Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nintendo Direct 12.18.13 Impressions

Nintendo gave us a exceptionally fantastic show today. Here's what happened:

Direct Link of video cannot be found. Click here to view the Direct.





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Friday, December 13, 2013

Majora's Mask Remake: When it rains, don't always expect a Rainbow Bow


Earlier this week a simple daily screenshot of Smash Bros. revealing Skull Kid from Majora's Mask entering the fray as an assist character, sent the internet flying into a full-blown rumor tornado speculating that a Majora's Mask remake is on the way. Curiously, this wasn't the first time that Majora's Mask was teased: In last month's Nintendo Direct trailer for A Link Between Worlds, the mask could be easily spotted during the beginning of the trailer hanging on the Item shop wall:

Which only means one thing: Half-Life 3 confirmed. 

Is this enough proof that a Majora's Mask remake is in the making? The answer is both a yes, and a no. Remember, this is Nintendo we're talking about: a company known to always port/remake their N64 games eventually years down the road (namely: Super Mario 64 DS, Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D to name a few). I would be daft to say that they'll never remake Majora's Mask, because Eiji Aonuma has been hinting at something, but to say it's in development now? No. Look, we've already got TWO big Zelda titles this year (not counting Oracles) and a big TBA Zelda Wii U title is currently in development for next year- that's a lot of Zelda games to make in a short amount of time. Granted, Wind Waker HD was made in only 6 months, but mind you that Majora's Mask is a completely different game made 13 years ago when 64-bit was the norm, so they would have to build the game from the ground up rather than just slap HD paint on the characters and call it good. If we want the game to look as good as this, it would take a lot more time than just 6 months to develop. Furthermore, the game was objectively one of the hardest Zelda games, and knowing Nintendo, the game would have to be fine-tuned into being more user friendly by having more save points for one thing, and I'm sure they have to have Tatl repeat "Please take a break" ten-thousand times at every opportunity.

On the topic of the Smash Bros. screenshot it's ridiculous people even translate it as a MM remake teaser, I mean it's a game that includes the entire Nintendo universe, of course it would reference Majora's Mask. It doesn't mean it's teasing a new game. It was the same ordeal with the mundane rumors of the Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire remakes being made, because Pokemon X/Y would mention the "Hoenn Region" as if the series hadn't already referenced past regions many times before. With references, the game remains canon with its series; it's not put there just to tease everyone to believe that there's definitely a new game or remake coming out RIGHT NOW. The Zelda games have been referencing each other for years I doubt it will end any time soon. I'm not implying we'll never see Majora's Mask in fruition, but now seems too soon.  

I could be wrong, so don't mind me if you don't agree with me, but just don't be disappointed if your crystal ball is malfunctioning.

 
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nintendo Direct 11.13.13 Impressions

Hey. 

(Direct linking of the video is giving a "not found" error message, so here's the the URL to the youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mijfc0-zEgw) 

This month's Direct can be compared to going to a theater that beings bombarded you with trailers that reveal their movies entire plotlines before they're even released, and then urging you to go and see them a day later. 


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Review: Pokemon Y


Review by EggBeatr8 

Title: Pokemon Y
Developer: GameFreak
Platform: 3DS
Bottom Line: A Mega, Mega Evolution for Pokemon.
 


I scoff at the naysayers that claim that the mainstream Pokemon games never change. Replace Call of Duty's enemies with robots and it's automatically a new game, yet you could reboot the entire Pokemon series with 700 new Pokemon as an Action-space-shooter-racer-RPG and critics would still call it "the same game". That's the world we live in: the same world where that said "same" game (or games) would go to sell over 5 million copies in a week, on a system people still believe is just another DSi upgrade. Now that's something you can't argue. Is it all just a fluke though? Do people have bad taste for gaming and are just buying it because everyone else is? As a long time Pokemon fan since Pokemon Red, I can safely say that if Pokemon was the exact same game over and over I would've quit playing it years ago. The only peer pressure associated with a new Pokemon game is the thought of yourself missing out on a new installment....a brand new adventure. And quite frankly, Pokemon X/Y is an adventure that you wouldn't want to miss.

The most obvious change in this Pokemon outing is the full graphics overhaul. For the first time on a portable console, the trainers, scenery, and of course Pokemon have all been fully 3D-rendered. Pokemon have never looked more alive since the release of Pokemon Stadium graced the N64 and it's about time too. Kalos looks absolutely amazing, and the scenery more-or-less tries to mimic that of France, from which the region hints to be inspired from. The scenery even looks better in 3-D...when you're allowed to use it. If there's any indication that Nintendo is slowly extinguishing the use of 3-D, Pokemon X/Y is a good hint. The only time 3-D is really applicable or readily used is in battle or in a few cut-scenes, etc, whilst the rest of the time the 3-D light is off, leading me to assume that if anyone plays the game in 3-D the entire time, they'd find it absolutely jarring and eye-numbing when the game is constantly switching from 2-D to 3-D. But it might just as well be so, considering that the 3-D-less 2DS was released at the same time. Regardless, the game looks just as great if not better in 2D anyway.

Now that we got graphics out of the way let's talk about what we actually care about in a Pokemon: the Pokemon. While there's not a lot this time around (barely 70 counted thus far), the game(s) makes up for the lack of new Pokemon in exchange for an exciting new gameplay twist: Mega Pokemon. About half-way through the game you're awarded the Mega Ring, which let's you Mega Evolve a Pokemon if they're holding their respective Mega Stone(s). While this may seem Pokemon is going into ironic Digivole territory, the Mega Pokemon look fantastic, and it should balance on-line battles out whenever you battle a troll who's team consists solely of Metagross and Dragonite. Unfortunately, Kalos Pokemon can't 'Megavolve', and some Pokemon that desperately need stat buffs (Far'Fetched, Quilfish, Cacturus) are out shadowed by Pokemon who really don't need Mega Evolutions (Garchomp, Tyranitar, Mewtwo). At least it's a smart idea on the right track, but hopefully it balances out in the long run instead of encouraging everyone to spam Mega Mewtwo along with their Metagross.

This won't end well. 

Gameplay wise, Pokemon X/Y is hasn't changed much since Gen V, which isn't a bad thing at all, but luckily, for those who want something different, a very notable addition to the metagame rock-paper-scissors gameplay will forever change the way people play Pokemon: Fairy-types. These Dragon-resistant monsters are only weak to Steel and Poison types, making them formidable foes. Pokemon like Azumarill, Granbul and Gardevoir have received this new type, making otherwise useless/useful Pokemon full-on Dragon slayers, and you can bet the Metagame will be full of them once Pokemon Bank rolls around, and you can transfer you're team(s) from Black and White. Concerning the battle style when battling trainers on the other hand, Pokemon X/Y only features one new battle style called Sky Battles, in which only flying-Pokemon and/or Pokemon with Levitate can partake in. while it's an interesting new form of battle style, it's absolutely infuriating in-game, since your options for flying-types are lackluster this Gen, and you can be sure your opponent will use a Pokemon like Flygon or Aerodactyl, Rock Edge spamming machines, which is bad news for everyone who happened to raise Talonflame (read: 4x the damage or more). A more interesting battle that happens only in wild encounters is horde battles. It pits your Pokemon against five (yes, five) wild Pokemon, may they be a horde of Scraggy, Geodude, or *shudder* Zubat. They're cleverly challenging, (at least until you get a multi-hit move like Surf or Earthquake), and can be easily escaped if you choose to run from them. Horde battles are few and far between, and you probably will encounter a few at most in your adventure, but they're a welcome addition I'd love to see again in future titles nonetheless. 

No Pokemon game lacks a good 300+ hours of gameplay, and Pokemon Y is no slacker. I already accumulated over 90 hours in the main adventure alone, and most of those hours were spent surprisingly on the bottom screen in what has to be the most addictive simulator ever: Pokemon Amie. Amie allows you to pet your Pokemon, give them Poke Puffs, and play mini-games in order to develop a better bond with your Pokemon, and it's unlocked as soon as you get your first Pokemon. While this might seem like it has no real point other than to be a cute little gimmick, it actually aids you in-game by giving your Pokemon an extra boost in EXP points, and your Pokemon might just dodge a foe's attack or sometimes even sustain a blow with 1 HP if you bond with it enough. Another game you'll play on the bottom screen is Super Training, which makes level grinding to get EV's (effort values for potential stat boosts) a thing of the past. Breaking the score record for every Super Training mini-game allows you to play more challenging mini-games that reward you with more EV's (or Kalos points, whatever they're calling them now) which in turn fills up a bar, ending the need to tally up all your points in umpteen notebooks and then finding out you counted them wrong. And last, but not least, we have the PSS, or Player Search System, which shows all you everyone who's playing the game and you interact with them at any time: maybe offering or receiving help in the form of O-Powers, (sort of like Gen V's Pass Powers), or maybe challenging them to a battle or offering a trade. This is all done in one place, and it all comes together perfectly thanks to the game's amazing server, which rarely encounters any serious lagging issues. All-in-all, the bottom screen feels like a whole separate game in itself, and don't be surprised if it eats up half of your weekend.

Concerning Post-game content, it's a little mixed. I've only got as far as the Battle Maison (This Gen's Battle Subway equivalent), so I can't tap on how much more post-game material this, but from what I did experience it was pretty good. Most notable is the Friend Safari, which associates one Pokemon type per each friend registered on your 3DS. The more friends you have increase the amount of Pokemon you can find (limit:3) and if they're on at the same time the chances of catching a rare Pokemon with a hidden ability increases by 50%. This is unpredictably encouraging gamers of all ages to share Friend Codes, which makes the PSS shine even greater. Whether it's post-game or not, the boutique(s) is/are a fun new feature that lets you customize your trainer head-to-toe for the first time. You can customize everything from the shoes you wear to even the hair length and color. Clothes selection and prices change everyday, so prepare for some major re-playability is you're what they call a 'fashion-esta' (which is Nintendo's evil plan to get you from playing animal crossing: New Leaf ever again). Rumors aside that there is DLC content on the way, Pokemon Y offers a good amount of content as is, and should satisfy any trainer for a long time.

In conclusion, I might sound like a broken record for saying "Pokemon (insert sub-title) exceeds in everything that makes the series great and fixes all the problems of the previous blah, blah, blah" every time a new Pokemon game that's released, but it's hard to fight the truth. To say Pokemon Y is the same thing as Pokemon Gold, Ruby, Green, yada yada would be an injustice. Pokemon Y is yet another grand jewel in the series, with only a few rough edges here and there. Perfect for newbies, and fun for returning vets, this is an adventure that's worth ignoring all the haters.

The Good:
+Fantasic presentation.
+Extensive amount of content and exciting new features
+Superb On-line mode.

The Bad:
-Sky Battles are infuriating.





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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nintendo Direct 10.1.13 Impressions


Dammit, Nintendo. October was exciting enough with Wind Waker HD's release, and Pokemon X/Y and the 2DS being released in a week, but now you go and show another Direct out of nowhere and get us even more hyped. How am I supposed to pay for all these games?! HUH?!?! Sigh. It's not easy being a Nintendo gamer.  
Anyway, here's my impressions on the MegaDirectachu: 


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Saturday, August 24, 2013

My 5 Wishes for the Next Animal Crossing


I'm going to put this on the table now: Animal Crossing New Leaf is one of the best game I've played this year. It's been a month since I've written the review and I still haven't even scratched the surface. It's safe to say that it's the best AC so far, bar none, but I feel some improvements can be made. Like...


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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Last Week's Nintendo Direct(s) impressions.

After the end of  the first half of Summer '13, Nintendo fans all around the world have already been pleased with some of the... uuuh... hottest titles for the season (no pun intended), with more yet to come in the near future. On top of that, a double Direct appointment has been spread around the world last week, focusing more on what we'll be getting in roughly the next three months for now! One is our regular-sized Nintendo Direct feature, while the other one is a 20-minute feature about The Wonderful 101, Platinum Games's incoming new game for Wii U. The American version of both the videos can be seen below:





Much like for the pre-E3 Direct, I watched all the three editions of the regular Direct presentation, but this time our focus will be only with the stuff in common in all the editions, with some exceptions. The reason behind this choice is because I would end to talk about some topics I already discussed the past time (eg. not-JP games in the JP market, localization difficulties for most of the JP-exclusive games and so on), thus losing focus from the main things.

So, without further ado, let's dive right into Nintendo's latest news-based marathons and see what's new on the table this time.

THE AWESOME


Look over there! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a...

Cross-over localization: The biggest bombshell this time wasn't brought by a new game, but instead by a welcomed import of Level-5 and Capcom's Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright, which is set to release in NA and Europe next year, after the last Professor Layton game. But when a puzzle-addicted university professor and a well-respected attorney merge their forces, hilarity ensues in the not-Japanese directs. Just look at Satoru Shibata above!

The Wonderful 101 Direct: This special edition about a single game alone is worth of a space among the Awesome stuff in there. As we have already seen in the past, Nintendo hasn't make the world aware about this title as well as they already did with other titles, and last Friday's feature presentation was definitely a step in the right direction.

THE GOOD


You know if your catchphrase works if you crack up a smile when a digital yellow dog uses it.

Home-console Majors Unite: Another relatively-big thing introduced is a new free channel about the Animal Crossing universe, simply called Animal Crossing Plaza. With the opportunity to daily meet a large selection of the game series's anthropomorphic villagers and discuss about them on Miiverse with the rest of the world, this add-on is another welcomed addition to what it's shaped to be the ultimate portable Animal Crossing game of all times.

Release Dates Roundabouts: Once again, the majority of the presentations was an update about the already-announced games with tentative release dates, both for Nintendo games (Zelda on 3DS/Wii U, Pokemon Rumble,...) and third-party/independent contributors, like Sonic Lost worlds and that February game which we will be able to try "only" in about 3-4 weeks from now... Anyway, since it manages to touch both the physical main releases and the eShop/Virtual Console markets, this over-ally results in a complete look of the gaming horizon for ol' N's gaming machines.

A Wonderful Spoiler...?: These Direct-related posts on N5S don't tend to have something like a "THE MIXED" section to talk about, but I want to discuss anyways about the 7-minute trailer which ended the Wonderful 101-themed Friday presentation. While it's great to see more of a future game which had very little content revealed before, said trailer feels more like a fast-forward wrap-up of the majority of the game's plot, which is good for a common movie trailer but for a video-game this may spoil the fun for who wants to fully discover it by simply playing it. My tip is to totally skip said trailer, if what you already seen of the game before is enough for you guys to buy Platinum Games's latest opus.

THE BAD


... we also would like to introduce a brand-new game mechanic: B-button special moves!

Painfully Obvious: As nit-picky as this title sounds, we can't deny that these two Directs had their little flaws that have been received from the viewers as an insult to their intelligence. The Net has already been swarmed by dumb, whiny comments like "Oh, Luigi is coming back to Smash Bros YOU DON'T SAY" or "Yes, tell me once more W101's release date! It may be changed drastically after TWO MINUTES", but for an event so anticipated and suddenly-revealed like a new Nintendo Direct, people usually expects to hear something more of what almost every random fanboy can "predict" with their home-made magic 8-balls.

Slow-Paced Forecast: In a period when industry, reporters and random gamers are continuing to bash Kyoto's gaming industry for well-polished topics about Wii U's poor start and "Why Nintendo should do the Sega gaming approach or totally move into the mobile market" (even if it's probably because most of the reporters seem to have only mobile-related stocks), a Nintendo Direct packed in this way still seems more aimed to already-interested people to Nintendo consoles than actually the whole gaming community. While the Wii U its still waiting for this year's biggest games, this Direct doesn't seem to persuade other people to change their mind by supplying new content about well-known incoming games.

-

FINAL DIRECT: 3/5 STARS

Overally, do these iterations speed-up or slow-down the player's hype for Nintendo's products? Once again, this is not the case of any rhythm change. Even if little to no ground-breaking reveals occured this time, this Direct simply holds the good pace of the past iterations, proving once again to be a fast and fine update compilation for an average Nintendo player. But will the next ones be able to drag an even bigger audience?

Lokamp out.
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

3 Ridiculous Petitions for Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS Characters

Since the reveal of Smash Bros 3DS/Wii U in June, the internet has predictably erupted into an all-out roster discussion frenzy of which characters need to stay or go, and spamming CAPS LOCK at everyone that says Ridley is too big to be a playable character, because this is what happens when you take out SmashDojo and replace it with random gameplay images for us to maul every detail as if we'll find spoilers in stock footage.
GHOST PIKMIN CONFIRMED FOR SMASH BROS 4 CHARACTER ROSTER SAKURAI JUST SPOILED THIS GAME FOR EVERYONE!!!! 
But then there's the fans that are tired of waiting whether their characters make it into the game, and created petitions to get their voices heard. Which is awesome...until you see what madness they're trying to get in SSB4 like... 
3. Digimon 


At least half of the internet took the news of Namco Bandai co-developing Smash Bros out of literal context, and assumed that every Tekken, Tales Of, and Tomogachi character has a shot at being at least featured in SSB4. Which is like saying that since J.J Abrams is the director of the new Star Wars trilogy we're going to be seeing the Cloverfield monster speeding through Tatooine on the Enterprise. Sora Sakurai is already losing sleep over adding third-party characters, and we'll be lucky if we even get Pac-Man as a rep let alone having Ivy as an assist trophy glazing her sexist breasts against the screen like a humping NintenDog. But apparently no one told that to the 10 poorly misguided Digimon fanboys who signed this petition to get Argumon in SSB4.
Yes, some people want Digimon. In Smash Bros. 
 Don't like Digimon in Smash Bros? Your Argumon is invalid! HA! (I'm very sorry)
 
The petition hasn't had any new signatures since July 22nd, so it's probably safe to say Digimon in SSB4 is a no go, but you have to admire this guy's enthusiasam; albeit he might be a bit too obsessed judging by his FB page:
"Question of the day: If Agumon was in Smash Brothers. How would you want him to handle? What sort of move set would you want for him? Recolors, final smash, voice actor(s). Let us Know!"
"Anyone else ever think Movie Yoshi looks more like Agumon than Yoshi? Too bad the movie predates Digimon by quite a while."
"Admin here; just started playing Project Xross Zone, and I'm hooked. I love it; but the lack of certain characters bugs me. Lets hope they make a sequel and put some more bandai characters in there next time. I personally would love to see Agumon fighting along side Megaman."
Practically every post this guy makes mentions Argumon, and if it doesn't involve Argumon, it's a post begging everyone to help localize Digimon World Re:Digitize Decode. I'm guessing his next move is to legally change his name to Argumon Pereira. 

2. Mike Jones  



This might seem like a weird petition to diss on, since StarTropics was a first-party NES title, so there's a slight chance that he'll appear in SSB4- but do we really want him? To be fair, the petition just dismisses it as a second thought next to asking Nintendo to make a new StarTropics (A.K.A. a game few people today even know exists) for the Wii U, but obscurity aside would you really want this guy in the next Smash Bros:

It's like Donkey Kong and Tin Tin had a nightmarish eyebrow child.

He'd literally be a medium weight Lucas with a similar moveset (StarTropics indirectly referenced Earthbound) and look at that face- LOOK AT THOSE GLOBDAMN EYEBROWS. Maybe I'm being a little unfair- Pit didn't look exactly like his prior NES counterpart after all- and we've already have Wii Fit Trainer to prove that obscurity isn't a hurtle, but still, this is like having Slippy Toad as a playable character. Captain Rainbow would make more sense as a playable character than- 

   STOP IT! 

NopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNope. 

1. Reggie Fils-Aime


Ask anyone what CEO/president of a video game company they would like to play as in a video game, and you'll probably get a blank stare and a resounding "what, why?", which is one of the many reasons why you won't be playing as Peter Moore in a future EA Sports title any time soon. So it's baffling that there's a petition to include Reggie Fils-Aime (The American COO of Nintendo) as a playable character in Smash Bros. 

And it already has over 24,000 supporters, and growing consistently as I write this. Gabe Newell couldn't get that praise even if he gave away free copies of Half-Life 3 and sold his fortune to end world hunger. 

This is relevant. 

Let me rephrase that: an average Nintendo COO that accidentally became a famous internet meme is now part of an on-line petition to include him in a fighting game that features a walking pink marshmallow and electric mice- and it has over 24,000 people backing it. This is what we've become. Oh, and Reggie is seriously going with it: 


Of course Sora Sakurai has the final decision of the character roster, but the mere fact that this could very well happen and that it's under consideration is baffling, especially coming from a gaming company that has never taken fan feedback seriously at all. 

"You want a new F-Zero you say? Well that's just silly, no one wants that." 

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Shin Megami Tensei IV

Review by Pokefreak

Title: Shin Megami Tensei IV (translated as True Goddess Reincarnation IV)
Developer: ATLUS
Platform: 3DS
Bottom Line: Expensive and difficult, but rewarding and classic.

The Shin Megami Tensei name is commonplace for any RPG fan. From the original Famicom games to the wildly successful Persona series, everything about it clicks with JRPG fans. And ATLUS has decided to present us with another entry in the main series, the first since 2009's Strange Journey on the DS and even moreso since the last main entry, 2003's Nocturne on the PS2. As an avid fan of the SMT name, with Persona 4 being my all time favourite game, I couldn't turn down getting a chance to look at the series that started my obsession over these games.

Now before you continue, I need to point out. THIS GAME IS NOT PERSONA. It seems that numerous other reviewers have constantly looked down on SMTIV because it doesn't feature the same RPG/dating sim elements that Persona 3/4 have. Persona is a spin-off series of this, friends. Get used to it.

Now, before we get started, the game itself is pricy. Currently, the only versions of the game you can buy physically are the limited editions. These cost as much as a typical console game, nearing $60. Is the extra stuff in the box worth the extra $20? Well, let's see what's in the box.

  
 

Inside the package is a small game guide/artbook from famous guide developers Prima, a soundtrack CD, and the game itself. It's not a bad value if you're like me and like having physical objects rather than download codes. It's a good value if you like that kind of thing. The only issue is that it's still more expensive on the eShop than most 3DS games, even without the extra feelies. Not exactly a smart move, ATLUS. Another problem is that the Prima guide doens't cover the entire game. It really only covers the first quarter of the game and only has information on the demons featured in that quarter. What the hell, Prima?

Let's jump into the actual game. You play as Flynn, a young man aiming to be a Samurai in the eastern kingdom of Mikado. You succeed, and team up with your Samurai friends Walter, Jonathan and Isabeau. But as you protect the kingdom, you learn that you might not be the only ones in the world, and that underneath your world is something much more terrifying... the land of Tokyo, where demons roam free and humans have barely managed to survive. On top of that, there's someone called the "Black Samurai" who is turning people into demons!

Gameplay is MegaTen standard. You need to make use of a Pokemon-like system where some attacks do more damage to certain demons. On top of that, you have to recruit demons and fuse them to make stronger demons to keep yourself on top of the game. It requires a fair bit of strategy, despite being more action-based than most titles in the franchise. And there are over 400 demons in the game. Good luck.

Graphically, the game looks amazing. The game moves between 2D stills for cutscenes and battles and 3D for overworld exploration. The 2D has a certain charm to it that reminds me of past MegaTen games, especially Strange Journey. The 3D aspect looks better than its PS2 prequel and controls well too. The 3D feature of the system does the overworld wonders, while the battles and cutscenes just look flat. It's a weird thing where the game can look either amazing or awful.

All in all, the game brings a little of what we know, revamps and polishes it, and presents us with the beautiful on one side, sorta rusty on the other gem that is Shin Megami Tensei IV. If you want a good RPG, this will definitely strike your fancy.

The Good:
+Fantastic music by Mr. Shoji Meguro himself
+Classic SMT story featuring both Law and Chaos routes
-Engrossing gameplay with amazing overworlds.

The bad
-Graphics are a double-edged sword
-Game can be difficult and mocks you for drying
-Recruiting demons is one of the worst endeavors ever.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Animal Crossing New Leaf

Review by EggBeatr8 

Title: Animal Crossing New Leaf
Developer: Nintendo
Platform: 3DS
Bottom Line: New Leaf perfects everything that was great about past AC games. An absolute must-buy for any 3DS owner.


It had been four years since the release of City Folk that Nintendo announced that there would be an Animal Crossing game for the 3DS. My only initial response to the news was a long winded "uuuugh" in the back of my throat. No way would I play another AC: my love for the GCN original faded with the mixed bag release of Wild World, and City Folk felt nothing more than a ho-hum expansion pack. I was afraid AC had turned into a never ending cycle of repeats to milk money rather than improving the experience- I presumed New Leaf would break my heart once more. I was wrong. I was so very wrong.

From the get-go, New Leaf proves that the 'New' in its title isn't deceiving: this fourth outing in the series (fifth for Japan) doesn't have you thrown into the town, forced into catering for Tom Nook, the pesky home salesmen/store employer, in order to pay off your home loan like every previous AC game had started out before. No, this time around you play as the town's Mayor. For the first time ever YOU are in control of how you play the game. You can set up Town Ordinances, to say boss your neighbors to help clean up the town, or create a Town Project and gather donations of Bells (the game's currency) over time to help build new bridges or water fountains- and it's always your choice. Sure, you still need to pay off your home loan to get a house, but you don't have to work for Tom Nook in order to do it (you start out in a tent in the beginning of the game, but there's no rush to upgrade unless you want space). You are completely free to do whatever in NL, but if you decide to take Mayor duty seriously, your Cocker Spaniel personal assistant Isabelle will give you helpful info at the Town Hall whenever you ask her. There's a great sense of progress to paying off debts, because you never now how much your new project will benefit your experience.

If there's one factor about AC that hasn't changed is its amazing spunky charm that has captivated fans of the series, new and old alike. This is prominently clear in New Leaf: from the new furry texture on the animal neighbors to their hilarious little outbursts and the way they wave/bow at you when you leave their home is adorable beyond words. Neighbors don't just pretend to hold unto items either- they occasionally do fish, catch bugs, shake trees, pull weeds and water flowers, which makes following neighbors around as much fun as listening to what they have to say. The game also looks and plays so perfectly on the 3DS that I can't see myself playing it on a home console again; the wonderful charm of AC and recommended brevity is objectively better on the 3DS. I honestly can't stop coming back for more, and I confess that I've been cheating and have found myself playing the game in longer intervals than I should have been (even my neighbors tell me I should take a break...though I believe this is another one of Nintendo's dirty little tricks to get me outside). It may take some time to unlock and see everything that's new in NL (I was a bit touchy about reviewing this game even after two weeks, because I knew I would miss something worth noting), but the pace at which things happen is at a nice slow motion; perfect for gamers on the go.

The island from the GCN Animal Crossing is back, and it's better than ever. If the many things you can do in your village doesn't satisfy your gaming pleasures, the island offers a huge assortment of mini-games called "tours", where you have to beat the clock under various conditions to win tokens that you can exchange to get exclusive items at the giftshop. Though many of the ocean fish and insects aren't exclusive to the islands anymore (you can catch pretty much every fish and insect in your town) the island is the only place to get the Wet Suit, which let's you swim in the ocean; collecting a new assortment of bottom dwelling marine life, expanding an already impressive Collectopedia. Avid kleptomaniacs will have to wait over a year to catch and collect everything that the game has to offer, maybe even more. But remember: it's not a game meant for 4-7 hour play sessions, so waiting isn't a major concern.

Lastly, your experience with AC:NL is purely random and unique. You might not like the neighbors you get or the dumb shirts they hand you in exchange for that fish you tried so hard to catch (which also was based on luck) but it's not like that everyday. That's the beauty of AC: you never know what's going to happen next. And with New Leaf I can totally stand behind that philosophy even after playing every previous game in the series. NL is a brand new fresh experience, and the 'New' in the title is in no way unambiguous. I absolutely can't recommend this game enough- this review barely does any justice to describe everything that this game has to offer. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a wonderful journey that 3DS owners of any age cannot miss; whether you played all the AC games prior or it's your first time. Animal Crossing has finally found a way back into my life...and I will never let it go again.

The Good:
+Fantastic replay value and content, both old and new.
+Pacing is perfect no matter what kind of gamer you are.
+Charm is unmatched by any game I've ever played.

The Bad:
-Unlocking new content and items can be a slow process.








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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

N5S Impressions - Nintendo E3 Conference 2013

E3 2013 has come and gone, and man, what a show! It's that time a year where all the biggest Nintendo fanboys from N5* (and Crossburn) come together and share their subjective opinions about the show. Here's what they thought, complete with the full video if you want to watch it again for the 27th time:



"At this point, after said companies's presentations, Nintendo stepped up with the reveal of their line-up of game both for the home-console and the portable market. At the eyes of everyone, big N's main goal was clear: to keep the Nintendo 3DS flame on and to give vail reasons for customers to own a Wii U for this year. Have they succeded?

THE AWESOME

The Big gUns: At the eyes of the average gamer - both Nintendo affitionados and not particularly keen on Nintendo consoles - this part sums up the selling points that people would pay flushing money to get those at Day 1, possibly together with a new console. New trailers for games such as X, Bayonetta 2, Pok√©mon X/Y and the Super Smash Bros. "twin games" have been released, and though if their release dates are all set for 2014 (save for the pkmn duo), the Wii U hype train finally received some fresh coal.  


Unexpected Customer Pleasers: Aside those main reveals (which were all grouped for the Nintendo Direct's final portion), several un-announced sequels to Nintendo-related franchises for the Wii U have been featured for the E3 event such as Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8. Aside for the very last one, all these games will be released before the end of 2013
  
Stuff with the Staff: Another good way for a company to keep people in touch with their product is to keep a connection within the world and the main heads behind their products. That's what Nintendo basically did during this E3 week with interviews to game directors, both from big and small sotware house names. Whether people agrees or disagrees to what those guys had to say, this surely gives a more active joining feel to whoever want to be informed about their products.

THE GOOD

Indie-ana Jones and the Raiders of the Third Arc: The 1st-party titles for this year look neat, but what about the gaming support from the companies outside Nintendo? In the E3 Direct, all the 2013 games from other companies have been revealed, together with the new indie additions for the 3DS and Wii U's eShop services as well.

E3 in Stores, E3 in Booths: Don't forget about that Best Buy campaign! Even if the operating stores didn't allow common players to try all the games presented such as the sequels for Yoshi's Island and A Link to the Past, the demo suppled for some of 2013's most anticipated Wii U titles is already a big occasion to have good impressions about gaming companies. You knows, as long as you forget what Microsoft tried to do...

Miiverse Artists Unite!: The Miiverse feature is surely what makes the Wii U interesting the most to whoever likes to draw and to share their creations with the entire world. Considering this aspect, the news of a new Art Academy game for Wii U which improves the Miiverse drawing tools is surely worth the attention of lots of drawing-addicted folks, isn't it?

*BONUS* The (2nd) Fastest Leak Alive Platinum Games's The Wonderful 101 has been featured in the E3-related Direct, with another interesting, yet very small portion of in-game content shown, compared to the rest. However, the fact that there will be another future Direct about the game which will be aired before its release saves it from the 'bad' section this time. Even because there are another stray of pretty-relevant problems...

THE BAD

Crowd-Pleasers: This point's title sounds pretty similar to the one in the 'awesome' section, and for a valid reason. While the announce of new games from already-beloved franchises is surely good news for whoever follows said franchises, that doesn't necessarily translates to good news to the general customer market. As I said before, the average customer from an event like the E3 usually expects to see a lot more chances for the companies to take the proverbial "step in the dark" and try something completely new. In this sense, Nintendo's marketing preference falls in the "predictable" category, as almost all the games presented are remakes or continuations of already-popular series for a relatively-safe profit prevision. As I already discussed earlier, both Sony and Microsoft are guilty of this factor, as most of their programmed releases are based on what people liked the most from the past console gaming generation.

Gimmick Oblivion: Another pretty sad fact is about the Wii U Gamepad's potential in most of the Wii U games revealed. The majority of the Wii U software presented in this E3 doesn't exploit the controller's potential more than a second screen for playing, unlike some of the first game presented, unlike most the main launch-window titles. While this may don't be a major problem for the sales, this already is a relevant price Nintendo has to pay in order to be a crowd-pleaser.

The Missing bUllets: We all have seen that the big titles for the Wii U are on the way, but this doesn't mean that the waiting is finally over, once for all. Again, nearby all the major interest-magnet games for the Wii U are slated for the next year; this reason for a non-Nintendo gamer alone could be enough to dump the Wii U for one of its closer rivals.

FINAL DIRECT: 3/5 STARS

This year's E3 sadly proved - once again - that while the 3DS is now able to run with its own legs, the Wii U still needs a cranky wheelchair before starting to walk on its own. However, this won't be a lone journey, as the Nintendo staff proved - once again - that gamers's interest on a console is a good beginning to support its journey, no matter how easy or rough it can be. Sure, the expectations from everyone have been disappointed in some of the aspects wanted for an event like the Electronics Entertainement Expo, but still this is a good continuation overall as a Nintendo Direct experience, between the Direct itself and the actual booths."
-Lokamp, co-writer for Taiko Time Blog.   

  
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"Unlike Sony with their PS4 and Microsoft with their XBox One, Nintendo has already released all their hardware for the 8th cycle and came to E3 with one and only one duty; to save Wii U's ass. For the past year the console had been suffering from a spiralling decline in interest both by players and by developers. Players because of a lack of compelling software (Nintendo's own proposals remained just that: proposals. No action at all.), and developers because of a lack of installed user base and supposedly it was tougher to develop and port games to because of the touch-screen controller. Overall, nothing has gone right for Wii U, and Nintendo came to E3 to set things right.

Although not the perfect performance, Nintendo finally unrolls a tangible action plan (albeit dominated by first-party offerings) with plans to release a ton of good games in the months to come. A lot of these aren't surprises but we've all only heard of them by name, and it's always exciting to see first footage of a new game even though you've been expecting to see it. Mario Kart 8 looks like a huge step up from its 3DS predecessor, Pikmin 3 is finally coming out, Zelda Wind Waker HD by the end of the year, Rayman too. Then Wonderful 101, Sonic Lost Worlds, Bayonetta 2, New Super Luigi U, the new Xenoblade sequel, surprises in the form of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Super Mario 3D World, and finally the game everyone had been waiting for years: Smash Bros. I could spend entire paragraphs writing about how awesome seeing both 3DS and Wii U footage of the game is (and how unorthodox some of the unlockable characters are), but this is about E3 as a whole.

3DS has received lots of love for the past year and is poised to make a stellar performance this year too. Far above every other 3DS game in hype is definitely Pokemon XY. Every new trailer released for XY makes me scream in delight, every single second of footage is delicious in its 3D battles and awesome music. Most of the new designs revealed were solid, and the new Fairy type made the deal sweeter. Pokemon-Amie (see the wordplay?) is icing on the cake, by far one of the most adorable new modes I've ever seen. Can't wait to stroke my Pokemon for hours on end and seeing them smile! Oh my gosh. 


Finally, every Pokemon player's dreams have been fulfilled.

Though Nintendo is trying its darndest to resuscitate the Wii U, I still don't think it'll be enough to get it to the heights that Wii achieved several years back. Without 3rd party support, and with the allure of both Sony and Microsoft's more powerful machines to hardcore gamers and developers of 'triple-A games' (read: shooter:other genre ratio of 948732 to 1), it's still going to be an uphill struggle for Nintendo if Wii U fails to shift significantly. It's a sad state in the videogame industry when cookie-cutter games are the ones that shift consoles and with that pull even more quality games to those consoles.

Nintendo's more subdued presence in E3 via online Direct saves costs and reduces the need for an expensive stage performance (in line with their reason for going to the show), but it definitely isn't going to make any waves in the press when the two other goliaths are competing onstage. Wii U still needs marketing: strong, positive marketing. When all the exciting first-party Nintendo games come out, the one thing that will separate Wii U from Gamecube is 3rd party developer support. Good luck, Nintendo!"
-pikaby, Nintendo 5-Star Admin and co-writer for N5-Star/Taiko Time blog.  



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"Whoa, did some fed-up corporate boss just give the internet exclusive rights to host this year's E3 last week? How else can you explain that the new type of Pokemon is Fairy, Kingdom Hearts 3 is finally in development, and that Mega-Freaking-Man is going to be in the next Smash Bros? I'm still not buying it. 

 "FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE" 

If I could describe Nintendo's presentation this year, I would describe it as the anticipation you get when you see a present under the Christmas Tree, and by god, the symmetrical shape of that present is the exact same shape of the toy you've been wanting all year. Christmas comes and, sure enough, it's that Optimus Prime toy you always wanted- but that's all you get. You're somewhat disappointed with the predictability, but at the same time you'd be an idiot to complain- play with your Transformer like a man, Mr. Greedy Greed Greeds. That was Nintendo's E3 show: we got everything we asked for, and though the surprises were low we can't complain much.  

But let's look at what they showed before we reflect on what they didn't show. Super Mario Bros. 3D World has never made me more excited to play a 3D Mario game in my life. Being the first 3D Mario to support 4 players, and the fact that you can as Peach, is a huge breath of fresh air for the Mario series, that's been known for the ho-hum Boswer-kidnapped-Peach-again-whatever-yawn traditional routine that's been in every single Mario game last generation. Also, the Cat Suit is freaking amazing. There's really no words to describe how awesome it is to see Mario CLIMB up the flagpole. Definite GOTY for Wii U. 

Mario Kart 8 was soon to follow, with its flashy HD graphics and new zero gravity gimmick certainly make it stand out from the previous Mario Karts. I can't judge too much about the game without some first-hand experience, (I'm still gunning for 200cc, come on Nintendo!) but it undoubtbly looks fantastic. TBA title X by Monolith studies keeps keep getting me hyped the more I see it. Eventually, I'll have to be under lock-down prior to the game's release, because I'll no doubt be a threat to society. 

"FGHNMKGHFJRTD%^$%^&!%^*&FGHVB" -threat to society 

And of course Smash Bros. ended and stole the show with a debut trailer, revealing Mega Man, The Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer as playable characters, to the shock and confusion of the entire internet, and inspiring many "interesting" Villager fan art. Nintendo did not disappoint with a finale. 2014 is going to drive us all bankrupt and I can't wait. 

If I could be disappointed about one game shown at E3 it would be the reveal of Retro's title, Donkey Kong County: Tropical Freeze. Sure, it looks great, but we expected them doing a different IP like Kirby or Star Fox, or an all new original IP. And speaking of which: where are the new IPs? I find it kind of awkward that I was defending Nintendo for being 'original' and accusing Sony/Microsoft of being mainstream FPS sell-outs, when Nintendo ends up being the only one that didn't reveal new IPs. Mixing up previous IPs will only get them so far, and I wish Nintendo would try to create at least one new IP a year. Hopefully whatever new IP Miyamoto is cooking up is revealed next E3.  

Another disappointment is the 3rd-party support, half of which are ports, and the other half being games already announced a year ago. Lack of any new support or IPs is alarming, especially considering all the exclusives and support the PS4 and Xbox One are getting (and we're talking about a console that's already been released and is struggling to find an audience). To add insult, Square Enix is making Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 multi-plat on every system except Wii U. Same goes for Bungie's new title Destiny. It's arbitrary and unfair, and one of the reasons why I'm shying from the Wii U until another time. 

All-in-all, I'm happy that I got an Optimus Prime* toy, and while I have no idea what I'll get next year, I'll anticipate for at least a few surprises and try to keep a positive face. 
  
*EggBeatr8 does not have an Optimus Prime toy because he's poor and lives in a cardboard box with his bi-polar cat. Please donate and make EggBeatr's day better so he can buy an Optimus Prime toy. Happy Holidays. -EggBeatr8, writer/editor for Nintendo-5-Star Blog.       




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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mini Review - The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Series

Review by Pokefreak

While Wind Waker HD, Link to The Past 2 and an unnamed Zelda Wii U game are in development, Nintendo has been kind enough to give us some filler until the Christmas season. And that filler is two games for the price of one, Pokemon style.

That's not a good way of describing it. Back in 2001, Nintendo teamed up with Capcom (who would later assist with Minish Cap and Four Swords) to make two brand new Zelda games for the Gameboy Color. The Oracle games, according to the official timeline, are sequels to Link to The Past and prequels to Link's Awakening and star the very same Link. While they were released alongside each other similar to Pokemon, these two games have very different plots and areas, despite looking near identical in graphics alone.



Yup, these screens are from two different games. 
Capcom reused the engine from Link's Awakening to make these.

The games have different puzzles and plot based on their names: Ages and Seasons. Ages has you going back and forth 400 years into the past in the region of Labrynna to fix the future and save the Oracle of Ages, Nayru (pictured in the top left singing) from her kidnapper who's possessing her, the sorceress Veran. Seasons has the seasons being thrown out of order in the region of Holodrum due to the Oracle of Seasons, Din (top right, on the stump) being kidnapped by an brutish general named Onox who sunk the Temple of Seasons into the ground. The two seem to be working together for... something. I won't spoil it.

What makes these games unique is that you can link the games together via passwords after completing them to extend your game and advance the plot even more, showing that Onox and Veran weren't the only problem facing the lands of Holodrum and Labrynna along an extended story and even a new final boss.

Overall, the Oracle games are a nice addition to anyone's 3DS. Solid Zelda action and puzzles for a cheap price and a cool addition to the Zelda storyline. Both are on the eShop for a discounted price of $4.99, so there's no real reason not to get them.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Pre-E3 Nintendo Direct Impressions.

Summer is (almost) in the air and today's world-spread Nintendo Direct presentation is here to fastly recap the biggest things for their platforms which will be out in the next three months from now, with some twist and turns in each of the individual editions as well. The American Direct broadcast is linked below:



Compared to some of the older entries, today's Direct felt a little lack of content to talk about just with one of the editions, so this time I've watched three different runs of the same event -European, American and Japanese- in order to provide to you a wider range of opinions. Let this ride begin!

THE AWESOME


Boy, someone forgot to put their Heroscape board back in the box...

Nintendo meets Sega: Once arch-rivals in the 16-bit console era, the two companies are going to combine their forces once again in a world-wide collaboration, where a new set of games will be specifically made for Nintendo's consoles. The first entries announced are the new Mario & Sonic entry about 2014's Winter Games in Sochi (Wii U) and a new 3D platform game for the blue hedgehog called Sonic Lost World (Wii U/3DS). Also a big line of games from Sega's Game Gear is on its way to the 3DS Virtual Console.

Convenience E3 Saga: In the very end of the American edition, Nintendo of America sensation Reggie Fils-Aime revealed a pretty interesting way to enjoy what the Electronic Entertainment Expo will have to offer: during the E3 week, over a hundred of Best Buy stores in the USA will feature playable demos of the Nintendo games which will be announced in the aforementioned fair. Good news for whoever trusts their personal impressions of a future game more than the opinion of a random press reporter!

Gangsters and Music at the Rising Sun: The Nintendo x Sega collab acquired a different level of influence in Japan, as their Direct edition was mainly labeled as a 'Sega Direct'. Aside from the Sonic-related games already listed above, the Eastern country will be pleased in the next future with another couple of titles from beloved franchises, such as the Wii U remake of the first two Yakuza videogames and a 3DS sequel to the popular Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai.

THE GOOD



Ten bucks less for the package-less game? If only digital retail games were like this...

Release Dates (...again!): As already said, the main focus of today's video was a complete sight of what Nintendo gamers will be able to buy during the Summer period. In all the three editions, Pikmin 3 and New Super Luigi U had the biggest role, but some release dates for other games have been revealed, like for Platinum Games's The Wonderful 101. It's funny to see that Europe will be able to get great part of those games earlier than both America and Japan, that's for sure!

Pricing Details: For some reason or another, the American streams have been more focused on the reveal of future games's prizes recently. In a market where a lot of new products are announced almost every day, it's a relief to know earlier how much we are going to pay at Day 1 in order to enjoy what we are planning to buy. Will those prices be the same in the rest of the world as well?

The Old Lady's Gold: To see already-released European games in Japanese Directs is always refreshing, since this means that its players love to see something which comes outside from their homelands. Lego City Undercover's feature presentation in the JP broadcast proves that a game nowadays finally doesn't need any kind of specific nationality in order to shine, as long as the experience offered is fun and there is someone who wants to fully enjoy it.

THE BAD


I know you were expecting a different image from me, but... have an otter instead.

The Fastest Leak Alive: Aside the Sega stuff and the usual big N games, there was something else about third-parties today, this time consisting of the reveal of The Wonderful 101's release date. The official logo appears, followed by a couple of sentences by Iwata, ... aaaaaaand it's gone. Granted, today's Direct is meant to be nothing but a sneaky trailer for this summer's goodness but the game really got the shaft, especially compared to the screen time the other titles got!

To Be or Not to Be (localized)?: Surely this point is no surprise for the gaming world in general, but still is worth of a mention. The fact that some of the freshly-announced Sega games have been showed only at the Japanese Direct can be easily translated as unplayable games by the Western audience, thanks to the Region Lock policy issued by Nintendo since eons and eons. While there are many gaming fans out there who are waiting for an international port of other kind of games from Sega (like -say- Yakuza 5), on the other hand we have a relatively small group of people which can't play their favourite game unless on region-specific consoles.

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FINAL DIRECT: 3/5 STARS

Bottom line, today's Nintendo Direct iteration felt more to be like a pre-E3 appetizer than an actual ground-breaking reveal source like in the past. After considering that there will be another Direct episode before the E3's beginning, this doesn't sound that bad, doesn't it? The stuff to tell about is still there, but just in a lesser scale in sight of bigger reveals in the incoming month.

Lokamp Out.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My 5 Wishes for the Next Smash Bros.


We're just a month away (or sooner) until the reveal of the fourth installment for Super Smash Bros. While I'm not one to promote hype (says the guy who already wrote two "Top 5 Wishes" blogs) I think it's a perfect time than any to share my optimism for the next Smash Bros. Like...

5. A More Innovative Stage Builder (Or none at all)


Chances are, after you played versus mode against four Lv.1 Jigglypuffs for 200 hours straight, you probably decided to check out Brawl's Stage builder mode expecting a robust set of features, because dude, this is the best game ever made- with the lamest Stage Builder ever made. Lack of any nostalgic set pieces aside (where the heck is my Chozo set piece, dammit?!) the Stage Builder offers a ho-hum assortment of platforms, while offering three stage sizes where if you pick small, for example, you can't use the medium level sized pieces even though they would fit, and freakin' vice-versa. Instead of being able to recreate the classic Hyrule Castle Stage, we're given pieces to allow douchebags to make "Spike Stage", guaranteed to ruin every friendship every time it's randomly select in Versus Mode. Either give us better variety of pieces/scenery or remove the Stage Builder entirely- it's taking up room for more playable characters. Speaking of which...

4. More 1st Party Characters/Assist Trophies  

 
Yes, Internet, you're welcome. 
As much I like having guest characters like Snake and Sonic appear in Smash Bros., there needs to be more love for the 1st party troopers, because this is Super Nintendo Bros. after all. To name a few I personally would love see make it in: Prince Fluff (Kirby's Epic Yarn), Ridley (Super Metroid), Baba (F-Zero GX), Lady Palutena (Kid Icaurs: Uprising), Waluigi (Mario Party), Shulk (Xenoblade), Zoroark (Pokemon Black/White), Bowser Jr. (Mario Sunshine), Mii's (Misc.); and as for Assist trophies: Cuccos (LoZ) and Dr. Kawashima (Brain Age- NINTENDO CHOP!) would make hilarious items. With Namco Bandai in development, there's a big chance we'll be seeing Pac-Man, Tekken, and SoulCalibur characters in the melting pot as well, so we'll get a good share of 3rd party characters too. That said, Mega Man would be an awesome guest character...as long as he's not a Samus clone. And that's another thing... 
3. No Clone Characters/Identical Smash Attacks 

It's as if whenever a fighting game is being made, someone in mid-development throws his arms up and shouted "F*** it, let's just give them all Landmasters." The lazy palette-swap strategy has been around since the dawn of gaming, and there's far worse examples than Smash Bros. (see "Mortal Kombat 2 Character List") but it doesn't make it any less worse. Granted, there are distinct differences in weight comparing Link and Toon Link; Fox is a lot faster than Falco, etc., which is okay, fine, but why give them the exact same Final Smash? Ness doesn't necessarily have a different ultimate attack than Lucas, but at least reverse the direction of his PK Thunder or something. Toon Link should be summoning a wind hurricane; giving him the same Final Smash attack as normal Link is redundant. I fear clones the worst with Namco Bandai at the helm, but hopefully they'll follow SoulCalibur's direction and eliminate clones altogether (Don't increase Peach's bra size though, there's children who play this). I will cherish the day when all characters are balanced so on-line doesn't feel like Attack of the Clones. That is, however, if on-line is even usable...

2. Better On-Line Play For Pete's Sake 

  
No, DK, I want better. 
Enough said. 
1. Physical Trophy DLC  

Let's get one thing out of the way: Skylanders was an expensive money vacuum cleaner toy gimmick to unlock in-game material that was already on-disc. Why would I want this in SSB4? Because Nintendo does DLC the right way, and this would prolong game content to at least 3 years (albeit price-y). Also, you must be joking with that smirk, because you don't even know how awesome this will be for the SSB faithful. Disappointed that Nightmare isn't playable? Just wait for the bundle pack to be released and you'll get not only Nightmare, but a Stage pack, bonus story chapter, AND you get to keep a physical figurine you can set next to your moniter! It's a bit of an optimistic dream, but if they can do it with Pokemon Rumble U, then why stop there?  And how would this not be the biggest selling game of all time?


 This is what your room would look like. (Though you might want to invest in lighting first, Count Dracula)

But let's think beyond just Namco Bandai/Nintendo licenses: think how pants soiling awesome this would be if gaming giants like Konami, Capcom, Square Enix, etc. joined in group support with their character trophies. My wallet aches just thinking of these implications. Scorpian versus Captian Falcon? Hell, yes. If this is the future for Smash Bros., I'm going to be on life support for all the blood I'll be donating just to collect em' all. But I'll be fine either way, because I'm going to be clocking in over 600 hours beating up four Lv.1 Jigglypuffs anyway.




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Thursday, April 25, 2013

3 Reasons Why Nintendo Not Holding A Big E3 Conference This Year Is A Good Thing.

Nintendo fans had woken up today with rather unfortunate news that the Big N won't be holding a big  conference for this year's E3, but would opt instead to host two smaller events to announce new software. Unsurprisingly, this has set off a disappointed outcry from the fanbase as if they were entitled from birth to get every Nintendo announcement in one day, because dammit, if Nintendo doesn't host a conference how the hell will we know if Mother 4 is announced?!


"I'm already half-dead, Nintendo, what more do you want from me?" 

But cry, rant, or say Nintendo has gone poor, because when you consider in the others factors, Nintendo not hosting a big conference this year is actually better for the gamers. You shouldn't complain, because: 

3. Big E3 Conferences Aren't For the Gamers. 



Reality check quiz: why doesn't E3 allow your average Joe to walk into the convention? Ding, Ding, time's up! If you didn't answer that question within ten seconds and/or your brain was genetically infused with a sloth at birth, you seriously are out of the loop. You either have to be an investor in the game's industry, are a part in the industry, or know a cousin's cousin who happens to be a game developer and invited you to E3 in order to set foot in the convention- and I might be stretching it there with that last one. E3 is not open to the public. The demos on the showroom floor are solely for the persons I mentioned above and are only there because if you're going to invest or be inspired in something it's better to actually see the fangled thing with your own eyes. E3 is only live-streamed to the public because you will be the one's that will be voicing your input about which hard/software is better, thus giving investors a somewhat clearer picture of what to invest in- and it's not even the biggest factor in their decisions. It's like watching the bigger kids ride a roller coaster and then having them asking you how the experience was.

"But lo!" you hark, "Don't the gamers matter more than that? WE buy the games, for crying out loud!" And that's the thing: if you did matter more E3 would be open for the public. Your pleas for another F-Zero are muffled out, because conferences are 45 minute bore trains to show how their new consoles can play movies on the internet while allowing you to simultaneously post dick jokes on your friend's FaceBook pages. By the time they get to the actual game(s) the whole f***ing process repeats again as we're informed how you can live feed your entire gaming chat adventures to other players like it's the gopdamn future of video games, and implying you poor sad sack of a human being will even have friends after you post "GAIS IS THER A CODE TO MAKE LARA CROFT NAK3D PLES I N33D THAT CODE?!?!!?!" for the tenth time in under three minutes. It is a tech show in soul, and your gut spilling reaction to last year's Microsoft conference is not going to change anything anytime soon.  


"Thanks, Microsoft, this is just what I f***king wanted." 

Saying E3's main concern is the gamers is like saying G4 was totally about video games and not game shows about vomiting (also, I totally killed two birds with one stone with that last picture). Nintendo says they'll focus on games for the show and instead focuses on Miiverse like they invented social media, because that's unfortunately what you have to do when you host at E3. "But woooooooooooooe!" you insist on whining in my ear, "E3 gives us something to look forward to at least!" Yeah, and that's another problem, because:

2. The Pre-E3 Hype Is Awful. 


Don't get me wrong; I'm not dissing on the hype train photoshops (I mean, look at that), but sometimes I have to throw my arms in the air whenever I read lists (Yes, lists) of games people are expecting from E3 and just say, "WOW". I don't know if it's in spite of pessimism or a bad act of trolling, but it puts a dampers the whole E3 experience for everyone. We live in an age where someone can take a joke like Sonic appearing in Mario Galaxy 2, twist into a rumor, allowing everyone to grab hold of it until the facehugging rumor pandemic automatically becomes Biblical fact. E3 is the festering abysmal hole of tears and unanswered dreams, and we jump off the crazy cliff like figurative suicidal lemmings every year, believing this garbage, and the rest us are submitted to hearing disappointed fans complain how the new Zelda looks too childish or (do I dare say it?), mother of God, Nintendo revealed a casual game at the show. Gasp! Welp, time to return our Mario fanclub badges, guys, Reggie still hasn't broken his fanboy tear addiction.  

"Did someone say fanboy tears?! I hope they're grape flavored!"

First of all, you don't have a Mario fanclub badge, you sad sack, and stop lying- we can smell your fear. And secondly, Nintendo can release whatever they want, okay? You rubbing your lucky ball (or actual balls) to the melody of California Girls played backwards is going to get you F-Zero as much as flaming Nintendo's e-mail page with hatemail- because that Zelda game was too bright, dammit, are you trying to blind me?! You're as much as a psychic as I am, and I hate to break it to you, but no amount of holy optimism that makes you believe that you'll get everything you want from one show is going to make your dreams come true.  

Sure, we're finally getting Earthbound after so many years, you may point out, but not because we wished for it but because we repeatedly asked for it. We didn't make Operation Rainfall work by just hoping, we had to beg for those games to get localized. It's not entirely the same philosophy for games that don't even exist yet, and I'm not trying to tell you to not have a little faith, but Nintendo is a game company that sells games, and only releases games that they know people will buy, not some wild figment of your imagination. If you want a game to be released, form a vocal community; if you're just predicting what will be shown don't act surprised afterwards that Mario Sport Mix 2 was revealed instead of Mother 4, because Nintendo doesn't have a freaking sixth sense. 

  
 "We have no idea how to make you all you f***ing happy; here's a game where you stare at our logo. F*** you if you don't like it, we're rich." 

Granted, everything fuels some kind of hype, but when we expect something big like E3 how are we supposed to act? The wait period is brutal as it is, and it's bad enough that we end up watching a Miiverse TVii conference when E3 does happen. That's why there's a better alternative:


1. Directs Are A Better Way To Announce Big Titles.

  
 A years ago, a Nintendo Direct wasn't something to get extremely excited about. They were merely appetizers, there to make us hungry, but not enough to write home about. Non-Specific Action Figure skit was good, but something to look forward to as opposed to an E3 conference? Not happening. But then something did happened. Nintendo set off the year with a bang in January by announcing a new generation Pokemon game(s) out of nowhere. In February they surprise our butts off with a Wind Waker HD remake, a Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem crossover and a Xenoblade-style sequel for Wii U, while promising more games to come this coming E3 confer- (oh yeah). In came March and yet another amazing show revealing a new Mario & Luigi RPG and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3DS port among other things. And as if they were planning they're absence from E3 from the very beginning, they hosted a Direct this month again melting our faces off with A Link to the Past sequel, because gosh darnit, if you're going to melt fanboys' faces off always tease them with a Zelda game.

What makes Directs better than the biggest video game show ever is that you have no idea when Nintendo is going to announce one. There is no time for hype or speculation. Nintendo can host their own show on their own timeline without having to vigorously impress the media, in exchange allowing smaller game companies an opportunity to show their own games. It's a show especially for Nintendo gamers and the people that want to support them, and that's just awesome.


Did I mention they showed A Link To the Past sequel? Because they totally did. 

If E3 is out of the picture, we'll no doubt get more information about big game releases via monthly Directs. Everyone gets their big releases EVERY MONTH, and Nintendo can run a show without filler: everyone wins.

Nintendo's big absence doesn't mark the end of E3, but I sure hope it begins Nintendo's new line of independence from all that hooplah in the future. And I will be anticipating that future.

  


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