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.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

First Impressions: Metroid: Other M

Hey doods and doodettes, welcome to my first First Impressions post! I promised this in the Update I posted yesterday, so here we go. I picked up Other M the other day (see what I did there?) and decided I should write my thoughts on the game so far. Just to notify, I'm just under 5 hours in and I'm loving almost every minute of the game so far. I'm only going to be talking about the plus points of the game, nothing story related, so don't worry about spoilers or anything. Now, let's get on with it...

So, before I talk about the main stuff, I'd like to tell you about the brand new ideas that have been implemented into the latest Metroid game. First of all, the cut-scenes and the voice acting. These two things have been the topic of many Other M discussions, about whether they'd be handled right. There's a big emphasis on story in Other M, and with that Team Ninja suggested they should give Samus Aran a voice box. The voice acting in the original E3 2009 trailer was, let's be honest, terrible. Thankfully, they've changed 99% of the voice acting (the 1% they kept was Anthony's famous "remember me?") to that of a much more impressive voice cast. Samus Aran herself has some particularly well-done voice work, and the Galactic Federation dudes' voices are good quality too. The voice isn't the only thing that matters though, there's also the visuals they're placed on. The cut-scenes in Other M are handled by D-Rockets and are absolutely stunning. Some use impressive CGI, like the opening scene and some key story scenes set outside of the game's setting, while others use the in-game graphics. D-Rockets deserve a pat on the back for their work.

The first boss encounter is extremely easy. If you lose against this you officially suck
Team Ninja have also added several up close and personal combat moves to the experience too, the Lethal Strike, a melee based move that can be used on Bosses and weakened larger enemies and the Overblast, an attack that involves Samus charging her Arm Cannon, grappling an enemy and shooting a charged blast at a weak spot (usually the mouth, brutal). Also added to the table is the Sensemove, an evasive technique that involves dodging lasers and attacks. The new moves animate perfectly, and work perfectly. Good job there Team Ninja! Aside from all the new stuff, the classic Metroid formula is still included in Other M's genes. It plays like a 2D Metroid game in 3D, where you can go in and out of the screen, with some over the shoulder and first person sections chucked in there too. Despite being in a 3D plain, you only need to face left and shoot to blast enemies on your left, and face right to do the same to enemies on the right. The auto-aim works well, but it can be a little inaccurate at times. Still, at least you're not graded on your accuracy like in Prime 3.

Meet Samus's good buddy Anthony Higgs. He plays a key role in Other M's story.
Now I might as well mention the biggest flaw in Other M. The flipping scanning sections! At some points in the story, usually during cut-scenes you are locked into first person mode and have to press B on something significant. Unlike Prime 3 though, there's nothing to tell you that you can scan the object you need to find! It's ridiculous, it's pointless, and it's mindlessly frustrating! Why didn't they just take these sections out of the game? You could just have Samus scanning the objects in a cut-scene rather than having you continuously tapping B to find an almost invisible object. Oh well.

StilI, despite this annoying problem, Other M is still a brilliant game from what I've played so far. If I were to give a score right now, it'd be around 90-94%. I would say Galaxy 2 is better if I'm honest, but Still, Other M is a simply awesome game that you must get!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Update: Metroid Other M, The Conduit, Red Steel 2 and The World Ends with You reviews

Hey again doods, I haven't posted in more than a week so I thought I might let you know what's coming up in the world of Noodle's Blog. Mostly Metroid: Other M related posts. Anywho, let's get on with it.

Other M Stuff
Despite the game's unexpected reception, I'll definitely be getting Metroid Other M. It came out today, so why didn't I get it? Simple. GAME and HMV suck. The rest is self explanatory. Anyway, I'm getting it from a proper game shop (CeX) as soon as it comes in there. After I've played an hour or so I'll be doing a First Impressions post on it. I'll be doing this for every game I buy from now on. Once I've beaten the game I'll be reviewing it, but that will probably take quite a while. On the bright side, I'll have plenty of reviews up before then. Read on...

Upcoming Reviews
The Holidays are over. Hooray for going back to school! Unfortunately, this means I won't be posting as regularly, but I do have several reviews planned. Throughout the Holidays, I've bought a fair few pre-owned games to pass the time. Those games being Red Steel 2 and The Conduit. I also borrowed Mario Kart Wii from a mate. I completed Red Steel 2 but I decided to trade it in for The Conduit, as there's practically no replay value, and it's insanely short. The Conduit and Mario Kart on the other hand, are awesome as. I'll hopefully be reviewing both of them, and possibly Red Steel 2. Aside from games I bought in the holidays, I've been playing one DS game a hell of a lot which I bought nearly a year ago: The World Ends with You. Definitely expect a review of this one. I've completed it time and time again, and I'm currently taking on the game's unltimate challenge, mastering all the Pins.

That's all for now guys. Expect a new post next week.