Jan 142014
 

Mirror's_Edge_2

Everyone is looking forward to something this year. Here are my most anticipated games of 2014.

 

 Mirrors Edge 2

 mirrors_edge_e3_2013_screen_2

By far in my opinion the prettiest game of the last gen and a true cult game. this follow up (prequel) is very much on my to watch list. However I do not think that we will see a release this year, but some gameplay footage would satisfy me.

 

Watch Dogs 

 

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Even though this game has got a lengthy delay which should cause some concern, I am still very much getting this when I buy my next gen console (lets hope I have the money for it). 

 

Never Ending Nightmares

 

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I am so happy that this game got the funding and attention that it fully warranted.  This is more than just a game, and I fully recommend you go and check out the story behind this game.

 

The Witcher 3: wild hunt

 

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I don’t care if this game doesn’t come out for another 2 years; it looks epic and sounds epic.

 

  Paradise Lost

 

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An intriguing indie title that I come across on greenlight some time ago. Its narrative is about you playing as an impossible being escaping from a research facility.  

 

The Witness

  

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John Blow’s PS4 title looks wonderful and sounds strange, perfect! 

 

 Super Smash Bros: Wii U

 

  

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Probably the sole reason why I got a Wii U in the first place (I’m joking, I think). Cannot wait to return to the series, and I hope that there isn’t a confusing story mode or a lag online!

 

  Below

  

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Not much about this Xbox one indie title, but it looks good.

 

  Everybody’s Gone to the rapture

    

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A spiritual successor to one of my favourite indie titles dear Esther. This game allows you to explore the lives of 6 people 5 hours before the apocalypse.

 

 Mario Kart 8

     Mario-Kart-8-2

I know this is rather predictable, but as soon I saw those cars racing underneath that track I got pretty excited (Plus Mario Kart makes for some excellent drinking games) 

Well that’s my list what’s yours? 

Oct 272013
 

 20120708180055!Wii_U_logo

 

Just like many of Nintendo’s IPs who have been left behind since the 80’s and 90’s in favour of more important (profitable) IPs, Nintendo is without doubt not the “House of Mario” but rather “House of Nostalgia” for those who’s lifespan covers more than 2, 3 decades. As many of you will be aware there is a pile of games who’s names are only mentioned in more recent times in the Nintendo Historia that is Super Smash Bros.  

 

 

With the Wii U not selling at all (even the Gamecube was doing better at this point) its going to need some miracle to get it moving, many would state that this would be Mario 3d world, Mario Kart U or SMBU. But who is to say that any of these games are going to shift more consoles, because how many of the people who bought a Wii and thus purchased games such as Mario Kart have actually bought a Wii U, clearly not many then.

 

 

When we look back on consoles past which of them do we consider ‘cult’ and what aspects of these consoles makes them cult. I can only speak about the consoles that were released in my childhood and of course this means drawing some similarities between Wii U and with the late Sega consoles. The Genesis was a success for Sega in the early nineties here in Europe and in N.A, leading Nintendo to step up with the SNES two years later in 1992, and thus lead to perhaps the last great console battle (until November 2013 anyway). Though well-documented Sega’s console fall is I think there are a few important details that can be applied to the Wii Us’ rough start, or more importantly with competition. Sega’s Saturn system lost out early in Europe even though it had a strong base with the Genesis crowd, but with no Sonic, a high price tag and a difficult programing architecture it was taking third party companies a lot longer to develop games for the system and thus with the release of the N64 and the best selling console of all generations the PS2, the Saturn stalled very quickly. This then led to a massive financial plight at Sega as they discontinued the Saturn and produced the much-loved Dreamcast.

This left many developers with unfinished projects and left Sega with not many third party developers going into the new system. The Dreamcast was undoubtedly ahead of its time by a large margin, and its impressive line up of games meant that this was a truly great console. However cost of its development and the PS2s’ 60% market share was the final strike for Sega’s console development. In its short time the Dreamcast sold more than 10 million units, and still has a strong following further strengthening its cult status.

 

 So where does this lead the Wii U? It certainly shares many of the late Sega consoles difficulties in software and in competition; will 2014 bring what the Wii U needs, or is it just too late for the console that perhaps will be forgotten. Though many have been quick to right off the Wii U as a complete failure in what a gaming console of this generation should be able to do, the Wii U and all of its predecessors all have one objective; to deliver great games. Nintendo are a true gaming company, yes they can seem old fashioned and ridiculously stubborn, however they do make some amazing games, and do not revert on what they set out to do. It would be a crying shame if developers stay away from a machine that is ultimately more of a dedicated gaming machine than the PS4 and the XBONE. Only time will tell if the Wii U becomes a cult console, and I hope that it does not because it has so much going for it, so maybe a string of first party games will change this.

 

Oct 242013
 

k-bigpic

Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

The Legend of Zelda

Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U

Contains: Mild Fantasy Violence

Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.


The Hero of Winds has a special place in my heart, as he is by far my favourite Link and when Wind Waker HD was announced I had a slight apprehension that the charm that so easily captivated me back in 2003 would be lost in this make over. Though it seems that my fretting was for nought as Link and the rest of the cast are still as enjoyable to watch as ever.

 

 

 Facial expressions a side, what does Zelda & Link’s first HD journey look like? Well stunning, although it can be argued that it probably always would be a great looking game, but seeing looking at the original and then at this addition you cannot go back; from the vibrant and lively colours of the sea to the crisp character design this further enhances the reason why in my opinion  Wind Waker is the best looking Zelda game, as its just so much fun to look at. With the coming of HD there are a few aspects that have rather been left out, the most noticeable of these is the contrast in the game. It seems in the redefining of the game, it has lost quite a bit of its cel shade due to the brightness of the game. This does not however detract from the fact that this is still a beautiful game.

Zelda-Wind-Waker-HD-01

The Combat has thankfully remained the same and with the Wii U gamepad it makes swift work of changing items and checking dungeon maps. The swordplay remains the best in the series and feels satisfying with every swing, and all of the controls feel very natural on the dinner plate that is the game pad. But by far the most useful thing is the fact your sea charts are ready for you on the touch pad, which does make sailing to locations very enjoyable and with the addition of the fast sail it makes things a little less tedious, but still quite long.The dungeons and quest remain as fun and perceptive as always; the puzzles that stumped me 10 years ago still managed challenge my memory when playing through them again. The enemies and bosses are some of the best designs in the Zelda world, and in HD they look great (Ganondorf and Helmrock King I was especially pleased with)  A few welcome additions to the new version incorporate miiverse in the game. This player interaction is an interesting and unique idea, and allowing Link to take selfies makes for some humorous monuments within the game.

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Overall this is still the great adventure that it always was, and the new graphics just makes all the more better. This game is a true triumph of what a Zelda game should be about; from combat to level design and character charm. Wind Waker was a drastic change for some back in the day, but many people came to love it, and for me it represents something that has been somewhat lost in the past two console games: Charm. Hopefully Wind Waker HD is the sign of more good things to come in the next console game, but in the meantime this is definitely a Zelda game everyone should play.

WII U

Graphics

97
 

Audio

95
 

Gameplay

95

Creativity

95
 

Execution

95
 

Offset

95
    

9.5

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Review copy supplied by Nintendo UK. 

 

Sep 112013
 

RL Box

Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

Rayman Legends

PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Contains: Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief

Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.


Rayman Origins was easily one of the best platformers this generation. However, with the anemic genre failing to stay in the limelight like it had in past generations, that’s not saying much. So let’s one-up that statement. Rayman Origins was not only one of the best games this generation, but one of greatest platformers of all time. So how do you follow up near perfection? Rayman Legends attempts to answer that question.

RL BossVisually, the UbiArt Framework engine continues to impress. With even more crisp detail and multiple levels of depth, the unbridled artistry really shines. Environments both familiar and foreign pop from the screen. Whether you’re frolicking through the forest, diving in the deep, or slipping across a stick of butter, it’s pixel perfection. So, with two dimensions mastered, Legends decides to toy with 3D a bit by incorporating 3D bosses. At first I was a bit turned off by this incongruence, but without spoiling anything, many of the later battles quickly eased my mind with brilliant moments that would have not been near as impressive in 2D.

RL 3Sonically, Christophe Héral creates another beautiful soundtrack. While it does rely on some of the themes from the original, it seems to favor a more traditional orchestral arrangement. Maybe it’s just because I knew what to expect this time around, but it didn’t seem quite as eccentric as its predecessor – a soundtrack I call my all-time favorite. There are still quite a few silly tracks that use unconventional instruments – especially within the musical levels – but a lot of the content favors strings and percussion. Still, it’s hard to fault the overall package seeing as how it once again conveys emotion nicely and matches level themes brilliantly.

Basic platforming gameplay remains unchanged. Rayman and his motley crew start with all the moves in their repertoire. However, there are quite a few differences to the types of levels and the way they’re laid out.

RL 2Most notable is the addition of Murfy and asynchronous gameplay elements. While fully functional on the Wii U and Vita, Murfy’s touch and gyroscope based actions are reduced to simple button presses on the other consoles. In my case, on the PS3, this gives Murfy an on-rails feel which is no doubt inferior. Regardless of your opinion on gaming’s introduction of asynchonicity, it’s clear that the Wii U is the console of choice. (The Vita will also be once an incoming patch adding the Invasion levels is released.)

RL 7These aforementioned Invasion levels are another change in Legends.  Instead of replaying levels with time attack challenges, modified levels place time restrictions on saving three Teensies. Later, these Invasion type levels also introduce a dark version of Rayman, who will chase you and pop you upon impact. Unlocking periodically throughout the main campaign, these levels provide some of the most difficult platforming.

One of my favorite parts of Origins was the inclusion of Bzzt the mosquito and the shoot ‘em up levels. Sadly those have also been reworked. Now a magical Teensie grants you the ability to have flying fists. This does help keep the platforming the focal point, and leads to some great boss fights, but I’d have loved to have seen that expanded upon to add a bit more variation to the gameplay.

For everything it lacks, it adds plenty. There are reworked versions of Origins levels, daily and weekly online challenges, leaderboards, a Kung Foot soccer minigame, plenty of costumes, and standout rhythm based levels.

RL 4Replacing the treasure chase levels, these rhythm-based levels are simply sublime. Occurring at the end of each chapter, these scrolling levels contain silly covers of popular songs. They merge sight and sound perfectly, and serve as the high points of the entire project. Every time one was completed I anticipated the next. And time and time again, as they came to a close, I found myself smiling.

That’s the game’s real appeal. You’ll grin at its whimsy. Not enough games are doing that anymore. Despite the fact that it may not be quite as tongue-in-cheek as Origins - maybe merely because I knew what to expect with a sequel – it still manages to pull you into an insane world full of quirky characters, vivid colors, infectious beats, and boundless creativity. Once again, I’m treated to a fantastic journey into the minds of one of the most insane developers on the planet. It’s rockin’ grandmas and stealthy toads; luchadores and skeleton mariachis; dragons and weird flaming eyeball thingys. It’s my wildest dreams and worst nightmares.  And it’s sheer joy!

Playstation 3

Graphics

100
 

Audio

90
 

Gameplay

95

Creativity

95
 

Execution

90
 

Offset

100
    

9.5

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • Visuals never cease to amaze.
  • Inclusion of 3D bosses was a smart decision.
  • Rhythm-based levels will make you smile.
  • Tons of content justify the cost.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t seem quite as eccentric as the original.
  • Mosquito sections and woodwind worms are missed.
  • Enjoyment may rely on which console version you chose.

 

Aug 202013
 

TeslagradGames seeking inspiration from the great Nikola Tesla always have my attention. However, they often don’t live up to the legend. Just look at Dark Void. Thankfully, Norwegian-based developer Rain Games is looking to buck that trend with their latest game, Teslagrad.

Teslagrad 4With a lovely, hand-drawn aesthetic and slick animations to match, the 2D puzzle platformer instantly impresses. Merging the dark, industrial, steampunk-inspired world with cartoonish fantasy is simply stunning. At first glance it would be easy to compare it to Braid, and while that is worthy praise, I feel that it would be doing it artistic injustice.

Teslagrad 1On the gameplay side of things, platforming and puzzles rely heavily on magnetism and electricity. Playing as a young boy, you learn to manipulate these properties through what the developers are referring to as Teslamancy. For instance, not long into the demo a glove is acquired, allowing you to change the polarity of certain objects. This glove can be used to cause obstructions and platforms to attract or repel. Later on, a set of boots allow you to blink, or teleport, short distances. These two abilities alone are enough to create some interesting situations, including a boss fight with a pissed off furnace, but with the promise of more mechanics and bosses, and some contrastingly beautiful screenshots, I’m confident we have only just scratched the surface.

Teslagrad 3Not much is revealed about the story, but it does end with the boy wandering into a theater where he experiences a jovial play. As the developer has stated, the story will be told through visuals, without a single spoken word. While I’ve been one to discredit some games for their lack of speech or text, the whimsy of the witnessed performance just feels right.

My anticipation for Teslagrad already had it hovering extremely close to the center of my radar. Now, after some time with it, I’m even more excited. But don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself. After that, join me in anxiously awaiting its impending release on PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, and Wii U.

Download The Teslagrad Demo Here

Jul 102013
 

 

 NintendoDirect

 

 

As some of you may know there is a petition going on at the moment to get Nintendo to make their current devices region free (which has at the time of writing 20,000 signatures). This has also affected me most recently with trying to review an eshop game for this site, which turns out I cannot do because ALL Nintendo related software is region locked. With Sony and Microsoft hardware now being region free it’s hard for them to put up any argument regarding why there should be a need for locking, especially in this day and age. In an interview with IGN Satoru Iwata states that:

 

“There are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings. There are always things that we’re required to do in each different region, which may go counter to the idea that players around the world want the freedom to play whatever they want.” (Though it is to be noted that this interview was conducted before Microsoft announced region free for their console)

 

To me this is absolutely ridiculous; he must be stuck in the 90s for this kind of thinking. Doesn’t he know about the Internet? People are sharing their own cultures every day, even on their own social application ‘Miiverse’. Individuals from different nations are conversing with each other every second of everyday, as we do not live in such a restrictive world compared to 15 years ago in terms of communication. The Internet has made it possible for me to communicate with YOU even though you may not reside in the UK, even though our cultures and customs may be different. However we have one very important thing in common, we’re interested in games (and understand English, OK two then). Don’t get me wrong there are linguistic issues present, and living in the E.U I understand this greatly, but because the games are going to get released eventually across regions surely it doesn’t matter if a few of the more eager import from abroad, because as we know the majority of releases happen in N.A before the E.U. So if you haven’t noticed Nintendo many on the continent can understand English, so why are you stopping me from getting a game a few (if not more, Shin Megami Tensei IV I’m looking at you) months earlier just because I’m in a different region!  

 

I really do question Nintendo’s logic sometimes (and since the release of the Wii U even more so) their philosophy is same as twenty years ago, the major difference is that back then they were on top and could dictate what goes where. But now they struggling to get messages across, especially for the Wii U as they relied on the huge Wii base to take note of this console, but they didn’t (they could have eluded a whole lot of trouble if they just called it the Wii 2). 

 

Maybe this whole region locking business is to with sales, maybe they are afraid that if people just import games, those games won’t sell enough in that region. But my argument is that only a few groups of people will do this, and isn’t it through these ‘hard-core’ gamers that others get the information from, so isn’t this a good thing?  Though not to undermine localisation, it is incredibly important that games make sense in the respective country of release, as what makes sense in Japan may not make sense in France without prior knowledge of culture and customs. However with the recent announcements made by the other big two is it really viable for Nintendo just to carry on?

Your thoughts? (I think that they will carry on, because no one does stubborn like Nintendo)

(on another note) Just as soon as I have put the finishing touches to this article Nintendo seems fit to deny Evo 2013 permission to broadcast Super smash Brothers: Melee (IGN) after these guys have raised $95,000 in aid of breast cancer research foundation for Melee to be included in the tournament. I don’t know about you guys but I think they have lost it. I mean what are Nintendo trying to protect, through them doing this what they have attained is a lot of negative press. Nintendo have gone beyond conservative to ridiculous. (Update: Nintendo have changed their minds, so Melee will be broadcast at Evo 2013)

 

(so get on Miiverse or twitter and say WTF!)

Dec 042012
 

Let’s start this out with a bit of honesty, coming into Wipeout 3 for the Wii U, my expectations were rather low. Low to the point where I had a good feeling this game would be trash before even sliding it into my Wii U. The third sequel in the great Wipeout franchise did not disappoint when it came to matching my expectations. It turns out that coming into Wipeout 3 thinking it’s going to be a straight up turd is actually being a bit too generous.

The basis around this Wipeout experience is almost a carbon copy of the show, you’re a person and you run through seemingly painful obstacles all while wishing you were watching MXC. That’s of course about what you’d expect from a Wipeout game but what you wouldn’t (or maybe you would) expect is the fact that there are only 10 levels to run through. These 10 levels take about an hour and half at max to complete and once you finish them, you’re pretty much out of content to dig through. Sure, you could run through the levels again but why would you? You’ve already seen everything there is to see in that poorly designed section of the game, why see it again? Your fallback option is to find someone else to play it with in multiplayer but you’re a lucky soul if you can find someone willing to dive into this disaster for more than 30 minutes. Further adding to the boredom, you can’t lose the “competition” going on while you’re running through the course. Seriously, I laid the controller down for 15 minutes and still won.

 

It doesn’t help that the controls will occasionally just break and force you to fall off the platform you’re on. I never ran into that issue with the Gamepad as handling your character was only loose and unstable as opposed to just plain broken with the Wii Remote. There were multiple times when my character would just halt in place and start to moonwalk backwards until she fell into the water below. On top of that, the timing just seemed a tad off on the jumps, like there was a delay between hitting the button and actually having your character perform the action you desire. At some point it just went beyond frustrating and turned into one big hilarious experience, to the point where I imagined that was supposed to happen, it makes it seem better.

The most obvious slight against Wipeout is its PlayStation 2 level visuals. Honestly, I’ve seen multiple PlayStation 2 games that look much better than Wipeout, mainly due to the absolutely awful textures placed upon every inch of the environment. The art style is understandably cartoony and not completely ugly when standing still but once the gears start moving, the visuals fade into a horrific abyss. But don’t even think about them improving once you go into the local multiplayer. In the multiplayer I experienced consistent frame rate drops that I didn’t think could exist and actually be shipped out in a product.

That isn’t the only fault with the multiplayer as it’s clear that many of the levels simply were not designed with multiplayer in mind. For example, you and your partner are running through a course, they hit a moving platform that slowly slides forward, you don’t make it in time so you now have to wait for the snail of a platform to shimmy its way back to you and by the time it does, your opposing player is almost a minute or more ahead of you. It’s just poor design at every turn and it doesn’t help that the main option in multiplayer is to just run through the same levels that you ran through in single player. There is a separate mode that can at least bring forth a bit of griefing fun, Trap Mode being its name. In it the gamepad holder controls the activation of the traps such as big cushion that can smash your partner, who’s running through the course using the Wii Remote, right off the linear passageway.

If there’s a few things I can squeeze out that are positive about this game, that would be the fact that the game is fully playable using only the Gamepad, which is something that I could see coming in handy with better titles in the future. Also, there’s quite a bit of dialogue in the game that is recorded by the faces of Wipeout, John Anderson and John Henson. The only problem with that is the fact that the dialogue is about as funny as their banter on the actual show. I was occasionally forced to turn the volume off because I just couldn’t stand another painfully unfunny joke about whatever they keep chatting about.

Nicely put, Wipeout 3 is one of the worst launch games I’ve ever put hands on and with a bit of luck, will be the worst Wii U game to be placed onto the market. It’s clear the development process behind Wipeout was not an easy nor progressive one. I’ll admit I was never offended by Wipeout 3, that’s the last compliment I can manage to purge forward about the short, unsatisfying experience that is this overpriced $50 experience. If you want to play a game of Wipeout, you should purchase the iPhone version at the price of 2 bucks. It’s cheaper and infinitely better than this sad little piece of work.

WII U

Graphics

25
 

Audio

30
 

Gameplay

20

Creativity

25
 

Execution

20
 

Offset

25
    

2.4

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Nov 282012
 

Okay, it’s been over a week and we have been putting in some significant quality time with our Wii U game consoles. With that being said, I’d like to address a few things and also detail the pros and cons of this new system.

Common Misconceptions

Holy hell! This is the actual console!

First off, the curse of E3 2011 is still leaning heavily on this system. It seems that a ton of people I have met don’t understand that the Wii U is a brand new console, not a new controller. It’s not a new fancy portable system either, the GamePad has roughly the same range as an Xbox 360 controller. The system doesn’t play bluray discs, dvds, Gamecube games or anything other than the Wii U and Wii discs. I feel that I have to clarify this as 4 out of 5 times I describe the Wii U to someone in person, their initial response is “Oh, isn’t that the new Wii controller?”.

What is different?

After downloading the SIZABLE update (about 2.5 hours) that I had to complete before playing any games on the system, I was greeted by Nintendo’s brand new social community. While not exactly Xbox Live but way more than the Playstation Network, it’s easiest to describe the Nintendo Network as a massive visual forum that automatically creates a new community for every single title and app available for the console. Users can discuss games, get advice, post pictures or just chat with each other. I expect that this will evolve and grow as time passes, since every other online service has made significant growth since their inceptions. While this is an improvement to the horrible system used by the Wii, it still has a little bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it. I don’t love the Nintendo Network, yet I certainly do not hate it.

Once I actually jumped into a game (holy crap, MORE UPDATES?!), I got to catch my first glimpse of HD gaming, Nintendo style. This was awesomely beautiful and while up to current par with both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, there was something worthg pointing out. On launch day, this system is up to par with the best offerings of the current generation, that means we can only expect progress from here! I experienced the entire launch day catalog and with the exception of a pair of games, was actually solidly impressed with what I saw. If you want a solid feel for some nice HD graphics, play Rayman Legends and Trine 2. If you want to get creative with the GamePad, play ZombiU or NintendoLand. Either way, there is a little something for everyone on launch day and an impressive library of AAA games to boot.

One thing to point out is that the Wii U GamePad doesn’t have a significant battery life, only lasting about 3.5 hours. This can be frustrating in certain games that can lead to extended periods of play. The charging cable is quite long, which helps alleviate some of this inconvenience but with as much movement that the GamePad requires, my patience wore thin pretty quick.

On the topic of the GamePad, it is a higly innovative controller, some of it’s uses are really unique and creative but a few others are quite lackluster. Understandably, I feel that most of the launch day titles really wanted to create a focus and awareness on the GamePad itself, rather than the ability and power of the new console. My concern with this is that a reliance on the GamePad’s touch screen seems to cheapen the overall experience. I am willing to give the mindset an early honeymoon-period pass, as devs likely wanted to play to the console’s strengths. I am pretty sure that most people will enjoy the ability to watch movies and play games from the GamePad, yet I find it a grand waste when I spend a majority of my time looking down at an 854×480 display, rather than my large HDTV that showcases the beauty of the new system.

Software

I’ve touched quite a bit on the launch day software, I don’t want to hold the system responsible either way for the quality or lack there of so we will be covering the Wii U titles on their own merit. With that being said, the launch titles feature something for everyone and NintendoLand, ZombiU, Scribblenauts Unlimited and Sonic & All‑stars Racing Transformed are all great starter games for the system. If you haven’t been able to get your hands on them previously; Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are all worth getting checking out but get yourself a GamePad Pro asap, trust me!

After Spending A Week With the Wii U

Wii U Graphics…

Are we all caught up? Hopefully! After a week of playing with the console for a week, here are my thoughts:

  • I welcome the change of pace that the Nintendo Network offers. However, I don’t feel like it really brings much to the table for a core gamer.
  • One of the weakest Wii U titles is absolutely New Super Mario Brothers U. If you are considering a Wii U, you may want to reconsider making this a day 1 pickup.
  • The Wii U absolutely has what it takes to appeal to the core gamer. Games look great, play great and don’t require stupid amounts of work to play online with friends.
  • The Wii U GamePad… It’s a cool gimmick; it works well with a majority of games, I’d like to see it used less as a crutch and more as a way to enhance gameplay. As of right now, it’s the same gimmick that the Nunchuck and Wii-mote were.
  • The limited battery on the Wii U GamePad is a bummer, it gives me an opportunity to do other things after a few hours of playing. That isn’t actually a good thing.
  • The Wii U has one of the largest launch day line-ups available. Oddly, it’s the 3rd party games that shine. NintendoLand is absolutely the exception to this.
  • I really liked using my Wii U for Netflix and Hulu. The ability to watch a show on my GamePad while my family watches something on the Xbox 360 was pretty cool. In fact, the ability to control my TV with the GamePad is pretty awesome, but not a selling point.
  • By no means does the Wii U reinvent the wheel, it doesn’t even revolutionize it. My biggest concern is that the Wii U catches a case of the 3DS and takes about a year to get going. We need a flagship title (Smash Bros, Metroid, Castlevania, Zelda etc) as soon as possible. Luigi’s Mansion 2 could be that game, as could Lego City Undercover or Pikmin 3…
  • The gaming experience is equal to Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Since those systems are pushing their limits right now, it’s going to be exciting to see what the Wii U does from here.
  • I hate the fact that the sensor bar is still an integral part of playing with a group of people. There was no other way around this?
  • UPDATES, UPDATES, UPDATES!!! It takes about 5-45 minutes for the Wii U to download updates for every single game the first time I played it!

So, here is the tl;dr – I think the Wii U is a good system at launch, but not great. It doesn’t do anything “better” than the its major competition, although it really doesn’t have to at this point.

 

 

 

Nov 272012
 

After being everywhere the past few weeks due to the Wii U launch, Nintendo has decided that isn’t all it has to show for this holiday by unveiling a new Wii Mini. The Wii Mini is tallied at $99.99 by Nintendo will feature everything you need in a Wii, including:

  • Wii Mini Console
  • Wii Remote Plus Controller
  • Nunchuk Controller
  • Sensor Bar
  • Power Adaptor
  • Standard Composite Cables

Oddly enough, this deal is currently only available in Canada though it’s a rather safe bet to say it’ll expand into at least the States. It’s a tad surprising to see another SKU of the Wii appear but when you think about, I’m sure Nintendo will make a killing this Christmas off of people who don’t have the money to shell out for the rather pricey $300.00 Wii U

What say you, folks? Seems like a great gift for a niece or nephew.

Nov 212012
 

Now don’t freak out when I say this but Zombies are a tad played out. I know, I know, I hate to be the one to break the bad news but someone had to do it. Because of this, it was a tad surprising that one of Nintendo’s headlining launch titles for the Wii U was a game based solely around a zombie outbreak. With the rather dull premise established, it becomes apparent that for ZombiU to be a solid title, the gamepad controls have to mesh perfectly with the gameplay. Do they do that? Yes. Does ZombiU suffer from some standard launch title woes? Most definitely.

The biggest question most have coming into any Wii U title is what exactly does the gamepad screen do? In ZombiU it very prominently features the current map (which you discover more of by hacking into cameras) and certain items you have hot keyed onto your touchscreen. You can also swipe down on the top of the screen to access your backpack. One of the best things about ZombiU, apart from the unrivaled atmosphere it sets up, is the way the gamepad controls only build upon what’s happening on screen, making things more and more intense but also more interactive.

Something else the gamepad does is allow you to scan the environment by holding L and controlling where your scanner is looking by either moving the pad or using your standard analog sticks. With scanning, you can identify all items around you, which is critical in dark enclosed areas as you have to know where a zombie is because if you don’t, he’ll be gnawing at your neck in a heartbeat. The unrivaled atmosphere that I mentioned is mostly due to the excellent design behind the gamepad controls. Ubisoft somehow made an annoying inventory management idea into a game changing feature.

Also adding to that atmosphere are some unsettling sound design cues and fantastic HD visuals. Sure, it’s nothing you couldn’t see on an Xbox 360 but that doesn’t diminish the impressive detail Ubisoft has put into the environments found within ZombiU. The art on all the enemies, though not varied, is brutally detailed down to every drop of blood on their faces. That also rings true in talking about the level design, it’s beautiful, but I’ve found more than a few repeated rooms that connect certain areas to other parts of the map. Even with those smaller issues, ZombiU still managed to establish a rich and horrifying world that you legitimately feel like a piece of.

The actual combat within ZombiU is an interesting thing to experience. A lot of the time it’s a tedious combat sequence involving you clubbing a zombie over the head with the same cricket bat around six times before he goes down. But in bigger situations, your plans have to become more elaborate and that is when things get exciting. Like other zombie related games, you have flares which will attract zombies to wherever you throw it. When you combine that with a mine, frag, or Molotov, things can get really explosive (boom) quickly.

Maybe it’s due to the played out fashion of zombies, maybe it’s because they didn’t have enough time, but the story in ZombiU is never really a thing you should pay attention to. Sure, it appears every once in a while but it only exists to open up some newer sections of the world. That being said, one very unique thing Ubisoft did with the story is never establishing a main character. This means that your current character you’re playing with is mostly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. In all honesty, he/she will probably be dead within an hour. Then once he/she does die, you’ll wake back up in the starting zone as a whole new person. You then have to perform a corpse run and kill your zombie self to pick up all your items you worked so hard to find. Keeping items is critical as certain items only appear once throughout the game so if you lose them, they’re gone forever.

Similar to other launch titles, ZombiU features more than a few bugs that could have been worked out with more development time. Myself, I’ve ran into only three but the three I’ve hit have been pretty major. First off, it’s not so much a bug as it is poor design, but I died multiple times due to the fact that the game doesn’t load the whole map once your character enters the environment. I would occasionally attempt to sprint away from a pack of zombies and once I would be in a tight corner, I’d attempt to open a door to get away before they kill me. I was then greeted with a “loading” prompt at the bottom right of my screen that remained there for around 30 seconds before the door finally opened. I then perished and yelled a curse word at my TV.

Secondly, I’m not sure if this is a Wii U or ZombiU bug but I had one loading screen fully lock up on me. This isn’t a drastic issue as it happens to most games at some point but the kicker was that I couldn’t turn the Wii U off with the buttons on the front of the console. I could turn the gamepad’s screen off but after pressing the power button on the Wii U multiple times (and holding it down for 30+ seconds), it became apparent I had no other choice but to unplug the console from the back. Of course, I then lost around an hour of gameplay and full backpack of supplies as I was in the middle of a corpse run when it locked up.

Finally, and probably the worst one, I had the game’s single player completely stop progressing multiple times due to random bugs. The first time it was early on in the game where a mission marker never appeared for the next mission. With no marker I had no idea where to go and the mission objective never updated. The only way to fix the issue was by deleting my save and starting a whole new game. Thankfully, that was just at the beginning of the game. But the next progress killer came at literally the very end of the game. To finish one of my missions I had to blow a hole in the wall using C4 that I acquired an hour earlier and had used multiple times. But in ZombiU’s eyes, I never acquired that C4 and couldn’t blow up the wall.  Also, the C4 isn’t an item I can run out of, which also means it’s an item that appears once in the game and never again. So there was literally no possible way to advance in the game, simply because it wouldn’t recognize that I had C4.

Despite its mostly unique game design in the single player, multiplayer may be the most interesting part of ZombiU. The idea is to put the gamepad holder in the position of “Zombie King,” where you can spawn different classes of zombies on a map to simultaneously mess with the humans but also capture flags to ultimately win the game. The humans are occupied by other players who are either using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck or the nice little Pro Controller. The humans obviously attempt to capture the flags as well but also must contend with the hordes of zombies that the Zombie King is throwing at them. The most disappointing aspect is the fact that this mode is local multiplayer only, which neuters the experience in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, the multiplayer still provides a ton of new, interesting fun.

ZombiU has its fair share of issues, that isn’t debatable. But something else that isn’t debatable is the tension and legit horror that the game manages to bring forth due to great sound design and almost flawless integration of the gamepad. ZombiU covers the full range of emotions from pure horror all the way to heartbreaking disappointment due to some truly unfortunate bugs. It’s a fine launch title but I can’t stop to think about how much better it would have been with a few more months of development time under its belt.

WII U

Graphics

85
 

Audio

90
 

Gameplay

75

Creativity

80
 

Execution

70
 

Offset

80
    

8

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Nov 202012
 

The Wii U is here, and what better time to look back at the best games the Wii had to offer. The Wii wound up being one of the most successful consoles of all time from a pure sales perspective, but most hardcore gamers agree it didn’t have as much to offer from a software perspective as some of the other most successful consoles like the PS2 or DS. While it didn’t have as many excellent games as it’s HD competitors, most of the Wii’s library were exclusive games, and the best the Wii had to offer was just as good as what you’d find on the PS3 or 360. So, here are what consider the ten best games for the Wii. Just one note, The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess was included on my “Best Gamecube Games” list, and since that is the better version, it won’t be on this list.

10. Sonic Colors (Sonic Team/Sega, 2010)

Judged from a purely objective perspective, Sonic Colors is not one of the ten best games on the Wii. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a good game, and one of the best Sonic games of the past 15 years, but it did have some issues, especially compared to the much improved Sonic Generations (which wasn’t released on the Wii). But, this is my list after all, and I quite enjoyed Sonic Colors. Sonic Unleashed laid the groundwork for this game, but Colors really refined the style and removed the awful Werehog stages. The main thing holding it back was the somewhat odd jumping controls, but other than that Sonic Colors was a big step forward for 3D Sonic games, setting things up for the excellent Sonic Generations a year later.

9. Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Good Feel/Nintendo, 2010)

While many were disappointed with its deviation from the typical Kirby style, Epic Yarn was simply a delightful game. The game wasn’t difficult or mechanically deep, but it’s total commitment to the visual style shines through in every aspect of the game. This game managed to be one of the best looking games of recent memory, even on the technically modest Wii. Epic Yarn isn’t about weaving some though provoking narrative or breaking the player’s will with extreme challenge; it’s a simply an amazing cute platformer with solid gameplay that takes place in a charming world with an unbelievable well realized aesthetic.

8. Wii Sports (Nintendo, 2006)

For much of the new audience the Wii introduced to gaming, Wii Sports was the Wii. While the main reason for this is the fact that grandparents and stay at home moms typically aren’t interested in things like Zelda or Metroid, it is also testament to how good Wii Sports turned out. As a means of showing what the makes the new console you just bough unique, Wii Sports was a complete success. It’s fun yet familiar mini games were perfect at introducing the concept of motion controls to both the new casual audience and more experience gamers picking up the new Nintendo console.

7. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Retro Studios/Nintendo, 2010)

After completing the Metroid Prime trilogy, Retro moved on to another long dormant Nintendo franchise, Donkey Kong. Ever since Rare was purchased by Microsoft there hadn’t been a proper Donkey Kong game, but Retro brought the series back to its 2D roots with Donkey Kong Country Returns. The game played just like the old SNES games, with fair but difficult challenge and clever level design. I look forward to seeing what Nintendo franchise Retro revives next, my hope is for Star Fox.

6. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Retro Studios/Nintendo, 2007)

I always find it both funny and disappointing whenever I hear someone say they didn’t like, or worse, didn’t even try any of the Meroid Prime games because “they turned Metroid into a first person shooter”. The Metroid Prime games are as close to being shooters as Skyrim or Oblivion. These games capture the essence and core design sensibilities of the classic Metroid, they just happen to take place from a first person perspective, and in that respect they are for more faithful to the originals than Other M. Now, Metroid Prime 3 is not the best the game in the series, but it is still an excellent experience from start to finish.

Jul 252012
 

While it feels like only days since E3 ended, it’s a fact that Gamescom, the gaming expo held every year in glorious Cologne, Germany, is fast approaching! By fast approaching I mean about three weeks away as the show will be held from August 13-August 15th and while it isn’t as large as E3, there’s always some spicy business that pops out from that show.

Unsurprisingly, Ubisoft will be attending, along with a huge line of other major publishers, and today Ubisoft revealed their extensive lineup that will be showcased at their booth. They are below:

Assassins Creed 3
Assassins Creed: Liberation
Far Cry 3
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online
Shootmania: Storm
Rabbids Land
Rayman Legends
Sports Connection
Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013
ZombiU

They will also show extended demos of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Just Dance 4, The Hip-Hop Dance Experience (Probably great), and The Settlers Online.

I, for one, cannot wait to see more Assassins Creed. While I’m already sold on the game, I just get mushy anytime I see Connor leap off of something and stab someone in the back. Some people call that a problem, I call that advancement in society.

It’ll also be good to see some more Shootmania: Storm and Far Cry, both of which many people are not yet sold on. The most important of their show may be ZombiU, however. Many people need a good Wii U game to hang their hopes on (that isn’t a Mario game) and everyone wants this to be it. But up until this point, there has been nothing shown of ZombiU that could indicate future success, and this being one of the last gaming expos until its release, unless you count TGS, something needs to happen to put this game on everyone’s radar.

That or they’ll just show what they did at E3. Probably this.

Either way, Gamescom should be a fun show this year. Expect many a news story when the show rolls around.

Jun 052012
 

While Ubisoft gave it a quick mention yesterday, Nintendo appear to have nailed core gaming on the Wii U by presenting, what looks to be, the greatest, most intuitive use of a controller ever for any zombie game. Seriously, everyone can stop with zombie games now because nothing will equate to how incredible this game looks. With the amount of stuff the Wii U controller is capable of, calling it a one piece survival tool is no lie.

Take for example sniping skills, controlled through the regular pads, it is the screen in the controller that is you scope and allows for deadly precision. Following sniper skills, we see that giving the pad a really good shake is what gets an attacking undead from off you. It isn’t the way you shake him off, it’s the way the image shakes, it looks as if you are genuinely struggling to push him away, depth we haven’t had before from button presses.

Finally, is the way the second screen creates a sense of fear while trying to hack through a door. The touch screen becomes the keypad, while the TV allows you to see over the shoulder as a hoard ambles slowly towards you, bashing the keypad to get the right code becomes a stressful experience. In short, this is the game to end all games and with the mention of one bite and you’re dead, ZombiU looks set to be absolutely fantastic.

Jun 052012
 

It’s time to get ready for a whole new, open world lego experience with the new Lego City Undercover which will be avaliable for both of Nintendo’s flagship console. Lego games have always offered an incredibly fun experience right across the board and Undercover looks set to be the same. Taking on the role of one of the cities best law enforcer’s, this truly looks like a less serious L.A.Noire but it looks done right.

By branching into the open world environment we get to see some incredible new moves which include free running and being able to tackle your foe to the ground which will give out a hefty payout. One other interesting feature of the game is the ability to go undercover, allowing you infiltrate areas and with some costumes giving you new abilities to boot.

Over all, the blocky game looks better than ever in HD and with the plastic people looking more fluid than ever before, this is certain to be a day one purchase for anyone that enjoy’s the Lego Franchise.

Jun 052012
 

One of the Wii’s flagship periphals was the delightfully dull WiiFit Board. While the gimmick wore off for most the games have kept on coming and it’s time for us to accept that motion and fitness gaming is here to stay. Wii Fit U seems to do something that it’s predacessor has failed to do which is be fun at the same time as being a workout. Rather than focusing on how fat I am, the latest tile looks more focused with actually being fun. Most of the excercises seem to be more mini game based.

The advantage of the new controller is that the touchscreen allows for you to track the mini game in progress, select which work out or game you want to try and track the all important stats. With the reinvention of the system, the new WiiFit will certainly be a unit shifter and may even have a bit more staying power than the earlier model.

Jun 052012
 

One of last years biggest and best games looks to be getting bigger and better than ever thanks to the Wii U controller. Thou touch screen controller gives some awesome updates to the way that we can play the game, allowing us to swipe and scroll through menus right in the palms of our hands. The built in accelerometer and gyroscope also allow for increased levels of control, especially when using weapons such as the batarang which can be controlled and tracked using the new controller.

New controls system are the kind of enhancements that the Wii U needs to bring to more games, it is the only way that older third party games can be maximised, by taking an old experience and giving it a complete overhaul when it comes to controls is where the success will lie for the console.

This will more than likely be the biggest selling, third party title on the console, competing for that top spot with Assassin’s Creed III, but in the long run, the new and intuitive controls really will ad to the experience so much more than ever before. I can’t be sure, but I think Nintendo just sold me a Wii U.

Jun 052012
 

It wouldn’t be a Nintendo launch event without a brand new Mario to delve into and the Wii U outing for our favourite plumber and his friends looks incredibly impressive. The graphical updates are good and bring Mario into an HD world. It’s the 2D scroller that we have all come to love over the years, full of all the characters you would expect to see.

Eggs seem to be far more frequent than before, dishing out Yoshi variants like they’re going out of fashion, and it looks easy enough to pick up 1up’s. The biggest thing going on in the demonstration was the ability for four player coop, making Mario a super social experience like never before.While it is looking like it will be a fun and exciting game, Nintendo aren’t going to be able to survive on fun if they want to move into the realm of the more powerful consoles and do battle with the more “core” gamers.

Jun 052012
 

Nintendo have opened their E3 presentation with the new and cutesy Pikmin 3. Thanks to the better resolution of the Wii U it is instantly noticeable that the camera angles work a lot better, allowing for a great position where you can see the Pikmin and the world around them. Everything looks fantastic, it’s bright, organic and fluid, with some new and interesting gameplay elements.

Controller wise, it is possible to play using the regular Wii controller with Nunchuck but is also totally playable through the Wii U controller. While there will be some learning curve, it is the games simplicity that will win over the majority, the ability to pick up and play is what has made Nintendo so great to have at home in your living room after all these years

Whilst taking your Pikmin around the map, there will be a whole host of challenges whether this be destroying obstacles, made much easier with the new Rock Pikmin, or collecting fruit. The game just looks fun Pikmin 3 is obviously the kind of game that you could easily lose a day playing just because of how much fun it is.

 

Gaming Irresponsibly will be bringing you updates as they are made available for the duration of E3. Stay tuned for more news and happenings from the industry’s largest convention here at GamingIrresponsibly.com! You can also follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter

 

Jun 042012
 

Since it’s announcement everyone has been talking about the Wii U and before the console itself has a solid release date, Ubisoft has already thrown themselves head and shoulders into the new console race with a slew of titles set for the new console when it finally arrives in time for the Holiday season this year.

Rayman Legends

Ubisoft took the oppurtunity to showcase how the Wii U can be used to do some great things by showing off the sequel to the hugely successful Rayman Origins using the console live on stage. Having several ways of controlling different characters, especially with the accuracy that a touch screen gives, has really made a difference to what developers can do with their games.

Rayman also showed that Nintendo are catching up on the multiplayer side of things with the game confirmed to offer up to five player coop in a single game. Not too shabby for such an old series and a console that many thought might still lack.

The Avengers: Battle For Earth

All we have to go one for this is a relatively short trailer but if this gets done right then we could be in for one of the few superhero/movie games that has been made and doesn’t suck. The trailer showcases not only popular heroes from the movies but spans across the whole league of super heroes and villans we have come to know and love. As well as introducing Spidey and Venom to the mix, we also got to see some of X-men tearing it up across the city.

With Nintendo seming to play catch up pretyy well when it comes to the Wii U, if this game gives us multiple story lines in an open world and nails the multiplayer to the letter, then this could not only be a good superhero game, but i could be the best super hero game ever made.

ZombiU

Ever since the Dead Island trailer, we all knew that zombie games had got something to show when it comes to original trailers and the first game announced as a Wii U exclusive definately isn’t better, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Once again, absolutely no major details have been announced, but from watching the trailer it looks as though his could be an interesting entry to the genre and it’s going to be set in rainy ol’ London Town.

Along with these three titles, there was also this interesting shot of more games we can expect from Ubisoft for Nintendo’s latest console, hopefully we will see some more over the next few days when Nintendo give there presentation and show off the Wii U in a bit more depth.

Jun 042012
 

Ubisoft have got in early with the latest console and have taken the oppurtunity to use the Wii U to show off the rather impressive Rayman Legends. Following the success of Rayman Origins last year, a sequel was definately on the cards and now we have it. Using multiple controlls with the new style of controller shows of that the system does seem to be both intuitive and responsive and Rayman is prettyy cool too.

The game features multiple characters some of which are controlled using basic controls such as the thumbsticks and the game is playable with older remotes. Some features though are totally dependant on the touch screen. This gives Rayman players the option to play as a variety of characters and the whole game offers a total of up to five players with other players being able to join a game on the fly.

Rather than forcing the coop, each character can make it through the worlds alone but it looks like a lot more fun and a lot easier if you can play with a couple of friends allowing you to make a social experience out of a classic favourite from many peoples childhood.

Gaming Irresponsibly will be bringing you updates as they are made available for the duration of E3. Stay tuned for more news and happenings from the industry’s largest convention here at GamingIrresponsibly.com! You can also follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter


May 292012
 

E3 2012 is less than a week away, and like my most fans of gaming, I can’t wait to see the latest on the biggest games of the year. While it will be great to see new gameplay from things like Assassin’s Creed III and Halo 4, what I really look forward to is the stuff we don’t know about yet. The following ten things are announcements or details that would make this year’s E3 outstanding in my eyes. Now, some of the things I have on this list have already been debunked or confirmed not to be present at the show, but these are things I would like to see at E3, not necessarily predictions of what will actually be there; and hey, you never know.

10. Skyrim DLC Details

Outside of the title, “Dawnguard”, we know absolutely nothing about the upcoming downloadable content for Skyrim. Skyrim was my personal game of the year for 2011, so needless to say I’m looking for any excuse to jump back in and add to my 100+ hour total. With Bethesda’s track record of outstanding post release DLC like Shivering Ilses for Oblivion, and Broken Steel and Point Lookout for Fallout 3, I have really high hopes for Dawnguard, whatever it turns out to be.

9. GTA V Release Date and Details

GTA V may have been officially announced, but we know almost nothing about it, and Rockstar has been completely silent in the months since the first (and only) trailer. Rockstar typically doesn’t do much of anything at E3, but it would be nice to get a firm release date and perhaps some actual details about the game besides the city it takes place in.

8. The Last of Us Release Date and Details

Naughty Dog has been a little more forthcoming with informing about The Last of Us than Rockstar has with GTA V, but what I really want is a release date, preferably this year. While I enjoyed the Uncharted games, there were some aspects of them that I had major problems with, so I was initially skeptical of The Last of Us. However, the more I see and hear about it, the more I really want to play it. If The Last of Us can deliver the same type of amazing writing and cinematic quality as the Uncharted games and improve or change the gameplay (mainly the combat), this could be a truly outstanding game, and I eagerly await every new detail.

7. Retro Studios’ Next Game

Retro studios is without a doubt Nintendo’s best external developer, and they have yet to make a bad game. Given that I have thoroughly enjoyed everything they’ve done thus far, I can’t wait to see what they’ve got coming next. It’s been a couple of years since their last game (Donkey Kong Country Returns), so the timing adds up for them to unveil their next project. Personally, I am hoping they’re working on a Star Fox game, but a return to either Metroid or Donkey Kong would be welcome as well. While I think it would be cool to see them do something completely new, I am betting they bring a classic Nintendo franchise to the Wii U.

6. Respawn Entertainment’s First Game

For those who are unaware, Respawn Entertainment is the development studio founded by Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella after they were fired by Activision following the release of Modern Warfare 2. The studio is comprised of several dozen former Infinity Ward employees that left following the firings, and they are rumored to working on a science fiction first person shooter to compete with the likes of Call of Duty and Halo. I am not sure how much interest I will have in the game itself, given my dislike for Call of Duty, but I have been intrigued by the whole situation since it began several years ago, and I would like to see where it goes from here. As an interesting aside, the trial between West/Zampella and Activision is scheduled for during E3.

Apr 192012
 

As E3 approaches, more and more pieces of news will continue to trickle down to the media.  After all, E3 is one of the biggest gaming events of the year. Therefore, in order to have big reveals for the show, there has to be extensive preparation on the part of those participating in it.  This of course, leads to the infamous press leaks.  The most recent leak is a trailer for Kratos’ latest adventure, which is titled God of War: Ascension.  I’m sure a lot of fans are going crazy over this.  I’m not.  Basically, this upcoming title features Kratos (duh!) and takes place during his service under the Olympian gods.  Yes, it takes place before the original God of War.  No, it is not God of War: Ghosts of Sparta for the PSP.  This is another prequel.

So far the God of War series has 3 main titles, 1 mobile game and 2 portable games.  If we exclude the mobile game, then Ascension becomes the sixth title in the series.  That’s a lot of titles for a series that started in 2005.  Don’t get me wrong, the God of War series is a testament to the quality of games that can be played on the Play Station.  However, I wonder why there is more excitement and coverage on a leaked trailer for an existing franchise on an existing console, than say Pikmin 3, which is a relatively new series on a brand new console.  Why doesn’t Pikmin get any love?  Is it because it doesn’t have a trailer yet?

Every console right now has a great line up (well except the Wii who is headed towards the chopping block) and each console has their signature games.  It is foolish to think that there won’t be any more God of War, Halo or Mario games.  These franchises are money making machines and are here to stay.  Then why do we act surprised when we see franchises returning time and again?

Is there another action/adventure console-exclusive title as popular as God of War III on the Play Station 3?  No, I believe there is not.  So why do we even doubt that there will be any more installments to the series?  Take a look at Nintendo, this company survives on the charity of third party developers and a back bone of strong first party titles.  It is not a question of whether there will be a Mario game, but when.  The same goes for the Xbox’s Halo series.  Master Chief’s original trilogy might be concluded, but how can Microsoft pass up on the idea of bringing back the franchise that single-handedly  made Xbox a household name?

But in this industry it doesn’t matter that we keep rehashing the same news over and over again.  It matters who get’s the news piece out first.  It is not about content, it’s about speed.  So there you have it, new announcement for God of War.  Here’s a shocker:  There will be a Zelda game for the Wii U!  Also, the moon orbits around the earth!  I know, things are getting wild in here.

Apr 102012
 

Reports are circulating around the web that the upcoming Wii U system will retail around $300 upon its release.

The source, who reportedly works in the manufacturing and distribution of Nintendo products, released information on the cost of manufacturing the Wii U.  According to the report, the Wii U console and controller costs $180 to create along with an additional $50 for other materials and components.  Based on those figures, the report states that Nintendo will sell the system for no less than $300.

“They are cutting costs in the Wii U’s hardware to build back confidence in investors. Nintendo wants investors to view Wii U as a less risky proposition,” stated the source in an interview with Forget the Box.

The original Wii retailed at $250 upon its release back in 2006, so an increase in price for the next Nintendo system is no surprise.  Hell, it will most likely be the least expensive of the three next generation systems, so $300 isn’t too bad if the rumor is true.

Source: Gamespot

Apr 032012
 

In an interesting turn of events, reports are now circulating that the upcoming Wii U may not be as powerful as Nintendo had stated in the past.

GamesIndustry surveyed several developers who are currently developing Wii U titles and have stated that the system is definitely not as powerful as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.  Also mentioned was the fact that the tablet like control is quite a bothersome to work with.

 

“It’s not up to the same level as the PS3 or the 360,” said one developer. “The graphics are just not as powerful.”

“It doesn’t produce graphics as well as the PS3 or the 360,” another developer stated.  “There aren’t as many shaders, it’s not as capable. Overall the Wii U just can’t quite keep up.”

When the system was revealed at E3 2011, Nintendo had mentioned that the graphical capabilities would be in line with the other two household systems.  However, it seems like Nintendo has pulled the old innovation rather than power card again, similar to that of the Wii.  So far, no comment from Nintendo concerning the study, though it would interesting to see what they have to say about this.

Source: GamesIndustry

 

Jan 092012
 

With the Wii U coming out some time later this year, and rumors flying all over the internet about possible hardware announcements from Microsoft and Sony at this year’s E3, the next console generation is within sight. At this point, we don’t really know much at all about what these new consoles will be, with very little known even about the Wii U. So, instead of speculating about what these consoles may be, I am simply going to run down 10 features I’m hoping for with the next console generation.

10. Spectator Mode

Anyone who was following the Xbox 360 in the months leading up to its launch will be familiar with this one. I’m not sure if it was ever actually stated by Microsoft or if it was just a rumor, but leading up to the launch of the system, many people including myself were under the impression that the Xbox 360 was going to have a spectator feature. The general idea is that you could simply select anyone on your friends list and watch them play as long as they were signed onto Xbox Live, whether they were playing single player or online multiplayer. This seems like it would be a cool feature, and Onlive actually has something just like this. This feature is great if you want to see a game in action before you buy it, and it needs to be implemented into all future consoles.

9. A Hard Drive With Every System

This one is aimed primarily at Microsoft and Nintendo, since Sony already accomplished this in the current generation (but obviously they should continue this trend as well). Nintendo needs to actually put a hard drive in the Wii U, preferably one that is at least 100GB, but anything higher would also be great. The current hard drive shortage due to the Thailand flood notwithstanding, hard drives are not typically expensive, and every system should come with one of decent size. This also means Microsoft better not sell any systems without a hard drive next generation. The fact that there exists Xbox 360′s that do not have hard drives forces the patch size limits to be too small, causing serious problems. Just look at the disaster with Mortal Kombat’s patch issues. NetherRealm wanted to put the DLC characters in patches for those that didn’t buy them to make sure there was 100% comparability when playing online. This was made impossible due to patch limitations, making DLC characters nearly unplayable online unless the players that hadn’t bought the characters were bothered to download an optional compatibility pack. This issue wouldn’t exist if every system had a hard drive built in.

8. Larger Disk Format

Once again Sony gets a pass on this one because they already achieved it this generation. The bottom line is, having a game come on 2 or 3 discs in this day and age is ridiculous, and it needs to stop. Swapping discs isn’t a huge deal, but it would be nice if every game simply came on one disc. It would also be great if pre-recorded cutscenes could actually run in HD and audio could be of a higher quality. All these things would be possible with larger discs, and whether the answer is that Sony and Nintendo need to use Blu Ray or just use some propriety format of similar size doesn’t really matter to me. As long as we have games on discs of 30+ GB, I don’t care what you call it.

Dec 282011
 

Next year we finally get to see the first of the next generation consoles in the form of the Wii U. Details at the moment are pretty scarce and there isn’t a whole lot being thrown around in the form of rumours, this isn’t about rumours though, this is what I think that Nintendo’s latest offering needs to really compete in today’s market, what features will make it a day one buy that’s worth queuing for on day of release and that’ll stop it from dusting over within a month or two.

 
The Controller
 
Nintendo have gone for a really different controller, it looks more like a tablet computer than a conventional controller and that’s what I think we need to see. Tablets are all the rage and while as a controller it is new and intuitive, giving it some basic functionality to run music, video and DS or just old school gameboy games would make the controller alone a hit, giving consumers even more bang for thier buck.
 
For the sake of adding a decent battery, headphone jack and some internal memory, Nintendo could use the awesome, new controller to make a fresh dent into the handheld market as well as encroach on one of this years biggest markets. It doesn’t need to be the new iPad or Galaxy tab, but it would be a wasted opportunity not to make the controller do more.
 
Extra Services
 
Consoles have become more than just consoles, on demand TV, massive archives of games, movie rental, the list goes on, consoles have become media centres. Now, I know the current Wii offers some of these, but it’s collection is dwarved by that of Sony and now Microsoft. Both the other big consoles offer multiple channels on demand services and have a far bigger catalogue of movies, games and music for me to download straight to my console, the only stuff I have used on the Wii is a buggy as hell on demand service and the weather, on top of some old gameboy and N64 games.
 
With the Wii U Nintendo aren’t looking to catch up, they’re looking to throw open the doors to the future of consoles and unless the console can excel in the extras department, it risks becoming another pretty white box that sits under the tele, unused and forgotten for months at a time.
 

I Want To Investigate With The Wii!

Back Date The Big Games They Missed

 
While there is some awesome games for the Wii the fact remains that the biggest series have left it in the dark because it’s just not powerful enough. No battlefield, modern warfare, skyrim, L.A. Noire, there have been tons of new titles across the other major platforms this year which have stolen us away from Mario Kart and Zelda and these games will continue to do so for years to come.
 
Now if Nintendo can make these games available for the new console at release and a discounted price, then the console will become an even bigger hit, rather than just having what is available at the time, consumers will be able to grab some of the enormous titles that they’ve missed at a lower price and get a totally new experience from. Imagine Skyrim menus on a touch screen in your hands, allowing you to view everything up close and personal, or playing some L.A. Noire, with Cole Phelps notes allowing you to flick through the evidence properly rather than pushing a button.
 
Multiplayer Overhaul
 
In fairness to Nintendo, when the Wii launched online console gaming was still in it’s infancy but since then it has exploded into a global phenomenon with millions of players sometimes playing just one game, on one console at the same time and the Wii has been left in the dark. To be a success, games like Wii Sports need to be playable in the same way Halo is on the Xbox, a social experience right across the globe, if I buy a Wii U I want to be able to tee off a round of golf with some of my foreign friends and have a chat at the same time.
 
Multiplayer is now king, we like to be able to instantly connect with thousands of other people who share our interests more so than just throwing Mario Kart around a race track with a few unknown Europeans which is all I seem to have done online with my Wii.
 
OnLive Integration
 
For a while there has been talk of the OnLive service merging with another company to link into a console, the launch of apps for the Xbox 360 has only fuelled these rumours, with the next gen Xbox looking like the main contender, but what if Nintendo got in there first?
 
I love OnLive, the concept is incredible and the service is great, if Nintendo did choose to go down this road with the Wii U it could be a match made in heaven. As well as the huge volume of titles which is constantly growing, OnLive already has an exceptional focus on multiplayer. This partnership could kill two birds with one stone for Nintendo, OnLive’s catalogue could not only boost the titles for the system, it could also make use of the touchscreen controller thanks to the services tablet integration, which now allows players to actually play games with their Android tablet or iPad.
 
Original Classics
 
This is a hard one for any company but is also a necessity, when a new console launches it needs titles that will stun an audience, without being a rehash or a sequel. While I enjoy a bit of Mario and Zelda as much as the next guy, the Wii needs new content, they need to stop playing such a safe bet with the classics and invest in new series that can create the same buzz, which is what game development should be about, giving users a new experience that they can rely on for a decade or two.
 
So there we have it, that is what it will take to get me in line, in the freezing British weather to grab a Wii U and I really hope that Nintendo can deliver on the hype and excitement I felt when they first launched the Wii rather than leave me feeling disappointed a few months down the line once the novelty of a touchscreen controller has worn off, just as the motion controllers did a few years ago.