Tags Posts tagged with "nintendo 3ds"

nintendo 3ds

DSC02511Despite popular opinion, Nintendo is actually a company of iterative refinement—a company that does not simply rest after unleashing its creations, instead finding ways to subtly improve on them. This is especially true in their hardware offerings, all but one (the beleaguered and short-lived Virtual Boy) receiving some sort of incremental upgrade during their respective lifetimes. Remember those mystery ports on the NES and SNES? Though often appearing stunted from a technological standpoint, Nintendo always seemingly looks ahead and somehow sneaks in some sort of improvement in their consoles or handhelds, mysteriously forcing their consumers hands and snaking in a quick payment when, really, the “old” version of the hardware worked just fine.

Whether it’s slapping add-ons to the system (the Famicom’s Disk System), miniturization (SNES Jr., Game Boy Pocket), slight spec bumps (Game Boy Color and this very piece of hardware), or correcting a terrible, terrible mistake (the Game Boy Advance SP and its actually-legible scren), all of us have paid for a “standard” mid-cycle Nintendo upgrade one way or the other.

DSC02514I suppose where I’m getting at with this is, yes, Nintendo has a giant hard-on for improving their existing hardware, for better or for worse. Enter the “New” Nintendo 3DS. In what’s probably the least-creative console rebranding this side of the PlayStation twos through fours, the New Nintendo 3DS (or NN3DS, as abbreviated by absolutely nobody) is simply just that, a newer, mid-cycle version of its vintage-2011 Nintendo 3DS handheld awkwardly slotting in a couple years before its real successor comes out. Unlike the Nintendo DSi right before it, Nintendo isn’t immediately halting sales of the “older” 3DS units in lieu of this iteration, instead puzzlingly choosing to market this in North American regions as a premium version of the 3DS hardware. Irritatingly, Nintendo of America has decided to not release the New 3DS XL’s smaller sibling at all, choosing to keep the “old” 3DS and XL, as well as its forlorn stepsibling, the adorable but maligned 2DS. It doesn’t take a marketing degree to realize that they’ve made a mess out of this.

That aside, the short story with the New 3DS is that its actually a worthwhile upgrade to the original 3DS and 3DS XL. Much unlike how a typical Nintendo fan fails to refine him or herself into a nuanced adult, the NN3DSXL feels like a more premium, mature product. Even the intangibles such as heft and gloss were taken into account when crafting Nintendo’s final revision of the 3DS product. On paper it sounds like a dicey cash-grab, but when you actually have one in your hands, the New 3DS XL looks, sounds and feels exactly how the handheld should have been in the first place.

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Small things, such as the volume slider being relegated to the top of the clamshell instead of its irritatingly easy-to-cajole former home on the bottom half of the console, turn into vast improvements once you spend some more time with the console. Little nuances, such as the brightness controlling itself automatically, or the Wi-Fi no longer needing to be switched on and off, pop in every now and then and remind the end-user that, yes, this is a better 3DS than the one you had. And of course, there are the tiny, irritating screw-ups that remind you that this is a Nintendo product: the MicroSD slot being nigh-inaccessible is definitely a Luddite decision that the tiny Kyoto company would make. I’m not even surprised that the New Nintendo 3DS doesn’t come with a charger: they know their target audience for these things, and their target audience has like four or five of those things kicking around from the DSi’s heyday. Whatever, I don’t even use them—I vastly prefer and recommend those knockoff USB chargers from China. Plug ’em into a sentient box that has a USB port (such as a cable/digibox) and voila, instant charging station.

DSC02515One immediate drag with owning a New Nintendo 3DS is the system transfer process. I can count the number of digital games I have with one hand, yet it still took four hours to move less than four gigabytes worth of data from my old 3DS XL to my New 3DS XL. It’s almost useless to hope for at this point, but it’s 2015 and the fact that Nintendo still doesn’t have a unified account system at this point is borderline laughable. I can literally run to the store, buy a new 2000-series Vita, download roughly 64GB of game data and saves from the cloud, make myself a mean osso bucco, and still clock in less time than it takes for a standard 3DS system transfer to finish. It’s insane.

Let’s talk about super-stable 3D: it’s awesome. Forget the bad, disjointed 3D experience from the old 3DS, that’s dead and buried now. The New 3DS tracks your head with some sort of proximity sensor and adjusts the 3D image in real-time to compensate, making playing in 3D on the darn thing actually feasible now. I hardly ever use the 3D feature on my old 3DS because it was such a pain to get into that “sweet spot” to enjoy the effect, but I have 3D permanently turned on with my New 3DS and apart from the quick jitter ever now and then when it fails to adjust for whatever reason, its totally seamless and immersive.

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DSC02512As for the new control features, they’re alright. The C-stick feels a lot like the eraser-nubs on old IBM Thinkpads, and is surprisingly solid-feeling once you get a hang of it. After clocking in a few hours on Monster Hunter 4 and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, sweeping the camera across the screen came as second nature, and the little nub deftly did its job when needed. I can’t see the C-stick ever working for FPS games, but given the fact that so few of those come the system’s way, I’m sure it’s not even a concern. I forgot the ZL and ZR triggers even existed, given how sparingly MH4 used ’em. I suppose we’ll have to wait for a “real” NN3DS exclusive to come out before we even see the little buttons get used.

DSC02517A small sidebar on software compatibility: it may be placebo effect, but games do in fact load faster on the New 3DS. Newer titles like Majora’s Mask and Smash Bros. aren’t a surprise since they were probably developed with the New 3DS in mind, but even older titles that I’ve revisited such as Snake Eater 3D (still a bad port) and Pilotwings Resort (super-underrated, even as a launch title) seemed snappier to load. My hope is that Nintendo and its third-parties patch out some of the older titles to fully take advantage of the New 3DS’ hardware, even to improve simple things like framerate and draw distance.

So for better or for worse, the New Nintendo 3DS is just that: its a New Nintendo 3DS. Despite the minor spec-bump, the system still sports sub-iOS level graphical capabilities, an insultingly low-resolution screen (exasperated by the XL’s massive berth) and shockingly bad online capabilities (the eShop is still a poorly-designed nightmare). Still, there’s a reason these things crush the competition, and thats simply thanks to an amazing software lineup. For those that happen to enjoy the 3DS’ roster of fine videogames, the New 3DS XL is almost a required purchase as it improves the 3DS experience so much.

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I was updating my Streetpass Plaza software last Saturday morning when suddenly a rabbit popped out of nowhere and started peddling me new and fun games to make Streetpass more exciting and playable.  The rabbit (with a tablet) started brainwashing, I mean, started showing me pictures of this new game called Monster Manor where you and SP’d pals try to uncover the mysteries of the manor by finding new hallways, rooms, items (and ghosts!) inside.  It’s Find Mii made better, so I told the rabbit, yeah why not? Let’s buy the game!

He eventually showed me three more games and said that if I buy it now I can get one for free, and when I came to, I found out that I charged my credit card $15.00 and had the four games bundle downloading in my 3DS (which you cannot download during while the 3DS is asleep).

You and your marketing, Nintendo.

Anyway, that’s not to say that I’m regretting the purchase. In fact, the games are all very good and fun to play. Indeed, it makes Streetpass-ing more fun as you have tons of stuff to look forward to at the end of the day!

miiforce1The first game I played was Mii Force which is developed by Good-Feel. It’s a bullet hell-lite game for casual Nintendo folks. The premise of the game is that you are a squad leader of the space police patrolling the peaceful galaxy, when suddenly the Bone Gang appeared to terrorize planets under your protection. It is up to you to recruit space cadets who will help you defeat the gang in a side-scrolling shooter game in bite-sized stages.

What makes it fun is that your recruited Streetpass pals have different arsenal that you can customize your main ship with. Some of the weapons I have encountered so far are fire, lasers and bombs but you can actually assign them either as your main weapons on the front or as a power up at the back.

Next is Flower Town by GREZZO. To be honest, this seems to be the weakest game out of the bundle as there is not a lot of fun stuff to do in it. The game is about a town of horticulturists trying to one-up each other by raising the nicest flowers their clay pots can produce. Your Streetpass friends help you out in the form of watering your flower pots to grow them or pollinating your plants, among other things. You have a journal to document your plant’s progress as well as a mentor named Mr. Mendel who teaches you neat stuff about plants now and then. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I guess it’s a relaxing break from all the battling space aliens, ghosts and whatnot on the other games. Treat it as your freebie game from the pack, if you decide to buy all of them.

warriorsway1Warrior’s Way by Spike Chunsoft is a military strategy game. You play as a ruler of a kingdom and you build a castle of your choice (shogun, medieval or futuristic) with your trusty butler, Wentsworth. In this game, you have to build your kingdom by getting troops from your Streetpass friends to fight for you and conquer nearby lands or other monarchs that you meet. Each Streetpass will net you more troops depending on their Mii Plaza population.

The game’s core mechanic is rock-paper-scissors. Basically, there are three warrior classes (cavalry, archers and pikemen) which are stronger than the other, as well as weaker from another class. When you go into a battle, you divide your troops accordingly and command them to fight your enemy. The classes will only be revealed when you finally attack and your casualties will depend whether your troops are stronger than the enemy’s. Some maps have resources that you can use to upgrade your castle. I am not sure what the upgrades are for yet though as I’ve only done it once. Oh, also, you can only invade once per game session or until you get a new bunch of people in your plaza.

monstersmanor1Last of the bunch is Monster Manor by PROPE which plays very much like Find Mii. You are the owner of a detective agency and you investigate a mysterious manor with your detective employee. Everytime you Streetpass someone, you will be able to receive a puzzle piece which unlock parts of the manor that you can explore. Straight lines form a hallway and if you form a square or bigger in your map, this will become a room. Rooms are special because you can get special items that can aid you in your investigation like weapons. Ghosts are weak to various types of weapons so you can mix and match and play their weaknesses.

Another good thing about the bundle is the introduction of the plaza ticket. Completing stuff in the games rewards you with plaza tickets that you can exchange for cool headgears for your Mii in the exchange booth that you can find in your plaza. So far, I got the fire flower, super mushroom, 1 Up mushroom and the star.

All the Streetpass games use the Play Coins also so you can hire extra people to play with, like in Find Mii. Better stock up on Play Coins and bring your 3DS everywhere so you can have more people to play with (as well as earn some coins). This is one feature of the 3DS which makes it fun to bring around. My poor Vita sits on my desk at home while the 3DS gets around. Sony, you better pick up the pace.

My favorite among the four is Mii Force because it is the most “playable” out of the bunch and feels like a real game. The gimmick of Streetpassing people works well with the game as each person has unique weapons that you can use to your advantage. The new Streetpass games cost $4.99 a piece, but you can get all four for $14.99 as its introductory bundle price. This bundle offer is only available upon buying your first game. If you pass up on it and decide to only buy one, you cannot get the bundle price anymore. My suggestion: get all of it with your free $30 eShop credits from registering Fire Emblem: Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV tomorrow. Enjoy and hope to Streetpass you soon!

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The Nintendo eShop post is back! Did you miss it from its absence last week? Awww.

Here’s what’s hitting the shop this week!

Nintendo 3DS:

  • Super Mario Bros. 2 hits the virtual console at the basic VC games price of $4.99.
  • All Fatlus friends have waited for Shin Megami Tensei IV and it will be ready for your download on July 16 at $49.99. Check out our early review here if you haven’t yet!
  • Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is available for $29.95 on July 16th as well.
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It’s heeeerrrreeee….

Wii U:

  • Metroid and Donkey Kong for the virtual console are up, both at $4.99 each.
  • Star Wars Pinball is already available at $9.99, so go hit some balls.
  • Turbo: Super Stunt Squad also appears for the Wii U at 10 bucks more than its 3DS version release.

No brainer for this week, especially if you’re into RPGs. Take note that you can get $30 worth of eShop credits if you register both Shin Megami Tensei IV and Fire Emblem: Awakening. Pick it up if you haven’t yet!

We here at 30lives hardly ever fight over games to review; it’s either we draw lots for review copies or we review whatever we’re playing. That relaxed environment changed when I received a review code for Shin Megami Tensei IV. Our editor-in-chief fumed when I announced that I received a review code for the game; figuratively flipping tables and wreaking havoc over our non-office. He had a point: he’s played every single Megaten game (even the Namco-published Famicom ones), while I’m not too well-versed in that universe. Tempers cooled when we all realized that we’d rather have a fresh, unbiased review of the title: this is my first time to delve in the series, with Persona 4 Golden being my first Persona as well (review here). This indeed is the Year of the Jack Frost for me, personally.

cut_anim004(left).avi-05162013-0393Shin Megami Tensei IV is set in the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado where Samurai are duty-bound to protect people from demons and uphold the peace in their land. An annual ceremony where Samurai are chosen marks the game’s outset. Youths from Mikado ceremoniously try to wield a mysterious gauntlet and only a few pass to become an actual Samurai. People dream of being drafted into being a Samurai as this essentially gives them a chance at a better life once they start serving the kingdom. Mikado—albeit peaceful—is divided into two classes: the Casualries (laboring class) who live in the outskirts of the castle, and Luxurors (thinking, skilled artisans) who live inside the castle city. In the game, you play as Flynn (in this case, I was Cheena—certainly a name befitting a manly samurai, no?), one of the chosen few who hailed from the casualries to serve as a Samurai in Mikado. You begin your training with fellow casualry Walter, and luxurors Jonathan and Isabeau as Samurai, but odd things start to happen in the kingdom. Demons start appearing through the land, and an enigmatic being only known as the Black Samurai is suspected to have summoned them from outside the contained dungeon, Naraku.

The Good:

Engaging story. Shin Megami Tensei IV had a lot of twists that I did not expect. I am not sure if this is because I do not know a lot about the Shin Megami Tensei games, but SMTIV had my mouth agape in some of the crucial parts of the game so it is a nice treat. The writing is also of note in this game; the dialogue bits really helped shape the main characters as well as the demons, and made them more interesting. It is worth mentioning that the setting served as a good backdrop of the story. It is a wild mix of contrasting elements which would be best for you to experience firsthand.

cut_anim001(left).avi-05162013-0380Character art. I enjoyed the look of the characters and the Samurai garb they are wearing reminded me a bit of the Shinsengumi coupled with modern military uniforms. The art is very clean and rendered as best as the 3DS’ low-resolution screen can muster. The facial expressions are well-drawn and complements the excellent voice work of the game.

Voice acting. I found that the voice work for SMTIV was better than P4G. You can still hear some of the Japanese words being mispronounced, but it is a lot bearable this time around. Definitely an above average effort from Atlus. Also, I’m not sure but Walter sounds a bit like Kanji…

Animation cut scenes. It’s easy to take anime-style cut scenes for granted since they don’t produce as much wow factor as they did back in the old PlayStation days, but I’ll have to say the little animated breaks in this game are done very well. Nice detail on the character animation as well as background bits.

Difficulty setting. I talked to the editors to confirm if Shin Megami Tensei is supposed to be ball-bustingly hard. Almost everybody said yes, and I guess this is part of the game’s charm as well. Fortunately for people who cannot keep up with the challenging boss fights, there is a difficulty setting toggle from Prentice (Normal) to Fellow (Easy). This will at least help you not get stuck to the point of giving up on a great game because of a few roadblocks; so it is a good addition to the game. SMT purists might think otherwise about this inclusion but I find it a good call on the part of Atlus (see: Fire Emblem: Awakening casual difficulty’s success with players new to the franchise).

Burroughs and streamlined interface. As a Samurai, you have access to your gauntlet and AI which I call my annoying secretary, as she always has to announce that she’s registering a quest when it is as simple as getting breakfast with friends. Burroughs will help you complete quests and keep track of things inside Mikado and in  places high and low. You can further improve Burroughs by purchasing useful ‘apps’ that will also benefit you and your demons (more skill slots, lessened MP cost for skill casting, etc.). I find this as a nice touch in the game as you have free reign on prioritizing which apps you think will help you better so this makes for a more personalized strategy. The user interface accessibility is also nice; it is pretty easy to control via the directional pad or the touch screen panel.

image2013_0517_1058_1Addictive gameplay. Whenever I try to start a session of the game, I almost always exceed 3 hours. I just can’t seem to stop playing; the quests are compelling enough to make you think you can do “just one more quest and after that I’m done”, but this never comes until you are dead tired and your hands are about to fall off and your eyes about to shut down because it’s already 4 am and you need to sleep a bit so you can go to work. Aside from completing the quests, it’s the demon fusion feature that triggers the OCD in me. I just have to collect all (or two, as an extra fusion fodder). Like in P4G, this is an evil game feature for people who want to complete everything.

Streetpass Feature. Like all 3DS games worth their salt, Streetpass features make them all the more interesting and interactive as you get to give (and receive) player profiles to help a bro out. In SMTIV, there is a Digital Demon Service feature that lets you attach a demon for other people to get and use in their own games. I haven’t tested this feature yet with anyone for obvious reasons, but I am betting that this will be a nice sharing feature among friends and people you get to Streetpass on a regular basis.

The Bad:

Hodgepodge of art assets. I am not certain if SMT fans are used to it by now, but there seems to be a huge pool of dated art assets that are still being used for SMTIV, some dating back to the Saturn/PSone days. It doesn’t really bother me that much, but for others the difference in the art styles of the demons (some are painted and some are drawn comic-style) may be jarring.

Eleventeen million spawns. This can be another SMT thing, but I noticed that a LOT of demons spawn everywhere. The auto battle mode makes life easier as you can just nominate the AI to fight for you to speed up the combat (it uses default attacks only until you get to buy apps that will detect demon weaknesses and use apt skills instead) but it takes toll sometimes, especially if you just want to get from point A to point B but have to fight tens of repetitive battles to get there.

image 2Dying in the game. Macca (the in-game currency) is hard to come by in the game and I am always so poor. Dying in the game will port you to the River Styx and will prompt a conversation with the boatman Charon. He will convince you to go back to the land of the living as he is dealing with too much souls who are in queue to cross the river. By paying Macca, you will be revived to your original condition before you died, but he just charges so much! There’s also the option of paying in Play Coins (he charged 10 when I tried paying mine) and it also felt like you’re ponying up a lot. Sudden Protip: always save so you can just reload your game when you die.

Things That Could Swing Either Way:

Camera controls. The camera controls of P4G on the PlayStation Vita was very intuitive and easy to use. Since the 3DS lacks the luxury of a second analog stick, this omission makes the camera controls a bit clunky. You have to use the L and R shoulder buttons to adjust your view and it feels a bit awkward pressing it as opposed to using an analog stick for easy access and control. This might be more of a personal preference though.

Forgettable music. I might not be fair in saying this, but the music did not really leave an impression. I am not sure about the other SMT titles, but the music in SMTIV feels a bit bland and none of the tracks really stood out for me.

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You’ll always need a lot of Macca in your pockets.

Hard negotiations. The game’s combat is primarily hinged on being able to convince demons to join you as an ally and fight for your team. To do this, you have to communicate with them during your attack phase and try to convince you to join your ranks. You are questioned by the demon why he would want to join you and will ask you stuff such as consumable items or Macca to help sway their hearts to join you. Sometimes, the demons will ask you casual questions and depending on your answer, they will either join you immediately or start to dislike you. A failed negotiation will result to losing half or all of your turns, and this is a major pain especially if you are trying to recruit a higher-level demon. Failed negotiations can also lead to death at times as you lose your precious turn and will make the demons attack you right away, so you need to plan wisely. However, it must be stressed that I’m not sure if I am the only person having a hard time here by picking wrong answers all the time (I blame my lack of social skills), so I don’t know if you’ll have the same experience.

No Japanese voice option. The voice acting in the game is above-average so this omission didn’t bother me, but I can see some fans who might be disappointed by not having the Japanese voice over option.

All things said, Shin Megami Tensei IV is a solid RPG that you shouldn’t miss if you are a fan of Japanese games, especially Atlus titles and the series itself. It has all the makings of a great RPG, with top-quality production and the usual polish that you’d expect of Atlus.

Shin Megami Tensei IV is exclusively released for the Nintendo 3DS by Atlus USA. Pony up $49.99 to get a copy; you won’t regret it.

Author’s Note:

I would like to thank ATLUS for providing me with a review code and early access to the game. I can’t wait to get a physical copy as well to get the SMTIV and Fire Emblem Awakening rewards at Club Nintendo, not to mention the preorder freebies from the pack!

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The series’ very own Poochie. YOU WILL LIKE HIM, DAMMIT.

Feenie and friends are back it seems, after quite a long hiatus—the last time Capcom released anything relevant in the series was 2010’s Ace Attorney: Investigations. Sure, Shu Takumi’s own Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective came out to fill the void, but apart from some half-hearted remakes on the Wii and iOS, the world has (criminally?) been without everyone’s favorite portable adventure game/source of creepy slash fiction.

I got to play a few minutes of Phoenix Wright’s brand-new adventure (subtitled Dual Destinies) demo over at Capcom’s E3 booth a few weeks ago and came away impressed. I had my apprehensions at first; primarily because the game was now using polygonal models rather than sprites to represent each character—which I thought would lead to less-expressive and less-charming character expressions, a series high point. As I sat down and played through the short case, those fears were quickly alleviated: Dual Destinies definitely captures the game’s signature charm. Though there are still limited amounts of animation per character (a blink of an eye here, some dialogue animation and maybe a pratfall somewhere in between), the cel-shaded visuals looked very smooth whether or not the system’s 3D slider was cranked up.

Set a year after the events of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the demo sees Phoenix back in the defense attorney’s seat after rebuilding his practice and regaining his lawyer-ship. The case starts off right after an explosion rocks the courthouse: a bomb concealed within a stuffed elephant kept as a piece of evidence rips through the courtroom mid-trial, leading to the case Phoenix somehow manages to get involved in.

Apart from Phoenix and his trademark wacky coif, you should see a few familiar faces in Dual Destinies. Apollo Justice returns with a badass new look as Capcom quietly retcons him out of importance, Prosecutor Payne was also sighted during the demo; and of course the Judge is back to serve us with the power of the beard. No sight of Maya or Trucy but rookie defense attorney Athena Cykes fills in the shoes of Phoenix’ partner/jailbait eye-candy that they find a way to cop-out of a romantic interest at the last minute.

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Jailbait alert. Help….

The demo itself was fairly straightforward if you’ve played any of the other games in the series—you get to leaf through evidence, point out inconsistencies in witness’ testimony and call out objections, all to prove the innocence of one Juniper Woods—Athena’s childhood friend and witness in that last case—who through some happenstance has managed to get her fingerprints all over the stuffed elephant/bomb. Fairly damning evidence for any other attorney, but somehow ol’ Feenie manages to save the day like he always does.

Capcom will be releasing Dual Destinies exclusively on the eShop, which is a smart move in many ways—not only are they cutting out the middle-man of retail and ensuring such a niche title actually gets published in the first place, but since it’s such a linear game they’re also preventing people from turning around and selling the game once they’re done with it.

To go along with this impressions post, Capcom PR’s sent us a slough of PWAA: DD screenshots for your viewing pleasure! Check out the gallery after the break.

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What’s up Nintendo folks! Finally, we see a major release for the Wii U this week. Read below to find out what else is new aside from the green cap.

Wii U:

  • Download version for Super Luigi U is now available in the eShop. Retail version is going to be available on August 25th in North America. Why? We don’t know! Good news though; buy it now and you’ll earn double coins in your Club Nintendo account. Also, you can earn more with the game survey questionnaire until August 1st, so it probably is a sweet deal… maybe.
  • I said I would buy a Wii U for this game but alas, no price cut announcement yet. Game and Wario is available for digital download on Sunday (probably Monday here in the Philippines), June 23rd.
  • Sale stuff! Little Inferno at $4.99 until the 26th!
  • Virtual Console releases: Mario Bros., Wrecking Crew (two of my favorite NES games) are up. Couple it with the $0.99 Yoshi game and you have a solid retro gaming night right there.

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Nintendo 3DS:

  • The guys here are bummed that Project X Zone got a retail release while Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies is still fighting for its life. Well, I’m still excited so whatever guys! Have you reserved your copy yet? We’ll see it on the shelves this June 25th (Wednesday)
  • There’s also LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey for the kids, also on the 25th.
  • Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo for only $3.99 until July 8th!
  • There’s the second Guild02 game, BUGS vs. TANKS! and this gets my buy for the week.
  • New release: Farming Simulator 3D
  • Virtual Console releases: Defenders of Oasis, Megaman 6, Sonic Blast, and Tails Adventure
  • DSi Ware release: Rhythm Core Alpha 2

I am completing the Guild02 games although they will probably go on sale like the first set :( But whatever! Going to split some playtime on BUGS vs. TANKS! and Animal Crossing: New Leaf this weekend.

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This week on the Nintendo eShop saga! Is the Wii U still going straight to the shitter?

Wii U:

  • Super Metroid is at $0.30 until the Philippine Independence Day. That is super cheap, so might as well get your Wii U’s ass working with a classic game.
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes will be available on May 21, as well as
  • Resident Evil Revelations that you can also pick up in other platforms.

So yes, still pretty much dead.

Glorious 3DS gets the following:

  • Mega Man 5 for $4.99, in case you want to replay a retro goodie
  • Harvest Moon for $4.99 is out as well!
  • Swords and Soldiers 3D from Circle Entertainment is available at $6.99.  You can also catch our two Circle game reviews here and here.
  • First up on the Guild02 series is The Starship Damrey by Level-5 at $7.99.
  • Bowling Bonanza 3D at $5.99, if you’re into that sort of thing, and
  • Dress to Play: Magic Bubbles zzzz (oh, at $3.99)

Wii:

  • King of Fighters ’99 at 900 Wii Points

DSiWare:

  • California Super Sports is at $4.99

This week’s pick for me will be The Starship Damrey, definitely! I will probably review it, if none of the lazy staffers get dibs, so look forward to it!

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Project X Zone (PxZ), with the “X” pronounced as “cross” by the way, received a lot of scrutiny even before it was released in Japan last year. It wasn’t after retail release that online petitions and Youtube videos DEMANDING for its localization started popping up like mushrooms. After immense and constant pushing from both fans and the producers themselves, it finally is seeing the light of day in Western shores.

In Japan, PxZ didn’t sell according to expectations even if the final sales tally exceeded 90,000 units due to it being released at the same week as Capcom’s Resident Evil 6 and Square-Enix’s Bravely Default, but the publishers are hoping that this Western release will produce staggering numbers. Seeing my fellow Western fans to finally be able to play it without the hindrance of a language barrier is happily eating food for the gamer’s soul. For now, watch the trailer and by all means, rape the replay button.

The game retained the Japanese voices, and simply adding subtitles on animations. This GREATLY pleases my inner weeaboo, despite being able to actually speak Japanese. Although I have already owned, played and beat the game last year, having secured it on Day 1,  I can tell you that this game is worth adding to your growing 3DS library. If you need convincing as to why you SHOULD buy this game, perhaps you should check out the review I wrote here on this site.

PxZ releases June 25th in the US and July 5th in Europe, while the Limited Edition pack will be available at launch day for $39 (US). It’s virtually the same content as the original Japanese version that I have, except with a friendlier price.

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You may have noticed that there is a running gag among the 30lives staff about Nintendo being doomed. We’re just playing, guys. Looks like the Big N is slowly bringing out the firepower as Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move is out along with more awesome titles!

Wii U:

  • Chasing Aurora is half off so might as well beef up your console library with it.
  • Two new Virtual Console games are out! Xevious is out for $4.99, so if you’re into retro scrolling shooter games like me, you should not miss this!
  • Solomon’s Key is at $4.99.

Resident Evil Revelations demo will go live on May 14.

3DS:

  • Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move is at $9.99. I got excited about this game when I first saw it presented by Mr. Satoru Iwata in Nintendo Direct!
  • SpeedX 3D Hyper Edition is at $2.99.

DSiWare

  • Publisher’s Dream becomes available at a very reasonable $1.99.  I have played this like mad for the past few hours as developer Circle Entertainment, Ltd. gave me a review code of the game. Please look forward to my review in the next few days!

Aaaand that’s it! Plenty of new releases this week so we still love you, Nintendo. Don’t worry. *hug*

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If you have plans on purchasing the new Pikachu 3DS XL or a boring plain 3DS XL for that matter, you might as well consider getting Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and/or Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity as your new first games.  Nintendo’s got a promotion ongoing for new handheld owners until the end of the month and you can get one of the following games for free if you qualify:

  • Freakyforms Deluxe
  • Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • Starfox 64 3D
  • Art Academy Lessons for Everyone

To do this, register your new 3DS in your Club Nintendo account (seriously guys, this is worth doing; get coins and convert them to fabulous free stuff), register codes from the Luigi or Pokémon game, then choose your freebie.

Remember to link your Club Nintendo account to your 3DS before buying digitally!

Source:  Club Nintendo

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Project X Zone (PxZ) is the spiritual successor to 2005’s Namco X Capcom for the PS2. Produced for the Nintendo 3DS by Monolith Soft and Banpresto (maker of the popular Super Robot Wars games), with Bandai-Namco handling publishing duties. What makes it unique is that it’s a tactical crossover simulation RPG, and stars IPs (intellectual properties; think characters/series) from THREE video game developers, namely Bandai-Namco, Capcom and Sega. As if two developers weren’t enough in Namco X Capcom!

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Characters in the game are automatically set and paired: they come in twos with one “solo unit”, totaling 3 in a group. Although the pairs are usually of the same series (Tekken‘s Jin and Xiaoyu are a pair), there are some exceptions (Devil May Cry‘s Dante and Darkstalkers’ Dimitri). Unfortunately you can’t customize the pairs, but you do get to choose which solo unit goes to which pair. For instance, you can have the Biohazard pair Chris and Jill teamed up with Devil May Cry‘s Lady, or even Frank West of Dead Rising. Take note that solo units grant certain bonus stats: it would be wise to pair a solo unit that gives melee bonuses to melee-oriented pairs.

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Maps in the game are rendered in isometric CG. Character icons and background images (during combat) are in sprites. Some cut-ins of characters during special attacks are choppy, but it’s tolerable. The music has the uncanny ability to pluck the heartstrings of any gamer that plays it; nostalgia immediately resonates when listening to modern synthesized versions of notable tracks like Rockman X4’s Sky Lagoon BGM, Tales of Vesperia’s OP “Ring A Bell” and Sakura Taisen’s OP “Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan”.

The game is almost fully voiced, although most dialogue don’t have audio during intermissions. Plus, the game’s theme song “Wing Wanderer” is sung by Youko Takahashi, the famous voice behind Neon Genesis Evangelion’s OP song “Cruel Angel’s Thesis”.

Treasure chests/obstacles can be found in almost all maps and all it takes is to bring a character near and press the Y button to open/destroy them. Items from treasure chests and kills can be used to replenish HP, status effects, and equip characters to improve their stats.

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With the “Cross Active Battle”, you only need 2 buttons for combat: one of the directional buttons and the A or Y button. At first you begin with just 3 moves (A, left+A and right+A) but as you level up you’ll eventually unlock the final two. Once you attack, opponents are flung to the air. You must juggle them until you can no longer attack… or kill them. Hits will be critical if timed right, usually when the attack connects on opponents that are within eye-level of characters.

The Y button is reserved as the finisher special attack. Those are the powerful ones with the pretty cut-ins designed to deal massive damage and kill opponents, particularly bosses. Wither down your targets with normal moves and finish it with the special attack to beat your highest damage or hit count score. Killing anything with a finisher move will net more EXP so don’t hold back and use it on bosses!

Enemies, especially bosses have barriers so continuously maul them until their barriers shatter to send them flying, but once they drop to the ground, you’ll break the combo and eventually the barriers will be up again.

pxzgroupattack

When in the map, you can perform 3 kinds of attacks: normal, support attack and a “map/multi-target attack”. Normal is where you have a pair+solo team engage an enemy. A support attack is getting the assistance of another team that is nearby to help pummel targets, and a map/multi-target is where 1 team targets multiple enemies within a certain radius.

With the support attack system, you may have a maximum of FIVE characters gangbang one target; Specifically, 2 characters from and 1 solo unit from team A plus 2 characters from team B. Unfortunately, if team B has a solo unit of its own, that particular guy can’t participate. It would’ve been cool to have 6 simultaneous characters beat the crap out of someone.

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XP is a misnomer in this game: they’re actually “action points”.  You gain XP by attacking, being attacked or through items. XP is needed to perform vital tasks: to defend (receive half damage), total defense (nullify damage), retaliate, revive fallen teams, perform map/multi-attacks or use skills. Your teams all start a stage with 100 XP and maxes out at 300.

If you want to conserve your XP, you can opt to do nothing, where you will receive 100% damage but no XP is spent. As you progress in later stages, XP bars become VERY VITAL, so know when to properly expend them, as characters can get killed a lot if they’re sitting ducks with no defensive maneuvers.

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Of course, like any recent JRPG, this game has a New Game+ mode after you clear it for the first time. On your second playthrough enemy levels are higher, level upping is slowed due to less EXP from kills, items dropped from treasure chests/enemies differ (more powerful items only appear on successive playthroughs) and you’ll gain the ability to customize and change the BGM of your characters. Now is the time to screw around with your Street Fighter characters: troll Ryu by giving him Chun Li’s theme as his BGM. So let’s summarize:

Good points:

  • Nice graphics and an even better audio, the music is beautifully remixed.
  • You are forced to play ALL characters, so nobody is underleveled.
  • Gameplay is simple and easy to grasp/understand.
  • NewGame+ is a good incentive to replay the game to get stronger items and harder challenges.

Bad points:

  • Gameplay may be simple, but it makes the game repetitive and mundane.
  • Can’t fully customize pairings of characters, it’s only limited to solo units.
  • Routes are frequently split so you’re forced to re-arrange your characters all the time. All your chosen character combinations get broken.

So-so/Fence points:

  • Difficulty can either be too easy or too hard depending on your experience in simulation RPGs
  • Maps/stages can be too long with too many enemies, especially on the later stages. This depends on your personal threshold.

Despite the shortcomings, is Project X Zone worth it? Heck yeah! What’s the problem? It’s in Japanese. It’s for the Japanese 3DS and the damn system is region-locked. Well… here’s news for you:

So you virtually have no excuse to skip this title. But in all sincerity, crossover games are not necessarily in abundance, especially of THIS caliber. Don’t miss it, play it so. Perhaps this pic I took will pique your interest:

pxzperfect

 

Thanks again to loyal contributor Franz Sy for this exclusive look at the Project X Zone, coming to North American (and by proxy, Philippine) shores in the 3rd quarter of this year.

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The list is pretty short this week and there’s even nothing to look forward to for Wii U, but there’s two fantastic games that you shouldn’t miss!

  • HarmoKnight, the rhythm action game by Pokémon developer Game Freak is out! Jump and attack to the beat to save Melodia from the nasty invaders.  The game is $14.99 and is only available digitally.
  • Legend of the River King is a very unique RPG about fishing.  Go Pokémon on its ass and collect different types of fish and evolve them to find the elusive Mystical Guardian Fish.
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is now available digitally through the eShop
  • Resident Evil Revelations can also be bought digitally

If you missed the system update, do so now, system enhancements plus new stuff for the Mii Plaza and your camera.  There’s also Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Mega Man 3 available a few weeks back so get them if you haven’t!

A team review of HarmoKnight will be up soon so look forward to it.

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New system update for the Nintendo 3DS is now available to help improve the system’s overall performance and some.  5.0.0-11 makes 3DS’s Download Later function work in sleep mode without closing the eShop app to run it.  Other important stuff:

  • You can now download software updates in the background! Long time coming and it’s gooooood.
  • New features added to the 3DS camera
  • More new stuff in the Mii Plaza for all you StreetPass addicts
  • System transfers between Nintendo 3DS units

To update your 3DS system, just click on the System Settings option (the wrench icon), choose Other Settings, go to the fourth page of the menu by tapping the right arrow, and choose System Update. Et voilà!

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The final installment to the Professor Layton series was released in Japan last week and sold more than 100,000 copies locally in its first week.   Professor Layton and the Azran Legacies is the sixth (and last) game in the series which started 2007 on the Nintendo DS.  The game leads the professor and his team of sleuths adventuring in the Arctic where they find a mysterious girl frozen in ice.

The game is confirmed to have daily downloadable puzzles with the 20 that’s already in the game (385 in all).  The puzzles are not related to the story of the game or even required to be played, but you can try your wits at them at your own leisure.

Level 5 has confirmed to pull the plug on the series and I think this is a long time coming.  The last Layton game did not really do well in terms of sales and Azran Legacies looks like it will not be doing as well as its predecessors.

Okay Level 5, time to bring out the bigger guns and allocate more resources to developing more awesome RPGs!  I’ll keep my fingers crossed.