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3:12 AM on 06.01.2015

Wave 4 Amiibo Lucina Review

I don’t think we could have predicted the whole world going amiibo crazy with ridiculous mark ups by scalpers on “unicorn” rare amiibos. But when the quality of amiibo can fluctuate between Merth and newly reprinted Marth, balding villager, and factory defect turned super unicorn rare akimbo Samus, reviewing amiibos may have to come with some discretion. The Fire Emblem characters have been notorious for having the derp face imprinted on an otherwise solid figure, will Lucina suffer the same fate?
NB This is more of a Toy/Figure review more so than a review on the amiibo functionality

On the surface Lucina is a great figure. The pose mirrors the Lucina trophy seen in game and the billowing cape makes the figure look more dynamic. Like all other amiibos she is not posable in anyway so don’t be expecting to fashion elaborate Fire Emblem dioramas.

Lucina comes with a surprising amount of detail. Her cape is emblazoned with Mark of Naga and her shoulder guards are more prominent than the rest of her outfit, highlighting the contrast between metallic armour and her tunic. The belts that wrap around her torso needs to be mentioned. The paint job on the buckle and belt is fantastic making the whole figure feel more polished than the typical $10 toy. She is also quite durable. I’ve accidentally dropped her a fair few times during this review without any visible damages.

Fortunately the Lucina amiibo doesn’t share the hereditary derp face. Her face appears soft and determined with a surprising amount of detail going into the eyes giving them an attractive look of concentration. I don’t think the detail extends to the Brand of Exalt in her left eye but then again I don’t have access to a microscope to see.

Lucina does come with some minor blemishes. The paint work is not too great on the handle of Falchion especially the appearance of purple splotches around her fingers. The same errors can be seen around the upper part of her boots but to a very small extent and only if you’re looking really hard.

Two big issues with Lucina is her hair and the see through stand that extends up to her lower back. To me, the stand is not a problem as it is for others. I know that amiibo have had some ridiculous supports like Wii Fit Trainers plastic foot cast or Link’s bright yellow support beam, so I think Lucina’s support is relatively minor by comparison. Lastly her hair looks unnatural. It doesn’t convey soft or smooth but instead bunched and matted at least from the back. Front facing, Lucina’s hair complements and frames her face.

Problems I had with the Lucina amiibo go un-noticed at a glance and the positives stand out when she is put on display. Lucina is arguably one of the better looking amiibo figures that have been released especially when comparing to the other Fire Emblem amiibos. When it comes to amiibos, your own desire is the wallet threshold. I was willing to pay double for Lucina because I was only intending to pick up one amiibo so I thought it was worth the price.

The Lucina amiibo is worth seeking out if you’re a fan of the character. For amiibo hunters this should be one for the collection as she is one of the more detailed and polished amiibo that have been released. Just be aware that you may have to fork out a higher sum due to the demand.

  read


11:12 AM on 09.17.2014

September Sakura: Origins of a Street Fighter

Recently I've been pondering on what to write about. Digging through my art book collection I discovered a handful of Udon books, all the Penny Arcade volumes including the 10th anniversary, and a couple of miscellaneous gems that I've picked up at trade shows. Thinking that you guys would get bored of me raving about Penny Arcade for the next few articles, I noticed that I have three books dedicated to Street Fighter's fighting high schooler Sakura Kasugano. So I'm making this month September Sakura starting with why I love this character so much.

Nowadays I'm known as the guy that loves Street Fighter. If anyone wants to throw down on Street Fighter in a 1km radius then you can expect to see me there, decked in broken tier apparel and rocking a mad catz tournament edition stick. But it wasn't always like that. When I was a wee lad I hated Street Fighter. Complicated moves, no story mode, and it was 2D! Tekken 1, 2 and 3 were at least 3D.
It wasn't until I started watching ScrewAttack before I got into the fighting game scene. 

I loved how they were so passionate about the game and saw glimpses of the hype generated by fighting game fans. It was a world I wanted to be a part of. So I dusted off my PSX, loaded a copy of Street Fighter Alpha (or Zero) 3 and started my rigorous training of Hadoukens, Sonic Booms, and Yoga Flames. During that time I was in high school; balancing social life, sports, and education in-between late night Street Fighter games. The world was still a distant place and couldn't wait to get out there. In this case I was very similar to Sakura.

I felt that Sakura, although a weaker clone of Ryu was very similar to me at that stage of my life. She was a high schooler having trouble co-ordinating her school life with her street fighting hence the way she runs into frame before a fight. I found her to be very inspirational as a teenager undergoing the angsty phase. Happy, determined, had a strong role model, and wasn't afraid of bigger meaner street fighters like Birdie. Also, I used to have a massive crush on her too.

When we choose a fighter it can come down to superficial reasons. He looks cool, she looks sexy, or she is top tier so she's the best in this version of the game. But I have seen players grow attached to their fighters on a deeper level. They see a small part of themselves in the fighter, almost as a projection of themselves on the screen. It may be because of the way they fight, appear, or move but, somehow players have found a way to bond emotionally to the piece of animated binary code and that causes them to choose that character consistently. To me, that is what Sakura is. She was what I wanted to be like in high school which is why I chose to play as her over hyper masculine characters like Guile, Zangief or Akuma.

Flash forward several years and the high school cycle of school, activity, sleep has evolved into the hustle and bustle of work, cook/clean, sleep. I was naturally ecstatic to see Street Fighter IV include my favourite Street Fighter Sakura in the initial line up. Pulling off Haru Ichibans in HD was a delight to relive. It took me back to my salad days; like revisiting a childhood home and running through the gardens again.

Whether playing games or specifically, playing Sakura affected my personality growing up is debatable. She is definitely a character that feels awkward to play now because of the age difference and the amount of upskirts performed during the match. But, I still perceive her representing my youthful ambition; to take on the big ol' world with a smiling face and boundless passion.

  read


3:17 AM on 09.08.2014

Marvel vs. Capcom Official Complete Works Review

I've always been a fan of fighting games but more so the graphics. Pixel perfect key frames, fluid animation, and a large influence from manga and anime made it just as fun to look at, as it was to play. I consider Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes the pinnacle of fighting game sprite work. Not only collecting one of the largest fighting game rosters to date but also turning western comic book heroes into video game sprites was absolutely darling. My latest purchase, Udon's Marvel vs. Capcom Official Complete Work was inspired by my passion for these games and their art.

Marvel vs. Capcom Official Complete Work (2012)
Author: Various/ Capcom
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Binding Reviewed: Softcover (192 pages)

If you're looking for interviews, tutorials, history lessons, or tips then look somewhere else. This book is pure eye candy. It avoids the cardinal sin of using double page spreads that plummet into the spine and excels at bringing each piece to life with vibrant color, action, and energy. Considering the subject matter, its rightfully so.

I'm not too sure why they included a portrait of Chun Li from the Alpha series...

The content of artwork dedicated for each game is skewed towards the latter releases with only a handful of pieces present for the 1993 Punisher game. Drawings by Capcom veterans Akiman and Gouda Cheese 'Bengus' bring a nostalgic flare to the book, while Udon artists and tribute piece contributors bring their own modern spin on the franchise. I personally would've liked to see more promotional or Capcom Secret File artwork in the book since this is a 'Complete Works' but the collection found here is substantial for a casual fan.

A highlight is the extras/ sketches section found at the back end of the book. Not only does it have character sketches dating back to X- Men: Children of Atom but also rough layouts of various moves and stances for each fighter with annotations describing what they were going for. I throughly enjoyed reading the translated text and doodles the animators jotted down as it gave a behind the scenes of one of my favourite games.

The book being reviewed is the consumer softback compared to the limited edition hardback binding. The softback is prone to creases on the spine if you stretch them too much, but that is due to Udon's switch to heavier paper making the artwork feel, and look a lot better. The book is a little thin compared to other Capcom collections but there are no re-used pictures found in this book either.

Marvel vs. Capcom Official Complete Works was disappointing as a fan of both Marvel and Udon. I felt that there wasn't enough for the price. It largely boiled down to character portraits seen in promo images and in game result screens. You can skip this book if you're acquainted to Udon's other Capcom artbooks but for the casual reader there is enough here to find a home on your coffee table.

  read


6:07 AM on 08.25.2014

The Do's and Dont's for this Console Generation


It’s hard to argue that nothing has changed from the last console generation to this one. We have seen many layoffs, the rise of indie games, the saturation of genres, and memes a plenty. Even though we are well underway with this console generation I still think that developers and publishers can still learn a thing or two from the mistakes made last gen.


[b]Do:
[/b]

Kickstart/ Crowd Fund Unpopular Projects

It was Tim Schafer and his company Double Fine that did the impossible; release a point and click adventure game in this modern era. Every publisher turned him down since Point and Click was out and FPS was in for PC. Kickstarting Broken Age was just the start. Fans helped Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune fund Mega Man’s spiritual sequel Mighty No. 9 after the cancelation of Mega Man Legends 3. It has been shown that if gamers want it, they will put their money where their mouth is. So Mother 3 anytime soon Nintendo?


Re-release older titles as download or High Definition

It has been coined by me that this and last generation has been the remake, remastering and run back generation of consoles. Gamers are all about up-resing old games to the latest and greatest aspect ratio or even fully remaking the whole game. Capcom may have gone a bit far with remastering a remake of the original Resident Evil but they are the same company that sold the same game that played a bit faster. Out of anything on this list, this is what developers are currently doing, with Definitive Editions of The Last of Us, Tomb Raider and Sleeping Dogs. Now if we can only get that Final Fantasy 7 remake…


Have Developer Commentary as a Second Playthrough option

This is more of a personal request but an option that is missed in 90% of games. If you are like me you continually beat on the games are art drum. But sometimes, even I’m too stupid to see the symbolism or meaning behind a crate or funny looking texture. This is where a developer commentary comes in. Sure it breaks the illusion but I see a game as a gallery and the developer as it’s curator. After I have experienced everything, they will come down and explain reasons, motifs and funny stories of why they are and must be. Its a small touch but greatly appreciated by gaming aficionado who like to go beyond the call of duty.


Facilitate safe and friendly play environments

Last generation news articles was plagued by feminism, toxic environments, and comments about a sexist industry. Even today Xbox Live is filled with youngsters insulting people based on race, sexuality, and threats of assault that may or may not be based on non-consensual congress. This has to stop! Its surprising the lack of censorship or control developers have enforced causing this environment to become the norm. It just doesn’t seem right. I can understand the backlash companies will get for censoring foul language due to first amendment etc. but how about rewarding exceptional behaviour with free avatar clothes, discounts, or rare items for being a pillar of the community? It may be a lot of work to manage but its a step we need to take if we want to scrub off the stereotype left by that movie Gamer.


Release Half Life 3 and The Last Guardian

Seriously guys, what you even doing with these games? Do we have to wait Forever?

[b]Don’t
[/b]

Have impossible/ annoying/ achievements that don’t follow this list

I was going to list reasons why multiplayer and leaderboard achievements are stupid but I think Rooster Teeth put it better than me:


Achievements are a way of making single player competitive. And they should never be out of the player’s control.



Exploit DLC/ Free to Play Methods/ Always online DRM/ Microtransactions- Cheap Business Exploits

Each of these pieces were going to be separate but I decided to lump them all into bull shit business practices. As an avid viewer of The Jimquisition and a Sterling-maniac for life I am well aware of the shady side of video game publishing, thanks to his weekly videos. DLC was defined as a way to extend a game’s playability for a small fee but now is seen as a way to break up games into smaller chunks and selling the broken up core experience for full retail price. DRM while protecting the manufacturer from piracy treats consumers as animals causing them to jump through one more set of hoops to play their game. Gamers are sick of not being entitled the full experience day one


Stop Cutscenes when the Guide is open/ Have Unskippable Cutscenes

Ever wanted to replay a game you’ve completed but are tired of watching the extremely long opening cutscene? “I could just open the guide and message a few friends, check my achievements, or downloads… OH! The cutscene has stopped, I guess I’ll have to watch the whole thing again…”
Its surprising the amount of times I’ve had this run through my head. I honestly don’t mind having non-skippable cutscenes as it gives me time to check my messages or trophies. But when it stops the whole game just because I’m not paying attention, it ends up being very frustrating. Sometimes people just want to play the game without sitting through the story.


Have Region Locks

I can harp on and on about how things are unfair in the video game industry; consoles never reaching PC capabilities, region/ store specific pre-order bonuses, inappropriate representation of women in games. The list goes on. But something I have learnt to accept is that sometimes Japanese games should just stay in Japan. It was difficult enough to get Okami to sell when it was released in the west so I highly doubt games like; Zombies vs. Ambulance, The Mini Skirt Police or Dog of Bay would fare any better. So publishers please allow the hardcore to import weird and wonderful japanese games without the need for a foreign machine. The PS3 has shown that it is possible to make it a whole generation by being region lock free (apart from Persona 4: Arena)


Play catch up with Nintendo

Hey remember when Wiis were selling out because everyone wanted to get their waggle on? Then as the fad subsided Sony and Microsoft wanted to get their waggle on too and both peripherals became a laughing stock. Nintendo may be the old boy in the console race but it doesn’t mean competitors should be nipping at their. So what I’m trying to say here is; don’t release a screen tablet thing Microsoft or Sony. It won’t end well.   read


3:15 AM on 02.13.2014

Love in Video Games: My Virtual Romance


This is a two parter Valentine Day Special. Check out my Lovey Dovey article over at the Japanator C-Blogs.

With Valentine’s day on the Horizon, I thought I talk about my experience of Love in Video Games. It is not new for games to have a romantic sub plot or if they are feeling especially brave, to base their whole mechanic around falling in love. It doesn’t matter if its fantasy worlds on a quest to slay evil or inter galactic politics, video games still have time to play match maker with our characters and a limited number of NPCs. Tifa Lockheart, Alyx Vance or Samus Aran are to name a few famous gamer sweet hearts but I’m here to talk about an unorthodox flame.

Resident Evil 4 is a top notch game. Revolutionary in it’s game mechanics and adored by gamers everywhere. Resident Evil 4 even provides for both sexes in the fan service department by re-introducing the Asian Beauty Ada Wong and Emo-Pretty Boy Leon S. Kennedy. But the lady that caught my eye was Ashley Graham.


A simple google image search of this name and people can see that she is no slouch in the looks department. Young, blonde, subtle fashion choices and “armed with ballistics” she is the epitome of the American Girl Next Door. Her fiery temper and constant shrieking for help may have turned gamer’s towards Ada Wong but it’s Ashley’s role in Resident Evil 4 is what enticed me.

To me, Resident Evil 4 biggest strengths was creating an extremely hostile and isolating world. There was danger around every corner and the only friendly face was a hooded merchant that mysteriously appeared from time to time. I was alone.


And then along came Ashley. Rescuing Ashley and having her tag along in game should have been the death penalty of this game; turning it from survival action to prolonged escort mission. It should have caused me to HATE Ashley for ruining my enjoyment by being a constant thorn in my side. But it did the opposite. Having Ashley by my side made the world slightly less isolating but retaining the vulnerability of survival. She added support emotionally by cheering when I made a good shot but still being something I needed to think about and protect.

Resident Evil 4 does a great job when it comes to Ashley being a bearable escort. Escorts are typically dumb, annoying and get in the way of the gameplay. Ashley takes a back seat and lets you get on with the combat while she hides in the dumpster. This says two things about her character. She is smart enough to know Leon will get her out of Spain safe if she follows his orders and isn’t stubborn to argue about hiding in a garbage dump. It goes against the stereotypical affluent American blonde by making her competent and a more likeable.


When she was captured and the infamous “LEON HELP!” scream rattled through the speakers, my heart skipped. Losing Ashley and being left alone in rural Spain is a thought that seemed like hell to me thus giving me an external incentive to rescue her. The game wants me to rescue Ashley because it’s Leon’s mission but I want to rescue Ashley because I don’t want to be alone again.


The great part of this virtual love is that Resident Evil 4 did not intend for this type of relationship to form. Games like Persona that have a romantic element feel a lot faker. They give you a select number of romanceable characters and have you jump through hoops to attend their affections. This is flawed when translating Love into Code. In real life, Love isn’t limited to a certain number of people nor about talking to them everyday and making context sensitive choices. Making it play in this binary fashion diminishes the effect of Love.

Resident Evil 4 in an indirect way made me feel for Ashley thus being a more organic representation of Love.


To this day I have never finished Resident Evil 4 because I was too afraid of facing that Regenerator but when discussing Romances in Video Games I couldn’t think of one character I felt for. Attractive NPCs are a dime a dozen, apart from being attracted to their virtual assets there is not much else. They were always characters falling in love with the player character or vice versa but the player isn’t part of that equation. I was the omnipresent third wheel playing match maker or seeing it all unravel before me. But then I thought of Ashley and how she made playing Resident Evil 4 slightly better.

Sometimes Love does come in the most unexpected of places   read


4:28 AM on 01.08.2014

Katawa Shojo or How to Fall in Love with 2D through Text, Pictures and Sex


Katawa Shojo roughly translates to "disabled girls" from the Japanese Language and has it's birth place in the seedy underbellies of 4Chan. Now don't jump to conclusions when I say you need to play this game! It's not the product of the worst scum of the Internet nor full of distasteful images and words that make you hate the human race. No, in fact it's quite the opposite.

If you have ever seen a slice of life anime based in a high school or played one the many MANY MANY dating sims out there then you'll be familiar with the premise of new boy in school gets his choice of girl to befriend and eventually have sex with through choice dialogue.

The twist (if you can call it that) is Katawa Shojo is based in a school full of disabled people whether blind, amputees or in the case of our protagonist Hisao an unstable heart. Hisao must come to grips with his new disability which is a hard emotion to project towards people who aren't disabled. A lot of the opening is focussed on this and it makes the game seem slow but adds a greater purpose. It allows us to relate to the suffering Hisao is going through by making us simulate the disability of going slow through a game when we are so used to racing through them.


Obviously the girls are beauties and tailored to a our personal moe instincts. Each girl along with a disability has a story and Hisao can assist them through the hard times through companionship. This isn't a harem so pick your girl wisely or none at all to see a darker end to the story.

It wouldn't be a dating sim without some smooth loving and each girl comes with one or two H-scenes. These are actually pretty tasteful and don't go overboard with the images. One of the biggest praises I can give to the game is actually a subtraction of the sex scenes if you just wanted to experience the story. That's fantastic! Dating sims primarily rely on their sex scenes for sales, Katawa Shojo goes above the filth and shows that it can be above it if it wants to.


The writing is good. All the girls are charming and have their own distinct personalities. The auxiliary cast also have their own back stories that are interesting to piece together through out each play through. It's like settling down to a good book. You always want to see the next chapter, you want to know where the next step in the relationship will be. You become invested in the characters specifically the girl you are courting at the time that pushes you onwards.

Dating Sims have also come under another name, "visual novel" and I have to agree on the latter moniker as a replacement of the word "game". Games invokes some interactivity and Katawa Shojo although interactive is 9/10th reading and clicking through the dialogue which can be akin to turning a page of a novel. There is literally three choices you can make to change the outcome of the story so whether you have THAT much interactivity in the matter is very much debatable.

Katawa Shojo is available now via the site for free and there are also many goodies you can download from the site like soundtracks and fan artbooks. The soundtrack is an absolute necessity after playing the game. Listening to "Ease" or "Fripperies" will take you back into the classroom and you can almost hear the light chit chatter of your classmates.   read


1:10 AM on 01.06.2014

ScrewAttack/ Pure Pwnage T Shirt Confusion


I've been a fan of both ScrewAttack and Pure Pwnage for a while and this has kept on bugging me. Why do these T Shirts look soooo similar. They aren't even different colours, only the font has changed!

I'm not too sure which one came first or who ripped off who but I have to side with the Pure Pwnage guys. Even if the spelling sucks on both shirts, the PP guys at least have their grammar correct.   read


1:05 PM on 01.04.2014

A Wild Speculation has Appeared: Ultra Street Fighter IV Hidden 5th Character


Ultra Street Fighter IV has been stirring a lot of musings and guesses ever since they announced, that they weren't going to announce the 5th character. They did however leave Seven clues for fans to ponder upon;

1.) It is a Capcom character.

2.) It isn’t Asura or Bad Box Art Mega Man.

3.) Ultra Street Fighter IV will mark this character’s fighting game debut.

4.) It is a character that isn’t on anyone’s radar.

5.) The character will be a perfect fit for the Street Fighter universe.

6.) The character is a female.

7.) She is in the Street Fighter comics.

Using my superior knowledge of Street Fighter and it's related media, I have made a list of possible candidates. Some are obviously going to be more likely than the others but please bare in mind this list is in no particular order.

Any one of the M.Bison's Dolls (except Juni and Juli)
[b]
[/b]
Juni and Juli were the lucky two given fighting roles in Street Fighter Alpha 3 and the rest were played for cameos. Now this gives another one of the lucky dolls a chance to share the limelight with their superior sister Cammy. Honestly they are all pretty much the same apart from two character traits listed in the wiki, so Capcom could freely choose whichever and no one would suspect it. Although I'm going to guess they will go for Noembelu because she is special enough to get a whole webpage of the wiki dedicated to her.

Teenage Back-Up Girlfriends (Kei Chitose and Sarai Kurosawa)


I was going to have separate entries for each of the girls but they are essentially the same, apart from the leads they follow. Kei Chitose is Sakura's best friend and reluctantly follows her through around the world, being featured in her fight openings and endings. Sarai Kurosawa appears to be more pro-active as after being attacked by Ibuki in Street Fighter III she appears to be training to be a Ninja in Ibuki's Arcade mode ending. Capcom can put either one of these two into the USFIV as a joke character and I'll be happy.

Older Sakura


With the many clones of Ryu that have spawned; from Ken to Gouken and from Akuma to Evil Ryu, why not have a clone based off Sakura? She would also fit the criteria listed above; she appears at the end of Ganbaru Sakura, never was considered by anyone since she is already a character in SFIV, female Capcom Character and will be making her fighting game debut. You could even say it was hinted at in the SSIV Sakura ending. Just as a side note; isn't Sakura supposed to be like 20 in the Street Fighter canon when SFIV rolls round??

[b]A Transgendered Woman
[/b]

We all know that Final Fight's Poison when brought to the West was changed to a cross-dresser because hitting women is bad. But why can't we have a Woman who wants to fight and so dresses as a man? I bring you Wong Who from Final Fight!



How can you say that isn't a woman cross dressing? Look at the long hair, Asian beauty and look at that chest! It's enough to make Ingrid jealous. Wong Who fights for the women who want to be treated as a man in a battle and not be pitied because of their appearance or social etiquette.

Naru


She spoke to Elena for a few panels in the Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki comic series. Having a speaking role, name and appearance makes her good enough for Street Fighter.   read


5:32 PM on 01.01.2014

Quick Thoughts: Ghost Trick Phantom Detective iOS


Capcom can be a stella company when it wants to be. It brings fantastic ports of popular Japanese titles for us to play and Ghost Trick is no exception. If you've played Phoenix Wright then you'll be familiar with their wacky loveable characters, reams of dialogue intertwined with spurts of gameplay then you'll feel right at home with Ghost Trick.

I've dabbled in Phoenix Wright previously on the DS and although I loved the court battles and art style, the investigation parts were a tad dry. Ghost Trick cuts the fat so to speak and keeps it's gameplay solely on the Ghost Tricks. No other gameplay variations, just solve this puzzle then watch a cut scene. You would think it would get boring quick but the unusual situations they put you in and different mechanics they introduce keep the tedium from seeping in. Some puzzles are trial and error but there are check points mid way through each puzzle so the punishment for mistakes is low. A very ingenious mechanic is having to solve the puzzle within a time limit. I know it sounds crazy but it makes the game ten times more engaging.

The reason being is that you are given solid context for why you are solving this puzzle and what will happen if you don't. This is what separates it from timed sodoku.



When Ghost Trick was released it reviewed well and was praised for it's presentation. There is nothing I can add to that. It simply sounds, looks and plays wonderfully. The characters are especially nice, bringing a lot of personality to the game and carrying it above the typical iOS or DS title. I played this on an iOS device (iPhone 4) and it handled marvelously. The presentation doesn't falter either as the character portraits and animation are as good as the native system.

There is only so much praise I can give this game before I beg people to go out and play it. The first few levels are free on iOS and additional stages will cost. But for a limited time this holiday the whole game is yours for a buck!   read


5:26 PM on 01.01.2014

Jim Sterling Predicts His Own Future



Approximately five years ago on the Podcastle, the late great Jim Sterling made this comment in response to a user comment on his performance.

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

(PS Pardon for the poorly drawn cock)   read


2:31 PM on 06.20.2013

Defending the Twilight Princess

This article is about 6 years too late but I'm going to write it anyway because I think The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess is one of the stronger games in the post-Ocarina console Zeldas.

NB I have only played Ocarina, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. I never got a Wii so the last two were played on the Gamecube. I did dabble in the oracle games and Link's Awakening but I think it's a stretch comparing those games to the console ones.

Ocarina of Time was a game that blew my 7 year old mind back in the day. It set the standards of what a game should be and what Zelda should be. Hence I was a little disappointed when the Wind Waker made it to the Gamecube. I disregarded my friend's, my family's and various magazine's support of purchasing a Xbox or PS2 in favour of Nintendo's console because I had so much fun with Zelda and Smash. I was also older and expecting a more "mature" Zelda with realistic graphics and epic huge monsters.
This was the reason I prefer Twilight Princess over Wind Waker. It was what my teenage self had wanted and instead it got Wind Waker.

The cartoon aesthetic, although was very pretty and will age much better than Twilight Princess did not encompass the epic and adventurous nature introduced by Ocarina. It was more colourful, whimsical and fantasy compared to high fantasy and eerily dark of Twilight Princess.

Midna is another reason why I love Twilight Princess. It wasn't because she turned out to be smoking hot in the end or that I found her chibi form attractive. It was because I hated her design when I first saw it. I hated how she controlled a wolf Link who was confused and uncomfortable as I was when controlling the canine (one of the few times I empathised with a main character through control and story).
And again through the story and gameplay I gradually grew to like Midna as Link did especially when she was attacked by Zant and the possibility that she was just using me/ Link to get all the pieces of the mask.

The themes of light and dark in Twilight Princess is supported by the scenery and appearance of Hyrule. The wash of bleakness that covers Hyrule making it look like a blurry water colour painting contrasts with the Twilight Portal. 
The appearance of the Portal makes it seem alien due to it's linear design and two colour decoration compared to the blur of colour and detail seen in Hyrule.
The blurriness of the textures in Hyrule I'd like to think of as the consequence of the Twilight realm corrupting Hyrule and the absence of Zelda from Hyrule.

Finally it feels like a homage to Ocarina but differs enough to not feel like a remake or carbon copy. Twilight Princess references familiar areas despite not looking similar making it seem more connected to Ocarina than Majora or Wind Waker, it heavily features Gorons and Zoras like Ocarina did and feels like a natural sequel to Ocarina. You obtain the slingshot first in the forest village but you also go to a city in the sky and snowboard down mountains.
Wind Waker took a drastic step and suffered from it in the minds of narrow minded gamers but Twilight Princess played it safe and experimented enough to keep it fresh.

Twilight Princess was the last game I completed for the Gamecube and was the perfect send off for the system personally. It was the game I bought the system for and I am glad I got closure for my decision.

PS Fuck the wolf sections of Twilight Princess   read


1:04 PM on 06.19.2013

True and Multiple Endings

I've never quite grasped why developers think it’s a good idea to have multiple endings to 10 hour games especially when there is only one “true” ending. The fact of the matter is that if there is only one “true” ending, it would make the other endings redundant and pretty much useless. I've been playing Cave Story + on steam for the last two weeks and was loving the metroidvania gameplay, cute characters and interesting story but I got to a point where it was impossible for me to obtain the true ending as I did not fulfil certain criteria.


It really bugs the hell out of me when I invest so much time into a game only to ultimately receive the bad ending because I did not fulfil certain arbitrary criteria throughout my play through. Without a walkthrough, I would be replaying the game and searching every nook and cranny to ensure I get the best ending.
Does this mean it has replay value? Yes to an extent but it doesn't necessarily mean I will have fun playing through it again. With Cave Story +, the story was my driving motivation in completing the game as the gameplay, whilst serviceable could still be tedious with the micro-management of weapon levelling. I did not want to replay the game just to get the “true” ending.


Castlevania: Symphony of the Night pulled the same thing with a wide expansive world that takes hours to complete but requires a certain area to be found before obtaining the real ending and the second castle. This is possibly the most famous example and has been praised for implementing it. It follows the Metroidvania Doctrine; Exploration is rewarded but there is a tipping point of exploration and endless backtracking. The problem I find with exploration is that I keep thinking that I could be wasting time looking for clues that might not even be there instead of progressing with the actual game.

Games with clear branching points that cannot be avoided such as the Persona games, Metal Gear Solid and Star Fox do true endings correctly. The choices cannot be missed and are given to you on a platter. Despite it being very binary, it does also mean that you are not wasting time not progressing in the game. I feel short games like Star Fox do the multiple endings better than longer games especially longer games with that binary choice. It is one of the worst feelings having to go through the entire game to reach up to that one dialogue box to decide whether you would like to have the happy or sad ending.


With the advent of moral choices in games; these have been the deciding factor of the games ending. inFamous, Prototype and Black and White are examples of how the player through their gameplay style can dictate the way the game ends. I would consider this also to be a good method of having the multiple endings in a game but almost 100 % of games state that the good ending is the true ending making the evil or neutral ending redundant. The “true” ending syndrome cuts even deeper if there is a sequel and only one ending is chosen. At least if it was a stand alone game, the universe in the player’s mind can end with the ending they obtain.

NB I don't think I've found a game appealing enough to replay through twice to get different endings apart from Wario Land 4 on GBA and that solely depended on how quickly you defeated the final boss.[/font][/size][/color]   read


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