Nintendo E3 Digital Event Underwhelms

You can watch the whole thing below:

I guess I wasn’t really expecting much, given how Nintendo’s previous digital events have gone, but I expected something. Microsoft, Sony, and all the other companies’ press events were really exciting, showing off upcoming games that I would really like to get my hands on. I expected Nintendo to show at least one or two games I really wanted, like the new Wii U Star Fox or Zelda games. I got one of those at least, but frankly I was disappointed by it. The visuals were sub-par, and the gameplay looked almost identical to Star Fox 64. They kept saying how it was radically different because of all the new controls and how you have to use the gamepad’s gyroscope to aim, but I actually see that as more of a hindrance than a benefit. I’m not a fan of motion control to begin with, and I definitely don’t want to have to constantly look back and forth between the gamepad and the TV, while aiming the gamepad around like a lunatic. It seems cumbersome, and in a gameplay video I watched as even a Nintendo Treehouse employee seemed to have trouble.

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Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire Review: Blast from the Past

Though they’re looked back on now as the oddball, waterlogged entries of the Pokemon series, Ruby & Sapphire are still my favorites. They hold a special, nostalgic place in my heart, so naturally I had high hopes for the remakes, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire for Nintendo 3DS. They mostly do the originals justice—Game Freak has yet to make a bad Pokemon game. However, there are still a few gripes that I have with it, which I will elaborate on later, that mainly have to do with a trend that Pokemon games have been following lately. But overall, they are fantastic games that I highly recommend for fans of the series.

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Pokemon X/Y Review

I finally did it. After receiving Pokemon Y from my host family in Japan, having to buy a Japanese 3DS because the 3DS is region-locked, and a failed attempt at playing the game in Japanese, I beat it. I’ve been playing Pokemon since Gold/Silver when I was in 3rd grade, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Pokemon is still my favorite video game franchise. Needless to say, each new game holds a special place in my heart. So let’s get right into it!

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Nintendo Announces 2DS

Nintendo 2DS
Nintendo 2DS (via IGN)

This is a joke, right?

“Imagine a 3DS only…without 3D”

Sokka facepalm GIF

I guess it makes sense to market this to kids younger than seven, which is the recommended minimum age to play the 3DS. It is compatible with all DS and 3DS games, and has all the same features of a 3DS, except it is flat instead of the clamshell design of the 3DS, and it only outputs 2D images. For $129, that is a fair bit cheaper than the regular 3DS, so I suppose parents might consider buying this for their five year-old first-time gamers. Other than that, I can’t see anyone buying this.

It also just looks really hard to hold and play. And it’s pretty ugly. Come on Nintendo…

It comes out October 12, alongside Pokemon X&Y.

Everything From Today’s Nintendo Direct – IGN

  • New Yoshi’s Island for 3DS
  • Earthbound is coming to Virtual Console
  • NEW 3DS ZELDA
  • Pikmin 3 coming on August 4

STAWP NINTENDO, JUST TAKE MY MONEY

Everything From Today’s Nintendo Direct – IGN

Opinion: All Games Should Have Demos (or at least, more of them)

This past week, I’ve downloaded a bunch of demos on my 3DS: Fire Emblem Awakening, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Etrian Odyssey IV, and HarmoKnight. Each demo let me play the beginning of the game, giving me a sense of whether I would like it or not. Combined, they provided me with a great deal of entertainment for the unbeatable price of free. And those demos have sold me on every single game.

Above: Etrian Odyssey IV. Pretty fun, but incredibly complex. Found that out in a demo!

I’m an avid reader of IGN. I check the homepage at least three times a day to get caught up on the latest news and reviews. In fact, sadly, IGN is probably my main source of news, period (besides The Daily Show and The Colbert Report). IGN is my go-to when I’m deciding whether I should buy a game or not. I’ll check the review, watch some gameplay videos to see if I might like it. But sometimes, that’s just not enough.

If you want to watch a movie, you can watch it instantly online for free, or through a service like Netflix. You don’t have to buy every movie you want to watch before you know if you even like it or not. That’s not the way it is with games, however. When BlockBuster was still relevant (well, in business) I would sometimes rent games from them. It was great—I could try the newest game to see if I liked it before I plunked down $50 or more. Now, GameFly is really the only way to rent games, but does anyone actually use it?

And unlike movies or books, games are a significant investment, both of money and time. If I pay $60 for a new game, even if I don’t like it, I’ll play through it till the end, because I want to get my money’s worth. Of course, I’ll still regret paying that much for a game that I don’t even enjoy, and now have to sell to GameStop to get like 14 cents for it.

So what I choose to do is, I wait for Steam’s mega sales, where blockbuster titles like Assassin’s Creed and L.A. Noire are only $5, or if a game is only available on consoles, I’ll wait for the price to lower to $20. (Unless it’s a must-have, like the newest Pokemon or Zelda, which I’ll buy at launch.) But even at those price points, why should I have to buy it before I’ll even know if I like it? I don’t want to own it if I don’t like it.

That’s why demos are so valuable, and should be much more widespread. The 3DS has been pretty good about providing demos for most of its games, and they’re helping me make decisions about my future buys. Demos are amazing for the consumer, and can help good games get the attention they deserve, and prevent bad ones from being bought. I read an article about someone who said that demos are bad for the gaming industry and can hurt game sales. That may be true for bad games, but it’s the opposite for good ones. People who may have been on the fence about a game might end up buying it because of a demo, and people might have cancelled their pre-order for games like Aliens: Colonial Marines if they’d played a demo.

For all these reasons, in my opinion every game should have a free playable demo. The 3DS seems to be leading the charge, and hopefully services like Steam and Xbox Live will catch on soon.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review

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Wow, I’m glad I got a 3DS. Animal Crossing, Pokemon X&Y, Luigi’s Mansion…there are just too many great games. Having played all the other Paper Mario games, I figured this one would be good too. And it’s…well…it is good, just not that good. After the amazing The Thousand-Year Door, Super Paper Mario let me down, and I have to say, Sticker Star let me down again.

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It looks like Paper Mario, it sounds like Paper Mario, but…it just doesn’t feel like Paper Mario. It doesn’t have the charm and humor of its predecessors. What I loved about Thousand-Year Door was its relatively complex story (for a Mario game) and how different it was from any other Mario game. That, combined with colorful characters and epic battles, made it one of my favorite GameCube games. Sticker Star doesn’t really have any of that. The only other characters besides you, Princess Peach, and Bowser are Kersti (your talking sticker companion) and a bunch of Toads. That’s it.

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As a result, I didn’t really get invested in the game. Sure, most Mario games don’t have a compelling story or characters, and you could make the argument that that’s not what they’re about—it’s gameplay that really matters. And in the Super Mario Bros. series, you’d be right. But Paper Mario is a platformer/RPG hybrid, and in an RPG, I expect a good story/characters. I’ve come to expect that from past Paper Mario games, and sadly I just didn’t get it here.

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So when it came time to fight a boss or collect a Royal Sticker (this game’s important collectables) I found myself asking, Why? Why am I even doing this? I wanted epic boss battles, and instead, got bosses with little or no introduction. You just sort of start fighting. There’s no fanfare, nothing to excite you. 

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And again, normally that’d be okay, but not in Paper Mario. I will say, though, that the gameplay is solid. I disliked the direction Super Paper Mario took in getting rid of nearly every RPG aspect, and I’m glad they brought back turn-based battles. Battling in Sticker Star goes like this: you select one of your stickers, like a Jump or Hammer sticker, and use it against your enemy. I liked the variety of different moves I could use, and timing button presses perfectly and learning enemy attack patterns was a lot of fun. However, I don’t like having a finite amount of stickers that you have to use sparingly. I learned later on in my playthrough that it is actually better to avoid enemies when you can, because you often end up using more stickers than you get out of battling them. And because there’s no XP or level-up, there’s really no reason to battle enemies, except to get coins or a sticker. This is unfortunate, because I have always enjoyed Paper Mario’s battle system. If they’d let me have a default Jump or Hammer without having to use a sticker, that would’ve been nice.

Another thing worth mentioning: the boss battles. They all have an insanely high amount of health, and each one basically requires a certain sticker to defeat. You don’t learn what it is until the second time you fight it, so basically you have to fight it three times to beat it, which is terrible design. Not to mention, many of these “Thing” stickers (stickers of everyday objects that do something special in combat or the overworld) are difficult to find, and you really aren’t given any hints about where they are, so you will likely get stuck in a level and have to comb the levels you’ve already beaten to find it. (Use a guide. It’s not worth it.)

Another change made to the Paper Mario formula is the world layout. It now looks more like Super Mario World, where you can select your level via an overworld map, without having to actually travel there. I actually like this, as it better suits play on-the-go, and lets me just sit down and beat one level in a relatively short time, if I don’t have much time.

Despite all my complaints, I did enjoy playing the game. It’s a good game—I never wanted to just stop playing altogether—but it falls short of the other Paper Mario games, making it (I think) the worst in the series. It just lacks the personality and charm of the other games, and by getting rid of leveling up and making you have a finite amount of attacks, it sort of discourages battling, which is one of its stronger aspects. It’s really too bad; I was looking forward to this game. Here’s hoping what they do on Wii U is better.

6.5

YEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH