Archive for February 2011

Wii 2 3D HD Turbo coming in April?

February 20, 2011

It’s no secret that the Nintendo Wii is an aging console. With low-tech 480p visuals, the only thing that allowed the Wii to compete with high-definition giants was it’s motion control. Certainly it had nothing to do with a lower price point and greater variety of games that appeal to a wider audience, not to mention being the only console with a decent line up of kid-friendly E-rated titles! However the Wii now faces stiff competition with the release of the already abandoned Playstation Move and Microsoft’s borderline worthless Kinect, both delivering motion control in HD! So is Nintendo going to just let the Wii sit there and take a beating?

GEL, the host of the popular YouTube show GameBabble says that a Wii 2 HD is “very likely” in April of this year and “totally isn’t being sarcastic”!

“The games will likely run on High Definition Navy-grade Laser Tape to prevent piracy. We can expect 100% backwards compatibility with all previous Nintendo consoles including the VirtualBoy.”

He continued, “The console will recreate the 3D effect of the VirtualBoy by shitting rainbows directly into your eyes!“.

GEL, a veteran gamer for over 25 years, seemed confident in his estimate of an April release date. “Nintendo will release the console immediately after the 3DS, forcing gamers to decide which new Nintendo system to buy and splitting the company’s attention between the launch of both of their systems. This is a terrific strategy!”

“Also, it will totally be called the Wii 2 HD because Nintendo is known for adding numbers and letters on the end of their console names and not just coming up with completely new ones! We all remember the Nintendo Wi, right? That’s exactly how their naming scheme works!”

 

 

Okay, enough of the blatant sarcasm as this is just getting ridiculous. The point I am making here is that the sheer amount of articles that ultimately boil down to “some guy thinks a Wii 2 might maybe happen this year” is just getting ridiculous. Oh sure, if someone claims to have leaked specs of an upcoming console that makes for a good rumor post. However, when it’s just “some guy” saying what they think, is it really news worthy? I don’t care who he is or what he does. If he isn’t an actual Nintendo employee, what’s the point?

Look, we all think a new Nintendo console would be great. We’re used to a 5-year life cycle on game consoles. Both Microsoft and Sony have claimed they’re aiming for a 10-year cycle this time around. Due to the rather impressive power of their current consoles coupled with the current recession, that seems likely. It really is hard to imagine games looking too much better than they already do. The Wii, however, becomes outdated the moment you hook it up to an HD TV.

However, we knew this going in. Nintendo openly stated that the Wii wouldn’t be much more powerful than the Gamecube and used Motion Control as it’s main selling point. So, wouldn’t the release of Microsoft and Sony’s motion controllers be a threat? No.

While the Move is a phenomenal controller, the fact is that Sony has practically abandoned it. We may see some Move support tacked on to games or even a few cool PSN titles for it, but Move releases will be few and far between. On the other end of the spectrum, the Kinect has sold well but it’s actual functionality as a game controller seems limited.

While one could argue that both provide a Wii-like experience in HD, the reality is that this isn’t what Wii owners want. Ultimately, motion control was just a marketing tool for Nintendo. The system’s real success comes from it’s low price point and the fact that it targets a completely different audience from the 360 and PS3. What this means is that the Move and Kinect are not really competition for the Wii.

Now, does this mean a Wii HD isn’t on the horizon? Well aside from the fact that it probably won’t be named “Wii HD”, no. Nintendo could well announce a new console this year at E3. But what is the point in speculating about it when you have nothing to speculate on! A new Nintendo console is entirely theoretical! You could say literally anything about it, rendering the discussion completely pointless! I mean, how do you know it won’t shit rainbows into your eyes?

All I’m saying is that this is just getting silly. Please people, let’s wait until Nintendo actually announces something.

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Starting Over: Marvel VS Capcom 3

February 19, 2011

Marvel vs Capcom 2 is one of the most popular fighters of all time. In fact, it may be the only fighter whose popularity matches that of the original Street Fighter II. This is made even more significant by the time of it’s release. Yes back in the 90s Mortal Kombat gave Street Fighter a run for it’s money, but by 2000, fighters had greatly decreased in popularity. But Marvel vs Capcom 2 stood out. So, of course, a sequel was in high demand.

But many things happened in the decade since MvC2’s release. Marvel gave exclusive rights to make games with their characters to EA for starters. Capcom then got out of the fighting game business declaring fighters to be “dead” and fired most of their staff. Couple this with SNK going bankrupt and it ushered in an era where the only new 2D fighters out there were doujin games, fan creations.

History is funny though. Fast-forward to only a few years ago. According to legend, Capcom called in an analyst to help them make more money and one of the first things the man said was “So, how is Street Fighter IV coming along?”. Indeed it could be the most obvious question to ask, but Capcom was apparently oblivious. Once it was made apparent that a new big budget fighter was needed, Capcom found themselves in a jam. As mentioned earlier, they had fired much of their fighting game staff and as such had to outsource development to Dimps. Meanwhile, anime company Tatsunoko asked Capcom to give their properties a whirl. This, of course, resulted in Tatsunoko vs Capcom which was made by Eighting.

That last move was rather peculiar on many fronts. For starters, the versus series was not particularly popular in Japan and the chance of a U.S. release of the title was slim. Of course, they did manage to release the game in the U.S. but it was sadly a bit of a flop. Still it whipped people into an even greater frenzy. “If you’re making versus games again, how about Marvel vs Capcom 3?” Of course there was the whole licensing issue. However, according to legend, someone from Marvel directly approached Capcom about it and so it was done. It makes sense after all, the demand was so great there was no way the game couldn’t make money!

The initial reaction was pure jubilation! Finally, a sequel to Marvel vs Capcom 2, one of the most popular fighters of all time! Now in high-definition, with actually good graphics, and even online play! However, as more information began to seep out, reality began to set in. This would not be Marvel vs Capcom 2 again. Not because they didn’t want it to be, but because it was impossible.

Marvel vs Capcom 2 is best described as a freak accident. Take just a moment and look at it some time and you’ll see what I mean. Stages that have nothing to do with anything and odd jazz music coupled with a massive 54 character roster that consists primarily of recycled sprites. Add in the unprecedented 3 on 3 tag battles and you have complete madness! There is next to no balancing what so ever and glitches gun rampant in the streets. The game is indeed best described as “throw stuff at a wall and see what sticks”. Marvel vs Capcom 2 was an anomaly of gaming.

However, it was an appealing anomaly. With a roster that gigantic, everyone could find someone they wanted to play as! The combat was fast-paced and flashy and the options seemed endless! This resulted in a long lasting popularity. With fighting games, popularity is the most important thing. You see, fighters are best played competitively against another human opponent. If no one plays a fighter then there is no point in playing it because you have no competition. It doesn’t matter how fun, deep, or balanced the game is. If no one plays it, the game is worthless as a fighter. This is an unfortunate fact that I have grown all too aware of.

Marvel vs Capcom 2 represents the other side of this equation. If we were to look at it seriously, it is not a good fighter. The game is morbidly unbalanced, caked with bugs, and downright spastic in it’s pacing! However, it was popular and this forced people to play it. In playing it though, the began to discover an odd appreciation for the game. Everything was so broken and glitchy that almost anything was possible! These glitches became an integral part of the game and added to it and finding more glitches could give you the edge. Marvel vs Capcom 2 was so horribly un-playtested that you never knew what you would find! The secret to victory was to find a character no one was using and figure out a new way to abuse them! As I said, it was unlike any other game ever made.

However, this brings us back to Marvel vs Capcom 3 and it’s unique problem: the game was going to be good. With it’s new high-definition 2.5D presentation, every character had to be recreated from the ground up. That means that actual effort and care has to be spent in making each and every one of them. This meant that both the roster would be smaller and the game more balanced, resulting in an outcry. The next thing we knew, fighting game fanatics were flaunting their Stockholm Syndrome and writing massive essays about how MvC2’s horrific bugginess made it the greatest and most balanced fighter ever made. There was, in fact, a deep fear that the game would be good.

Well, now the game has hit and the resulting title is…odd. If flashy and unbalanced was what people wanted, Capcom couldn’t have picked a better company to handle it. As mentioned earlier, much of Capcom’s fighting game staff was fired and now they have to outsource all of their development. As such, the task of making MvC3 fell on Eighting’s shoulders, the makers of Bloody Roar.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: this game is not Tatsunoko vs Capcom. While some systems like Advancing Guard and being able to tag out in the middle of an air combo do return, as does the 3 button control system, the game is radically different. It almost feels like half-way through development, Eighting actually listened to the complaining fans and threw all of it’s balancing features out the window. The Mega Crush, a guard breaker that costs super meter, is gone. Tagging out in the middle of an air combo is now free. Meanwhile the oddly named Baroque system has been replaced with a simpler revenge mechanic: X-Factor. Baroque let players sacrifice the red of their health bar to cancel any move and deal extra damage based on how much damage they recently took. X-Factor, on the other hand, gives all characters a speed and power boost that increases the more in trouble a player is. However, it can only be used once per match.

The pacing is also different. Though Tatsunoko vs Capcom was fast, it was generally still within reason. Marvel vs Capcom 3, however, nearly replicates MvC2’s spastic pace. The resulting game is indeed as close as one could get to Marvel vs Capcom 2 while making an actually good game.

However, things are indeed very different. Oh sure there are returning characters with similar movesets, but the mechanics have changed. Normally this would be expected. Marvel vs Capcom 3 is, after all, a new game and should be judged as one. However it’s awkward as the game is so similar to MvC2 and yet also so different. The point is that after a decade of MvC2, everyone has to go back to square one.

However, this is a good thing. MvC2 was starting to become very by-the-numbers as a solid “best team” was finally starting to arise. Seeing something beyond Magneto, Storm, and Sentinel was a rarity. Perhaps one character would be switched out for another but ultimately the game seemed to finally be dead ending.

But it is going to be hard prying people away from their traditions. The new 3-button layout, which is becoming the industry standard for fighters, is hotly contested. Many gamers claim that it’s dumbing the game down despite it being the removal of a single button. However, people made the same complaint about Marvel vs Capcom 2 when it switched from 6-buttons to 4-buttons. Indeed, Marvel vs Capcom 2 recieved as much if not more backlash after it came out. But as I said earlier, popularity is what’s really important. I don’t mean amongst the fighting community either. While the hardcore fighting game fanatics may complain about character changes and button layouts, the average joe doesn’t give a shit much as they didn’t with MvC2. Marvel vs Capcom 3’s lasting appeal depends entirely on it’s popularity.

However, a new kink has been thrown in the mix which could change all of this: the internet. For starters, online play allows small communities of players to stick together and always find competition, giving smaller fighters a chance. As such, gamers no longer need to rely as much on popularity as they once did. But even more than that, it could potentially allow the game to be patched and new content to be added! We already know Capcom intends to support the game with downloadable content for at least a year, with new characters already confirmed, but does that means they’ll fix bugs as well? Could the game become more balanced over time and what affect will this have on the players? While logic would dictate that being more balanced is a good thing, we’ve already seen players revolt when wall-bounce combos were removed from BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, forcing them to be added back in. Couple this kind of outcry with the addition of DLC characters, the game may even become less balanced over time.

Ultimately, Marvel vs Capcom 3 is still a gigantic pile of potential. It will be years before we know it’s actual fate. Will it become another long standing fighter played for more than a decade, or will it fade into the past as Marvel vs Capcom 2 retains it’s throne? All we know for sure is that the game is very different. It’s different from Marvel vs Capcom 2 and it’s different from Tatsunoko vs Capcom. Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a whole new game and one that everyone is going to need to spend some serious time with before they know what’s really up with the game.

New Releases – February 2011

February 5, 2011

As we move into February the releases pick up once again. We’ve got some winners this month with Marvel vs Capcom 3 ruling most people’s minds. However it won’t be until late March that the shit really starts to pour in again.

Week 1

Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 (XBLA)

Now this is confusing, a sequel to a remake of an NES game that itself is not a remake. Weird. Regardless with Bionic Commando Rearmed being pretty darn awesome, this might be worth looking in to.

Week 2

Mario Sports Mix (Wii)

In a first for the series, Mario Sports Mix contains multiple Marioed up sports games. Created by SquareEnix of all companies, this is their second Mario Sports title after Mario Hoops 3 on 3 on the DS. Sure enough, Sports Mix also contains basketball along with two different flavors of hockey, volleyball, and even dodgeball! That last one has me particularly interested as I happen to be a fan of Super Dodgeball and this game does not look far removed. On top of that we have a variety of eyebrow raising Final Fantasy (and one Dragon Quest) guest characters and stages. Why do I have a feeling this is going to be the best Final Fantasy in years?

Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll (PS3)
Now here’s an odd one. Zill O’ll was a PS1 RPG dating back to 1999 (and I swear it, itself, was a spin-off of a Saturn strategy game but I’m not certain). Years later a sequel called Zill O’ll Infinity was released on PS2 and then ported to PSP as Infinity Plus. Now we have a PS3 action RPG created by the Dynasty Warriors team. What’s funny is that the game looks like a combination of Ninety-Nine Nights II and Konami’s OZ, both Dynasty Warriors clones! Admittedly though the game is only a little bit like Dynasty Warriors and is a bit closer to a vaguely Monster Hunter-esque dungeon crawl. But don’t take my word for it, there’s a demo for download!

Week 3

Dance Paradise (360 Kinect)

THQ brings us another dancing game for Kinect. Considering dancing games are about all that thing is good for and it seems to have a decent array of music, I’ll probably throw myself at the mercy of the game and give it a shot.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (360, PS3)

Do I really even need to say anything? It’s a 3 on 3 tag-team fighter from Capcom (though the actual developer still hasn’t been revealed) that everyone has been salivating over for months now. If you don’t know about MvC3, you live under a rock.
Hyperdimension Neptunia (PS3)

In the magical land of GameIndustri, Neptune must unite the Console Goddesses to combat the evil of the witch Arfoire. No, I am not making this up. It’s an RPG where console-tans have to stop the console wars and join forces to combat the evils of game piracy. Though clearly running on the Trinity Universe engine and the lack of actual licensing beyond SEGA (yes, the main character is SEGA) does prevent the game from reaching it’s full potential, this is the kind of game I have to see. That said, it is kinda sad that a game about stopping the console wars is PS3 exclusive and not multi-platform. Ah well.

Hard Corps: Uprising (XBLA, PSN)

Konami joins forces with Arc Systems Works to produce an anime-styled high-res 2D Contra. Looks delicious!

 

Week 4

Bulletstorm (360, PS3)

A rather arcadey combo-based first person shooter featuring Steve Blum as Space Wolverine. Hooray! Honestly I don’t hate first person shooters, I just hate realism. So it’s nice to see a game have fun again. Try the demo, it’s out there!
Dreamcast Collection (360, PC)

Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi, SEGA Bass Fishing, and Space Channel 5 parts 1 and 2 all together in a pack for 360 and PC…which might have been more impressive if we couldn’t just buy them as XBLA titles. Ah well, it’s nice that they get a boxed release too.
Knights Contract (360, PS3)

Some kind of action RPG of mild interest. Sounds a lot like Enslaved with a different setting actually but admittedly I have not heavily researched this one.
Radiant Historia (DS)

Fancy new DS RPG from Atlus that looks pretty promising. I know very little about it beyond the fact that it intrigues me.

 

Week 5

Gun Loco (360)

A 360 exclusive goofy run and gun third person shooter from…SquareEnix?! This gives me mixed feelings. For starters, SquareEnix just published a third person shooter last month! For another thing, it looks like a very cheap knock-off of Bulletstorm! Lastly though, was this really made in-house by SquareEnix?! This thing baffles me so hard I might have to check it out as it looks like it could be either an under appreciated cult classic or a total atrocity of gaming.

GameBabble – Ep.17 Dark Awake

February 1, 2011

[blip.tv ?posts_id=4724858&dest=63762]

Before getting back to Motion Control, GEL takes a look at an import PS3 fighter.
Formats available: Windows Media (.wmv)