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.