Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Update: The New Year, A Change of Plans and Other Stuff!

Hey doods and doodettes. Welcome to yet another Update post, this time on what I've got planned for the rest of December and the new year. As you may know, I posted an update last month about what's happening this Christmas on the blog and I promised a review of No More Heroes 2, but unfortunately that won't be happening this month. The reason? I lent it to a mate last month and he forgot to give it me back before the holidays. Woopsie! Anyway, I'll still definitely be doing the review at some point (hopefully in January). So, now that's out of the way I'll start with my announcements for 2011.

The New Year!
So, it's only a few days until this year ends and the new year begins. Of course, that means I'll have another year added to my blog after it started back in December 2009. However, I didn't post anything back then so I actually have no idea when I started it. Because of this, the post I had planned about looking back on the highs and lows of my blog will be cut back the January 31st, the exact same date where I posted my very first piece of writing on the blog; My Disgaea DS review. That should be fun. But what else do I have planned for 2011? Well, in terms of reviews I'll be doing one of Resident Evil 4, one of the greatest games of all time. I've been playing through it recently and am approaching the end at the time of writing, so I reckon it'd be a good time to review the game in January. In terms of features I'll be bringing you something extra-special! At the beginning of the year I posted my very first feature entitled 'My Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2010'. Well, next month I'll be doing 'My Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2011'! Finally, there's a 3DS event happening next month where the console's price and exact release date will finally be revealed, as well as new information and footage of the 3DS games we're all looking forward to. I'll certainly be doing a post on that. Surely something to look forward to. Now, let's return to the present and I'll tell you what's coming before all this.

The Rest of December
Oh crap! I forgot to mention, Merry Christmas! Right, glad I could shoehorn that in. Okay, so what's coming before the end of December? Well, I'll be posting another Christmas-related Feature in the form of what gaming-related stuff I got for Christmas. I've still got more presents incoming but so far I've got my hands on Professor Layton and the Lost Future, which I unfortunately won't be able to play until March because I sold my DSi and now have nothing to play it on! In terms of other stuff, erm... Nothing. That's all I'll be posting until next year, but I'll be sure to go as in depth as possible with it!

I think I've got everything covered there. Good stuff. Anyway, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Noodle's Blog!


Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas Feature: My Gaming Wishlist

Christmas Lists. I write one every year and since it's just one measly week until the big day I thought I might share with you and also reccomend some games that are worth getting for Christmas in the form of a feature. I've applied one simple rule to this list; It is only made up of games that came out in the space of the past few months. If this rule wasn't applied I could stick a ton of stuff on here and never get it finished. So, know that that's out of the way, let's get started.

Professor Layton and the Lost Future
Sure, Professor Layton's third DS adventure came out in the UK a while back, but I still haven't got my hands on it yet. This is because, ever since the first Layton game was finally released in the UK 2 years ago, I've gotten every game in the series for Christmas. It's like some kind of tradition now, so I'm pretty certain I'll be getting this on the 25th. A Toblerone too, I always seem to get at least one of them. For those who aren't aware of the Professor Layton series, it's a collection of titles that are packed full of puzzles, animated cutscenes and absolutely phenomenal story-lines. They're a bit short, but considering I get them (basically) for free, I can't complain. The Lost Future is apparently the best so I can't wait to get my mitted mitts on this one. I don't really know a whole lot about this title, but that's simply because I refuse to spoil it by looking at Youtube videos. Professor Layton games are titles to be enjoyed personally. They pack such an awesome charm that I really can't not ask for these games every year. And did I mention? I'll be getting a free collector's box because I've registered the previous titles on Club Nintendo. Get in!

Donkey Kong Country Returns
Next up, it's a Wii game. Donkey Kong Country Returns to be precise. Now, I'm a big fan of the Metroid Prime games and since this new title is developed by Retro Studios, the same folks that worked on Samus' first-person adventures, I really can't wait to play it. According to various sources, DKCR is very hard, which is to be expected. After all, it was developed by the people who made Prime 2, a game considered by many as unplayable. However, the game's difficulty is mostly brought on by it's secret collectables. Each level is packed with four letter that spell out K-O-N-G, as well as 5 to 9 Puzzle Pieces. The letters are always in plain sight, but in order to grab them you'll need to do some really specific jumps to reach them. The Puzzle Pieces however, are always hidden away and are much harder to grab. I'm a good collect-a-thon fan, so DKCR will surely last me quite a while. The game visually looks beautiful too, as unlike certain other 2D platformers (Not naming any names... Mario) each level doesn't use a pre-made tile set. Instead, each level is built from the ground up, with so many subtle, tiny details that really show Retro has worked on the visual aspect of the game as much as possible. DKCR looks awesome, and if it wasn't for that free collector's box I'll be getting with Layton 3, it would be at the top of my list.
Super Mario All-Stars Collector's Edition Box
This is the definition of awesome: A SNES compilation featuring four of the greatest 2D platformers of all time packed onto a Wii disk, packaged alongside a beautiful retro box, a Mario history booklet and a soundtrack CD. What's more, this lovely package is amazingly cheap, at only £17 on Amazon and Play.com. Shamefully, I don't own Super Mario Bros 1, 2, 3 or The Lost Levels so it's kinda obvious why I wouldn't mind getting this package. After all, this collection does include four amazing platformers with enhanced graphics for a very affordable price along with various other goodies. It's difficult to think of any Mario fan that wouldn't want this box. Plus it'll probably be worth a ton in the coming decades. Now, moving swiftly on to the second DS game of this list...

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
How could I not put this game on the list? Dark Dawn is the extremely highly anticipated third game in the Golden Sun series. For those not in the know, the previous Golden Sun games were a series of Role-Players for the GBA and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is the newest instalment, released 8 years after Golden Sun 2: The Lost Age. I happen to have my hands on the original Golden Sun games, the first of which I haven't even finished yet. Because of this, I don't really want Dark Dawn just yet, but it's a game I'd very highly recommend for any gamer's Christmas list (as long as they have a DS, of course). It's also worth picking up if you've never even played the original games, because this isn't a direct follow-on from the previous titles. Dark Dawn is the last game to be released before Christmas, and we've certainly ended on a high-note. If you're a fan of RPGs get Golden Sun: Dark Dawn!

Sonic Colours
Last month I praised Sonic Colours and Sonic 4 for being an excellent return to form for the blue mammal. Both games have received great reviews and very positive feedback for the most part, and all Sega had to do was listen to their fans. With these facts in mind, it's certainly worth sticking Sonic Colours on this list. What's amazing about this game is that it still retains a gimmick, yet this one isn't game breaking at all. The game is set in an intergalactic amusement park built by Doctor Eggman (erm, Robotnik) who claims that he has left behind his previously evil lifestyle. However, Sonic has none of this and decides to investigate. As it turns out, his arch-nemesis has used the power of an alien race called Wisps to fuel his massive amusement park and is still up to no good, despite his claims. It's clearly a story inspired by the original Sonic games where the evil doctor kidnapped woodland animals, which certainly isn't a bad thing. Now, you know I mentioned those Wisp things? That's where the gimmick steps in. Different types of wisps grant Sonic different abilities to use in levels, like a drill, rocket, blimp, even a demonic monster transformation is in there. Most of the power-ups are clearly stolen from the Mario Galaxy games, but that's no bad thing. Sonic Colours' gimmicks don't hold the game back at all and it's definitely worth sticking on the Christmas list.

So there you have it, a definitive list of some of the best games available to buy this Christmas. I did leave a few things out to save time, such as GoldenEye and a few downloadable games like Cave Story and Sonic 4, but I'd recommend those games as much as everything else on this list. Have a great Christmas and enjoy the Holidays while they last doods!

Friday, 17 December 2010

REVIEW: The World Ends with You

The World Ends With You
[DS] [Square Enix/Jupiter]
We all know Square-Enix. They're quite possibly the biggest name in gaming when it comes to RPGs, creating such popular franchises as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. Let's face it, most people must have heard the name Final Fantasy before at some point in their lives. With Square raking in so much cash from their popular franchises, it's hard to imagine them exploring the unknown and developing a game that's obviously not going to sell too well, right? Wrong. Because back in 2008 they published a unique yet brilliant game by the name of The World Ends With You for the DS. Developed by Jupiter, the same team that worked on the Kingdom Hearts games, The World Ends With You (or TWEWY for short) is quite possibly the best RPG on the DS, as well as one of the best games to appear on the console in general. Get ready for a lot of reading, because this is gonna be my biggest and (hopefully) best review yet.

So, how to begin? Well, I guess I should start with the story. I'm obviously trying to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, just like my other ones, but with The World Ends with You it's quite difficult. Basically, I'll be talking about the first few days of the game's storyline only in this paragraph, so some very minor spoilers may ensue. Got it? Good, now read on. The story begins with Neku, a teenage boy who really doesn't like other people. One might consider him an 'emo', minus the black hair and self-harming buisness. Neku lives in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan, living out his life until something unforunate happens. One minute, Neku is chilling in Shibuya, the next minute he wakes up in the middle of the 'Scramble Crossing', soon receiving a mysterious text message on his phone. The message reads: "Reach 104" as well as giving a time limit. Neku replies with a subtle remark and treats the message as spam, therefore deleting it. This doesn't seem to work though, and the message stays put. Soon after that, mysterious graffiti-like monsters appear out of nowhere and attack Neku. Confused and frightened, he legs it to the Statue of Hachiko where he runs into Shiki, a teenage girl who, much like the protagonist has been put in the same situation. Unlike Neku, Shiki seems to know what's going on and urges him to 'forge a pact' so they can team up and fight the 'Noise', which are the monsters that attacked Neku earlier. And so, the protagonist meets his partner.
The dual-screen battle system is unique, and works very well for the most part.
Soon it becomes clear that Neku has been thrown into The Reapers' Game, a complicated and desperate challenge set in Shibuya. The game lasts one whole week, each day of which a mysterious group called the Reapers sets a challenge. The Players (Neku, Shiki and a variety of others) have to complete these challenges to win the game and return to their normal lives. There's a lot involved that can't really be explained in one or two paragraphs, but when it all comes together in the story you'll realise just how clever and extremely well written The World Ends with You is. It's a story packed with unthinkable twists and amazing character design (wait 'til Sho Minamimoto and Joshua show up and you'll see what I mean) put together by Testuya Nomura. Seriously, I would go as far as saying that TWEWY has one of the best storylines ever conceived in a videogame, despite being on a not so powerful handheld. My only flaw with this aspect of the game is that it takes a few hours to get started, but hey, that's the case with so many other RPGs so you can't really complain too much. I clocked the game's ending for the first time in about 25 hours, so it's a lengthy adventure and one you'll play through time and time again just to see what you missed out.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Resident Evil 3DS Overload!

Today Capcom opened up the official Japanese sites for both Resident Evil 3DS games, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries and Resident Evil: Revelations. On the sites they posted some frankly awesome new screenshots and revealing information on the games (even though it's in Japanese). This news is pretty exciting because frankly, we haven't had a lot of 3DS-related news of late, and it's nice that Capcom have given us a little taster to get us ready for the real thing. The flood gates won't be opening until next year, after all. To celebrate this news I'm doing a blog post, and I'll be writing about my expectations for both games. Buckle up, because it's gonna be one horrifying thrill-ride (with zombies).

Resident Evil: Revelations
As made evident in my Top Ten Most Anticipated 3DS Games feature from a while back, Resident Evil Revelations is one of the games I'm most looking forward to on 3DS. Who couldn't be excited? It uses the same engine as one of the greatest games of all time (Resident Evil 4) and Capcom are aiming to make this the best Resi yet after learning from their mistakes with the most recent PS3 and 360 release. One of the main reasons I'm looking forward to what is essentially Resi 6 so much is not that it's going to be a full-scale Resident Evil game, but because it will be a game I'll be able to show to my mates and hopefully convert them into 3DS lovers. If one kid playing touch-hockey on his iPad can do that, surely a horrifyingly brilliant game in 3D surely can too.

Of course, it's not all about me showing off (it isn't about that at all really). It has recently been announced that Resident Evil: Revelations is only around 20% complete. This may seem like bad news for most gamers because it probably won't be released around the 3DS's launch, but it clearly shows that Capcom are aiming to make this a big game, and not another Resident Evil 5. They've even stuck in some little touches (such as being able to move while aiming) that will clearly improve the slightly iffy engine we had before. And did I mention that real zombies are back too?

You'll be playing as Resi favourite Jill Valentine in Revelations. She may not be as cool as Leon, but she's a welcome protagonist. Check out those facial expressions too!
In Resident Evil: Revelations you'll be exploring a haunted boat (a ghost ship, if you want) as Jill Valentine. She's teamed up with Chris Redfield too, but as made evident in the trailer we were shown all those months ago she's clearly pretty angry at the guy; Pointing a gun at her own partner! Obviously we don't know a hell of a lot about the story so far and it definitely wouldn't be a good idea for Capcom to spoil it all, but if Revelations' tale is half as good as Resi 4 it'll be pretty awesome indeed. Hopefully we'll be getting some extra modes after completion too like in every Resi game since Resi 3. While we'll have to wait quite a while for Revelations to be released, I'm definitely looking forward to it and it's iron-casted onto my 3DS wish list. If Capcom get this one spot-on it will be the best Resident Evil game yet.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries
When the Mercenaries mode was introduced to the series, it changed Resident Evil forever. Part Zombie Survival mode, part race against the clock, this addictive mode was considered one of the best parts of Resident Evil 3, 4 and 5 due to its extremely addictive gameplay. Good news Mercenaries fans, Capcom are bringing the Mercenaries experience to the 3DS. This new game features all the stages and characters from Resident Evil 4 and 5, as well as a ton of new stuff wrapped up in one large package. Whether it'll have some kind of story mode is yet to be seen, but it's clear already the Resident Evil: The Mercenaries will be a standout hit for the 3DS's library. So, what's new for this full size Mercenaries game? Well, you'll be able to customise all the playable characters, which indicates there could be a shop of sorts included, as well as some kind of currency system. This would make the gameplay only more addictive, not that it needed to be in the first place. In other news, Capcom have revealed that the game is over 70% finished, so we could be looking at a launch title here. Aside from this, other news is scarce.

Despite the low amount of new information for this game in comparison to Revelations, we have got a lot more new screenshots. Capcom opened up the official Japanese webpage for this game too, and along with it plenty of images as well as confirmation of what we already knew: There's gonna be a co-op WiFi mode. Many gamers already guessed this as one early screenshot showed several of the playable characters in a scenario, but Capcom haven't confirmed it until now. This online mode is another feature that will definitely make the already addictive game even more so.

Krauser from Resident Evil 4 has always been skilled with the good old combat knife, but can he take on the power of the mighty shovel? Yeah, probably.
While Resident Evil: The Mercenaries isn't quite as high up on my 3DS anticipation list as Revelations, I'm certainly looking forward to it. You really can't say no to addictive, mutant-blasting, score racking gameplay, especially if it's in Mercenaries form. What's more, it's on a handheld so the Mercenaries experience is now fully portable, so you can kill zombies pretty much anywhere! (don't worry kids, they're already dead). It's clear that we'll be getting The Mercenaries before the series' next full-scale game, so this could be a great warm-up for what's to come.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Christmas Update: What's coming up in December

Yo, as you may or may not be aware it'll be the month of Christmas in a few days. Snow began to fall here in the UK yesterday, which was nice. Of course, I'm not here to write about winter-related antics, so I thought I'd bump the post count by letting you guys and gals know what's coming up in the festive season. Let's begin with some reviews...

TWEWY is an amazing game, look forward to the review.
The World Ends With You and No More Heroes 2 Reviews
Above this line of text you'll see the names of two games I'll definitely have reviewed for next month. I originally planned to do NMH2 first, but I've lent it to my mate so that'll have to wait. Instead, I've resorted to the good old DS and got back into The World Ends With You, a frankly amazing game under the Square-Enix label. I'm also playing through Viewtiful Joe 2, but chances are that'll be up at the beginning of next year. The games I'll be reviewing don't really have anything to do with Christmas, but who cares? Then again, NMH2 does begin with a snowfall, that's pretty christmassy.

A-a-a-a-a-a-anniversary! Chrimbo Lists!
Believe it or not, but I began this blog in December last year. What does that mean? Well, I will have been bloggerering (is that a word?) for a year so I'll be sure to look back on my highs and lows in a feature. Another festive themed feature I'll be writing up next month is my 'Christmas Wish list'. Basically it'll be a countdown of my most wanted games for Christmas, built out of games old and new. Among them will be Layton 3 and Donkey Kong Country Returns. Look forward to those.

As well as these reviews and features, I'll also be posting the usual gaming-related antics, as well as a post on what I actually got for christmas. I'll end this post with an apology for not posting as much as I should be recently. Still, school will soon be over for the time being. Merry Christmas!! (Even though it isn't quite Christmas yet...)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

First Impressions: Sin and Punishment 2: Successor of the Skies

Man, that's one hefty title. Anyway, I got my hands on a hidden gem by the name of Sin and Punishment 2 recently, and I'll tell you something: It's awesome. And it's difficult. Very difficult. I knew that the game wouldn't be easy when I picked it up, so I naturally picked the Easy mode for my first playthrough (there's really no shame in that) and even that mode's pretty damn hard.

So what's the whole jist of Sin and Punishment then? Well, you could call it an on-rails shooter with a twist. The slight difference here is that your character is on screen, and can be moved around to dodge bullets and perform melee attacks. Apart from that, this is your average on-rails game but a hell of a lot more mental. Hundreds of enemies swarm around the screen while your character runs at a very fast pace. Bullets are flying all around the screen and explosions are occuring more than often. This really is one of the most technically impressive games on the Wii, and it deserves a big pat on the back for showing off to all those annoying Xbox fanboys. In short, take that!

Sin and Punishment 2 has a fairly ridiculous story, following a teenage kid called Isa who vows to protect his new partner Katchi from something called the Nebulox. Katchi is actually an alien though, and the bad guys want to get their hands on her for their own evil deeds. You won't be playing Sin and Punishent 2 for it's story, however, as the main focus is tooth-shredding action. If you're one of those types who bought a Wii just to play casual stuff like Wii Fit and Boom Blox (both of which I have nothing against) then this game will literally give you a seizure. Well, it won't, but don't get the game anyway. I've kept this one short because there's so much I want to write about in my actual review, which I'll start work on very soon. I've still got No More Heroes 2 and The World Ends with You to deal with first, mind. In the end, get Sin and Punishment 2 if you think you'll like it. Don't get Sin and Punishment 2 if you don't think you'll like it. Sorted!

Thursday, 18 November 2010


SSX On Tour
[Gamecube] [EA Sports BIG]
You know, doing this review makes me kinda sad. "Why did SSX have to die?" and "why are there never any good 'extreme' sports games anymore?" were some of the sentences that flowed through my mind while I was playing SSX On Tour, because the game is pretty awesome. For those among you who aren't aware of the SSX franchise, it's basically the snowboarding equivalent of Tony Hawk from last-gen. The series wasn't very popular until SSX 3 came along, followed on after by SSX On Tour which is surprisingly the game I'll be talking about in just a second. After that, some average Wii game was released under the name and the series died. Shame really. Anywho, let's talk about happier things and get on with this review...

I'm a big fan of SSX, despite my hate of sports games in general (then again, this could be classed as an 'extreme' sports game). With the series, EA have created some games so addictive and re-playable that they still hold out to this day, and I'd consider On Tour the very best on par with SSX 3. The basic concept is that you, a lone human being chucked into the snowboarding universe, must rise up in popularity and turn from an unheard of regular into a snowboarding god. You do this by completing various tasks on your board in the form of Shreds and Tournaments. The Shred challenges involve various different tasks taking place on different parts of a huge mountain. These tasks could be anything from racing against another boarder to reaching the finish line without getting busted by the 'ski-patrol'. They're all pretty varied, and even though they're repeated quite a bit it never gets repetitive thanks to the harder ones being set in other areas of the mountain. There's also almost 200 Shreds in total, so you'll be spending hours trying to complete them all. The tournaments are much bigger levels split into three different types of event; Freestyle, Pipe and Race. Freestyle challenges have you riding down the mountain attempting to both reach the finish line and beat a set score at the same time. Pipe is essentially the same, but much smaller and set on a half-pipe (allowing for some pretty ridiculous combos). Racing is self-explanatory. All in all, SSX On Tour is a pretty big game, even if it is a little repetitive.

The main objective of the game is pretty simple. By completing Shreds and Tournaments, your player earns something called Shred Hype. This hype adds to a total and places you on a leader-board made up of all the other boarders and ski-ers taking on the perilous mountain. Despite the kinda repetitive nature of the Shreds and Tournaments, your playthrough will always be different as some challenges disappear after you complete other stuff. There's a nice page of statistics that can be accessed too, letting you know how many challenges you've completed. Of course, before you begin all these wild challenges you'll need to create a character to represent yourself. At first, this isn't very deep at all with only a few clothes on offer, and to be honest, the customisation aspect of the game really isn't that deep at all. Thankfully, you can spend your hard-earned cash on some better threads later on. Speaking of money, there's a lot to be bought in SSX On Tour. A couple of shops can be accessed from the hub world, which is essentially just a map where you can select challanges to compete in and places to buy stuff. There's 3 different shops, each specifying in different types of items. The Clothing shop sells gear for your character to wear, the Barbers specify in messing with your hair, and the Snowboarding shop sells attributes (upgrades for your character) and the most important items of all: Snowboards (or skis if you picked that option).

The most important thing in gaming has always been gameplay, so how does that hold out in SSX's last hurrah? Pretty well actually. It's a bit like the old Tony Hawk engine, except you perform tricks by holding different combinations of buttons instead of entering commands. Holding a direction or two on the D-Pad gets your character ready for a flip before jumping, and pushing the C-Stick up or down while on the ground allows your Boarder to perform a manual. There isn't as wide a range of tricks here, but there really doesn't need to be. Where the gameplay differs from that of it's skateboarding rival (back then anyway...) is the special meter. At the bottom of the screen you'll see a meter that is filled up by performing tricks. Once the meter is full, it turns gold and the player is able to perform some pretty ridiculous special tricks by holding the C-Stick in certain directions while air-bound. These special tricks apparently "defy the laws of the space-time continuum", but they really just slow down time and pan the camera round your player, as well as scoring massive points. And that's basically it! SSX On Tour offers some pretty good gameplay, all in all.

In the end SSX On Tour is a very accomplished game with few flaws, but I do have a large niggle with the title that you may or may not disagree with. That niggle would be the game's soundtrack. Sure, there's some nice tunes here and there, but when you compare it to past SSX games (SSX

SSX On Tour is one of the best sports game of last generation, and it's certainly a title worth picking up. The game's available on multiple platforms, but the Gamecube version is the best thanks to an exclusive area called 'Nintendo Village' and the ability to play as Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach in the game's Quick Play option. If you're into these sorts of games and have something to play SSX On Tour on, by all means buy it!


Can I just mention also that I couldn't find any good images for this review, so we''ll just have to stick with text. Sowwey!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

REVIEW: Warioware Inc.

Warioware Inc.  
[GBA] [Nintendo]
It's the game that started the madness. A madness so ridiculous it's a wonder it actually worked. That madness would be a case of Microgame mania, introduced in the original Warioware game for the Game Boy Advance. For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of Microgames, they could be summed up as 5-second minigames involving tasks so simple, two or three words could be used to explain them. Anything from pressing a button at a certain time to dodging obstacles with the directional-pad would be the controls for a Microgame, as the ones on Warioware Inc. only involve the A button and the D-pad. Of course, it's oh so much deeper than that.

Here's some examples of the many Microgames packed into Warioware. Nope, no need to thank me!
Warioware Inc has a simple but fairly ridiculous story. Wario is lazily resting on his sofa, indulging in a spot of good old TV. He obviously couldn't be arsed to change channels, so the news is on. Suddenly, a reporter appears on screen outside of a game store, saying there's a boom in game sales (strangely, he's holding up a copy of Pyoro). Wario sees this as an opportunity to make a game of his own and rake in the cash, so he does just that. He creates his videogame stupidly fast, labelling it Warioware Inc. You, as a player of Wario's game, are tasked with completing it. It's a fairly crazy story to follow, but it works and acts as the setup for the brilliant game within. After passing the title screen, a menu comes up showing multiple empty squares, bar one. These squares are the actual levels in Warioware Inc, each involving a character and a stash of themed microgames for you to play. Each level is introduced by another ridiculous cutscene involving the character. Beat all the levels, and you beat the game. Simple, no? The introductory level keeps things simple and acts as a sort-of tutorial for what's to come. You are presented with several microgames, and a boss. The boss stages aren't timed like the regular microgames, instead asking you to figure out how to beat the game. The first boss, for example, involves Wario and a ball and chain hanging from the ceiling. Pressing the A-button will make Wario punch the ball, forcing it to swing back and forth. You need to time several punches correctly before Wario charges up for a final uppercut, breaking the ball and chain into pieces. It's pretty satisfying, and the boss stages are some of the most enjoyable parts of the game. Every main level has one boss, adding up to a good amount of these.

9-Volt's levels have always been the best, because you're almost always guarenteed retro-style minigames
So, Warioware Inc is jam packed with Microgames, but is there anything else in the package to mix things up? Certainly. When you beat a level with a high score, a Minigame is unlocked. Any DSi owners who are online will already be aware of Pyoro and Paper Plane, both of which feature in Warioware Inc as some of the unlockable Minigames, but there's plenty more in there. Despite not having as big a screen as the DSi or the XL, the Minigames still work well. It's pretty fun trying to beat your high scores in these modes and they're also a fun diversion from the main game. Heck, there's even a Dr. Mario clone in there called Dr. Wario, complete with slightly different sprites and sillier background music. There's also some 2-player Minigames, but I didn't have a chance to play these with anyone.

Even after you beat the game, Warioware Inc still begs you to take more. Even on your first playthrough you won't have unlocked every character's Microgames, so it's nice to go back and play past levels to beat your scores and unlock every Microgame. There's also a nice Boss Rush mode, which has you facing off against only Boss Microgames three times over, always increasing in difficulty. An 'Easy Mode' was also chucked in, but it seems they just did that for the sake of it. Aside from all this, there's still more Minigames that can be unlocked which is nice. Overall Warioware Inc has pretty good replay-value, which is great because it's definitely a more 'pick up and play' game. It'll take you no time at all to beat the main game, but there's still enough stuff to have you coming back for a few more sessions. If you've got a GBA, get this game! And hey, why not check out the other games in the series too?


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Why I Couldn't be Happier about Sonic's Return to Form

Have you heard the news? That's right, Sonic has officially backed away from silly gimmicks, broken The Sonic Cycle and saved his spikey skin, and I couldn't be happier. Sonic Colours on Wii and DS along with the downloadable Sonic 4: Episode 1 have received rave reviews from many a journalist recently, and if Sega continue to make Sonic games as awesome as these then the blue dude is officially awesome for the first time since the Mega Drive and Sega CD days. Of course, I liked Sonic Unleashed a lot, but I was clearly in the minority. This time though, things are oh so different. Now that Sonic Colours and Sonic 4 have received these rave reviews, fans and gamers in general who know about Sonic can rest easy. All those years of pain and stupid gimmicks are finally over, and the 'Hog has a bright future ahead of him. Although, there is that new Sonic Riders game coming to the Xbox's Kinect line, but just ignore that.

Weirdly, Sega have made the decision to remove all the 'bad' Sonic games from shelves, including last year's awful Sonic and the Black Knight. This is pretty good news, and a clever move from the company in my eyes. Why? Picture the scene. There's a guy who wants to get into Sonic games, but doesn't know the slightest thing about them. He picks up an awful title in the series and takes it as a first impression, imprinting the fact that "all Sonic games suck" into his mind and never buy a Sonic game ever again. So if Sega take away all these ruined titles, they'll get more sales. And of course, more money for Sega means more money to produce more awesome Sonic games. Everyone's a winner!

A while ago Sega also confirmed the next Sonic title in the main series, before Colours is even out! It sounds awesome, and is a great celebration of all (good) things Sonic-related. Apparently they're doing another 'Sonic Unleashed daytime levels' style game like Colours, but it'll be set in such classic stages as the mighty Green Hill Zone. I know we've got to wait until sometime next year 'till we can discover anything more about this game, but just the confirmation is enough to make fans go nuts. 2011 certainly is looking like an awesome year for gaming already, and if the new Sonic game is any good it'll definitely contribute to the oh-so lovely awesomeness raised by the likes of the 3DS and Skyward Sword. Roll on next year!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Feature: My Top Ten Most Anticipated 3DS Games

There's been a ton of 3DS games announced since the console was first revealed at E3 this year, so I thought I might as well make a list of the ten I want more than the other 70-odd. I've actually had this list planned for quite a while, and I reckoned now would be a good time to finally do it because of a lack of features recently. It's certainly difficult to pick just ten titles, but here we go, this is my definitive list. Keep in mind this list was made today (26th October 2010) so any games announced after today obviously don't count because they don't exist yet (time is a weird thing dood). Now that's out of the way, let's begin...

Remind you of Wuhu Island much?
10. Pilotwings: Resort
Ok, I was stuck for choice between Paper Mario 3DS and Pilotwings here, but in the end I had to go with the latter. Despite the fact I have never played a Pilotwings game before, this game simply looks like it will make a more amazing use of the 3D effect. From what we've seen so far, this is essentially the Air Sports games in Wii Sports Resort with a few new modes. The first batch of Screenshots and footage have shown off what is essentially the Island Fly-over mode (in which you fly a plane over Wuhu Island) and another mode where your Mii has a jet-pack strapped to his or her back and has to fly through rings, a mode that has featured in past Pilotwings games. The Skydiving game from Wii Sports Resort would work incredibly well here if it was played from a top-down perspective and tilting the console moved your Mii. Imagine that! A replay mode involving full camera control would be awesome too, and would make great use of the 3D effect. In short, Pilotwings Resort is looking pretty ace, despite the fact it's essentially Wii Sports Resort's Air Sports modes from what we've seen. Definitely one worth keeping your eyes on.
SHIN SHORYUKEN! SSFIV 3D Edition takes a more cartoony approach than Dead or Alive
9. Super Street Fighter IV 3D
I'm going to be completely honest now, I really dislike Street Fighter. I've played the 2nd and 3rd games in the series and I'm certainly not a fan of that button-mashing junk. However, I do love Tatsunoko VS Capcom as you may know, and Super Street Fighter IV was the original game that used that engine, meaning it is essentially different from past Street Fighter games which I despise. With that in mind, I could love Street Fighter IV 3D edition, the new version of the franchise's latest game that's coming to the 3DS. The new innovative features that make use of the 3DS's connectivity options such as SpotPass and StreetPass are well implemented into SSFIV 3D, but they obviously won't work here in the UK (who would actually carry a 3DS around while it's switched on?). The fighting system is also pretty ace, I love that clunky feel that Street Fighter IV has, and it's intact in the 3DS version. With this game, Capcom are also helping the fighting newbies out. Special moves such as Ryu's Shinku Hadouken are usually activated by a mix of button presses and control-stick movements, which could confuse some newcomers to this type of game, so the fine chaps at Capcom are allowing players to use these attacks by pressing an icon on the touch-screen. How very nice of them! If SSFIV 3D lives up to my expectations I'll be glad to get a copy of it. Dead or Alive: Dimensions looks pretty cool too!
Yeah, I realise it says 2010 on there. Mask of Miracle was originally announced for the DS.
8. Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle
Yup, I stuck the 3DS's first main Professor Layton game three spaces behind his recently announced clash with Ace Attorney, but for good reason. I'll get into that later though, because Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle is still looking great thanks to the fact it's revolutionizing the standard Layton gameplay style. Let's face it, the first four games are essentially the same concept. Where The Mask of  Miracle fits in the great Layton timeline is unknown at the time of writing, but the story obviously involves a mask of some sort (I don't speak Japanese, obviously). So, what's this big gameplay change then? Glad you asked. Now, all the character models and backgrounds are fully 3D (in both ways), which is good news. The puzzles look a bit more varied as well, also making use of the 3D effect. We've only seen two of those so far though, one involving the player having to navigate through a maze as a ladybird. Of course, the 2D animated cut-scenes are still intact, but nobody wants them gotten rid of, right? Hopefully the 3D effects will be implemented there too. Every Professor Layton game is pretty much a must-buy for me, since I'm such a big fan of them, and that's why it snags number 8 on this list.
Now, onto the next one...
Persona 3 is one of the greatest RPGs ever made, packing some stunning artwork. Atlus NEED to release this on the 3DS, or else!
7. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona Titles
Bet you didn't expect that! Since Shin Megami Tensei: Persona is one of those 3DS announcements that we know absolutely nothing about, so that's not very surprising. So, how does a game that we know nothing about get into this list? With an astonishing backlog, that's what! You see, the Persona series is well known for being one of the best RPGs on the PS2 and the PSP, and if they port arguably the best game in the series, Persona 3 FES to the 3DS it would be a very happy time for many a RPG fan. Why is this, you ask? I'll explain. The first two Persona games were actually a little weak, and were originally released on the PS1 then ported to the PSP. They were only released in Japan until the PSP updates, but before that happened Atlus made the stupid decision to release Persona 3 in the US and the UK first, when nobody had even heard of the series. Strangely (seriously, this never happens) Persona 3 went down a storm outside of the East and it sold much more copies than expected, giving the developers the excuse to go on and make a definitive version of the title; Persona 3 FES. They also made Persona 4 after, but that's beside the point. As I was saying, if this unknown Persona game turns out to be a remake of Persona 3 FES, that would be literally one of the best things to happen on the system yet. It is likely, as Persona 3 is the best-selling game in the series and it has been ported to the PSP. If you want to know any more about Persona, it involves the protagonists shooting themselves in the head to summon demons. Like? I thought you would...

Erm, lasers? It doesn't exactly fit, but fair enough
6. Kid Icarus Uprising
Okay, so Uprising technically isn't close at all to the original Kid Icarus game on the NES, but it doesn't need to be because the new 3DS game is looking awesome as. I mean, how can a winged angel armed with guns who flies around slaying demons of the Underworld and dodging lasers that don't even fit in with the rest of the game not be cool? Anywho, I'm really looking forward to Uprising, mostly because it's by the same guys who brought us Smash Bros. Brawl, but also because it's very reminiscent of Sin and Punishment, the classic on-rails futuristic shooter that recently got a Wii reboot (google it kids). As well as being an on-rails shooter at times, Kid Icarus Uprising sometimes takes to the ground for some land-battle action. Here you have complete freedom of movement and aiming, which is a nice touch. We haven't heard a massive amount about Uprising since it's announcement at E3, but hopefully we'll find out more soon enough. Finally, there's the controls for Uprising. People who played a demo at the 3DS conference last month complained about a slightly iffy control system that makes it difficult to aim, but the developers say they are working on it. Hopefully this flaw will be fixed. Now for the other Layton game...
Later on Phoenix and Layton team up to bring down the evil plot.
5. Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney
Yup, I'm looking forward to Layton's recently announced crossover more than the other title. I'll tell you why immediately. You see, it's not because the so-called 'legendary' Phoenix Wright is teaming up with the professor, but instead because the game's story simply looks better. When I watched a translated version of the game's trailer (cheers for that ONM) I genuinely got excited. It involves a girl who is accused of being a witch, who lives in a town controlled by a man known as the 'Storyteller' who writes books. That doesn't sound very sinister, but when I go on to say these books control what happens in the whole town you'll be changing your mind. As ever, Layton and his cockney partner Luke go to investigate, teaming up with Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey from the Ace Attorney series. It looks pretty damn good, that's for sure, despite the fact we haven't seen any actual gameplay yet. Will it be like the main Layton games, or something new? Who knows. I can't wait to find out more about this one, another definite must-buy. Now onto something a little more controversial.
They've certainly recaptured the original. Can they improve some of the flawed game design?

4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Best game ever? Sorry, Ocarina of Time? I think not, my friend. Granted, Ocarina is a good game and it was amazing when it was originally released for the N64, but it's essentially broken in my eyes. The game never told you what to do, meaning you had to figure out where to go in the rather large overworld map. It was technically a bit of a mess, so when I heard that Nintendo were working on a newer updated version of Ocarina of Time, with fixed dungeons and a better structure, I got hyped. More hyped than Link finally getting the girl at the end of The Wind Waker, and that's hype at it's best! Although I would've preferred a remake of The Wind Waker it's nice to see they're finally working on a fixed remake of the original game. Although, that fact does bring Ocarina of Time 3D a little lower down the list for me, since it is just a remake, not an entirely new game like the majority of other 3DS games announced. Still, I'm glad they're 'trying again' with this one. Hopefully it'll end up better than the original, but we'll see...
Chris Redfield stars in this one as a main character.
3. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries/Revelations
I simply cannot pick between these two games for multiple reasons. The Mercenaries looks like it could be a better choice, thanks to the fact that they're making what is essentially a game in itself with much more stuff crammed in. Revelations on the other hand, is an entirely new Resident Evil game. So which is better? There's only one way to find out, FI... Well, it depends on the reviews I suppose. It would be nice if Capcom packaged these two games together in some kind of collectors box to stop people from deciding on which game to buy and which game to leave. I must say I'm looking forward to The Mercenaries more, simply because we'll be able to play what is simply a port of Resi 4 and 5's Mercenaries modes with much more to boot. Although, if Revelations end up having an unlockable Mercenaries mode I might just have to get that instead. Whatever though, really. God, the amount of times I've said Mercenaries here is ridiculous, huh?
We've only seen screenshots of Mario and Luigi so far, but hopefully more characters will be revealed soon enough.

2. Mario Kart 3DS
You most probably definitely saw this one coming, didn't you? Mario Kart would be amazing on the 3DS thanks to the console's wireless functions. Granted, Mario Kart Wii's online is brilliant already, but with things like Spotpass imagine how much better it would be! And on top of that, MK3DS looks like it's going to offer a whole lot else. Some of the new tracks we've seen look like they're going to mix things up a bit, with things like Wuhu Island and a track very similar to the bird level in Galaxy 2 included. There's also a brilliant looking track where you burst through the front doors of Peach's Castle and race inside the building. It's all pretty cool when it comes to tracks for the next iteration of Mario Kart, but what else? Glad you asked, because the 3D has enhanced the items too. The blooper has been a practically useless item in past Mario Karts, spraying an amount of ink on your screen. It didn't harm the player at all really, but now that it's in 3D the item becomes much more enhanced. It's almost like having ink sprayed into your eyes!! Except nothing like that. If the next iteration of the Mario Kart series lives up to my expectations, especially in the online-play, it will definitely be the best game in the series yet. Roll on release date!

Naked Snake looks a little different from the model we saw in Snake Eater.

1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D Edition
Admit it, this was inevitable. The vast majority of people have stuck Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater at the top of their lists, purely because it looks stunning. The brilliant teaser trailer shown at the 3DS Conference last month showed off some pretty cool stuff, and even though this was by no means the actual game, it looked simply eye-popping. It starts off with Snake rustling through the forests, running into various deadly creatures; A snake pops out from a log and goes straight up in the protagonists eyesight, allowing for some brilliant use of the 3D effects. Snake also comes across an alligator and some traps. Some wasps also appear at some point too. If the final game makes use of the 3DS's 3D capabilities as well as the brilliant teaser trailer, it will definitely be one of the handheld's first hurrah's. It's set for release next year (well, in Japan at least) so hopefully we'll be seeing Snake Eater in the launch window. I've got very high expectations for it (obviously, it is number one on this list, after all...) so hopefully it will end up as amazing as everyone wants it to be. Snake Eater on the PS2 is already a brilliant game, but this remake is set to rock socks.

There we have it. I hope you enjoyed reading this list at least as much as I enjoyed writing it! Next up is my second Gamecube review, so be sure to check that out when it's finished. Over and out for now doods...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Now That's Unexpected! - Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright!

Wowee. Upon arriving at home, having a few goes at SSX On Tour and switching on the computer, one of the most unexpected announcements slapped me in the face when I opened up ONM. Yup, you read that title right, in one of the least expected crossovers in gaming, the mighty Professor Layton and top Attorney Phoenix Wright will be starring side by side in a single release. The name of this game? Um, Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright.

Level 5, the developers of all the Professor Layton games announced this game today at their conference. The title will be released for the 3DS, and like the regular Layton titles it will feature animated cutscenes featuring Phoenix himself, along with his partner Maya (apologies if I got that wrong, I know next to nothing about Ace Attorney). Shu Takumi, who wrote the script for the Phoenix Wright games will be writing the script, and Level 5 will be developing the game itself. No actual gameplay screens or footage has been revealed yet, but they did announce the game along with a trailer and some nice pieces of artwork. In short, it looks pretty good in terms of style.

Few story details have been revealed, just the fact that Phoenix pays Layton and Luke a visit to show them who's boss. Later on though, they end up working together to solve a mystery much more important than a bunch of squabbling middle-aged men. Sounds interesting enough, and the cutscene footage shown in the announcement trailer appears slightly more serious than the usual Layton stuff. It involves witches or something. I was very intrigued by Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright, it's a pretty odd game in general. Bet nobody even thought of this crossover, but here it is. Hopefully it'll turn out good, and hopefully they'll actually release it here.

Friday, 15 October 2010

REVIEW: Metroid: Other M

Metroid: Other M
[Wii] [Nintendo/Team Ninja]
Nintendo and Team Ninja's highly experimental new Metroid game hit our shelves more than a month ago with mixed reactions. Some reviewers rated the game really low for a first-party Nintendo title, while others gave it around 8/10. In the end, Other M got an average score of 7.9 on Metacritic showing that the game is clearly one of the most marmite Nintendo games ever released. So, do I love it or hate it? In short, yes, I do love Metroid: Other M. While it's not quite up there with most other Metroid titles, I still reckon it's an extremely high-quality game well worth a place in your Wii collection. Why do I love it though? Read on and find out...

Nintendo first announced the latest Metroid game back at E3 2009 and it gained a hell of a lot of hype, becoming one of the most anticipated announcements at that conference. Since the Prime Trilogy was completed, a new Metroid game was inevitable and Nintendo made the wild decision to work on it with Team Ninja, branding it Project M. Throughout development, Team Ninja have introduced many ideas to the table, which clearly show. Some of these new ideas don't quite work, which could be why Other M received such a mixed response. Other ideas fit Other M well, such as a nice mix between third and first-person gameplay. You play the game with just the Wii Remote on it's own, with the ability to switch from a third-person perspective to a helmet view simply by pointing at the screen. It works very well and Team Ninja should be applauded for bringing this feature to the Metroid table. On the other hand, some of the new ideas sort of ruin the experience a bit. There's some really iffy sections in the middle of cutscenes where Samus Aran is stuck in first person view and cannot move, which tells the player that he or she needs to track down a hidden object in the scenery. These sections are terrible, as there's no outline to scannable objects making it take absolutely forever to find these items. Thankfully, there's only two or three of these throughout the entire game, but with that in mind it surely would've been easy to drop them. Another controversial new gameplay element introduced by Team Ninja is the recharge system. There are no health packs this time, instead being replaced by a system where the players are allowed to recharge health themselves. Before you get too angry, this can only be done when Samus is very low on health and has reached a critical status. It also takes a little while to recharge the health bar, and you can only fully charge a one energy tank (at first). I like this idea and I reckon it works well, especially in the game's plentiful and tough boss fights where you need to find a safe time to recharge, getting the adrenaline pumping.

A ton of concept art went into the development of Other M, and these superb images can be unlocked by snagging more and more items
Of course, Other M as a whole is very new for Metroid. The game is played in a 3rd person perspective, and could be considered 2D in 3D, except you can move in and out of the screen. It revolutionises Metroid in the same way that the Prime games did by offering something new and fresh. However, Other M is very similar to the 2D games in terms of formula, bearing a lot of resemblance to the last 2D Metroid game; Fusion for the Game Boy Advance. Much like that game, Other M's setting is split into several 'sectors', each offering a different type of locale. In one sector you could be running and blasting around in moody and deserted spaceship corridors, and in another sector you could be blasting aliens in a fiery, burning landscape. It's very hard to believe, with the game's setting being a spaceship, but it's a very weird place in general. I won't spoil anything though.

Other M may revolutionise the Metroid formula by mixing gameplay styles, but it still resembles the 2D game the most.
There's a much more diverse story in Metroid: Other M, and it's arguably one of the best aspects of the game. The amazing in-game and CGI cutscenes tell the game's tale with absolutely amazing amounts of quality. Seriously, this stuff is definitely up the with the Metal Gear Solid series in terms of cinematics, and believe me, Other M is packed full of 'em. The story follows on directly from the SNES's Super Metroid, in a spectacular re-telling of that game's ending. Samus is battling the massive Mother Brain, and after her escape she finds herself unconscious at Galactic Federation HQ. After doing her report and leaving in her starship, she receives a distress call from a remote part of space know as a 'Baby's Cry'. This distress call is coming from the mysterious Bottle Ship, where the game takes place. Shortly after her arrival, Samus runs into a squad of Galactic Federation marines, including her old CO Adam Malkovich (any people who've played Fusion will surely recognise that name) and one of her colleagues, Anthony Higgs (a very likeable man indeed) back from when she worked under the Galactic Federation herself. Samus and Adam have a rather shakey relationship, due to a certain 'incident' but she decides to join the squad for their safety. Following orders from Adam, Samus now has to help the other team members investigate the Bottle Ship and find out who exactly sent the distress call. That's all I'm saying, but things get increasingly more complicated and interesting later on. I'll leave you guys to find out what happens.

Samus's human side is shown off a lot more in Other M, thanks to full voice acting
While Other M's story is very good, the game is a bit short. I clocked the end credits at about 8 hours which is a decent length for any normal game, but for Metroid it's a little too short. After all, previous titles in the series have lasted ages, especially the original Prime. However, there is still the option to go for 100% and try to snag all the items, as well as a side-quest after the end credits to get stuck into, but once you've done all that you've seen everything Other M has to offer. Obviously though, with such a great story and such awesome gameplay it's hard not to revisit Other M (as I am doing at the time of writing) allowing for more hours to be clocked before you finally leave the game alone. If you're planning on just buying the game, rushing through it in a quick blast and not bothering with any of the other stuff then I'd recommend a rent, but if not you should definitely try to play the game in concentrated blasts. As well as being a little too short, Metroid is also a little flawed in the difficulty aspect. I wouldn't say Other M is easy, but it isn't hard enough for a Metroid game, making it much easier to rush through without many problems. Don't get me wrong, you will die a lot, especially during boss fights, but Samus respawns in the same room making it easy to just correct what you did wrong and advance. These flaws and the minor control issues take a few points off Other M's score, but it's still a very good game.

Well, that's why I love Other M. I can see people feeling a little let down with the frustrating aspects of the game, and some will love or hate the recharge system, but if you push that stuff aside it's a very enjoyable experience. Recommended to any fans of Metroid, and hardcore gamers in general. Really great game. For now, over and out from me!


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Nintendo 3DS Press Conference - My Personal Reaction

Today, Nintendo held their promised press conference and can I just say, the 3DS looks astonishing. There was no DS or Wii software whatsoever at the conference, with a 100% focus on 3DS hardware and software. Today I'll be writing about my first impressions on everything they showed at the event, including the new software, features and specs of the 3DS. Let's begin then, shall we?

The Hardware 
We might as well start with what's most important: The console itself. From what we've seen today, Nintendo have only made one extremely minor modification to the console's look- The analogue slider is now grey. So, with that in mind what do I think of this aspect? Well, I preferred it as it was before, but it's just an analogue stick, right? Does it exactly matter? No. Outside of the 3DS's look, there's the specifications of the handheld. Judging by the gameplay footage of Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil (arguably the best looking games on the system so far visuals-wise) the 3DS's graphical power is a massive improvement over the DS, and nearly as good as current generation home consoles. Personally, I don't care for graphics as long as they're good enough, but this is just astonishing for a handheld. Did I mention it's in 3D too? Amazing. So, it's time to answer the big question: When is the 3DS coming out and how much will it cost? Well, it's release date for Japan has been confirmed and that's February 26th 2011. As for the US and Europe, it'll be out sometime the following month. As for price, it hasn't been confirmed over here yet but has been confirmed in Japan. The cost there roughly translates to £180 over here, but there's usually a 20% less difference between there and here, so expect it to be at the most £160, which is a pretty good price considering the amazing tech it uses.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D got a trailer at the conference. It's still probably the most impressive game on the 3DS so far.

The Software 
What about the games then, any good? From what we saw today, yes. A few trailers were shown, as well as one video showing off the first wave of titles to be released. And of course, there's the brand new announcements that were made that we didn't hear about at E3. Among some of the new titles was Resident Evil: The Mercenaries, a title that includes the Mercenaries mode from both Resi 4 and 5. As well as that, there was Megaman Legends 3 and some Baseball game, which I'm not too bothered about really. Of course, the real show-stealer was yet again Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D. We were treated to a spectacularly awesome 8 minute trailer today, which you can check out right here.
The big gameplay trailer of the first wave of games showed off Kid Icarus, Resident Evil, MGS3, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, Ocarina of Time, Lylat Wars, Ridge Racer and Dead or Alive among many others. Check that trailer out here.

No, this isn't Resi 5. It's Mercenaries dood!
My favourite games they showed off at the event were definitely Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil and surprisingly Super Street Fighter IV and Dead or Alive Dimensions. I've never been a fan of DoA or SF, but these really look brilliant. It wasn't the gameplay or graphics of SFIV that 'wowed' me, but the great features it makes use of. Check out a trailer here and you'll see what I mean. And last but certainly not least, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle. When they first revealed this game alongside the 3DS I wondered how they would actually make the game 3D outside of the puzzles. Here's how: A Massive revamp of the look of the Layton games. Character models and backgrounds are now 3D (polygon-wise and 3DS 3D), making for a cool new look at Layton games. Of course, we obviously won't be getting that over here for ages, as we're still two games behind! Check out Layton 5 here. In short, the games were awesome. Now let's take a look at the 3DS's new unveiled features.

The Features 
Wow, this is where I'll struggle with words. Nintendo revealed the 3DS's amazing features at the conference, and I must say they look awesome. First of all, the 3DS will use the Wii's Mii feature for use with profiles and such, as well as some games. Cleverly, the Mii editor is now made a lot easier thanks to the fact you can simply take a photo of your face and it will replicate it in Mii form. Of course, you can make adjustments afterwards. Also, the tag-mode Iwata mentioned at E3 has been explained, even though it probably won't work over here (c'mon, who's going to actually take their 3DS out with them at the risk of it being stolen by hoodies?!) and most impressively, the features of the 3D camera. Playing around with the camera is now esentially a game in itself thanks to the Target Shooting and Augmented reality modes. Target Shooting can best be explained as a first-person shooter that takes place in real life. Targets will appear round corners and in tight places, and when you get a certain amount of hits a massive boss appears. Prepare to spam those buttons when this happens. Augmented reality on the other hand, is pretty damn cool. The 3DS will alter objects to make your viewpoint of reality a bit mental. Take a look at the trailer and you'll see what I mean. Outside of the camera stuff, there's something we all wanted to see on the DSi, but didn't. Yes, the 3DS is getting a Virtual Console, and yes, there will be Game Boy games on there. Nintendo must've been listening to the fans with this one. 

Finally, let's discuss the social features of the 3DS. The new SpotPass function will give gamers the ability to download DLC and updates on the go. It's as simple as putting your 3DS in sleep mode and walking past a Gamestation, which really pleases me. Then there's the StreetPass, which basically does the same thing but swaps lap times and such with other 3DS's. When you open up the console after a stroll, all your downloaded content will be listed, and you will have the option to keep or trash the things you have come across.

The 3DS is looking spectacular. All these awesome games and features really boggled the minds of many gamers today, so cheers for that Nintendo! The 3DS finally launches here in the UK March next year, so be sure to pick one up!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Update: What's Coming Up Next Month, New System!

'Sup doods? Just another quick update to let you guys know what's coming up next month! Read on...

Next Month's Planned Posts
Okay, I've been reviewing stuff a lot recently, but I noticed one problem: My past three reviews have been of games on the Wii. Since I started the blog at the beginning of last year I've only done one DS review, one GC review and three Wii reviews in a row. It's a little unbalanced really. Because of this, I've planned several reviews on GC and DS for October. First off, I'm hoping to review Viewtiful Joe 2 for the Gamecube first, after I play through it again. After that I've got a review of The World Ends With You for the DS planned, as well as a re-review of Disgaea DS to celebrate last week's announcement of Disgaea 4. Hopefully I'll have at least VJ2 and TWEWY up next month. Aside from that, I'll definitely be reviewing Battalion Wars 2 and No More Heroes 2 once I've got all my other platform reviews done.

Aside from reviews, you guys should expect more gaming-related posts throughout the month, if anything exciting happens. But this month, there's a post I know I'll be writing. Tomorrow, Nintendo will apparently be announcing the release date and price of the upcoming 3DS. Definitely expect a post on that, unless something happens to change the fact they're announcing the price and release date tomorrow. Finally, I've decided on a new posting 'system' for Noodle's Blog. All you need to know is that I'll be doing at least five posts, one review, one feature and at the most one update per month. Look forward to all this good stuff!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Get Your Seizure Safety-Goggles On! Disgaea 4 Is Coming!

As some of you may know, the Tokyo Games Show was underway a few days ago and they announced some brilliant new games. For those of you who don't know, TGS is essentially E3 without the massive announcements. Instead, the show is packed full of more out-there Japanese titles, such as stuff by Suda51, Atlus and many others. Among the games that were announced was a new Devil May Cry game, a sequel to Dissidia: Final Fantasy and most importantly- Disgaea 4.

Some of you may be aware I'm a huge Disgaea fan. I spent a massive 100 hours on the DS version (reviewed right here on the blog) before getting tired of it, and am still hoping we get a PS3 soon so I can get my hands on Disgaea 3. I gave Disgaea DS 93%, dubbing it my favourite 3rd party DS title. In short, I think Disgaea is awesome. So when I heard about the new title yesterday, I was amazed. It looks like it could be the best game in the series yet! In the past, Disgaea games have followed the same sort of concept, being SRPGs and all. But Disgaea 4, while still being a Strategy game looks like they're really going for the gold this time. It's hard to explain what's actually going on in the announcement trailer, but hey, it's Disgaea. The trailer showcased stuff like HD sprites (something Disgaea 3 lacked) and a bunch of new, original characters (again, Disgaea 3 essentially copied the old ones). My favourite of these new heroes (or villains) was a female protagonist wearing a Prinny costume, How awesome is that?! The main character appears to be quite a bit older than the previous 3 heroes. His appearance is also pretty original, as he almost looks quite vampire-like.

Meet my favourite of the new protagonists in Disgaea 4. You can't argue with that awesome costume! She's also armed with a baseball bat.
So, what are these new features then? Well, sprites are now in full HD as I mentioned, and they are now a lot more animated. If you check out the trailer, the points where characters are talking in cutscenes are fully animated, which looks pretty damn cool. Gameplay wise, there appears to be some kind of spaceship battle going on in the trailer. It certainly looks like players will be controlling the action here. Everything else can't be explained in words. Just check out the trailer. Do it. Disgaea 4 is looking ace. I await more info NIS!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

REVIEW: Red Steel 2

Red Steel 2
[Wii] [Ubisoft]
Way back when the Wii was first launched in 2006 it came packing several launch titles, including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and the infamous Red Steel. Back then, Red Steel seemed like a brilliant game, but journalists and gamers were overcome by the flashy new motion controls. Back then, using the remote as an aiming reticule and shaking it about to use swords was an innovative idea, but now the Wii is a worldwide phenomenon, with the majority of first person shooters on the system making use of the pointer, it's not so innovative. In fact, Red Steel was a pretty mediocre game, with awful AI, and fairly boring level design. Two years after the release of the original game, Ubisoft announced they were working on a sequel. For months, there was no news on the game. No screenshots, no trailers, just various little snippets in interviews. Ubisoft were keeping quiet about the game, and this lead gamers into thinking they were hiding it away because it would be a generic sequel along the lines of the first game. They were oh so wrong. In fact, it's strange how Red Steel 2 is actually under the Red Steel brand, it's a completely different game and it's certainly for the best. Red Steel 2 is handled by a completely different team to the first game's. The only real similarities between the the sequel and it's predecessor is the fact that they're both first person, they both involve using a mix of swords and guns and the load screens look the same. That's pretty much it! Still, Red Steel 2 is actually a very good game, much more so than the original.

Red Steel 2 takes place in the city of Caldera, a barren wasteland in the middle of the Nevada desert. You play as a lone, mysterious warrior banished from your clan years before receiving a distress call from Caldera, asking for the help of one of your clan. On the way to the city, the nameless hero is kidnapped by the Jackals, a gang of thieves who have taken over Caldera city, hence why the civilians have asked for your help. After being knocked out, tied to the leader of the Jackals' bike and dragged through the city the hero manages to escape and sets out on his quest to find out what's going on. Later on in the game he runs into several civilians who help him out throughout the game. Things start to get interesting later on, but I won't spoil that.
The first boss fight involves you battling against Payne, the leader of the Jackals.
So, what does Red Steel 2 do right, and what does it do wrong? I'll start with the good. The game looks beautiful. There's some great cel-shading effects and the locales are very well designed. The opening sequence involving you getting dragged through Caldera by a rope attached to a bike is a pretty stunning way to open up the game, and it sets the stage for what's to come later on. The enemies, while a bit repetitive, are well designed. Kudos to the devs for making the sequel to a pretty horrid-looking game look rather awesome. Also brilliant is the actual character design, from the lone and mysterious hero to the sheriff of the city Judd and the computing expert Tamiko to the loot-obssessed leader of the Jackals, Payne. There's some pretty awesome music too. Much like the gameplay, it mixes Japanese and Western cultures together to create some pretty cool ditties.