Posts Tagged ‘Nintendo’


For the second year running Nintendo have shown why they are still, after all this time and after the ups and downs, they are one of the most reliable and unique companies in the business. I always approach any sort of Nintendo conference with a certain amount of trepidation. Let us not forget those torturous E3’s of a few years ago with Wii Music and that failed Zelda presentation.

However over the last year Nintendo has shown that they aren’t afraid to poke a bit of fun at themselves and they aren’t afraid to have a little bit of a laugh along the way. And that couldn’t be more evident in this year’s event. Robot Chicken kicks things off in great style. With a cartoon Regie introducing things before being waylaid by Bowser and Wario.


Things are now picking up a gear as the scene changes and we are then taken to a black room with Reggie and Iwata duking it out in an over the top martial arts fight to the death before picking up their respective controllers to fight it out on Smash Bros. that’s rights. Mii’s are coming to Smash. However not just any old Mii’s. It’s soon explained that you will be able to choose from three different classes which in turn gives your Mii access to around thirty different moves. We also catch our first glimpse of Nintendo’s new physical toys. These are called Amiibo and we are shown how they integrate themselves with Smash Bros. Scanning your Amiibo will bring them in to the game to either fight alongside or against you. The more you use them the more their attributes will increase. They were pretty tight lipped about anything else. However we were told that there will be support coming to Mario Kart 8 soon. This of course was accompanied with a Luigi death stare.


It was after this announcement that the games and surprises started coming thick and fast. First up was Yoshi’s Wooly World. An attractive enough proposition. Think the aesthetics of Kirby’s Epic Yarn mixed with the sensibilities of a Yoshi platformer. Like I said it’s a nice enough looking game but definitely one for the younger audience.

Next up was a surprise game that I was very excited to see. Especially as a massive Super Mario 3d World fan. Remember those awesome little Toad minigames that were scattered throughout the world map? They were great right? But if I remember correctly they were very far and few between and criminally underused. Well fear not because it looks like we are getting a bigger and better version of those games in a standalone adventure entitled Captain Toads Treasure Tracker coming to Wii U. This will be hitting the console Christmas time 2014.

Then there was another big surprise. I mean we all knew a new Zelda was on the way, but I think we were all expecting it to be Nintendo’s final mic drop moment. Well anyway, as you’ve probably guessed the new Zelda was announced. First of all we were treated to a gorgeously green, lush and vibrant vista.  Aonuma tells us that everything we can see, which is a lot given the draw distance, we can travel to. He tells us that the world will act as one big puzzle. Aonuma then fades out and the camera zooms in on a very Skyward Sword looking Link astride Epona as they are chased by a very Twilight Princess looking villain. As the chase comes to a head Link leaps from Epona and unleashes an attack from a bow which seems to change the elements it possess on the fly. The screen fades and we are told to expect it 2015.


Then we are introduced to a few more familiar faces of games that we saw at last year’s E3. My game of the show from last year, Monolith’s X, has been renamed and is now flying under the moniker of Xenoblade Chronicles X. we are shown a very beautiful trailer that consists mainly of cut scenes rather than actual gameplay, and given a release window of 2015.

Another familiar face, and a very beautiful one at that, comes in the form of the gloriously hard-core Bayonetta. My favourite character action game of the last gheneration got announced as a Wii U exclusive last year and now has a sumptuous new gameplay trailer along with a date. Look for it in the autumn later this year. Oh I almost forgot. It also includes the original Bayonetta in its entirety! Not too bad eh? Throw in the fact that Platinum games seem to be having fun with some of Nintendo’s other characters by throwing in Peach and Samus costumes and it looks like you’ve got one incredible package.


Another game that I did not see coming was Kirby and the Rainbow Curse which will be coming to Wii U. Now I haven’t been excited about a Kirby game in years. However the last one that did genuinely impress me was Canvas Curse on the DS released waaaay back in 2005. After watching the trailer it would be a safe bet that this is a direct sequel to that game. Fingers crossed it is as innovative and fun as the original.

A few other dates got announced during the show. Look out for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire hitting stores November 21st. these dates were also accompanied by some exciting new trailers as these classic games get new life breathed in to them.

We also had a bigger more in depth look at Hyrule Warriors. The Zelda and Dynasty Warriors mash up. And I must say seeing it again seven or so months on it is looking more and more like something I’d pick up. It was revealed that Princess Zelda and Midna (of Twilight fame) would both be playable characters. We were also told that the game could be expected in stores on September 26th.

Nintendo’s last big game that they showed was Mario Maker for the Wii U. This does look impressive. Maybe not on a graphical level, but from someone whose seen what a community can create on the likes of Little Big Planet, a platfromer series that has nowhere near the technical fidelity of a Mario game, I am very excited to see what tough mind boggling challenges people will make. This is a game strictly ties to 2D Mario however so there will be no recreating stages form 64, Sunshine or Galaxy. However it did appear that you can switch on the fly between the classic pixel art of Nes era Mario and the more contemporary hd version seen in New Super Mario Bros U.


Last but not least was yet another character reveal for Smash Bros. Not just satisfied with giving us the Mii’s we can also expect Palutena of Kid Icarus fame to be joining the fray. Palutena marks the 32nd character to be confirmed for the ever increasing roster.

And that about raps it up. I’ve been typing fervently trying to keep up with all the announcements they were rolled out so quickly. And from a company that really did look like at one point was going to have a weak 2014, there sure seems to be a hell of a lot of games on the horizon for the end of this year and early 2015. Seems like it wasn’t such a bad idea picking up a Wii U after all. Now I just need to buy a 3ds again…..


So as I lie here in bed, partly hung over, partly sleep deprived, thinking back on the sensual overload of gaming news I just witnessed a few hours ago. I feel the need to get some of this adrenaline out of my system and write down all the things that made it difficult for me to get some shut eye last night.


So let’s start with Microsoft. The big boys came out strong last night and like they promised their presentation certainly was all games games games. In fact the ninety minute show was so jam packed with announcement after announcement you barely had time to catch your breath.

Sunset Overdrive was without a doubt the game for me that reeked of potential. This exclusive showcased a very funny trailer that had the Insomniac trademark humour stamped all over it.

Furthermore there did seem to be a bigger focus from Microsoft on indie games this year (I wonder why) and without a doubt the one that left most people salivating at the mouth was the 1930’s inspired animated Cuphead. As a fan of old school Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons I could not be more hyped for this!


There were of course other exclusive announcements that we were all expecting. There were your Halos and Fables. However Microsoft did deign to throw in a few unforeseen surprises in the form of a new Crackdown game and the beautiful new offering from Platinum games, Scalebound.

Finally, and as per usual, there were the cross platform games that Microsoft either revealed or had exclusive gameplay clips to show. COD Advanced Warfighter of course looked stunning and the new direction is very intriguing, if a little Matrixy. However the reveal that I don’t think anyone was expecting, and certainly got my blood pumping, was Rise of the Tomb Raider. No gameplay was shown but a very enticing pre rendered trailer left me aching for more nonetheless.


Then there came the EA press conference. A little bit of a mixed bag for me. Ok so let’s get what I didn’t like out the way first. As incredibly exciting as it was to see games confirmed such as Critereons new arcade racer, Star Wars Battlefront, Mirrors Edge and the new Mass Effect game. These were pretty much behind the scenes interviews with developers and either showcased concept art or at the most very early rough footage. This was especially disappointing in the cases of Mirrors Edge and Star Wars as these two games were announced last year and progress seems to be achingly slow. As a consumer I don’t want to hear about a game that’s still maybe three years away and has not a lot to show for itself. I’m fine hearing about it on a website but maybe the main stage at E3 isn’t the place.


That being said the new Battlefield: Hardline game looked absolutely stunning. It looked like what Payday could have been if it had had the mighty force of EA behind it. A tense looking game of cops and robbers with what appeared to be (in classic Battlefield style) an entirely destructible city, Hardline looks set to impress with it’s over the top Michael Bay inspired carnage. If you need further proof just find the video of the crane collapsing into a skyscraper at the end.


And of course it wouldn’t be an EA conference without your dose of sports titles. Fifa, Madden and NHL were all here in their shiny glory. However the sports title that got everyone pumped was definitely the new iterartion of UFC. This game was also accompanied by a very sweaty and brutal demo featuring the immortal Bruce Lee.



Then came the Ubisoft conference. A personal favourite of mine as this publisher has gone from strength to strength in recent years. I wasn’t disappointed. It was such a sharp presentation it could have cut diamonds. Returning for her third year of presenting Aisha Tyler was an absolute joy to watch. Very comfortable in her role she was very happy to throw expletives, sexual innuendoes and racial slurs around like nobody’s business. And the audience loved her for it.

So highlights then. Where to start? Well of course Farcry 4 was a brutal and beautiful introduction to this new, terrifying world to explore. We were introduced to the new antagonist who was a sight to behold and looks to rival Vass in his villainy.



Assassins Creed Unity also got a lot of the spotlight. Indeed it was its second showing this evening. And on the one hand, yeah it looks like a lot of the older iterations in the series. However there is no denying that the oomf being given to this game form the next gen consoles is at the forefront. Draw distance, amount of npc’s on screen and resolution are all stunning and feel truly next gen in what they accomplish. The focus on being able to play missions with up to three other friends online is also a very tempting offer.

Other next gen titles which were on show were next gen mmo squad based shooter The Division which still looks as it did a year ago. And the epic and extraordinarily ambitious driving mmo The Crew. If you were to just check out one of these two games then The Crews mellow and relaxing trailer featuring driving across all the different environments America has to offer is a must.

And then came the absolute spell binding gem of the show. Valiant Hearts. This new ip from the infinitely talented Ubi Art studio looks like it will be one truly special game. Set during the trench warfare of World War I, it appears that you take on the role of a medic’s dog as he roves from owner to owner, all of which are of different races, creeds and backgrounds. Think Ghibli classic Grave of the Fireflies crossed with the art direction of Triplets of Belleville.


And Ubisoft went out on a bang. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL 2!!!! Nah, unfortunaly I’m joking. I think that game has without a doubt gone the way of The Last Guardian. Instead we were treated to the first Rainbow Six game in six years. The demo played out well enough. A squad of four gamers breached a house to rescue two hostages. It looked interesting enough however it did feel a tiny bit muted after the bombastic glory of Hardlines.


And finally Sony has come BACK to E3! Once again and for the second year in a row Sony came out and proved why they are the best in the business. Why their fans love them so much and why the PS4 is the bestselling system. I’m not going to lie I was very skeptical going in. I didn’t know what Sony had left to show. Boy oh boy did they come out swinging. In fact, not only did they come out swinging, they came out swinging with adamantium grafted to their bones and Wolverine claws flailing.

There is soooo much that they came out with. It was literally game after game and surprise after surprise. Games wise it was all killer no filler and apart from a slight stumble in the middle where we were treated to about twenty minutes of being told how many time the share button has been pressed, it was a performance that completely eclipsed last year’s show.

There was so much good information that I think the only way that I can convey just how much was shown is by doing this in short sweet bullet points. Otherwise I would be in danger of rambling for another five pages.

  • Things started off with a trailer for Destiny. Nothing particularly new but nice to see that a glacier white PS4 will be getting released as a bundle with the game.
  • Infamous Second Son stand alone dlc where you can play as neon wielding bad ass Fetch?!? Sign me up! This was straight out of left field and couldn’t have me more excited to jump straight back in to that world.


  • Little Big Planet 3! Did not see this one coming! To be honest it was a bit of an awkward demo. But it was nice to see new ideas being implemented as well as new characters.
  • A stunning demo for The Order 1886. The frame rate and graphical fidelity has been really tidied up since the last gameplay footage we saw. Looks suitably terrifying and is definitely back on my radar.
  • An absolutely awe inspiring gameplay demo of Farcry 4 was shown. Complete with wing suits, grapple hooks and weaponised elephants. Not to mention the incredible announcement that on PS4 and PS3 you will be able to invite anyone to your game who is on your friends list….EVEN IF THEY DON’T OWN THE GAME! An incredible announcement and again exclusive to Sony platforms.
  • Shu came out to introduce the darkly gothic and grossly beautiful new game from From Software. Bloodborne looks set to be just as unforgiving and brutal as anything else from the Souls series.
  • The makers of the iconic Journey also introduced us to their new project. A game that very much looks like a spiritual successor and aquatic version of the aforementioned game. Abzu looks to be one of the most atmospheric games of the show.



  • GTAV is coming to PS4. And in a startling move not only will you be able to transfer your online saved data from your PS3 to the PS4 but also from your Xbox 360. Well done Sony. Well done.
  • We got told that not only is the Ratchet and Clank movie coming along nicely, but we can also expect a completely ‘rebuilt from the ground up for the PS4’ version of the first R&C game to be revealed soon.
  • No Mans Sky pretty much stole the show with it’s ground breaking and infinitely ambitious….ambitions. A timed platform exclusive it shall be coming first to PlayStation.
  • We also got treated to the first in game footage of Mortal Kombat X. It looked like a very next gen version of Injustice. But hey, if it ain’t broke. Suitably and gloriously violent.
  • My personal announcement of the show. Grim Fandango baby! It’s coming back in a remade version exclusive to PlayStation. Indeed my right hand is still bruised from where I punched the chair I was sitting on in excitement.
  • The Last of Us showed up in a spoiler filled trailer. It looked incredible, as expected, and we were also treated to a release date of July.
  • The new Metal Gear Phantom Pains was as promised, a harrowing and brutal watch. Things have never looked more mature for this series. A lot of screaming, child soldiers and Snake with a blood soaked face.
  • Batman won me back with an absolutely mind-blowing gameplay trailer. Gotham has never looked so vertical, gothic and dark. It really looks like it will be a pleasure to explore.
  • And we were also treated to our first proper teaser trailer for Uncharted. What else can I say except ‘HYPE’! We see an older more world weary Drake replaying a conversation with Sully in his head. He looks tired and alone. Things definitely look a lot darker thematically in this latest instalment.


And there we have it. These are the things that stuck out for me the most at E3 last night. As I said in the beginning this isn’t an in depth look at everything. Just the things that tickled and stimulated me.  I haven’t even talked about #Driveclub, Forza, PlayStation TV or the mad scramble for Battlefield beta codes. This has been one of the biggest E3’s of all time so far. Which is saying something considering last year was the big console reveals.

And as I look through bleary red eyes, after only three hours sleep and then staring at a laptop screen for a further three, I realize I’ve got Nintendo’s press conference to watch in five hours. I need to refuel. Thanks for reading and goodnight J


Oh Nintendo. Remember when your consoles used to be inundated with tough, amazing, weird hardcore games? Yeah I know. Feels like so long ago now. Well fear not desperate Nintendo fans. For those of you that bought a Wii U and have exhausted the obligatory Mario and family party games I am very pleased to announce that Earthbound is finally seeing a re-release on Virtual Console.

Many of you will have probably never heard of Earthbound before. To be honest my first encounter with the series was the choice of playing as Ness in the Smash Bros franchise. I clearly remember thinking to myself ‘who the hell is this kid? Why’s he attacking people with a yoyo?! WHY THE HELL IS HE PSYCIC?!!?!?’ and so on and so forth. It wasn’t until last year I managed to obtain a copy after spending a good couple of hours listening to the Retro RPG Podcast wax lyrical about how great and off the wall this game is. And boy oh boy is this forgotten gem worth every bit of cult classic praise that is showered upon it.


I don’t want to delv too much into the story as pretty much everything that happens from the off, narrative and character wise, is a pure treat. But to give you a brief outline you play as a young boy called Ness. You are awoken one night to the sound of a meteor crashing near your house. Being the protagonist of the game it is your sworn duty to investigate the mysterious occurrence and off you go! You find that the meteor is actually the crashed vessel of an advanced Bee called Buzz Buzz who has travelled from the future to warn you that a being from the future called Giygas is going to destroy the world…..yeah I’m not making this up.

You then set out on your quest to save the world. However unlike pretty much every other JRPG nothing and I really mean nothing about this game is conventional. Along your journey you will be fighting hippies, intelligent piles of vomit and many other bizarre and warped creations. The only thing that could be called conventional in this game is the battle system itself. Very much inspired by the Dragon Warrior games of the day, the battles all take place in the first person and can be very tough and very challenging.


The world of Eagleton is a pure unadulterated joy to explore. Using very simple and stylised pixel art (think Pokemon but a bit more 2.5D) the setting of the game, a 1960’s parody of western civilisation, very much compliments the visual style of the game, and visa versa. Indeed when I first booted up the game I was instantly put in the frame of mind that this is what a Peanuts cartoon would have looked like had Hunter S. Thompson written the screenplay for it! You see the themes both on a visual and physical level do get quite dark at times. This can make for quite a sinister experience. However the perfectly written humour never lets up so you are never as depressed as you would be playing, say, a Silent Hill game.

The music is fairly standard. Nothing sticks out in my mind as much as any of the Super Nintendo era Final Fantasy games did. But the overall feel of the score is very upbeat and will definitely have you humming along and tapping the joypad.


In conclusion I can’t recommend this game enough. It is without a doubt one of the best roleplaying games of a generation and one of the best JRPG’s of all time. The only reasons I would suggest you stay away from it would be if a. you don’t like JRPG’s and b. you don’t like hard games. But if you want to see a perfect example of what it used to be like back in the day when developers had a lot more free reign and creativity when it came to physical games this will blow you away. Smart, dark, hard, funny and wacky, Earthbound is one of the best examples of making weird work in the gaming world.

Ah the platformer. A staple in gaming lore that has seemingly died out, bar the annual releases of Mario and Disney film tie-ins. There was a time when it was platforming games that sold the console. Mario on Nintendo’s various machines. Sonic the hedgehog for the Genesis and Dreamcast. And to name a few other greats you also have Banjo Kazooie, Jak and Daxter, Metroid, Castlevania SOTN and the list goes on and on. However in current times the platformer seems to have fallen by the wayside in favour of grey and grimy futuristic war games. So how do you reinvigorate the concept of jumping from ledge to ledge and sell it to today’s gaming demographic? Well, you get EA Digital Illusions CE (or DICE) on board and make a vertigo inducing game called Mirrors Edge.


Mirrors Edge is, in essence, a first person platformer. In fact those of you fortunate enough to play the astounding Prince of Persia games from the last generation will be glad to hear this plays out pretty much exactly the same. Faith (the female protagonist in question) can run, jump, roll, wall run, slide, grab onto zip lines amongst a heap of other abilities. Looking at screenshots you would be forgiven for thinking that this is another run of the mill FPS but you would be wrong. Indeed Faith can wield a gun, if you want her to, and this brings me to my only real criticism of the game.

When you come face to face with and enemy you can disarm them. Tapping a button when their weapon flashes red as they try to melee you does this. However if you miss that prompt you will be facing a game over screen a few seconds later as they pummel your face in. unfortunately the window of opportunity to do this is extremely narrow and only gets shorter the further into the game you get. This makes for a lot of frustration as you attempt the same battle scenario for the umpteenth time. The process is made slightly easier by the fact that Faith has a small array of melee moves herself and you can also momentarily slow down time to make that fraction of a second last slightly longer. Remember our gaming math? Guns + slow mo = WIN! Unfortunately this time round the guns aren’t in your hands to begin with.

As I said, that is my only real gripe with the game. Some critics have suggested that the platforming requires you to be very precise. Well yeah it’s a platformer. It’s like criticising Bioshock because you have to actually aim and fire before you down an enemy. Yes there are moments where you have to be precise like when you’re trying to grab onto a drain pipe or zip line, but of course you have to be spot on, they’re very small targets. I don’t mean to go on but can you imagine how much fun Mario would have been if every time you misjudged a jump another platform popped up and saved you? It would have sucked and probably wouldn’t be the platforming behemoth we know and love today.


The presentation of this game is another thing that should be mentioned. As mentioned before most contemporary games that are played out from the first person perspective seem to be favouring gloomy grey boring environments. Whether you’re playing Resistance FOM, F.E.A.R or Fallout 3, they all kind of look the same. Well thankfully Mirrors Edge throws this template out the window and replaces all the aforementioned staples with a bright vibrant city splashed with primary colours. As you dart from the lush blue tinted buildings that make up the city you are going to be taking detours through office blocks and underground passageways. And every time you enter one I guarantee you your eyes will have to adjust as you are greeted with either bright lime green or tangerine orange. It may not be the most colour-coordinated game in the world but it sure makes a change.

Clocking in at about 5 hours to complete the main story Mirrors Edge isn’t the longest game in the world. However, there is plenty of replay value here. There are hidden packages to find which unlock bonus content, time trials and speed runs to compete in. so there is a lot more to the game than the campaign alone. Furthermore you can probably pick up a copy of this game for around about £10 now. So there has never been a better time to visit the world of Faith, and you have never needed a better excuse to rekindle yourself with the type of game that probably got you into gaming in the first place.