Posts Tagged ‘Wii U’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…..

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.