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!


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.


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.


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.



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.


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 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.