Articles tagged with nintendo

Mar
25
Posted by Mark at 16:26
In a suprising act of openness for the firm, Nintendo's US QA/localisation/marketing team Treehouse have launched a blog, which can be seen here.

Right now, there's only two posts- one from Bill Trinen, and another from Nate, who wrote the English script for Paper Mario.

While this is a welcome- if unusual- development from Nintendo, it still puts them well behind the social media presence of Sony and Microsoft- and considering a number of recent decisions from the company haven't been met with universal praise, this will be an interesting one to watch.


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'tis the Season

Feb 15
Posted by Mark at 19:11

I bloody love Game of Thrones. It's the best thing.

Every week when the series is running I like nothing more than sitting down in front of the TV to watch these brilliant, well-formed characters played by the best actors working in television absolutely at the top of their game as the deep and engaging story twists and turns, aided by the some of the best production money can buy from their location filming to the CGI special effects.

And the thing is, you don't get that sort of thing anywhere else. I tried watching that Jersey Shore when it was on MTV and it's just not for me. If you've not seen it, it's a reality show about people getting drunk in nightclubs then going home and having sex and/or a blazing row. Okay, GoT has more than its fair share of drinking and shagging but it all serves part of a wider narrative in a way that it doesn't in this.

Either way, Jersey Shore isn't for me. It doesn't offer me what GoT does. Similarly a lot of what makes Jersey Shore what it is is absent from Thrones, and that's what I appreciate about it, and I'm sure the reverse is true.

And you know? That's fine. I don't think they're making Jersey Shore any more, but I'm sure MTV're making something in a similar vein, and if they want to run nothing but Jersey Shorealikes, that's equally fine. I don't blame them- it's cheap to make, and MTV get a hell of a return on their investment. MTV are a business, and Shore is good business.

So they want to fill MTV 2 with it, that's equally OK, and if they want to launch MTV 3, 4, 5, all the way up to MTV 100 and show nothing but wall-to-wall Jersey Shore on all of it that's absolutely A-OK, so long as I've got my HBO and my Game of Thrones. You all do you, I'll be over here.

-

So it turns out that HBO have announced that the next series of Game of Thrones is taking a bit of a turn. It's not going to be set in the fantasy land of Westeros at some undefined point in what we'd call "The Past" any more, it's going to be set in the modern-day, real world. And instead of being a scripted drama, it's going to be a reality show. About people getting drunk in a nightclub.

And they're also turning Westworld into a shitty mobile Gacha game.

Nintendo's recent announcement that Zelda: Breath of the Wild is going to have a Season Pass has been met with widespread disappointment, from myself as much as anybody else. The reason it's been met with such, is because they've done exactly the above.

As with most criticism that comes from within gaming, there's been an equally loud- if not louder- attempt at shutting the criticism out, mostly by accusing the people of complaining of all sorts of things simply for the act of criticising, but occasionally by coming out with counterpoints that are not incorrect, but also not particularly relevant.

"But business!" cries the journalist. "All the other games companies have been doing it for ages!" exclaims the random on social media. "It's not even the first Nintendo game with DLC!", follows up the smartarse who thinks they've pre-empted the counterargument. "There is such a thing as good DLC!" says someone who's missed the point spectacularly.

Yes, Nintendo are a business and they've have had a hard time of it in the last few years, and the Season Pass model is proven to work as a moneymaker. Equally, the notion that Season Passes are widespread is unequivocally true- a cursory search of XBox One suggests there's 64 of them already, for games as recent as Sniper Elite 4 and For Honor, which only came out this week. Nintendo games have had DLC, even Zelda spinoff Hyrule Warriors (which itself had a Season Pass) and Mario Kart 8's DLC is often cited as a good example of DLC being done right.

All of these points are very true, and nobody is saying otherwise.

But we can make similar points of reality TV, it's good business, it's not a new format (Big Brother started nearly seventeen years ago) HBO- or at least its parent company Warner Brothers- is responsible for The Bachelor, amongst other shows and the first series of The Genius is probably one of my favourite shows of the last few years.

What makes HBO great is the quality of its programming. What makes HBO amazing is that in a sea of trashy reality shows, lazy sitcoms and by-the-numbers police procedurals they stand out for their dedication to not doing that. For them to throw it away on making yet another show in the style of Jersey Shore, even if it was the best possible example of such, would be a crushing disappointment.

Likewise, what makes Nintendo great is the quality of its games. What makes Nintendo amazing is that in a sea of tacked-on multiplayer modes, scummy microtransactions and games being cut into piecemeal DLC chunks so you have to spend £80 to get the same game you used to pay £40 for, they stand out for not doing that, for still making these finely-crafted single-player experiences that the Zelda series in particular is known for being.

Even if Breath of the Wild is still incredible (which I think we all know it's probably going to be) and everybody complaining still goes out and buys both game and Pass on day one to throw that away by sticking a Season Pass on what is really the last bastion of AAA headliners without upsells is equally crushing- and everybody who is disappointed about it is absolutely right to be.
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Jan
23
Posted by Ben at 14:53
We knew that I Am Setsuna was heading for the Switch but there was some vagaries as to exactly when. Well, Square Enix have announced that I Am Setsuna will be ready for the Nintendo Switch's launch, on the 3rd of March

I Am Setsuna, somewhat surprisingly isn't getting a retail release. You could see it finding a bit of traction if it was one of the handful of games lining up on shelves next to the Nintendo Switch, but I guess if you're an rpg releasing on the same day as Zelda, you might want to hedge your bets a bit
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Nintendo Switch
First Thoughts
23-10-16
Posted by Ben at 15:10

The NX has now been revealed, itís a thing, a thing without much detail, but Nintendo did show enough that itís some sort of proof of concept. Now called the Nintendo Switch, the WiiU, and possibly 3DS successor doubles as both a handheld and a home console.

Nintendo have confirmed that the Switch will come with a controller, which seems like an obvious assumption, but the 3DS stopped coming with a plug so you never really know with Nintendo. The reason itís noteworthy here is because of the way the controller works. The Joy-Con, which is an awful Ďthe controller you give your mateí name, is made up of 3 parts. The left and right sections can be slid off, the centre of the controller we donít really know, presumably there might be some sort of Amiibo reader in there but the Joy-Con left and right can be used like a Wii Remote, maybe without the pointer (but maybe?), but they must hold some charge, and can be used to control a game like the Wii Remote on its side, meaning one Joy-Con can let you play 2 player.

The whole premise of the Nintendo Switch is that it isnít just tied to the TV. While the docking station seems to exist solely to charge the device and to connect it to the tv, there are possibilities it may offer increased storage solutions. The Switch itself is the tablet style device that goes in to the docking station, and if you want to remove it, you take apart the controller, then slide the Joy-Con L and Joy-Con R on to the sides of the tablet, turning it in to something not a million miles away from a WiiU Gamepad. The Switch unit, or tablet, has a stand on the back, plus a headphone jack, so you can use the tablet as just a screen, using the controllers in a more traditional way.

Anecdotally, this seems like something that, while not initially leading to sales for Nintendo, will be something people adore about the machine. When Iím cooking I regularly prop up my tablet to watch stuff, even my phone case has a little stand on the back so I can use that, itís a great idea. Nintendoís trailer shows this being used on a plane, but also with people gathered around, and while Iím a bit more tentative about believing this one, back to back screens, so you can play multiplayer across 2 linked devices. It may simply be online match-making, weíll see.

The handheld nature of the device, despite Nintendo proclaiming that the Nintendo Switch is "first and foremost a home console" has brought to mind a few questions. The concept is fantastic, for someone like me at least. I still play my 3DS, and generally I play it indoors, in fact other than one trip I havenít played it on transport since the first year I got it. Still though, playing whist watching something else, playing in the garden during the summer, playing in the bathroom, my 3DS gets use for its convenience as well as use because itís got the games I want to play. In the past weíve had cross-connectivity, cross saves, and even cross buy, but all of them come with hunderences and caveats. The ability to just pick up your game of Skyrim and play it lay in bed, or on the couch, or Ďotherwise engagedí, as much as playing it on a plane or on holiday, itís a fantastic thing. But itís a fantastic thing that comes at a cost, battery life and power.

If the Switch is capable of, letís be generous and say PS4 levels of power, then where is that power going to be stored (thereís not a lot of room in that tablet), and how long will the battery last? If the battery is decent then how much power can the machine really have. The speculation here is that when the Switch is docked it will have be capable of running faster, when itís in handheld mode the power will be lower to save on battery consumption.

It goes without saying that itís far too early to firm to solid an opinion of the Nintendo Switch. The list of developers is promising, but if weíre going to get month late ports of games at launch, then nothing after when they inevitably donít sell to expectations, like the WiiU. For Atlus are we talking Persona 5 or are we talking 3DS standard games. Iíll take either, but what kind of support the console is going to get is still a big question, especially when the big 3rd party game featured was Skyrim, effectively a HD port of a years old game. Thereís enough about the console to have me interested though, the portability alone would do that, now we just need some details
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Sep
25
2016
Posted by Mark at 19:11
There's been an amount made about the state of the event at this year's EGX- and while I'll be trying to focus on the games played, there are a few things that can't be avoided.

First, and the one which created the most noise was Sony's handling of Horizon: Zero Dawn- only available to play in a closed-off area, the 30-minute demo meant that formal queuing was abandoned early on in favour of booking sessions, all of which were filled up by 11AM each day- completely shutting out anyone who didn't have an Early Access ticket to the event.

Sony are not the first people to underestimate the demand to see a title at such a show, but questions have to be asked as to why so few consoles were made available considering the length of the demo, more so when the games immediately next to it on Sony's booth were Overwatch and Uncharted 4- both well-marketed games that have been out for some time, the former of which had its own dedicated booth.

The other two platform holders were also conspicuous by their absences- Microsoft's presence being limited to showing Gears of War 4 in a corner of the 18+ area and Forza Horizon 3 making an appearance on the Twitch booth, and Nintendo not showing up at all.

Microsoft's decision not to showcase the XBox One S and let Sony hog the limelight with PS4 Pro seems like an own-goal, but at least one of their flagship series made an appearance, to an extent doing what Nintendo did at E3 with Breath Of The Wild.

The next Zelda game, like its developer, didn't make an appearance at EGX, beyond a glancing mention in the show magazine (this year just an advert for Amazon rather than telling you anything about the games being exhibited), not even in a closed-off Horizonbox or as a developer session.

Nintendo not being present is almost inexplicable, especially when you consider that in the much less-attended Hyper Japan earlier in the year, Nintendo had a not insignificant showing, including integrating BotW's UK premiere into its stage show and creating a Pokťmon showcase, capitalising on the back of the then-new Pokťmon Go.

Despite what that event's name would suggest, Nintendo's showing there wasn't entirely niche titles with little appeal outside the otaku market, so it probably wouldn't have been too difficult to simply pick up that show and drop it into EGX, maybe adding a bit of Super Mario Run if they really had to.

Mainly appealing to otakudom still probably wouldn't have hurt, if Square-Enix' booth was anything to go by, showcasing World Of Final Fantasy- one of three FF games exhibited (four if Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 counts), a dungeon crawler whose gimmick seems to be that the characters can transform into cute chibis at will, a mechanic which seems to exist solely to sell Nendoroid figures.

More interesting was the adjacent Dragon Quest Builders, the Minecraftalike that Ben has already posted the trailer of.

(And if you were waiting, this marks the first appearance of a game I actually played)

The notion of Minecraft with story and objectives appears interesting, and advanced platformer-y tasks could be seen played on Sony's stage, although the playable demo didn't seem to last long enough to reach that point. The move to third-person, despite certain control changes to accommodate, makes placing blocks slightly harder than it could be, which is likely to cause frustration.

The rest of Squeenix' booth was made up of Rise Of The Tomb Raider and Hitman, promoting their PS4 re-release and latest episodes respectively.

Possibly as a factor of the absence of Microsoft and Nintendo, aside from the usual iterative titles (This year's CoD, FIFA, WWE, Pro Evo and Battlefield) the only other meaningful showing- save for Sega settling nicely into its strategy niche, and Sniper Elite 4 helping Rebellion continue to punch above its weight- from a AAA developer was Bethesda, showcasing Dishonored 2.

The level shown in the demo featured a mansion whose rooms could shift into different configurations at the pull of a lever- meaning in order to complete the level's two objectives (saving a colleague from the first game and taking down this game's antagonist) the player has to creep around the crawlspaces under the floors- a little like a Victoriana latter half of Portal.

The enemies shown, rather than the humans which made up the previous game, were all robots, which added an extra element of strategy to combat. Decapitation causes them to attack anything that makes a noise, meaning they can be used by the player to take down other enemies.

Sniper Elite 4, incidentally, was pretty much Sniper Elite 3, but bigger. Which is absolutely fine by me.

That feels like a nice cut-off point, tomorrow I'll recap the better indie and smaller games of the show.
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Jul
12
2016
Posted by Ben at 02:02
When I posted about Kerbal Space Program coming to Xbox One and PS4 the other day James, our Nintendo die-hard, mentioned the WiiU version, that it not being on the announcement was a pretty strong hint that it was cancelled.

Well Squad have today announced that the WiiU version is still on the way, due this winter

The PS4 version is out to download on the 12th July (today), with the Xbox version following on the 15th. The WiiU version is pencilled in for "winter", presumably this year but it could slip, there's nothing more concrete than that currently unfortunately
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May
20
2016
Posted by Ben at 04:42
Have you ever dreamed of working in a convenience store? No, of course you haven't, why would you, but if you wanted to try out a bright, colourful version of working in a shop Circle have you covered with Conveni Dream

Conveni Dream is by Arc System Works and looks not unlike the kind of themed management games Kairosoft (Game Dev Story etc) put out

We don't have a price yet, and the European date is currently 'TBD', we've asked, and there's no price, but Circle tend to price their 3DS eshop games fairly low. For the folks over in the Americas, you'll be able to download Conveni Dream on the 26th May

trailer below

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Stella Glow
Gameplay Video
10-03-16
Posted by Ben at 02:06

First things first, I recorded this Stella Glow gameplay video on my phone so it doesn't look great, but unless you, yes YOU, want to buy me the means to capture 3DS games directly we're all SOL.

Stella Glow is a strategy rpg from Atlus, not entirely unlike Shining Force, you pick your team to best suit your play style or the environment. There's different classes with different strengths, weaknesses, and so on

What makes Stella Glow stand out is that it pulls in ideas from its Atlus stable-mate Persona. It's simplified, but after fights you'll have some free time to go and spend with your team, and as your relationship grows closer, so their abilities increase. Similarly you have to 'tune' the witches in the game, which really just means talk to them or fight their darker thoughts. It's the bit that's maybe a little eyebrow raising if I'm honest, but still, so far Stella Glow is a pretty good game

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Legend of
Legacy
17-02-16
Posted by Duane at 07:56

It often feels to me that despite the current love for all things retro (especially graphically!) there's a distinct lack of old-school JRPG's missing from the market. I've said this to others and have been told that Bravely Default is what I'm looking for, I'll have to admit I've still not got around to grabbing a copy of that. However, for all intents and purposes Atlus' Legends of Legacy looks like it could be the plug for that hole. Or is it?


Things are a bit odd in Legends of Legacy, it definitely ticks the boxes for being old-school. It encourages exploration, has a fantastic looking land to explore, feels traditional and has an excellent turn based battle system (more on that in a moment). However, developer FuRyu have made some notable alterations to that familiar formula. There's very little in the form of structure, you're given the basic outline of a story and then left to your own devices to go and explore, you don't acquire additional party members, the entire troupe is available to use within the first couple of hours and levelling up has now been assigned to the battle systems formation system. It makes for an odd but interesting experience.

That battle system is the games focal point, you'll head off to a new location intent on exploring and opening up the entire map (which can then be sold), battling rather bland enemies as you go. Aside from the beasts, which mostly appear as a variety of shadowy blobs, the game looks utterly gorgeous, so the lack of imagination in the appearance of enemies when you're battling is a huge let down for an area you're going to be spending a lot of time in for a couple of reasons. The first is that its actually rather interesting, even if its not really explained particularly well by the game itself. Your party members can occupy one of 3 places in battle which then defines how the battle goes. You can change the formation at the start of each turn and experience is applied to your character's stance within that formation once the battle has finished. This in turn enables you to acquire move sets for each weapon you're wielding which also allows you to balance some of the more traditional style jobs for the genre (which aren't named within the game but its pretty obvious once you're beginning to progress that you're developing a tank, a healer etc. based upon your approach to each and every battle). The battle system is most definitely Legend of Legacy's saving grace, if it weren't for the fact that you will definitely find yourself having to be in battles far too often just to be able to be strong enough to head to new areas then it'd be almost reason enough to stick at the game.

Unfortunately, as mentioned, its been applied to a game that doesn't really want you to progress. There's a decent script with some very basic but likeable characters here, but they the lack of any thorough plot or hook just leaves any potential that they or the games stunning world have utterly wasted. Its one thing to have an excellent battle system, after all its the one part of these types of games you always have control over, but there's nothing here to really tie it to. Which is an utter shame, there's the building blocks of something really promising here, and FuRyu should be commended for trying something different whilst trying to appeal to traditionalists but Legends of Legacy is, sadly, a failed experiment where I cant help feel like the creators lacked a bit of direction and just maybe needed to be reeled in just a little in order to tie the whole thing together.
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Jan
26
2016
Posted by Ben at 15:29
Basically this is just a declaration that I'm going to buy Detective Pikachu. Nintendo aren't going to send it to us for review, and I'm not going to not play it, so, assuming Detective Pikachu gets a European release it's getting bought

I don't actually know what the game is, other than a 3DS eshop title due in the next week, I just like subversions of established franchises.

Granted I can't see detective Pikachu having a drinking problem, estranged from his wife after their child went missing, a case he's never solved, but just having a normal man's voice while all the other pikachus don't is enough for me tbh

There's a trailer below is you want to see what's dividing the gaming side of the internet

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