[Review] Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release: June 2nd, 2015
Developer: Neverland, Marvelous
Publisher: XSEED, Marvelous
Though I haven’t had much experience playing their previous work, I’ve always had a lot of respect for Lord of Magna’s original developer, Neverland. Whether it’s the intricate puzzles of Lufia, the DIY dungeons of Dark Seed or the laid-back life simulation of Rune Factory, their games always find some way to put a unique spin on the role-playing genre. What a shame then that what is likely their final title lacks this same creative spark, with a story that falls back on tired tropes and a blend of strategy RPG and dating sim mechanics that fails to capture the appeal of both genres. It’s nice that the game even exists following Neverland’s declaration of bankruptcy, but Lord of Magna’s troubled development is very much apparent in the final product, and I wonder just how finished the game actually is.
The Awakening of the Giant – A comparison of Xenoblade Chronicles’ and X’s soundtracks
Posted 2 years ago by Jonathan in 3DS, Features, Game of the Month, Wii, Wii U | 2 Comments | 0 Likes
Xenoblade Chronicles X has been out in Japan for quite some time and while the rest of us gaze enviously at the latest Xeno entry before it comes our way, it’s interesting to note some of the changes that have been made possible thanks to the Wii U. The boost in graphical power allowed Monolith Soft to flex their artistic muscle and craft a gorgeous open world, the improved online infrastructure allowed not only for interactions with other players but also the means to push out additional content (which is a staggering thought for a game with a story up around the 70 hour mark) and the most striking change came thanks to the dense, orchestral based soundtrack, which harvested a very different tone to Xenoblade Chronicles back in 2010. Moving away from the smaller ensembles covering any combination of rock, pop and classical tracks, Xenoblade Chronicles X was scored by Hiroyuki Sawano, renowned for more grand compositions focusing on a full orchestra sound, a stark contrast to the ensembles players had been exposed to previously. It was a different sound that was needed to accommodate the new direction of the game, but it was a fairly big risk to take as Xenoblade Chronicles’ soundtrack was so endeared by fans.
[Just a Chat] Hyrule Warriors 3DS, Smash Bros. presentation, Devil’s Third, and announcements
Posted 2 years ago by Brian in 3DS, Just a Chat, Wii U | 0 comments | 0 Likes
With E3 2015 just on the horizon, lots of news has popped up over the past few days. That includes the Hyrule Warriors 3DS leak, upcoming Smash Bros. presentation, and resurfacing of Devil’s Third. We also heard about Mega Man Legacy Collection and Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice for the first time, as well as the localization announcements of PopoloCrois and The Legend of Legacy. Phew! Brian and newcomer Jon talk about of the latest news in this week’s Just a Chat.
[Let’s Talk] E3 2015 hopes and dreams
Posted 2 years ago by Brian in Let's Talk | 28 Comments | 0 Likes
Let’s Talk #12: E3 2015 hopes and dreams
It’s crazy to think about how, in a week from today, E3 will be finished. The Nintendo World Championships will be over and done with, all announcements will have been made, and the expo itself will go on hiatus until next year.
Nintendo had an excellent E3 last year. It’ll be tough to top what they showed in terms of pure news and announcements, but there’s a heck of a lot to look forward to.
Nintendo is getting things started early this year with a Super Smash Bros. presentation from Masahiro Sakurai at 10:40 AM ET / 7:40 AM PT / 3:40 PM in the UK / 4:40 PM in Europe. The Nintendo World Championships 2015 kick off a few hours later at 6 PM ET / 3 PM PT / 11 PM in the UK / 12 PM in Europe. Nintendo will be quiet on Monday, but will be back in full force on Tuesday with its Digital Event (12 PM ET / 9 AM PT / 5 PM in the UK / 6 PM in Europe) and Treehouse Live streams throughout the week.
I think it goes without saying that the Nintendo Digital Event is the big thing here. We’ll be seeing more of previously-announced titles, along with new games for this year and 2016. Mario Maker, Devil’s Third, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Hyrule Warriors 3DS, Star Fox Wii U, and plenty more should be on display.
With all of that on mind, what are you hoping to see at E3 next week? Is there a game you’d like to see announced? Which already-announced title are you interested in seeing more of? Really, any E3 related talk is suitable for this week’s Let’s Talk topic!
There’s one game I’d like to see above all else right now: Metroid. The series feels like it’s been dormant for much too long (only five years, but still!).
I’d prefer to see a 3D Metroid – specifically a new Metroid Prime – though I’d gladly take a new 2D entry as well. As long as we see something Metroid-related at E3, I’ll be happy!
Highlights from last week’s topic: How are you liking Splatoon?
So far, the overall game is great. Have not tried single player. The art style/design and concept is cool and is a fresh take on the shooter genre, with Turf wars being more about covering area in paint (less attacking other players, a relaxing experience), and ranked battles primarily focused on attacking other players so that the Zones can be painted (a tense, potentially frustrating experience). Love the new IP.
Weapon and gear selection is plentiful and diverse, and will keep people occupied for a long while.
Aiming with gamepad gyro-sensors feels good and works well.
Easy to level up and get money as you obtain that from any online play (better than grinding as compared to SSB for custom moves [mainly an issue bc the grind is for single player, when the core gameplay/game_time is multi. Mini-rant end]), but maybe too easy. Could’ve made it longer and I don’t think people would’ve minded, I’ve unlocked all weapons, but have not bought/used them all to prevent clutter to my weapon screen. I have 200k money, which is probably enough to unlock everything left in the game since most items are pretty inexpensive.
-Could use more online stages, the more the better, potentially more than they have planned (planned 2-3 more?).
-ranked battle rank point system adds to frustration of the mode, way too easy to lose points, and is frustrating if you feel you’ve lost due to the ‘randomness’ of stage_selection/team_ selection/team’s_weapon_loadout. Because of point system, people will probably get stuck in the C range and B- ranks, so matching with similar ranked people can still give you wide ranges in skill levels. The tendency I find in ranked matches is that I either play people who completely destroy me and my team, or vice versa.
-not sure about the weapon balance at times, some of the people who are really good at long range or high power splatterguns are really hard to take down.
-hours of play wears on the wrists due to gamepad weight, may need to be careful of that as the game is addicting. A con as they could add other controller options (as far as I know, single player cannot do wiiU Pro controller).
-could use more pre-set message options other than “c’mon” and “booyah”
-ability to create and save/load multiple custom gear/weapon loadouts (help sort through the clutter once a lot of items are collected)
-ability to change equipment while in waiting lobby (or use different saved loadout, per above)
-Paintbrush may need a buff in attack, and an easier way to attack as opposed to mashing ZR (maybe 2 swipes per ZR press). Feels a bit weird when most other attacks are holding ZR or pressing it once.
~ability to exit lobby (maybe, keeping it does help with arranging matches, I imagine)
~ability to sell gear (essentially, reset abilities, or prevent less/no use ones from cluttering menu)
I’m really enjoying it despite the fact that I never warmed up to any other online shooter. It’s amazingly fresh (…) and a lot of fun! Also, knowing Nintendo any content shortages will probably be temporary.
I love it.
The single player feels like classic nintendo. New gameplay mechanics in allmost every stage, really expressive and funny characters as opponents. Its just really smart and well done.
Multiplayer is a lot of fun too, but i do think its still a bit light on modes and options at the moment.
I cant wait to see whats in store for splatoon the next couple of months, and ill definitely be playing the game for a long time if they keep supporting it the way they have!
[Review] Swords and Soldiers II
Posted 2 years ago by Vincent Ward in Reviews | 0 comments | 0 Likes
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release: May 21, 2015
Developer: Ronimo Games
Publisher: Ronimo Games
Swords and Soldiers II is simple in every sense of the word. Its graphics, gameplay, and story won’t surprise you, but that’s just fine. In this game’s case, simplicity is great. You see, on the surface, it doesn’t look like Swords and Soldiers II has much to offer, but writing it off as just that is quite the unfair judgement. You won’t be finding a deep philosophical story that revolves around corrupt politics and military morales, and that’s okay. You won’t be spending hours learning the intricate and complex controls and applying them to fast paced battles, and that’s okay. The game just simply throws you into a side-scrolling battle against three armies that are filled with charm, charisma, and just the right amount of puns that’ll keep you smiling all the way through, and that’s okay.
Monolith Soft: From A to Xeno (Part 1)
Posted 2 years ago by Patrick in 3DS, Features, Game of the Month, GameCube, Wii | 17 Comments | 0 Likes
The last time I played through Xenoblade Chronicles was just after its European release in 2011, so I’ll let the other staff writers with fresher memories of it handle the actual game of the month. Instead, I’d like to take a not-so-brief look back at the history of the game’s developer, Monolith Soft, and the games they developed prior to Xenoblade. There are plenty of recurring themes, gameplay elements and staff involved, so let’s see how almost a decade of developing RPGs shaped this robot-slaying, god-climbing adventure.
[Let’s Talk] How are you liking Splatoon?
Posted 2 years ago by Brian in Let's Talk, Wii U | 33 Comments | 0 Likes
Let’s Talk #11: How are you liking Splatoon?
Splatoon launched in North America and Europe on May 29. That means it’s been out for exactly one week! Given that, I wanted this week’s Let’s Talk topic to be focused entirely on that game, as well as your impressions.
The nice thing about Splatoon is that it’ll likely be fresh in your memory for at least the next few months. Nintendo has already released new weapons and a multiplayer map even though it’s only been out for a few days. The Inkbrush just came out roughly an hour ago!
So let’s get this Splatoon train rolling. Let us know how you’re liking (or not liking!) Splatoon in the comments below. Have you had a chance to complete the single-player campaign? What do you think of the different multiplayer maps? Any thoughts you have are welcome here!
Highlights from last week’s topic: Do you prefer playing alone or with others?
I honestly like playing solo the most. Don’t get me wrong, I do love playing with my friends and family when the timing is right, but amongst those people, there are only 4 that I can think of that value video games like I do. It is with those people that I enjoy multiplayer with the most, but because I live in Japan and 3 of those 4 friends live in North America, I definitely mostly play alone, which is FINE BY ME.
For me, playing video games is a lot like reading a book. If the game is good, it usually introduces itself well, gets you immersed into the game world, and eventually sucks you in until the end. The nice thing with video games is that they don’t necessarily need a story in order to fulfill this, which is pretty awesome and unique. A game like Pushmo, which has very little story, can still suck you in with a great introduction to the game, puzzles, and world.
I also work extremely long and difficult hours, so when I have down time, I usually just sit down and play. Again, like a book, I love to be pulled away from my reality and enjoy time in a make-believe world of sorts. It’s nice to escape reality and enjoy the fantasy of what video games can offer. Escaping that reality with friends is nice, but mostly, I just like playing alone.
Both. But if I play local multiplayer, it’d have to be with people I have good chemistry with. It’s annoying when some people get competitive and childish instead of enjoying the moment of playing video games with a mate
Update: Winner – [Giveaway] Adventures of Pip
Posted 2 years ago by Brian in Giveaway, Wii U eShop | 61 Comments | 0 Likes
Update: Apologies for the slight delay in announcing our winner. A family member of mine has been in the hospital over the past few days, so to say things have been crazy here lately would be an understatement.
With that out of the way, let’s announce our winner. Congratulations to Kyoko! Your code will be sent out soon.
With Adventures of Pip’s North American launch slated for Thursday, we’re celebrating with a quick giveaway. We have one code to provide to a lucky winner (thanks Max Criden!).
In the title, Pip undergoes crucial transformations and evolutions. Excluding Pokemon (since that’d be too easy!), we want to read about your favorite physical transformation that a character goes through in a game. Just leave a comment below with your thoughts.
Our giveaway will run through Thursday evening. Note that the code can only be redeemed on a North American Wii U console.
By the way, in case you missed it, Dennis played through nearly an hour of Adventures of Pip over the weekend. You can watch our live stream archive below.
[Just a Chat] Japanese Nintendo Direct, Nintendo Direct Micro reaction
Posted 2 years ago by Brian in General Nintendo, Just a Chat, Videos | 4 Comments | 0 Likes
No Friday Just a Chat this week, so the discussion Daan and I held a couple of days ago comes in handy! Giving this a quick bump for those who missed it.
It’s only been a few days since the last Just a Chat, but Daan and I thought it’d be appropriate to hold another discussion in light of the big Nintendo news that’s come in over the past couple of days. There were actually two new Nintendo Directs to chat about! And that means talk relating to the new Chibi-Robo, Monster Hunter games, Bravely Second for the west, and much more.
GAME OF THE MONTH – Xenoblade Chronicles
Posted 2 years ago by Austin in Features, Game of the Month | 15 Comments | 0 Likes
Edit2: I’m sorry Brian. I’ve caused a fuss and it’s all my fault. To everyone just joining us: Don’t worry. Everything is okay. I definitely didn’t accidentally brand this post with the wrong game, cause a kerfuffle, and then fix my mistake like a ninja. Direct your complaints to this Twitter account.
Edit: Due to site reader grumpiness, I’ve changed the image and title to better reflect the fact that GOTM really has to do with a whole franchise, developer, etc, rather than just one game. If you’re unclear on what GOTM is for NintendoEverything, check out this post!
It’s E3 month which means it’s actually probably a silly idea to even have Game of the Month, but since we’ll inevitably hear more about Xenoblade Chronicles X at the show (and maybe a North American Disaster: Day of Crisis localization– fingers crossed) it fits pretty well. All month long we’ll have articles about the Xenoblade series, its developer, the older games the developer made, and various other things relating to Monolith Soft and large Japanese robots. Stay tuned for our first article this weekend!
And don’t worry– we’ll have E3 articles too.