pikaby's world of fantasy
Delve into my thoughts, see through my dreams. On a Warpstar.
Nintendo's conference....the first ten minutes was a really exciting time with the reveal of Pikmin 3 and all, and despite my apathy towards the New Super Mario Bros. aesthetic style I actually cheered and clapped for the Wii U version because it actually looked sufficiently different from the other NSMB games. Also, as Reggie said 'What's a new Nintendo console release without a Mario game?'.
It's either that or Zelda, so I don't understand the people who got over-excited about the Zelda HD tech demo as if it was an indicator of the second coming. It is, after all, still just a tech demo. I'd wait until next year or so for a Zelda game; the brand is going into fatigue after the massive 25th Anniversary celebration last year which saw four Zelda games being released in close proximity to one another.
Following that were the 3rd party Wii U games, and although they're prettied-up ports of PS3/X360 games with screen controls shoehorned in, they're fine by me since I've never got a chance to play them. I'm sure a lot of others have though. There were a few unexpected surprises in there, like Mass Effect 3 being ported and Tank Tank Tank from Namco Bandai finally making it to home console (it was an arcade game, an excellent and underrated one at that). Scribblenauts Unlimited also made me really happy, I'm a big fan of the series and they actually made Maxwell more adorable that he already was in the DS versions!
But the greatest 3rd party offerings of all were from Ubisoft, which showed off ZombiU and Rayman Legends. Ironically, Ubisoft's two big hitter games for Wii U made full usage of the screen controller even before Nintendo did. They're way more enthusiastic about this than anyone else, which is both good and bad. Good because a 3rd party is actually making an effort to innovate and use the screen, bad because it shows a lack of interest on even Nintendo's part. Where's your usual cleverness, Nintendo?
Now, one 2D Mario game was fine for me. Two in one go is overkill. As soon as the conference moved into 3DS territory I groaned as New Super Mario Bros 2 came on the screen. Literally, I groaned. It looks nothing like its big brother on Wii U and almost like the DS game's forgotten twin, they were so freaking alike. The new emphasis on coins don't help its cause. Luigi's Mansion and Paper Mario 2 were most welcome, however.
The hate showered upon the casual territory, while understandable, is rather unjustified; we've already got our own heavy-hitters a the beginning of the show, it's time for Nintendo to show the rest of their stuff to the newbie gamers and their own investors. It's not like we never got to see anything we wanted to see. Wii Fit U and Just Dance 4 look like high-quality pieces of kit, though I can't say the same for Sing. Karaoke games on a console has always been a terrible idea to me.
The absentees: Kirby's 20th Anniversary and all the other rumored games. They managed to make a whole hoo-ha over Zelda's 25th Anniversary last year, so what happened to Kirby? Is he going to be celebrating his birthday in Dream Land by himself? Or maybe he just wasn't the type of character to show on the conference; I don't recall any Kirby game being shown on the screen other than Epic Yarn. Who knows? There was some consolation for the cute pink ball though, because news going around E3 is that Kirby's Wii compilation is still on the way, slated to release this September.
As for the rest? Frankly I could care less about all the bovine excrement that was spewed out over the past few months. Rumors of Metroid Prime 4? New Zelda for 3DS and Wii U? New Starfox crossover with F-Zero or what have you? New Smash Bros? Okay maybe the last one could have had more confirmation after the statement made last year but still, there's no evidence that any of these are being worked on to be shown off at E3. It's 2010 all over again; gamers making unrealistic expectations of Nintendo to show off everything they want to see even though all they've been hearing is crap in and crap out. I shut my ears off to all Wii U related nonsensical rumors from a few months back, including all developer quotes and talk about tech specs and potential games, because there were so many of them and all of them conflicting with one another that I just didn't care anymore. Overhype kills.
It was a strong start and weak finish for Nintendo's conference, with good first-party titles and 3rd party titles revealed in the first half and casual stuff for the latter half ending with Nintendoland, another minigame compilation which most people would just yawn off unless it was a pack-in with the console or with another screen controller.
Unlike last year, I came in to this conference with low expectations. All I wanted to see was the Wii U itself and maybe a couple of games. The only thing I didn't get to hear were pricing and release date of the new console, but other than that I'm satisfied as a whole. Of course, it could still have been done better, but at least it wasn't as bad as the confusing train-wreck Nintendo did last year. I'm fine with it.
It's been less than a day but this stupid thing has really gone places huh? This Non-Specific Action Figure. In xase you didn't know, he's the, well, non-specific action figure featured in Nintendo Direct's footage of Miiverse today, regarding the Wii U's expansion into social media. If you haven't watched it, go do it now! It's corny as hell, but so worth it.
Hopefully this meme doesn't die off too soon; people are milking it way too much.
(warning: long blog with lots of pictures!)
Been a while since I wrote anything huh? There hasn't been many compelling games I've been wanting to talk about for the past few months so I went a little quiet. And though Pokepark 2 has been out in Japan for quite some time, I never went out of my way to get it; this is my first Pokemon game that I haven't got the JP version of in a long while. I don't know what held me back, but I got my hands on the US version just recently. And the photo-taking feature is back and you get to use it right from the start! No more messy film-buying and sorting. However due to the limitations of photo-taking I still can't capture any shots of Pokemon talking or playing games, so I'll alternate between using my own screens and a few others for coherence. Alright, let's see what's in here.
Pokepark 2 is a sequel to the first game released a couple of years back, and even from the first bootup the game just feels better than the first. From having a bare-bones story, it improved to a....slightly less bare-bones story. It's not the kind to make you sit up all night and pay attention, but by Pokemon standards this is impressive. You start off with Reshiram and Zekrom in some alternate dimension talking about a disaster that's going to befall the Pokemon world (ooh). The next scene is impressive; it very much resembles the cute, whimsical s.tyle of the anime as Pikachu meets up with Piplup. The anime voices are fully preserved too for the main playing Pokemon!
After the obligatory run/jump/attack tutorial, another awesome cutscene with a fly-by of all the areas in the game (almost) by a Flying-type Pokemon, and showing all the Pokemon on the ground doing things. By far, this is the best 3D cutscene of a Pokemon game I have ever seen, with attention to detail everywhere. Then both Pikachu and Piplup show up at the game's first area, Seasong Beach (pictured above).
Dang, the level furniture is awesome and more detailed than the first game. It's still full of wide-open spaces, but a lot of excess has been trimmed off since Pokepark 1, and overall it feels a lot less empty even though most of the Pokemon are not here yet (you'll see why in a bit). Like an excited tourist, I get to the picture-taking.
Pikachu can't swim, so I leave that for a while and go make some friends before progressing. The games you play with the Pokemon in the overworld are the same as always; it's either chase, battle, quiz or hide-n-seek. Then again, they're Pokemon, I don't really expect them to have any complex forms of entertainment. In a way this is like Animal Crossing meets Pokemon- one group of gamers will find this totally pointless while another will simply enjoy interacting with the Pokemon and watching them interact with each other without Pikachu butting in (and there's a lot more of these than in the first game)
The one thing that stood out aside from the improved graphics and smoother character models though, is the music. I absolutely hated Pokepark 1 because of the music; except for the hub area it was silent most of the time with a few sounds every now and then. This time around though...yes. Just yes. No more dead silent areas that make you want to fall asleep, replaced with full music that even changes as you move between the bustling and peaceful parts of the same area.
Oh but look at me ramble...back to the story. These two are advertising some place called the Wish Park and it costs 10 berries to enter (I had 30 at this point). Free attractions and free cake and.....woah. A perfect amusement park waiting to be played. Too good to be true? Well, I never watched the trailers (lol) so I didn't know yet, but if you've watched them you know what's happening next. Oshawott bumps into me a little later.
From this poster on the other side of the beach, suddenly a door appeared and sucked Pikachu/Piplup in. Both land at Wish Park.
Alright I keep reminding myself to take pictures of Wish Park but keep forgetting....so we'll have to make do with these. So this is Wish Park, the wonderland. A bit too dark if you ask me, it's always like nighttime here. After a bit of trekking I arrive at the first proper minigame (of four in total) called Cake Contraption, which is basically shoot stuff to get points, Wii Play s.tyle.
After the minigame, we're being told to eat the cake. Before we can do so though, a Pansear shows up and tells us not to do it as it made everyone act strange! Okay what's going on? It seems the cake hypnotizes all the Pokemon who eat it, trapping them in Wish Park forever to play the games and eat cake....did I mention forever?
The attraction boss, Cof.agrigus has both Pikachu and Piplup cornered when suddenly Oshawott pops out and defends. A quick battle with Cof.agrigus' underlings ensues and Oshawott reveals himself to be some sort of secret agent sent to investigate the Wish Park. Cool. Then the escape scene! Piplup fails to make it out and was caught, and only Pikachu and Oshawott escaped. Pikachu, naturally, gets very sad about the whole thing especially since it's impossible to reopen the portal to Wish Park without knowing how. So I start tailing Oshawott to see his boss when...ooh, what's this?
A treasure chest? I'm sure Osha won't mind if I pick it up. I'll hurry after him in a bit. Two Paddle Fans? They apparently add to a collection of things you can trade with or buy from other Pokemon for no apparent reason, but you can make friends by giving these to certain Pokemon who want them too. Anyway, after him. Along the way I met a Drilbur who tunneled into the ground the moment he saw me. (below is not my shot, I don't have Snivy yet, just showing where Drilbur is)
Oh but look at me going off-course. Oshawott will get mad at me for sure.
On the way there, there's a lighthouse with its entrance wide open and really inviting. What's inside? .....I can't get in. WTF why did they make such a big ol' hole when you can't enter it?
It was supposed to be legendary? I had no idea. Apparently all the Pokemon who've been in there have never gotten out to tell the tale....except the two of us of course, which is probably why it's called as such. No wonder the area was almost devoid of Pokemon. Anyway, Samurott asks Oshawott to take me on his investigation. Now I can use two Pokemon! I was eager to get into the water, so naturally that's what I did first.
Woo This is sweet~ There are a few islets on the water too, and I find something glowing.
It's different from the normal treasure chests; they go into a different compartment called 'Important Items'. It's a Vast White Quill.....what? At that time I didn't know anything, but now that I think about it, it should be related to Reshiram.
I made friends with a few more Pokemon, and they sometimes do more than want to play Chase; some want you to find and fetch items, some want you to lead them somewhere because they got lost, and so on. Then I found this lying around in a box.
Whose Cleffa Doll is this? Does it belong to anyone? I had no idea so I picked it up for a while. Then dropped it because nothing was happening. Alright, now to get to Cove Town, the next area, to find out exactly how Wish Park operates. I meet a Timburr and he tells me to go get his hammer from the lighthouse so he can fix the bridge connecting the beach and the town. Oh hey! That big entrance from just now, I can go in it now! Not so useless after all eh?
Inside is a 2D platforming game where you have to get to the treasure chest in a limited time. Not too difficult.
Anyway, bridge is up and all, let's get to the town! Before I moved up to the town though I noticed something. Every single Pokemon on the square on the beach seemed to move closer to the Cleffa Doll I placed on the ground earlier for a bit, commenting on how cool it was (isn't it supposed to be cute?). I also noticed a big smile on Pikachu/Oshawott's faces whenever they carried the doll around (as opposed to a neutral face whenever we carried other things like balls) and Patrat was in a good mood when we went near him.....wait.
Drilbur! That's it! Let's try it out *carries doll near Drilbur* Oh, he didn't burrow underground this time! Success! From here I found out about certain items on the ground that attract or repel Pokemon, it's not just the doll, there are various other things too, some of which other Pokemon may hate. They don't belong to a specific Pokemon at all!
Looking down from the path to the town, the music changes to an appropriately relaxing tune.
This, is Pokemon paradise. I'd sit here and chill all day if I didn't have a goal to achieve in the game lol.
Then on to the next area, Cove Town.
Empty again...Pokemon have been disappearing from here too huh. Audino is here though, along with Raichu. They must be the ones who raise my battling stats. Oh cool I can raise Oshawott's too. Let's leave em for now.
Certain chase games here don't take place simply because the Pokemon want to play, sometimes there's a small scenario going on, like chasing a Pokemon who played a prank on you by stealing 100 berries from you, or helping a Pokemon chase down another Pokemon so he can retun a lost item. They may not go any differently, but it adds a little more flavor and perspective.
Oh finally, the Photo Studio...now I can take a break from photo-shooting and save everything I took so far to the SD Card...instead of having to buy a roll of film everytime you take 20 pictures, you can save up to 72 on the Wii hard drive and the earliest one will be deleted if you take anymore. Save them to an SD Card first to preserve 'em, and you can only do that here. Misdreavus asks me if I know how to take photos. What? Of course I know, hit the Minus button! Then she tells me there's another trick to it. What?
You can now point the Wii Remote on the screen to look around in first-person view THEN take a photo?? SWEET! Finally, no more aiming around to get the perfect angle with Pokepark 1's cheap stupid camera, and you don't have to see Pikachu's mug in every photo you take anymore!
I took a sample photo with the Wiimote controls. Aw yeaaaah . Oh, my one hour is up too.
Anyway, I powered down after this.
Although it's very much the same gameplay as Pokepark 1, there's more motivation to go and do it as there's a better story tying up all the scenes together. The graphics are colorful and cute just the way I like them, and as I said earlier, a lot better than the first game in pretty much every aspect. Music is wonderful, and the glaring lack of it in the first game made the eventual inclusion even sweeter. Battles, although still easy, have more depth to them because you can pull off move combos and elemental typing is taken into account (Pikachu's Thunderbolt won't even scratch a Ground-type while Oshawott devastates them) and can sometimes have different rulesets and arenas (you can also summon helper Pokemon but I haven't gotten to that point yet). The prper minigames are fewer in number compared to Pokepark 1 but I'd rather have four good games with randomization than a dozen crappy ones that always play out the same no matter which Pokemon you use.
The one gripe I had with this game was.....good god Nintendo it's a 3D game, give Pokepark analog stick support for chrissakes! Moving around a 3D space with the D-Pad is cumbersome and annoying, and freaking antiquated too. What the heck. Also I know they're just Pokemon with not many complex activities other than chase each other around all day, but at least increase the variety by a couple more or something.
Being laid-back with limited activities to do, Pokepark 2 isn't for everyone, but for the younger age group and anybody who wants a Pokemon game where you can just hang with Pokemon and play with them like normal pet animals would normally do, this is wonderful and beats the first game upside-down. There wasn't a single boring moment I had during this first hour, and I'll be back to this game soon, virtual camera at the ready, hungry for more.
Entry brought over from Nintendo 5-Star
Nintendo's investors meeting just passed, and with it came a ton of statements from the big man Iwata himself. A lot of interesting things this time around: from the announcement that their next console, the Wii U, would be released towards the end of 2012, that the final product may not even be called the Wii U at all, lots of sales figures showing positive growth for 3DS, projected earnings losses for the past year, and this year's games to look forward to. A ton of games.
But by far the most interesting was the mention of Nintendo Network (top pic); Nintendo's own step into the online world which the other console makers have inhabited for years now. Typical of them to be late to the party, but better late than never! The details Nintendo were willing to disclose about the new service are:
- Free and paid DLC (downloadable content) for 3DS and Wii U games, the first of which will be Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, in which you can download extra songs online
- Digital distribution of physical copies of games, much like what Sony was gunning for when it launched the PSPGo and subsequently ran both physical and digital in tandem
- Personal accounts, so family members can share games
- Games to make use of online networks, like in Mario Kart 7's Communities, which are usergroups that can be set up so everyone in it can race together easily.
I'm actually quite stoked about the idea of Nintendo finally offering downloadable content, so hopefully it comes at a reasonable price and will not seem like an attempt to rip anyone off like in cartridge-locked content that has to be paid for. Current DLC packs for most games, for me anyway (I'm a stingy bastard when it comes to digital downloads), are still too pricey. A costume pack in Marvel vs Capcom 3 for $5, which add virtually no functionality to the game? I'd pay that price for an extra character or two, but not extra aesthetics that go to waste because all your attention is focused on fighting instead of marveling the new threads. Nintendo's DLC better be worth the money, and storage problems need to be solved as well. Even more so because of their plan to offer digital downloads.
Everyone in Nintendo 5-Star is mixed on the issue; some view it as a blessing because digital downloads cost less to produce than physical copies, others don't think so because they're more inconvenient to share around and hard drive space is always limited, more so on a Nintendo console. If things go the way they should, Nintendo would end up with a tandem strategy of selling physical copies and digital downloads as well like Sony is doing, which is win-win for both sides of the argument. Personally I'll still stick to physical. Call me old-fashioned but it just feels more secure to me. Having a physical copy means the game is in your hands for good. A digital one runs the risk of being deleted at any time and you can't lend it to your friend or little brother or whatever who wants to try the game out. Legally speaking lending games to others is frowned upon but with Nintendo being so community-based and family friendly, will this strategy work?
Also for the Wii U, we are planning to introduce a personal account system compatible with Nintendo Network. With this, for example, the ease of using a video game system when the hardware is shared by multiple family members, which has been a challenge we needed to tackle, shall be improved, and we will also be able to construct and offer the system by combining a variety of different services and content. ~Satoru Iwata
Which is why the 3rd point excites me. Profiles for each family member so they can access the same games as you? It would work on the Wii U regardless as everyone uses one console anyway, but I really hope for something like this to be implemented on portables as well. Something that links a few 3DSes together and then digital games can be transferred freely to and fro between them, for family usage. It's exploitable, but that's the only way I can see digital downloads as being slightly more appealing, cause currently they seem like a legally bound, cold area of gaming to me. I'm sure the console makers can figure this one out, maybe extra security measures or something.
The problem now is as I mentioned above, other console makers have been in the online space for years and are more hands-on experienced in it, while Nintendo is just starting out. What does Nintendo have to make its own online offering relevant? What does Nintendo plan to do to entice those already accustomed to online networks on other consoles to support their own? What does Nintendo offer that its competition still doesn't? Nintendo being late to the party is fine, but if it's a party that no one has interest in joining then they are still in trouble in terms of online.
Not to say there's no hope though, we've always trusted Nintendo to pull off miraculous things when we least expect it (well, except for the bloody Friend Code system which is being phased out to much fanfare). No matter how they decide to improve from here on it's definitely going to look better than Nintendo's current online service. The only question is how much better. Good luck there!
Now, like anyone else on this site and probably everywhere else I experienced the same backlash when I first found out and saw the Circle Pad Pro Nintendo was planning to release for 3DS. It looked ugly, it looked big, it looked uneccessary and my biggest issue with it was it had to use an AAA battery! Now what kind of half-hearted attempt is this? Knowing Nintendo this will probably be in the next hardware revision so why should I bother?
Except, you don't have to bother if you didn't need the 2nd analog in the first place, and if you wanted one, you don't have to wait for the hardware revision if you already own a 3DS, because after looking at it for a few weeks the Circle Pad Pro kind of settled on my mind and it wasn't so bad after all.
Now it's not in my power to change your opinion of what you think of the Circle Pad attachment, but I can at least dispel some of the unreasonable and unfounded attacks on it. A lot of retarded comments are made simply by looking at the accessory for one second then think 'It's crap' right away and act like they're being forced to pay $20 for it. Terrible attitude, guys. Especially if you don't take five minutes of your life to actually go find out more about it.
My counters to stupid comments?
1. Objects on the Internet look larger than they actually are
By far the greatest complaint was that the Circle Pad was too large. It's a valid complaint but not when 90% of people exaggerate the comment as if it was over 9000 metres/cubic miles/light years long. Get your ass back down to earth and actually LOOK at a real 3DS if you haven't. It's not THAT huge.
Now, I did a little measuring of my own based on a 3DS I saw from a store, and I'm going to use a picture for scale. The handheld itself is roughly 13.5 centimetres wide, about the same as the width of a DSi. That's already smaller than what most people would make the console out to be if they haven't yet seen a real one.
I brought this official picture to Photoshop and again did some measuring. To the right of the 3DS, the Circle Pad attachment adds around 2.7 cm to the width, and on the left no longer than 0.5 cm. Let's make that 3cm, shall we? So the total width of your 3DS with Circle Pad attached is now 16.5 centimetres. If you have a DSi, put 2 rulers on its side and add that extra width. Smaller than you thought right? I absolutely do not believe your palms cannot grip that extra 3 cm.
As for thickness?
It resembles a Gamecube controller, only slightly less thick, though at this angle it's hard for me to judge it by scaling like I did with the first picture.
This same size argument can be used for the Wii U controller as well, though that's a story for another day. It's also not as big as you might think.
Here's a few more pics for comparison. See how a human hand can still envelop the entire console and accessory comfortably?
2. It is not a prosthetic arm or leg to the 3DS
Aside from the obvious size issue the other thing I keep hearing is 'I can't bring this outside!' or 'how is this supposed to fit in my pocket?'. Newsflash: It's NOT supposed to fit in your pocket. It only compromises portablility if you actually USE it. So go ahead, buy it, place the 3DS on top of it. But when you bring your 3DS out of the house, you can take the 3DS away from the Slide Pad Pro, you retards. People are acting as if the attachment is permanently FUSED to the 3DS the moment you use it. You don't have to take it outside if you find it difficult to. Oh but what if the game I play supports the use of the Circle Pad Pro? That's my next point.
3. It is completely optional
Note, I said 'support'. 'Support' meaning the game can be played with the Circle Pad Pro as an ENHANCEMENT to the experience and your controls, but plays PERFECTLY WELL even without the accessory. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings of the circle pad, that every game that 'supports' it can't be played without it. Monster Hunter 3G proved it pretty well; you can use the D-Pad to control the camera in the absence of the Circle Pad Pro, or you can even assign camera controls to the touch screen! That's what the DS line handhelds were made for anyway!
Same case goes for the rest of the supported games; they can ALL be played without the Circle Pad Pro. There, you just saved 20 bucks on an accessory you weren't planning to buy but still want to be able to play, say, Metal Gear Solid without the thing being force-fed into your mouth. You're not being ripped off, the extra circle pad is an OPTION, not a NECESSITY. I can't stress this enough, can I?
This does not disprove that there will be a hardware revision with the 2nd analog and extra shoulder buttons put on the 3DS (i.e. Wiimote Plus), but if you already own a 3DS anyway you can choose whether to get it or not, it won't detract from your playing experience.
4. It's more than just a circle pad
This one's minor, but also applies to the same people who don't hunt for info long enough (apparently 5 minutes is too long for some attention spans ) but it's not just the circle pad that the accessory adds, it's three shoulder buttons. Three. So many possibilities in extra control mapping and people miss looking at it because all they see is the front view. Though like I said before all this stuff can be integrated onto the touch screen.
When it comes right down to it, there are still genuine drawbacks to the Circle Pad Pro, and it still indicates a lack of foresight by Nintendo (unless you want to think that this will remain optional throughout the 3DS' lifespan), but it's definitely not the size, nor the controller support, that people should be complaining about. Do at least some basic research before making yourself look stupid.
YAY IT'S MY BIRTHDAY TODAY! (Nov 21, a bit late for this post but whatever) *boots up Pokemon White* *goes to a Pokemon Center*
Gee, the Pokemon Center nurses are being kind today..though their services are exactly the same, not that you'd want anything more from them anyway. Very professional, and good for business too ('keep visiting the Pokemon Center' really sounds like some corporate tagline to impress customers to come back to them )
Even the Musical Owner...wow. Then I go to the most obvious place in the game where one would expect a birthday greeting.
ps: As for my IRL birthday it was pretty sweet, went out playing the whole day and then had a great dinner with family, and I'm getting a game as a present! Which one? I'll post when it arrives
The DSi on the right I bought two years ago, with another DS Phat (not in the picture) which I bought six long years ago. The PSP on the left I just bought two days ago with a few games I've been dying to try on it for some time now (with Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX pushing me over the edge) so...yeah. I now own both rival handhelds of this generation, albeit very late to the party
The PSP screen looks amazing after being fed on a diet of DS games since 2005, though the game library is weaker than the DS and the battery life is much shorter. I won't abandon my DS for it either; it's still one of the most memorable handhelds I've owned and there are still games I want to play on it.
Nintendo and Sony finally coexist in my bedroom. Screw fighting in console wars. I get the great DS games and first-party titles and the PSP's graphics, multimedia capabilities and desirable niche Japanese games.
YOU GET THE BE~ST OF BOTH WORLDS~
Operation Rainfall was started by Nintendo fans, far and wide, a week ago. The mission: to get Nintendo of America to publish localized versions of three great games, Xenoblade, The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, by stuffing Nintendo's Facebook page, Youtube profile, and Amazon.com preorder page to the brim with requests and comments. The response from NoA: 'no plans at the moment'. The result? What started out as a shower of civilized banter quickly turned into a bad torrent of acid rain. Barbaric, rude and spam comments began flooding the pages overwhelming the rational expressions of disappointment. Many longtime 'fans' threatened to leave the Nintendo fanbase and boycott their products. The more I skim through the 6000-plus comments left on that fateful Facebook post, the more fed-up I get of it.
True, the Wii is experiencing a quality game drought from now until the launch of the Wii U, and true, it would have been a blessing to be able to get all three games. But the impression I'm getting from all the hateful responses to Nintendo's statement are just the same ungrateful complaints I hear about the Wii almost every other day, as if Nintendo has done absolutely nothing to its core audience over the last five years: 'too much shovelware', 'not enough games', 'quality of 1st-party titles going down' to name a few. It's a terrible stigma attached to Wii that it did everything wrong and did not appeal to anyone, when that was never the case, and I am extremely annoyed by people saying the console is bad just because Nintendo took a risk to bring gaming to a non-gaming population.
From the moment motion controls and minigame collections took the stage, the anti-Wii campaign begun. In 2006, when the console launched, the grouches were 'No 1st-party games, Twilight Princess is boring, bring out another new Mario and Zelda!'. Out came Mario Galaxy and Zelda games on DS. You'd think people would shut up after that, but no. A year or two later, the pattern shifted to 'No 3rd-party games' instead. Out came Monster Hunter Tri, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Trauma Center and Okami, among others. And still people are complaining. In the Wii's final year, the complaints shifted again (after having nothing more to say about bad 3rd-party support) to 'Wii has no HD graphics'. By now this is really getting ridiculous. Would you have bought a launch HD Wii with all the tech specs of the current gen consoles at $600? The launch day PS3 sales can testify to that.
Face the facts: Wii is Nintendo's most successful console in the last three console cycles. The previous two, the N64 and GameCube crashed and burned in sales, limited to just the core fanbase who picked them up to play first-party games. I always thought having more gamers into the fold would simply be a good thing for the gaming industry as a whole, but it turns out 'core gamers' are more individualistic than first thought. What were the main reasons N64 and Gamecube flopped in market? Nintendo was lagging behind in the technology aspect, of course, to keep costs of consoles down, and had no other innovations or gimmicks as a hard sell. Everything that could be done on those two consoles could also be done on competitor consoles which have far better specs and market prospects. So the only way Nintendo can pull ahead is by introducing innovative new ways to play, something to get people to invest in their hardware, which they were always good at. That is also why the Wii U bashing is completely uncalled for- not only do we not know enough about the controller and its functions, we are starting to reject the new idea even before we discover it. Only by creating something new do we advance further into the future. If Nintendo were to create a purely traditional game controller on the Wii U, it faces the same issue of being left behind by its competitors once again. It's 'innovate or die' for them. But with the terrible attitude of most gamers towards Nintendo, they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.
The Wii had ways to appeal to everyone- there were games for the core Nintendo audience and there were lighthearted minigames for the rest of them. The 'core gamer' backlash is akin to shooing everyone away from their beloved hobby, which is quite ironic- isn't the whole point of gaming to be able to share the experience with other people? Nintendo has to think of everyone buying into their hardware, they can't be just thinking of us gamers all the time. It would be like attending a party of 100 guests and expecting the host to entertain you and only you for the entire duration. It's selfishness at its most vile.
To put it into more perspective, the Wii sold well and made Nintendo a profit, while the last two cycles Nintendo were in last place. If we were really fans we would hope for only the best for Nintendo and wish them good luck and success, but no, we spat on their newfound popularity because it was something that threatened our position as gamers. Would we rather Nintendo stayed as failures so they can serve our desires for the rest of time while it's already becoming the laughing stock of the hardware makers? Let's face the hard truth. Although we as Nintendo fans and loyal supporters have been with Nintendo all the way, through thick and thin, 'we' is not large enough a majority to be able to turn the tides on Nintendo's fortunes. They wouldn not have been trailing in the console race for the last decade if we were that large a group of fans.
Also, don't give me any nonsense about the Wii not having any good games, or that it has fewer compared to Nintendo's previous consoles. By the end of the Wii's lifecycle we will have 3 Mario games (not counting the million and one spinoffs including Mario Kart Wii), two Zeldas, two Metroids, two Kirbys, one Donkey Kong, one Animal Crossing, one Smash Bros., even niche titles like Sin & Punishment 2. And that's not counting 3rd-party support either. Look past the mountain of casual games and you will discover that Wii actually has Nintendo's best 3rd-party support since 1996. Fact: The most played Wii game in 2010 isn't made by Nintendo. Those minigame collections released by third parties aren't for you to play- they're for the rest of the public who has not touched a game pad in their life and want something simple to ease them in. No one's forcing you to buy and play them, so just look past, there are diamonds under the rough if you make the effort to browse through the Wii's library for more than ten seconds. Oh, new games aren't your thing? Wii's first party lineup not impressing you? For those who refuse to take off the nostalgia glasses, it still has backwards compatibility to Gamecube, and there's no shortage of ways to play Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or any of the great N64 games for that matter.
To make myself clear, I am not against Operation Rainfall, nor am I pleased with the way Nintendo of America has been handling game localization as of late (it's not just those three games, after all), but I am sick to the core of people acting like whiny brats around Nintendo like they haven't been caring in the least bit for gamers in the last five years. If anything, if Operation Rainfall continues, it should be mostly, if not completely, made up of rational, well-thought out and diplomatic discussions between the fans and Nintendo. Even if Nintendo doesn't pull through, they are more likely to listen to that than a million immature, threatening comments on their Facebook. Nintendo are, after all, made up of working human beings, not emotionless robots, who have to meet deadlines, adhere to company policies and red tape, and try to turn a profit for themselves and their own families. Being a violent activist only shows to the world that Nintendo fans are greedy, selfish brats who can't take even the slightest setback and whose needs and wants can never be met no matter how many games Nintendo and the 3rd parties put out. Seriously, I have never been so ashamed of being a Nintendo supporter as I scanned through the post-announcement protests.
Some of you who know me well might say that I know Japanese and can import all three games as I so desire without many issues, but I guarantee, I would not have rephrased my argument even if I am the kind of person who doesn't even know what 'konnichiwa' means. Look past the Wii's faults and you'll probably see that you have not taken the console ito its fullest potential yet, even if we don't get all the games we want localized. In conclusion, just behave properly around Nintendo and maybe they would behave the same way to us.
The E3 Game Ninja emblem. Uh, I don't remember doing anything particularly exciting outside of catching the NIntendo press conference...*reads description* Oh. I followed a game on the E3 site. Which was done by accident- initially I wasn't going to bother with the 'best of E3' awards thing, which the 'Follow' buttons were for, but while browsing through games I accidentally clicked the Follow button for, of all things, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I hastily had the follow removed in a minute. And I still got the emblem
Well since it's already given to me I'm not giving it back either lol.
This is actually my first time catching a live stream of an E3 conference. Traditionally I'd leave everything till later because the conferences start at exactly midnight where I live! This makes it, under normal circumstances, impossible for me to watch, as this means sacrificing my beauty sleep, which I really like, by the way. This year however...lots of free time, I'm on holiday, I don't have to wake up early the next day, what's stopping me? All the Wii2 rumors were driving me absolutely nuts, from the extended 3rd party support, to the HD graphics, to the queer new controller with a screen on it. And then there were 3DS games to see. And then the final batch of good 1st-party Wii/DS games. My body was ready.
After the Nintendo conference ended, I went back to bed with a bittersweet feeling.
To be honest, it was good, there was a new console. But I wasn't blown away.
The show started with a massive Zelda 25th Anniversary presentation, then went on to 3DS games with a special surprise in the form of Luigi's Mansion 2, then revealed Project Cafe's real name as Wii U, and then talked about the new controller and how it worked, and the massive 3rd parties pledging to develop games for it.
Notice something missing? Yep. There were no games on the press conference. All the 3DS games in the conference save one were leftovers from last year, and it appears none of them are even close to being finished for this year. Paper Mario 3DS is also noticeably absent from E3. No concrete release dates for Mario Kart, Skyward Sword, not even Kid Icarus. When the Wii U rolled around, all Nintendo were willing to talk about was the controller and the graphics. No games were on show save for a few mediocre tech demos. You'd expect it to be announced together with at least one first-party Nintendo title, but no. Nothing for us to get excited about.
The technology behind the console itself, in my opinion, is impressive, but there were no real games to show that technology off to the masses. The 3rd party games, though all well and good, were not playable and again, can't show what the Wii U is capable of yet. Everyone also left the stage without so much as a whisper about Pikmin 3, which supposedly had been worked on for two years. And then what? Nothing! No screenshots, no trailers, not even talked about! At the very least, there was confirmation of the existence of a dual-console Smash Bros. between 3DS and Wii U, but until actual gamplay footage is shown, it's all talk and no walk. Oh yeah, but they do have one more game to announce for Wii U....wait for it....a nondescript Lego game in partnership with Traveller's Tales. I seriously fell off my seat laughing. I waited an hour for this?
That pang of disappointment I felt when there were no surprise announcements coming from Nintendo (or any of the three big hardware makers to be honest) lasted for a few minutes. I'm sure everyone else must have reacted the same way the moment the conference ended but then I got into thinking- hey, at least there was a console. If you don't already know, there was a Wii U console, but poor presentation made sure it stood hidden in the background while the controller gets all the love, to the point where I actually thought it was an extra peripheral to the current Wii.
Really, Reggie has lost his ability to impress this year. Not because of the content of the presentation, but because he wasn't being as lively as he usually is. The Wii U logo just popped out on the screen with no fanfare or glitz while Reggie continued to drivel on without a hint of excitement or tone in his voice, and for the first few seconds no one was sure whether it was a new console or not. By the time everyone realized it was Project Cafe, the climax period had passed and people weren't as excited anymore. Really, if they could put together an entire orchestra performance for Zelda, surely they could afford to give the new console a bigger entry to get people hyped up. They made a grand entrance for the 3DS last year, why not Wii U?
Hearing the name really makes you think it's somehow related to the Wii we all know, but the added 'u' made it an entirely different beast with far better capabilities than what the regular Wii could ever dream of. We were all expecting a fresh new name without the Wii brand- but think of this. Nintendo's aim with this console cycle was to attract both hardcore and casual gamers alike. With the new graphical power (the graphics demo was impressive) and hopefully strong 3rd party support they could pull one group in, and with the new control method and the establishment of the Wii brand in the last 5 years they could very easily pull in the other. Sure Wii has gone down the drain in just a short year's time, but families with money to spare would probably pick one up seeing as they had fun before with the Wii and remember how good it was (for them, not us). The one problem with the casual group would probably be that people would assume this new console is identical to the old Wii. Nintendo are going to have to market the hell out of Wii U, and give it a competitive price so the casuals will keep coming back for more. The console looking almost identical to the current Wii isn't helping.
The controller (above) looks squarish and unwieldy, with a large screen in the middle. Based on the size of the hands relative to the console I'd say it's about the size of an iPad, if not smaller. I won't judge how comfortable it is to hold the thing because I really can't see for myself yet, but there are grooves on the back of the controller along with shoulder buttons which should help. Hopefully it isn't heavy. It's definitely very fascinating to see how it works- the interaction between the screen on the controller and the TV screen is unique and can surprisingly be used in many flexible ways. The part where you can transfer what's on the TV directly to the controller is naff to me however, I don't watch shows and game at the same time. I'll be waiting to see more real uses of this, no tech demos for me! It's rechargeable, meaning no more fiddling with AA batteries, which is nice.
Other important features of Wii U remain under wraps for now. To what extent are the graphics stronger than that of current gen competitors, if at all? How is online coming along? Will there still be friend codes? (unlikely, as 3DS has phased them out by a lot) Hard drive or flash memory? Transferring Wiiware games to Wii U? New apps and bite-sized download games? We don't even know what the menu screen looks like. Hey, late 2012 is a long way to go, and we'll definitely find out more along the way. With such a long time, it's only natural that Nintendo won't have any games to show (though I'd realy appreciate if they did) and you know how secretive Nintendo likes to be, sometimes to their own detriment. They were never good at timing their release of information.
I was skeptical of Wii U and the controller at first (mainly due to poor presentation), but I find myself growing a little more and more intrigued by the minute.
Things took a turn for the better once I had my mind sorted out the next day.
I woke up the next morning (today) and found game trailers from games on the Nintendo show floor. I saw Mario Party 9, Kid Icarus, Rhythm Heaven Wii, Wii Play: Motion, Layton 4, Animal Crossing 3DS and not one, but two different Kirby games, one for Wii and one for DS, most of which were completely unannounced at the press conference. I smiled. For the first time since last night, I smiled. Especially at the Kirby games- you all know what a big Kirby fanboy I am, and seeing the pink blob get so much attention for once is heartwarming. Why this stuff wasn't given more emphasis in the press conference I will never know, but this is what I came for. This is what E3 is about- not just hardware talk and having to hear Nintendo's game-making philosophy for the billionth time- it's all about the software, the games which I can already be looking forward to on consoles I already own. And though it isn't much, at least it leaves me satisfied that I can have at least 4 to 5 Wii/DS games to get, and a bunch of 3DS games which are apparently being dated for 'Holiday 2011'. Overall verdict- it won't top Nintendo at E3 2007 and 2010, but it's definitely a lot better than Nintendo at their worst (E3 2008 ). And of course, not forgetting to thank Gamespot for the emblem. It's definitely my first livestream emblem since the Wii launch one way back in 06!
A hacker would be able to come up with this number of shinies, and easily ten times more, in just an instant. I've never even caught one shiny Pokemon with my own hands or tried to breed one before (cross-breeding Pokemon of different regions apparently gives you a higher probability of getting a shiny- look up the Masuda Method if you don't know), but I've had a few people hack a few for me, and traded for the rest over Wi-Fi.
If I didn't say anything you'd all just call me a dirty cheater and just using the shinies to show off, but I'm not that kind of person, if I really wanted to hack a Pokemon I wouldn't stop at just the shiny, I'd do stats, nature, ability and EVs, which I don't. This also means that if you guys find me in battle and I have a shiny on my team, it's just for the sake of aesthetics, and it doesn't have any tactical advantage over the regular colored Pokemon. To me, a shiny Pokemon shows how much of a fan of a particular species of Pokemon you are and you're willing to go out of your way (very, very far out) to go find and get it, whether it belongs to you or not. It's not about getting the bragging rights.
Although I just said that the shiny Pokemon I usually want to find are those of my favorite Pokemon, I don't turn down other shinies either- they're damn rare to begin with and that's the usual purpose of wanting to collect them. The ones I requested to be hacked are the Pokemon which I love the most, you'll see in a bit, and the remaining ones of other Pokemon I have are gotten online off Wi-Fi trades and GTS.
Finding one on GTS is no easy business either. Although finding a shiny on GTS is actually simpler than it looks, most of them want illegal and absurd Pokemon in return, like a Reshiram below level 9 or any other evolved Pokemon below level 9, which are untradeable even if you do own them. I tried hacking one myself (a level 1 Boldore in exchange for a shiny Shaymin on GTS) just to try it out and it didn't work. It won't let me beam Boldore to the other end. And the ones that do involve legit Pokemon are usually traded over in ten seconds before you have the chance to. If you don't have the Pokemon the other party wants on hand and you want to disconnect so you can go get it, forget it, it'll be gone by the time you come back online. I was lucky enough to grab a few
I keep all my shiny Pokemon in a box behind where my legendaries are
Ignore the two Pokemon on the bottom right, the rest are shinies. Of those few I have, these are hacked by my own request: Togekiss, Chikorita, Cherrim, Jumpluff, Jirachi, Manaphy, Phione, Celebi and the other hacked one form online is Registeel. The rest of them are most probably legit. Hey, why don't I just pick a few out of these to say something about them?
We all know where this one comes from. The easiest shiny to catch. Ever. This red Gyarados comes from my JP Soul Silver, nothing really special about it. I haven't even trained it yet! I know some people who do that because Gyarados is supposed to be a really strong Pokemon....unless you factor in competitive play.
My beloved Togekiss, which I had my cousin hack and trade to me. It has a Timid nature and Serene Grace...not hacked, I swear! He set all wild Pokemon to shiny Togekiss on his game and I handled the rest, catching Togekiss after Togekiss till I found the one with the nature and ability I wanted. Then I EVed the thing manually. See? Just hacking for aesthetics Oh yeah it's also caught in a Cherish Ball. That part was again hacked for looks. I really cherish Togekiss~
Tepig and Archen shinies, gotten off GTS. And the best part is, I didn't ask for either of them! All I did was put up Oshawott and Tirtouga for trade on GTS, requesting for these two so I could train them, and I got shinies in return! Someone must be feeling generous~ I don't think they were hacked either- although the levels may not show like they're legit, I got both of them at Lv1, meaning they were bred from eggs (Masuda Method). The only reason why they're higher was because I left them at the Daycare to breed regular-colored versions.
This Budew here was given to me by a good friend of mine over at Nintendo 5-Star, Asiankid. If you're reading this, just know that I've been taking really good care of it and traded it over from Soul Silver to White and it's still in my collection! This Budew is totally legit, Asiankid found this in a patch of grass and caught it- the lucky fellow. He nicknamed it Totoru. It brings back memories
Cherubi, Pikachu and Rayquaza (look at that black!), all of my lucky trades from GTS (not the only ones though, Regirock and Gible are also from GTS). I ran into Ray by accident but I was intending to search for Cherubi and Pikachu. Cherubi comes from Sinnoh where the breeding level is 5 instead of 1, so it's still possibly legit by Masuda Method. Pikachu, probably hacked, unless you guys can think of places where there are wild Pikachu at around Lv10 to 15 in Gen 3/4. Rayquaza comes from Hoenn and is at Level 70, caught in a Master Ball. Might be hacked, but remember what Ray's level was in Ruby/Sapphire, and if you reset and restarted the game a billion times just to get the shiny, you wouldn't want to catch it in anything other than a Master Ball, right? Don't want it to accidentally faint after so much effort.
An Azurill shiny named WDrop I got back in Gen 4 GTS. Honestly I really don't know about this one despite owning it for so long- but it doesn't matter because I love Azurills- they're adorable. Aw, don't look so sad, you're still being loved by me~
And finally, the shiny Manaphy I had my cousin hack for me together with my other favorite Pokemon. I already own quite a few other Manaphy- as many as I have Pokemon Ranger games, probably more, so I was looking like hell for a shiny version, and even though getting it hacked lacks the sense of achievement I get when I find it online for a steal, it's something I keep to this day. Not much difference in the color though- it's a lighter shade of Manaphy blue.
So, I'll be continuing to expand my collection of my favorite Pokemon in shiny version. Wish me luck! Or, do anyone of you have a shiny Reuniclus to spare?
I'm sure everyone playing Pokemon B/W has got a list of Gen 5 favorites by now. No matter how awful you think the new Pokemon (and their English names) are, it doesn't take long before their designs grow on you and you start accepting them as Pokemon. There will always be the odd exception, but that happens every other generation too, right? Five or six years down the road, I'll be expecting the same charade to repeat itself when another batch of 150 get made. And laugh at it
Me? As I've said quite a few times before, Gen 5 Pokemon are all lovely. My fave list is mostly populated by cute Pokemon~
Totally wasn't expecting this eh? Even with a completely hopeless movepool, Klinklang still has one ace hidden up its sleeve, and that is Shift Gear. Attack up 1 and speed up 2 is nothing to scoff at and it makes Klinklang's Gear Grind do a whole lot more damage and make it really fast. Combined with its already good defenses and a Steel type and this is a useful Pokemon you can have when you're not fighting Chandelure, Volcarona or Conkeldurr. And for some reason I find this Pokemon really unique (which is the direct opposite of the general opinion on this bunch of gears). Even the name doesn't sound all that bad.
Why all the hate on the ice-cream Pokemon? Unoriginal concept is one thing, but the ice-creams are actually pretty well designed. Pokedex entries try to cover the obvious fact though (Fresh Snow Pokemon?). And Vanillite is cute. Really! Maybe it was made to look like a Casteliacone on purpose.
One pseudo-legendary Pokemon that will make you wish you had something on your team with Stone Edge or any other Rock-type move, because Volcarona is almost unstoppable otherwise. It already has great Sp.Atk and Speed and is liable to raise it even more with Quiver Dance, making this a pretty common threat online. One of my most favorite powerhouse Pokemon this gen. Bug/Fire is an interesting combination, and it evolves so late, but it's worth the effort!
Just look at it! So neat and fluffy and cute....but don't take Cinccino for a fool. Underneath all the cute is a decent battler. With Technician, it's one of the most effective users of all those useless multi-hit moves, of which it learns three different ones, Bullet Seed, Rock Blast, and Tail Slap, giving it a really nice type coverage. Probably the first adorable Pokemon family to not be in the Fairy breeding group.
Cutest Ghost-type Pokemon ever created. Don't you agree? Its name doesn't suck, its design doesn't suck (and neither do its evolutions), the 'guiding light' concept behind this is reminiscent of Drifloon, and good. This is one Pokemon that can do no wrong. Not to mention Chandelure, its final form, is extremely powerful.
Honestly speaking I have not met one person who doesn't like Whimsicott. Its design, aside from being super-cute, is simple and effective (It looks so happy! XD). The name makes sense and rolls off the tongue easily, although I have heard arguments about Erufuun being the better name (stuff that always happens when you look for Pokemon news too early and end up being stuck in Japan). Not to mention Whimsicott, with the Prankster ability is the second troll support Pokemon next to Jumpluff.
Most hated starter ever? At the beginning, yes, while everyone else was swooning over Tepig and espeically Snivy, Oshawott was left out of the welcoming party. I had no idea why too- I loved him right from the start and thought he was pretty cute. The tables turned pretty quickly with anime Oshawott and ass-kicking final form Samurott. Now I can sit back and enjoy the most popular starter of Gen 5. Ironic, eh? Samurott doesn't do too badly in battle either, though I really wish he learns Shell Break.
I wasn't really going to bother with the insect line this generation, but after reading all three Pokedex entries for Sewaddle, Swadloon and Leavanny, my opinion of these three changed drastically. Also see comic below to understand why I love them. They're like a loving, caring family! This is something never seen with any of the previous bug Pokemon. And their English names are very well done. Too bad about the terrible type, which gives Leavanny a billion weaknesses. Believe me, I tried to use Leavanny a lot more often.
Petilil was freaking cute, so I had high hopes for its evolved form. Like Whimsicott, its appearance hasn't generated an obvious amount of hate. Doesn't she look sweet? Oh, I said 'she', but male Lilligant actually exist. Proof of how ladylike this Pokemon actually is. Can be used to put things to sleep, use Quiver Dance repeatedly, and then proceed to destroy everything. Well, not everything- Grass-types, especially the cute ones, tend to have lacking movesets.
Most people who know me knows how much I love Reuniclus. Cutest and most unique Pokemon in the entire Gen 5! Its evolution line is based on a dividing cell (Solosis and Duosion are just as adorable~), which is quite creative and has never been done before. The name is hard to get at first and a lot of people just wanted to stick to 'Rankurusu', but what the heck, I like the change. Reuniclus sounds so cool. Green jelly blob does wonders in the battlefield too- with either Calm Mind or Trick Room, a recovery move, either Psychic or Psycho Shock, and a few others, not many Pokemon can stand up to its ability to absorb attacks. Also, Magic Guard + Life Orb = win. Now to wait for a Reuniclus plush to get made~
Now that that's over with, I completed Pokemon White last week (first ending versus N and Ghetsis). This was my team! Notice how many of my listed favorites are in here. Lol.
A seven-panel fanart of Sewaddle, Swadloon and Leavanny, the Gen 5 token Bug-types. Leavanny (leaves+nanny) is a motherly creature and takes care of small Pokemon with affection, particularly Sewaddle. This adorable comic depicts it so well I've just fallen in love with the whole evolution line XD Especially Swadloon~ You have to show it some love Even more so because it evolves by happiness.
Note: NOT MINE. Japanese artist. If you can log in to pixiv, the original artist is 'ひれ', and the link to the artwork is here. I'm just sharing it because of how cute it is~
I've talked about all the things in the latest Pokemon versions that grinds my gears, now I'll be taking things in a more positive light, cause it's because of these 5 things below that keep me occupied from the beginning to the end, and it's because of some of these that made me so excited for 5th gen in the first place. Oh, did I mention this is one of the most well-executed Pokemon games ever made? If you don't consider the 'third version' games, of course. Those are always better than the first two, no questions asked.
5) Great Gym Leader/Elite Four challenge, presentation
Some of the Pokemon Gyms in this game, though you don't visit them more than once, are the most creative ones I've seen in the entire history of Pokemon. They're well-designed, don't involve too many mundane puzzles and the later ones actually have more than 3 Gym Trainers in them. Gone are the days where Gym Challenges meant making a beeline straight to the Leader with no obstacles, or going on confusing teleport panels, or stepping on god-forsaken arrow puzzles. A few of them stand out as some of the best. The very first Gym battle with Cress/Chili/Cilan, which for once, teaches you the most important aspect of playing Pokemon (type matchups) in the most effective manner possible! Second battle with Lenora, who hides the Gym in a library behind a totally innocent-looking Museum, and actually has a hidden passageway like all good libraries! (and is also, to my knowledge, the only Gym that doubles as the Leader's actual place of work) Fifth battle with Clay, if only for the super-cool lift descent into the Gym Leader's room! Seventh battle with Brycen, which turns the old 'sliding on ice' puzzle on its head with curves and levers! And above all...that suspense-filled music when the Leader is down to the last Pokemon! Really wish I could hear more of it. As for the Elite Four, besides the unique presentation of each room, is improved by the fact you can go through the four of them in any sequence you want. And notice that this is also the first Pokemon dual games which the E4 has increased levels of their Pokemon after the first set of credits roll! This feature was usually reserved for third versions like Emerald and Platinum, as well as remakes like FR/LG.
4) Improved online/wireless options
Friend Code battles are cumbersome. No, they really are. It's difficult trying to schedule a match with someone halfway across the world if you don't have a laptop and chatbox at hand, which kinda ruins the point. And even then you're not guaranteed a solid connection with one another (hey, I can't see you...did you type my FC correctly? You did? Then it's me? Double check? Arrrgggghhh!) so random matchup is my savior, even if it's just a 3-on-3 which I usually always lose to skilled Japanese players. There's always the thrill of 'can I win this?' whenever I find someone, even if he's way out of my league. GTS is rock-solid as usual, although absurd trades far outnumber the sensible ones. Then there's infrared built into the cart (pirates will forever be left out of this one) which allows lightning-quick trading with a nearby dude anytime, anywhere. No really! If I'm playing with a friend, I can just hook up with him even if I'm in, say, Chargestone Cave, and trade to evolve a Boldore, for example. Quick battles too via infrared. Then there's Global Link. Although it isn't up yet (and god knows when it will, what with the tsunami and all), from my experience with the JP version I can tell you it's a decent amount of fun on the Dream World, and you get exclusive Dream World Pokemon, berries, C-Gear and Pokedex skins!
3) Nicer caves
As much as I liked Mt. Coronet for the giant, complex maze connecting almost every route in Sinnoh and the intense snowy peak, I sigh every time I was obligated to visit it because it always meant I have to scarifice one or two spaces in my Pokemon team to bring a billion HM moves into the cave. Not just Mt. Coronet, every cave. Every stinking one of them. Flash, Strength, Rock Smash, Surf, Waterfall, Rock Climb, even Defog for crying out loud. Sinnoh Victory Road was the worst of the lot when it comes to HM use. To the point where I'm always reluctant to enter caves no matter what great things there may be in there, which there usually isn't. And you know the amount of backtracking we have to do every time we get a new HM. Which is why Unova's dungeon areas are far less of a hassle to visit. Almost no repetition between forests/caves and the wild Pokemon that reside within them (Pinwheel Forest, Chargestone Cave, Giant Chasm and Victory Road, come forth and take a bow), and most importantly, greatly reduced HM usage. Rock Smash is axed from the blacklist of annoying moves, Strength is one use per rock only (compared to the increasingly complex boulder-pushing puzzles over the years), Defog has been burnt to the ground (good riddance), and you spend marginal amounts of time using the rest. Kudos!
2) Greatly improved battle animations and speed
This is what we keep seeing in trailers and gameplay videos. Admit it- you were just as impressed with the moving sprites and the background as I was, even if we all know the core mechanic will always be the same. Every last one of the 647 species of Pokemon have their own jiggles, the background moves back and forth with each attack and battle animation, and the pace has been upped significantly, compared to the laggy battles in Diamond/Pearl. When you've fought a thousand battles in both D/P and compare them to B/W you notice all the little things. In D/P, the HP bar takes ages to move up and down, stat changes meant ten seconds of waiting for the text to slowly scroll, the potion-using animation is twice as slow as in B/W, and there's a really noticeable frame rate drop during double battles, especially when fog is involved. All rectified in the new games. The frame rate stays smooth even during Triple Battles, and all six Pokemon are moving at once!
1) Completely new Pokemon, and good ones at that
You don't know how thankful I was that there were no old Pokemon in Pokemon B/W. Not only did this meant putting an end to the silly 'is this Pokemon a new pre-evolution/new evolution to that Pokemon?' nonsense, it also meant not seeing annoying scum like Tentacool, Geodude, Machop, and above all, Zubat and Golbat. Gone they are and replaced with alternatives. Good alternatives. The Gen 5 Pokemon are wonderful and I have a long list of favorites. Reuniclus, Cinccino, Samurott, Haxorus, Chandelure, Lilligant, Conkeldurr, Klinklang, Volcarona, Swoobat, Whimsicott, Vanniluxe, Escavalier, Leavanny, Electross, Alomomola, Bisharp, Seismitoad, Braviary, Musharna, Beheeyem, Virizion...nearly everything seems good. Only a few duds- Basculin, Stunfisk to be exact. I've said this so many times, but walling off all old Pokemon till you beat the game, as simple a move as it is, brings back the memories of my first Pokemon game, where Pokemon were all weird and wonderful, evolution methods were unknown to those who didn't have a perfect guide at hand, and the adventure feels fresh, for the first time in years.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself in JP, and I'm in the midst of doing it all over again on my US copy. Just beat Skyla, the sixth Pokemon Gym, and my team looks like this! (Not in picture: Leavanny, Litwick, Minccino, Pansear, Swoobat, Tynamo)
Pokemon Black and White, to me, are some of the most exciting and fresh Pokemon games in recent years. It gets everything right in the main story mode right up until you beat the Champion (which is a very long way off), from the complete walling-off of all 493 old Pokemon, to the more dynamic battle scenes, to the changes in the metagame, and good villain design, for once. Ugly Pokemon? I don't think so- aside from one or two duds I actually love the entire roster in Gen 5. Never have I been so excited to train them all as I do now. On the surface, and to most players, this is the definition of a perfect Pokemon game.
If you're the type to delve very deep however, you might find more than one thing to nitpick on in Pokemon B/W, which will almost always be rectified by the 'third game'. A few elements which I didn't like in the game:
5) Gear Station isn't all that exciting
It's a great avenue for competitive AI battle, and you get single, double, tag and even Wi-Fi modes. But there just isn't enough to motivate players to battle on and on other than to buy TMs and items. The one single flaw of infinite use TMs manifests itself here- what are you going to save the BP for once you buy all the TMs? Also, what happened to all the great things Battle Frontier introduced in Gen 4? Granted, it was also in the 'third game', Platinum, but unless Nintendo are holding the exciting modes back from us, I don't see any other reason why there wouldn't be things like rental Pokemon battles or roulette battles, which are my personal favorites. There's just not enough to do in the Gear Station. Still, much better than the Battle Tower in Pokemon D/P and the awful one in Pokemon R/S.
4) Pokemon Musical?
The Pokemon Contests in R/S and then the modified contests in D/P were solid diversions and could potentially sap hours of your time if you really get into it. Your reward come in the form of Ribbons, which were pointless, but at least you get something out of it! Then Pokeathlon in HG/SS, which was even better. The first time touch-screen minigames were implemented in the main line RPGs, and a great job they did, as all 10 games were fun. For your troubles you got actual useful items like PP Ups, apricorns and evolution stones! Then comes this rubbish, where you do nothing but dress your Pokemon up and watch them dance on stage. Aside from a few touch-screen prompts, which you only do once or twice for the whole performance, all you do is. Sit. And. Watch. Your rewards for dressing your Pokemon in pointless accessories is...even more pointless accessories. Hurray. Nintendo, I hope you're listening.
3) Smaller, more linear overworld
I understand that this was done on purpose to cut down on cumbersome exploration time and the beyond-annoying wild Pokemon encounters, but to be honest I actually miss going on epic quests to routes and mountain ranges that are bigger, taller and with more varied terrain. Especially in Sinnoh, where most of the routes, even the shortest ones, are at least twice as long as the biggest route in Unova. This could be solved easily though, by having short routes for the main quest, but long, meandering ones with a billion trainer battles and stuff after the Elite Four is over and done with.
2) Half the cities serve no purpose
Seriously, a lot of the cities and towns in Unova are just there for window dressing. Opelucid City is useless once you beat the eighth Gym Leader and the triple/rotation battle house is not a saving grace as the Pokemon there are unevolved and under-leveled. Iccirus City is a pretty sight in winter, and there actually secrets that are only accessible during that season, but no other post-game function after you beat the seventh Gym. Lacunosa Town tells an interesting story about Kyurem's legend, but is otherwise a junk town that could have been so much more. Undella Town is another gimmick showing off the seasonal changes, with people showing up only during the summer. There's Cynthia though, so it's not all bad. I remember the post-E4 cities in Sinnoh...Battle Area, Resort Area and Survival Area. There were actually things to do in each, especially in Platinum version. Unova's cities are just so...meh. The only ones really worth revisiting over and over are Striaton (for the breeding center), Castelia (Royal Unova, Massage Lady and Game Freak) and Nimbasa (everything else).
1) No option to rebattle trainers
This is Pokemon B/W's biggest mistake. Did Nintendo think we didn't like battling Trainers anymore? What happened to the Vs. Seeker? What happened to any gadget allowing us to schedule rematches with AI trainers? Without it you're left with the 16 daily fights in Nimbasa's two stadiums (which, I emphasize, are not enough), Royal Unova, and the goddamn Elite Four. Do they realize not everyone likes to whale on the Elite Four over and over again because they're the only people where you can get decent Exp. Points from? This is the dumbest decision they have ever made. Even if there are no Gym Leader rematches, it's a minor oversight compared to not being able to rebattle anyone at all. Blasphemy, I say. The third game has some serious fixing to do.
And that's my two cents. It's still a great, great game, but those who play deeper may find themselves with a less-than-sweet aftertaste. There's just not enough of B/W for major players to really sink in.
Also, in other B/W related news, I beat the 5th Gym Leader in Driftveil. Here's my team. Not in the picture are Swoobat, Gigalith, Pansear, Herdier and Minccino.
I've seen the ads, I saw the recorded streams, I've seen the console in pictures and a billion articles of what it can do and the games it can play. I've seen so many people unboxing and having their first excited try at it. But I've never actually seen one up close, they weren't brought to my country until very recently.
A great gaming store in a mall near my rented apartment brought an import Japanese 3DS to display on their shelf. I saw it and was pretty surprised someone would actually bring one over without first waiting for the US release (which is just around the corner, by the way). A few people were testing it and I tried to look over but couldn't see the crazy 3D effects everone were talking about. From what everyone online had said, it was like nothing they'd ever seen before. I wasn't excited, mainly because in the case of a console like this you have to actually hold it in your hands to know.
Although I loved the idea that there would be a new Nintendo console, up till now I was never really hyped for it because its main gimmick was hidden from my eyes, as well as the eyes of everyone who only see the console on their 2D PC monitors. It seemed like just a 'higher spec DS' on paper. Combined with all the positive comments by people who have played with it before, and it just makes trying out the actual console seem that much more enticing. Perhaps this is why Nintendo were so aggresive in their 3DS promotion, and why the marketing was so successful. Do you have any idea how many demo booths were set up for 3DS, and in how many countries?
Anyway, when I saw that the Japanese 3DS was occupied by another dude I left the store. Curiosity got the better of me and I returned shortly after. The guy was gone and I gazed at the black 3DS and its box. It was right next to all the other DS units, and it's no bigger than a DSi, which is nice. The person in charge took it down and gave it to me to try.
The first time the new hunk of plastic touched my hands.
Feels so good to finally be able to test a new console It's much lighter too. I fiddled around a bit, pressed some buttons, and moved the analog nub, which feels a lot like a bigger and more comfortable version of PSP's own analog. I pressed the Power button....
...Geez, that was a long startup time. About 7 to 9 seconds at least. Must be the 3D tech. I reached the menu and woah...double vision. I turned the 3D slider down, then up again. My eyes took a moment to adjust, and I *strike* FINALLY SAW THINGS POPPING OUT OF THE SCREEN */strike* could finally visualize the 3D effects! I switched menu items to and fro and saw the objects on the top screen move around, as if the screen extended inwards into the console. It was like looking into a fish tank! How could a flat surface look like it goes inwards? I turned the slider all the way down and the same 3D image lost its depth, then it regained it when I turned the slider up again.
I was extremely fascinated with the technology. I tried one AR game and watched the Super Mario Bros promo video (which came with the JP firmware update). Didn't get to try any real games though- the only game there was Street Fighter IV and it was wrapped up. If I unwrapped it it's considered sold. Oh well, all I wanted was to get a taste of the 3D. I bet everyone else wants to see their first 3DS just for the same reason too.
But like the billion other people who've tried it, I can't convince you or visualize the 3D effect for you through words. You really, really have to see it to believe it. Also, don't believe the ads because like I said, there is no 'popping out of the screen' effect. Keep waiting for holoscreen projectors for that
Also, in other news, I'm at Nimbasa City on Pokemon White- that's the 4th Gym...yeah I'm slow. My current team (Swoobat, Victini, Pansear not pictured)
Whoops *rushes off to heal Swadloon*
Two months since my last blog post...where have I been? At my usual forum site all the time and not spending enough time here...I didn't even know about the Reggie high-school photo being featured until just a few days ago I bought myself Pokemon White yesterday and am having a blast with it, even though I've been through it all before in Japanese. Language barrier counts for a lot, even if I do know enough Japanese to navigate myself perfectly through the whole game and know all the attacks, abilities and whatnot.
For some reason I had the impression that Pokemon game boxes would be a bit...I don't know, flashier. I thought Pokemon B/W had lenticular covers? Even Pokemon D/P/Pt before this had glitter all over the box (which I admit was a bit ugly). Spent RM 140 on this, which is about US$35. Crazy bargain!
Back of the box. Basic reading ability is required to fully enjoy this game. Um, just like every other game then?
Well with all this stuff at least I know I'm not buying a counterfeit game, what with the cheap price and all. Cartridge is a darker color than usual. Box cannot be recycled (meh, was planning to keep it for all eternity anyway)
And now I leave you to start my game. I already have a team of six and am at the 2nd Gym with a level 15 Oshawott among others. Have fun with yours too!
You know, I had the impression that everyone would have played through the entire game without me so I didn't bother to write about this. But just a moment ago I read the Iwata Asks article on Epic Yarn (again, I'm late to the party), and I saw the discussions going on about the music. Hirokazu Ando was there to talk about his old Dream Land compositions.
Iwata: So in the end, how did you integrate the songs made by HAL Laboratory and the songs made by Tomita-san?
Ando: The structure of the story was important, so Tomita-san's music plays during the first half and towards the middle.
Ikegami: In other words, we used the new sound in the first half and middle to highlight the difference between this new world of yarn and the usual Kirby world.
Ando: And HAL Laboratory was in charge of the songs that play in the latter stages. As you proceed through the game, an arrangement of the Kirby theme that everyone is familiar with plays, so you feel like, "Ah, I've come home." I think it's a very effective structure for the game.
Iwata: The structure of the levels and the music that plays during them are directly connected.
This is amazing. It's like Ando-san read my mind, and probably the minds of all Kirby fans everywhere. After all the new music, suddenly coming back to this really does feel like a happy reunion with all the familiar things you knew about Kirby. It's spoiler territory to say which stage this remixed Green Greens theme plays in, but I will say- it's more than just the music that will be familiar to you when you get there. Pretend you're Kirby, and take 'I've come home' very literally. Know which stage I'm talking about now?
...Are the US names of the Gen 5 monkey trio, Yanappu (Grass), Baoppu(Fire) and Hiyappu(Water)! For now I don't know where the 'Pan' bit comes from, but the second half of the names make sense. Not too bad. The names come from a leaked scan of both Pokemon Black and White's game boxes. I'll place a link here instead of the actual picture cause it's huge.