What is the fastest selling system of all time?

That would be the 3DS, hitting the 5 million mark before any other console in history, and that's just in Japan by the way. Can the Vita even hope to catch up? Only time will tell of course but I'm thinking at best we'll see history repeat itself with the Vita doing respectable numbers but just completely dwarfed by its primary competitor.

And in response to Vita's launch, Nintendo had a little streaming conference where they mentioned a bunch of various little things, but the most exciting for me and many others is the announcement of The Last Story, a game that like Xenoblade Chronicles, American Nintendo fans campaigned to get released here, will in fact be hitting the US this Summer. This is probably the last year the Wii is going to have any sort of relevancy, and it's turning out to be a great one for core gamers that have gotten the short end of the stick on quality games.

Finally, Mass Effect 3 is just around the corner, but it's already causing controversy by having what some see as crucial day and date dlc. Not just because it's available on the launch day but because it contains an extra party member that's a member of the Protheans, which of course are supposed to have been wiped out/converted into the Collectors by the Reapers. I think this is a pretty silly reaction. First off, nothing in the DLC is going to be crucial to the main game so that's stupid. Second, this is a bonus for people who ordered the collector's edition so it's not like it's been a huge secret, just dumbasses not paying attention. Finally, offering it day and date frankly is a good thing for those of us who don't usually get collector's editions(i.e. me), as we can just buy it and save $10 over buying that edition just to get that content. I just really don't see how Bioware is supposedly robbing customers just because this is available launch day? Would they feel better if they waited a couple weeks? Several months? It's just a nonsensical overreaction.

That's it for today. I will try and get another post up this weekend, but until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Gravity Duck 2


Snakes for breakfast...

While the PS Vita is easily the biggest thing out this week, there are still a couple major releases to for other consoles this week. Easily the biggest for 3DS owners being a remake of another "classic" with Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater, which is a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3. Most gamers consider Metal Gear a classic series but honestly I've pretty much hated all their entries, with their shitty stealth gameplay and nonsensical stories that the writers must have dropped a whole lot of acid to come up with. The 3rd entry in the series adds a couple ridiculous "features" that virtually no game has used since, like having to hunt and eat wildlife (i.e. snakes) to survive, and needing some actual medical knowledge to heal yourself (instead of you know, medpacs which virtually ever other game uses) yet dealing with injuries that would realistically put you in a hospital for months. If that sounds fun to you, go ahead and pick it right up. I'll be waiting for a worthwhile release like Kid Icarus which is finally out next month.

And Capcom's first big title of 2012 drops with Asura's Wrath. While it's got a fun crazy "only in Japan" style to it, the demo clearly showed with the reviews backing this up that's it's little more than an interactive story with little actual gameplay involved, Hopefully for Capcom's sake Dragon's Dogma, their other big original release this year will fare better, or from what I hear Capcom could be in serious trouble.

That's really all I got for today, but I should get a post in by Friday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Iron Sky


Is the Vita DOA?

The Vita was always going to be a hard sell to begin with. Though the PSP was actually pretty successful everywhere but the US, it was no serious challenger to the DS. It had a reputation of not being much more than a portable emulator. And it's terrible UMD media along with proprietary memory cards just seemed like a bunch of really obvious missteps. Sure it was a powerhouse that blew the DS away graphically, but that obviously ended up not having much impact.

History seems almost set to repeat itself unless Sony pulls out something pretty drastic even before the US launch this Wednesday. In most technical aspects, the Vita easily blows away the 3DS, but that hasn't stopped sales from plummeting in Japan, where the system should've had no trouble selling based on the PSP's numbers. There's even reports of Vita developers jumping ship in droves and the best response Sony had was essentially that it wasn't as bad as reported meaning that it was most certainly happening.

Looking at the launch line-up, sure they have some killer apps like Uncharted and Lumines, which the 3DS was certainly lacking at launch, but the biggest complaints about those titles all revolve around forced interaction with the touch screen, which I know I heard developers claiming would be an optional interface for those who wanted to experience it, so good on Sony for forcing them to shoehorn it in there. The one good aspect so far on the titles is that they do have a decent price range as opposed to 3DS titles which are all nearly in the $40 range.

But I think the real sticking point is the ridiculous memory cards. First off, for something that is very digitally focused (most retail titles are going to be available day-and-date with a discount along with smaller PSN titles), not having internal memory (or some basic memory card included) is pretty unforgivable. Then add to that Sony's proprietary cards cost more than double your standard memory like sd cards and who is going to want to waste money on that? Sounds like a huge and permanent deal-breaker to me.

Granted, Nintendo was able to turn things around on the 3DS, so maybe Sony will be able to do the same with Vita, but the 3DS' biggest issues were software-related, which it has now pretty much fixed. The Vita's go deeper, and will require a different approach and Sony is historically slow to act on these things.

That's all I got for today, but I should have another post up by Tuesday. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Ace Pilot


Sony vs. Sony...

Yup, that's Sony in 2005, claiming that the touch screen on the DS was nothing more than a cheap gimmick that wouldn't have any long term appeal. And of course with Vita, Sony is going way out of their way to make sure that you see just how awesome touching your screen is, mostly to the detriment of the launch titles according to most reviews. They even have one on the back for... some reason. The thing that really bothers me is rather than merely offering it as an alternative form of control which is pretty much something Sony said they would do as not to piss off core gamers, they are forcing it with lame minigames and controls that would be served better under the traditional schemes. Hopefully these are just growing pains and soon developers will learn how to incorporate touch controls in a way that doesn't actually detract from the game. Until then, it really is just the gimmick Sony of 2005 believed it was.

And the long-awaited Mass Effect 3 demo finally hit today, and as expected it was a pretty awesome taste of what's to come is just a few weeks. Everything seems nicely fine-tuned and the little additions that the demo shows aren't revolutionary (oh my god I can climb ladders!), but they do add some decent new layers to the combat. Admittedly does make the wait seem even longer, so if you were already set on buying it, it might actually be better to skip the demo because it almost feels like a cruel tease...

That's really all for today, I should get another post up Friday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


Twisted Tales...

Love is in the air this week, but this week's biggest game release might have you thinking it's more like bloodlust with the long-awaited return of Twisted Metal for the PS3. Car combat seems to be something that other games have tried real hard to get right, but none have come close to what TM usually offers. It should be a fun time and a nice alternative from the usual FPS offerings that dominate online these days. That being said, I rarely venture online these days so I dunno if it'll be something I can get into myself.

Those looking for something their significant other who isn't really a gamer can enjoy Rhythm Heaven Fever on the Wii. Pretty much anyone who enjoys a good music game can get in on this series, it's right up there with games like Parappa the Rapper and  much better musical experience than crap like Just Dance which somehow sells millions.

3DS gamers get yet another re-release of a classic title this week with Tales of the Abyss. It is a really good game that hasn't been available on portable consoles and the 3ds is in need of some good rpgs; but it'll be nice when we start getting some original ones to play.

And you may notice that PSP Vita titles start popping into stores this week even though the system isn't officially out this week, though I believe there is a 3G bundle that's going to be available for early adopters. But I can't imagine too many people shelling out extra dough for 3G plus a data plan they'll need for it on top of the overpriced memory cards. The best thing I can say about the Vita is that if I had the cash to burn I would probably get one, which is more than I could say about the 3DS at launch.

That's all for today, I should have another post up Wednesday with impressions on the Mass Effect 3 demo. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


More mindgames?

PSYCHONAUTS 2. IT MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN. This would be like the greatest news ever. I don't even care what it is on, It can be an indie download,  full retail release, an ipad exclusive, just MAKE IT HAPPEN. If you don't understand my excitement (and shame on you) Psychonauts was much like Beyond Good and Evil, a massively brilliant game that was virtually ignored by the same gaming public that whines about there not being enough originality and innovation in gaming then ignores it when its right in front of your face (I'm looking at you, people who didn't buy Rayman Origins). Regardless, this most unlikely of possibilities for now seems to be actually happening, so let's hope the planets align correctly and we hear some real official details soon. In the meantime, if you are one of the uninitiated, the original is easily found on Xbox and PC for download so do yourself a favor and grab it.

In the "we like to fuck up our launches as much as possible" news: Sony, in their infinite "wisdom" has decided that for us lucky Americans there will be no UMD passport program. What is that? Well it's actually a fairly nifty program where for a nominal fee you can transfer UMD titles you own onto your shiny new PS Vita, thereby bolstering the Vita's library immensely and giving you a reason to ditch your old PSP in favor of the Vita. Granted, it's not likely to be a deal-breaker for those who were planning to get one, but it's a rather nice feature that was scrapped for no fathomable reason whatsoever. While it's getting better, the 3DS library only has a handful of worthy titles, but it can play DS games no problem, so you still have access to a rather large library to keep you busy in-between the release droughts. This is why at least at launch, backwards compatibility can be key, it more easily encourages gamers to invest in the next generation if your initial releases aren't all that impressive, which tends to be the trend for the first year or so while developers are still learning how to start taking advantage of the system. Sony abandoning virtually any form of that yet again kind of sends the message that they aren't all that interested in current PSP owners investing in the next generation.

That's all for today, I should get another post up Friday or Saturday. In the meantime, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Burrito Bison Revenge


A Revelation and a Reckoning...

February is usually a fairly dead month gaming-wise but not in 2012. This week alone has a wide offering of something for nearly everybody along with the PS Vita due in just about 2 weeks (which I will talk about more as it gets closer to release). This week's biggest releases are easily Resident Evil: Revelations for the 3DS and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning for the 360 and PS3.

Revelations has several important factors going for it. It's the first game that offers support for the unsightly analog pad add-on, but it's also the first big 3DS release of this year, and arguably the first game that really shows off the true graphical capabilities of the 3DS as its pretty stunning. Unfortunately, it's going back to pre-Resident Evil 4 methods with the clunky, tank-like controls and ridiculously limited ammo and resources. That may be some kind of welcome return for some but I have no interest in going back to that antiquated clumsy gameplay.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the first epic rpg release of this year, boasting a meaty 200+ hours of content if you include all the sidequests. And though the demo was pretty unimpressive, most recent previews and the first couple of reviews out have said that the final product is far more polished and fun, mixing an grand quest with much more competent combat than similar free-roaming rpgs like Fallout 3 and Skyrim. As I am admittedly still getting through most of the games I got for Christmas I'm in no huge rush to delve into some new rpg, but I'll probably pick it up somewhere down the line.

A more under-the-radar release is The Darkness II, a first person shooter with the rare emphasis on a solid single-player and being the rare FPS that doesn't take place in some kind of war, modern or futuristic. That alone is probably enough for anyone looking for something besides the CODs and GOWs and their countless look-alike competitors. I only get into FPS games myself once in a blue moon really, so I don't see myself getting it at any point.

That;s really all for today, with luck I should have another post up by Wednesday. Until then here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Lockout


To demo or not to demo....

We seem to swarmed with tons of demos lately for all the biggest titles coming out now or in the near future. Demos are considered  key marketing tools and are almost expected these days of most titles. But should they be? demos are incomplete, early versions that offer a mere snapshot of the whole of the game. They distract from actually making the finished product better because it costs resources to make a workable demo.

Skyward Sword is an amazing game, but have you played the demo in stores? It's pretty terrible, you get thrown in with little to no explanation of how the game works, in scenarios where people who actually own the game have had hours to get familiar how the game works. The Final Fantasy XIII-2 demo isn't as bad but has a similar feel, throwing into a random part of a chapter with little idea of how everything works aside from the monster-catching feature which is introduced at the point.

Perhaps the biggest recent victim of the demo issue is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, because people who have played the demo and people who have played the finished product seem to have played 2 drastically different games. The demo is buggy and seems like an uninspired WOW/Fable ripoff, and part of that is that was that you only got about 45 minutes to experience what is supposed to be an epic rpg with over a 100 hours of questing. Pretty much every preview (and the reviews that are just coming out now are backing this up) says it's a much better game than the demo implies.

So should demos stop altogether? I don't really think so, they can still be a powerful tool for getting buzz on a game, especially an under-the-radar title. But rpgs and adventure titles should probably never have them, and until people really get the idea that it's not necessarily representative of the finished product, they could do as much good as bad.

That's all for today, I'll hopefully get another post in this weekend, until then here is your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Red Lights


Sony loves you, it really really loves you...

So the list of Playstation Plus perks for February have been released, and along with the usual discounts and free games, a couple of nice surprises are on the way. One is a completely free copy of Far Cry 2 on Valentine's Day, but far more exciting (at least for me and anyone in my age range really) is the confirmed release of THE SIMPSONS ARCADE GAME next week. And PS Plus members get it free! I don't even want to think about how many dollars worth of quarters I sunk into the game back in the day. I'd easily pay a premium to play it at home, so getting it for free is beyond awesome.

At least for now, fears that Nintendo will once again completely screw up online appear to be unfounded. They are actively investigating DLC, making full retail games available digitally, and being more open with developers making advantage of online. Of course, this just means that they hopefully might have something somewhat comparable to what Sony and MS are offering sometime soon, which doesn't hold much appeal to those already experiencing superior set ups and its basically a bone to those who remain steadfastly loyal to the Nintendo brand. I'm excited about the Wii U, but not for the online prospects and I doubt all this will change that.

And finally for today, a look at what a sequel to Wind Waker might look like on the Wii U, which is very a very tantalizing prospect:

And of course here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Mission in Space