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Friend Codes suck

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Reggie confuses us again regarding Wii U Friend Codes


Jun 11
// Chris Carter
So here's the rub. Nintendo introduced a rigid numbered Friend Code system sometime ago with the Nintendo DS, that was later refined on the Wii. Long story short, many gamers don't like the system, and are increasingly frustr...
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Nintendo had that big 3DS update the other week, but do you know what feature was missing? If you were thinking of the promised messaging service, you would be correct! Swapnote, also known as Nintendo Letter Box in Europe, ...

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Send messages to 3DS friends! Letterbox App coming soon


Oct 21
// Jim Sterling
Do you have lots of 3DS friends? Did you add them as a joke? So far, the 3DS friends list seems to exist just to see how many people have added "System Settings" as their favorite game, but Nintendo has decided to use some IN...

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Nintendo 3DS requires a friend code, but only one


Jan 19
// Conrad Zimmerman
At the European Nintendo 3DS Preview event, Nintendo has revealed some details on how online multiplayer will function on the device. As rumored, the "friend code" is returning but vastly streamlined. There will now be a sing...
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Rumor: 3DS to use the hated Friend Code system


Jan 13
// Jim Sterling
A Famitsu preview of Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition seems to suggest that the despised Nintendo Friend Code system -- Nintendo's way of pretending to keep children safe online -- might be making an unwelcome return with t...
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Check out the various functions of the 3DS


Sep 29
// Jonathan Holmes
Man, the 3DS has so many skills. We've already talked about a lot of them tonight, like the Mii-from-a-photo skills, the fight-strangers-in-Street-Fighter-without-knowing-that-you're-doing-it skills, and the ever popular por...

Review: Monster Hunter Tri

May 05 // Jonathan Holmes
Monster Hunter Tri (Wii) Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Released: April 20, 2010 MSRP: $49.99 First off, a quick word about the genre that Monster Hunter falls into: though it may look like a standard adventure game, Monster Hunter is very much a sandbox series -- a Japanese sandbox series. Unlike Western sandbox games such as GTA and Saints Row, Japanese sandbox games tend to focus on expansive, open, largely unpopulated (by humans, anyway) spaces that provide tons to do, but where nothing ever needs to get done. Collecting stuff, leveling up, exploring, and getting away from real-life humanity is the priority here; doing crimes in bustling recreations of real-life cities would just be missing the point. Dead Rising, Animal Crossing, Shadow of the Colossus, The Wind Waker, and No More Heroes are just a few examples of games that fit the profile of the Japanese sandbox game, but when it comes to to providing that special mix of freedom and escapism, Monster Hunter Tri outdoes them all. The game puts you in the role of a (you guessed it) person who hunts monsters, but Monster-Hunter-and-Gatherer is more like it. You start the game by creating your character in a Mass Effect/Mii Channel manner. From there, you are introduced to the Monster Hunter World via some beautiful cut-scenes, meet some villagers, leave town, and do as you please. Wander the wilderness, go fishing, catch some bugs, mine precious stones, and oh yeah, beat a bunch of dinosaur-looking things in the head with a hammer (or sword, or multiple other weapons) until death, then cut into them and take their remains back to town, and repeat. That's your average game of Monster Hunter Tri. There are a lot of things you can do around town, too: pay cat people to cultivate plants and bugs for you on a little farm, cuddle with a pig, send some sailors out on expeditions, decorate your house, forge new items, change weapons and armor, change your hair style, and, of course, buy stuff. It feels like the old, pre-story-focused days of the JRPG: go to town, rest up, hit the road, kick ass, come home, and lick your wounds. It's nothing revolutionary, but it works. Part of that comes from the constant supply of little moments to enjoy. The game provides a constant stream of different items to find, monsters to fight, hidden areas to discover, and surprising interactions with monsters. Oh hey, what are these little cat people doing in this cave? Doing a dance? Awesome. Wait, now they're smashing me in the head and stealing my stuff? Bastards! That's just the cute stuff. You'll also come across giant bugs, dino-sharks, and most often, huge, huge dragon/dinos that own the world of Monster Hunter with an iron fist. This is the most intimidating and beautiful creature design this side of Shadow of the Colossus. The way these monsters look, act, and think is endlessly entertaining. As you play through the single-player mode, new areas open up as well, and though none of them are particularly massive, the land never runs out of surprises. Swimming is a big part of the game, too, with large underwater areas to explore. One second you're "ooh-ing" at the massive beasts, the next you're "aah-ing" at the marvelous backdrops. It's a non-stop awe-fest. The team working on the latest Zelda title has been cited for their respect for the visuals of Monster Hunter Tri, and how they are aspiring to make a game as attractive. Though like many Wii games, the textures in Monster Hunter Tri can look a bit janky when seen extremely up close, there is still no denying that the attention to detail in both the environmental and creature design is top of the class. When you're running through the mountain pass at night, while shooting stars fly overhead and a herd of large, beautiful animals gallop en masse in the valley below, it's nothing short of magnificent. It's especially fun when loads of different types of monsters end up hanging out together in the same area. You'll have a raptor-like Jaggi biting the ass of the heavily armored Rhenoplos. So much care and attention was put into this game's world; you'll really feel like you're living among the beasts. Just as much care was put into Monster Hunter Tri's gameplay. Though you don't capture and train monsters like you do in Pokémon, you do make weapons and armor out of them, and the level of detail and variation in the "evolution trees" of each weapon/armor is staggering. This game has tons of different weapons and armor, with the potential for elemental properties for added flair. There are seven types of weaponry in Monster Hunter Tri: sword and shield, great sword, hammer, lance, switch axe (an axe that can turn into a sword), long sword, and bow gun (light, medium, and heavy barreled). All seven play very differently from each other. They almost feel like Street Fighter II's original seven characters (or eight, if you count Ryu and Ken as two different ones) in their level of variation. The single-player mode is perfectly engaging. For storyline, we get a low-intensity tale of a town that needs saving from a giant sea monster, among other natural enemies. Your real motivation in the single-player comes from curiosity about the game's world, and amassing a plethora of cool weapons/armor/etc. That's all good stuff, but what makes Monster Hunter Tri really special, especially for the Wii, takes place online. The game allows you to take on quests with three other strangers at a time, chosen from a cast of thousands of online strangers, with no need for friend codes. That's right, Capcom somehow got around Nintendo's friend code system. There is a little warning before entering the game's online city about not giving out your phone number and address to people you meet online, but that's it. There's no more protection than that. Teaming up with strangers of different levels of experience is the best way to see new and exciting stuff in the game, and to pick up some awesome new gear along the way -- all of which can be brought back to the single-player experience. You can interact with strangers with in-game texting, a Wii-compatible keyboard, or the Wii Speak speaker/microphone combo. The in-game keyboard is a little clunky, and doesn't allow for pointer controls like those found in Animal Crossing: City Folk, but other than that, it's pretty much flawless. Also, no lag. This lack of online protection and hand-holding is surprising, and speaks to the game's overall philosophy. In fact, that's the one thing about Monster Hunter Tri that may turn people off. This game barely tries to help you out. Unlike many games these days, your character doesn't have a built-in healing factor, and there is often a high price for carelessness in combat. The game also isn't shy about throwing over-powered monsters your way before you're tough enough to take them on, or letting you sign up for a quest that you have no chance of completing. After the initial set of quests, you're rarely given much direction or instruction as to where to go or what you'll need to succeed, which gives the game a certain believability not found in many online-intensive titles. The most striking area where the game leaves you on your own is in actual combat. There is no lock-on, which really forces you to hone your skills on your own. Knowing which weapon is right for which quest will be sure to make or break the career of many a monster hunter, as will the drive to learn the behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses of the monsters you're hunting. It all takes place in real time. Like in Resident Evil 5, there is no pausing the action in the inventory screen. Dodging, charging up attacks, setting traps, retreating, accessing items in your inventory, barbecuing some meat, all while a fire breathing dragon with giant cobra-heads for wings stomps around and scares the crap out of you, is a required skill. To pull off all that, the game's controls will need to become second nature. That's another one of the game's strengths: control options. Not only does each weapon control and feel differently from each other, but there are three overall control schemes you can choose from before starting up a game. The Wii-Remote-and-Nunchuk scheme is definitely playable and for motion control enthusiasts it may actually be preferred, but it really feels like the game was built to be played with the optionally-packed-in Classic Controller Pro. The Classic Controller gets two different control schemes: one that's button-intensive, and one that's analog stick-intensive. Mini review-within-a-review time: the Classic Controller Pro is awesome -- it's more light and comfortable than any other analog pad on the market, Wii or otherwise. The last thing thing you really should know about Monster Hunter Tri is how truly endless it feels. As a wild guess, someone may be able to speed-run through all the quests in the single-player in 30 hours or so, but that's being really generous. For people who want to get the most out of the game, it'll take much longer than that to really see what the game has to offer. It's common to hear a Monster Hunter fan say they've put hundreds of hours into the game, and they're still making gains and seeing new things. Capcom has already promised to make new quests available online free of charge. People pay a monthly subscription fee for this stuff in Japan, but we get it for free.  Fans of Japanese-style sandbox games need to buy Monster Hunter Tri. The only bad thing about it I can think of is that it really doesn't do anything to try to win over today's lazy, lock-on/healing factor-reliant action gamer. Also, the game's local co-op mode is a little lacking. It only allows you to join with one local player and take on one of the game's "bosses" inside an arena, disallowing the option to explore or go item-farming. Other than those tiny complaints, everything else about the game pretty much nails it. For $50 ($60 with the Classic Controller Pro), Monster Hunter Tri provides a World of Warcraft-quality experience without the $14.99 monthly subscription. That makes Monster Hunter Tri the best value going in MMORPGs today. Add to that a more-than-adequate single-player mode, and you get a... Score: 9.0 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)
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Did you play the Monster Hunter Tri demo? If not, don't bother. It sucked. Okay, that's subjective, but it's definitely fair to say that the Monster Hunter Tri demo did not accurately represent the full game. Imagine if Rocks...

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Monster Hunter giving Wii friend codes the chop in the US


Oct 23
// Joseph Leray
If I were going to be crass, I guess I could describe Capcom's Monster Hunter franchise as "Pokémon for grownups." That's not quite right, but Monster Hunter is reaching pocket monster–level popularity ...
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Guitar Hero 5 does away with in-game Friend Codes


Aug 02
// Matthew Razak
Now that the RRoD is pretty much taken care of let's take quick poll of everyone here and ask what the most annoying thing is in all of gaming. I'll give you a hint: it starts with Friend and ends with Codes. Friend Codes are...
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Rumortoid: Big Wii title to ditch friend codes?


Jan 14
// Jim Sterling
If you give two poos about online gaming, then you'll likely hate friend codes. It's a good bit of family-friendly PR for Nintendo, certainly, but it's a ridiculous pain in the arse for anybody who wants to the use the Wii's ...
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First look: The Conduit


May 17
// Jonathan Holmes
  Hardcore FPS fans take note: you may have to reconsider your decision not to buy a Wii. Third-party developers seem to finally see the potential millions to be made by filling in the holes Nintendo has left in the Wii'...
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The Smash DOJO!! recap: You will never know if you're playing a human or CPU


Dec 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The DOJO began the week in a horrible way with Friends Codes. Just hearing those words brings a shiver down my spine. Anyway, you need to enter your friend's Code once and it's stored in the system. You can also have little s...
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The worst ideas in gaming listed


Nov 12
// Dale North
Last week we went over Next-gen's list of the 50 greatest gaming innovations, noting that they forgot tentacle porn in the line up. Now they've put together a list of gaming's worst ideas ever, and again, tentacle porn is mis...
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Make custom stages in Super Smash Bros. Brawl


Oct 29
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Brawl getting delayed until February is so totally worth it now. Out of all the new things Brawl was going to offer, never did I once expect a Stage Builder. You can make the stage as big as you want, add whatever background ...
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Why Nintendo's Friend codes are so AWESOME!


Aug 14
// Jim Sterling
The above image was shown to me by a member of a videogame forum I host, Project Wonderboy, showing just how efficient and useful Nintendo's Wii Friend codes actually are. As you know, Nintendo likes to protect the little kid...
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EA thinks Friends Codes are stupid, not using 'em for Madden '08 on Wii


Jun 12
// Nick Chester
Whether we'd take a Bullet Bill for Mario or just as soon kick Luigi in the nuts, if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that the Friend Codes system that Nintendo has in place for the Wii and DS is stupid...
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DS Lite breaks 10 million mark in Japan; Friend Code shortage unlikely


May 10
// Dyson
Call me crazy, but I think Nintendo just may have something here with their DS Lite. Their wacky little two-screened handheld seems to be selling like hot-cakes in Japan! Why, just this April, Nintendo sold another 702,844 DS...

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