I squeal, you squeal, we all squeal for sequels!
- Apr 19, 2013 10:30 pm GMT
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Or do we...
At the end of Wednesday's Nintendo Direct, they dropped a huge bombshell on the Nintendo community with the announcement of a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The video footage shown contained a similiar art style, but beefed up with 3D graphics. Considering A Link to the Past is heralded as one of the best games in the series, every fan should have been ecstatic. Yet, the announcement drew negative comments in response to GS's news article. It even prompted GS to make a video on the subject, not just the Zelda sequel, but in response to the Direct in general.
Let me pluck out a line from the video.Tom McShea wrote:I feel like they're not catering to me anymore. I think they're catering to like a new generation of Nintendo players and leaving the old ones behind.
This isn't the first time McShea has talked about Nintendo staying Nintendo, as he wrote a pretty good piece here. This is pretty much how I feel, and I've already wrote a piece on that, although it's more centered on adult rated games. I also like what was said about it being hard to be critical of the same Nintendo games when they're still high quality. Why say negative things about games you love? It's not that we don't want to play more Mario and Zelda; it's that we want games that have that same level of quality, but entirely different experiences. This is something Nintendo themselves are rarely capable of doing. Instead, they take things that we're familiar with and repackage them.
I'd like to focus on the Link to the Past sequel for a second. I saw a worrisome picture posted in a thread in Primary Games Discussion.
This is worrisome, because it asks the question just how much of the original Link to the Past is going to be reused? Even the boss fight at the end of the dungeon shows that very same worm that you fought in the original, with the exact same tactic. True, it takes place in the same Hyrule, so obviously you're going to notice a few similar things, but why can't it just take place in an entirely different land of Hyrule? Why bother revisiting anything at all, when I'm sure there's more Hyrule on the other side of the game's planet. This is why I was bothered with Skyward Sword, because under that vast ocean of clouds, you only were able to visit three different regions.
So, enough about Nintendo, because I want to be fair here. Nintendo does get a lot of flack for milking their franchises, but let's remember they aren't the only ones who do that. Some troubling news visits both MS and Sony, as their respective first party franchises Gears of War and God of War are experiencing lower than expected sales. These aren't just lower than expected sales, these are abysmally lower sales. Gears of War: Judgement sold 425,000 units compared to Gears of War 3's sales of over 2 million in its first month. God of War: Ascenion sold 360,000 compared to God of War 3's 1.1 million.
Those are major league franchises, and if AAA sequels is what the industry thinks we want, what happened? Are gamers growing tired of those games that quickly? Are they being put out too frequently? Well, they aren't being released annualy like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed, so maybe it's the fact that neither franchise really changes much in the way of gameplay. Then again, that same argument could be said about Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed. We also see them released every year because they sell. Developers have to keep making them for publishers to sell them, because they think that's what gamers want.
It does make sense, though. If gamers love great games, make more of them. If they keep buying them, continue to keep making them. Yet, it's a double edged sword, because it culls creativity. How do you manage to be able to break free from the annual franchise release grind when the publisher won't let you? If you don't want to, you'll be let go and the publisher will find other people to keep making it. *ahem* Activision/Call of Duty.
I've been doing some thinking about this lately, and I've noticed something among entertainment mediums. Authors of books, producers, screen writers and directors of movies will always have something along the lines of "The author who wrote" or "From the producer of". Those promotional lines above those book and movie titles establish a pedigree and invite the audience to try out something new, because they know who it's coming from. They have grown to like what those creators do, and they want to read and watch more. Where on earth are those promotional lines on our video games?
More gamers should do themselves good and begin to educate themselves on who makes what. This why the gamers in the know are following Destiny, because it's from Bungie, "the makers of Halo." Bungie has established themselves by making Halo games for more than TEN years. Look at how long it took for them to break away from MS to make something new. Look at Naughty Dog. They made three Uncharted games in succession, and now everyone is following The Last of Us because of Naughty Dog.
I understand that Activision is reluctant to make a new game that isn't Call of Duty, or Ubisoft doesn't want to start a new franchise that doesn't involve a hooded assassin (well, there's Watch Dogs). But every publisher, Activision, Ubisoft, Nintendo, etc., need to realize that the IPs that brought them so much success over the years... *waits for dramatic effect* started out as new IPs. Hell, you can't have a Mega Man 10 without first making Mega Man 1. When Keiji Inafune makes his new games, we're aware of it, because we follow him, but the average consumer doesn't. The average consumer knows of Mega Man, so when Inafune's new game comes out, why not just have "From the creator of Mega Man" on the box? I guarantee you it will help sell a few more.
Back on Nintendo and to Nintendo's credit, when they release a new Super Mario or a new Zelda, they at least try new things from a gameplay standpoint. The New Super Mario line isn't a very good example, because it's hard to really tell the four titles apart, but Zelda's always doing something new, regardless of how formulaic each iteration is. Yet, they're also dipping extremely heavily into the nostalgia bucket this generation, and it's becoming alarming. The 3DS was a remake factory with Ocarina of Time, Star Fox, and now Donkey Kong Country Returns. The Wii U is getting a Wind Waker remake. A Link to the Past 2 looks entirely too similar. Granted they are all quality games, but they are all far too familiar. We love them, but Nintendo needs to continue to create new franchises so that 10 years down the road, they have more nostalgia buckets to dip into.
More risks need to be taken, not just Nintendo, but everyone. And, they need to be executed smartly. They need to be promoted. They need to be marketed. They need to be put on pedastals to consumers with a giant sign hung around their neck saying, "I AM THE NEXT BIG THING!" We love sequels, yes, but we also love playing new games that manage to amaze us so much that after the credits roll, we put the controller down, point to the TV with both hands and say, "YES! NOW GIVE ME A SEQUEL!"
Soul Hackers impressions
- Apr 19, 2013 9:34 am GMT
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I think I just hit the nine-hour mark -- not too far in but far enough to offer some impressions of this classic Shin Megami Tensei entry.
First thing I bet most folks wanna know is, does it feel old? Surprisingly, no. But a little, yeah. Okay...it definitely has a kind of PS1/N64-era feel to it, and of course, Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers was originally a Japanese exclusive released on the Sega Saturn and later ported to PS1. But ooh, do I dig that feel. Oddly enough, that is one of my favorite eras in gaming, as in many ways, gaming was reinventing itself to fit the polygonal era.
But visually, Soul Hackers doesn't actually show its age all that badly. It just looks kinda barebones. Visually, it almost presents itself like a Phoenix Wright game, with character portraits and such and very little in the way of actual animation. Everything still looks really tight, really clean, though, and the artwork looks contemporary to me.
The music, to me at least -- I know others feel differently about it -- is fantastic. I listen to the opening theme every single time I load the game up, and it's a joy to visit the headquarters. There's tons of variety, and the voice work really makes the characters that much more endearing.
The gameplay feels like Shin Megami Tensei. There really are no outdated mechanics. If anything, this game was kind of ahead of its time. One example is a cool, little app you acquire that allows you to save anywhere. Now, I'm not sure if that was a part of the original version of the game, but it sure is appreciated when playing it on 3DS.
I think perhaps the biggest difference folks will feel is the reliance on fusing demons. In many other SMT games (Devil Survivor in particular), your demons leveled up like you did. However, in Soul Hackers, they only gain loyalty, which does improve their skills, but it's very limited. Instead, you'll have to continue to fuse demons in order to create new, more powerful demons to fight alongside you. It's not something you really have to worry about, though, as it all happens pretty organically.
All in all, I'm having a really good time with Soul Hackers (3DS). It's still quite hip, asthetically pleasing, and fun to play. There's lots of depth, but it's handled wonderfully. I'll probably throw up a reader review after my first playthrough (there is a new-game-plus option, which I will definitely be taking advantage of), but for now, the game has my blessing. Comes with an OST too if you buy a physical copy, and if you are gonna buy the game, I definitely recommend going that route. Not only is the game fun, but I have a feeling it will only increase in value down the road.
(Disclaimer: This game is not Persona 5. Buyer beware.)
Responsible Gaming is Up to the Gamer
- Apr 19, 2013 8:42 am GMT
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I'm sure some of you may have read the article Gamespot posted about a user who bought Bioshock Infinite and demanded a refund because of a scene early in the game. For those reading, please be aware, there may be SPOILERS throughout this blog. If you haven't finished the latest Bioshock game, you might want to stop reading.
The story of Bioshock is one that has many themes, embraces and spurns different ideals. A game like Bioshock shouldn't be compared to, say Modern Warfare, the two are little alike, despite the controversy both have encountered. In Bioshock Infinite, gamers play as Booker DeWitt, being sent to the city in the sky to recover a girl and have his debt paid. The convoluted story continues to spiral until the very end, revealing the time tears throughout the game had a far greater meaning and impact.
Those of you that have played Bioshock Infinite, from what I've read, seem quite pleased with it and the story. There are themes in it that many of us may not agree with, things that might make us uncomfortable, challenge our ideals. I would argue that the point of any piece of art is to do just that. But not all gamers agree about this last part.
In the aforementioned article, brought to my attention by this blog by terryscath, I read and re-read the letter to Valve and the coverage by various gaming sites and have some serious misgivings about Mr. Breen Malmberg. I dont want this to turn into a tirade or defamation of character blog, but please read his letter.
My favourite excerpt is this one:
If you need further convincing, I will use the analogy that if you were a muslem, it would be like forcing the player into an in-game action of "press x to spit on the face of allah" in order to proceed any further with the game and with no choice or way around doing so.
First off, who spells 'Muslem' that way, exactly? I mean, even capitalising it makes the spell check go off. If you're going to send a letter like that out, the least you can do is proofread it. More to the point, if you read the letter, he speaks about being very religious, but you're playing Modern Warfare 2, so killing human beings doesn't violate your long-held religious beliefs, but taking a fake baptism for Booker DeWitt does? Are you serious? I can't believe Valve took this seriously.
I do realise this is PR gold for them, they see someone who believes he has a genuine grip (religious misgivings) and decides, what the hell, let's give the kid $60 back. Bioshock is raking in the cash, so it certainly isn't about the money. The kid claims he's very religious, and far be it for me or anyone else to judge him, but when you put yourself out there, people will take note.
I agree that each and every one of us has a right to be comfortable and not offended by the material we expose ourselves to, but therein lies the double edged sword. Malmberg bought the game. No one put a gun to his head. Haven't we all bought bad games or games we didn't like or didn't agree with? I'm sure there's a unanimous 'yes' in the background somewhere. I hated Dante's Inferno, hated every aspect of it. It assailed me with its terribleness, but did I demand a refund from EA? Let's ignore the part where we know they're cackling in their money bin a la Scrooge McDuck. I am a responsible person and a responsible gamer, something many immature gamers could learn from. What worries me is that Malmberg whined and got his way, is that how it works in real life? In many cases, sadly, it does, but I'd like to think that doing the right thing over complaining and crying foul will win out.
I'm disgusted that Malmberg can play games like Modern Warfare and get disgruntled over a game that is leaps and bounds better than it, like Bioshock. I just read an article today that Pat Robertson advises Christians stay away from 'evil video games.' This means you, Malmberg. As it is people think were all weirdos, thanks for taking that and making it worse instead of better.
In light of what is happening here in the US, I realise this blog may seem inappropriate, or at least my ire with the topic, but I do wonder what the rest of the gaming world thinks of this. Did Malmberg make gaming better by his rejection of ideas that aren't his? Did Valve do the right thing in silencing a critic instead of reasoning with him?
Olympus Has Fallen - Film Review
- Apr 17, 2013 3:08 pm GMT
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Modern cinema revels so frequently in destruction and chaos that it is extraordinary that a film as unambitious and appalling as Olympus Has Fallen can surprise you in the way that it fetishises big guns, explosions, high body counts and the demolition of various American monuments. Mindless blockbusters like this sell to teenage boys on the promise of more explosions and less brains. This is more disturbing considering how long the film lingers over people blown to bits and buildings destroyed. Derivative and poorly scripted, Olympus Has Fallen will put you to sleep with its sluggish pacing and relentlessly dull action scenes, or make your skin crawl with its chest-beating and laughable celebration of all things born in good old USA.
The director was Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter), who has a long history as a music video artist. He directed the music video for the song Gangsta's Paradise by rapper Coolio and worked with Prince and Stevie Wonder too. Here he has paired with novice screenwriters Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikit to make a rip-off of the popular Clint Eastwood vehicle In the Line of Fire. Eastwood played an ageing secret service agent, whose inner demon was that he failed to save John F. Kennedy, and a lunatic stalking him was going to murder the new President. The film excelled because of the limited physicality of its central character and the suggestion of murder instead of outright gunfire. Where's the tension in Olympus when the main character is bulletproof, fall proof and endlessly resourceful, able to pummel goons with a statue of Honest Abe?
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is a Secret Service guard of the American President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), who is devastated when he fails to save the President's wife in a car accident. Eighteen months later, Mike is now working in the Treasury Department near the White House. Asher is holding a meeting with the President of South Korea, but they are ambushed by Korean soldiers and a traitorous secret service officer and taken hostage in the underground bunker of the White House. North Korean terrorist Kang (Rick Yune) demands that the President's staff (including Melissa Leo) handover the three codes to the USA's nuclear weapons and withdraw their soldiers from the DMZ area. Mike tries to infiltrate the building, rescue Asher's son Connor (Finley Jacobsen) and then the President. He conferences with acting President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), and assures his partner Leah (Radha Mitchell) of his wellbeing.
A potentially chilling and timely premise of the threat of North Korea is handled amateurishly by Fuqua. The opening scenes between Asher and his son in Camp David substitute characterisation for cheery mawkishness, and the bombastic, over the top attack on the White House lacks important narrative details. Who knew that it was so comfortable to enter US airspace with fighter-bombers? I found the fear mongering and jingoism in this overlong sequence as repelling as the body count. Asian terrorists pop out of nowhere, either wearing suicide bombs or firing rocket launchers. Few films in recent memory have been as profoundly racist and geocentric as this.
The action sequences that follow hinge on cheap patriotic sentiment, including an unintentionally comical image of an American flag falling in slow motion, but without any deeper themes or meaning, they become boring and repetitive. The violence is incredibly sadistic, including one unwatchable beating, or blurred because of the incoherence of Fuqua's overwrought handheld cameras and dim lighting. One interesting technical feat was that the film was shot in Louisiana not Washington and 1300 special effects shots, along with sets, were used to recreate the White House and other stunts.
However, it is still disturbing that the people involved with this dreck view it seriously and as ideologically significant. In an interview Gerard Butler, who also produced the film, endorsed its overt patriotism: "You come out of there with so much patriotism and you feel inspired because really at the end of the day the essence of the story, it's a hero's journey." Patriotism is not an appropriate excuse for demonising other cultures and working as hard as possible to inflate people's fears through post-9/11 jingoism. Films are often divorced from responsibility because they are fictional but where do we draw the line? You can only hope that the people watching this mindless bloodbath will see it for how ridiculous and infantile it is.
Nintendo Direct 4.17.13 thoughts
- Apr 17, 2013 2:21 pm GMT
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So we have a new Nintendo Direct. This one didn't manage to be that bad. Iwata goes on to talk about the year of Luigi. The first game he talks about is Mario and Luigi: Dream Team.
The Mario and Luigi games are quite possibly my favorite handheld franchise. When Iwata revealed the game in the last Nintendo Direct, I was ecstatic. I can only hope it will be half as good as Bowser's Inside Story. From what I've seen of the new footage revealed in this Direct, I'm a bit hesitant, however, as there's just something about the art style that I'm not quite liking. The action itself, though, looks incredible, and I love the idea of using so many different Luigis to cause major damage. The story about having to delve into dreams doesn't really seem as interesting as, say, Bowser's Inside Story, but knowing that the writing for each of the previous games has been stellar, I'm sure it will be a great story nonetheless. The game will release on August 11th. Hurry up!
Iwata then reveals more information about Mario Golf: World Tour.
Another reveal from the previous Direct, this is another game that I'm waiting for the 3DS. Not only does it look beautiful, but it looks incredibly fun as well. I love the series and it will be awesome to have another Mario Golf on the go. Iwata talks about the community features in this game being similar to those used in Mario Kart 7. This will be a cool feature, as it will pair up people against similar abilities. He also said there you'll be able to change the rules for classic play, meaning no super shots, or even have everyone play as Luigi. Yep, this year is all about Luigi. The game doesn't have a set release date yet, as it's just slated for summer.
Next, Iwata unveals for the first time a new Mario Party game.
I haven't played a Mario Party game in a very long time, since the first one released for the N64. It seems, though, that this will be the first Mario Party to significantly change things up, as there will now be seven different boards to play on. Each board has an entirely different set of rules and obstacles, which will surely affect the outcome of each game. There will also be 81 mini games, and the footage shown makes the game look extremely fun. I may consider getting this game, but so far I haven't heard anything about online play. I'm hoping there will be, as that will greatly influence my decision to buy it.
Iwata then talks more about New Super Luigi U.
Again revealed from the last Direct, nothing much new is talked about in this Direct. We still know that the world map is the same, but each and every level has been remixed specifically for Luigi. What Iwata did go into depth about is that Luigi has characteristics that change the gameplay, such as higher jumping, a very quick fluttering float, and skidding making it harder to stop during a run. That's not really a surprise, though, as Luigi's always controlled differently. Also, it seems all the new courses will start out with only 100 seconds. This is something I don't really like, as I hate being pressured during games. This is going to force a lot of mistakes... Now, I'm just interested in hearing how much it's going to cost. No set date, but it will come out this summer.
Iwata reveals more information now about Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.
This is one game that I can't really care about. I loved the game on the Wii, but I'm not compelled enough to buy it again for the 3DS. So, not only are the graphics improved and enhanced in 3D, but there's something called New Mode, which is basically a nerfed easy difficulty that gives DK and Diddy more hearts, green balloons that lift DK back up after he falls, crash guards that let him shrugg off two collisions during vehicle segments, etc. It seems to be designed for people who don't have the time to keep dying over and over while they're on the go. The original mode is included, but I'm interested to see if there's any real new content added to get me to play this again. I wouldn't mind buying it again if there were new levels. May 24th is the release date.
Iwata now talks about a new Yoshi's Island.
I'm just going to come out and say right now that I dislike the artstyle. The original Yoshi's Island was much better, and this one just seems neutered. Sure, it's not an ugly looking game at all, but my eyes just don't snap to it like they did with the others. The gameplay, however, sounds like it will be just as fun. Everything from the ground pounding to the egg throwing and having to reclaim Baby Mario are coming back. I'm also sure that the level design will be just as excellent. No release date given just yet.
Iwata then talks a little more about the new downloadable Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move.
I believe this was another reveal from the last Direct. I've enjoyed the franchise for quite some time, and am currently working on March of the Minis. This one looks to be the most unique at all. For one, it's no longer in 2D, as it's all 3D. You move tiles around on the bottom screen, while the game world changes on the top of the screen. I think I might have to get this game, because I really do love puzzles. Plus, the footage they've shown seems to have some classic music in there. I heard some Super Mario Bros. 2, and I really love that soundtrack. Release date is May 9th.
Iwata now talks about the new Wii U firmware update scheduled for next week. It will improve loading times, allow you to instantly access Wii Mode from start up while the system boots, allows you to download software in the background, automatically install updates, and transfer data between two external harddrives.
Virtual Console will begin next week, and he shows off footage of different games that will be available. Looks like Donkey Kong, Excite Bike (yay! ), Super Mario World, the original Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, the SNES Kirby, Ice Climbers, Punch Out!, Super Metroid, Balloon Fight, a Kirby game I didn't recognize, and F-Zero. They'll also come with their own MiiVerse channels, but here's the thing I just don't like. Even if you already bought the games before, you're still required to buy them again to enjoy the Wii U specific features. Oh, but the "special" price is only a dollar for NES or 1.50 for the SNES. No, Nintendo, they should be free to original owners. Of course, that won't stop them from continuing to sell their old games time and time again. GBA and N64 games are coming as well.
Wii U Panorama View allows you to watch world events in 360 degrees, like you were virtually there. I have no interest in this at all, and get this. The tours will cost you TWO DOLLARS!
Iwata now talks about more Pikmin 3.
He doesn't go into much, but he does talk about a new pikmin type that was hinted at during some footage in the last E3. There will now be purple winged Pikmin types. The footage shown reveals that they might useful for carrying items over water without being slowed down, or attacking airborne enemies more effectively. It looks as beautiful as always. He doesn't give a release date, but says it's coming out in the next few months. I really need to catch up on this series, as I've yet to even finish the first.
Now, Iwata mentions a new title for the Virtual Console. It's Mother 2, or as it's known here, Earth Bound.
I have never played this game, but I've heard a lot of great things about it. This is actually the first Virtual Console title that I'm considering purchasing. He gives no release date, just saying that it will come out at the end of the year. Looking forward to it, but I wonder if it will come out on the 3DS's eShop, as I would prefer to play it on the go.
Iwata then turns the show over to Bill Trinen of Treehouse, Nintendo of America Inc. Bill talks about new games coming up for the 3DS and the Wii U in the upcoming months. The first game he talks more of is Game and Wario.
I've really enjoyed the WarioWare franchise, and this new title looks like a lot of fun. The gameplay they've shown reveal some pretty cool mini games that make great use of the gamepad, and I'm always looking for Wii U games that do that. There's also going to be some multiplayer games, and some will be designed to be played just by one player, but with spectators encouraging you on. The release date will be June 23rd. I think I'll make this a purchase.
Bill then talks more about the Monster Hunter games. He talks about new gameplay videos that Capcom has released, and mentions that there was a recent update that lets you play the game offscreen. He then moves on to talk about Lego City Undercover and how the gamepad let the player become more involved in the game's world. He touches a bit on the 3DS prequel Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins, and I'm definitely getting this. It takes place in the same city, and it looks like the gameplay is pretty much exactly the same, which is a good thing as Undercover on the Wii was a helluva lot of fun. It releases on April 21st, which is this Sunday!
Now he mentions that Swapnote users will receive new messages very soon. Meh. Swapnote is one feature that I just was never excited about on the 3DS. I just wish they'd completely redesign it, because it's such a fundemental mess.
He talks about the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Leaf being released on June 9, and then reveals this.
Will you look at that thing! It's so cute! I would love to have that, and I would play it with pride! Had I known this was coming out, I would have waited for it and not bought the XL last year. It's an Animal Crossing styled 3DS XL, and it comes pre-loaded with Animal Crossing: New Leaf on an SD card.
Bill then announces that both A Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are coming to the 3DS eShop. More Zelda on the 3DS is always a good thing, but I've yet to even play my original copies on the Game Boy Color. These titles are coming May 30th, and they'll feature the cross-game interactivity like the originals.
He now announces a new game by Square-Enix, Bravely Default: Flying Fairy
Now, this is the first real surprise for me. I haven't heard anything about this game until just now, and the gameplay footage they've shown looks absolutely beautiful. It will also have CG cinemas that are of SquareEnix calibre, and it's so nice to see them show interest in the 3DS. This will be one of the major 3DS titles to get, and I would love to play a JRPG on that system. It will be co-published with Nintendo, so that means an exclusive title, and it will be released some time in 2014.
Bill's next reveal: Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy!
Now, I know this is no surprise as I knew the series wasn't over, but I'm still excited nonetheless. Bill says it will be the conclusion to the second trilogy. From the looks of gameplay and screen shots, it's set in the winter this time, and every screen shot that I've found has been in Japanese, so the game hasn't even begun its localization period yet. This means it will be quite some time before it's release. It will feature over 500 new puzzles, and Bill didn't even bother to throw out an vague idea of when the game would be release. It will be far off indeed.
He then goes on to talk about three new titles from Level-5 belonging to the Guild Series. The first is The Starship Damrey.
The Starship Damrey looks to be a slow and moody mystery game where nothing is explained to you. You given no information at all, not even a a tutorial. You simply manuever around the game trying to gather as much information as you can to understand your surroundings. It looks interesting, I will say that much.
The next title is Bugs Vs Tanks.
This title comes from Kenji Inafune, creator of Mega Man. So, the concept of the game is WWII tanks have been shrunk, and they're going up against an assortment of bugs that are gigantic to them, because they themselves are microscopic. Not much footage was shown of the game, only that your tanks will be customizable.
The last in the series is Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale.
Now this one excites me. Basically, it's a tale of a boy who goes about his days bumping into real life monsters from his TV shows. I already love the art style of the game, and from the brief footage shown, I was instantly reminded of Ni no Kuni. Looking forward to hearing more about this one. No dates given for any of them, only that they're coming soon.
He has one last reveal. A new Shin Megami Tensei. No gameplay or screenshots were shown, but they did show a picture of the packaging, and it looks pretty cool. It will come with CD, strategy and design book and collectible outer slip case. It will release June 16th.
Oh, and now Reggie Fils-Aime comes out. Oh, I heard about this one!
I know new Zeldas are nothing new, far short from surprises, but a direct sequel to one of my favorite Zeldas of all time (which shamefully I still haven't beaten)? Wow! Just ... wow! Look at how gorgeous that game is! The gameplay footage shows some really cool new features. The 3D will be put to great effect for multi-tiered dugeons, and a new ability that turns Link into a drawing will let him move along walls and change perspectives, revealing new angles not seen from viewing top down. Reggie also states that a gameplay trailer will be prepped and ready for download on the eShop, which I'm so going to watch today! It will be out this holiday season!
So it turns out I've exceeded my character limit with this blog. I'll just wrap it up by saying that I'm excited to see the 3DS supported so strongly this year, but disappointed in both the lack of new first party IPs and any new Wii U content. I know this Direct was focused on the 3DS, but they've got to try harder to support the Wii U right now. It's almost the complete opposite of what Sony's doing by supporting the PS3 and not the Vita. Anyway, thanks for reading, those of you who did.
The Lost Spark of the Pokemon Series
- Apr 16, 2013 11:25 pm GMT
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Like so many Pokemon fans out there, I am one of the many who watched the anime when it first came to the US.I remember it clearly since it came out before Digimon and what got me hooked was the voices of the characters. Sure the pokemon were different and colorful, but the voice actors they chose really fit the characters right. Even though most of the episodes had an after achool feel to some of them, it was written well for a cartoon.
The saturday mornings I got up early to watch the new episodes even though my eyes burned after staying up. I did get into the card game and video games, but the series drew you in as you love the characters to death. Veronica Taylor as Ash Ketchum, Eric Stuart as Brock and James and Rachael Lillis as Misty were the gold standard. One moment that really got to me was the episode where they split apart and it still gets to me to this day.
I watched every episode and special from the first season to season eight where I believe the spark was lost. See during a podcast interview, Eric Stuart revealed that when Season 8 was done, new voice actors were already hired. The company figured they were saving thousands of dollars by hirng new voice actors instead of keeping the originals. See that greedy move right there is what made me stop watching the series, but I played the games though.
See I grew up with Veronica, Eric and Rachael as Ash, Brck and Misty in Pokemon and I hoped it would stay that way. When I watched the new episode of Season 9, I was heart broken when I heard them speak and that killed it for me. I know people get hired and fired, but the first eight seasons are the golden years of the tv series which is still going. It just doesn't feel the same and I can't bring myself to watch whatever or whereever Pokemon is now.
I know you're thinking I'm dumb for caring about this, but Pokemon can't recatch the spark it had when it started. Even though the tv series will keep going as long as people still watch it, FOR SHAME ON THOSE FOOLS!!!!!!!! For the podcast I mentioned, it is episode two of the AllTasteExplosion on Itunes, it's really good to listen to. No matter what the first eight seasons of the series are the best of Pokemon and nothing can change that!!!!
5 Reasons Not To Zerg Rush EA
- Apr 16, 2013 3:38 pm GMT
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Gamers seem to love to hate EA. The behemoth publisher behind The Sims, Dead Space and Madden franchises, to name a few, takes a lot of heat and has won The Consumerist's Worst American company for the second year in a row. Yet, with all EA seems to do wrong, there are reasons to not totally annihilate them.
FUSE- Celebrated developer Insomniac Games' first foray into multi-platform gaming with their class based third person co-optastic shooter looks to break some of the publishers standards. Sure, the multi-player aspect is there, but with the announcement of no online season passes or microtransactions, this could be the new leaf many were waiting for from EA and publishers in general. The game also has two strong female characters that shoot stuff, break necks and blow shit up good. That's always a plus.
Acknowledgment of their Mistakes- It's no secret that Sim City's launch was a failure for the video game history books. EA and Maxis released the game half assed. Yet, instead of just saying oh well, EA offered a compensation, in the form of a free game, to those who registered the game by the end of March. They've listened to people wanting a single player element to the upcoming free-to-play Command & Conquer and decided to add it. Oh and the COO outright said they're not perfect.
EA Supports Gay Rights- In April, 2012, EA announced that they were against the Defense of Marriage Act. They're also longtime supporters of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. Games they've published developed by company owned BioWare also have the options for the main character, male or female, to be gay.
Frostbite Engine- Let's face it, this bit of game design tech is damn nifty. Sure, what they've done with it so far is mostly more of the same tired corridor shooter/ MP frag-fest type stuff, but the shit does look awesome. With Frostbite 2, and Battlefield 3, bringing consoles and even mid-grade gaming PC's to their knees, the graphical potential of the engine in its current format makes it all the more impressive.
Big Name Franchises (The Legacy)- Mass Effect, Dead Space, The Sims, it's hard to not spit in a game store and not hit something with the EA logo on it. Ranging from racing games and RPG's to sports simulators and action titles, EA has a long line of franchises, many of which are highly regarded. There's a reason why EA remains one of the largest video game publishers for 20-plus years.
Any massive enterprise is bound to go astray in one area or another. Granted, EA has been bad to their employees in the past, they've lied to their loyal fans and haven't made the best game-requirement decisions. Yet, they make up for that by standing up for their employees, making up for their bad decisions to us gamers and continue to give us some of the best gaming franchises out there.
Why I'm Excited About Injustice: Gods Among Us
- Apr 15, 2013 12:21 pm GMT
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I've always enjoyed fighting games. There's something about experimenting with a large roster of characters and learning all their moves, strengths and weaknesses that appeals to me. Some of my favorite memories of visiting arcades as a boy involve finding a new fighting game and spending all of my spare change testing it out.
My problem with fighting games is that while I enjoy them enough to have a good time with them for a little while, I don't enjoy them so much that I want to put in the time and effort that it takes to be a high level fighting game player. This isn't a problem if I'm playing a game right when it comes out, as I'm usually able to find players online that match my skill level. But if I try and go online with a fighting game that's been out for more than a couple of months I find that the only players that are still playing are the kind of high level players that easy beat anyone of moderate or below skill level. Going online with no chance of finding someone that you can compete against just isn't fun. And going online is really all you can do in most current generation fighting games. The feature list for just about every fighter in my collection contains three items: an "arcade" mode that you can blow through in about 10 minutes, a tutorial that isn't very good at teaching even the basics, and an online mode. This sparse feature set would be deemed unacceptable in any other genre, but because of their arcade roots fighting games have been given a pass by both reviewers and gamers. Arcade machines could get away with it because of the low cost of playing them, but I expect more content from a full priced console game.
After trying many well made fighters that I quickly grew tired of playing online, I was starting to think the genre was no longer for me. Then NetherRealm released their last Mortal Kombat game. Not only was the fighting lots of fun, but there was a ton of stuff to do in the game outside of the online mode. It featured a great campaign that was longer than most first person shooter campaigns these days, a challenge tower where you could hone certain skills with each fighter, a "krypt" that let you unlock bonuses like character art and extra finishing moves, a mode that changed the game in fun ways like making you play upside down, and more. It was the first home fighting game I played that I felt had enough content to justify being priced as a full retail game.
Everything I've read about Injustice: Gods Among Us says that it will include a similar amount of content. It's a rare game that I'm going to buy at full price, just so that I can support NeatherRealm for giving us so much more than other fighting games have. I hope the makers of future fighters learn from their example.
UPDATE: It looks like Capcom is paying attention.
Year of the 3DS
- Apr 10, 2013 9:22 am GMT
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I lifted that title from...well, everywhere on the Internet pretty much. But yeah, that seems to be the consensus around various gaming camps. For full disclosure, I was an "early adopter" of the system. I was really excited about it when it was announced, but at the same time, I didn't really feel I needed one right out of the gate. But my wife was feeling generous, and it ended up being my birthday present that year. I didn't complain.
But the system did get off to a slow and rocky start, at least that's the way I saw it at the time. There seemed to be some confusion on the part of consumers (parents mostly). I don't think a lot of folks got the differences between the 3DS and regular DS/DSi. There was also the initial price. I believe we paid something like $270 (USD) at launch. And of course, Japan suffered a great natural disaster shortly after the release of the system, which only further crippled an already delicate world economy.
Okay, enough of the negative...
We had a pretty dang good year last year in terms of 3DS content. Sure, there were slow spells, but we still got some pretty good stuff. But this year -- fa'getta'bout'it! I'm waiting on SMT: DS Soul Hackers next week and then SMTIV this summer. Animal Crossing finally coming out here this June. My wife and I will be pre-ordering his and hers like we did with the DS games. And I'm ready for some Animal Crossing again. I kinda needed a break after the Wii game, but I'm ready again now. Project vs. Zone also looks pretty dang cool, even if it's merely a trimmed-down version of the Super Robot Taisen OG Saga game we got for DS. Lots of other great stuff coming and announced for this year. It really is gonna be one of those years (finally) where I simply cannot afford all the games I want for this system. Fire Emblem Awakening brought me back after a long hiatus, Luigi's Mansion 2 kept me around, and it looks like my handheld is once again gonna be my favorite gaming system.
Like I said, year of the 3DS...
Cry-ing For Help
- Apr 9, 2013 12:51 pm GMT
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I didn't think I'd be writing a lot about Crysis 2 as after a couple of hours I was so bored of it I was ready to give up on it. It was really boring and seemed like another generic warfare shooter which I've now played a million times over. I went and read a couple of reviews and they seemed to suggest the game got better a few hours in. I decided to stick with it and it definitely rewarded me for my patience. By the time I hit the last third of the game I couldn't wait to play the next level and then the one after that.
The main difference between the early part of the game and later on is the introduction of the aliens as an enemy. Too much of the early game is spent shooting soldiers which are incredibly dull and very similar to COD which I'm also bored playing. Luckily once the aliens make an appearance and require different tactics to dispatch them the game takes a turn for the better. By this point I'd gotten used to the shooting mechanics and it was getting easier to kill enemies and a lot more satisfying. The aliens also died a lot more interestingly and seeing them fall was a lot more rewarding than the soldiers.
The guns in the game had some variety although as with all army type shooters there are only so many conventional weapon types to play with. There are a couple of alternatives to the mainstream weapons which I didn't have much hands on time with but they offered a decent break from the norm. Whilst the game did a good job of chaperoning your weapon choices, it left you to your own devices to take on enemies however you pleased.
The story started like the rest of the game by not drawing me in but over time I learned what the story was trying to portray and what the game was leading towards and I took a liking to it. I did think that early on there were a few cut-scenes that went on way too long without telling you any interesting but I just kept myself busy during those moments.
The graphics, whilst impressive, have definitely been outdone in the years since this game came out. I understand it's a beast of a game on PC but has clearly been pared down for console. Whilst looking great it didn't particularly blow me away like Rage did. I'd be interested to see how Crysis 3 looks on console but I haven't had the chance to check it out yet.
The last thing worth mentioning is the main break away feature that sets it apart from other military shooters and that the nano suit powers. I'll admit it wasn't until late in the game that I realised the true potential that the powers had to offer. I definitely prefer a sprint ability where I can visibly see how much I have 'left' as I often get annoyed that I run out of sprint in say the middle of a battlefield. The armour ability was my least used feature but it definitely came in handy when I was low on health. It came in very handy for staying alive in the heat of battle! Last and definitely not the least is the cloak ability which got me through the end of the game very nicely. The sheer amount of enemies pacing around would've taken a long time to get through all of them!
I would've given the first few hours of the game a 6.5 but the second half saved it so much I gave it an 8.0. Thankfully it ended on a high rather than a negative otherwise I might've forgotten how good the game was at its peak.
My other game since my last blog was F.E.A.R 2 which was in no way as scary as I was expecting it to be. It's scary how incredibly generic a shooter it is and I think it could win an award for being the most average shooter on 360. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it though. The one thing that saved this game was pretty decent shooting mechanics. Shots felt fairly satisfying and it took the right amount of bullets to take down an enemy which some games always seem to get wrong.
From what I understand from what I've read and comments other people have made, the original F.E.A.R was far superior to this sequel. The Alma story didn't really seem to be that interesting and it was the type of game where I just enjoyed it for the actual gameplay. Cut scenes were pretty much non-existent which was a saving grace as I was just able to blitz through it.
The graphics are very under par for even a game made 4 years ago. I'm not overly fussed about cutting edge graphics so this didn't bother me. Enemies were easy to make out which is all you really need for a shooter. I think that the game did a good job of mixing up the environments although none were particularly inventive and have all been done better in other games.
There's not a lot else to say about this game. It didn't blow me away but served a purpose and not once was I frustrated by the gameplay or annoyed about getting stuck. For me that's more of a benefit to a game than looking good or having an interesting story. I often play great games that I get so angry with for getting stuck for no apparent reason so I'd definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a shooter to play with ease. It's like the gaming equivalent of watching a soap or sitcom in that they don't require any taxing brain activities but they can easily get you hooked and enjoying for hours. I gave the game a 7.5 which is an average score for an average game.
I couldn't decide what to play next so I took the easy option and opted for F.E.A.R 3.
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