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Posts Tagged ‘Nintendo’

Let’s see, I’ve had Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for a little over a week now, and I’m happy to report that — for me — it’s more than living up to all the expectations I had placed on it as a huge fan of the series, and as a big fan of Level 5’s work (who worked on one of my all-time favorites, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for the PS2). I’ve been hard pressed to put it down since unwrapping it last week and any time I can catch a few uninterrupted minutes of free time on a break or what not I try to fire it up.

As for where I am in the game for anyone that’s playing: I just reached Cap’n Max Meddlin’, “swashbucklin’, seafarin’ collector of only the miniest o’ medals” at Dourbridge and am leveling up in the fields and caves nearby before tackling the next boss. My party consists of the a minstrel (the silent hero) who I named Roto after the original DQ warrior, a green haired female warrior named Lyn, a blue haired female thief named Natasha, and a priest named T’ Challa. Most are hovering around Lv. 24 and I’m having an awful lot of fun upgrading their weapons and armor just as the creators knew we would.

Someone recently described the Dragon Quest series as something of a ‘game you play as a vacation from games’ and I have to agree wholeheartedly with that summation. The DQ games are always a return to fun, a joy to play and chock full of charm. With all the new features, it’s still a series that unapologetically revels in what has worked so well for it for over 20 years now and I couldn’t be happier.

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Metroid_HD1By all accounts I’ve really got a couple of great games to look forward to in the next few days. In addition to Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) that should arrive next week, I also pre-ordered the Metroid Prime Trilogy collector’s set, which compiles each of Nintendo’s 3 Metroid Prime games onto a single disc to wholly immerse myself in. And while I own each of the games already it didn’t take me long to conclude that the ability to play the first two Gamecube titles in the series with the updated (and much  more fluid and intuitive) Wii controls, widescreen capability, graphical and game play tweaks, it was too great an opportunity to even think about passing up.

The Metroid series has fascinated me ever since I picked up that original NES game some 20-years ago in no small part due to its haunting atmosphere, metroid boxcompelling heroine in Samus Aran, and addictive game play features that, somehow, only get better with time. My sincere thanks to Texas’ own Retro Studios for all the blood, sweat and tears that went into these games because dang did they do the franchise proud. Happy hunting folks!

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At the San Fransisco Media Summit Press Conference, Nintendo officially confirmed that Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS) is coming to stateside and that we can expect it during the second quarter of 2009.

As any of you following the blog know, that’s news I’ve been waiting well over a year to hear in an official capacity and my hat goes off to Nintendo and Intelligent Systems for putting Fire Emblem on the DS, something I’ve been hoping to see for years now, and for having it localized in a timely manner.  I’m going to be spending an awful lot of time playing this and I hope a number of you will try it as well so that you’ll see what all the hub-bub is about and so that we’ll continue to see the classic series here well into the future.

Here’s a run-down of announcements for the game on October 2nd as provided by Gamespot:

[09:58] Another American Treehouse employee takes the stage to show off some gameplay.

[09:59] The employee stresses how strategic the gameplay is, given that when you lose a soldier or character, they’re gone for good.

[09:59] He demonstrates how to ambush characters in a mountain pass.

[09:59] The entire game will have stylus-based touch-screen controls.

[10:00] Pegasi battle barbarians in the top screen, and the demoer stresses the enhanced graphics, battle animations, and magic animations.

[10:03] The game will have wireless multiplayer, both ad hoc and via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

[10:03] You will be able to pit five of your best soldiers against five opponents.

[10:04] This Fire Emblem features full voice-chat support, allowing for unlimited nerd trash-talk.

[10:04] You can also loan and borrow units from friends to use in your single-player campaign.

[10:04] Obviously, this will be all done wirelessly.

[10:05] When you give the unit back, you keep the experience.

[10:06] There’s also an in-game shop option that lets players use gold earned in-game to buy new items from an online store. Apparently new and powerful items will be rotated into the store, which will have daily inventory changes.

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Kirby!

Normally when I mention Kirby it’s in regard to comics legend Jack”The King” Kirby, but this time I’m actually talking about Nintendo’s little hero with a heart of gold, denizen of Dream Land. And I wanted to bring him up as the little guy has quickly made himself one of my favorite game characters! As one of the star veterans of Super Smash Bros. he’s been endearing himself to a new generation of fans for years now, but as an older fan I regret to admit that I’m just discovering what makes this character so great. Unlike so many other Nintendo icons, it took me forever to play a Kirby game. I simply don’t remember seeing the advertisements in my NES days and, truth be told, even if I had I don’t know how much attention I would’ve paid to what appeared to be a pink cloud. Just not the ideal protagonist for an 8 -12 year old boy I’d reckon, but that would’ve been my mistake, because over the years I’ve heard time and again that the Kirby games were a heck of a lot of fun, and that they featured a lot of innovative game play in their hey-day.

So, when Nintendo released Kirby’s Adventure (NES) for the Virtual Console I snatched it up for a cool $5 dollars to see what all the hub-bub was about. I’ve played it several times and there’s definitely a lot to like about the game. I only recently had the game transferred to my own Wii system so I’ve got a lot more to play before I can give a final verdict – but I’m certainly impressed. The game looks great and the freedom and versatility of his powers make it awful fun to sit back and play. I’ve also been playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl and in going through the ‘Emissary Mode’ I’m finding that one of the most effective fighters in the group is none other than Kirby himself! There were several places where I needed a fighter that would give me an edge over the hordes of enemies that attack and here would come this innocent looking “puffball” and beat the ever lovin’ heck out of the bad guys when others were struggling to do the same. He’s as versatile a character as they come. He’s got a powerful physical attack, he’s fairly quick on his feet, he can float / fly significant distances and, what’s more, in certain circumstances he can swallow his opponent and copy their own abilities. Meaning, for example, that while fighting Samus he can swallow her and thereby gain her own power temporarily (which is a fun visual to boot). I was very surprised at how effective he could be, as were my Dad and nieces as they watched me play. Now, one of my first characters of choice, I’m continuing forward on my 2nd play-through collecting items, collectibles, etc. and Kirby leads the way.

But seeing our hero in action I had an itch to play one of the newer games, so I picked up Kirby: Super Squeak Squad for the DS and my girlfriend and I have had a blast playing over the last week or so. She’s from Japan and one of the games that she did play as a yung-un (not many) was Kirby’s Adventure. So she immediately took to the game and in the course of a couple hours had already flown right past me. I enjoy it when she can have fun with a game and I have to give it to Kirby and his creator, Masahiro Sakurai, for creating such a simple, but compelling character for all ages. There’s more than the innocent exterior to Kirby, there’s a determined action hero with some amazing abilities, be it his tornado, UFO, or fire powers or his melee attacks that’d make the likes of Ryu stand up and take notice. Yes, he’s pink, but it only serves to understate the devastating abilities at his disposal. I’ve since started looking for past games and along with the upcoming DS title (that I’ve pre-ordered) I look forward to a lot of great Kirby games in the months and years to come.


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Given the strengths of Fire Emblem and the capabilities of the Nintendo DS, the fit seemed a match made in heaven and I’ve been hoping we’d see a FE game on the hand-held for years now. Well, it appears that on August 7th that it’ll finally become a reality. Granted, that’s the Japanese release date and I expect the North American release to be announced in the weeks/months to come — but one way or another I’ll be playing it! This entry, for the DS, is a remake of the original Fire Emblem and has been loosely translated as Fire Emblem: New Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light. On June 13th, IGN broke a long period of silence by providing recent info. from Famitsu on what we can expect:

The basics of the game aren’t being changed much from the original and its sequels as players alternate between event scenes and strategic battles. There’s one big difference here: online play. Developer Intelligent Systems is making use of Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connect service to give the title long distance multiplayer — a first for the series. You begin an online battle by first creating a team using up to five units that you’ve built up in the single player story mode. Battles take place over versus-specific maps.

Great news! Despite the fact that I’ll get my rear-end handed to me on Wi-Fi, no doubt. There are simply too many great FE players that are able to manage and/or manipulate stat-growth to a degree that have no time and interest in replicating. Still, it’ll be fun. I’m also holding out hope for the ability to build characters in towers, skirmishes, etc. once more, as we were able to do in FEVIII: The Sacred Stones (GBA). For me, the opportunity to do so added an awful lot of pick-up and play replay value that I loved, and gave me the chance to see what some of the other players could do if you put time and attention into building them up correctly. There was some criticism that character building made the game easier, but as best I can tell, that’s an individual choice that can be measured accordingly depending on the player. One could choice to utilized it, or abuse it, as they saw fit and I enjoyed the chance to take different units into battle immensely. But whatever the case, this is one of my most anticipated games of the year and I’m excited to finally be able to play the series, hopefully with the charm of the GBA hand-held version, sprites and all, as well as some of the enhancements that are unique to the DS.

[More to come as updates become available.]


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Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (Wii) is the follow up to Tales of Symphonia, Namco’s most successful RPG franchise, and is set for a November release later this year. From 1up.com and Teruaki Konishi:

Storywise, this is a sequel to Tales of Symphonia, released for the GC in 2003…Tales of Symphonia was the greatest critical success we’ve had, one that was truly international in nature. Overall it achieved the greatest response we’ve got from the North American and Japanese marketplace combined, something we felt was a priority to us. Also, we had a very engaging story and set of characters to work with, and we felt that leaving Symphonia as it was would be a terrible waste. We chose Symphonia for this sequel effort because we felt it’d be the best response to all the people who praised the original.

I picked up the original ToS for the Gamecube when it was released in ’03 thanks to Kōsuke Fujishima’s involvement (Ah! My Goddess, Sakura Taisen, etc.) and so that I’d have a worthwhile RPG to play while I waited for another release at the time. And as it turned out, ToS ended up being far better than the game I had originally been anticipating and it quickly became one of my favorite Japanese RPG’s. It had a “fun factor” that most other games out there can never quite capture, a great cast of characters, and a compelling story that kept me invested throughout (great replay value as well!) — so I’m hoping that the sequel will follow suit and enjoy similar success.

Plus, the upcoming release gives me that kick in the rear I needed to dive into Tales of the Abyss, which was released a couple of years ago on the PS2. From all indications it was a great game in the series as well, if not as commercially successful, and I just haven’t had the time to jump in with both feet yet. Finally firing it up again will be a great way to gear up for Dawn of the New World’s release, and I imagine that I’ll discover another great game in the process.

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