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3:18 AM on 04.15.2012

Follow Up with Jools Watsham... Journalism!

For those of you who have owned any or all incarnations of the DS family of systems you've probably played a game by Renegade Kid. Dementium, Moon, and most recently Mutant Mudds for the eShop are just a few examples. Last weekend at PAX East I was able to sit in on the StreetPass Network panel on Saturday morning and Jools Watsham, Co-Founder of Renegade Kid was one of the speakers. Now this got me thinking... A few months back I was a little sore about The Binding of Isaac getting snubbed from the eShop. The it hit me! I thought, "Who better to talk to about what kinds of limitations, both from a techical and creative standpoint, go into creating a software title for a Nintendo system, than a man who has spent the last five years developing exclusively for the DS and 3DS systems." Below is what Jools, co-founder of Renegade Kid had to say in regards to the process. The answers might surprise you. Enjoy!

What is the process of developing a game for the eShop/Nintendo hardware? Can you explain the steps of a title's verification process?
Jools: In my experience it has been extremely simple, easy, and quick to work with Nintendo. That probably sounds like hyperbole to some, but it's true. We submit a very brief description of the game at the start of development. This is primarily to get the game into the system. With this information, Nintendo is able to issue data needed for development that is specific to your game, such as unique game IDs, and prepare their staff for submission dates and any marketing efforts planned.

Once we feel the game is complete, we submit it to Nintendo for their final approval. I think a lot of people believe that when materials are submitted to Nintendo they review the creative content to see if it is suitable for their platform. This may have been the case in the 16-bit days, but to my knowledge this does not happen anymore. That's the ESRB's job. Based on my experience with Nintendo, and we've made some mature content in the past with the Dementium and Moon series, Nintendo's focus is on whether the game functions properly in terms of not crashing and always presenting consistent information regarding the naming of buttons, save data, etc.

Was there anything that you've wanted to do but were unable to based on the stipulations (if any)?
Jools: No, the only stipulations we're required to adhere to are technical and not related to creative content.

Anything you can share about an upcoming title from Renegade Kid? Either on eShop or retail for 3DS?
Jools: We're working on the European and Australian versions of Mutant Mudds. We're also finishing up Bomb Monkey and ATV Wild Ride 3D for eShop.

Do you see the company branching out to Nintendo's new home console Wii U either through downloadable games or retail releases?
Jools: It is certainly possible, yes.

- - - - - - - - - -

There you have it Destructoid, straight from Renegade Kid, exclusive to my blog postings. Confirmed Wii U project from Renegade Kid! </sarcasm>. But in all seriousness it was wonderful to be able to get a peek behind the scenes and I came out of the whole experience, both at the panel and being able to talk with Jools about games, with more insight about companies and their products that I truly care about. So a huge thank you to him for taking the time to answer my questions!

You can follow Jools on Twitter @JoolsWatsham, learn more about Renegade Kid and their future projects here. Mutant Mudds is currently available on the Nintendo eShop, and keep your eyes peeled for Bomb Monkey for eShop and ATV Wild Ride for the 3DS!   read

1:37 AM on 04.12.2012

10 Things to Know (or not) about me + ContesTOID!

So Iím a few days late to the party but better late than never I guess. I've spent the last week recovering from waking up sick at PAX on Saturday and getting some quality time in with Xenoblade. In addition to this blog post which I feel like I should let you guys and gals know me a little bit more since youíve all posted such great blogs lately. In addition since my Photoshop skills are shit Iím running a contest for the cover image on my blog. So hereís trying to kill 2 birds with one stone!
The contest is pretty straight forward, Iíd like a cover banner/image for my blog, so you can read the post below to get some insight on me or the kind of stuff I like or am into or you could always ask me, the only stipulation is it has Mr. Destructoid or the Dtoid logo on it. Submit entries to my email address, lagechj(at) with the subject line Dtoid Banner Contest. Whatís in it for you? Well the winning entry will be notified either thru PM or social media outlets (teh twittorz) and sent a code for their choice of digital cheddar aka mullah aka 1600 MS Points/$20 PSN/Wii Points/3DS Shop. Thatís $20! In digital form. Pretty sweet eh? Contest ends 04/27/12!

1. I am a huge Nintendo Fan Boy (itís kind of depressing)
Right now Iím living large with just over 500 Club Nintendo coins, my Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary poster reward coming in the mail to display in all their glory throughout my house once they get framed, and Iíve got more games for my Wii either downloadable or retail than I do for my 360. In fact if you take a look at my Wiiís home screen I have every Legend of Zelda game sitting pretty on it! Out of all of my friends Iím the only one that has any kind of love for the Big N, and Iím the only person I know that is actually thinking about buying a Wii U at launch (especially if they drop the price 6 months later and give us a bunch of free games again). I canít explain it, but I have this distaste for this generationís overuse of the super brofisting shooters that are Gears of War, Halo, CoD, etc. I feel like Nintendo always innovates rather than tries to make the quick buck on rehashes. (Usually 1 or 2 games per franchise per generation). Iím more than happy to pick up games like Mass Effect and Bayonetta but for whatever reason Nintendo just does things different. Rhythm Heaven Fever is one of my favorite games of this generation and the ďgameĒ requires two button presses total. Oh yeah, and that Club Nintendo membership? It used to be a Nintendo Power Club membership.

2. I have a guitar that I have NO IDEA how to play.
Back in high school a buddy of mine was in a band, they were pretty good and got a few shows and Iíd always try and go to them. Then the coolest thing happened, he gave me one of his guitars. Well when I say give me he let me ďborrowĒ it. The worst part? It was about 8 years ago! T_T
I tried really hard to teach myself how to play the damn thing but I just couldnít get it down through any of the lessons/programs I found scouring the internet. More importantly the guitar is pretty damn special to me. We were really great friends in high school, and went to different colleges and now we donít really see each other/talk much at all, which I guess is what happens when you get older but Iíll never get rid of the guitar no matter how much dust itís currently collecting. One day Iíll be able to play the damn thing. At this point though it seems even playing something simple is turning out to be my version of Mozartís Requiem.
3. If my life had a soundtrack the main theme would be ďCigarettes and Chocolate MilkĒ
I smoke cigarettes, terrible habit I know Iíd love to quit but and for those of you that currently do or used to smoke thereís nothing better in the morning that waking up having a cup of coffee and a cigarette. I feel like when the modern cigarette was invented the folks at the soon-to-be tobacco companies were all sitting around drinking coffee and realized that theyíd go great together. But in the song is pretty much a perfect way to describe my sometimes self-destructive behaviors:

ďCigarettes and chocolate milk
these are just a couple of my cravings
everything it seems I like's a little bit stronger
a little bit thicker
a little bit harmful for meĒ

4. I am the epitome of the ďSocially Awkward PenguinĒ meme
Around the age of 21 I went through this really weird change, Iím not sure if I spent the better portion of my late high school and college career mostly at parties/clubs/bars and just got sick of it all but if I were to see the me aged 18-21, heíd probably kick my ass and laugh about it with his friends later. I used to be way more extroverted in terms of personality, willingness to talk to people, and going out. Call it getting older, more mature (thatís debatable) or anything else but I generally am not a huge fan of people anymore, or large crowds. For as much fun as I had during the Dtoid party and meeting Hamza, Max, and Jonathan I was nervous as all hell the entire time! Maybe I just have a fear of rejection, who knows but if you ever talk to anyone I know theyíll tell you Iíve become way more of an introvert, and Iím looking to change that.

5. I believe in extra terrestrial life and all that jazz
I mean how can there not be aliens out there? I have this terrible feeling that if we ever do make first contact with an alien race weíll totally fuck it up as humanity normally does with things it fears or doesnít quite understandÖ (Iím looking at you religion!) But anyways Iím sure Iíll end up losing a whole of my humanity since itís always been a dream of mine ever since being a youngster to travel into space, more importantly to be alive to see the day to meet an actual alien and visit their civilization. If anyoneís familiar with the show ďVĒ I would be on the first spaceship off this rock we call home, after quitting my job, maxing out my credit limits and taking out everyone I know for a night and party like rock stars before submitting to a higher evolved/intelligent life form if theyíre the ones to travel here and make first contact.

6. Water and I arenít friends
Strangely enough Iím Ĺ Portuguese and Ĺ Italian but the way that I got programmed is anything but Mediterranean-like. Iím allergic to shellfish, something that kind of freaked out most of the family when I had some as a kid and itís always left a bad taste in my mouth and nose in terms of any other kind of aquatic food. I hate the way fish smells, looks, feels, itís freaking gross. But it also could have been the whole Jellyfish and Octopus thing for Christmas when I was growing up (the joys of being Portuguese) that freaked me out and wanted me to go nowhere near anything related to the ocean. And I canít swim all that well, fictional hydrodynamic animals i.e. water type Pokťmon are fine. Weíre still cool starmie! Aqua Man you still suck though, talking to fish isnít a power, but a handicap. Maybe Iím just jaded though; I couldnít swim my way out of a paper bag filled with water.

7. I have always had dogs
Not Nintendogs! But real dogs! Ever since I was a kid Iíve always had at least one in the house. Not quite the Corgi King that our Dale North is but ever since watching Cowboy Bebop Iíve always wanted one to name it Ein! ^_^
To date Iíve had all bigger dogs, I have had the fortune of living with the following types of pooches: German shepherd, Brittany spaniel, golden retriever, German shorthaired pointer, and Red Siberian husky (I like big dogs; theyíre more fun to play withÖ and to wrestle).

8. I love cartoons!
I have the awesome experience of being a big kid, or small adult whichever (both in height and in interest. Iím 5í7Ē on a good day!) But I abso-freaking-loutely love me some cartoons and anime. Old school Voltron, Thundercats, X-Men, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Ninja Turtles (stop getting ideas for more bastardizations Michael Bay) and even new stuff like Adventure Time and Regular show! My favorite anime series are Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Elfen Lied, Evangelion, Samurai Champloo, and Death Note. I like mind fucks haha.

9. Iím officially running out of things to write about because I find myself quite boring.
Not so much from a low self esteem sort of viewpoint, just from the tl;dr. If you have any questions are wanna chat more hit me up on the twitters @MagitekNiGHT (bonus points for the name reference itís been my XBL name for 4 years and no one has asked me about it ever) or send me a PM or drop a comment below!

10. Remember thereís a contest at the top of this post so enter youíve only got 2 weeks to potentially earn $20. Hell even if you donít think youíre going to win my best Photoshop project looks ten times worse than Jim Sterlingís MS Paint drawings! Plus, if youíre lucky, and the only participant you could win by default!   read

10:27 PM on 04.06.2012

PAX Day 1: Dat Chicken, Dem Waffles

I'm unfortunately writing this from an iPhone so apologies in advance for any typos I'll fix them at some point I promise!

Today started haphazardly, I woke up late, ran late to the convention center due to traffic and was literally seconds away from missing the Dtoid group photo. I ran from pretty much 1/2 way down the street carrying all of my stuff to get to the photo. The only reason I knew it was going on was seeing Hamza raising his arms around not to mention a fancy camera. After the photos I really needed to make up for lost time so I unfortunately dipped out. First thing I did... Waited in line to play Borderlands 2, which in a word was amazing but more importantly I yelled "I love you" at Randy Pitchford and he waved at me. ^_^

I really am impressed with the way they switched up the abilities for classes in the game. The gunzerker can "tank" based off talent points and the new siren class can "heal" it really changes the dynamic of larger boss fights during group play. Borderlands didn't really do that for me in my opinion. Especially since you got crazy powerful and could solo the boss in Knoxx's Armory for fat lootz.

Anywho after blowing lots of time I checked my 3DS and boy was that a mistake. I got over 100 street passes just today! My total count WAS 6... And I live right outside Hartford so it's not like it's in the middle of no where. Almost completed Find Mii and finished 4 puzzles! It was a good day for my lesser used console. After some swag hunting I went to the awesome Chicken and Waffles party!

And oh man was the food good. It did turn into a chicken sans waffles party since they were gone really quick. The chicken tasted like waffles though and I got a sweet Xevious T-Shirt and autographs from the folks who did the art for Rocket Fox. I didn't get a chance to play it but from the stuff I saw it looked like a sweet platformer and the fox had 3 tails! Making him one tail cooler than Tails Miles!

But the highlight of my day and maybe even the whole weekend was getting to meet and greet with Hamza, Holmes, and Max! Plus, the best part is I now have a super limited edition DTOID 3DS! So marvel and be jealous!

Is there anything YOU, the reader (if anyone even reads this thing) want to see or want me to try and cover for tomorrow? I promise Aliens: Colonial Marines is gonna get a write up! That is if i can get photos there If not you'll have to use your imaginations I'd like to get some feedback and try and make this more of a dialogue than just a place to dump my musings. On that note I'll see some of you at Karaoke tomorrow at E&C. Tomorrow is my panel heavy day so I'll need to be drunk.

Until then be safe folks at PAX I look forward to being more fun tomorrow!


1:01 AM on 03.30.2012

Review: Kid Icarus Uprising

For a franchise that has had two entries over the last 25 years, Project Sora had a huge task in front of them. Create a game based on a universe with literally no established cannon, modernize it, and still make it fun while providing some type of connection to it's manic 8-bit predecessor. Enter Kid Icarus: Uprising.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo 3DS)
Developer: Project Sora
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: March 23, 2012
MSRP: $39.99

First off the amount of content in the game is incredible. There are over 100 weapons which can be purchased, collected from treasure chests, and fused with weapons currently in your inventory. In addition AR cards provide Idols or trophies a la Smash Bros. to be collected. In addition the game boasts 360 "achievements" which unlock more weapons, idols, music, etc. and form pictures. A single player campaign sporting 25 levels with both aerial and ground sections, online multiplayer, and a practice range to try out different weapons and powers. Interestingly enough the game's difficulty system actually encourages players to up the ante by betting hearts (in game currency) on their skills to increase the value and stats of the rewards for completing levels at the higher difficulties. At the time of this writing I had about 10 hours on the single player campaign with a complete playthrough, and have finished the first two chapters at intensity 9.0 (the highest difficulty). This game could easily have been a home console title with only half of the content found on the cartridge.

It's easy to see the amount of love and care that Sora put into the project and the game shines with its personality, however after you've completed the game you get the option to turn off the dialogue completely. But it's worth seeing all the way through at least once. The game is completely self-aware that it is a game and constantly breaks the fourth wall, providing some pretty good humor. At one point during a pretty hectic combat section Pit makes mention that komaytos look like metroids and Viridi, the Goddess of Nature completely flips out.

With that being said, the humor is somewhat distracting and I did have a few instances when shout-outs to other games, pop culture references, etc. made me to look down to the bottom screen and see what was going on and caused, at higher difficulty levels my ass to get kicked. 8 bit screen shots of old monsters and bosses were cool as well. The soundtrack augments the humor and personality of the game nicely and the added ability to change the menu music thru unlocks allows for more exploration of the sounds without having to deal with combat and voice effects, allowing the player to really appreciate the score.

The game is split in terms of the campaign with an air combat section and a ground section. I absolutely loved the air combat, especially being a huge fan of things like Panzer Dragoon and top down shooters so I felt right at home and the controls were not an issue. Since Pits wings are made of wax and he can't fly (you're welcome for the Greek mythology lesson) Palutena grants him the power of flight, but only for five minutes, and she controls your flight path. During air combat you only control Pit's firing and dodging of enemy attacks. The ground sections of the game are hit or miss. I really enjoyed a lot of the level designs but during frantic portions of combat, and especially on higher difficulty levels until you're really comfortable with the control scheme you're going to have problems. There were a lot of reviews I saw that did not like the controls, and I have a love/hate relationship with them. I use the stand included with the game when I am playing at home, but when I'm on the go it's a little bit of a different situation. I've had to play the game with some type of something in my lap, for example my messenger bag to make it a little more comfortable. After a few hours with the game though I got used to the controls. I do think twin sticks would work better than using the touch screen and maybe they'll fix it with a patch but in the mean time man up and work out that wrist!

Multiplayer sports two modes, Light vs. Dark which is a 3v3 PvP style game, and free for all. I had a lot of fun with both ad the weapons earned in single player can be used in multiplayer and vice versa. In Light vs. Dark once a team's life gauge runs out the last remaining player on the field becomes either Pit or Dark Pit and the other team must defeat the angel for victory. It's nothing superb but adds something in terms of replay value and according to the logo on the box art utilized the "Nintnedo Network." That is promising on its own at least to me since I didn't run into any latency issues or disconnects, which gives me hope that Nintendo's online infrastructure has made leaps and bounds from the mess that is SSBB on Wii.

In closing, I'm absolutely loving my time with Kid Icarus: Uprising, and if you're on the fence about it I urge you to find a friend who has it and give it a shot. If the controls are holding you back there's a wealth of options that can allow you to not even use the touch screen at all. The air sections of combat are definitely the best in the game and Uprising is a worthy successor to a game most 3DS players weren't even alive to see.

Final Verdict:
Good: 7s are well-above average games that definitely have an enthusiastic audience within their *genre*. Some might lack replay value, could be too short, or has are some hard-to-ignore faults. Nevertheless, the experience is still very fun.   read

7:38 AM on 03.24.2012

Disappointment: Final Fantasy XIII-2's DLC

I'm extremely disappointed in Square Enix for the way they are handling their DLC forecast for Final Fantasy XIII-2. So far there have been one character expansion, three boss battles, and a ton of weapons and costumes for both Noel and Sarah. Totaled up it will cost you 3180 MSP/$39.75! Forty dollars?! Really? Two-thirds of the full retail price of the game with single digit percents of content?! These numbers do not account for the planned Ultros/Typhoon retro bosses and the only other outlandish way to whore out Mass Effect 3 with N7 armor DLC. It's quite a shame really, considering how much I loved the game, I have dumped over 75 hours into it, and can say that I've done everything there is to do, now I pop it in from time to time to grind for items and level monsters. As much as I've always wanted a console Pokemon, XIII-2 feels like the next best thing.

Wait a minute...

Coincidentally enough, and this is just nitpicking at this point Square Enix has pretty much all of their digital items (steam, iOS, PSN, etc.) at 50-75% off. XIII-2's DLC? Not included. You could purchase Final Fantasy VI, VII, VIII, and IX for $20 right now, and get at least 300 hours of content out of them! The real gripe I have with it and it's the easy way out to just not purchase it and let capitalism play out but what is the purpose of creating new content which is pretty much filler, and only added for the sole purpose of making money? It was completely disheartening for this first time in a game that I have played at launch that included an area of the game accessible, however you could not interact with an object in the world, and when attempted were greeted by an advertisement. If you're still going through the game and have not downloaded the Sazh expansion go to Serendipity's casino and interact with the first roulette/card table...

My one concern is SE is going to be switching over to micro-transactions for their console series. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years for WiiWare was episodic and turned up being a $40 RPG, but for the same amount of money you're getting costumes, starter weapons, and a few boss battles, that are not that challenging for XIII-2, it makes me worried about Versus XIII, and games for the future.

So do yourselves a favor, buy classic Square Enix games, hell if you're itching to give them cash buy Deux Ex: Human Revolution on Steam for $15, just don't waste your money on this stuff...


8:05 AM on 02.29.2012

No Binding of Isaac on 3DS? It means way more than you think...

With Nintendo's recent announcement of The Binding of Isaac not appearing on the 3DS, (J. Holmes' Article), it shows the nature of the company and debunks its new mantra of "learning from it's past mistakes and correcting them." The unfortunate thing is that the Iwata and Reggie have said that they've learned many things from the 3DS launch and won't make them with the Wii U. Not to mention it also means that any potential for Steam getting integrated into the Wii U/Nintendo Network is definitely damaged. It also means that Nintendo of America hasn't learned anything at all and the regression from finally publishing Xenoblade Chronicles in North America, to letting XSeed take all the financial risk and do all the work in The Last Story, which means that Pandora's Tower (despite how good/bad it may be) will never be released and the regression is complete. We can see NOA for what it really is, a company that thinks it's going to ride on the coattail's of a system they've already taken into the backyard with a shotgun. The problem is everyone has already thrown out the corpse. This was merely a flash in the pan for an otherwise dead system over the last year. (Skyward Sword excluded)

Psst... Nintendo, you might have just burned a developer too. Remember what Team Meat's Tommy Refenes said? Lemme refresh, "If we can in the future, we'd like our next game to be on Wii U as well as everything else," WHOOPS! But worst of all you've pissed off the "core" gamers you say you want to "win back."

But at the heart of the decision, why not release it? Religious reasons? Financial risk? There are a few reasons why we can debunk the two. And they both end up ultimately in the hands of consumers. In terms of financial risks, the game has been a huge success on steam. In a recent interview, Edmund McMillen was overwhelmed with the title's success. McMillen said, " It's pretty absurd, we're closing in to 450,000 copies, it's just ridiculous, there's no reason for this game to have done well. It's nice for everyone involved." If those were all Isaac sales on 3DS it would put it just shy of ExciteBike 3D, the best selling game on the eShop! Which was free for quite a while but more importantly, made Nintendo over a million dollars! (source). Many gamers, including myself have Steam accounts, and since my iPhone can only let me buy steam games, I can't play it on the go. I'm sure I'm not alone and other people feel the same way. Plus the eShop is lacking in content for non-ambassadors anyway.

If religion is your scapegoat then aren't you just undermining the intelligence your customers? There are safeguards for content! The means are in place to protect the consumer by your rules remember? if a child tries to buy the game what parent who was legitamately worried if their child played this game would leave their credit card information and not monitor the kid's 3DS activity. Not to mention if a child had the interest in playing the game it's not going to be for it's religious overtone, it's going to be because it plays like The Legend of Zelda! If I remember correctly you're apart of the ESA right? So, if Nintendo is in the ESA, which created and funded the ESRB... Yeah. Isn't it up to the consumer to decide if they don't want content by showing it doesn't sell well? I understand if you have morals Nintendo, I do. But you're a corporation, designed to make money. Our money. The money you need to keep making games. Money clearly already spent by roughly 449k other people too. [See what I did there? :)]

Get your shit together Nintendo!

Would you buy The Binding of Isaac for 3DS? How do you feel about this decision? Sound off below.   read

11:07 AM on 02.26.2012

I've missed you! Now stay a while and listen...

Ah it feels like the first time... I've been shadow trolling for a while for a couple of reasons. I didn't really think of anything to write about which in and of itself is kind of shameful. Never mind the regression into the anti-social JRPG fanboy that was during the two week marathon getting a platinum in FF13-2 and impulsively saying "Kupo" like a child with tourettes. All the while realizing what I've done far too late and have to check and see if anyone heard me; no that would be far too boring!

So here's a quick rundown of my thoughts on what I'm playing right now. (Don't worry we'll get to some good stuff too)

1. My 3DS is finally getting a little love! Tales of the Abyss has been my white whale for a few years now. Never got a chance to play it on either PSP or PS2.
2. I wanted to stray away from the Mass Effect 3 demo but finally broke down and played it. Multiplayer is shit and I'm impressed with the narrative so far, I'm completely motivated now to kill every reaper in existence after what happened in the first part of the demo. (We will get back to Mass Effect 3 in a bit though...)
3. Rhythm Heaven solidified my confidence in having rhythm, and I am absolutely loving playing it. Especially with liquor involved!

And how I've missed you DTOID! So thanks for being here. I've been working overnights and your blogs have kept me quite entertained over the last few weeks; everyone imaginarily add +1 fap to your blog posts! I'll be going to PAX East this year so I'll be seeing a bunch of you so lets grab a beer! First round is on me, I insist!

But all the pleasantries are bittersweet, because if you're up in arms like most of the internet seems to be regarding the "From Ashes" DLC for Mass Effect 3 being available for purchase day one, I hate you just as much!

So, if you've been on the internet recently, people seem pretty flustered that if you haven't pre-ordered a collector's edition of Mass Effect 3, then you are going to have to pay 800 MSP/$9.99 for the "From Ashes" DLC which contains an extra squad member, weapons, mission, etc. Those those people I simply say... QQ. Yep, quit crying. Wait! Don't hit the back button yet! Give me a chance to explain myself, I still love you as a friend.

Back on 11/18/11, over three months ago, we all knew this was coming! I submit this link to a news post from Dale showing the full contents of the collector's edition which if you look at that lovely image at the bottom right says "additional downloadable mission and character!" So I don't understand why people are so confused and furious that they are going to have to pay for when people who DO have the collector's edition are, in essence paying an extra $10 for it; but are getting some extra swag in the process. In addition Mass Effect producer Casey Hudson, through twitter, tried to explain the situation. Considering the publisher has the final say and the game must pass through gaming's proverbial "red tape:

"It takes about 3 months from 'content complete' to bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship game discs. In that time we work on DLC," and "DLC has fast certification and no manufacturing, so if a team works very hard, they can get a DLC done in time to enjoy it with your 1st playthrough on day 1," "On ME3, content creators completed the game in January & moved onto the 'From Ashes' DLC, free with the Collector's Edition or you can buy it separately."
- Casey Hudson

It's almost as though Mass Effect's more "mainstream" direction has infected its fans. Turning them into self-entitled, angry, stereotypical nerds who hate women. (Ignore them Jennifer!)

To those of you with the collector's edition pre-ordered, I say congratulations! We're totally getting a whole bunch of extra shit for a game that we're so excited for that we are willing to pay for it! For the rest of you the game is still the same game that you were expecting 2 weeks ago and that we've all been salivating over for the better part of a year. Not to mention the fact that if you loved Mass Effect so much that you feel jaded over this remember you've had since before E3 last year to have pre-ordered this thing, not to mention probably wouldn't be complaining if this came out with a delay as opposed to being able to get it on day one. And we'd be having the same argument!

We need to be united, the reapers are at our doorstep and we either fight or we die.
Folks it's almost time for us to Take Earth Back.   read

1:02 PM on 01.11.2012

Impressions: Hands-On with Final Fantasy XIII-2

2012 is finally here and on XBL and PSN we see the release of the demo for one of the first big named franchises of the year. Final Fantasy XIII-2, the direct sequel to Square Enix's lackluster showing from 2010. Long time fans of the series had a laundry list of complaints from the original offering of the current gen FF game and it seems like Square has finally listened. After an hour long experience with the game it seems towns and exploration have returned, in addition to actual vendors! NPCs can be engaged in dialogue and even throw you a side quest... er mission, for extra items and CP bonuses. My impressions below.

Although the demo is sans Lighting you spend the entirety playing with Serah and Noel, the new protagonist who takes Serah through different time gates to solve paradoxes so she and her sister can once again be reunited and restore the timeline that Lighting and company muddled up by defeating Barthandelus and saving Cocoon at the end of Final Fantasy XIII. There isn't a whole lot of story elements in the heart of the demo. It particularly shows its strengths with the updated combat system, the addition of quick time events in battle, or "cinematic actions" and the new paradox puzzles which add a new layer of complexity to a game that in essence has always been about solely exploring areas, progressing story, and grinding for more powerful characters. Oh yeah and did I mention moogles are back?!

The mog clock allows you to engage enemies with certain bonuses and preemptive strikes. As a random encounter comes to fruition a clock will appear at the bottom of the screen. Changing from green - preemptive attack, yellow - normal, red - penalty. During this time you use A/X depending on your system preference to swing your weapon at a monster with your leader to initiate combat. Luckily I'm not sure what penalties occur from not striking fast enough and had a pretty easy experience obtaining mostly preemptive strikes which gave the opportunity for both Noel and Serah to start the battle by using blitz and all of my characters having a very small boost to their ATB recharge for a few turns.

In addition to the mog clock, the combat system adds another level of complexity with the taming and use of monsters you've faced in combat to your paradigms. Your monstrous companions are leveled by using items dropped off enemies you've encountered the same way your party members level with CP using the Crystarium system from both XIII-2 and it's predecessor. All monsters also get the "feral link" ability which can quickly turn the tide of battle with stagger abilities, big combos, or quick powerful heals. Someone got Pokemon in my Final Fantasy and I really, really like it!

To top it all off the cinematic and visual style remains gorgeous and even looks as though Square Enix gave a stellar style a face lift and the rain effects on the camera in the area the demo takes place in are astonishing! With the new cinematic action system which requires timed button presses or thumb stick movements it makes the game feel like more of just that, as opposed to a movie. Gone are the days of running down a corridor, putting your controller down, grabbing a bite to eat, and finishing off a 10-15 minute cut scene. The events take place in real time further blurring the line between in game rendering and full motion video. This kept me immersed in the action and bonuses are received for perfect inputs.

I was skeptical about the release of Final Fantasy XIII-2 after my time with it's prequel. But all that had changed after actually getting my hands on it. XIII-2 releases on January 31 (NA) and Feb 2 (EU) for the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3.

Here's your cue! Will you be picking the game up? Does the collector's edition tickle your fancy? Have you played the demo? Sound off in the comments below. Until then... Kupo!   read

6:55 PM on 01.04.2012

Predictions: Some Hopes, Some Dreams

2012 is shaping up to be an interesting year, maybe even bigger than last year. Most of us will be playing Skyrim, SWToR, and Gears/Cod far into the year. However we're on the horizon of a new Nintendo console with the Wii U, Sony's PS Vita, and iOS devices finally getting the attention they deserve in the mobile battleground. The following are some quick predictions: (some hopes, others educated predictions) regarding the year. We'll take a trip down memory lane later on to see how I did. Oh and to get it out of the way I have co-GOTY winners this year! Congrats to Skyward Sword and Skyrim for being my personal co-game of the year!

Anywho here we go... Hold on Tight!

Online Passes: Sadly online passes will become the norm. As much as I see their necessity I still find it ridiculous that people are punished for purchasing a game used and not being able to use the full product. There are two reasons to buy used. Not enough cash... stranger. And not wanting to take a risk on a game at full value if it's new IP, inconsistent review scores/feedback from peers. Portal 2 was one of the most downloaded (legally) games on PC, and sold tons of copies new for both systems. And DIDN'T need an online pass people people love Valve, their IP, and knew what they were getting into.

Final Fantasy XIII-2: The game that is shaping up to "fix" the franchise the way XIII was supposed to comes out to critical acclaim, however fans will be reluctant to pick it up initially at launch for being jaded for the run down the corridor and watch a movie formula that it's predecessor established. The unique soundtrack it boasts will be one of the best the series has to offer, and with it's release we'll get a much overdue announcement regarding Versus XIII. However XIII-2 will sell like hotcakes after a few weeks when people get it's hands on it.

Mass Effect 3: The multiplayer will be an excellent addition to the series' swansong. It will be the best in the series, and be an early contender for 2012 game of the year and will most likely be the game to get most of the world off of Skyrim.

PS Vita: The PS Vita will see quick sales due to it's large launch library and Uncharted will be a pretty solid 1:1 attach rate at launch. However Sony being Sony will lost steam with the system early. The high price and need for multiple memory cards for full games/PS classics will be more than enough ammo to get the firmware hacked and see the system's lifespan play out similar to the PSP and the 3DS will continue to be the dominant handheld.

WiiU: My Hopes and Dreams We'll get a huge announcement from Nintendo at E3 and WiiU will get a date, price point, A new 3D mario title at launch and the return of the Big 3 sharing games at the time. Darksiders 2 will be the best version on the WiiU. And the grand finale will be a Retro Studio's Zelda HD title announced, maybe with a trailer. Not to mention and this is the hail mary... Steam Support for the WiiU for their store (or EA Origins). I'd love it if the rumors that appeared at the end of last year hold true and Valve and Nintendo decide to be friends. If not I think EA will jump at the opportunity to design, and make cash off Nintendo's new download store/eshop for it's next home console.

And of course at some point... basically my super safe pick in case I happen to be wrong about all of this and don't get a 0... Ninja Gaiden 3 will have at least one set of big ass titties!


3:22 AM on 12.24.2011

Released Zelda Timeline? Challenge Accepted

And here we are again, Nintendo changes their collective mind again and decides to release a proper timeline. And you know what I say to that? Bring it on! You never need an excuse to go through old Legend of Zelda games but with Skyward Sword being the most recent notch on the belt and being about 60% finished with master quest it's wet my whistle for some more princess saving and a replay of Mario Galaxy isn't nearly as fun as I thought it would be.

Damn we may need more money for our shareholders even though the 3DS just moved four million units... Guess we've finally got to give up the goods

So I figured, it may be fun to go through the timeline now that we have a creation of a concrete Zelda experience. I began playing Minish Cap a few hours ago and got through the Deepwood Temple where you first meet the minish and must admit I'm having a lot of fun with it. But I'm going to need some help...

How should I go about playing these games? Which timeline should I go down first? So please leave a comment if you'd like. Maybe I'll add some depth to the article if I end up getting through Ocarina of Time twice in a calendar year... Yeah kicking myself now, 2 games are the Master Quests >.<


4:33 PM on 12.18.2011

Nintendo: The Abusive Spouse I Can't Seem to Leave

Dear Nintendo,

We've been going at it for a long time, and our young love has blossomed over the years, as you and I approach our Silver Anniversary you go and get me something gold... Although I'm not complaining because over the last 25 years you've made me the happiest guy in the world I just can't help but think is it all worth it? Has the spark faded? You push me away one moment and apologize and flash shiny things at me that make my heart melt the next.

Oh you! You shouldn't have!

But the last year or so has been a complete PR nightmare disaster for Nintendo, and like it or not this may just be their way of trying to hold onto the "core" fan base that they have left. Up until a few days ago Xenoblade was not announced and it took Operation Rainfall's campaign to make NOA realize that these games needed to come out. But is it too little too late? I would hope not and have pre-ordered my copy and you should too! I've already imported it but if Xenoblade is a success by Nintendo's ridiculously high standards maybe there's hope for The Last Story and even Pandora's Tower. But Reggie, I wag my finger at you sir, for you could have handled the situation a hell of a lot better, especially since you claim such a marketing prowess!

I'm sorry you know I love you. I've been thinking and I've got a surprise for you... It's that thing you wanted really bad but I wanted to be cheap and not get you!

But it doesn't stop there! No no, just when I try and muster up the courage and throw you out for good you send me as many bribes as you can and all at once! Nintendo seems to follow the "what have you done for me lately" manta. Skyward Sword is supposed to make up for 10 months of nothing but Kirby (as fantastic as it is in it's own right) came out just a month and a half ago itself?! I've used my Wii a total of 3 times in 2011 pre Skyward Sword. And it was with my folks playing You Don't Know Jack. The lack of content for the system this year has been abysmal, and with the Wii U on the way where is the incentive for that install base to support your future endeavors and promises of making us happy if you can't keep them today!

With the release of Skyward Sword I've been receiving a whole bunch of stuff from Nintendo over the last few weeks, and I'm using my system more and more. Over Thanksgiving holiday I recieved an e-mail from the Big N stating:

"Thanks for registering your copy of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
in your Club Nintendo account. We know it's been a while since you registered,
but we've managed to locate a few extra copies of the soundtrack CD that was
awarded to those who registered the game in June. As you just missed getting
a copy, we're going to send one of these newly located copies to you!
If you haven't already received an email notification, you will soon!
Happy Thanksgiving!"

"Damn it" I think to myself as my brain realizes that my heartstrings are tugged yet again and I feel like maybe you've changed, and you want me to be happy. Then a few weeks later you give me a new Club Nintendo page and a copy of Super Mario Kart for the Wii Virtual Console for just 100 coins... the same coins that you gave me for registering my Skyward Sword controller bundle just a two weeks earlier. And to top it all off my 2012 desktop calendar that I completely forgot about for hitting gold status on your service this calendar year. You know how to make a man happy sometimes, but other times you leave me sleeping on the couch because we've gotten into a scuffle and I'm so fed up with you! Why do you do this to me?!

Maybe my relationship with Nintendo is a love-hate one, but overall I'm happy, and I don't want to leave. There's a reason you've been in my life for so long, and you're parents basically are like my second family (I miss you Uncle Shigeru!). And that's how a healthy relationship is supposed to work right? We go through our share of ups and downs and we come out stronger for it... Or so I've come accustomed to at this point. I guess what I'm really trying to get at is...

I love you   read

1:50 AM on 11.30.2011

Skyward Sword is Ruining my Skyrim

First off let me get right to the point, especially if you haven't noticed by the title, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a better game than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There. I said it, and I stand behind it... Still Alive? Good lets move forward (oh yeah, and spoilers ahead for Skyward Sword):

To begin I've put an equal amount of time into both games. My final time on the first play through of Skyward Sword clocked in around 42 hours with most of the side quests completed. My Dovakiin and I have spent 47 hours exploring the environment of Skyrim but now that I've spent an equal amount of time using the Wii Motion plus to control Link as my sword wielding, shield bashing avatar the combat in Skyrim seems a little blah.

It's not a knock on Bethesda however. Having played Fallout 3, NV, and Elder Scrolls III and IV I knew what I was getting myself into before signing up, it's just not as satisfying. Nintendo of Japan, specifically the fine folks at EAD have done a tremendous job crafting an experience with Skyward Sword that for the first time in the Wii's existence proves that motion controls are the way of the future with an emphasis on immersion into a game. It's the first game to make good on the promise and potential of a system to its fullest, the first game where you don't "notice" that you're using motion controls, it just feels natural, it feels so right. Timing attacks, setting up sword strikes, counters, and parries and the feeling that you, not your character on screen is stabbing an enemy in an ever growing quest to save your childhood friend Zelda, feels way more satisfying than pressing and holding RT to cast a spell of simply hitting LT and RT at times to block and then attack even on Skyrim's grandest scales - the dragon fighting.

Speaking of dragons... yep Skyward Sword's got em too! Except your experience with them is the evil parallel universe of Skyrim's dragons, some of them even with facial hair. But those dragons fill an already colorfully charming world rendered with awe and beauty and give you the same sense of power that they should have if not more. I won't go too much into it but you're given tasks and challenges by the dragons and you get a sort of connection to these beings while on your quest.

A more mature Zelda, there was a time when I too believed that Nintendo markets it's products towards children, however the first time I can remember a Nintendo first party game use the word "murder" in a sentence stood out, and it caused me to hate my Antagonist. His goal was clear, he wasn't just going to stop me, or beat me up, however now it's too personal and I knew I was in for a darker, more mature story line. In addition with new powers and gifts from the Goddess that you acquire from exploring dungeons and progressing the story you experience a living, changing dynamic world, where your actions have changed the landscape on a physical and mental metamorphosis from surrounding characters. As opposed to Skyrim where the world doesn't really change much on a graphic scale and your actions do effect the world itself but once your the Arch Mage of the College of Winterholm, or the leader of the Thieve's Guild does anything really change? Not so much.

The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword is Nintendo's crowing achievement. It is the best Nintendo game that they have made and a fitting tribute and fan service for the storied franchise's 25th anniversary. Any problems the game has our out shined by all the good it does for the franchise, the potential for motion control in the future, and a re-establishment of the notion that Nintendo is truly the master of it's own domain and creates the best experiences for it's hardware. At this point, sorry Skyrim but I still prefer the world of Skyloft and with December looming with in the next few days it's clear that Skyward Sword is my game of the year, unless something really Wow's me in the next 4 weeks, but I doubt that... Back to Hero's Quest(Master Quest!)! I'm sorry Skyrim but my heart belongs to another.

Skyward Sword impressions? Skyrim love? Hate for me? Sound off in the comments. Also if anyone needs any Zelda help, give me a holler!   read

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