When I was a wee child, the Aliens Power Loader was the apex predator of the toy box. Armed with a head mounted machine gun, a devastating spring-loaded rocket launcher, and a pair of gnashing power claws, equally capable of crushing Cobra HISS tanks as they were at squeezing the life out of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, it was the big dog of any play session. I loved that toy.
I wonder if it ever wigged my mom out to see me playing with a prop from an R-rated movie. I know it wigs me out when I see Call of Duty Mega Blok sets just sitting on display at the local Wall-Mart and look at concept designs for the "Angel City Action Set" Titanfall K'nex toys. There is just something unseemly about marketing a toy for children 3 and up from a licence that is supposedly for a Mature audience. Guess little boys and girls these days are just super into no-scope headshots and epic killstreaks.
I feel like a big fucking hypocrite about it. When I was a kid, the floor of my room looked like a Cyberdine production facility, Model 800 Terminators and Skeletal Hunter-Killer robots strewn all over the place. I don't blink when I see Batman or X-Men toys on the rack. Brooding vigilantes who pummel psychotic clowns and genocidal human magnets are fine for children of all ages apparently, but I balk at a CoD Zombies kit.
The difference I see is that Batman, for as grim and disturbing as some of the material gets, has an entire range of products and shows under that franchise's umbrella. While the Nolan movies and many of the comics are probably a little too much for young children, there are also kid friendly cartoon shows, Lego Batman games, and other stuff to steer them towards. CoD and Titanfall are just games about putting bullets into people. It's hard to spin that out to something you could justify selling to an 8 year old.
I think it's bizarre to see game franchises brazenly selling to a market way below their supposed ERSB rating. But then again, I suppose it seemed equally bizarre to my mom when I was clamouring for a Alien Queen with Acid Blood Action (tm) for my birthday.
I've been hella bad at recaps lately. Sorry about that. I should be getting all packed for PAX and junk but I'm just ... not. I'm pretty pro at procrastinating.
So are we all properly psyched for Smash?! I can't believe the 3DS one is going to be out this Summer! That's so soon! I honestly figured both versions would launch side by side this winter, but it's a pretty good idea on Nintendo's part. This will move a bunch of units for both systems. People will buy the 3DS one during the summer (potential) drought and then get the game and a Wii U for Christmas.
I'm also surprised to see such a focus being made on Pokemon, I'm totally fine with it, just surprised. I can't wait to see what other details they have waiting for us!
Tomorrow(Today) is the Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct! It's at 3:00 P.M. PST, and can be watched over here. It should be roughly a half-hour long, and will surely contain some cool reveals. No release date yet, but at least a window. Bring your popcorn and bingo cards.
So, in the usual pre-direct fashion, it's speculation and wishlist time! Here's sobuilderme things I want out of the new 3DS/Wii U release.
-No fucking tripping. #1 on the list
-A new level builder. The level creator tool in Brawl was great fun to play with, and the sharing/highlight feature was so cool. With a stylus to build quicker and an even better online service, this feature could extend the life of the game very much.
-Miiverse integration. No-brainer. Take a cue from DKCTF, and add the ability to upload replays please.
-More varied representation. There are some Smash mainstays, sure, but there's so many characters that haven't been in, or came into existence post-Brawl that deserve a spot. There are already lots of returning characters, but I'm more impressed with the new ones. More of that! Nintendo has lots of new faces to use. Character wish list: Dillon, Mickey Mouse, Patricia Wagon, AiAi, Wreck-it-Ralph, Joe Musashi, Amigo, Yoshimitsu, Amadeus (Trine 2,) Captain Rainbow, Commander Video, Chase McCain, Kalas, Scoroge McDuck, Rayman, a Wonderful 101 hero, Travis Touchdown, Maxwell (Scribblenauts,) Pac-Man, Finn & Jake, Shantae, Bayonetta, Juan (Guacamelee,) Higgins, The Player (RCR,) Phoenix Wright, Rusty, Simon Belmont, Tempo (Harmoknight,) Shoko Ozora, Bomberman, Ameterasu, Gray Fox, Cooking Mama, and Alex Trebeck. Err...maybe not that last one.
As much as I want to see my favorites from younger days, Nintendo could use some of this new blood. Anyway, I could go on with my list forever, so...
-Communities. Like Mariokart 7, but with some of the features from Wii Sports Club, where you can compare and compete with other communities.
-Call it Super Smash Bros. Brouhaha
What about y'all? What things do you want to see from the new Smash Bros games? There's a gigantic pool of Nintendo history to pull from.
In an attempt to get all the trophies in Dark Souls II, I spent a few hours this week doing PvP matches for a covenant. So I've been getting a pretty good handle on how PvP feels in the new game. For the most part, it works really well. It hasn't been difficult to get into matches, even at a really high level.
A lot of players have been really cool about dueling. I like fighting people who bow before duels, and who don't use annoying gestures like "Mock" or "This one's me" after winning a duel. I stop looking at the screen if I see one of those gestures. One person accidentally killed me with magic right when I started to bow, and then ran up and used one of those "I'm sorry!" carvings, which I thought was funny. I also think it's cool when there are two invaders, and one stands to the side to watch to other two people fight, then steps in when the first invader dies. That happened to me once, and now I try to follow their example whenever I find myself in a 2v1 match. Fighting two invaders can feel pretty unfair anyway.
So far the fights have been rather varied. A lot of people like to use magic attacks, although they always seem to use the same ones (Soul Spears, Lightning Spears, Flame Swathes) so it's gotten pretty easy to avoid them. A lot of the melee fighters tend to have elemental weapons, so I try to have two shields I can switch between (one with high elemental resistances, one with high physical resistance). The melee fights are my favorite, they're always the most tense. And I primarily use melee attacks myself anyway.
This time around, losing fights due to lag have been very minimal. Although, whenever it seems like there's been some lag, I ALWAYS get backstabbed. This usually occurs while the other player looks like they're in front of me, or to my side. So that can be pretty annoying. It's happened maybe five times out of about fifty matches though, so it hasn't been a huge problem. I was really hoping they'd fix the backstabbing problem from the first game, though.
I've also been experimenting with a bunch of different weapons, and I think I've finally found my favorite one! They added a few new weapon types, including lances and twinblades. Both of those types of weapons have really cool movesets, but the lances are my personal favorites. It feels so good to charge down enemies with a multi-hit attack, which usually leaves them open to another attack immediately afterward. The backstab animation for lances is also extremely satisfying, as you pierce the enemy through the back, lift them high into the air, and then slam them back down into the ground! I'd been using the Chariot Lance for awhile, but a few days ago I found the Grand Lance, and that one has quickly become my preferred weapon of choice. At least I can stop using broadswords now!
Last week, I unfortunately wasn't able to talk about Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright because it quite simply hadn't been delivered yet. By now I've been able to sink a decent amount of time into the game and I can safely say that it's been quite fun. Quite fun indeed!
I don't want to delve too deeply into it because I'm still planning on writing a Cblog review for this game (although someone beat me to it, so go check out that blog too!) but it certainly wouldn't do to leave you here with nothing, would it?
So I guess I can leave you all with a little tease.
I recall that some people were wondering how exactly this game would play, and what the dynamic between the Layton and Wright gameplay styles would be. I think that's quite an important point to get straight, so let's get to that first. So far, this game has been just about a 50-50 split between Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright, as one might expect. I haven't exactly timed it or anything, but it definitely feels like both IPs get equal time in the spotlight.
One half of the game, you're going around town in order to solve the grand mysteries of Labyrinthia, a medieval city filled with magic and witches. During this portion of the game, it plays just like any other Professor Layton game. You talk to quirky (and well-animated, I might add) characters, who will tell you what you need to know in return for solving that one puzzle they have been struggling with for weeks now. However, this isn't just restricted to Professor Layton himself. Once our four heroes meet, Phoenix and especially Maya also get in on the puzzle-solving action. I definitely thought this was a nice touch, as it shows that the devs weren't afraid to intertwine their respective IPs.
However, at certain points in the story shit will hit the fan. Witches appear, murders are committed and people get accused. Of course, the people who get accused are inevitably innocent, and it's up to everyone's favorite attorney to set the record straight. At this point, you get to play a court case (almost) just like you would in any Ace Attorney game. Witnesses appear for questioning, the prosecutor gets in your hair, unexpected shit happens, the works. Again, this portion of the game isn't restricted to one character: while Phoenix is the active attorney, Professor Layton himself isn't shy to help you out in times of need. He even has his own "OBJECTION!" voice clip. There are some differences to what you would expect from an mainline Ace Attorney game, though. For one thing, you get very little evidence to work with, as no one in medieval times has ever heard of such strange things as "fingerprints" or "voice analysis". Instead, you get access to a tome that holds information on all of Labyrinthia's magic. "The real culprit was invisible!" becomes a perfectly valid argument once you open your magic book and find out that such a spell exists in this world. Moreover, in a first for the series, you get to cross-examine multiple witnesses at once. This may lead to slip-ups on their part, as Witness A claims to have seen things Witness B expressly denied. It isn't quite as satisfying as throwing evidence in their faces, and the number of witnesses means that they're not as well-developed as you would expect from Ace Attorney, but overall it works in the context of the game.
In short, on the whole the game is divided into distinct parts of Layton and Wright, but with some mixing and matching of characters. In my opinion this works exceptionally well so far. It never feels like one IP is overshadowing the other, and the Layton portions flow into the court cases quite well.
- Fun factoid: the Professor Layton series are some of the few video games that get translated into Dutch, including this one. Dutch is a shitty language for video games, however, so I'm glad I could still get it in English.
After enjoying quite a few games on Steam with my new laptop, my library has grown exponentially. Steam sales are an addiction unto themselves, enabling me to buy so many games at slashed prices. But of course, I'm talking as if this is new. You all probably are all used to this Steam nonsense. In fact, you guys probably have a resistance built up over the years. Me on the other hand? I'm not sure what will happen to me when the Steam Summer Sale rolls around. Oh my god am I not ready to face that.
In the short time I've officially started Steam, I've bought...
- Mercenary Kings
- Kerbal Space Program (-40%)
- Luftrausers (-10%)
- Volgarr the Viking (-25%)
- Humble Indie PC & Android bundle ($5)
- Humble Destructoid bundle ($10)
- FFVII (-60%)
- Eryi's Action (-60%)
plus everything I'd already bought before I had a decent PC in preparation for such a moment like...
Not only that, but I'm obsessed with collecting Steam cards. I'm finally one card away from crafting my first legit badge for FTL. Plus I've stockpiled badges for Prison Architect, TF2, KSP, and Hotline Miami.
Speaking of Hotline Miami, I of course owned it before the Dtoid bundle came out (-60% sale). I've got a spare code up for grabs if you happen to not have that game yet. If you want it, follow me on twitter (@Striderhoang) if you want. Mainly comment here if you want it with a number choice (for RNG purposes) and the name of a spaceship I should dub one of my future KSP ships.