Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Big Update: A Summer of Reviews and Features, Various Other Things

If you follow my blog, you're probably wondering if I'll be doing any posts over the holidays. Well, my short answer to that question is this: Yes, yes I will be doing plenty of new blog posts over the next 5 and a half weeks. But what about the long answer to that question, what exactly will I be writing? Well, I figured that I should do reviews more often, as I've only really done two or three proper ones. Well, luckily for you lot, that's about to change. Read on…

A Summer of Reviews
As I just mentioned, I'll be doing some new reviews. 3 new reviews to be precise. And the best part of this is, all three of my new reviews will be done in the next two months. Apologies to my DS/GC loving brethren, but all three of these new reviews will be of Wii games.

The first one I'll be doing is No More Heroes. The awesome game from Suda51. In short, No More Heroes is an ace game, and a very stylish and unique one at that. That's all I'm saying for now! Expect this to be my first review posted of the three I'm working on. My second review will be of one of my favourite fighting games ever, the mighty Tatsunoko VS Capcom: Ultimate All Stars. If you've been following my blog, you can tell I love this game. It's a brilliant fighter, and for me, an easy game to review because I love it so much. That'll be up after my No More Heroes review. And the final game? Well, I expect complaints as it is an over-reviewed game, but that doesn't make it illegal for me to write about it. Besides, it's something I've been wanting to review for a while now. If you haven't guessed yet, my third new review will be of the great Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Now that you've read about my new reviews, I'm sure you're all pumped. But wait, there's more! Writing reviews isn't the only thing I've got planned.

New Types of Posts
My most recent post was an impressions thing about The Last Story. It's not the sort of thing I usually post about, but the reason I did it was to share my opinions by any means necessary, which is what this blog is all about. Because of this, I've decided to kick-start several new kinds of posts, along with more mini-reviews and more of my long lost scribblings from years back. Take a look below and you'll see everything I've got planned:

  • Forbidden Fruit Features
  • First Impressions Posts (Metroid: Other M)
  • Re-Reviews
  • Mini Reviews (Halo CE demo, Toribash, others)
  • Hopefully more contributions
Right, that's about all for blog news now, but I'd like to end this post by plugging some various sites and stuff.

Chris' Ramblings: Fellow ONM member's blog!
Nintendo Compilation Fangame: BenJ@home forum game that I happen to be contributing to!
Spaced: An amazing comedy I just finished watching! It's now freely viewable on 4oD and Youtube so watch it!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Why Didn't I Pay Any Attention to This Before? - The Last Story

I'll be honest, I may love RPGs but the I'm not that big into the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, big RPG publisher Square-Enix's two largest franchises. I'm more into the experimental stuff like The World Ends With You and Disgaea. Of course, these games are all big on handhelds as turn-based RPGs, RTS' and Strategy games. The vast majority of modern home console RPGs are out on the Xbox360 and Playstation 3, but are scarce on Wii; In fact, the only role-player on Nintendo's console I can think of straight away is Tales of Symphonia 2, and that's practically impossible to find in shops. This is why I've suddenly gotten hyped-up about The Last Story.

The truth is, I didn't really pay much attention to The Last Story, a new RPG from the original creator of Final Fantasy, Yuji Naka, when it was first revealed however long ago. While I said before I'm not that big into the Final Fantasy series, this new game looks like it will devour my time. When The Last Story was first revealed along with some concept art, I checked out the art that and thought, yeah, this looks pretty neat but it'll just be yet another turn-based game or whatever system they come up to hide that fact. I wouldn't get too excited even if it did end up great. At least that's what I thought back then. How wrong I was. As it turns out, The Last Story is a real-time action RPG, with many extra elements.

It was the first trailer for The Last Story that got me pumped about it. Why? I'll begin by saying the game visually looks absolutely stunning, close to a PS3/360 game (minus the HD of course). The locales first shown in the concept art are beautifully translated into fantastic 3D environments and the hustling bustling town looks great. So far, the ears also seem to be treated to a 5-course meal here, as the music in the trailer was insanely catchy and more than a little bit epic. As well as these promising features, Yuji has also clearly put a lot of effort into the character design for The Last Story. There appears to be quite a few heroes in the party, and each looks like they'll have an interesting story. I'm particularly fond of the young kid in a eye-patch we saw.

Of course, what matters most in a game is the gameplay. As I mentioned previously, The Last Story is driven by a real time battle system, involving several weapons on the character you control. These weapons appear to be all equipped onto the hero, and switching between them looks pretty seamless. A Metal Gear Solid-like stealth system helps drive the battles system, as a character can press against a wall and shoot a crossbow round the corner into the unsuspection face of an enemy. How satisfying that looks is unexplainable. Going close up also looks to be fun, slashing away at beasts and all that. So far the game world seems a lot like Yuji's other games, but the way it plays seems to be a great alternative to a turn based system. The stealthy bits look really fun, as they also involve character interaction. As you and one of your fellow party members hides against a wall, they will talk to each other. What about you ask? Well, if you speak Japanese, which I don't, head on over to Youtube and check out the trailer for yourself.

But in the end the most important question, considering this is a Japanese game, will it ever get a UK release? Hopefully. My expectations will be shattered if The Last Story never comes out over here. Let's hope those expectations aren't destroyed then. The game is coming out in Japan at the end of the year. We'll just have to wait and see if it turns out as good as it looks.

Friday, 16 July 2010

E3 2010 Review: At the Nintendo Conference [2/2]

Here we go, part 2 of my Nintendo E3 conference review. The second half of the big N's show was somehow even more awesome than the first half. The last part saw me talking about big games like Zelda: Skyward Sword and GoldenEye; Some of Nintendo's flagship titles. Practically everything in the second half of the conference was made up of flagship titles, new and old. Let's start with the game that kicked-off this amazing line-up. And that game would be...

Kirby's Epic Yarn
Silly name aside, Kirby's Epic Yarn was the game that literally spun excitement in to Nintendo fans' brains. After all, the pink blob hasn't had a home console release outside of the virtual console in years. At the conference, we were shown a beautiful trailer as well as a very surprising release date. More on that later. But first, let's discuss the most notable changes about the new addition to the Kirby franchise.

For Epic Yarn, the series has scored a brand new look as well as a new key gameplay element. I'll talk about the latter addition first. In past Kirby games, the pink blob's powers involved him sucking up enemies and either spitting them out or absorbing their powers. As far as we know, these well known elements have been ditched for a new knitting based system, hence the title. Kirby is equipped with some Yarn which he can use to wrap around enemies, pull string, grab items and much, much more. Some examples we saw of this in the trailer were when Kirby was shown pulling some string in the background. This pulled part of a level further to Kirby so he can advance forward. Two boss fights were also shown with the hero spinning yarn around a massive dragon's tongue (in the form of a button) and smashing it back into his face. The other boss involved a giant fiery bird thing firing missiles which can be grabbed with the yarn and thrown back at the the foe. It's all very clever stuff and a unique gameplay concept that I'm pretty sure hasn't been done before. The way Epic Yarn plays isn't the only thing that has changed in the game. The new title has also implemented a new look to fit the knitting them. Background features such as mountains and plains look like coloured patches sewn onto the game and characters and bosses all look like they have been knitted. It's very beautiful, especially with that catchy music track playing in the background of the trailer. This isn't the first time Kirby has taken up this new look though. The art style was actually inspired by a Japanese ad for Kirby's Dreamland on the NES. In this case, what goes around comes around.

Aside from the new gameplay-style and art-style, the trailer also showed off some other stuff. There's another new gameplay element similar to the classic Kirby formula included in Epic Yarn; The pink blob can still take on new forms. I'm not entirely sure how Kirby gains these abilities, but he was shown turning into his new forms in an instant, most probably via button-press. Several new abilities were shown, such as turning into a car to speed up hills and through levels, a surfboard which allows the blob to ski on water, a UFO form that allows him to suck in enemies and electrify the area and finally, and unarguably most awesome, a huge robot that could launch missiles and smash stuff up with a giant fist. How is that not cool!? Anyhow, it's good of Kirby to still stay a little true to his roots with these new transformations. Hopefully we'll see much, much more new abilities in the coming months.

Speaking of months, Kirby's Epic Yarn will in fact be in our games libraries in a few of those. That's right, that soon! An exact release date hasn't yet been confirmed, but Reggie did tell us that it will be out anytime between now and Christmas. Better start saving up the pennies then, Kirby fans! Now that I've finished talking about the game that kicked-off the second half, let's get onto the next announcement.

Anticipation Level: 8/10 

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
The small section on Dragon Quest 9 was pretty brief and not very exciting, so I guess I'll not talk about this one for to long. The latest DS Dragon Quest game was released in Japan about a year ago and it's still not out in the US or here yet, but in a few months that will have changed. Now I'm not a big fan of DQ games personally, but the latest addition to the series sounds rather quite awesome. It's your standard RPG antics in the game, from taking on side quests and slaying monsters, to creating fully customisable characters to add to your party of heroes; But DQ 9 expands on that with Nintendo wi-fi connection. In Japan the game is one of the most played DS titles over wi-fi, and here that should be no different thanks to Nintendo launching an advertising campaign.

But what makes Dragon Quest 9's online functionality so addictive? Well, DLC is practically endless, with brand new items and locations added every once in a while. As well as this, even if you don't have wi-fi set up, you can close your DS and wait till you receive new quests and new maps from other DQ players in sleep mode. This worries me though; Will anybody actually do that? Sure, that's what happens over in Japan but does Britain actually go outside with their DS on and walk around endlessly just to get a few new items? I wouldn't bother personally. You can still have a lot of fun with the game even without any DLCically endless, with brand new items and locations added every once in a while. As well as this, even if you don't have wi-fi set up, you can close your DS and wait till you receive new quests and new maps from other DQ players in sleep mode. This worries me though; Will anybody actually do that? Sure, that's what happens over in Japan but does Britain actually go outside with their DS on and walk around endlessly just to get a few new items? I wouldn't bother personally. You can still have a lot of fun with the game even without any DLC, but it'll add a lot to your game hours if you do choose to get some. For example, Reggie mentioned the top DQ fan in their establishment has played her copy of Dragon Quest 9 for over 120 hours, and she feels she's just getting started. If you're not impressed with that then you clearly have no soul.

DQ 9 was one of the smaller announcements at the conference, as all we were told was that it's coming out in a few months. Whether you pick it up or not it's your choice, but as I'm not a huge DQ fan I may only consider it. Anyway, onto the next game.

Anticipation Level: 7/10
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