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What's that? Lucas isn't doing an anti-MS blog?
Anywho, moving on.
Today, the world is playing this game.
EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that these creatures in the game are not zombies, but living breathing infected. They are zombie-like in nature, so that explains the confusion. To avoid me having to replace every zombie with infected, from this point on just read zombie as infected. If anything else is contextually out of place, chalk it up to late night proofreading.
I would be included in that group. I went to Best Buy today to pick it up, and I've spent a good four or so hours on it. I will say, as an experience, the game's phenomenal. Its sense of atmosphere and tension is quite immerserve. I love the graphics and the way the characters are portrayed. And the surprises? Emotional. Loving the story.
But.. the gameplay fails to win me over.
It's not a very good stealth game
I remember Tom catching some flak for this in his review of the game, but he's right. The rediculous enemy AI really disrupts the immersion. Enemies have poor eye sight, even the humans, not being able to spot you at the other end of the hall. You're obviously jutting out from a corner, right next to them while they're looking your way, and they still don't see you. Your partners will run right in front of enemies at times, and won't set off their alarms.
The biggest issue I have with the stealth is the Clickers. These mutated zombies are supposed to have highly tuned senses of hearing, and the game even tells you they can hear you when you're crouched. Yet, I can creep right by them moving at full crouching speed and they just keep hobbling about. My AI partners fumble into them; we vault obstacles; I can take a zombie out right next to a Clicker, and its none the wiser. If I can "hear" them through walls, they should be able to hear us talking to each other from three feet away. It's just flatout dumb.
It's not a very good action-adventure game
Now, this is obviously subjective, because some people really enjoy the action; I don't. I think the shooting's terrible. Granted, I might suck at it, but I find it not very fun at all to even try to use my guns when the ammo is so scarce, even by survival horror standards. Plus, the melee isn't the best, and sometimes you can't even escape from getting jumped even when you're prompted to.
I know this isn't Uncharted, but the the Uncharted comparisions will inevitably be made. Naughty Dog's previous three titles have been Uncharteds, and the way The Last of Us is presented storywise exhibits a bit of an Uncharted vibe, just with a post-apocalyptic theme instead of a treasure hunting one. So, instead of climbing majestic mountains and scaling ancient architecture, I slink through dirty alleyways, muck about in sewers and crawl through dilapidated buildings, all without any climbing (there's the normal hoisting one's self over a ledge, but that's it). This makes the downtime between each action scene less interesting, at least to me.
It's not a very good zombie/survival horror game
I say this because it really isn't as scary as it should be. I jumped in a couple places, but it was one of those "BOO!" type scares. The zombie designs are very typical, and the Clicker designs are a joke. It's like someone had a bad intern exam of making a Headcrab mask, and put it over a zombie's head. They also wander around sometimes like they were comical versions of themselves, more drunk then they are infected, not to mention the guards that can't make up their minds which way they want to investigate something. Also, there are some freshly turned zombies that just stand in one place, crying, with their head in their hands. When I first saw this, I thought, "OOOOH! THE WITCH!" from Left for Dead. Walked right up to it killed it with no problem.
Don't get me wrong, though, the game's definitely worth playing, and any PS3 owner should add it to their library. I'm just not one of the many people going, "OOH PERFECT GAME! 10" like the rest of the Internet. The presentation is just outstanding, clearly a product of the Naughty Dog pedigree. The gameplay itself, however, falls short of perfect. Again, I find myself agreeing with Tom McShea. Poor guy, gets so much hate and outrage aimed towards him when really... he's just voicing an honest opinion that happens to be in the minority.
Now if I can, I just want to talk about AAA games being overhyped. In my mind, this is one of them. It seems that the majority of the gaming populace is too easily wowed with high production values. All it takes is amazing graphics, full of set pieces and explosions - or in The Last of Us's case, zombies - and halfway decent gameplay to become a stellar game. Too often, they're blown away by the cutscenes and the world and the characters that they don't spend enough time focusing on the game's weaker points. It seems GameSpot's harsher scoring criteria should be adopted by more people, I'm not saying low ball games to just low ball them (and really Tom's score of an 8 is far from low balling), but I'm saying that 9s and 10s shouldn't be handed out to AAA games just for showing up..
I'll stop writing negative Xbox One blogs when MS stops fVcking up. I'm warning you, if you're tired of my MS bashing, leave now.
You that see that massive piece of land shaped roughly like Africa? That would be Africa. I'm sure Africans are gamers, just like the rest of us, and as one of the seven continents of the world, I'm sure they're a very important part of the world. So, Africa just doesn't seem to be important to MS? I knew their Internet-bound console would leave out millions of gamers, but I had no idea they'd leave out an entire CONTINENT! How can MS be a global market leader when they can't even sell their product to 1/7th of the world?
It really is sad that we have to see something like this happen all because of a policy that requires something that doesn't need to be always online to be online.
"Piraters are bad!"
Solution? Fvck Africa.
"Used games are bad!"
Solution? Fvck Africa
"But teh cloud! It makes games better!"
Not in Africa, because they fvcking can't play those games!
Ok, ok, winding it down a bit. This is only at launch. MS will eventually get Xbox Live working in Africa, or at least a handful of countries there, so that the Xbox One will be able to communicate and authenticate. People in Africa who want an Xbox One will just have to wait. Will it be worth it for them? How do they feel about this? And it's not just Africans, but how does the rest of the world's countries feel about being left out at launch, even though the consoles could very easily be shipped there?
Well.. at least they can buy an Xbox 360.
Yep, even the people who live in Africa that have perfectly capable internet will not be able to use an Xbox One, but they can still buy a 360. This Don Mattrick is full of shyte. How can the Xbox One be "the leading product people love and embrace" when an entire continent can't use it! I'm getting really tired of this MS damage control. The point of damage control is to... uh... hold on a second.. I know this one... just can't put my finger on it... umm... oh yeah! TO CONTROL DAMAGE!
Oh, and then there's this new little gem.
Microsoft is trying to tell us that our idea of ownership is changing? No, THEIR idea of our ownership is changing. They're trying to tell us that because things are becoming more connected, we have more abilities to use our content than ever before, yet that somehow justifies them taking away our actual rights to ownership. So, does this excuse all the restrictions they've placed on our games? Does this excuse a policy that cuts out the entire African landmass from being able to play Xbox One? I love this little bit from the article.
"One example Spencer pointed out was the ability for up to 10 family members to log in and play Xbox One games wherever they are."
THANK YOU MICROSOFT FOR ALLOWING UP TO 10 OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS TO PLAY MY GAMES! I'm shocked that they tried to make this a positive bulletpoint. I suppose we should consider ourselves fortunate enough that up to 10 of our family members can access our content, considering every family in Africa can't even access the god damned machine!
And this one here:
Haha, no they're not! Discs are useless once they load to the HDD. You don't even need the disc to play once you've installed it. So, because of that, this justifies MS's policy of 24 hour check-ins to validate. If that weren't the case, you could easily pass on the disc to someone else and have them install it and keep passing the disc around. All MS had to do was require the disc to boot, just like previous consoles have done. They only stuck with discs to prevent those opposed to DD from speaking out in rage but if you are REQUIRED to have BB and REQUIRED to install the disc, you might as well just download the games. Sure, hackers would just get a CD key like they do with PC games, and I guarantee you it's only a matter of time before the Xbox One gets cracked. Then, Africa will be able to enjoy Xbox One.
One last one:
Already set in place in 2011, MS will continue requiring its consumers to waive their rights to class-action lawsuits. To be fair, MS isn't the only doing this, as Sony updated their Terms of Service as well. I am not that keen on that idea, and I'm also suspiscious of the legality of such a policy, but you should always have the right to sue a company if they do you wrong and won't compensate. It's just kind of a shame that we're so eager to give up our rights just to play video games. I know there's an entire continent out there that would love to give up their rights to sue you, MS, just to play your games.
If you're tired of my MS ranting and you still read up to this point, well, I'm sorry you did. I warned you... I myself am tired of writing these blogs, but I find that it's therapuetic, even a bit cathartic. I've been gaming for a very long time, probably before some of you were born, and I've never, ever seen fvckery like this. This baffles the mind. And you wonder why the press continues to paint MS in such a negative light. I got news for you. They aren't. It's MS who's painting themselves in a negative light. The press is only directing attention to it.
Ok, fine. Let me say some negatives about the other companies to make this blog sound a little more fair. I'm sick of Nintendo always rehashing older franchises when they have a number of older franchises they could draw from. Plus, making some new ones wouldn't hurt. And I'm tired of the Wii U collecting dust. We need games, dammit!
I can't believe Sony would charge for online multiplayer now! Those bastards! Honestly, that was a major screw up that hurt their mage a little, just when everyone was putting their entire trust in them. Plus, how the hell can you make such an ugly, ugly console! It's like I'm looking at the Xbox One, only after five shots of whiskey!
And well, enough negativity in general. Here's a video of kittens!
I'm doing to do this one a bit differently. Instead of typing each one out as transcripts like I've usually been doing, I'm going to groups games that I see in three different categories. Games I Want, Games I'm Interested in, and Games I'll Pass On. I'll still have overall thoughts for each one. Sorry if the new format caught anyone off guard, but I'm finding myself running out of time.
Games I Want:
- Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare - I absolutely loved Plants Vs Zombies. To get more of it is only a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm only hearing about Xbox One and 360. Exclusive? Anyway, this game's a third-person action game. You can still set up towers, but now you're free to move around and shoot at zombies. The demo looked absolutely fun and exuded charm and humor.
- Need for Speed: Rivals - I love Need for Speed so this is a given. Looks like it'l be a reuion of drivers vs cops again. They showed a nifty demonstration where a multiplayer game blended seemlessly into a single player game. The game itself looks really fun, just what I'd expect from an NFS title. Oh, and apparently there's an NFS movie coming out starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul.
- Mirror's Edge 2 - I already saw the trailer before, but I'm enjoying it a second time. And, I'm so relieved that it's going multiplat, because I'd be quite angry if it was Xbox One exclusive.
Games I'm Interested In:
- Titanfall - I saw a bit of this during the MS conference. It looks like a lot of fun, especially when you get in the mechs.
- Star Wars: Battlefront - This game got a quick tease. I never played a Battlefront game, but I think I would like to in the future.
Games I'll Pass On:
- Dragon Age: Inquistion - Surprised to see this game here? Well, I was entirely put off by the direction Bioware took Dragon Age 2 in, so the announcement of this title just doesn't do anything for me. I'm sure it will do great things in its own right, but I doubt I'll be playing it.
- NBA Live 14 - Not really into sports game that much, but I have to say the bounceTek software they're showing off really helps the game look more realistic.
- Madden NFL 25 - DIE ALREADY, JOHN MADDEN!
- FIFA 14 - Never been into soccer. But hey, Drake's a real big fan!
- UFC - Seeing a trend here? At least it's nice to see actual UFC athletes endorsing a game they're starring in... "Fight fans everywhere will get to experience this game." NOT XBONE GAMERS WITHOUT INTERNET! HO HO HO!
- Battlefield 4 - I just don't like modern war games. At leat there was a 64 player demonstration...
So, as you can see, there'ss a lot of games that I'm going to pass on. Several of them are sports games, and that's why EA conferences generally aren't my favorite E3 conferences to watch. PvZ: Garden Warfare was a real delight, but I'm really hoping it's going multiplat. Also, they quickly plugged a Peggle 2 announcement, and I loved Peggle, so I'm looking forward to that. There were also a lot of prerendered trailers and teasers with no gameplay footage shown, such as Dragon Age and Star Wars Battlefront. Ending the show with the Mirror's Edge 2 announcement did manage to leave a good impression with me though, so overall, personal sports game bias aside...
Games I Want:
- Splinter Blacklist - What can I say? I love the series. Sucks that Michael Ironside isn't the voice anymore, but I'm sure I'll love the game nonetheless. The preassembled footage looks pretty interesting, and I can't wait to get my hands on it to try it for myself.
- Rayman Legends - The only question is... what platform do I get it for? They showed off a fun prerendered trailer, and some more gameplay footage. I honestly cannot wait for this game!
- The Crew - From the trailer they showed, it appears to be come kind of open world driving game. One of the developers came out to talk more about the game, saying that you'll be working your way into a criminal organization. The gameplay demo they showed off looked fantastic. Originally, I put this in Interested, but I bumped it up to Want.
- Watch Dogs - Maybe I should make a category for I WANT IT FVCKING NOW! I've been anticipating this one since it was shown at the last E3. I love the unique spin they have on the sandbox genre. The whole futuristic stealing personal info setting is widly intriguing. They showed off a prerendered trailer. I was hoping for stage demonstration.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Another must have title. I've been playing the AC games since the first and loved them. The CG trailer looks amazing as usual. And, they showed off another CG trailer as well, soundtracked by some beautiful music. I'm disappointed they didn't show any gameplay footage, though.
Games I'm Interested in:
- South Park: The Stick of Truth - I know I'll probably want to play it, but I wish they showed off some gameplay.
- Trials Fusion and Trials Frontier - I remember playing the first Trials and it was pretty fun. I wouldn't mind checking them out.
- The Division - There was a really intriguing and even scary in a paranoid way trailer about the collapse of the world due to a pandemic. The gameplay footage that follows shows a team of people working together as they scout a post apocalypitc city. There's lots of overlaying interfaces, such as maps. Gunplay features a pop and shoot cover system. The reason why I haven't put thsi in the Want category is because I'm not sure if it's online only, or if there's a single play mode. A story mode would easily bump this up to want.
Games I'll Pass On:
- Rocksmith 2014 - This is what Ubisoft decides to start their conference with? Anyway, I'm not into guitars at all, and this is a very complex version of Guitar Hero. Total pass.
- The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot - It looks like multiplayer dungeon raiding game. It has humor to it, but I just haven't seen enough of the game to say whether or not I'll be intersted in it. They showed off a funny CG trailer.
- Just Dance 2014 - Just not intersted in dancing games. Plus, the song selection sounds like it will be horrible. They had Pitbull during the video, and I can't stand him. Plus, I saw Nikki Minaj's name thrown across the screen, and I can't stand her either.
- Rabbids Infvasion - This is an interactive TV show? I wonder how that works. Good thing someone explained it. So, it's using tech on XBox One to point and shoot things at the TV while it's playing the show. And... now I've bumped this down to Pass.
Overall thoughts: Well, you can see in direction comparison to EA, Ubisoft has a lot more games that I want. I personally feel they had a stronger showing, although I'm disappointed in no gameplay demos for both AC IV and Watch Dogs. I'm very curious about The Division, and I really, really hope it isn't strictly online, because that kills games like that for me. I like to explore at my own pace, and MMOs just ruin that experience. Anyway... I'd have given this conference a higher score except, Aisha Tyler just had to host it again, and featuring a t-shirt with #girlwood across it. That says it all, right there. Rating: B
Satoru Iwata comes out and shows of a trailer right away. It's for Pokemon X and Y for the 3DS. I really don't care much about it, because I never got into Pokemon. I do, however, acknowledge the massive popularity of the franchise, so I know this will be huge. Looks like they've added some pet handling gameplay similiar to what was done in Nintendogs. It's actually quite adorable. Iwata talks more about the new gameplay elements, including the fairy type, and that it's coming out in October.
Gameplay for the new Super Mario is now being shown. Mario jumps into a new animal suit, runs around bopping enemies, running up walls, etc. The world looks beautiful and a lot of fun. It looks like you'll be able to play with other characters, such as Princess Peach, Luigi and Toad. There's snow levels, water levels, I saw one with a pipe system, they're riding some kind of water creature, I just saw that football koopa from Super Mario World. The more of this game that's being shown, the more I want to play it! It's Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U. Iwata comes out to talk more about it, saying there's online cooperative and competitve play. He also talks about the new animal suit, which is Cat Mario. Man, this just looks like too much fun! It will be available in December.
YAY NEW MARIO KART FOOTAGE! Oh man, this is going to be crazy! I just saw the carts turn into anti-gravity vehicles, and they're riding on vertical surfaces and whatnot. There's motorcycle and hangliders and the courses themselves look fantastic, if a bit too familiar. There's a San Francisco inspired track where they jumped over a trolley. It's Mario Kart 8, and damn I want it now!!!!!! Iwata comes out again to talk a bit more about it. It's coming out Spring of next year... DAMMIT!
Now he shows off some gameplay footage for Mario Party U. Looks to be a lot of variety. They showed a slot car game that was playable on the gamepad with two players. It looks like you'll be able to play with your Miis in this game. Also, it will be delayed, as it was supposed to be out this summoer . Wii Fit U that was supposed to come out soon is now being delayed to add more features. He's also apologizing for more delays. Typical.
He mentions how community members are continuously sumbitting incredible drawings. A new Art Academy will be released for Wii U, which will most likely take advantage of Miiverse. It will be out this summer via eShop. You'll be able to post your artwork directly to Miiverse. It seems cool, and it makes me wish I was an artist, because my drawing ability sucks.
Nwo he talks about third party releases. A montage is shown featuring Assassin's Creed IV, Batman Arkham Origins, a Batman game for the 3DS, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut, Disney Infinity, Just Dance 2014 (please stop.. ), Rayman Legends, Scribblenauts Unmasked for both the Wii U and the 3DS, Disney's Planes, Shin Megami Tensai IV for the 3DS, Skylanders SWAP Force for the Wii U and 3DS, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Sonic Lost World (HURRAY!), Watch Dogs. Looks like a lot of support, but the majorit of it seems to come from Ubisoft.
Iwata talks more about eShop games. Another video shows off Ballpoint Universe, Cloudberry Kingdom, Coaster Crazy Deluxe, Ducktales: Remastered (HURRAY!), Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystera, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty, Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails, Shovel Knight, Spin the Bottle: Bumpies Party, A World of Keflings. Seems a lot of indie games are coming their way to Nintendo systems. Nothing really got me excited, though, except for the Ducktales remake.
Iwata talks some more about A Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. and honestly, I simply cannot get myself to care about this game. So it looks a bit prettier, big deal. I'd much rather just have a fresh new Zelda, although I know one's in the works. All Nintendo needs to do to get me sold on this remake in include the dungeons they cut out from the original. It comes out in October.
Finally, he shows more of The Wonderful 101. God, this game's taking forever to release. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen gameplay for this game, but it does remind me of an action-heavy Pikmin. There seems to be a lot of powers you can buy, and big enemies you can fight. This game needs to hurry up and come out. September 15th is a long ways off. He also mentions an upcoming Nintendo Direct will be dedicated to the game.
Next, Iwata makes a new announcement. He shows a video which turns out be a new Donkey Kong Country. It looks fun and beautiful, with new scenery and gameplay, camera angles and the like. I wouldn't mind playing this, as I loved Donkey Kong Returns. Dixie Kong also returns. It's called Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeeze, coming out in November.
Now, Iwata shows another trailer for Bayonetta 2. They got rid of her beautiful long hair, which I don't care for. They show off some gameplay footage, but it was a very short tease. AND IT'S PUSHED BACK TO 2014! You kidding me?! That's disappointing.
Next up is a trailer for the new Monolith game, which is obviously Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It looks very pretty. It comes out sometime next year. It closes with new footage of Super Smash Bros, featuring a lot of new things from all sorts of franchises including Animal Crossing's Villager. Surprise, surprise, it's next year. Hah, Mega Man is now part of the roster, and oh man, his theme music's got me excited! I think I'm going to have to get this game now.
It's hard to judge this one, as it's not a standard Nintendo conference. It feels weird not seeing the likes of Reggie Fil-Aimes on stage, but I'll just have to settle when what I got. As for the Direct, there wasn't much announced that I didn't already expect, but it was really exciting to see new gameplay footage of Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8. I'd love to pick up the new Donkey Kong Country as well. The show faltered, though, during the presentation of all the numerous third party games. It just ran through them so quickly. This is a very important Direct for Nintendo, so more is more. Also, more delays such as Bayonetta 2 slipping to 2014 is very disappointing. As much as I'm excited for the major Nintendo players, I'm also disappointed by any real surprises. So, overall, the direct failed to really impress me.
The show begins with Jack Tretton. He talks and talks. Rambling off numbers. I forgot how boring Sony conferences start off. Finally, he announces a new Vita bundle with The Walking Dead. He mentions more about PS4 and Vita interconnectivity.
The first game they display is of course the Last of Us. Sony always starts their shows off with games that are already out, or almost out. It looks fantastic, and I will definitely be picking it up this Friday. The next one they show is the Puppeteer, which looks fun and unique. Then, there's another game called Rain, which seems to be a very peaceful game about a ghost, or something of that nature.
Now, there's more footage of David Cage's Beyond: Two Souls. It's actually looking really good, I'm just hoping the gameplay holds up. Next up, is Gran Turismo 3. Er, I mean 4. Er, I meant 5. Crap... I meant 6. I really enjoyed this trailer because of the song they used. I'm sure it will be an amazing game, but I haven't been interested in GT in a long time.
Jack Tretton returns laying praise on Naught Dog for their Last of Us. He rolls out a trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins. I'm really interested to see how well this game comes out, because Rocksteady won't be making it. It does look good, but I have my reservations. Tretton announces exclusive DLC for the PS3 version. September 17th will see a GTA V PS3 bundle with headphones.
Andrew House comes out to talk about how the PS4 is continuously evolving. He's leading up to show the PS4. Finally, the console itself is shown off for the first time and it's... a doorstop. Seriously, it's a freaking parallelogram. Not feeling it at all. It's far from the ugliest console design, but it's just... weird. House talks and talks.
Michael Linton CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment comes out to talk and talk. Ugh... "Movies, TV, music." Well, at least he didn't spend an hour talking up entertainment stuff like some other company... Oh wait, House talks more about media services. I skipped.
Shu Yoshida comes out to talk about how large his team is. He talks about social media. This conference is starting to drag at this point now. He says 20 new titles are coming, 12 of which are new IPs. Well, that beats MS's 8 out of 15. He shows off the first, which is by Santa Monica Studios, only known for God of War. The footage being shown isn't a God of War game, though, so I'm surprised. It's some game that looks like it's set in London. It's called The Order: 1886, and it looks pretty interesting, fighting monsters with futuristic weapons in old England. No gameplay was shown, though. Bummer.
Now, a short clip is shown of Killzone: Shadowfall followed by a clip of Driveclub. Next one is inFAMOUS: Second Son. Looks frigging fantastic! My first must buy on the PS4. Now, Knack is being show, and it looks pretty fun as well. I might make this my second purchase. Yoshida confirms that Killzone, Drive Club and Knack will be available at launch, with Second Son available first quarter of next year.
He now shows some footage from a new game called The Dark Sorcerer. For a cutscene running in real time, it looks extremely amazing. I missed the part where it was a tech demo, so there was a blooper of the actor screwing the line up. I got a laugh out of it.
Adam Boyes comes out to introduce Amir Rao and Greg Kasavin (EX-GAMESPOT GUY!) of Supergiant games. They're showing off their new game Transistor. It looks like it's going to be quite similiar to Bastion in terms of gameplay and perspective, just with an entirely new setting. The trailer also had some incredibly powerful music behind it. I'm looking forward to it.
Boyes again, and he talks up more love for indie publishers, including the ability to self publish. He rattles off a number of small studios. There's Clay Entertainment. They did Shank and Mark of the Ninja. Tribute Games, who did Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Young Horses, who made a game called Octodad. Switchblade Monkeys, who are making a game called Secret Ponchos. Ragtag Studios, who's making some kind of zombie game that looks like it's using the same style zombies as from Plants vs Zombies. Red Barrels who are making a scary game called Outlast. Outworld Inhabitants! Wow, I haven't heard anything from these guys in years! I was excited to hear that a new Oddworld game is coming, but disappointed to find out it's just a remake. 17-bit games, who did Skulls of the Shogun, who are now making GalaxZ. That's a lot of time spent announcing indie games. And those games are exclusive.
Diablo III will have exclusive trinkets. A video message of Tetsyua Nomura plays to unveil a trailer. Beautiful rendered cutscenes. It can only be the new Final Fantasy XV. The gameplay looks nuts! I definitely want this game. Nomura unveils one more teaser. A new Kingdom Hearts, and I'm not intereted in the series, so I'll be passing.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is now being talked about, but in the interest of time, I'm going to skip it. Same with Watch Dogs. Then, there's some movie talking about the new NBA 2K14. Not into basketball, so I'm skipping this too. The next game up is Elder Scrolls Online, but I have no interest in it, so again, I'm skipping. Now, a new teaser is shown, and it looks like Mad Max, and it is. I'm looking forward that one!
Jack Tretton returns once again. Now, he's going to confirming policies. PS4 supports used games with no restrictions. Good. Paraphrasing, "When a person buys a PS4 title, he has the rights to do what he wants with that game. Trade it, lend it, sell it." Praise be to you Jack Tretton and Argo Fuc k Yourself, Don Mattrick. No online requirement to play. Good. No requirement to check in online at all.
Now he talks up PSN and its new features, including be able to play a game while it's still downloading in the background, cross game voice chat (FINALLY!), friends stuff and more. PS+ will continue foward to PS4. Here's the thing that gets me, though. "Immersive online mulitplayer for PS4." Looks like playing online for free on PS4 is out. Drive Club will be offered as a free game via Instant Game Collection.
World gameplay premier of Desitny now rolls out. It's being done in co-op, and they're approaching a massive wall. Three minutes have passed and not a god damned thing has happened. This looks so underwhelming. I'm skipping it. I'm sure the game will be fantastic, but this demo left a very poor impression with me.
I believe it's House again? he's talking amore about Gaikai. Their cloud service will be available next year. You'll be able to play games via streaming across all Vita, PS3 and PS4. Now he announces the price, THREE NINETY-NINE! And the crowd goes wild! He drives home "True consumer ownership and true consumer trust," as in "TAKE THAT MICROSOFT!"
The show closes with another music montage.
Quite a lot of talking. Caused the show to have some pacing problems. But, there was so SO much shown, so many games listed they couldn't even spend time on most of them. Sony kicked MS in the nuts by confirming no DRM, restrictions or online checks, and delived a knee drop to the sternum with a price point one hundred dollars lower than MS. Yep, I'm preordering one first thing tomorrow! I think I'll preorder a few more games with the money I'll be saving by not buying an Xbox One.
Be prepared for more impressions. I will link all upcoming entries so you can read all my thoughts. Also, pardon any typos. My laptop screen is burned out and it hurts my eyes having to type this on a TV screen so I won't be doing any correcting.
So MS decides to start their conference with an absolutely amazing video of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The game looks flatout looks gorgeous. Yusuf Mehdi unveils a newly redesigned Xbox 360 that takes after the look of the Xbox One. "It's smaller, sleeker, and as quiet as ever." And he left out souless. Seriously, it's about as exciting in design as the Wii U is. XBL Gold will now get two free games per month, starting July, but they're probably going to be a bunch of older games. The first two will be Halo 3 and Assassin's Creed 2. Yippiee.....
They showed off three upcoming Xbox 360 games. One was World of Tanks, a popular free-to-play PC game, another was an indie game called Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. The last was Dark Souls II, of which I'll just get for the PS3. I don't care at all about World of Tanks, but I'll have to look into Max, as it looks like a fun platformer.
Bill Spencer comes out to talk about TV... Wait... he's talking about games? So the first Xbox One game they display is a Roman era war game called Ryse: Son of Rome. Pretty graphics, bloody combat, stuff being blown up and destroyed. You can also control your army and have them seize catapults and the like. So it's their first exclusive, and a launch title at that. It just doesn't grab me as a must-have, though.
They threw a quick teaser in and it's a new Killer Instinct! Ted Price comes out to talk about Sunset Overdrive. All that was shown was a pre-rendered trailer. The next game shown off is of course Forza 5, and they pull out a flashy McLaren P1. But well, I don't care about Forza, so I fastforward. Phil Harrison comes out to talk about supporting indie developers. Minecraft coming to Xbox One. Funny.. I've yet to play Minecraft, and surely don't want to on the Xbox One.
So, here's something I'm actually interested in. Sam Lake from Remedy comes out to talk more about Quantum Break. Apparently, it's a game that coincides with a TV show. The game's about a character named Jack, and some kind of time stopping technology. The game looks pretty intriguing. Another game, D4 is being shown off. It's an episodic murder mystery. Failed to interest me.
Dave McCarthy from MS Studios. Here's a line that struck me. "This team came together for one purpose. To give the gift of games to everybody." Yeah, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN FOR THOSE WHO DON'T HAVE INTERNET! Sorry.. *ahem* He talks about something called Project Spark, and it appears to be a game creator that uses Kinect voice comman and SmartGlass to do some terraforming. Seems to be MS's answer to LittleBigPlanet.
Aaaaand... SmartGlass. Aaaaaand don't care. They show of a match for Killer Instinct, and mention an arcade stick that will be available at launch. They demonstrated Upload Studio, which is the DRV function in Xbox One to upload the KI match they just had. That's a pretty cool feature that people in the fighting game community will love. Twitch is also an integrated feature.
Away with the MS Points system and now they'll use a real currency system. Also, Xbox Live Gold Sharing will let anyone in the household use your Gold benefits, even multiplayer (gee, THANKS MS!) without being signed into your account.
Now this is my first "OHHHH GOD DAMMIT!" moment. A new game from the producer of the Panzer Dragoon series called Crimson Dragon is shown, I say OHHH GOD DAMMIT! because those of you following my blogs know I'm resolved to not buy an Xbox One, and this is one of those games that REALLY makes me want to get one.
Capcom Vancouver comes out to premier Dead Rising 3. And here's another "OHHHH GOD DAMMIT!" moment. Exclusive? GOD DAMMIT! But, I'm sorta torn about this game. For one, I love how much bigger it is, but for two, it lost a lot of its charm thanks to more realistic, natural looking graphics. It honestly looks just like any other zombie game. And I don't like it. Yet, I still want to play it because I know the gameplay will be fun. Yet, I don't want to buy an Xbox One for it. Torn...
John Mamais of CD Projekt Red comes out to talk about Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to the Witcher series, so I really have no interest in it. Patrick Soderlund of DICE takes the floor, and has a technical snafu trying to show off Battlefield 4. But you know DICE.... this isn't the fu cking game of yours that I care about.... So, skipping.
Phil Spencer returns to unveil a new game called Below. It looks to be another indie title. Some kind of adventure game. Next, he talks about five new studios they've created. He shows some footage, but there's so little being shown, I can't even comment on it. The next bit they show just so happens to be a teaser for the next Halo. SURPRISE! Bonnie Ross of 343 Industries. She talks about Halo. She hypes up the fact that it's 60 frames per second. Well, at this point, it better be.
Phil Spencer again to announce the price of the system this November ... at 499. OUCH!. He closes by showing off one more exclusive. It's by Respawn Entertainment. It's a futuristic war game with mechs, jet-packs and freerunning. The game is called Titanfall. It looks fun, especially when you get in the mechs. I would like to try it, but I'm certainly not going to buy an Xbox One for it.
You know what, as negative as I've been about Microsoft and Xbox One as of late, I have to say.. this has been one of their best conferences in years. They had very little fluff, almost none in fact. It was game after game after game. Ryse failed to really grip me, along with some other larger games, but right now, the games that have my interest are Quantum Break, Crimson Dragon and Dead Rising III. That trio alone is tempting enough to make me want to preorder an Xbox One, but I have got to say no. MS needs to change a few of their polices before I can "jump in", but I digress. This conference was solid. No Usher. No Kinect. No TV. Just games, something that we didn't think was possible after the Xbox One reveal. I can't believe I'm doing this, but....
EDIT: I originally gave it an A, but as an afterthought, the very little time they spent on 360 I feel hurt them. It makes me feel they're going to abandon the 360 almost immediately after the Xbox One is released, just like they did with the first Xbox when the 360 launched.
Yes, another not so positive blog about Microsoft and their Xbox One. If you're tired of my ramblings, here's your cue.
Yes, it's Kotaku. But well, they're reporting everything that everyone else is reporting, straight from the horse's ass...er...mouth. Yes, MS has finally confirmed everything that we've all been hoping for was just rumors and bullsh it. Well, now it's just sh it. MS may not issue used games fees (hurray?), but we'll most likely see publishers themselves try it. This is actually where I'm hopeful they won't, considering EA's thrown out the online pass. There's ridiculous restrictions when it comes to giving games, and trading games will be practically impossible. Oh yeah, and if I want to GIVE you a game, you better have been a friend of mine for at least 30 days... This is ludicrous. Oh, and the rental market is now fuc ked.
And then there's the final confirmation. The one that's the deal breaker for everyone that I've heard against the Xbox One. The 24 hour connection check. Oh, and if you're playing one of your games on someone else's system, that goes up to an hourly connection check.
Let me just address this one right now before someone posts it.
"But, if you have the Internet to complain about the Xbox One, you have the Internet to play Xbox One."
True, but the difference is, I care about the gamers who DON'T. I don't support this kind of jackassery. There are MILLIONS of gamers WORLDWIDE without the necessary 1.5 Mb/s connection MS requires to utilize Xbox One online. They won't be able to enjoy Xbox One as a result of this. The reason why you're hearing perfectly enabled gamers complaining about the mandatory connection checks is because we're exercising something called sympathy. It's a powerful emotion that helps keep us from devolving into nothing but a bunch of greedy, selfish uncaring jerks. Do you REALLY need the Xbox One that badly that you would support such unfriendly business decisions? Do you not care that MS is basically pissing on your consumer rights? Will MS even have games good enough to justify this?
So, this brings me to my blog title. Will the games be good enough? Right now, the only game that comes close enough to generating any interest into the system is Quantum Break, and that's only because of the pedigree of the developer. Now, I hear that DICE has something in store for us at E3, and it's been rumored - and I stress rumored - that Mirror's Edge 2 will be Xbox exclusive and if this is the case, it will test the limits of my resolve, because I REEEEEEALLY want that game. To put it into perspective, the only game that I want more than Mirror's Edge 2 is The Last Guardian. I do not want to back down, cave in and buy a machine that I'm strongly against just because of a few choice titles. I also want to own them if I ever would buy them, but MS has made it clear at this point they no longer want their customers owning anything they buy.
Let me just go back to the "I have online, so I'm not affected" bit. You don't know that. You have no idea what kind of things can happen that can disrupt your enjoyment of the Xbox One. Your router could fry as a result of power surge. Your ISP could down, or you lost your job and had to cut back on montly expenses. Your job has relocated you to a remote town where there is no Internet, or at least BB. Some construction worker severs a fiber optic cable leaving you without net for several days. Something may happen that will cause you to say, "Fu ck, why did I buy into this?" It may never happen, and you might enjoy the Xbox One without a hitch for years. But why do you want to game under a Damoclean Sword? Why aren't you bothered with the fact that MS will be watching your every move, making sure each person playing isn't some kind of pirate?
So, no. I don't care about MS's offereings this E3. I don't think there's one single game that's going to be amazing enough for me to be able to look the other way on the DRM issues and the 24 hour connection check and the trading and loaning restrictions. It's not going to happen this year. It may not happen next year. If it will ever happen, it will be when MS's cloud is long dead and powered down, which will be the only way you'll be able to play the Xbox One completely free of an Internet connection.... or will it?
Will any game be good enough to buy, knowing you'll never be able to play it again in the future? To be rendered a worthless piece of plastic only fit for a coaster? NO game is good enough for that!
I'm sure most of you know by now that MS has filed a patent for achievements for watching TV shows.
This isn't anything entirely new. GetGlue does the same thing if you watch something online, and they even spread the news across your Facebook friends. But having an achievement unlocked for watching a show you genuinely want to watch isn't a bad thing. The problem with achievements is they coax some people into spending time on something they don't really have an interest doing.
In 2005, I remember the first achievement I unlocked. It was for Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie. I finished the first level and the iconic little blip appeared on my screen. I just received my first 100 points to my gamescore, or as some affectionally refer to as e-penis. Kong was also the first game that I achieved 1000/1000 on. Is that really an achievement, though? Anyone who plays through the entire game can do just what I did.
The following year, the PS3 released and I bought one. As the years went by, I found myself buying the majority of multiplats on the 360. It wasn't because of the 360 being the best in graphics or performance or playing online, or even the preference of the controller. What got me buying multiplats on 360 more was the actual achievements. I became addicted to them and had to play the 360 versions to increase my gamerscore. Meanwhile, the PS3 got ignored. Even great PS3 exclusives weren't enough to entice me to play the machine again because "I can't get achievements for playing them."
Addictions are problems. I'm not saying everyone who plays for achievements are addicts, but I know some are. I know one person who was the first in my group of online friends to achieve 100,000. Wanna know how he did it? He played bad licensed games. He played kids games. He played Barbie. He bought XBLA games he didn't even like because "they were a quick 200." He spent time on xbox360achievements.com to research his next quickest path to gamerscore domination. Did he enjoy getting there? I'm sure he did, so where exactly is the problem?
The problem is that's not what achievements are meant for. They were meant for rewarding you for things you wanted to do, and to entice you to try something you normally wouldn't - within reason. Having to play a bad game, having to play a kid's game, having to play a Barbie game to increase your gamescore should not be encouraged. You should be playing games you WANT to play and games that you LIKE. You also shouldn't be driven mad trying to unlock some stupidly hard challenge for 10 GS or spending two hours killing people with the same gun for 15 GS. I've even heard people paying other people to play games for them under their profile just so their gamerscore could continue to grow when they themselves weren't playing. Is a gamescore really worth that much to some people? Apparently so.
I will admit, I'm guilty of this. Although I never had it as bad as needing to play a Barbie game, I did play games I had no interest in for quick "chievos". Hell, I even got the Burger King games because they had achievements. I also spent far too much time on certain games trying to get all 1000 out of 1000. Whenever I get a Lego game on the 360, I feel compelled to get every single achievement, and I can't seem to convince myself that it's not worth doing. It's not enhancing the gaming experience, more as it's just wasting time that I should be spending playing one of the over 200 other games I've yet to play.
Granted, one could make the argument that the achievement system was designed to lengthen the life of your game. If you just sped through a great game in five hours, you're most likely not going to spend anymore time on it. But, if you get an achievement for finishing the game on Hard, that's another five hours. You might be encouraged to play with your friends online for some more achievements, or explore levels that you would normally pass over. In the case of bad games, though, you don't want to spend anymore time on a game you don't like. It's like ordering a disgusting sandwich. Do you keep eating the sandwich just because it's there? Do you get an achievement for keeping it down when finished, or should you just have the sense to put the thing that's making you sick down?
Another problem with this kind of achievement hunting is that it doesn't reflect accurately what kind of gamer you are. When you compare gamer profiles side by side, you see the games they've played and the achievements they've unlocked. You get a general sense of what they like to play and just how much they like to play it. When used correctly, the system is brilliant, but what do you think of someone who just plays kids games for the easy points? Doesn't that strike you as a waste? Shouldn't you wish that gamer spent his time better? Well, it is his time after all, but then don't you wonder if he really enjoyed himself, or that he could enjoy himself better had he been playing games he truly was interested in?
So this brings me back to the TV "chievos". Now granted, the idea of physical rewards is always nice. If you're going to get something that you can actually use, that's more than just a boost to your gamescore. You might actually be encouraged enough to make a point to watch something. Now, if these are just going to be simple point boosts, then I begin to wonder just how many people will continue to watch a TV series they don't like just so they could get the achievement for it.
Aren't there other TV shows out there more deserving of your time? Aren't there other games out there more deserving of your time? Wouldn't the real achievement lie in knowing you truly enjoyed what you experienced? Too bad there isn't a real achievement for that.
In this dream, MS succeeded with their Xbox One, at least initially. They sold close to a million units at launch, and sold roughly a million more shortly afterward, but something went wrong. There were so many problems with the machine itself and with the services they had. The Red Ring of Death came back to haunt them. That was the last straw for gamers who put up with it with the 360. Azure servers went down. GameStop and other major retailers had enough of their used game income being gouged. They stopped carrying the Xbox One. Xbox One started dying.
The PS4 was off to a great start, about as great as the Xbox One had, but their momentum quickly gained once people grew tired of broken MS machines. It gained faster when retailers stopped carrying Xbox One. MS tried to repair things with retailers, ending the Azure software agreements and even offered free basic XBL, but to no avail. Xbox massacred itself.
MS's stock plummeted. They now had internal hemorrhaging they could not stem. The millions of dollars spent with partnerships such as the NFL and CBS started to show lackluster returns. Investors left. The 300,000 plus servers powering the Cloud grew too taxing to upkeep. Shortcuts were taken and service suffered. Xbox Ones world wide wouldn't connect and millions of units were instantly bricked. Anonymous, self-proclaimed freedom fighters of justice, swept in and hacked MS's network, ensuring the Cloud stayed down for an extended period of time, an attack on MS for violating consumer rights.
Third-parties began withdrawing, unable to make profits as a result of low sales of used games, and an inability to make money from used games, a feature MS worked so hard to entice them with. They flocked to Sony, and some even returned to Nintendo. EA and Nintendo came to an agreement and as such, the Wii U received the Frostbite 3 engine. Nintendo wisened up and realized that their newfound support needed to be nutured and cultured, so Nintendo worked with developers so that they could take full advantage of the hardware. They were still behind in graphical prowess, but it didn't matter. Third parties became more profitable as Wii U units started selling through the roof. The Xbox One became a distant third.
Now, here's where the dream became really interesting. Nintendo and Sony relished in the decline of MS. Two industry giants benefiting from the fall of a third, and the heads had a meeting. Hirai and Iwata talked and talked. What they talked about, I don't remember. That part of the dream was hazy. But what came as a result of the talk was a partnership. They forgave one another for the bad blood created during the SNES era where the two of them were supposed to create a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo.
Somewhere around 2019 or 2020, they would join forces and develop a new console. Sony brought with them their immense console marketing while Nintendo brought their innovation and world reknown first party franchises. The two benefitted immensley from the partnership and grew to be more profitable together than they ever had as competitors. Hardcore and casual united; gaming found its new golden era.
There was also a side effect of this juncture. They joined forces on the handheld front as well. While Sony had the muscle in the console market, Nintendo had the muscle on the handheld front. Sony built an extremely powerful handheld while Nintendo marketed it and took the world by storm. Sony opened the door to indie developers like they did with the PS4, and this new handheld's library saw variety more vast than the Vita and the 3DS put together. Under Nintendo's close watch, Sony began repairing the financial damage they incurred from the failure of the Vita.
Meanwhile, MS kills the Xbox One. They try things fresh and release yet another Xbox, this time a machine that is game-centric. This time, they let Kinect go. This time, they no longer go after multimedia partnerships. They tried to go against Apple and SmartTVs, but it didn't pay off. Windows 9 is released, and succeeds where 8 should have, so it becomes their bread and butter and they run with it. They learned costly mistakes with the Xbox One and now it's too late for them reclaim their market. The new Sony and Nintendo console has it all. MS tries a gaming phone, but they can't get anywhere near the same support that the Nintendo and Sony handheld has.
Two companies join to capitalize on the mistakes of a third. What an epic and glorious dream... Shame I had to wake up from it.
Getting really tired of seeing this >Wii U meme all over the place. Figured I'd flip it around and have some fun with it. Anyway, perhaps I made the mistake of watching the Xbox unveiling while in a bad state of mind, because this conference annoyed me and infuriated me. There is far, far too much fluff going on with this new Xbox. It's getting harder and harder for me to consider the Xbox an actual gaming platform now. When you unveil your new "gaming system" to the world for the first time, and the first feature you talk about is ... TV integration? THAT'S A PROBLEM!
Instead of getting excited for the upcoming Xbox, I see a console that is no longer a box. The box cannot exist without about 300,000 other boxes called servers spread throughout the world. MS has put so much of an emphasis on the Cloud that they've spent hundreds of millions improving their networks. The next XBox isn't what you buy at the store; it's what you pay per month. Quite frankly, you cannot enjoy the Xbox One without an always online credit card connection. At least that's the impression I got.
Oh, and of course, there's the reports about the always online crap and the used games fees again.
(According to Xbox Support's Twitter, the GS article is false https://twitter.com/XboxSupport3/status/336937800702238722)
Obviously, MS wouldn't be spending any of their unveiling time denying or confirming these reports. We probably won't receive official confirmation until E3, but damned if what I've heard isn't damning.
As for the next Kinect, I don't want it. I made the big mistake buying one back in 2010, which is still sitting in its box. The problem is, I simply don't have the room for it. I won't have the room for Kinect 2.0. Same goes with Illumiroom. Why push something so hard that can't be enjoyed by everyone? Push more games. All you need for games is a TV and a controller. Don't keep pushing Smartglass. Don't keep pushing Kinect. Push games. PUSH GAMES!
This is embarrassing. This is MS at its most embarrassing, and I'm talking more embarrassing than Kinectimals. More embarrassing than Usher Raymond. It's so embarrassing, it makes me embarrassed just to know that I own an Xbox 360. It is appauling to see a company who practically bullied their way into the industry full of people who felt they had no business being there and shut them up by bringing freaking gamesm into shifting so much into social and media integration and focusing on games as an afterthought (turning Rare into a shovelware Kinect developer is reprehensible). Yeah, Sony's doing more social things too, but they're actually doing it alongside games.
All this XBL and Cloud fluff. All this Kinect. All this SmartGlass. These futuristic integrations because we're too lazy to look for a freaking remote. It's so god damned unnecessary, and MS will have one helluva time convincing me that I need to buy their machine. It doesn't matter at this point now. I'm so done with MS that I don't care how many new exclusives they release, it's not worth putting up with all the MS BS that comes with it. Oh, and what the hell is with the name? Xbox One? The first Xbox was the Xbox One. Is MS so inept that they forgot how to count?
Yeah, you can bash the Wii U all you want, but it's more of a gaming console than the Xbox One will ever be. Don't agree?
I love the Mario vs Donkey Kong games. In fact, I finally got around to finishing Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem just a few weeks ago. There's only one title I know of that I haven't gottan around to yet, and that's Mario vs Donkey Kong: Minis March Again because I never owned a DSi. I should probably check to see if the game's available on the eShop now that I have a 3DS. Anywho, my interest was piqued in this game when I saw it announced a couple of Nintendo Directs ago, and for 10 dollars, I simply had to get it.
I will say this, though, the game is lacking in presentation. Is it surprising? It's only 10 bucks. But, there are no little cutscenes of Mario going after Donkey Kong with his minis. I miss those. As for gameplay content, the game's packed, especially for just 10 bucks. The main game has four seperate puzzle modes with three of them having at least 50 puzzles. The other mode, Giant Jungle, has three massive puzzles that took me more than a half hour to solve on each one. Unfortunately, I can't help but wonder how much better this game could have been had it not been relagated to an eShop title and had actually been designed as a full priced retail 3DS title.
So basically, the game works like this. The playfield has holes everywhere, and you have a tube that fills up with tiles that have pieces of track on it. Curves, straights, intersections; you place different tiles around the playfield for your mini to make his way to the goal. Along the way, he can pick up M coins for extra points. Collect all three in a level and earn a star. There are also coins that sit on clouds, and to get these, you have to create a closed loop. Do so and that segment raises up and also spawns extra time pick ups. Make a mistake? You can also drop a bomb and shatter a tile.
The game's highly addicting. The first mode, Mario's Main Event starts out ridiculously easy and for the first 20 or so levels begins to get boring, but once the difficulty ramps up, you get hooked. It can get pretty hectic trying to manage your path while keeping your mini clear of obstacles at the same time not lettting your tile pipe get backed up. If that happena, it's game over. The more you play, the more modes unlock, and you also unlock mini games and toy minis.
The mini games are nice little distractions that involve you pulling a slingshot back and firing your mini at targets, or chipping away at an object until it's blown to pieces or raising and lowering a mini on a platform to collect coins and dodge Bullet Bills. Even though they're just mini games, they aren't really engrossing, so you - or at least I - won't feel compelled to play them for long. You'll just want to dive right back into the main modes.
I got to tell you, though, the later modes of the main game have some evil puzzles. Peach's game has you using only a select number of puzzles while Toad's has you moving rotating titles and swapping other titles around. I already told you about Giant Jungle, and those puzzles are just nefarious. Still, I'm having a lot of fun with this game, and everyone with a 3DS who likes puzzlers would do good to download it. Again, it's only 10 bucks!
Content ID matching is a topic that I haven't keep up on, but know it's been around for a while. Basically, it's something that YouTube does to YouTubers who make income via advertisements on videos that contain content held by copyright owners. Instead of taking the videos down, they redirect any ad revenue generated away from the content producer and to the copyright holder. So, anyone who makes a Let's Play video and received income from the ads now loses it to the publisher, provided they claim it. Nintendo has now laid claims.
Personally, I feel Let's Players should be left alone. I don't think copyright law particularly applies to this situation, as I see it differnently than animated music videos or recut films. For a song artist, they can potentially lose a sale of their song because someone can hear it off of YouTube. For a movie, someone can watch it off YouTube. For a game... you can't really play a game off of YouTube. And honestly, if someone just wants to see the game played without playing, they're still not going to buy the game, regardless if the LPer gets ad revenue or not.
Let's Plays are valuable sources of information. Not only do they demonstrate a game being played to help out a person struggling through a specific level, but it's also a resource that a consumer can use if they're researching a potential purchase. Stealing away an LPer's income source for making these videos is akin to charging writers for reviewing their games, or for writing FAQs and strategy guides.
Should Major League Gamers be charged for training on a publisher's video game? Should a portion of the prize money be allocated to, say, Capcom because someone won a tournament playing Street Fighter X Tekken? Now, I know what you're thinking. "No, because they're sponsored." or "No, because it's promotional; they're advertising the game." Well, Let's Players are also promoting these publishers' games. The publishers don't have to pay these YouTubers to talk about their games, but instead are stealing their income for doing so. This is like CBS signing over checks to Square-Enix every time a GameSpot employee talks about Tomb Raider.
Here's an interesting thought. Why not Sony charge whoever plays the game that's being shared to them over the PS4? Why should some guy on the other side of the country be able to play someone else's game for free? "That's unfair!" Right, and so is taking ad revenue from LPers, who BOUGHT the game in the first place! And in case you don't want to read the article I linked, I'll just pluck a quote out of it.
"Theyre [Let's Plays] a great form of advertising and sadly, the way Nintendo is punishing people for playing their titles is going to do more harm than good, when it comes to exposure for their games. YouTube personalities will be less inclined to make lets play series based on Nintendo games since they get no revenue, which decreases exposure. Word of mouth exposure has always been one of the most premium forms of advertising for games."
Exactly. The only difference is that these LPers are making a few dollars doing it. They're taking time out of their day to spend playing YOUR game, which they BOUGHT, and spreading the word. If you as a publisher are really bothered by that, then how about you pay them instead? You didn't play the game for them, so how dare you take away what they earned?
I know this is a grey area, and I can see exactly how copyright law would apply to these situations, but that doesn't mean I think it's right. I don't like the way it works, and I think it needs to be reformed. It also sucks for me personally, because I was thinking about doing this in the future. Now, not so much. If I really have to agree with this copyright law, then I figure I how about 100 different publishing houses money, because I earn a living shelving their books in my library.
Bonus Content: Rich's take on Nintendo's claims.
Before I begin, please take a few minutes and watch this. If you've already seen this, please then advance, or if you don't want to watch, please skip to the quote, because that's really all you need to know.
"You paid up to 60 dollars for a game; you should have some option to experience all the content. ... If you paid for content, do you not have the right to all the content you bought? What if books spontaneously combusted if you didn't understand certain words, or movies refused to unpause until you took a quiz to prove you knew who all the characters were?"
What brings this blog about is my current experience with the first Fire Emblem I'm playing for the GBA. 10 years later, the series FINALLY gets a casual option that turns off permadeath and allows you to save anywhere. Why, oh why, did it take 10 years for that to happen?
"But... but... permadeath makes you think harder about where you're moving your guys!"
Sure, it does. What I don't enjoy, however, is the random death that can happen to even the smartest of people. For instance, that sorceress hidden under the fog of war that can reach out 10 blocks and vaporize your character because she scores a critical on you? How about your knight, who never should have missed, misses and the swordsman with the Killing Edge, who never should have hit you, hits you with two criticals in a row? Or how about you execute a perfectly laid out plan only for it to become a clusterfvck because the game spawns 10 new enemies you weren't ready for?
Of course, part of this frustration is my fault as I'm somewhat of a perfectionist. I cannot accept losing a single character, so if I lose one, I have to start the mission over. Even if I've spent 45 minutes and about to finish the chapter but lose a guy to the boss, I will start it over. Even if I lose a character I don't use, I will start it over. It would have been nice had someone 10 years ago realized that not everyone who plays Fire Emblem truly appreciates this so called "difficulty". The game isn't that hard for me, more as it's just a time waster. I will still end up beating the game; it's just going to take me longer.
And that's the thing. I don't have as much time as I used to have. I found myself with more games coming out this generation that I want to play, but I haven't gotten to yet. Again, it's sort of my fault for adding more pressure to my hobby, because I've decided to focus on my backlog of games. Every time I view a loss in Fire Emblem, I think of how much extra time I have to spend on it it when I could be applying that time to a different game.
Now, this goes back to the argument of hardcore vs casual where the "true" fans don't want to see easier options to make the game appeal more to the casuals. If you watched the video, then Jim has debated that point far better than I could have done. The thing is, you still get your hardcore experience, and the casuals get their casual experience. If a "noob" beats the game, why does that bother you? YOU beat it on a Ultra Mega Super Hardcore Of Which Makes Me a Bad Ass Mother Fvcker mode. Pat yourself on the back.
But honestly, Jim's point about paying money for a game and not being able to enjoy it because it's too hard is a great freaking point. This is entertainment, and this particular medium - video games - is all about fun. What happens when someone of a lesser skill level gets frustrated with the game? That fun decreases. Not finishing a game you paid for is like not finishing a tasty steak or tofu burger if you're a veg; it's a waste of money. So, I'm glad there's an Easy mode in Dark Souls; I'm glad there's a casual difficulty in Fire Emblem: Awakening. It means more people are able to experience those games in their entirety.
In fact, I'm almost tempted to say that microtransactions are a good thing, which would contradict something that I'm adamant against, but I understand more now why companies put them in. They want to attract more people, the less skilled or the more impatient players, who can unlock things at the ready - for a cost - so they can skip through all the bullshyte that the rest of us go through to really enjoy our games. Of course, Dead Space 3's a bad example of this, because they redesigned their upgrade system specifically for microtransactions, and I won't play it because of it. I still view microtransactions as capitalizing on the less skilled and more impatient gamers, but at least they have the option to breeze through the game at their leisure.
This isn't just about difficulty, though. I also think that every game needs a subtitle option for the hearing impaired (most already do). I think there should be more lefthanded controllers and handheld consoles. I think there should be standard options to save wherever you want, even in the middle of a cutscene, because you never know when something comes up. You can always pause a movie or bookmark a book; why can't you do that with video games? I would also love to play a Rockstar game that allows for more tha one save slot, because I may not be the only one in the household interested in playing it. And I always want to see an option to play as a character that you yourself want to see. If it doesn't make sense within the game's story, at least you have the option to make it nonsensical.
Of course, we can't change the fact that vampires sparkle in Twilight. We can't write in more meaningful dialogue and character development into a Michael Bay movie. We can't put more zombies in Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride Prejudice and Zombies. This is where games differ from movies and books. Yes, we pay money for movies and books, and everyone who starts them can finish them. That isn't the case with games, and that's not how it's supposed to be. Since many games have shown that you can customize certain features, you can actually have a better experience than the game maker originally intended. So, instead of making optional options an option, let's instead make them a standard.
So, on my journey to finally get some old games that I've owned finished, I come to Fire Emblem. I started it back on the Game Boy Advance back in 2003, and now 10 laters later, I'm returning to it. As it turns out, I stopped at Chapter 15. If I stopped because it proved to be too hard or I got distracted with another game, I'm not sure. I do know why, though, that it took me so long to return to it. Gameplay wise, I hate it. No, seriously, I can't stand it.
I love strategy based RPGs. My favorite series of this genre so far has been Disgaea, closely followed by Final Fantasy Tactics. I have two reasons why I strongly dislike Fire Emblem, though, and the first has to do with the fact that characters do not return once they're killed in battle. I understand why this is, because it forces you to be extremely careful, but the unfortunate downside to this kind of play style is that battles tend to drag out. Instead of you overwhelming the opposing forces by sacraficing your men, you have to stay back and let the enemy wear themselves out on your strongest players.
The second reason why I dislike this series is limited use weapons and item management systems. For several chapters, you are stuck having to waste turns trading items and equipment among your units. You only only get money every four or so chapters, and you have to wait for a level that has venders and armories to stock up. I have yet to run into any problems with equipping my guys, but I hate knowing the fact that you can render a unit useless by having them run out of weapons. It's an antiquated system, and I sincerely hope the series doesn't continue its usage with its laters titles.
Those two issues aside, I am having fun with the game. I love it when my characters attack twice in a row, and I love how enemies try to hit me through forests and mountains and I just sidestep and counterattack, killing them on their turn and not mine. I like the story, and I think the writing is excellent. I definitely enjoy the way they use older style wording. I'm currently on Chapter 11, I believe, so I've finished Lyn's story, and forgot entirely how the chapters worked. I look forward to experiencing Eliwood's story next.
Now, this game has brought painful memories to the forefront due in part to another Intelligent Systems game Advance Wars. I never finished that game either, mainly due to the fact that the game kicked my ass. The final level seriously turned me off on the game. I pray that Fire Emblem does not have a frustratingly difficult final level, because I hate spending 30-40 minutes on a mission only to lose and start all over again from the beginning. I think the next Fire Emblem game I have is Sacred Stones but I don't think I'll start that one right away. I have a feeling I'll need a break from the series after I finish this game.
Oh, how I've tried to finish you. I started you once when I first played you back on the Super Nintendo, but got suck in one of the crystal dungeons in the Dark World. I tried you again when I purchased you on the Game Boy Advance, but got distracted and moved on to other games. Now that you have a sequel inbound on the 3DS, I'm getting the call to try you again. This time, I WILL finish you!
And I forgot how hard this game is. I mean, it's not that it's hard, it's just I have to get used to the thing all over again. It's so easy to get hit by the jerkish movements and the weird attack angles of Link's sword. I've died more times during the first dungeon than I think I ever did in a 3D Zelda game... Damn, I'm rusty. Anyway, this game brings back a lot of memories, most particularly the music which is still classic. I just finished the first dungeon and got the Pendant of Courage, and I can't wait to move on to the next.
I'm playing it on my old DS Phat, because like an idiot, I got rid of my DS Lite. I loved that thing. Anyway, I decided to get this beauty as well.
It's the Ice Blue Japanese version, and I opted for this one as it was selling for 99 versus 129 that the rest of the models were going for. Anyway, I forgot that this title doesn't sleep when you close the system. You have to actually pause the game and select the Sleep option, and then you need to hold both shoulder buttons and the select button to get it out of sleep. Took a bit of getting used.
Back to the game, I still remember loads of it, like getting the flippers from the Zoras so that I could swim the waters. I also remember the worm boss, the same one shown in the new Link to the Past, and I remember some puzzles really stumping me, especially a couple in the crystal dungeons. Not looking forward to revisiting those. Maybe they won't be so hard, maybe they'll be harder?
Also, I'm really glad gameplay has evolved since Link to the Past, because only have one button for a tool really sucks. I'm always swapping the boomerang out for the lantern or the bombs or the arrows. I also forgot just how useless the map for the dungeons was. And yes, I did try to attack the chickens to see if they'd bombard me again. So yeah, really looking forward to actually playing this game through completion this time around. Embarassed that I still haven't..
By now, everyone's heard Nintendo won't be holding a major E3 press conference.
But that won't mean they won't be at E3 at all. They will still hold two events on the morning of E3's first day of Tuesday, June 11th. These meetings will be closed-door, meaning we the general public won't get to see what Nintendo will be showing off the moment they're unveiling it. We'll need to wait for press attendees to publish their videos and articles so that we can learn what was shown.
I will be honest, this feels very weird. I've always watched what I called the Big 5: Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and of course Nintendo. Not seeing them on the big stage seems like a gaping hole. As much as I've grown tired of Iwata and Reggie, I'll still miss them. E3 had a lot of historic moments for Nintendo. They announced the Revolution as the Wii. They made every single preson jealous of envy of the attendees when girls passed through the audience with playable 3DSs. They confused everyone with the Wii U, while at the same time garnering applause for trying something different yet again.
Then of course, there are the game announcements. With the Wii U in a death stall, everyone was relying on this year's E3 to really get the ball rolling again for Nintendo. We'll still get the game announcements, if Nintendo still has any surprises up their sleeves. We just won't be getting them in the same fashion that we usually have.
Nintendo began doing their Nintendo Directs back on October 21st, 2011 in Japan and North America. These mini conferences broadcasted directly to consumers via their PCs or Nintendo devices ran just about every month. They announced news games, featured gameplay footage of previous announcements and talked about software enhancements. They've been giving information to consumers on a year round basis instead of keeping every single secret for major shows such as E3. It's because of this that having a major conference at E3 doesn't feel as important to Nintendo anymore.
And well, it's not just Nintendo that doesn't want to wait until E3 to start sharing information. On Feburary 20th, Sony announced the PS4. They spent hours unveiling features and announcing games. They didn't show the system itself, and they did withhold dates and SKU pricing, obviously saving the official announcements for E3. It was smart of Sony to do that, because it made gamers salivate even more for E3. Also, Microsoft plans to do the same, announcing their follow up system on May 21st, just three weeks before their own E3 conference on June 11th. Will they confirm or deny the rumors on May 21st, or will we have to wait for E3? Regardless, we just have to wait.
This is yet another way that Nintendo's changing. Is it for the better? Some say it's a smart move because it's promoting better communication among the actual audience they're marketing their products to, as they're less interested in all the business and investor talk. Others view it as a weakness, saying that Nintendo's lack of stage presence is an admittance of succumbing the continual poundings they've received in the industry thus far. Whether it's for better or for worse, I will miss seeing that Nintendo tab under GameStop's E3 conference page this year.
I've been waiting for this game about as long as (ok, a month longer) the Wii U title. Unfortunately, I'm not as excited about it. The Chase Begins is a prequel to Wii U's Lego City Undercover, and as such it takes place in the very same city. For the most part, the city's identical to that of the Wii U game, but there are some parts that are still under construction. The story follows Chase as he begins his career as an officer rounding up criminal after criminal, eventually having him going after the most criminal of criminals, Rex Fury.
Here's where the game starts to lose it for me. The presentation is lacking voice acting, which only occurs during prerendered cutscenes. I loved the first game so much, because of the constant spoken dialogue. It was also well written and very humorous, and it just made the entire game delightful. The lack of voice acting here in this game has a really negative effect. It has almost a sterilizing effect on the game's charm. They don't even mumble like in older Lego games. It's just so... bland.
Unfortunately, since I'm not enjoying the game that much on a presentation level, the basic gameplay just isn't a lot of fun. I now grow bored of the constant enemy encounters where I have to continue to beat them up before I can put them in cuffs, something that just took one attack to do so in the Wii U game. It's monotonous and just not very fun. The structure of the game's missions has also been changed. Instead of 15 standalone missions taking place in their own enclosed environments, the missions in Chase Begins are chopped up into two or three minute tasks. Some take a little longer, but there's no solid missions, and as such, no stud collecting goals to achieve, no hidden red bricks (they're all in the city this time), no police badges and not even simple puzzle solving.
An open world also seems to be too much for the 3DS to handle, or maybe TT couldn't find an effective way to code the game. The game now has to load every time you pass from one district into another. Not only is this disruptive, but some the bridge districts are passed over entirely. It hurts the sense of free roam, and I'm not even that encouraged to roam around the city like I was with the bigger game. And the load times? They're just as long! It doesn't make sense that a card-based game has to load for so long!
I'm not regretting the purchase, as I'm enjoying somewhat what the game offers me. It's just I wish I didn't pay full price for this game, even though I only paid 30. I played the hell out of the Wii U game, and all I really see in this game is a watered down handheld version. I get simplifying the mission structures, and not being able to render the entire city all at once, but did they really have to skip out n the voice acting?
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!"
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.