Kozaki Yusuke art for the new Smash Bros. fighters! ⊟
Even though I’m disappointed that Nintendo went for the predictable characters versus the more interesting (Sully and/or Donnel) to fill Smash Bros.' roster, I ain't even mad because we get new art from Kozaki Yusuke to celebrate today's reveal. Yusuke, if you're not familiar with the name from our past posts, is the incredibly talented character artist who worked on the No More Heroes series, Liberation Maiden, and Fire Emblem: Awakening.
Nintendo’s three-minute live-stream has revealed the main player’s protagonist Lucina and Robin from Fire Emblem: Awakening…
Bayonetta developer Platinum Games will release a downloadable third-person combat game based on Nickelodeon’s animated show The Legend of Korra this fall, IGN reports.
The Legend of Korra stars the eponymous young avatar, a legendary figure with the ability to master all four elements. The game will take place between the show’s second and third season, and players will have access to all four of Korra’s elemental abilities in combat.
So excited. So nervous.
You Should Play Guacamelée if You Haven’t Yet
If you haven’t yet played Guacamelée, you should: it’s an example of good level design, engaging action, and a well-integrated story in a platformer. It’s also really funny. Drinkbox Studios wrote a comedic story full of fun-poking at luchador and Spanish culture, and built an acceptably plausible story around it all. And it helps that it’s just the right length.
The premise is that an agave farmer who’s in love with a childhood friend who may be out of his league faces off against an undead guy who has merged the realms of the living and dead on the Dia de la Muerte, who has kidnapped said childhood friend. The agave farmer is promptly killed, but a mysterious and magical luchador mask revives him and gives him superhuman luchador abilities. From that point, you can play either has him or the female luchador who guides him (so you’re not locked into one gender), and you can purchase costume changes that alter your character’s strengths and weaknesses. But the overall game has a metroidvania feel to it, in that you unlock new abilities (via a goat-man) and must revisit previously blocked-off areas. The plot guides you to the newly opened up areas, so it’s not so metroidvania in that sense, but it will have you doing fun platformer things for 5-8 hours.
Watch Dogs Impressions
Watch_Dogs is just good enough to keep you hooked. The story’s mediocre, the constant internal monologues explaining uber-hacker Aiden Pierce’s feelings causes eye-rolling, and the driving feels heavy and stiff, but everything’s beautiful and hacking brings a welcome variation to the shoot a hundred armed enemies equation. It’s a lot of fun.
But it doesn’t feel as beautiful as Red Dead Redemption, GTA V, or Sleeping Dogs did when they first came out—an important thing since the initial preview of Watch_Dogs really pushed what we’ve seen from a sandbox game’s graphics and we did not get what we were promised. And the hacking becomes repetitive once you find your personal strategy for hacking the environment to Aiden’s advantage.
The biggest complaint I see around the internet (after the graphics-are-not-as-good-as-they-were-hyped-to-be and the frame rate complaints) is about the way the driving feels. The last game from a similar genre that many people who play Watch_Dogs will have played was GTA V, and after going from its driving mechanics to Watch_Dogs’, Watch Dogs’ feels like you’re playing with a solid metal toy tank: the weight of the vehicles and their momentum feels wrong, and the result is that you feel like you really are playing a video game instead of feeling immersed in the faux-Chicago surveillance state.
Another issue I have has to do with the technology—which is a problem, since that’s the entire crux of the game. In the world of Watch_Dogs, the city of Chicago is surveilled and operated under one unified system: ctOS. This network links to the power grid, cell phones, cameras, trains, traffic lights, car alarms, electronic gates, steam pipes, tire spikes, road barriers, helecopters, and facial recognition data. Aiden has hacked into the one, unified system running the entire city, and can control anything he wants to from his smartphone (which is represented in-game by pressing “X” or square). When you’re tasked with actively hacking a system, it’s done by rotating nodes on what I call a separate “puzzle screen” until the active lines connect to the end-node. Sometimes you’ll trigger an alarm countdown and you’ll have to work quickly. This sort of thing has appeared in other games, and it’s never exciting. Occasionally it may make you think for a moment, but it doesn’t make you feel like you’re hacking and it doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been given a great challenge to overcome, so ultimately it doesn’t add much to the gameplay experience. I wish there were a more interesting way to activate environment-hacking than holding one button down, but I suppose it was done this way in order to uphold the quick pace of the game. Still, why would the entire city run on one network??
I know I sound bitter, but I do mostly like the gameplay. I was just hoping everything surrounding it would be more engaging. Maybe I’ll feel more positive about the next 17 hours than I did the first 17.
What I’ve Completed: South Park: The Stick of Truth
Most games, even when comedic, rarely compel me to laugh out loud and when they do it’s limited to an abrupt “heh!” But South Park: The Stick of Truth is put-the-controller-down-to-laugh funny from beginning to end.
What I’ve Been Gaming
I’ve been playing a bunch of Mario Kart 8, and I’m really, really enjoying it. I’ve had people over to play with me and it really keeps up that high level of local multiplayer fun Nintendo games have always brought. When I play online (regional), I consistently rank in 6th to 8th place, which is less fun. But the challenge is fun. I’ll be doing more of that. I still have to finish the 100cc and 150cc races and finish unlocking everyone.
I also played the first bit of Pikmin 3, and really liked what I’ve played of it so far, too. It makes great use of the GamePad’s second screen, too. I think I only played the first day (up to the first save point), but I’m looking forward to diving into it.
Say what you will about the Wii U, but I always have a lot of fun with Nintendo games, and they’re probably the games I replay the most. Sure, the system doesn’t have GTA or Tales of or new Final Fantasy games or other big names that are currently non-Nintendo games, but the games that are on the Wii U are really great (most of which you’re not tied to your TV to play, which I am constantly happy about). To me, that’s worth the investment. I’m glad I bought a Wii U.
With that said, if you do want to play GTA or Final Fantasy or other games that have no current Wii U plans, the Wii U is a fantastic second system (just like the Wii was). Personally, I rock a PCU / PS3DS situation1. I always have something to play, but I never have hope of catching up to my backlog. That’s just a personal side note because that fact makes me sad.
I now have about 13 hours on Watch_Dogs, but I still can’t decide how I feel about it. It’s fun enough to make me want to keep playing and not stop, and I suppose that speaks to the pacing more than anything, but the story’s mediocre and predictable except for the bits when I’m not sure why I’m doing a certain task (or going about it in the way the game wants me to).
I still haven’t beaten Bravely Default. I really lost steam when I hit Chapter 5 (of 8?) because of what you’re supposed to do at that point, which is a big shift to the otherwise great pacing. What you’re supposed to do exists as a plot point, but I wish it could’ve been accomplished differently. From some threads I’ve read, it sounds like at least Chapter 6 is similar. I think I could skip most of it if I choose to only I do a few specific things, but I feel like I’d lose a lot of story bits if I do that, so I’ll slog on because I’m 65 hours in and clearly committed.
(PC, Wii U, PS3, 3DS) ↩
Let’s take a moment to remember 2009’s The Last Guardian Official E3 Trailer.
What are the odds we’ll see anything about it at E3 2014?
Kingdom Hearts had more handheld games than console games, hasn’t it? Does that make it more of a handheld series by definition ? o_O