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  1. It was only last week when Satoru Iwata announced this Virtual Console Trial Campaign to gamers during the company's latest Nintendo Direct. This is fairly exciting for Nintendo fans as VC games have never been likely to go on sale minus a few special instances. Perhaps Nintendo is taking a hint from its competitors. Here are the exact dates of the games which will each get 30 days in the spotlight, costing 30 cents each: February 20 - F-Zero (SNES) March 20 - Punch-Out!!! Featuring Mr. Dream (NES) April 17 - Kirby's Adventure (NES) May 15 - Super Metroid (SNES) June 12 - Yoshi (NES) July 15 - Donkey Kong (NES) Each VC game available on Wii U will be improved from their versions on the Wii system. This is because they each come with customizable GamePad controls, Miiverse integration, and the ability to play the game form just the GamePad. Although you are not required to own the game to get these promotional prices, if you do, your save will not transfer. All VC saves that may be housed in the Wii mode of your system are incompatible with the Wii U.
  2. Late last year, Disney Interactive revealed an upcoming toy-collecting video game akin to the popular Skylanders franchise. This game, bearing the title Disney Infinity, was announced to be releasing this Summer for Wii, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, and 3DS. And just like with the Skylanders games, you will also be collecting and scanning toys into the game itself, only with characters from famous Disney classics. The game's producer, John Vignocchi, spoke at a recent press event with news that his company will be releasing new versions of Disney Infinity every year after the first game's release. And to make things easier on your wallet, you will be able to use figures bought for previous versions in the later ones. Not only that, but figures bought for the later versions will, you guessed it, be compatible with the earlier ones. This is possible via updates, and will allow for players from all versions to interact with each other. In other news, the people working on Disney Infinity will also be working with film-makers throughout the development process. This allows the team access to films not even out yet, giving them time to create characters from upcoming Disney films that will be released with Play Sets alongside their respective films. "We“re actually directly working with them," said Vignocchi on the matter, "so what they“re doing is giving us access to their films as they“re in development, so we“re getting such early access that that is what is allowing us to create these Play Sets where we“re expanding on their content and collaboratively working with these film-makers to create a true transmedia experience." Disney Infinity certainly seems to be shaping up well, and Summer will surely bring joy to any Disney fan out there. Are you looking forward to Disney Infinity? What are your thoughts on the toy-collecting aspect some games are beginning to use? Source: Nintendo Life
  3. On top of all the great Wii U game announcements we got from this morning's Nintendo Direct, we also got news on the Virtual Console service coming to the Wii U. The Wii U's Virtual Console will include some new features. Two of the bigger ones are the ability to play Virtual Console games on your Wii U GamePad without the need of a TV and being able to fully customize controls. Miiverse will also be implemented for Virtual Console titles. What about the majority of us who have already purchased Virtual Console games on our old Wiis? Well, you will be able to transfer those to get playable Wii U versions. However, it comes at a price: $1 for NES games and $1.50 for SNES games. And to celebrate the Famicom's 30th anniversary, a "trial campaign" will be starting this month for Virtual Console titles. That means one Virtual Console title will be available each month for 30 days at $0.30! Here's the schedule: January: Balloon Fight February: F-Zero March: Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream April: Kirby's Adventure May: Super Metroid June: Yoshi July: Donkey Kong The Wii U Virtual Console service will be coming sometime this spring. You can watch the full Nintendo Direct conference from this morning on Nintendo's website.
  4. Jordan Haygood

    Xenoblade Chronicles Screenshot 2

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Monolith Soft

  5. Jordan Haygood

    Xenoblade Chronicles Screenshot 3

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Monolith Soft

  6. Jordan Haygood

    Xenoblade Chronicles Screenshot 1

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Monolith Soft

  7. Jordan Haygood

    Xenoblade Chronicles Screenshot 4

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Monolith Soft

  8. Late yesterday, XSEED Games posted a single photo to their Twitter feed. It was a photo of a tower obscured by rain. The company has been known to do this before (such as the set of photos they used to announced Unchained Blades) so fans were quick to guess what it meant. Today, XSEED has announced that they will be bringing Pandora's Tower to the North American market. The Wii exclusive action RPG had, until now, seemed to never be coming for U.S. gamers. It was one of the three games targeted by Operation Rainfall but it seemed that only Xenoblade and The Last Story would actually make it out here. With this announcement, Wii owners now have at least one more game to look forward to. Of course, Wii U users can just pop the game into that system instead. President and CEO of XSEED Games, Shinichi Suzuki had this to say about the title: “It“s fantastic to be bringing such a highly-anticipated title like Pandora“s Tower to such a vocal fan base. North American gamers have been very patient in waiting for this game to be released, and we“re confident they will be pleased when they get their hands on the title.” Pandora's Tower will be released for Wii in Spring 2013. Expect to hear more about this game in the coming months. Were you still expecting to see Pandora's Tower release in North America or had you given up hope?
  9. The Wii U had what is best described as a really confusing launch. After the console“s initial announcement at E3 2011 following some pretty accurate rumors, there was quite a bit of hype about it, and gamers were anxious to know the specifications, release date, and price point... for a while. For months and months we heard very little about the Wii U aside from what we already knew, and it got to the point where people began bad-mouthing the console and the company, even going as far as to make baseless claims about how Nintendo was too afraid to release their new console“s specs because they were unimpressive. This, of course, was not the case. Once we all got the info we wanted, it became obvious (for those who understand what the specs mean) that Nintendo“s next-gen console was indeed more than a match for any of the current-gen consoles. There was certainly room for excitement in seeing games like Mario and Zelda in HD, but more importantly, the console“s GamePad spoke waves to people looking for new ways to play games. All this excitement showed ever-so-plainly when stores were immediately flooded with pre-orders, and the console was pretty much sold-out right away. That didn“t stop the bad-mouthing, though, and people then started to predict the console“s failure, saying that the console wasn“t worth the price for either of the two models. And after what seemed to be a lackluster launch involving retailers all over the U.S. still carrying plenty of Wii U“s and most other consoles outselling it over Christmas break, it appeared that these guys were right, and that the Wii U had a terrible, horrible, no good very bad launch. Recent sales statistics say otherwise, however… Reggie sits down to discuss sales figures with Nintendo's higher-ups The NPD Group has recently finished their December report, showing sales figures for the Wii U between its launch on November 18th through December 29th, and Nintendo of America has deemed it necessary to show us exactly what they are. Why? Because these statistics are actually a lot better than most people are aware, and we need to know that. In the first six weeks of the console“s launch, it managed to sell 890,000 units in the U.S. alone. Coupled with Japan“s 636,000 units sold, it“s doing really well so far. So then, why does it seem to be doing the complete opposite? Why does the Wii U seem to be doing poorly? The answer is plain and simple: we like to compare it to how the Wii did at its launch and how the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are doing nowadays. As we all know, the Wii was a hit. Nobody had seen anything like it for home consoles, and it was a widely popular novelty ridden with potential. People wanted to get their hands on one, which caused it to sell a whopping 600,000 units in the U.S. in only one week. In comparison, the Wii U sold 400,000 in that same timeframe. So when compared with its cheaper, more casual predecessor, the Wii U didn“t do quite as swimmingly here in the U.S. However, Nintendo has pointed out an area where the Wii U trumps its predecessor: generated revenue. In the console“s first six weeks, approximately $300 million has been generated in revenue, whereas the Wii“s first six weeks generated $270 million. This is obviously due to the Wii U“s higher price point, but it still shows that the Wii U is actually doing better than the Wii by Nintendo“s standards. Japan certainly has a more impressive revenue difference, since the Wii sold 544,034 units after its first three weeks while its successor sold 557,901. For those who don“t like math, that means the Wii U actually did better in its first three weeks than the Wii did. Luigi collects the revenue generated by the Wii U So now we“ve compared the Wii U with its predecessor, but how does its launch stack up against the PS3 and 360? To answer that, let“s take a look at the actual U.S. sales figures of the three consoles after the first four weeks of each of their launches: Wii U: 849,068 PS3: 378,603 360: 477,303 When you compare how these three consoles are doing at the moment, it“s easy to think the Wii U isn“t doing so hot, but as you can clearly see, it has actually done really well. Especially when you take into account the fact that we currently live in tougher economic times than we did back then. Looking at the European sales during the first three weeks, however, shows a different result: Wii U: 340,310 PS3: 691,843 360: 403,037 From what I understand, Nintendo hasn“t made much of an effort at all to make their new console all that visible to the U.K. You think the advertising in the U.S. is bad, people over there aren“t even aware that there“s a thing called “Wii U†unless they managed to see one of the very few TV spots about it. Japan does make up for those low figures, however. Here are the Japanese sales figures during the three consoles“ first two weeks after launch: Wii U: 437,390 PS3: 130,335 360: 65,430 Pretty good, don“t you think? So how about we tally up the sales of all four of these consoles (Wii included this time) and compare how they did in the first four weeks of their respective launches: Wii U: 1,817,166 Wii: 2,071,242 PS3: 524,687 360: 948,162 Obviously, these figures are off by a little due to the fact that they weren“t launched worldwide at the same time, but you get the picture. The Wii U hasn“t had a bad start by any means, and almost reached the Wii“s level of sales in terms of launch while surpassing it in generated revenue. It“s not easy to beat the explosive launch that the Wii had, but the Wii U has actually gotten pretty darn close. And since Nintendo has shown us that the Wii U is currently generating more money at launch than the Wii did at its own launch, this new console is nowhere near the disappointment people are thinking it is. Nintendo skeptic Video Game Analyst Michael Pachter after we told him the news The fact of the matter is that all home consoles typically have a slow start. Or at least, what seems to be a slow start when looking at the consoles that are already out and about. But if you do some simple research, you can see that history has always repeated itself; the PS2 sold more than the PS3 during its launch, the DS sold more than the 3DS during its launch (until the 3DS turned the tides), and so on. Though seeing how Nintendo is the first company through the gates of the eighth generation of home consoles, and therefore the only one around, I can understand how people may overlook this and make comparisons a little too hastily. When you compare the console“s launch with the launches of last generation“s home consoles, however, you can see that the Wii U's launch is actually right on target. Of course, it“s way too soon to predict its success later on; we'll need to give the Wii U another year or so before we find out for sure. Nonetheless, the whole point of this analysis is to tell you one simple fact: the launch of the Nintendo Wii U was actually fairly good, not bad. Sources: IGN, Nintendo Life, The Motley Fool
  10. Jason Clement

    Disney Infinity Formally Unveiled

    Back in November, we reported on a rumor about Disney developing their own model of a toy/figurine-based game similar to Activision's hugely popular Skylanders and that it would be called Disney Infinity. It looks like the rumor was dead on, as the game was formally announced by Disney today, and it will indeed be called Disney Infinity. The game is said to integrate collectible physical toys into a sandbox game that will include the best of Disney and Pixar franchises. As far as the Disney Infinity platform itself goes, there will be an initial line of 40 collectible interactive pieces that will expand players' experiences as well as allow a certain amount of customization. In addition, there will be 17 character figures that players can bring into the Toy Box mode. There will also be an Infinity base of sorts that the figures and pieces will interface with. Disney Infinity power discs can also be placed on the Infinity base in order to power-up different characters with unique powers, gadgets, and so forth. Disney Interactive co-president John Pleasants described Disney Infinity as not a single game, but a platform that would grow over time. "Who would win a race between Lightning McQueen or Dash?" Pleasants asked. "Who would win a sword fight between Jack Sparrow and Phineas Flynn? This is the promise and magic of Disney Infinity. It's up to you to unlock the heart and soul of Disney Infinity." Principal creative adviser of Disney Imagineering John Lasseter brought out that the Disney characters and figures have been reimagined for Disney Infinity with a stylized approach that brings a cohesive aesthetic to all of the different characters. You'll notice in the pictures that the characters are actually made to look like action figures in-game to a degree as well. The game is being developed by Avalanche Software (not to be confused with Avalanche Studios, of Just Cause 2 fame), who developed the highly acclaimed Toy Story 3 video game adaptation a few years back. Not coincidentally, the whole Disney Infinity concept was actually birthed from the development of a proposed sequel to the Toy Story 3 game that would have focused more on Buzz Lightyear and Toy Box elements in general. Disney Infinity is set for release in June on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, WiiU, 3DS, PC and Mobile, and will debut with three playsets based on The Incredibles, Monsters University, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Be sure to take a look at the announcement trailer below. http://youtu.be/96U2gkgK0o4 Source: Polygon Are you excited for Disney Infinity?
  11. Ever since indie developers got a good look at the Wii U's eShop, there have been several who have shown great optimism toward the service. Two of these indie devs have recently commended the Wii U eShop, and unlike many others, they can actually tell you first-hand how much of an improvement it is from WiiWare - the Wii's eShop equivalent, aside from how good they think the service is in general. Gaijin Games is an indie developer best known for their BIT.TRIP series, and co-founders Mike Roush and Alex Neuse aren't all that fond of WiiWare, which they've used a lot in the past for their games. "We don't know for sure," Neuse told GamesIndustry.biz., "but it felt like it wasn't taken seriously by Nintendo, the desire for gamers to buy stuff digitally." Mike Roush added that "what's more friendly right out of the starting gate is the Wii U is developed for people to have an eShop to spend their money in and buy games easily." And with the Wii U eShop being more available and without the need for first-party concept approval, Neuse compares the Wii U eShop to the ever-popular Steam service. For the most part, Martin Pichlmair of Broken Rules - developer of WiiWare's And Yet It Moves and the Wii U eShop's Chasing Aurora - agrees with these sentiments, saying that "Literally everything was easier this time around," in comparison to WiiWare. It's good to know that indie devs are happy with Nintendo's new digital downloading service, and it's great to see that the Big N is taking digital downloading more seriously than in the past. Hopefully we'll be seeing some really cool new indie games come along in the near future that make unique use of the Wii U GamePad. There's a lot of potential there, and it should be interesting to see what pops up. Have you tried the Wii U eShop yet? What are your opinions on it?
  12. Jordan Haygood

    Wii U Sales Are "Steady," According to Iwata

    As soon as Wii U's were available for pre-order, they were selling like crazy. And upon release...well, there were a surprising amount still in stores. If you decided this past holiday season to go out and pick up the console for you or your loved ones, you may very well have noticed just how many were still sitting in stores. Does this mean that the launch of Nintendo's new console was a failure? No, Nintendo doesn't think so. In fact, they don't even consider the Wii U's failure to match the crazy selling out of its predecessor disappointing. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata himself told Reuters that there's no need to see the vast availability of the Wii U as a bad thing. "At the end of the Christmas season," Iwata said, "it wasn't as though stores in the U.S. had no Wii U left in stock, as it was when Wii was first sold in that popular boom." But sales are not bad, and I feel it's selling steadily." In terms of sales figures...well, Iwata actually refused to present those. However, the Japanese magazine company Enterbrain says that just this December, the console sold more than 600,000 units in Japan. Wii U sales may seem slow at first, but you know what they say: slow and steady wins the race. Are you planning on buying a Wii U soon? If you already have one, do you think your purchase was worth it?
  13. Jordan Haygood

    Xenoblade Chronicles

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Monolith Soft

  14. The Last Story was a game many weren't certain would reach North America at all (especially prior to 2012), but when NOA President Reggie Fils-Aime announced via Nintendo Direct earlier this year that XSEED would be publishing the game, that was almost two revelations in one. Mistwalker's swan song for the Wii would become one of the first modern and widely known Nintendo-owned IPs to be licensed out to a third party publisher for printing and release in a certain region (in this case, North America). Interestingly enough, though, this development almost didn't happen. Though XSEED representatives have repeatedly stated (in subsequent interviews after the game's release in August) that they released it because they believed it was a quality game and thought that it should have been brought to the US, the full story wasn't brought to light until now. It turns out that, in fact, not everyone on XSEED's staff shared the enthusiasm that it would be great to license and publish the game. Namely, the sales reps. In an interview with Kotaku, XSEED Vice President Ken Berry spoke about how difficult it was to convince the sales reps that they needed to take a chance on releasing The Last Story here. One of the main issues was that the sales reps considered the Wii a "dead platform." Berry recounted the situation in the interview, saying: "It was a constant fight even within our own organization, To our external sales reps, we'd be saying, ”No, like you guys don't understand. There's tons of fans out there that are asking for this. There's a huge fan movement.' I mean, so yeah. In the end, I think we were right." Of course, the publisher ended up publishing the game in the end, and the rest is history. He also added that the fans were to thank for their enthusiasm and fervor in the game, and that collectively they put their money where their mouths were (figuratively speaking, of course). In the end, the game scored critical acclaim among most press outlets and websites (even in our own review), and even ended up becoming XSEED's biggest hit, with Berry's gamble having effectively paid off. The whole interview is itself a fascinating read, delving into the company's origin and how the merger of Squaresoft and Enix led to several of the North American Square branch departing to form what would become XSEED. If you're interested, you can check it out on Kotaku.
  15. barrel


    From the album: Barrel's storage of pics

    © http://www.hbhud.com

  16. This generation has been one of change. Not only have our consoles morphed into new shapes and sizes over these last few years, but thanks to the invention of firmware updates and a new world where everyone is always online, we've been able to see features come and go at a staggering rate. In a world where so many changes can happen to a console in a moment's notice, its easy to forget some of the things that have gone of the way of the dinosaurs over the years. Whether they were big or small, unknown or controversial, everything has been seemingly forgotten, like these four things right here! The Xbox Blades Dashboard If there was a console with an identity crisis, it would probably be the Xbox 360. The system's menu has changed so many times over the years I've lost count of just how many changes Microsoft has made. Not that I was actually keeping track or anything of the sort. I want to make some sort of Blade joke, but really... just look at it. After so many changes were made, its easy to forget just what the system's electronic face originally looked like. I'm pretty sure Microsoft doesn't even use the word "Blade" anymore when describing the different pages that appear on the Xbox dashboard. But the past isn't easily forgotten when you have modders. Yes, the original dashboard is still alive and kicking on all those random Xbox(es?) out there that have been modded in all sorts of crazy ways. Even those old forgotten blades are still making an appearance on some of these consoles. It looks insanely gaudy and out of date, but there's still a small group of people out there keeping tradition alive. The Jingle Of The PS3 This change was so small, most people didn't even notice it happened at all. With the original Playstation 3 system, there was a small jingle that played whenever you started up a game. Along with that jingle came the Playstation logo with its lovely Spider-Man font. How would you represent a jingle with an image?! So yeah, you probably already know why the jingle went away, thanks to that last line in the section above this one. When the Playstation's price drop first happened, Sony decided to do a console rebranding and changed their PS3 logo into a more sleek design. With the change, Sony was forced to remove that old Spider-Man font that appeared in front of every single game you played. When they did that however, they just decided to scrap the whole opening logo and the jingle was tossed out. You took it for granted and now its gone forever. AND YOU DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE. Backwards Compatibility We all know about the Playstation 3's checkered history with backwards compatibility. First it was in, then it wasn't, then it was in again and now we have to buy our PS2 games a second time if we want to play them on our PS3's. Sony gets a lot of flack for this. But Nintendo pulled Gamecube support on the Wii and nobody has really made a single hubbub about it. Did they really have to smash my Gamecube too? Starting sometime last year, Nintendo released a slight revision of the Wii console in the UK. This version of the console was slightly smaller than the original Wii, but only due to the fact that Nintendo removed the area where you plugged in Gamecube controllers along with Gamecube functionality. And now Nintendo is at it again with the Wii Mini in Canada. Except not only have they removed Gamecube backwards compatibility, they've also taken out the ability to connect to the internet! This console of theirs is really as bare bones as it gets. But it still surprises me to see nobody being upset about the missing Gamecube functionality. The console had plenty of good games! We can't just up and forget about those to save a bit of money! After this was all said and done you're probably thinking that most of these things really weren't all that important (especially backwards compatibility) And you'd be right. Nobody is going to miss a jingle that played before every game you started. But there's no way I'm going to let you forget it. As always, thanks for reading
  17. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

    Developer: Junction Point Studios (Wii), Heavy Iron (Wii U), Blitz Games Studios (PS3, 360, PC, Mac) Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios Platform: Wii, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, MAC Release Date: November 18, 2012 ESRB: E for Everyone This review is based on the Wii version of the game. A retail copy was provided by Disney Interactive Studios for review. Mickey Mouse has been the face of Disney for over 80 years now, appearing in everything from television shows and feature films to comic books, video games, and one of the most famous theme parks in the world. But for the longest time, not many people knew that Mickey was actually the replacement for his older brother Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. This unlucky rabbit had been abandoned years ago and forgotten to most of the world… That is, until the Wii game Epic Mickey came along in 2010, which breathed new life into Walt Disney“s forgotten hero. And while the original Epic Mickey featured Oswald as simply a deuteragonist, the multi-platform follow-up Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two has given him a new role - sharing the spotlight with Mickey as they both save Wasteland together from a new threat in a very colorful, very musical, and very co-op adventure. But with Oswald onboard, can this game truly follow up the magic of its predecessor, or does it spill paint thinner all over its name? Well…a little of both. Epic Mickey 2 takes us right back to the land of rejected and forgotten Disney creations known as Wasteland. After the events of the first game, earthquakes are now blowing Wasteland asunder, acting as a sort of natural thinner as the world begins to break apart like it did back when clumsy ”ol Mickey Mouse poured paint thinner all over the land in his first epic adventure (probably murdering countless Wastelanders in the process). This time, the antagonistic Mad Doctor has seemingly turned over a new leaf, calling out for someone to help him fix Wasteland as he tries to make up for what he did in the past. Oswald decides to be a hero while his wife and Gremlin Gus, both suspicious of the Mad Doctor“s sudden change of heart, build a magic TV to call Mickey back into action. The story isn“t quite as deep or “epic†as the first one, but the events that tell the story are still quite a treat. The Power of Two has several things going for it that the original never had, such as full-on voice acting. And by that, I mean that every single character in Wasteland has a voice. Yes, even Male Dog. Unfortunately though, with everyone speaking loud and clear, there are times when it gets a bit annoying, like when Gus repeatedly tells you the same objective over and over and over again until you get the job done. He“ll make you want to paint thinner him, I“ll tell you that right now. The cutscenes are wonderfully whimsical when the Mad Doctor is involved, as he has taken the liberty of turning this story into a musical of sorts, singing every time he speaks and getting others to do the same on occasion. And these are pretty catchy songs, too, for the most part. There“s also a bit of wit involved in this game, such as when Mickey and Oswald exchange puzzled looks when the Mad Doctor sings. Other than the visual quirks, the dialogue itself can be pretty funny too, both with simple spoken lines and with toe-tapping sung lines. This game takes itself about as seriously as a classic Disney cartoon, which adds plenty of room to be ridiculous and funny. It won“t come as much of a shock to veterans of the original, but Epic Mickey 2 has a truly fantastic score behind it. Aside from its delightful musical numbers, this game“s booming orchestral tracks and songs with a hint of familiarity will leave you awestruck and really helps in identifying this game as an epic adventure. And believe it or not, the music also changes depending on your decisions. These audial shifts won“t exactly be glaring you in the face ears, subtle as they are, but they are there, and they do help to make your experience more than meets the eye ear. On that note, one interesting mechanic strewn about in this game is a decision-making system of rewards and consequences. It“s a unique and promising mechanic that causes different things to happen depending on how you play. It“s just a shame that this mechanic wasn“t used to its fullest potential. Not only are the bad choices not always clear, but your choices don“t even really matter in the end. You may notice characters refusing to help you throughout the game, but the overall outcome is basically the same. Epic Mickey was known for being highly stylized with cartoony flair and its successor is no different. The 2D cutscenes are very well-made, bringing in a nice artsy, old-fashioned look distinctive from the rest of the game. The 3D cutscenes featuring the very vocal Mad Doctor are also very beautiful, as is the 3D environment of the game itself. Every area of the game feels like a work of art, from the black-and-white side-scrolling segments to the very vivid overworld. And when you throw in Mickey“s paintbrush and its paint/thinner abilities, The Power of Two just looks all-around gorgeous. With all the good Epic Mickey 2 has going for it, it“s really disappointing to see so many flaws come to the forefront while actually playing the game. The gameplay can feel a bit sloppy at certain points, which you may notice when you find yourself falling to a precocious death because of something you could have sworn you did right. This could be caused by a manner of things, from slippery surfaces to your character“s sluggish movements. The controls themselves can also become troublesome at times, but with the Wii“s motion controls, there“s a nice balance there that makes it tolerable. Junction Point has made it a point (pun intended) to fix some of the issues the original Epic Mickey suffered from, such as the poor camera. And while they indeed fixed some of the environmental obstruction problems, the camera still acts a bit wonky sometimes. It“s also disheartening to realize that the newer things thrown into this game weren“t exactly implemented properly. This is especially true about the AI in this game. As far as enemy AI goes, it feels very unbalanced, which can often make certain normal enemies seem impossible to kill. Not to mention this game, unlike countless others, doesn“t have an invincibility shield to protect you from being bombarded with attacks until you die. Rather than making it fair on you, the cruddy combat pretty much kills you instantly if you“re going up against a boss that won“t stop smacking you around, and Oswald“s AI either can“t or won“t help you. Speaking of Oswald“s AI, it“s fairly obvious that The Power of Two was made for playing cooperatively with another human player. So if you have someone to play with, it“s actually a lot more fun. When playing single-player, however, you will no doubt have trouble getting Oswald to do what you want, especially considering you can only play as Mickey. It also gets quite annoying when he constantly tells you that “I“ve got this†when he clearly hasn“t. If you can stomach the game“s flaws as I have, you may find yourself easily distracted by the game“s many sidequests. And I wouldn“t blame you, because I couldn“t help myself from doing just that. Some quests are more fun than others, and if you feel the need to collect the multiple forms of currency within the game, quests are probably the best opportunity to do so. At the end of the day, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the wonderful voice acting, fantastic soundtrack, and gorgeous visuals will make the experience as magical as it was meant to be. But on the other hand, sloppy gameplay mechanics, cruddy combat, and often moronic AI tend to get in the way a lot. But if you can tolerate this game“s flaws, it can truly be a fun ride. It“s not as good as its predecessor, but if you enjoyed the original, or you're just a big Disney fan, I suggest giving Epic Mickey 2 a shot. Pros: + Voice acting is impressive + Fantastic soundtrack + Gorgeous visuals + 2-player co-op heightens the fun factor Cons: - Sloppy gameplay mechanics - Moronic AI - Cruddy combat Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Mickey's second epic venture into Wasteland is a wonderfully quirky musical chock-full of fantastic aesthetics. Unfortunately, it also has some big flaws that weigh it down enough to turn some people away. It's not for everyone, but it'll delight plenty.
  18. Like most, I play games to have fun, at least for the most part. At the same time, I also don't really care about achievements and trophies. Of course, I know they're a good thing to have simply because they do add more replay value to a game, but that doesn't mean I'm going to actively go out and try to get them. But when it comes to special in-game challenges... I have to beat them. I have to get as close to perfect as I possibly can. I HAVE TO FINISH THEM! It's just that sometimes these challenges are so time consuming and difficult that the reward never really seems worth it. Here are just five of those challenges. One Noble Is Getting Their Teeth Kicked In When you play a Final Fantasy game that isn't Theatrhythm, there's probably a single thought running through your head at any given time. That thought is probably "Man, this game could really use some Dance Dance Revolution type gameplay." Well, your thoughts were somehow heard and implemented into Final Fantasy IX. Prepare to regret everything. The gameplay is really just a Simon Says sword fight. Blank yells out what button you press and you press it. Doesn't sound hard at all, right? Well it isn't. It's the judging that happens at the end of your fight. If you missed a single button press or even pressed the right button (just a little slower than you should have) then you could end up impressing 99 of the 100 nobles watching you. What kind of play has the actors yelling out every scene before it happens? You could have a perfect show and still manage to only impress 99 nobles. And this is the kicker, if you fail to impress all 100 nobles, then you don't get a Moonstone after your performance. This means you won't be able to learn Shell in the early levels of the game and it makes a future boss fight a hundred times more difficult than it should be. So your only choice is to go back and try again. Over and over again until you finally impress every single person in the audience. This could take one try or a thousand. You just don't know. But you have to get that Moonstone if you want to avoid a headache in the very near future. The Zelda Race That You Can't Win First, lets talk about rubber band AI. It's essentially a tool that lazy developers use to make people like me angry for no reason. For those of you unaware, here's what rubber band AI is. When you get too far ahead in a racing game, your computer opponents will shoot forward at hyper speed and ignore all obstacles. This is effectively known as cheating. But at least with this form of cheating you can still win whatever game you're currently screaming at. This same thing cannot be said for a race in The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. A race against the running man that you can literally never win. I wonder how many hours were wasted by people trying to beat him. I'm okay with impossible challenges. That isn't the problem I have with this race. The problem arises from the fact that the running man will always beat you by exactly one second. Close enough to a draw that you might make the mistake of thinking you can actually win. And it certainly doesn't help that he tells you to try again. No matter how fast you are, you will never ever win. Even if you use a Gameshark or other such cheating device to stop the clock at one second he will still beat you by one second less. You get no reward and there is no point to race him. Electro Shock Therapy In Final Fantasy X We're back to Final Fantasy with yet another "minigame" of sorts. And boy is this one as fun as it is time consuming! *Note: Sarcasm doesn't translate well through the written word* This sidequest requires you to dodge 200 randomly occurring lightning bolts. In a row. Without saving. It's almost like you're really watching paint dry! You're probably already reeling back in terror at the thought of doing something so mind numbingly boring. Why even do this sidequest, you ask? Because it is the only way to acquire Lulu's Venus Sigil. Now, dodging the lightning bolts isn't exactly difficult and can be done in only half an hour if you use a glitch. But if you mess up even once or take a break or accidentally stroke out and forget you can't save, then its over. And also if you count the strikes wrong. Say you dodged 199 in a row and went to claim your prize. Instead you would get the reward below the top prize and have to do it all over again. Some Things Just Aren't Worth It Dead or Alive 5 has quite a number of challenges that just are absolutely not worth it in any way shape or form. No matter what unlockables you might get, you just can't make me even begin to want to try to get them when you consider the requirements involved. Oh, you don't know? Well you're about to. First of all, there are the game's many different titles. You unlock them from beating the game, losing too many times, unlocking a certain number of costumes, yadda yadda so on and so forth. There are also titles gained from using a character online 1,000 times. Every character in the game has one of those as well. I stopped having fun thirteen thousand fights ago. So to get the achievement of all titles unlocked, you must play online in 25,000 different matches. I don't really care about titles however, so let's move on to the rare costumes. There are three in total, and each one is more crazy than the last. But nothing beats out Lisa's rare costume. To unlock it you must beat survival mode about four or five times in a row to unlock the hardest difficulty. You must then beat 100 opponents in a row on said difficulty without being knocked out even a single time. Using the dumbest tactics possible I managed about 20. I'm never unlocking that costume and I hate anyone who even dares to try it. Actually Using the Wii Fit Have you ever gotten a piece of exercise equipment that you swore you would use only to stuff it in the closet and hope you don't make eye contact with it while you down that second case of ice cream dibs? That's what the Wii Fit is kind of like, only it isn't real exercise equipment and I didn't actually want it. But I have family members that did want it. And no amount of reasoning could get them to see reason. They wanted that hundred dollar chunk of plastic and I was going to have to get it for them. To be fair, the thing is kind of fun. Every gimmick is kind of fun though. Try it out? Quit being so obtuse. Despite whatever fun you might gain from a gimmick, it will always become boring at some point. Usually right after you realize that jumping on a piece of plastic for an hour just to have it say you're fat isn't exactly all that great. So now I have that really weird doormat sitting in a closet, mocking me about that time I wasted all that money on it. I can't trade it in because then it wins, but I can't be bothered to actually use it. And have you ever tried to get another person to enjoy something after it has called them fat? It doesn't work. What are some gaming challenges that exist just to enrage you personally? I know everyone has at least one thing that puts them over the edge and makes them want to figure out a way to kill their TV, so why not talk about it in the comments below? As always, thank you for reading.
  19. With the very recent release of the Wii U, you would think Nintendo would have their plate full in terms of console management. So the announcement of the Wii Mini must come as quite the surprise. Honestly, I'm just flabbergasted over the whole thing. Why would Nintendo release a new revision of their last generation console along with the Wii U? I don't have an answer for that. No matter how I look at it, everything about the Wii Mini just comes off as an incredibly bad idea. And I think Nintendo just might feel the same way. Obviously they're banking on the console to do well this holiday season, but do they have faith in their product? The Canadian Connection Tell me, how many times throughout the history of video games have you heard the phrase "This console will release exclusively in Canada?" If you said more than once, I must remind you the maple syrup box doesn't count as a real console; it doesn't even have any good exclusives. Not that there is anything wrong with our neighbors to the north. Yes, they are a part of the North American market, but if you want big number returns then you're really going to have to slug it out in the United States. Don't hate me for undervaluing Canada in the global gaming market! Just to give you a nice Wikipedia example as to why this is, here are the sales numbers for Call of Duty 4: 3,000,000 in the United States and 78,000 in Canada. A bit of a gap, don't you think? I would have used a newer game as an example, but most of the time sales charts will just add the Canadian numbers to the United States numbers. This was just a chart I could actually find that separated the two. So why release the console in Canada? Well there's multiple reasons for this, and they all involve the Wii U. First of all, production. Nintendo is putting more of its resources towards getting as many Wii U consoles out as it can for the holiday season. This means they likely had to cut back on Wii production. Now Nintendo has less money to spread these new Wii Minis around the world. If only there was a smaller market they could tap into to see how people take to the new design! Oh wait, that's exactly what Canada is. Nintendo can save money while also seeing if the Wii Mini has a place on American store shelves after the holidays. But why even bother? Why not just go 100% on Wii U production? The Wii Mini Is A Fall Back Nintendo has had plenty to worry about going into the first days of the Nintendo Wii U's first day on store shelves. The main problem being recognition. Will the average consumer want to buy a Wii U if they think its some sort of $400 add-on for their original Wii? The fear is that people won't understand it's a new console and then get turned off by the seemingly insane price of the thing (remember these people would think the Wii U is something like the Wii Fit) and Nintendo could end up losing parts of their casual market over something as silly as a misunderstanding. Releasing two consoles side by side is never a good idea. This is where the Wii Mini comes in. Those same people who are hesitant to buy the new Wii for $400 will still probably end up buying the "new Wii" for $100 seeing as how much of a bargain it is. This isn't some dastardly trick by Nintendo to squeeze out some more Wii sales before Christmas either. Think of it as a stepping stone console. Those consumers that ended up buying the Wii Mini for $100 are all potential Wii U customers. They just don't know it yet. Once they get more into the Wii games, they might actually realize there's a difference between those two consoles, and by then they'll hopefully actually want to buy a Wii U. It's a stretch, but it could end up working in Nintendo's favor. And Then We Go Back To Canada Before we close this out, I want to talk about Canada just a bit more. We've already talked about the fact that Nintendo isn't producing as many Wii consoles as they used to and how that would factor into Canada getting a new exclusive Wii. But there's also another reason. Canada is a test market for the rest of the world. Let's say the console ends up selling well. Of course Nintendo is going to start spreading it out to countries with larger user-bases, but what happens if it has a worst case scenario? What will happen if parents all around Canada accidentally buy the Wii Mini for Christmas instead of the Wii U? It certainly looks neat, but will it sell? It'll look bad on Nintendo's part, of course. There would certainly be a lot of returns and angry consumers come Christmas time. But here's the thing - it's Canada. I'm not saying that Canada getting screwed over is okay, I'm just saying that it is a contained market. If things go bad for thousands of people then Nintendo can take the hit and fix things. But if the Wii Mini was a worldwide console and millions of people ended up making a mistake, it could end up being a doomsday scenario for the console giant. So why is the Wii Mini exclusive to Canada? Because its the safest place Nintendo could think of to release it. They spend less on production, they don't have to ship out things across the world and if things go bad, they can still scrape things together. It's a triple win! Good or bad, what do you think about this whole Wii Mini thing? Do you think there's a reason for Nintendo only releasing it in Canada? Why not post your thoughts in the comments below? As always, thank you for reading.
  20. Jason Clement

    Wii U Coverage

    Hey everyone, If you're curious as to why there hasn't been any Wii U coverage or articles since launch, well, none of us were able to get our hands on one in time. Both Marcus and I had preordered ours through Toys'r'us' website (with shipping), but it turned out that they may have cancelled mine. Jordan wasn't able to get one either, and I'm assuming Chris may not have gotten his either, but I believe most, if not all of us four plan to have it before the end of the year, if possible. The good news is that Marcus should be getting his sometime later this week, hopefully, so he'll likely be the first to experience the Wii U on GP. If my order actually does go through, I'm hoping to receive it shortly after Marcus gets his. We definitely plan to do reviews for a number of the Wii U launch titles, but we'll mostly be reviewing the games that aren't ports. To that extent, definitely count on reviews for NSMBU, ZombiU, and the big names. Also, I suppose I should ask you guys - are any of you wanting any hands-on impressions or maybe even a review of the console itself? There's already been a lot of reports from other sites that I'm sure many of you have seen, so I'm not sure how feasible it would be to do that ourselves at this point, but let us know what you'd like to see. Thanks.