Nintendo fails at the name game again...

Nintendo came out with a couple big announcements this week-The more surprising of the two being the unveiling of the super cheap 3D-less 2DS. It's a very attractive price at only $129, but the name and form factor are questionable. This new 2DS doesn't fold, which granted solves the issue of kids possibly breaking the hinges but leaves the screen more vulnerable and frankly the form factor is just weird, it cannot fit into a pocket. This wouldn't be an issue for me as I mostly carry mine in a backpack but for the younger crowd this is clearly aimed at it would matter.

But the most troubling thing is the name-Uninformed consumers (and employees) will see this and be utterly confused. Why? Because there are no 2DS games. Sure you can try and assure them that DS & 3DS games work, but odds are they won't believe you or at least they will take a lot of convincing.

The bigger and probably overdue news is that the Wii U is getting a price drop. It's still about a month off but this new slick Zelda bundle will retail for $299, which might finally be enough to spur flagging sales. How attractive is a free digital copy of a decade old Zelda game? I mean Wind Waker is awesome and there is a whole generation of gamers now who haven't played it, but then again the ones most excited for it are probably the ones who have played and enjoyed it already. I also think Nintendo's antiquated account system is robbing them of some sales as well, as that Zelda gamepad looks great but no one will buy one if it means losing the Wii U stuff they already have since it's tied to one account. Anyways, I think this'll help and the fact that software is finally coming out will hopefully prove Reggie right and move units, but any chance Nintendo had of even competing with The PS4 and Xbox one is petty much done at this point unless those just do incredibly poorly because no one cares about next gen and everybody is just sticking and tablets and phones like some analysts ares saying...

That's all for today, I'll hopefully have a new post up in the next day or two.


Gamer Cinema: Game Over The Documentary

There are some fantastic video game documentaries out there. Indie Game: The Movie & King of Kong are absolutely incredible. Game Over, which claims to chronicle the last several decades of gaming and it's rise in popular culture is more like a clueless fluff piece by completely out of touch people that manages to patronize, stereotype and damn all at once.

Where should I start? How about the fact that history-wise, it coves almost nothing, focusing 99% on current games so that chronicle line is a bunch of bullshit. Then the fact that it treats cosplaying like it's some kind of goddamn disease when it's no different than sports fans putting on jerseys and face paint for their teams and players. And while they have a couple of decent short interviews with the creator of the Final Fantasy series and creator of Journey, it mostly focuses on what would be considered the dregs of gaming society, like a guy who was obsessed with online gaming to a dangerously addictive degree. But mostly, you see it tell the unsympathetic story of a group of gold farmers and how their oh so bright future of making $300 a month and being useless assholes is threatened by the free 2 play model. It treats the fact that someone with a decent job plays games at all surprising.  Pretty much the only positive is that it's short, running just over 50 minutes so I didn't have to suffer to much.

That's all for today, but seeing as there's a bunch of Nintendo news breaking today I'll most likely be back with a post on that and more tomorrow.


No more heroes, only Killers...

Ugh, the week got crazy, didn't really have much time for playing games. I played just enough of Splinter Cell: Black List to see that for better or worse it's classic Splinter Cell, which I've always had a problem with because sure you are a master of stealth, but if you get discovered you can't take down even the most common goon without much trouble.

I also got a few hours in with Xcom: The Bureau. It's very unpolished with bad A.I., but admittedly there is something there in the setting and the battle system that keep you going. It probably wouldn't be a bad buy at around $20 and I'd certainly be interested in a more polished sequel.

However, there is a new Suda 52 game out this week! It's called Killer is Dead and it looks like No More Heroes but better so I am psyched. So psyched I made a video! Enjoy and hopefully I'll have another post up Tuesday.


10 more Disney games that should be remastered (besides Rescue Rangers)...

We're in the middle of Disney game mania out the moment, with Ducktales and Disney Infinity already out and a remake of Castle of Illusion due out soon. It might be hard to remember but Disney actually has a fairly good catalog of classic 8 & 16-bit titles that seem pretty ripe for the
"remastered" treatment, be it a straight up audio and graphical overhaul or a complete overhaul that still stays true to the spirit of the original. Rescue Rangers is beyond obvious as a top choice, so I'm picking 10 lesser known, but no less worthy great Disney titles of yore that should really get a new audience to enjoy them:

#10: The Little Mermaid: This was a perfectly decent side-scroller, much in the vein of Ducktales before it. But I think a remaster with the great music and proper voice acting would let it rise above, as obviously the NES was incapable of properly reproducing those magical moments from the classic film. I'd be a little reluctant to pay $15 for the nostalgia, but $10 would be a pretty fair asking price.

#9: Jungle Book: Granted I'm far more nostalgic for Talespin than I am for the movie most of it's characters came from, but the sad fact is though several games based on that awesome cartoon were released, none were particularly memorable or even good. Jungle Book, however was an excellent game that could easily benefit from fine-tuned graphics, and a rousing rendition of Bare Necessities (and maybe I Want To Be Like You as well). This is pretty much a no-brainer as it's listed as one of the best Genesis games of all time.

#8: Quackshot: Pretty much the only decent title where the one and only Donald Duck has the lead role all to himself, Quackshot was a fun and very solid title that actually followed kind of well in the treasure-hunting footsteps of Ducktales. Remix the music and add in some voice acting along with an HD touch up and you have a winner here.

#7:Darkwing Duck: A lot more varied than most of the above, DW had a fantastic Mega Man-esque vibe to it with different weapons and gadgets you had to use. Releasing it with updated graphics and voice acting could be like getting that Darkwing movie we have so deserved.

#6: Gargoyles: A great action game of the time that still holds up pretty well of easily Disney's most complex and mature show. This was pretty well animated for the time as well, but it could be even better given a fresh coat of HD paint and some voice acted cut-scenes.

#5:  Goof Troop: Goof Troop could've been a simple cash-in, but it was a rather creative puzzler, requiring some thought since you couldn't simply attack enemies. It also has some pretty functional and fun co-op. Hell it's a little bit like a top-down Toejam & Earl, with mild differences between Goofy and Max. It's pretty much faded into obscurity and would benefit well from a current HD release.

#4: Lion King: One of two insanely well-done representations of Disney classics on the Genesis, I almost think you could re-release Lion King as is and no one mind. The animation is nearly on par with the new Ducktales release. Though it was great for the time, it would benefit from a big audio upgrade with improved music and some voice. Maybe also an easier difficulty setting as an option as it was damn hard but still very good.

#3: Aladdin: This would be the other game that still holds up INSANELY well. You just did not see 16-bit games that looked this good. Of course that would mean nothing without great gameplay, which Aladdin had in spades to the point where EGM gave it Genesis GOTY. Even the music is damn good, but could benefit just a tad from having more modern quality. I'd easily pay $20 for even the most basic re-release of this absolute classic as would many others.

#2: World of Illusion: Castle of Illusion is nearly here, and it's certainly a better game, but World of Illusion, the follow-up is a good game in it's own right and would greatly benefit from a loving remake in the same manner. The co-op play is extremely fun and the animation and music is already pretty top notch and would only look even better with an HD coat of paint.

#1. Magical Quest: Simply put, this is one of the best SNES titles of all time. Seriously, it's #23 on IGN's list of best SNES titles. It's simply fantastic classic 2D-platforming combined with a great costume system (sort of like the one in Lego City Undercover) that all balances so well. I wish they still released license games of this quality on even a semi-regular basis. Whether it's released in classic form on Nintendo's eshop or given an upgrade and released for current or next-gen consoles, this title NEEDS to be available to mdoern audiences.

That's all for today, but I should hopefully be back Friday with impressions of this week's latest releases, namely Xcom: Declassified and Saints Row IV.


Gamer Cinema: Assault Girls

It's the future (maybe?) and everybody (meaning about 4 people) plays this VR game that seems mildly reminiscent of games like Borderlands or Monster Hunter as you hunt giant monsters across vast landscapes. Several gamers must reluctantly team up to take down a big enemy.

Annnnd that's it that's the entire plot of this thing that is barely a movie. Granted, you don't need an intricate plot to have an excuse but given that nearly half of Assault Girls 70 minute-running time is either terribly confusing exposition that has nothing to do with the plot or fortune-cookie gibberish wisdom and very little in the way of actual action (and for some reason lots of shots of a snail crawling, clearly the irony of that was lost on the filmmakers because the film seems far longer than it's short run time). Hell the first ten minutes is terrible narration that explains almost nothing over what was clearly just stock footage. Nothing is explained about how the game works, there is some subtle suggestion that it's a way to make money but that isn't explained either. You wouldn't even be entirely sure it was a game except for the fact that there is one scene where you see one the women exit the game and be in her gaming chair (although inexplicably she is in the same outfit she was in the game, complete with ammo belt, the costume budget had to be almost nothing). There is a voice which might be the program? Who the hell knows. At times it seems sentient and others mindlessly automated. If I didn't know better, I'd say this was made by Ed Wood, and maybe it's the modern Asian equivalent of that. Nothing makes sense, nothing fits and the production values are barely on par with the worst fan films. This is even worse than the laughably awful Double Dragon, at least that moved along at a good clip and the plot made more sense.

That's all for today, I plan to be back tomorrow with thoughts on this huge release week that includes Disney Infinity, Saints Row IV, Splinter Cell: Blacklist and more.


Dream a little Dream...

The latest in the long-running and excellent Mario & Luigi series arrives on 3DS, and while it's getting mostly good reviews, the critics seem to be complaining for really weird reasons. One being length, with the game reportedly clocking in at the 40+ mark. Given that it's got the same wonderful awesome gameplay of the previous ones I don't see how that's possibly a bad thing. The other being that it's loaded with tutorials. They do realize, that especially since this is the series' first appearance on a new system there's probably a load of people who are playing this for the first time right? I'm fairly sure there are people who will look at the box and pick it up just based on it being a Mario game, or maybe have heard about this series and want to give it a try. Those people will probably have little to no clue how to play as these mechanics are fairly unique to this series. Finally, they've been saying the writing isn't as sharp. I guess that's debatable, but at only 3 hours in I've found plenty of lines making me smile and chuckle. Granted, it doesn't seem on the level of pure insanity and hilariousness of Partners in Time or Bowser's Inside Story, but it's still pretty damn good. Granted, you might still be playing Project X-Zone or Animal Crossing or Shin Megami Tensai IV but this is quite a good rpg (at least so far) to kill time until the next big 3DS title arrives (Pokemon I think? Pretty sure that's in October).

I finally got some good time in with the Wonderful 101 demo and I'm pretty satisfied. I was starting to get worried with the designer talking about the game not necessarily being that long and the fact that it got delayed s long when it was supposed to be one of several launch window titles. If the demo is really indicative of the final product, it should be a blast. It's very easy and fun to control your massive group of heroes and it's really fun to use all the weapon forms. My only complaint would be when you go inside buildings it goes to the gamepad and it's very awkward. But other than that it seems incredibly insane and weird and fun so I'll be very excited to pick it up in about a month.

Ducktales remastered is finally out! And the critics don't seem horribly fond of it overall. Because it's short? It's $15! Because it's hard? The original was controller-shattering hard, this is the same game. Just lower the difficulty, I'm playing it on easy and having a blast. Some don't seem to like the added cut-scenes and dialogue. I guess that's really a matter of opinion, but as someone who loved the show I find it charming and full of fun nostalgia. And then some complained that it should've been changed up for modern times. ARE YOU FUCKING NUTS?!? Nobody wanted that. We wanted our goddamn cane-hopping original Ducktales. Don't get me wrong, I can see doing that in a follow-up, but for this we just wanted our old original classic game on current platforms. This does that and wonderfully. The only minor complaint is that the backgrounds don't mesh that well with the extremely good-looking sprites, but it's hardly a big detractor. Anyways, if you fondly remember this game, pick it up you won't be disappointed. Hopefully if they follow up with a Rescue Rangers update they will do the same amount of minimal meddling-basically a fresh change of paint, some added dialogue scenes and some sweet remixed tunes.

So just how many things will Microsoft cave in on? Because I'm thinking at this point if we complain enough they will just give us the console for free. In case you haven't heard, in their latest-We had no idea how awful our system was, will you please buy it now move they have removed the requirement for the much feared and reviled Kinect. But guess what? They still expect you to buy it because it still comes with every system and they haven't lowered the price. My guess is if they really stick with it there will be a ton of Kinect units just sitting in a basment or a closet. Or possibly just as likely, in the trash. I know some think the Xbox One was this forward-thinking console and everything, but there was a lot they could've done to make it attractive and have people deal with the perceived headaches and they didn't do anything really. Maybe this will delay the inevitable all digital future and I'm sure some are blaming an over-reactive public but Microsoft pretty much brought this on themselves by either only talking about the negatives or not talking at all, which means there probably wasn't much in the way of positives to begin with.

That's all for today, I should have a Gamer Cinema post up tomorrow or Saturday.


Gamer Cinema: Double Dragon

Double Dragon actually lends itself pretty well to a movie adaptation if it was made by someone who gave a shit-Apocalyptic future, gangs run everything and they kidnap the hero's girlfriend. Not hard to write and could've been a good homage to classic Japanese martial arts films. Unfortunately what we get is an incredibly desperate attempt to cash-in on the turtle-mania that was going on at the time. TMNT was goddamn huge in the early 90s, in no small part thanks to the surprisingly clever movies. Sure they were cheesy, but very knowing of that and had a lot of fun with it. So you get obvious low rent knockoffs like Double Dragon with a surprisingly even more absurd plot and worse writing and effects.
The basic story is that there's this medallion called the Double Dragon that is split in two-halves, one gives a person complete control over soul (which somehow amounts to possession) and the other over body (which maybe makes you invincible? It's not completely clear) and of course combined they make the wearer virtually invincible (except not but we'll get to that later). And in the YEAR 2007 when LA has been turned into a complete shithole chemical accidents and earthquakes, somehow that translates to gangs ruling the streets to the point where the cops have a truce with them that they can do whatever they want at night but leave the citizens alone during the day. Robert Patrick is evil businessman who pretty much runs anything already but wants the medallion BECAUSE REASONS!

How do the brothers Lee even fit into this? Pretty randomly. Some girl who is like a big sister to them happens to have one-half of the medallion (Patrick already has the other half at the beginning of the movie). So Patrick is pursing them in order to get his hands on it. Where's their usual damsel in distress Marianne? It's a blonde Alyssa Milano who runs the one "good" gang in the city, the Power Cores. I wish I was making this up. 

Now, I'm not going to be to derisive of the general plot itself (or attack the "acting" because although it's bad and not in a fun way, it's hardly something you judge in a movie like this), you want to insert some random mystical whatchamacallit into the base story that's fine. But even for a movie clearly aimed it kids, it doesn't follow any of it's own logic (and yes even in kids films that should matter). There is no reason for Patrick's character to obtain the medallion, he already runs everything. In fact going after the medallion at all is his undoing. The powers of the medallion are also ridiculously inconsistent, like I mentioned before the "soul" half seems to give possession over others, but the "body" half is never clearly defined. And while Patrick uses it all by himself, the brothers can share the powers even though you have to have the medallion to use it. Also for some reason when he had the whole medallion, Patrick was weak to bright light. Why? BECAUSE REASONS! I'm pretty sure this script was cobbled together from several other scripts and no one bothered to make sure the worked cohesively together as these are just the biggest of many examples.

The one real tie-in to the movie is the appearance of Abobo, who for some reason is a random gang leader who goes under scientific experimentation to become some easily beatable mutant monstrosity. Why? They could've just had some big muscled dude and that would've been fine.

Well what about the action? This is a martial arts movie after all, and hey the action scenes in the Turtles movies were pretty fun and clever even if they barely qualified as martial arts. Well this may be some of the worst excuses for action scenes I've seen in a long time. Everybody clearly used stunt doubles which is fine but the editing is completely awful and I'm fairly sure this is just some of the laziest "fighting" I've ever seen. Double Dragon is probably only second to infamous Super Mario Bros. Movie as the worst video-game adaptation of all time. It gives the same amount of respect to the source material, basic logic and anybody who would possibly want to watch it.

That's it for today, my next post should hopefully be up Tuesday or Wednesday with impressions of the Wonderful 101 demo, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team & DUCKTALES! WOOHOO!


Same old story....

Ok granted I'm only about 3 hours into the latest Tales title, but if you've played a previous Tales game, don't expect a ton different here. You've even got the oft-used character who appears human but clearly isn't (in this case Milla, but I find her more enjoyable than the more naive and childlike Sophie from Graces, the previous title). I like the new shop mechanic though, where you level up shops rather than having new ones in the latest towns you reach. The upgrade system is something we've seen before but not in a Tales title so it's a nice touch as well. It's sort of interesting how series like Tales, Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter have remained pretty stubbornly unchanged and yet remain fairly popular while everyone is talking about how Final Fantasy, which is willing to take risks with just about every entry, needed to go back to the drawing board. Maybe FF would be best served by going back to its roots, though the problem is I think just about every entry has it's fans. Maybe if XV is a return to form they can stick with that formula and just slowly evolve it over time. Anyways, Those looking for a good JRPG fix would probably do well to pick up Tales, though if you haven't been a fan of the series or felt it was getting stale, this probably won't change your mind.

And I did manage to get my hands on Dragon's Crown for a rental. I'm intrigued, but not $50 intrigued, especially with my rpg plate being fairly full at the moment between Earthbound, Xillia and Dream Team in just a few days. The combat is like Golden Axe in both good and bad ways, and though it's been awhile, it seems a little slower and stiffer than those old-school beat-em ups it's aping. And while the fact that you can level is great, the fact that you are basically forced to repeat levels to grind is annoying. MP would make this pretty tolerable I think, but for some weird reason it's essentially gated and you have to unlock it for EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER YOU MAKE. That's just stupid. Even so, I might be a little more willing to really get into it if it was $20 and I had nothing on my plate so maybe down the line I'll give it a real go but I couldn't even remotely recommend this right now.

That's about it for today I should have a gamer cinema for my next post hopefully that'll be up on Friday.


Neverending Tales....

Tomorrow, arguably the last big jrpg of the year comes out (though probably not the last of this generation, at the very least it's sequel is probably coming stateside next year) releases on the PS3.I'm pretty psyched about it. It seems largely unchanged from the long-running Tales formula we've seen to date, but given how much I enjoyed the last two entries, Vesperia & Graces I don't expect that to be an issue. It's pretty much Jrpg comfort food and as long as you know that going in, you'll likely have a good time. I'll hopefully be grabbing my copy tomorrow (possibly Wednesday) and give impressions sometime this weekend.

For those looking for a double dose of rpg goodness, Dragon's Crown is also out this week on PS3 and Vita, but oddly missing the usual cross-buy feature most simultaneous releases like that have. The artwork has understandably been attacked for being ridiculously sexist with the ridiculously well-endowed sorceress and the barely wearing anything amazon being just two of many examples. Though to be fair most of the art is an exaggerated fashion and according to nearly every review, if you can get past the un-pc artwork there's a solid game in there that apes the glorious beat-em ups of old like Golden Axe with gorgeous art and well-developed skill trees along with some pretty competent mp. I think I'll be far too busy with the new Tales game to get into it now, but I can certainly see at least trying it out somewhere down the line especially if it goes on sale anytime soon.

So I've played Pikmin 3 for several hours and I think I'm done. It looks gorgeous and it's charming, but there are some huge issues that absolutely kill it for me personally. While the path-finding A.I. of your Pikmin is pretty good, some do get randomly lost and it's a chore to round them up. Aiming at flying enemies with the gamepad is nearly impossible (this is not so much of an issue with the Wii Remote/Nunchuck setup, which I'm sure most Wii owners have, but it should work with the controller included with the system, that's a major flaw in my opinion) and reorganizing your Pikmin after you've scattered them can be a time-consuming chore as well. But honestly this is not what ultimately breaks the game for me, it's the two very arbitrary limits that absolutely kill any sense of exploration and experimentation-Time & Juice. Each "day" only consists of about 15 minutes and then you have to drop everything and run back to your ship.Not even a boss fight pauses time and those can take up a whole day in themselves quite easily. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if not for you having to also keep a steady supply of "juice" your crew gathers fruit to keep your supply up, but also consumes a container a day. It's not that hard to keep your supply up but it's still ridiculous how easily you can basically waste a day and by extension juice. It really should've been just one or the other. 15 minute days? Ok. Or unlimited time on days but when you go back to your ship you use up one container of juice? Also perfectly fine. Combined? Oh hell no. Granted, you can do the day over again, but that really feels like artificially lengthening the game and again punishing you for not being an extremely efficient resource machine. Maybe that's the point, but frankly the previous games didn't feel that way and I'm not enjoying this entry because of it, so it's a pass for me.

That's all for today. I plan to have another gamer cinema up later this week in addition to impressions on Tales of Xillia (and just maybe Dragon's Crown if I can rent it and get some time in) so I may be posting quite a bit this week especially if any big news breaks.


Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match...

If you have a strong group of friends to play with regularly, the world of online MP can be a wonderful place. But if either due to differing schedules, or just not having a lot of friends who game online in the same games they do, some are forced to try and find civilized strangers to play with. For some reason, this seems a near impossibility sometimes, especially on Xbox live, which seems to host the vast majority of the most immature, racist and sexist assholes in the universe. The last game I seriously got into online MP was probably Halo 3. I did play some Mass Effect 3 MP in order to get my galactic readiness up, but that was only for the bare minimum to get that accomplished.

So, Microsoft wants the Xbox One to continue to be the premier console for MP, but with such a hugely hostile environment, how will they not only get new players but not lose what they have now in order to grow?

Well they have a plan. Basically in addition to user feedback, some super sophisticated algorithm will supposedly take into account all feedback and other things like reported cheating and dropped games and sort gamers into good (green), needs improvement (yellow) and avoid (red). And then essentially match gamers of the same level together. So basically the assholes would have to play with other assholes. Now if this works, we could be in for some kind of MP haven for civilized gamers. I want to believe it has a chance of succeeding,  but the realist in me says it'll be far too easy to game the system. Like I can easily imagine people meeting on a message board to artificially raise or lower reps, it doesn't seem that hard and some vague algorithm probably won't know the difference. I mean there's a reputation system on live now, and it doesn't really work for squat. Hey if it works and the PS4 doesn't have a similar system (though for whatever reason the ratio of assholes to decent people on PSN seems far less) that would be a key reason to get an Xbox One over the competition. I certainly will hold out some cautious hope that it does work as advertised, but I'm not holding my breath.


Gamer Cinema: Mass Effect Paragon Lost

The Mass Effect franchise has a lot of great characters. If they were to make a movie about one of Commander Shepard's allies, there's a lot of good material. Garrus, Mordin, Tali, etc. have great personalities and interesting backgrounds that would make for fantastic movies. James Vega however, I doubt would be at the top of anybody's list. A newer character introduced in the last game, Vega is pretty much a boring meathead much in the vein of Jacob & Kaiden before him. To make matters even worse, while many of the Mass Effect cast has stories where they don't really talk about what happened so that leaves plenty of material. Vega tells you all about this incident in Mass Effect 3, so if you played the game, odds are you know what happens.

The story takes place in-between Mass Effect 1&2, with Vega trying to rescue a colony from the grips of the Collectors back when nobody knew the Collectors were behind the abductions of whole human colonies out in deep space and were merely whispered legend. It's a perfectly functional story and Vega's crew is pretty typical and not particularly interesting for the most part.

Ok, now I'm going to get into spoilers here, because it's essential to explain my issues with the ending and it's continuity. But again, if you played through ME3 you should have a rough idea what happened because Vega talks to you about it in the game. So Vega gets this supposedly important info on the Collectors, he sacrifices the colonists for it, and so by the end of the movie the Council knows what's going on. And yet in 2 they seem to be completely ignoring it. I mean they even already have an antidote to the collector bee things that paralyze people, why aren't they doing anything with it? Yeah you can sort of say the Council is being their usual secretive self since Shepard is working with Cerberus in ME2, but then they should have Spectres out there protecting colonies or something and Cerberus could've easily gotten their hands on the antidote making recruiting Mordin for the purpose of developing an antidote pointless. Pretty much the only thing I'll give the movie points for is that it has no problem killing off nearly everybody.

So at the end of the day you've got a functional movie but it's about one of the less interesting characters of the Mass Effect franchise that doesn't gel with the continuity of the franchise very well. In other words you'd be better off spending your time and money on some dlc to experience more of the Mass Effect universe.

That's all for today I should have another post up Monday with thoughts on this week's upcoming releases (and maybe Pikmin 3 impressions if I can mange to rent a copy).