Saturday, 25 June 2011

Update: Some Very Exciting Upcoming Posts and an Update on my E3 Review Situation

As you readers may or may not know, I had a bit of trouble with Blogger last week. I was nearing the end of writing my Nintendo E3 Conference Review when suddenly Firefox crashed. Usually when this happens everything I've written stays in-tact, but this time, what is quite possibly one of the most important posts of the year got deleted. Well, half of it anyway. If you're aware of this you'll probably know that I've posted what remains of the review and am planning on finishing it off bit by bit while I work on some new pieces. Speaking of which, welcome to yet another update post, where I'll be doing the usual and revealing what's coming up on my blog as well as discussing what you already know is coming up, namely my Top 25 No More Heroes Bosses List. First though, it's time to reveal the fate of my E3 Review. Suspenseful, I know.

I originally intended to post a two part E3 Review this year, just as I did back in 2010. One of these posts would focus solely on Nintendo's big conference, while I would have shown and discussed my highlights of 3rd Party announcements in the second half. I say 'would have', because I'm unfortunately going to have to cancel part two of the review due to a loss of time thanks to Blogger deleting half of part one. Don't get too down in the dumps though, because as I mentioned I am going to rewrite the rest of my thoughts on Nintendo's big show eventually. Also, just because I've cancelled part two that doesn't mean I won't be posting my opinions on the likes of Resident Evil: Revelations and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D, not to mention several other 3rd party titles that were announced at this year's big show in the form of standalone posts over the next few weeks. Still something to look forward to then! You can expect my Nintendo Conference Review completely finished early next month, but for now the remains of Bloggers nuke are still intact for you guys and gals to read like some kind of E3 crash site.

Stepping away from E3 and into the future, I bet you're wondering what my upcoming posts are going to involve. Well, I can tell you that my Top 25 No More Heroes Bosses feature is still in the planning stages (I'm currently replaying the original game to refresh my memory a bit) and I haven't begun writing it yet, but that will definitely be up in the coming months. You can expect an exact date in my next update post. Speaking of No More Heroes, developer Suda51 has just released Shadows of the Damned for PS3 and Xbox 360, so a quick shout out for that because it looks excellent. Not that Suda's first next-gen non-Nintendo game is better than No More Heroes! Anyway, moving swiftly onwards. Review-wise, I've got a couple of things planned as well as one post that's already in progress at the time of writing this update. What review could this be? Well, it's none other than one of 2010's best games that we all know as Donkey Kong Country Returns. I beat this brilliant platformer the other day and have already commenced writing my review, so you can definitely expect that up early next month at the latest, or maybe even before June ends. On the other end of the spectrum, I actually have a DS review planned for once. Yes, you heard right. So, what could this game be? Professor Layton and the Lost Future, that's what. While it seems a bit odd to review the third game in a series without actually writing about the first two, I honestly don't care because Professor Layton's time travelling adventure is one of my favourite DS games of all time. That review will definitely be up next month without a doubt.

I honestly can't mention reviews without talking about Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll probably be aware that I'm extremely hyped for this game, and I'll be getting it as soon as it hits the shelves here in the UK. Japan have had the game for a few weeks now, and America will see it hit their shelves in just three days, with us here in the UK finally getting it on July 1st. I honestly can't wait for this game, but unfortunately I and many other fans of Resident Evil will have to. Until then, why not have a little appetiser and read my preview of the game that I posted earlier this month? Anyway, I'll undeniably be reviewing that soon after buying it, so we might just be looking at a double or even triple whammy of review in July. Finally, I conclude the upcoming reviews I have planned with Mario Kart Wii. I received the game recently as a present from my parents, and I'm proper chuffed with it. You can expect a review of that sometime in August probably.

Well, that's about it for this Update post! You can expect more stuff up over the next few days, so be sure to check that out. Until next time folks...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Feature: My Review of Nintendo's E3 2011 Conference

More than half of this post was accidently deleted all thanks to Blogger, and I couldn't find the time and motivation to finish it. Luckily this was one of Nintendo's admittedly poorer conferences, but I'm still very annoyed that it never got finished. I'll be sure to back my stuff up whenever I do a huge post like this again!

This year's Nintendo E3 conference brought confusion, joy and controversy into the already insane world that is gaming. After revealing a brand new console with glorious HD graphics, an extremely innovative controller and a ton of 'hardcore' 3rd party games, Nintendo caused massive controversy in the gaming community with what was previously known as Project Cafe. Forget that though, as Nintendo's Wii successor has a name, and that name is Wii U. Despite controversially showing nothing but the new console's controller and its awesome features at the conference, images of the actual Wii U hardware were fortunately shown off later on. Still, the big reveal of Wii U wasn't the only thing causing a buzz in the world of gaming at E3 2011. Some awesome new reveals regarding the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda were also revealed, as well as a ton of new details and footage of 3DS games that were previously lurking in the shadows (Mario Kart 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising) on top of some brand-new games for the glorious 3D handheld. And did I mention that I actually managed to predict some of the announcements spot on? Get in!

The big problem with E3 each year is that it's easy to get lost in the raging sea of announcements, news, trailers and screenshots that emerge from the event. Thankfully, I'm here to help with this year's edition of my two-part E3 review. You've probably noticed that you're reading part one right now; This post will focus completely on Nintendo's E3 conference and all the big announcements, while part two will cover my highlights of the event outside of Nintendo's big show. This year's conference was quite possibly the most controversial yet, but it still delivered massively with some excellent announcements and trailers. So, without further delay let's begin my E3 2011 Review! It's gonna be a good one, enjoy...

The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary
Nintendo opened their E3 2011 conference with an explosive blast of Zelda goodness by having a huge orchestra perform a huge five minute long Zelda medley, accompanied by a ton of footage from games old and new in the critically acclaimed series. As the masterful music sent viewers on a wondrous voyage through Zelda's vast history, newer and newer video was shown until finally the music switched to the Skyward Sword theme song, and some sparkling new footage of the highly anticipated game was shown. What a way to show off new footage, and what a brilliant opener to Nintendo's big show. This year is of course the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, a series which me and countless other gamers across the globe hold very dearly to their hearts. In just a matter of weeks, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D will be released on the 3DS to give us a slice of Zelda on Nintendo's current handheld in the form of what many say is the greatest game of all time, only even better. However, I'm much more excited about the newest installment in the series; the brilliant-looking Skyward Sword. If you watched Nintendo's E3 conference last year, you'll probably remember that they opened up the show with the announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, as well as a run through the game's new MotionPlus mechanics and confirmation that the title will be released in 2011. Well, here we are in 2011, and there's still no sign of the game in the shops. Luckily, Nintendo revealed that Skyward Sword is slated for release around the world in Winter this year at the conference, so we won't have to wait that long.

These giant bird-like creatures seem to be Skyloft's preferred mode of getting around. Take that public transport!
A trailer for Skyward Sword didn't actually show up at the conference, but footage was shown during the orchestrated opening. The footage gave us our first look at this game's Zelda, who seems to have had a make-over. Despite having a pretty ugly haircut, she's definitely worth it, at least Link seems to think so. Zelda happens to be living in Skyloft, the game's setting, along with hero Link and other townsfolk. Skyloft is a skybound city (hence the name) that floats among the clouds and is home to villages and the like. The world below however, is a completely different story. Ruled by Lord Ghirahim, the mysterious silver character we saw at Iwata's GDC Keynote a few months back, the land below is home to those who think the people of Skyloft look down on them as the inferior race. Okay, they literally do look down on them since the people of Skyloft live in the sky, but I'm not so sure about the 'inferior' bit. Still, Ghirahim sticks to his beliefs and when Zelda falls to the lower levels and into a huge beast's mouth, Link jumps down after her and gets in all sorts of trouble, not long before obtaining the legendary hero's garb seen in every other Zelda game. Some gameplay demos can be seen on the show floor, and are all over Youtube already. The first demo shows-off what is clearly an early part of the game, involving a race on some new bird-like creatures that appear to be Skyloft's alternatives to modern-day transport. This section is clearly inspired by the bird levels in Super Mario Galaxy 2, but appears to be much tighter and less clunky to control thanks to the addition of MotionPlus. A second gameplay demo shows what is clearly a later part of the game than the first, showcasing some footage of an early dungeon and the excellent new sword mechanics.

What is definitely the most interesting gameplay demo of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the third and final one. This demonstration reveals Ghirahim's identity as the the king of the earth below Skyloft, and his thoughts on Link's chums up above. Ghirahim as a character is extremely poetic, and very cool, kind of like Zant from Twilight Princess minus the insanity. As the king's emotions change to anger when Link draws his sword, the colour of the room changes to a much darker shade, adding more to his poetic personality. Even though we've only seen him in one cutscene, this guy is already shaping up to be an excellent character, not to mention how epic the boss fight against him looks. It's another one of those multiple phase boss fights seen in so many past Zelda games, but that's about as much resemblance to past titles you'll get in this battle. In the first of two phases, Ghirahim toys with you by warping around the room and coolly grabbing the end of your sword when you try to slice him up. When this happens, you enter a state of intense waggling of the remote in order to free your weapon from the villain's grasp. After getting enough hits in, Ghirahim draws his sword and battles Link in an epic one-on-one sword fight - Nothing more, nothing less. This fight looks like nothing we've ever seen before in a Zelda game, and it's all thanks to the magic of 1:1 motion control. It's going to be a long wait until Winter when we finally get our mitts on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, but there's luckily going to be a variety of Zelda related stuff as a starter before we move on to the main course.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of gaming's greatest series', Nintendo happen to be releasing a title on each of their main platforms this year. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D seems to be the one closest to us at the moment, but Game Boy Colour classic Link's Awakening DX already happens to be available through the medium of download via the 3DS's recently released eShop. A brand new reveal was the multiplayer GBA game, Four Swords, which will be available on the admittedly dead DSiWare download service and the eShop very soon. And of course, we'll be seeing Skyward Sword on Wii by the end of the year. Not everything's about games though, as Nintendo are planning to release soundtracks for Ocarina of Time 3D and Skyward Sword in conjunction with the launch of those games. Also on the subject of slightly more musical antics, the excellent orchestra (okay, they slipped up once) we saw at the beginning of the conference are going on tour and playing a wide variety of classic Zelda tunes in the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Orchestrated Tour, which will travel around the world sometime later in the year. Also, by far the most awesome thing Nintendo are releasing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of their greatest franchises is a stunning gold Wii Remote Plus (a remote that has MotionPlus built-in) that will be available as a pre-order gift for Skyward Sword. I need a new Wii Remote, and that's definitely the one I'm getting. If this isn't better than porting an old SNES game to Wii for Mario's 25th last year, I seriously don't know what is...

I'm really pumped for Skyward Sword. Nintendo are hoping to make it the greatest Zelda game ever, which is certainly a difficult task. Luckily, we'll find out if it does beat the likes of Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess towards the end of the year when the game is finally released. Until then, we've got a load of celebratory Zelda-related stuff to keep us calm until the next proper full-on installment is finally released. Now to wrap up this segment on Zelda and move on to a slew of incoming 3DS games...

Yup, welcome to the world of kart gliding in Mario Kart 3DS. Believe your eyes!
Mario Kart 3DS
After Shigeru Miyamoto and his translator Bill Trinen ended their segment on the 25th anniversary of Zelda, Reggie Fils-Aime, the legendary CEO of Nintendo America, took to the stage to show off a whole host of upcoming 3DS games. While we already knew about four of the five first party games that were announced, it's nice to see a proper reveal after waiting about a year to see some games that were previously hiding in the shadows of other titles. Before any proper footage for Nintendo's five games was shown, a very cool series of 3D animations were shown, showcasing Mario Kart 3DS, Starfox 64 3D, Super Mario 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising and one other brand-new title I'll get onto later. After the very cool animations were shown, Reggie took to the stage once more and kick-started the stream of trailers and the like for upcoming games, the first of which being Mario Kart 3DS.

I've been a big fan of the Mario Kart series since I first had a go on it in the DS installment many years ago. It's a series which offers addictive gameplay, a challenging single player mode and more recently, some brilliant online multiplayer options. The series' next installment on 3DS is set to offer all of these things, as well as other new features we've never seen in a Mario Kart game before. The trailer Nintendo played on that big screen during the conference showcased the standard Mario Kart folk we know and love racing around tracks old and new. Minus the addition of coins, which haven't been seen on tracks since the original Super Mario Kart on the SNES, this was fairly standard stuff - Until Mario drove off a ramp and sprouted a glider out of his racing machine. That's right, for the first time ever, your kart has the ability to essentially change forms depending on whether it is in the air or at sea. When in glider mode, you have the ability to steer not only left and right, but also up and down. It's almosteen a big fan of the Mario Kart series since I first had a go on it in the DS installment many years ago. It's a series which offers addictive gameplay, a challenging single player mode and more recently, some brilliant online multiplayer options. The series' next installment on 3DS is set to offer all of these things, as well as other new features we've never seen in a Mario Kart game before. The trailer Nintendo played on that big screen during the conference showcased the standard Mario Kart folk we know and love racing around tracks old and new. Minus the addition of coins, which haven't been seen on tracks since the original Super Mario Kart on the SNES, this was fairly standard stuff - Until Mario drove off a ramp and sprouted a glider out of his racing machine. That's right, for the first time ever, your kart has the ability to essentially change forms depending on whether it is in the air or at sea. When in glider mode, you have the ability to steer not only left and right, but also up and down. It's almost as if an extra dimension has been added to the racing, because the physics of your kart completely change when a glider has been attached. There's a lot more where that came from though, as your kart also transforms when it goes underwater. Here, a small propellor pops out of the machine, allowing for yet another change in physics. Another new addition to the franchise is a slightly basic but still exciting kart editor. Here, you can change the main base of the kart and the wheels, as well as another unknown part (I assume it's the glider/propellor design). It's unknown whether this editor is going to be expanded as the game is quite early in development, but it's neat touch. I also mentioned that coins have returned to Mario Kart 3DS, which could mean character-exclusive powerups are also returning.

The new underwater sections are set to alter the game's physics even further. Not sure how they can breathe though.
Mario Kart 3DS is being developed by Retro Studios, the same guys who made the critically acclaimed Metroid Prime series and the more recent hard-as-nails platformer known as Donkey Kong Country Returns (fittingly, enemies from that game can be seen in the trailer as obstacles on certain tracks). They're a brilliant development team, so if they don't make Mario Kart 3DS awesome then it'd be very surprising. Add the new gliding and underwater features (with possibly more alternative transportation to come) as well as a new kart editing system to the already excellent Mario Kart formula with single player and online multiplayer intact, and you've potentially got the greatest game in the series. This game certainly has potential, as do the other titles shown at the conference. Moving on...

Starfox 64 3D
And so, we arrive at Starfox. This critically acclaimed series hasn't seen the light of day on a Nintendo console since some fairly shoddy Gamecube and DS games that were released many years ago, and despite the fact that Starfox 64 3D is at heart a remake, it still looks excellent. Lylat Wars for the Nintendo 64 was an awesome game in the eyes of many fans, as it expanded on the original game's starfighter-flying, comrade-protecting mechanics that made the original SNES game a hit. To this day, Lylat Wars is considered to be one of the N64's greatest classics and is undeniably the best game in the series. It's only fitting then, what with the large line-up of classic Nintendo games returning to the 3DS, that Lylat Wars returns to the spotlight with the 3DS remake known in America as Starfox 64 3D. A trailer wasn't shown at the conference (again, that arose after Nintendo's big show) but some footage of the game was shown while Reggie talked us through what's new in this remake. The first of these new additions is the method in which you control Fox McCloud's ship, the Arwing. The traditional analogue control is still in there, but there's also the option to control the game with motion controls thanks to the 3DS's capabilities. You can swoop and dive your ship simply by tilting the system up and down, and strafe from side-to-side by simply turning your 3DS from side-to-side. This is definitely a nice addition, but you'll have to lose the 3D effects to play in this mode - A real shame that can't be avoided. Still, if you want to gawp at amazing space battles in full 3D, the option to control the game with just the circle pad and buttons is still in Starfox 64 3D.

The original Lylat Wars included a multplayer battle mode in which up to four players could engage in dogfights against each other. This mode is returning in the 3DS remake, and it's looking better than ever. It's unknown whether you'll be able to take the fight online but local battles are in there, complete with some fantastic and unique features that weren't possible to implement into the original game. The greatest addition is of course the much-improved graphics and the lack of a split-screen toning them down, which will definitely eliminate the frame-rate issues that occured in the original N64 game, not to mention how you'll have one screen to yourself. Also new is a function that makes use of the Nintendo 3DS's inwards-facing camera. Using the lens, the 3DS will record your reactions to battles in real-time on the bottom screen of each 3DS playing the game, which could potentially be pretty hilarious. Whether players are celebrating their victories or putting on an angry face when their Arwing is shot down, it will all appear on-screen for all to see. The battle mode in Starfox 64 3D can also be played with other people who don't have a copy of the game, which is definitely a plus considering that the game will most likely not include the option to play online. Overall, the battle mode sounds like a fine addition to the already great gameplay of the single-player blast fest.

Starfox 64 3D (or Lylat Wars 3D as it'll probably be re-named for the European release) looks to be the perfect game to introduce me to the series, what with it being a much-enhanced version of the best game of the lot. The single player mode has been completely un-altered, and the previously rather boring multiplayer options have been made much more enjoyable. With that summing up this remake, what could possibly go wrong? At the end of this segment, Reggie announced that the game will be hit U.S shelves this September. Hopefully we won't have to wait much longer for it to be released here in the UK. Now, moving on to one of the conference's biggest reveals, and the game we've all been pumped for since it was announced earlier this year. Why, it's none other than...

Super Mario 3D
The full reveal of Mario's first full-on 3D handheld title was easily one of the most exciting parts of the conference, right up there with Nintendo's next console. Many gamers have been patiently (or not) waiting for E3 so we can finally see the new game in in action, and the long wait has definitely been worth it. For those who don't know, Satoru Iwata, the man who happens to be in charge of Nintendo, revealed a new 3D game in what is quite possibly the most popular series of all time back at the Game Developers' Conference some months ago, leaving nothing but four screenshots for fans to drool and speculate over. Well, now a trailer has been shown it's clear that Super Mario 3D is very different from what we thought it would be. Many gamers speculated that the new title would be a 'best of' collection of past Mario levels, which is certainly close, but not really that close. No, Super Mario 3D is essentially a 3D polygonic version of the past 2D games we know and love. And if that doesn't make sense, think of it like this: Super Mario 3D is a 3D Mario game that implements elements from the 2D incarnations, rather than sticking to the Sunshine or Galaxy formula. It looks different from anything we've seen before, and it looks awesome.

More than half of this post was accidently deleted all thanks to Blogger, and I couldn't find the time and motivation to finish it. Luckily this was one of Nintendo's admittedly poorer conferences, but I'm still very annoyed that it never got finished. I'll be sure to back my stuff up whenever I do a huge post like this again!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Feature: My Predictions of Nintendo's E3 2011 Conference and More!

The big day is almost upon us. Yup, there's exactly one week to go until E3 2011 kicks off with the yearly games conference from Nintendo, and I and many others can't wait. On June 7th, the big N will reveal a ton of games just as they do every year, but also a brand new home console for the first time since they revealed the Wii (or Revolution as it was known back then). So, I'll undoubtedly be writing a massive heap of posts about the event, and to kick-start those posts, I'll begin with the same Feature I did this time last year. Welcome to the 2011 edition of My Predictions of Nintendo's E3 Conference. In this Feature, I'll be revealing what I think Nintendo will be announcing at the conference and discussing what we already know about - Super Mario 3DS and Project Cafe, Nintendo's next system. This event only comes around once a year, so it's going to be special to say the least.

Not everything's about Nintendo's conference though. Third parties will also be showing off their new games, and rumours have suggested some pretty exciting stuff. The possibility of a sequel to The World Ends With You has me extremely excited, and if that rumour ain't true then I won't be too pleased with the guy who tweeted about it. More on that later though, as I'll be writing about my predictions of what 3rd party developers and publishers are going to announce at this year's biggest gaming event. And before anyone asks, I won't be writing about Sony and Microsoft's announcements. While I love a bit of Playstation action, this is a Nintendo-only Blog. Let me just say that I reckon they'll probably announce their next consoles too. Anyway, let's begin the Feature with my thoughts on Nintendo's next home console! Hopefully I'll get some of this stuff right, but only time will tell...

Nintendo's Next Console
Ah, I remember this time last year when I wrote about my thoughts on the 3DS. Nintendo released a press statement some months earlier, saying that they were working on a 3D handheld console... And nothing else. That left me guessing what the system would be like. I mentioned rumours that the 3DS would be close to the PS3 and Xbox 360 in terms of graphical power, and to my utmost stupidity, I didn't believe it in the slightest. Now look where we are. We have an awesome new handheld packed with features, amazing graphics and 3D effects and a massive amount of upcoming games. How wrong I was when I wrote the 2010 edition of this post. Unfortunately, I now have to be wrong again, as Nintendo's got their next home console in the works. A month or so ago, rumours started popping up about a new Nintendo system called Project Cafe. A ton of rumours followed for the next few weeks, until Nintendo finally revealed that they are working on a new home console, and again, nothing else. What you are about to read will probably be wrong and make me sound stupid once again when Nintendo completely reveal Project Cafe, or the Wii 2, or the Wii HD, or the Nintendo Stream, or... Whatever you want to call it!

This mock-up suggests what the new console's controller could look like. I'm certainly not complaining!
One of the biggest rumours about the next Nintendo console is the controller. Apparently, it's going to have a touch screen built onto the pad that could most probably be used in a similar way to the Lite Controls in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. It's a genius idea, and Nintendo have said that they're trying to appeal more to the 'hardcore' market with their new system. I reckon the new console should be compatible with Wii Remote controls, and that they should still make games for that, but we'll have to see what happens. I personally think that, if this new touch screen controller is the real thing, then a master stroke has been pulled off on Nintendo's part. Having a regular pad like a PS3 or Xbox, but with Nintendo's charm and innovation should make the perfect controller. Still, this controller is just a rumour in the end. I'm fairly convinced though. A less forced rumour regarding the controller is that it will have a front-facing camera that "can be used for in-game images", according to the guy who spread this piece of speculation. It's another neat touch that would work well with games that respond to your movements, much like Microsoft's Kinect but way less expensive. Another rumour about the system is that it's going to be HD compatible. I honestly couldn't care less, but that would be nice. It's about time Nintendo stepped forward in graphics anyway, and if they're trying to appeal to gamers who consider themselves 'hardcore', then a high definition system is the way to go.

Now I'm going to go crazy with speculation. No rumours have suggested this, but I reckon that the controller for Nintendo's next system will be StreetPass compatible. If I get this piece of speculation right when Nintendo announces the thing at E3, I'd be genuinely amazed. Basically, you could fold the controller somehow if it was too big to fit in your pocket and take it around town in hopes of getting those glorious StreetPass hits. Alternatively, the new system could connect with your 3DS so you can transfer StreetPass data between the consoles. The more I think about this idea, the more I reckon Nintendo should do it. You can forget about the next home console being 3D though, as Reggie himself has confirmed that the console will not support 3D effects due to price issues, which is definitely a plus in my opinion. Having a 3D handheld is great and cheap, but the price of the 3DS pales in comparison to how much a flash 3D TV and a home console will cost. Nintendo's next home console sounds very promising. If the heavy rumours are true, we can expect a system that is "much more powerful than the PS3 and Xbox 360" that is directed more at the 'hardcore' gaming audience. Even though I'm against the whole hardcore versus casual debate, it'd be nice to not have a console that everyone thinks is for kids.

While it's pretty unbelievable, Nintendo might be porting Skyward Sword over to the next console. Again, more ridiculous rumours.
Now that my guessing games are over, let me suggest the sort of games that I want to see on the new system. Some rumours have suggested that Skyward Sword, which is due to be released this year for Wii, will be scrapped and ported over to the next system. To be completely honest, I don't believe this rumour at all. I'm not denying that Nintendo could port over Skyward Sword, but to completely scrap the Wii version would be ridiculous. Plus, if the next console is as massive a leap forward in graphical power as speculation suggests, porting the next Zelda game over would be completely stupid and wouldn't show of the system's amazing new visuals in the slightest. Just because Twilight Princess was released on the Wii, it doesn't mean the same thing will happen to Skyward Sword. One game that I'm not denying will be on the next console is Pikmin 3. Good old Pikmin 3, the elusive, extremely well-hidden game that has been confirmed since 2008. In the following years after announcement, Miyamoto has only said that the game still exists, and that we'll find out more about it soon. I reckon that the reason why the game has been kept under wraps is that it's on Nintendo's new, soon to be revealed console, possibly as a launch title. I guess we'll have to wait until E3 to find out. In terms of unannounced stuff, I'd love to see a new Metroid game for the new system, and maybe even an all new franchise from the big N. We'll find out in a few short days...

Super Mario 3DS
One game we do know that Nintendo will be announcing at their conference is the first main 3D Mario title on the 3DS. Revealed at a press conference a few months ago alongside four screenshots (check my post on that if you missed it) Super Mario 3DS has been highly anticipated by many gamers. When the keynote ended, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed a few reveal at this year's E3. And here we are, mere days away from Nintendo's hour and a half of glory. Super Mario 3D has been described as a mix of Super Mario 64 and the much more recent Super Mario Galaxy games. Judging from what we've seen of the game so far (just those screenshots, basically) Super Mario 3DS will involve stages from classic Mario games remade in polygonic 3D, and stereoscopic 3D for that matter. Think how Super Mario Galaxy 2 remade a stage from Super Mario 64 in Throwback Galaxy, only with levels from the original NES games being chucked in there. Aside from that, other screenshots showed what appeared to be completely new stages, and Mario in his 'mini' form, seen only in 2D Mario games previously. Another hint about the game is in the logo, seen above. Could the tail growing out of the 'O' in Mario be referencing the Tanooki Suit from Super Mario Bros. 3? If it is, then we might just be seeing it in 3D for the first time. Exciting stuff, no?

What can you spot in the game's four screenshots?
There's honestly not a lot to say about Super Mario 3DS, the only information we have at this moment in time is what I wrote in the last paragraph. So, I'm going to switch back into insane speculation mode again to see if I can bag some kudos if I guess some details right. One big idea I have about the game is the story, and don't think I'm taking the easy bus out of hard street here. We all know that the majority of main Mario games involve Princess Peach being kidnapped by the evil king koopa, Bowser. It's been a tradition since the original game was released on the NES in some way, shape or form, and I'm fairly certain that it will stay put in the 3DS game. My speculation however, is that this game will involve time travel. Let's just say that Bowser somehow gets his mitts on a time machine, kidnaps Peach and travels to an unknown year (somehow I reckon it'll be Bowser's Castle from the original game). Mario gains the ability to travel in time too, and decides to tail Bowser and rescue his fiancee. If that isn't wild speculation then I don't know what is. I guess we'll find out if I'm correct soon enough. Until then, let's move on to Nintendo's other announcements at the conference...

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

One More Month to Go Until Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Lands...

In exactly a month today, one of my most hotly anticipated 3DS games since it was announced has finally been released. What game could I possibly be talking about other than the awesome Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D? I mean, you probably already knew that if you didn't miss the title above the text that you're currently reading. I've been looking forward to Mercs 3D ever since it was announced, and more recent footage and screenshots have had me extremely excited about this semi-zombie blast 'em up. Resident Evil: Revelations is all well and good, but we all know that won't be out for another year. It's been many months since my last post on The Mercenaries 3D, and a massive amount of new screenshots, news and trailers have been released since then. With all of this great stuff having me excited about Capcom's latest game in the acclaimed series, let's take a look at what it has to offer.

Each of the game's eight characters can be customised to your heart's content!
For those who don't know, Mercenaries mode is an extremely addictive unlockable extra that was included in both Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. It involves you unlocking and playing as characters from the series in an attempt to chain kills together while battling a time limit that can be extended by finding and smashing up time bonuses. It's a very simple concept, but for those who like it it's oh-so addictive. And now, the addictive factor of Mercenaries mode has been enhanced thanks to The Mercenaries 3D. Capcom have extended the extra mode into a full retail game, which means more characters, more stages and several brand-new features. Quite possibly the most exciting new addition to Mercenaries is the ability to upgrade and customise each of the eight characters you can play as. Each character has a number of upgrade slots in which you can place perks that enhance their abilities. For example, one upgrade could increase the speed of a character, or the range of their melee attacks. Of course, some get a lot more diverse. You can also customise each of the Mercenaries' weapon load-outs.  Sticking to the same old weapons like you did in previous Mercenaries modes did get a little repetitive, and this new feature seems to sort that out. The great thing about these upgrades is that you now actually have something to play for, other than unlocking new characters and beating high scores...

Barry is your standard bearded man who fights for the fun of it. Watch out for his brutal melee attacks...
Speaking of characters, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is packed with more than ever before, including some old fan favourites. Since Mercenaries is completely non-canon, Capcom have the ability to include anyone from the Resident Evil franchise. The two most recently announced zombie hunters are Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers, both of which have never appeared in a Resident Evil game since the first installment of the series around 15 years ago. Barry is a brutal fighter who tends to use heavy weaponry and some ridiculous up close and personal melee attacks, one of which involves him brutally head-butting an enemy. Let's just hope he has a long bath after a day of fighting the enemies of Mercenaries 3D, because if he doesn't get blood on his forehead I don't know how he will. Rebecca on the other hand takes a more elemental approach to hunting. This fighter makes use of more gadget-based weapons, such as guns that launch stun grenades and electrified knifes. She's also armed with more heavy machine guns and automatic rifles to use on her stunned enemies. The only downside to Rebecca seems to be her Melee attacks, which involve weak pushes and shoves. Luckily, Jill Valentine is here to save the day when it comes to getting up close and delivering some sweet hand-to-hand attacks. Jill is armed with some brilliant melee moves which involve her delivering some glorious long-range roundhouse kicks and even a move where she jumps on her opponent's head and snaps their neck with her legs. Jill also packs some firepower too, made up of even more machine guns and the like. Wesker is also up for a hunt in Mercs 3D. Quite possibly the most out-there character, this long running Resi antagonist can zoom around the stage and deliver blows that cause ridiculously powerful shock-waves that send his enemies flying.

Jill Valentine is easily my favourite character in Mercenaries, thanks to her ridiculously cool melee attacks.
The four characters we already knew about when the game was first revealed are still in there, and it seems that they're the ones you'll be starting out with before unlocking Barry, Rebecca, Jill and Wesker. Chris Redfield and his sister, Claire are two fighters that make use of classic combat techniques. Armed with pistols and the like, they fight with honour rather than mystical powers and gadgetry. Hunk was always my favourite Mercenary in Resident Evil 4, and while he seems to pale in comparison to the new characters, his knife based melee attacks still look excellent. Finally, Krauser returns from Resident Evil 4. This guy is the most unique of the starters, as he is armed with a deadly bow and piercing arrows. Krauser is also extremely strong thanks to the Plaga virus that is contained in his right arm. Not only can you customise the weapons and abilities of all eight mercenaries, but you can also unlock different costumes for them. All that's been revealed so far is a wedding dress for Rebecca, but we'll find out soon enough whether we'll be able to dress Chris Redfield up in a clown costume (hopefully not). Another new feature of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is that you can fight alongside a fellow player in local or online co-op play. That's right, for the first time in Resident Evil history, you can fight alongside (or compete with in a points contest) another human rather than being a lone wolf in the fight against Ganados and those guys from Resi 5. This mode has me really excited, and it will undoubtedly increase the replay value of the game even more.

Rebecca Chambers is a character who focuses more on firepower than physical combat.
So, The Mercenaries 3D packs in a standard solo mode full of tons of characters that can be customised to your specifications, a ton of unlockable extras and an all-new online multiplayer mode. What else could the game possibly include? I'll tell you what, a demo of the upcoming full-on Resident Evil game for 3DS known only as Revelations. Even though this demonstration is a few minutes long, it'll be a nice extra and something cool to have until the full game is released sometime next year. Until then, I'm happy with The Mercenaries 3D. You can definitely expect a full review soon after I purchase the game. Until then, you lot can look forward to a ton of E3 related posts and more over the next month!