One of my favorite games on the DS, 999 was a mystery game that placed 9 people on a cruise ship to solve Saw-type puzzles. If you could stand to read lots of text, it proved to be a gripping, heart-pounding visual novel that really knew how to tease your brain. Zero Escape, its sequel, is no different, and in many ways might be better than the original.
As I’ve been playing Zero Escape, however, I’m noticing something about myself as a gamer these days. Continue reading Zero Escape and Replayability
As a gamer I’d like to think that my tastes are fairly diverse. Sure I enjoy a good dude-bro shooter every now and then, but I also appreciate stretching my wings, so to speak, and trying something different when given the opportunity.
One genre I’ve never managed to get into is the Strategy RPG (although I suppose the most recent XCOM game might qualify). I’m remedying this right now with Fire Emblem: Awakening, the latest entry in Nintendo’s long-running portable series. Anthony put up a review of the game last year, and I’m finding myself hard-pressed to disagree with him.
While I enjoy the battles in the game, my favorite aspect is purposefully trying to pair up units to get bonuses to my stats; it’s satisfying to have two people back each other up while enemy after enemy kill themselves trying to take my heroes down. I’m really liking the cast of characters as well, as the writing is fairly humorous at times and the anime cutscenes are rather thrilling. Fire Emblem: Awakening is quickly becoming one of my top 3DS games, which is saying something considering the additions to the library of that system in 2013.
What this game is making me want to do is dig deeper into this genre. I hear Valkyria Chronicles is pretty good but I doubt I could find a copy anywhere around where I love. Does anyone have some SRPG suggestions for titles I should check out?
Listen, I like The Legend of Zelda as a series, I really do, but Skyward Sword was…well it wasn’t the worst thing ever, but let’s just say it was fairly average. If anything it really displayed that the Zelda franchise needed a bit of a shakeup.
For A Link Between Worlds, the newest entry in the series on the 3DS, Nintendo is changing things up a bit. For instance, the introduction for Between Worlds in incredibly short as opposed to the lengthy tutorial of Skyward Sword, and the game no longer relies on the typical Zelda progression of slowly unlocking a large number of items that are more or less exclusive to the dungeon they come from (something that was fairly rampant in Twilight Princess). You can now rent any item in the game at any point from the merchant who moves into your house, but you lose them if you die (you can also buy them permanently later on, although this is expensive). The dungeons can also be tackled in any order as well. Couple that with the fast travel and this is the Zelda game with the most sense of exploration and freedom since, well, A Link to the Past, which this game is a direct sequel to.
The isometric presentation works great too, and this game runs at a speedy 60 frames per second even in 3D so the action is nice and crisp. The music is also fantastic, and features an updated remix of the classic Dark World theme from A Link to the Past. While Zelda games on the Nintendo handhelds have by and large been pretty good, they usually haven’t matched the caliber of a full-fledged console Zelda. A Link Between Worlds blows this notion out of the water and gives us a pretty good look at how Nintendo is planning on making Zelda a different beast for future games.
Has anyone else played A Link Between Worlds? What do you think of it?
Very few games compel me to play them every day. Sure, there are times when I’m obsessed with a game for a few days, but rarely do I log on every day consecutively for weeks at a time.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is one such game. This is my first experience with Nintendo’s long-running life-simuilator, and it’s got me hooked. For Animal Crossing veterans, some of the experience will be familiar: you collect fruit, seashells and various flora and fauna in your attempt to accrue enough bells to stay out of debt with Tom Nook.
The kicker this time around is that you’re the mayor, and as such you can build public works and enact ordinances to change how your town functions. I typically play Animal Crossing on the bus to work at 8:00 am, but the shops don’t open until 9. With the “early riser” ordinance, I can force the shops to open at 8. The only downside is they close a little earlier, but it’s better than having to wait until lunch to sell my pockets full of goodies.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf isn’t typically the sort of game I play. It’s cutesy and there’s no combat, but it’s deep, addictive and a heck of a lot of fun. Because the game keeps track of the clock (a long-running feature of Animal Crossing) this is a title you can play for years on end if you want. In terms of value for your money, there’s few games that can offer that.
Who else is playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf? What did you name your town? Does anyone want to come visit Assville?
E3 2013 is right around the corner (seriously, it’s on Monday!) so it’s time to bust out those E3 predictions! Gaming yearly extravaganza always seems to sneak up on us, even when we know exactly when it’s coming.
This year is going to be especially interesting considering that both Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles have been announced. With Microsoft’s recent info-dump about the Xbox One’s stance on used-game and its once-a-day mandatory Internet check in, I wonder whether they’ll concentrate mainly on games or try to do further damage control.
So! What do you think is going to happen at E3? What are you looking for out of the press conferences? Of the big two, since Nintendo is skipping E3 this year, who do you think will come out on top? Will EA announce SimCity 2? Go!
The Nintendo 3DS has had some great games in the past few months with one of the most notable being Fire Emblem Awakening. Having a love-affair with strategy games and being a Fire Emblem virgin, I was anxious to delve into the game and see what all the fuss was about.
The story of Fire Emblem is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts off in an interesting, if cliched fashion: your custom avatar wakes up in a field with amnesia. Now, I know what you’re thinking but stick with me, the story gets better. Having been found by Chrom, the prince of the kingdom of Ylissia, and his companions, you help them in defending the countryside from marauders, eventually joining them in the greater struggles that await. These struggles range from demonic Risen to all manner of political intrigue and attemped coups. Chrom’s sister rules the kingdom and he enforces her rule, but there are neighboring nations that have nefarious plans of their own, all of which give you a reason to do what you do best: fight some battles and kick some ass. The story encompasses everything from bandits to time travel to world-ending dragons, so there should be something in here that appeals to everyone. Continue reading Review: Fire Emblem Awakening
I’ve recently started digging deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening and I’m having a great time so far. It’s taken me a bit to get used to its own special brand of SRPG, but I am starting to understand the mechanics and I’m improving with every battle, which is all you can really ask for. You can’t expect to master a game like this from the outset, otherwise, where is the strategy there?
But with this learning curve comes a danger: perma-death. That’s right, the terrible tragedy of losing one of your favorite characters lurks at every turn. To make matters even more frustrating, the enemy has no such fears. They will rush forward in a suicidal frenzy, knowing with certainty that you will kill them on your next turn, but they pay no heed to their own safety. For them, it’s worth it if they can take down one of your squad. It’s not fair and makes the game even more challenging than it would be normally, but that’s what makes it nerve-wracking. Continue reading Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem
Nintendo has been in a bit of a bind lately, compared to the massive successes they’ve seen in the last few years. Wii sales are dropping off, the Wii U hasn’t generated the buzz that they wanted (they’re even considering a re-brand of the whole system), the 3DS was a certifiable flop in its early months and they are sustaining significant losses with each new quarter. There are a number of theories circulating about how Nintendo can right their massive misguided ship, but Nintendo has its own: Shigeru Miyamoto.
Several months back, there was a bit of miscommunication that made the Internet rounds about the famed developer retiring. However, it turned out that Miyamoto was actually going to be taking a step back from overseeing development teams to train younger staff. His other job? Idea-ating Nintendo’s next big hit. Here’s what he had to say on the matter in a recent Q and A session:
“I am acting with the understanding that one big hit title can change multiple phases of a situation in the entertainment business, and I feel that finding such one big hit is my basic job.”
It’s interesting to think that Nintendo is putting so much stock in finding that one big idea. It smacks of the way Hollywood thinks in a lot of ways, where studios will sink all their energy into finding that one box office smash year in and year out. The problem is, lightning doesn’t always strike like that, especially in a time where Nintendo might be finding themselves at a disadvantage when relating to core gamers.
We talked about this very topic for the upcoming podcast release, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on it, too. What do you think it means for Nintendo to use Miyamoto in such a way? Will it make a difference? Do you think the man that built Mario, Zelda, Nintendogs and Pikmin has one final swan song left within him? Go!
Source – SiliconEra
Nintendo’s been in a bit of a pickle lately. If it’s not the drastically falling sales of the Wii, it’s the unfortunately handled launch of the Nintendo 3DS. In addition to cutting the launch price by almost half, Nintendo has also been forced to announce a peripheral that appears to complete the hardware functionality of the handheld. As can be expected, their investors haven’t taken too kindly to this, and stocks are falling.
There could be any number of reasons cited for the 3DS woes. One might easily point to the system’s price and the marginal upgrade of the DS hardware, the lackluster lineup of launch games or an interest in 3D gaming. However, as we’ve talked about before, some are citing the competition from smartphone gaming as one of the direct causes. While I don’t think that tells the entire story, it does raise a good point: people expect more from handhelds these days and Nintendo could stand to change their formula on either the hardware or software side.
But what does Nintendo think about the idea of developing for smartphones? Here’s what president Iwata says:
This is absolutely not under consideration. If we did this, Nintendo would cease to be Nintendo. Having a hardware development team in-house is a major strength. It’s the duty of management to make use of those strengths. It’s probably the correct decision in the sense that the moment we started to release games on smartphones we’d make profits. However, I believe my responsibility is not to short term profits, but to Nintendo’s mid and long term competitive strength.
While I agree that this would be a fundamental change for Nintendo, it seems like Iwata might be a bit too resistant to change. It’s odd that after the company touted the Wii as a change in the way we play games, they’re so hesitant to embrace the idea of smartphone applications. Wouldn’t a Pokemon or Zelda app perform really well?
What do you guys think about their stance? Would it ruin them or would it serve them? Go!
Source – IndustryGamers
“Hey, Anthony, did you hear about the new Final Fantasy game for the 3DS?”
“No, why? If it’s another stupid Crystal Chronicles, don’t even tell me. I can’t live with the disappointment.”
“It’s not. It’s actually a rhythm game, sort of like Elite Beat Agents, but with Final Fantasy characters and music. It’s called Theatrhythm.”
(Stunned silence) “Is there a video?”
“Why, yes, right here…”
[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XURvzvibLD8[/youtube]
“Oh…my…GOD! Did you see Ultros from Final Fantasy VI? And the awesome boss theme? And the dance scene from FF VIII? And that annoying song from FF XIII that somehow makes me still want to go back and play it? Why is this the first game for the 3DS I MUST HAVE???”
“Because you’re a sick and twisted FF fanboy who’s iPod is filled with this crap already.”
“Fair enough.” (Throws wallet at PC)
So…what do you guys think? Am I a moron for thinking this might actually be cool? Or is it just the nostalgia of that sweet FF music that is calling to me?
Nintendo came late to the party this year, holding their press conference this morning as opposed to following tradition and doing it on Monday. With rumors abound about Project Cafe and lots of buzz around the 3DS, Nintendo was poised this year to once again steal the E3 crown. Did they succeed?
Details about their presser are after the jump!
Continue reading Nintendo E3 2011 Presser Breakdown
Let’s face it. We already know a whole lot of what to expect about 2011. We already know that we’re getting two badass new handheld systems in the 3DS and NGP. We also know that we could potentially have a Game of the Year contender by April when Portal 2 comes out, and that Uncharted 3 and Mass Effect 3 will be easy contenders on their release dates as well.
But there are still a handful of things that we don’t know. Mysteries, as it were. GamesRadar was kind enough to put together a list of the 12 biggest gaming mysteries that they hope to see answers for in 2011. These mysteries include but aren’t limited to: Tali’s face, the release of HL2 Episode 3 and a window for the next generation consoles.
There’s a bit more to it than those few I named, so I’d recommend checking it out yourself. Personally, the biggest thing I want to know in 2011 is the console question. I love the stride that this generation has hit on all fronts, and hope to see it continue for quite some time. I don’t want the will-they-or-won’t-they question hanging over us for several more years. I just want someone to say the consoles won’t come until 2015 and then we can all move on and enjoy our games.
So what about you guys? What are your biggest gaming questions for 2011, both in terms of untold stories in games or the industry at large? Go!
Source – GamesRadar
In a huge move last night, Sony announced the Next Generation Portable (nee NGP or PSP2) and hot damn, does it look impressive. It has two analog sticks, a touch-sensitive OLED screen, two touch pads on the back of the device, and it can render PlayStation 3 games in real time (like Metal Gear Solid 4’s cutscenes running at a steady 20 frames per second). It also ditches the clunky old UMD format and adopts a sexy new flash-based card which allows developers to pack more punch in their games.
Additionally, Sony confirmed that a long list of studios have already queued up to produce games for the NGP. They also revealed that some big name franchises will make an apperance on the portable such as Uncharted, Killzone and Metal Gear Solid, to name a few.
Sony came out in a big way last night, and it looks like they’re attempting to break the portable gaming market by shoving everything they can into their device. While price hasn’t been confirmed, speculation points to it being more than the 3DS. Since Sony is going all out with this device, how is Nintendo’s 3DS going to fare? As we’re so considerate, we made a poll for you guys to vote on. So, go ahead: which platform are you rooting for: Sony’s NGP or Nintendo’s 3DS?
As always, if you have any thoughts please write them in the comments section below. Fight!
There’s a new Kid Icarus game coming to the Nintendo 3DS, and most of us are understandably excited. Aside from an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Pit has sadly been absent from the gaming scene since the NES. While we’re excited to just have him back in our gaming systems, Masahiro Sakurai the game’s lead designer, is using Uprising to address what he feels is “an overriding problem with a lot of game design.” The full quote goes like this:
“I’ve found that, in the established genres, the controls are always the same. For example, in shooting games, you find first-person-shooters utilize all of the buttons on the controller and always do the same thing — the stick is for moving, triggers for shooting and they’re always trapped in this very restricted framework for gameplay. And, that’s just not creative. It feels like people are taking this empty shell and just swapping out the story and art and whatnot. This time, with Kid Icarus, we wanted to address that certain problem and not only because I think the industry deserves it, but also because it’s a more satisfying experience personally.
That’s a very interesting perspective, and I can’t blame Sakurai-san for wanting to shake up the industry a bit. On the other hand, he cites first-person-shooters as an example, one that I feel isn’t that strong. Those games use a standardized control scheme because it works, and it’s what we’ve been using for a long while. Take the Orange Box, which used a different set-up for its controls, and how awkward that felt. They weren’t that different, but the buttons for reloading and melee were swapped around, and it took a few frustrating tries to get used to.
If you’re going to innovate in this industry, are controls the best way to go about it? Do you think that this idea has some merit, or is Sakurai-san barking up the wrong tree? Is the 3DS even the right platform to attempt this on?
Well, in honor of the awesome news we received at E3 about Kid Icarus returning after a 20 year break, I downloaded the original NES game on Virtual Console. After receiving a few ass-whippings, which I attribute to 20 years or so of rust, I realize another reason I always loved this game: the music.
Specifically, the music of the first level, of which I am becoming way too familiar with as I try to remember how the hell to play this game. So here’s a taste, hope you enjoy. I personally can’t wait to hear a modern version of this when it releases on the 3DS!