obstacles which you will need to overcome.

The story was well-thoughted as it really makes you feel like a cook, doing your best to save the day by trying to manage the challenge with your friends in order not to burn something or overcook something which you need to serve. But honestly, it feels like a series of rounds and levels patched together with a thin layer of plot which had little to no significance to whatever you are doing in the game itself.

Honestly, the game did not need a story as I did not really watch the cutscenes and wanted to skip them in order to play the main game. What could have been done better is that the game could have added elements or decision trees during the rounds which affects the future levels and the story which you are going through.

Lens 38: The Lens of Challenge

Image result for overcooked 2 fire
Cooks trying to put out the fire in their kitchen!

Levels do not get progressively difficult. However, there is an interesting twist to this: you get to experience a huge variety of different kinds of maps with different challenging obstacles. For example, you would have to make sure you do not go too fast on the icy levels where you might slip and fall or navigating through the platforms in the space levels. It gets exciting the first few times you play it as you get to enjoy different levels with your friends. However, as you play it again and again, you might find it a bit too repetitive.

Despite this, in the co-op 2v2 mode, your opponent become your biggest challenge. Your opponent can steal your food or sabotage your ingredients as you try to gain more points by serving dishes on time. There is a huge element of sabotage and conflict, which is the driving factor for many party games. As a result, the challenge gets increased significantly, due to the element of opponent and conflict.

Lens 45: The Lens of Competition vs. Collaboration

Image result for overcooked 2 versus mode

Well, the story mode is an 8 as cooperation is key in order to passing the level. You and your 3 other friends will need to help each other to cook, wash the dishes, and put out any fire hazard which someone might have caused. If not, you would need to replay the level until you pass the level. Of course, you can troll your friends by holding onto the dish, but you might get hurled with vulgarities.

For the Versus mode, it is a 5 out of 10 as you feel competitive and want to sabotage the other team to gain an advantage. However, you still need to work with your partner to get the dishes served in time and make sure you get enough points to win that round.

Referring to The Elemental Tetrad

The Aesthetics: It is lively and joyful most of the time and the music selected really suits the map in which the players are in. After all, you would not want to have moody scenes 24/7 when playing a party game. Not only that, visual feedback through music and visuals is good as it would occasionally warn you when you are about to miss an order or reach the end of the time limit.

The Story: Not Significant, would rather not have a story and just play the story mode without the cutscenes itself, which might be annoying at times.

Image result for overcooked 2 controls
Easy to Learn controls based on the Xbox version of Overcooked 2

The Mechanics: They are simple enough as you just need to walk, pick up items and ensure that your kitchen is in order. Perfect for a party game as you can pick up the game easily and play it with a couple of friends who might not have great gaming skills.

Overall, I would give this a 9. It would be a 10 out of 10 if only the story was more interactive and decision trees would affect the story and endings.

My Preferred VR/MR headset

For me, when it comes to VR, the most important aspects which I looked into are resolution, frame rates, connections as well as price. I want something which looks good and is smooth as a VR unit with high latency can worsen the experience. Also, since VR is unlike conventional gaming, I would need to move my head a lot, that would mean the fewer the cables, the better. Last but not least, the price must fit into my budget.

I’ve research on a few competitive VR set on the market currently and these are the specs.

VR headset Resolution Frame rates (Hz) Connections Price (USD$)
Valve Index 1440×1600 RGB LCDs 120 to 144 (experimental) 5m tether, 1m breakaway trident connector. USB 3.0 DisplayPort 1.2, 12V power 500 for just the headset
Oculus Quest 1440 x 1600 72 Wireless 399 (64GB) 499 (128GB)
PlayStation VR 1920 x RGB x 1080 120 HDMI, USB 299.99
Oculus Rift S 2560 x 1440 80 USB 3.0, DisplayPort 399
Image result for oculus quest
Oculus Quest

After careful consideration, I believe the Oculus Quest is the VR headset I am looking for. Compared to other popular VR headset on the market, the Oculus Quest is the jack of all trade. What I like about it compared to another headset is,

  1. It does not need a cable, fully standalone. This allow for greater manoeuvrability.
  2. It does not require a high spec gaming PC, which is a huge cost saving factor.
  3. Not the most affordable VR headset but the price is reasonable.

However, what is lacking in this headset is that the refresh rate is lower compared to other unit, and since it is a fully standalone unit, it would mean that the number of games playable is limited. All in all, it is still a competitive unit and being wireless and reasonably priced is the largest selling point for me.

Once again, the most important aspects which I am looking for in a MR headset is more or less similar to that of VR. However, MR and VR differs a little, where MR have cameras which is able to capture user’s environment and display it onto the headset. Thus, for a more immersive experience, I look into Field of View (FOV) as well. Human has a vision span of approximately , therefore, I believe the experience will be better if the headset’s FOV is close to .

MR headset Resolution Refresh rate (Hz) Connections FOV (degree) Price
Samsung Odyssey 1440 x 1600 60 to 90 HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 110 499
HP VR1000-127il   1440 x 1440 60 to 90 HDMI 95 Approximately 382.99
Asus HC102   1440 x 1440 Up to 90 HDMI 2.0and USB 3.0 95 429
Acer AH101-D8EY   2880 x 1440 60 to 90 HDMI 2.0and USB 3.0 100 399
Acer AH101 Windows Mixed Reality Headset
Acer AH101-D8EY

From the list, my preferred MR headset would be the Acer AH101-D8EY. As compared to other MR headset, it

  1. Has higher resolution
  2. Has wide FOV
  3. Is affordable.

However, the Acer AH101-D8EY is far from being a perfect MR headset. If we dive deeper into reliability, the Samsung Odyssey can easily took over the Acer AH101-D8EY. It seems that the Acer MR headset has buggy SteamVR compatibility, and camera-based position tracking isn’t as responsive as sensor/beacon based tracking. However, overall the specs are competitive and most importantly, it fit my budget, otherwise I would have easily chosen the Samsung Odyssey.

My Favourite VR & MR Headsets

My favourite VR headset is Oculus Quest which is revolutionising on-the-go virtual reality gaming. I like it because there is no need to hook up to a PC, or have those pesky wires tethering you like a ball on a string. As a stand-alone unit, this VR headset packs a punch, allowing you to pick-up and play from just about anywhere. With its internal tracking system. Oculus Quest has also removed the need for external base stations. Many have complained about the starting price of $399, with the optional upgrade in hard drive turning into $499, but it is important to realise that we’re purchasing the entire system for that price. The headset is like the one-stop-shop for a VR gaming experience, placing the price pretty on par with other VR gaming options.

On the other hand, my favourite MR set is Samsung HMD Odyssey+ which has a very high resolution and also good sound quality. Controllers use bluetooth that runs off the headset, not the PC, so it isn’t an issue if you lack a bluetooth adapter on your PC. Compared to the older Samsung HMD Odyssey, one additional improvement that should have been a no-brainer is a “flashlight” function with the controller.  These headsets have cameras built into them. When you use the flashlight function, you access the cameras and can look around you to make sure you don’t hit anything, which is way too common with other products. And lastly, it is easy to set up and use daily – once you have set up your perimeter, you just need to put on the headset, look to the sides and then at the ground, and it should load your setup and you’re good to go.  

Dead Cells

Dead Cells Cover Picture

What lies inside a prison is a corpse, or in fact, many corpses, which one of it is the protagonist, where the player plays as a decapitated head of green goo controlling this dead body, only to die and restart all over again with another corpse, repeating this insanity till what seems to be the end.

Dead Cells is an indie, Metroidvania rogue-like dungeon crawler with procedurally generated maps with different routes, making each and every run a whole different experience. In each run, the player will try to kill the King of the kingdom, but only to have the King explode, causing the player to return as the green blob, and restart again.

Official Website:
Gameplay Video:

Lens #7: Elemental Tetrad

In-game Screenshot

The combat system of Dead Cells is relatively simple. The player is able to move bi-directionally and equip 2 different weapons and skills. As they progress along, the player becomes stronger by finding powerups by either defeating enemies or picking them off the ground.

With these functionalities, the player is to traverse a multi-biome map, defeating enemies which get progressively powerful. All in all, their goal is to simply defeat the King and “complete” the game.

However, each time the player finishes a run without dying, they can start a new run, but with increased difficulty and items. At the 4th defeat of the final boss, the player will be able to reach the true ending.

In this world, a spreadable disease known as the Malaise, has gloom across the kingdom, infecting and killing citizens. The King locks up and kills infected suspects, slowly losing his humanity. The protagonist plays as a single green blob to control a corpse and defeat this King.

What is truly amazing is how the game tells its story. Even though the developers did not really intend for a story for Dead Cells, they slid in areas and conversations in the game that tells the whole story instead of having forced, linear lore.

With each different biome, comes with a different background and environment, which changes the ambiance and how the player feels about the current place they are in. Using pixelated art rotoscoped over 3D models, they managed to create smooth and fluid animations, making the game feel extremely responsive.

Dead Cells was made in Heaps and runs on, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, and Android.

Lens #18: Flow

Hand of the King – Final Boss from 0BC – 4BC

With the flickering number of enemies and each of their difficulty, the player will experience a surge of anxiety followed by relaxedness. In Dead Cells, the player will slowly defeat weaker enemies in the earlier biomes, which gradually becomes more difficult as the game reaches closer to the end, allowing the player to experience a constant flow.

There are two situations in which this form of excitement and tension mostly comes from. One is fighting a boss, and the other is opening a Cursed Chest. A Cursed Chest curses the player to instantly die upon getting hit by anything but provides a large form of reward that is simply impassable. Both situations will result in the player’s anxiety to rise, which causes their flow channel to constantly fluctuate, but enough so that they do not be overly stressed.

Lens #27, #31: Skill
How Dead Cells exploits the interest of people is by simply providing an extremely difficult challenge, rewarding those with talented mechanics and skills. 

One of these skills required is mainly known as the “Hand-Eye Coordination”. Enemies in this game attack relentlessly, but they always form of indication to the player before their attacks, challenging the player’s ability to react at the correct time. 

This single mechanic is what rules throughout the game, but as the game progresses, the player will be required to get better at it for the difficulty will be tinkered to a higher level.

Lens #33, #40, #41: Triangularity, Reward & Punishment

Cursed Chest

Dead Cells heavily incentives the risk that the players make. Here are two common situations where a large risk comes with strong punishment.

Cursed Chest: As stated, they cause instant death, but rewards hitless runs with powerups, ending the curse after defeating a set of enemies.

Powerups: Even the powerups have some form of risky take to them. One can either opt for more damage or health at a diminishing returns when going all out for either one. At this point, freedom is given to the player to choose whether they want survivability, or risk their small health to simply hit harder.

Although Dead Cells supports the idea of being risky, not all situations have a risk that comes with a reward. Sometimes, risk comes simply as a mechanism to complete the game itself. Like most rogue-like games, each time you lose, you only start back from the beginning, losing “almost” everything you have since your previous run. 

It may seem unfair or even plain frustrating to reach the final boss, only to die to him and restart all over. But what dead cells do is that you gain more flexibility and power after each run. After each biome, the player can spend one of their currency, known as cells, to unlock new items, or improve every equipment in the game. This provides width and depth for the next run, ensuring the player will have something different to go with the next time they repeat. Hence death itself is actually a form of punishment for your current self, and a reward for your future self. 

My VR/MR headset review

VR Headset

Oculus Quest

Out of all the latest vr devices that are out there in the market, my personal favorite is the Oculus quest. One of the most appealing feature of this device to me is that it is a standalone headset. This means that I get to move around more freely without being limited like those which requires a wire connecting to a pc. Also, this headset stands out from the other standalone devices with its full room tracking system. This allows you to have 6DoF, giving you a more immersive experience of moving in the vr world. The guardian system that it comes with maps your room environment and provides you with warnings when you are crash into a wall or an object, so you can play safely without having to worry about your surroundings. It also has a decent FoV of 95° and is decently priced at $399, making it very value for money.

MR Headset

Samsung HMD Odyssey+

My most preferred mr device is the Samsung HMD Odyssey+. It has one of the best display performance, using dual 3.5-inch AMOLED displays with 1440×1660 resolution in each eye. It is able to eliminate the screen door effect(SDE) – when space between pixels on a display are visible as fine black lines, hence providing a better visual experience. It also has a great FoV of 110° and 90Hz refresh rate. Its built-in AKG headphones is able to provide you with 360° spatial sound. Combining this with its amazing visuals, I would say that Samsung HMD Odessey+ is able to provide one of the best immersive experience out of all the available headsets out there, hence it is my most preferred mr headset.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a Tactical Role-Playing Game for the Nintendo Switch. The main gameplay consists of a single continuous campaign, that may branch into 1 of 4 routes depending on the player’s choices. The player assumes the role of a Professor at a military academy and later a military commander and battles for the fate of the continent of Fódlan.

Image Credit:

Gameplay Demo:

Elemental Tetrad:
1. Mechanics
During each chapter, the player is given a month of in-game time to interact with their students – and later soldiers – in activities that help improve the characters’ combat abilities.

At the end of each month, the player must successfully complete a battle in order to complete the chapter. During this phase, the player controls their allied units on a grid-based system. Each turn, the player may command each of their units to move to another tile within its own range, and to perform an action – attacking an enemy or supporting an allied unit. Defeating enemies awards a unit experience points, through which they may level-up and grow stronger. Once all allied units have moved, the enemy AI takes its turn. As a grid-based and turn-based strategy game, the player is able to – and in many cases must – think carefully not only about the actions their units take, but also the order in which to take those actions.

Through the Lens of Triangularity (#33), the moment-to-moment gameplay often involves a risk-reward trade-off. The outcome of battles is partially luck-based as the hit- and critical-rate of each attack is a percentage chance. In many cases, the player might adopt a less reliable strategy that reaps greater potential rewards, or attempt a more reliable but less rewarding strategy.

Each battle may have a different goal – such as routing the enemy or defeating the enemy commander. Each battle may also have multiple side-objectives – for example, the player may be tasked with protecting NPCs, for which they may be rewarded with better items after each battle. Some battles feature chests, which the player may open to reap additional items. These are typically optional towards the completion of the battle – and by extension the game – but must typically be completed within a turn-limit.

Through the Lens of Goals (#25), the player’s ultimate goal is to beat all the chapters in a particular route and thus complete the campaign. Proximal to each chapter, the player might try to complete both the main and side objectives. Turn-by-turn, the player’s goal is to keep their units healthy while moving towards the battle’s objective. The player may also have other goals in mind, such as feeding kills to a particular unit in order to raise them, building the support levels of units, or during the non-battle phases, trying to achieve a particular build for a particular unit.

2. Story
The game has 4 different routes that the player may experience depending on their choices. They might either team up with Adrestian Empire, determined to conquer the continent in order to revoke an antiquated system of nobility, or 1 of 3 other opposing factions that aim to stop the Empire on its warpath.

A consistent element throughout the Fire Emblem series has been the need to fight and kill characters you might be reluctant to in order to progress. This element is particularly well-executed in this game. During the first half of the game, the player may recruit students from other houses into their own. If they fail to do so, the characters return in the second half of the game fighting under opposing banners. While previous games would place the player under similar circumstances, the situation is especially poignant as the player is allowed to bond with them for the first half of the game. Through the Lens of Meaningful Choices (#32), the player’s choices are able to affect the ultimate fate of the continent and characters.

Thanks to deep world-building, the player is unlikely to piece together the truth behind the world’s history and the unfolding events unless they have played through all 4 routes. Through the Lens of Curiosity (#4), the mystery of character motivations and in-universe lore provide a good incentive for the player to both progress in the story and to replay the game.

3. Aesthetics
The game’s art is beautiful, with detailed character models and combat animations. Of particular note is the game’s music. There are two renditions of each battle theme – normally, a more melodic rendition will play, but during combat animations between two units, a more rhythmic version of the same track would play to accentuate the intensity of combat. The use of recurring motifs also gives the game a strong musical identity.

4. Technology
The game runs on the Nintendo Switch. Compared to previous 3DS titles, the more powerful device allows for the more detailed models as described above.

The Lens of the Player (#16)
One common dynamic that arises in the Fire Emblem series is resetting battles. Because death is permanent in old games (and on “classic” mode in newer games), players would often restart an entire battle if any of their units were to die. This game allows the player to optionally turn back time a set number of times per-battle, allowing them to run back a poor decision. The player is also warned whenever their unit moves into the enemy’s attack range, removing the need to check and memorise enemy attack ranges. These comprise Quality-of-Life changes that help to enhance the player experience compared to older titles.

Assignment 1 – Analysis of Existing Game: Overcooked! 2 Game Review


Short Description of Overcooked! 2 (Versus Mode, 2v2)

When the Nintendo Switch was released in 2017, along came the game Overcooked!, a co-op arcade action game about chefs scrambling to get food orders out of unique kitchens. The refreshing and original concept of the game made it a hit. In August 2018, a sequel of the game was released, and it was met with considerable fanfare as well. The game play is like that of Overcooked!, whereby cooks in a kitchen get tasked with many orders and they must accomplish as many of these orders as they can. The chefs must not only pick out ingredients from crates, they still must chop them up, remove them from chopping boards, cook these ingredients and ensure that they do not “overcook”. After which, the cooked ingredients must be placed onto a plate with other cooked/raw ingredients to make a complete food item. This food item then needs to be brought to a tiny window to be served before the order is considered completed. The game play usually involves 4 players, 2 players cooperating with each other to beat the other 2 players who are on the opposing team. It is possible for just 2 players to play the game as well, however, I will be focusing on communicating ideas for a 4-player game play, specifically the Versus Mode.

Overcooked! 2 Versus Mode 2v2

Game Analysis of Overcooked! 2 (Versus Mode, 2v2)

While playing the game, I feel a sense of anxiousness because I can see the orders piling up very quickly and as a result, I become flustered. It is necessary for each pair to work well in order to complete more orders than the opposing team. While I play the game, I am most focused on the orders list, and sticking strictly to only the things I am delegated to do. If I am supposed to take the ingredients, chop them up and serve the done dishes, I will stick to doing these tasks and nothing else. This prevents a conflict of responsibilities between my teammate and me.

Overcooked! 2 involves arenas which are static, whereby the kitchens remain the same throughout the 3 minutes of game play. It also features dynamic arenas, which morphs every 15 seconds or so, for players who are itching for an additional level of challenge. With the dynamic arenas, players must think on their toes, because the tasks the player will be able to accomplish changes according to how the arena morphs. When I got stuck on one side of the arena, I was only able to toss the ingredients to my teammate and she had to do all the chopping, cooking and plating, then she had to toss the completed food items to my side for me to serve. This is occasionally frustrating, because we ended up tossing completed orders into the water or molten lava, which render the food items useless. Hence, we must redo the same order again which reduces the chance of completing the order request satisfactorily. However, this makes the game even more addictive, as the additional layer of challenge invites players to come back to compete for an even better score if they know that they were delayed due to mistakes.

Cooperation is key in Overcooked! 2. In order to complete as many orders as possible, 2 players must communicate throughout the 3 minutes of game play effectively, especially when the arena is dynamic, or if the arena allows for the opponent pair to steal completed orders/ingredients from you and your teammate. There is synergy when the players work together because of how the game mechanics work. If players decide to work on completing orders alone, from getting the ingredients to serving the completed orders, it would be too slow, and the points earned would be affected. The optimal scores are achieved the Overcooked! 2 Versus Mode only  through cooperation.

Despite the high-level of cooperation required between teammates, the competition element of the game is not ignored. In the Overcooked! 2 Versus Mode, teams of 2 compete against each other to see which team can earn the most points in the same time period. Some game arenas are also pieced in a way that allows players to steal the completed food items of their opponents, making the game play even more challenging. All 4 players are playing within the same arena and their actions can affect one another. Players can block opponents from getting certain ingredients by standing in the way of their opponents. The competition aspect of Overcooked! 2 makes the game more entertaining; players must not only strategise on ways to cooperate with their teammate and compete against their opponents.

Finally, the game has an intuitive and bright visual interface to complement its intention of being a party game. The intuitive interface is a necessary game aesthetic as it prevents the complication of the fast-paced game. Players can glance down quickly to check the time left and their current scores, which are placed at the bottom right and the bottom left of the screen respectively. This saves time, as placing these elsewhere might require players to glance around for a couple more milliseconds, affecting the players’ momentum. Also, the bright colours used to paint the whole game provides a cheerful atmosphere, uplifting the essence of fun. The background music used is upbeat, which complements the theme effectively. It also speeds up towards the end, as the game clock approaches 0. This adds on to the adrenaline that the players feel towards the end of the game, as they eagerly clear as many of the remaining orders as possible.

In conclusion, Overcooked! 2 is a fantastic game. It is a good example of how real-world scenarios can inspire interesting and refreshing game plays that work. Even though it does not have a detailed narrative, nor does it have stellar graphics, it stands out because it is an effective party game. Its inviting and fun atmosphere, and the relatively short duration keeps players entertained for hours. In a generation where we are so disconnected by technology, maybe it is time we consider how we can adapt technology to help us connect, just like how Overcooked! 2 has achieved it.

Game play demo link:

Latest VR/MR Devices that you would not want to sleep on! Read below to find out more!

Virtual Reality

There are countless VR devices that are currently available on the market, and each with its own pros and cons. There are those that require wires, and those that don’t. There are those that requires a phone, and those that don’t, and this list goes on. I personally believe that the best VR experience definitely woould be one that does not require any external wires, or devices, and one with an extensive support of different controllers and softwares.

Here are some of the notable VR systems in the market:

Device ProsCons
Oculus Rift SAccurate motion tracking
Full software library
DisplayPort only
Requires physical wires
HTC ViveImmersive experience
Wide support for different controllers
Supports “whole-room VR” with use of external sensors
Requires physical wires
Nintendo Labo Toy-ConGreat design
Engaging physical construction and play
More expensive than standard first party games
Playstation VRImmersive experience
Works with non-VR apps and games
Motion control support
Requires separate PlayStation Camera
Less powerful hardware

All of these are spectacular VR Headsets and has its own perks, and all of these are targeted at slightly different audiences. Lets say you already have a Playstation and prefer it over a PC, then the Sony Playstation VR Is hands down the best headset you should get.

I would choose the Nintendo labo Toy-Con variety Kit over the rest. Yes, it may not have the most impressive hardware, nor the most immersive VR experience as compared to those listed above, it does intrigue most with its unique hands-on approach to DIY VR.

Going into further detail regarding the Nintendo Labo, the Labo uses the existing Switch device, and its JoyCon Controllers to provide different experiences using separately purchasable Kits. Currently there are 4 kits: VR Kit, Variety Kit, Robot Kit and a Vehicle Kit.

The VR Kit provides a more traditional VR experience where one would have a headset, but with different customisable experiences.

For example, the VR Kit has 6 different projects, the VR Goggles, Blaster, camera, Elephant, Bird and the Wind Pedal. The variety of projects that one create with just a switch and the kit is one of the reasons why i would love to try out the Nintendo Labo (If anyone would like to sponsor me this do let me know, so that I can provide a more thorough review)

Image from

Furthermore, playing this with kids will be a joyful experience and one where they will be able to learn and further appreciate VR technology.

Mixed Reality

What caught my eye for Mixed Reality devices was the Volvo x Varjo XR-1 system shown during lecture. I personally felt that the application of mixed reality in such a situation is really useful.

i am really looking forward for this to be available to drivers as it would be essential for existing drivers to be able to experience different situations in simulation.

Yes, the driving school has taught us how to drive, but one thing it is unable to do is to put us in dangerous situations without endangering any lives.