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11:13 AM on 05.20.2014

Nintendo Wifi Connection: A Eulogy



Nintendo has problems with its online services. You know it, I know it. The big N has struggled with being behind the curve for awhile now, but especially in this area. While it has made leaps and bounds since the days of the Gamecube's broadband adapter, it still has a long way to go. That being said, I also believe that Nintendo's online services have been greatly overlooked over the years. Now, in hindsight, I hope that we can take a good hard look at the upsides of Nintendo's online offerings from 2005-2014 through it's Nintendo Wifi Connection service, a service that just died today. 

I've never been your typical video game player. My first game console was n NES when I was 11... in 1998. My second was a Game Boy Pocket that same year. While I always liked consoles (I got REALLY into PSOne RPGs... in 2001) handhelds were my bread and butter. I've always preferred the small, personal, immersive, strange experiences that handhelds offer over their console counterparts. 



So, when the Nintendo DS launched 10 years ago in 2004 (wut), I was right there to pick up on launch day. One of the most exciting features to me were its wireless multiplayer capabilities. I'll always cherish the memories of my friends and I playing Mario 64 DS and Yoshi's Touch N Go together from across the gym during finals. I still remember how excited I was when I heard that Mario Kart DS would be including online multiplayer. The thought of playing my DS online while I watched TV in the living room, or sat on the toilet was really cool to me. 

While I had experienced a small amount of online multiplayer when playing Phantom Dust (represent) on Xbox Live, I had never really had that big experience that convinced me it was the future or anything. When I finally got Mario Kart DS into my hands, I wasn't that convinced either. Sure, the service worked fine, but matchmaking took too long, friend codes (one 12 digit code PER GAME) were the worst, lag was pretty rough, and races were extremely limited both in number of players and playable tracks. I was a bit disappointed. My dreams of 12 player, fully functional online Mario Kart would have to wait until another day. Still, there I was playing a fully 3D game online through my handheld, it felt like the future.



Nintendo quickly began to garner a lot of criticism in regards to its online functionality around 2005-2006. Microsoft's Xbox 360 had just rolled into town to school everyone on the future of digital purchases and online multiplayer. Those early days were exciting weren't they? Microsoft offered friend lists, voice chat, a party system, quick and easy to use matchmaking, when you played Call of Duty 2 with your friends, it felt like they were there. 

Then came the Nintendo Wii, with it's promises of WiiConnect24 or whatever, better online functionality, a digital store, and more. Now listen, the Wii was/is great, probably the most underrated console ever. I will stand by that, but let's face it, Nintendo Wifi Connection was still a mess. 

College started in 2007 and I got very poor, very fast. My DS soon became my go-to console because the games were cheaper and went on sale more often. My Wii still got some love in those early college days, but my DS was where it was at. I soon came to accept the fact that it looked like I was going to be pure Nintendo throughout college. 



I couldn't afford to buy a new console and my PC wasn't powerful enough to play most of the things I wanted to try out. Also, most things just didn't appeal to me. Folks played Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, and Mass Effect. I played No More Heroes, Zak & Wiki, and Super Mario Galaxy. I was fine with it. My friends had PS360s and I could always try out the newest thing in their dorm room. 

Nintendo Wifi Connection still continued to struggle, but for me it really picked up steam when it was my only option. I don't even want to know the hundreds of hours I spent online in games like Phantasy Star Zero, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, and Pokemon. The Wii began to pick up steam as well! Before too long I was absolutely hooked on Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Monster Hunter Tri, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and Goldeneye 007. Folks would tell me what I was missing out on, but I honestly didn't miss it. I was spending hundreds of hours online, playing competitively, and not paying a cent for it. 



Some folks would wander into my dorm room, watch me playing Tatsunoko vs. Capcom online and complain that they it wasn't available for their PS360. Same with Monster Hunter Tri and Phantasy Star Zero. These games worked around Nintendo's limits to create free, functional play that rivaled the best. When Dragon Quest IX came out, I was so hyped. The biggest entry ever in my favorite series ever, exclusively on my favorite console ever! It had amazing online features like a special shop that updated daily, free weekly DLC, and more. 

Lots of Wii and DS games had really interesting, unique online functions that you wouldn't see much on other consoles. Final Fantasy III had an online messaging system that would help you net the most powerful equipment in the game. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass had a super fun competitive online multiplayer component. Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars let me trade drugs online! Animal Crossing: Wild World let me visit friends' towns and smack them with fish nets. Even Shiren the Wanderer had the ability to call for help online when you died and lost everything in its roguelike dungeons. The Last Story had both competitive multiplayer and extremely challenging co-op bosses that unlocked unique equipment and dyes for your clothes. 

Blue Dragon Awakened Shadow, the Professor Layton games (I never played), Alien Crush Returns, Chocobo's Dungeon, Mario Kart Wii, the Conduit, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Bleach: Dark Souls, Custom Robo Arena, Avalon Code, Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2, Metroid Prime Hunters, so very many online leaderboards, and dozens of other Wii/DS games I played over the years and still play to this day will never be functional online again. 



Nintendo Wifi Connection had a lot of issues, but it was a free service used by a lot of amazing games in unique ways. I can go back and play Chrono Trigger to this day and it will function the same as the day it was released. Not Tetris DS, not Wario Ware DIY, not Contact, or Jump Ultimate Stars. These games are classics and these games are important. These games are games that I want to show to my children, but portions of these games have been lost to time. Forever.

I don't know if you ever actually used Nintendo Wifi Connection, or if you just mocked it in comment sections. I don't know if the service was worth hanging on to, or if no one was actually using it. I don't know if this is a result of Nintendo pushing folks to its Wii U and 3DS systems. I don't know you or where you're coming from, but I want you to imagine never being able to play your favorite games in your favorite way ever again.

What I know is that I will miss playing Tatsunoko vs. Capcom online until the end of my days.

What are your favorite Nintendo Wifi Connection memories? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.   read


3:01 PM on 11.17.2012

Wii: A Farewell and Top 10



Well Destructoid, it certainly has been a while hasn't it? It's been far over a year since my last real blog post and 2 years since the one before that. However, I felt the need to come back and write about something near and dear to my heart. One of the things that brought me to Destructoid all those years ago. The Nintendo Wii.

We are on the eve of the WiiU's launch and it is finally time for us all to collectively wave goodbye to what has become my favorite home console of this generation. Maybe it's the types of games I love, maybe it's the fact that I could never really afford or justify Xbox Live, maybe I'm just a Nintendo fan, but it's the Wii that I've played the most over the last few years while my Xbox 360 is the one that sits and collects dust.



When the Wii began building hype back in 2006, I was still in high school. My friends and I were sold on the idea that the Wii would be the champion of the new generation of consoles once everyone saw how revolutionary its motion controls were. We had all been more than a little burned by the Gamecube at this point and awaited the day when Nintendo would rise from the ashes. I still remember sneaking onto my teacher's computer when she walked out of the room so that we could all watch the new Super Smash Bros. Brawl trailer. It was a really fun time and is still the most hyped I have ever been for a console. We all just kind of fed off of each other's excitement.

The 4 of us camped out together for the console's launch for 3 days and 2 nights. Not because we were afraid we wouldn't get one, we just thought it would be fun. I still have my ticket that says "line position 001" in the glove compartment of my car. My girlfriend, who had flown in to town from Houston a few days early and surprised me, was really mad when I decided to skip church on Sunday morning to play The Legend Zelda: Twilight Princess.



I ended up selling Red Steel, but really enjoyed Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2. It was amazing to see my friends and family actually playing Wii Sports, it was super fun throwing Kamehameha blasts using the Wiimote and nun-chuck, and of course Zelda was great as well. I think my favorite memory of these early days was when we got snowed in for several days and I spent one of them playing through the snowy ice areas of Twilight Princess with my brothers.

When software releases slowed down, I bought tons of over-priced Virtual Console games just because I could. Still, that first year was a rough one and was only a sign of things to come. While I would personally claim that every other console this generation has had just as many, if not more, problems as Nintendo's Wii has had, the Wii's lifespan has ultimately become recognized for it's under-powered hardware, gimmicky motion controls, flooding the market with "shovelware", game droughts, limited online play, vapid "casual" games, one of the worst online marketplaces the industry has seen, and perhaps most importantly, the undeniable decline of Japanese game development.



And yet, even in the midst of these issues the Wii still comes out on top as my favorite home console of this generation. It has had a plethora of great, strange, and creative games that we may never have seen if it wasn't for the unique properties of this amazing console. Yes, it had under-powered hardware when compared to the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, but it still produced some of the most beautiful games of the last decade including Xenoblade, Muramasa, Super Mario Galaxy and dozens of others who defined their visuals by timeless style as opposed to fleeting realism. Yes, the Wii had very limited online play, but it still gave me my favorite multiplayer experiences this generation in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Monster Hunter Tri, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Kirby's Return to Dreamland. Yes, it had a very inconvenient online marketplace, but it still brought us a chunk of great Wiiware games and huge selection of classic titles in its Virtual Console.

The Wii, like the Dreamcast before it and so many other great consoles, was a flawed yet beautiful piece of hardware that brought me wonderful memories, creative experiences, awe-inspiring moments, and most importantly great games.



I will never forget camping with my best friends to buy this new console we were all so excited for. I will never forget the night in my dorm room when we surpassed 400 hours played in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I will never forget playing Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn with my brother. I will never forget running through the mountains and Ice Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on a snow day. I will never forget the crowd of people passing the controller around in our dorm lobby when we played Super Mario Galaxy for the first time. I will never forget the 3 of us laughing out loud a Travis Touchdown's triumphant entrance in No More Heroes. I will never forget Swanson rage-quiting Zack & Wiki. I will never forget the night I met Addison and playing Metal Slug Anthology to break the awkwardness. I will never forget racing to beat Cave Story at the same time as my roommate Tyler played it on his laptop. I will never forget the moment when Xenoblade opened up and my jaw literally dropped at the scope of the game's world.

I will never forget these or hundreds of other cherished memories this fantastic piece of hardware has brought me over the last 6 years. If your Wii has been collecting dust all this time, I'm really sorry that you missed out.

And now for my personal top 10 Nintendo Wii games:



10. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess


9. Donkey Kong Country Returns


8. No More Heroes 2


7. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom


6.Monster Hunter Tri


5. Kirby's Return to Dreamland


4. Super Mario Galaxy 2


3. The Last Story


2. Xenoblade Chronicles


1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

There are dozens of other Wii games I could mention, but I'll leave it at that. Sadly, it is time to say goodbye to the Nintendo Wii. We had our good times and our bad, but Nintendo's console undeniably revolutionized this industry. When all is said and done, I believe that one day we will look back on the Wii and say that it was for the better after all. So, farewell Wii.

I can't wait for the next revolution.   read


4:28 PM on 06.20.2011

New Pocketoid Episode Records Tonight!

Hey guys! So, crackity jones (Addison) and I (Jordan) are recording a new episode of Pocketoid tonight! I don't know how to access Pocketoid's Dtoid account so I will just post this from my own for now.

Anyway! This week we'll be talking about Donkey Kong '94, Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and probably whining about the lack of PSVita news. Also, we're always interested in having guests on the show, especially people into iPhone and PSP, so let us know if you'd be interested and why. Also, follow us on Twitter here.

Leave us yo' questions!!   read


4:57 PM on 04.10.2011

In Defense of 3DS Streetpass



"Streetpass is useless in the U.S."

"Streetpass only works in Japan."

Have you heard someone utter either of the phrases listed above? Chances are you have. It's become a pretty frequent complaint in the days following the 3DS launch. However, complaints like these were already being hurled way before the 3DS even launched. Why is that? Why do we as gamers feel the need to complain about things we haven't even tried out yet? It's not just Streetpass either. I feel like people have mostly crucified the 3DS in the days prior and following its release. It almost feels like the opposite of the Wii launch. People seem to nitpick every little thing about it just for the sake of complaining. However, the 3DS actually does what it promised to do (3D without glasses) as opposed to the Wii leading us on in the months before its launch. I've been wanting to break my 2 year long hiatus to write on this for quite some time now, but simply hadn't gotten pissed off enough to work up the motivation...UNTIL NOW.

So, let's talk about Streetpass. I am not even sure where to start. This might be a little disorganized.

First off, how the Hell do you people struggle with Streetpass!? Especially those of you in bigger cities! I live in FUCKING JOPLIN MISSOURI and I got Streetpassed by 4 strangers at work yesterday within 5 hours.



Is that the biggest number in the world? No. But I'll get to that in a moment. The important thing here is that I got Streetpass tags. Not only that, but I get tagged by my brother at least twice a day and by 5 or so friends that own a 3DS at least twice a week. What are these people on the internet complaining about?

I know this isn't Japan and that I'm not filling up my Mii Plaza every 5 minutes, but I am totally satisfied with the way things are going right now. I think that we need to remember that in the U.S. Streetpass is going to work differently. We are going to find less strangers and end up tagging more people that we know personally. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. In fact, I think it's a good thing! As soon I saw my little green light turn on today, I was instantly looking around me to try and find other 3DS owner in the room so that I could shoot him a quick "You know what's up." head nod. how is that even possible on a crowed Japanese subway? It would be so much more impersonal a less satisfying in my opinion. I also love rooting for my friends and my brother as they fight ghosts in Find Mii. But I couldn't really do that if it were 10 or 15 stranger's Miis fighting to save me.

I feel like most of this is in response to Dragon Quest 9's Tag Mode, which truly was only feasible for Japan. You were required to stumble upon someone who not only owned DQ9, but was waiting in Tag Mode for someone to find them. However, Nintendo has fixed so many of the problems that DQ9 faced with its Tag Mode. You no longer have to be playing a game for someone to tag you with information from that game, you can be tagged anytime anywhere, no matter if you're playing Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars on a bench at Target, or your 3DS is just in sleep mode at work. Nintendo has made Streetpass INFINITELY more convenient than DQ9's Tag Mode and as a result, it's actually working!...

...For some people. Myself included. So how am I getting tags? Well, i actually leave my house for one. I feel like the people that are leveling these complaints must not get out much, because I am certainly not a social person and I am getting tagged left and right by total strangers. I pretty much take my 3DS with me everywhere I go too and it is ALWAYS on. The place that I get the most tags seems to be at Target for some reason. Don't ask me why. If you really are genuinely attempting to use Streetpass and it's just not working out, keep in mind that the 3DS has only been available for 2 weeks. Think about how much easier it will be to get Streetpassed when the number of people who own a 3DS reaches the number of people who currently own a regular DS. Right now the only people that own a 3DS seem to be hardcore gamers. What happens when kids get into this stuff? It's gonna be crazy.



I guess, in conclusion, stop whining about Streetpass and actually put some effort into it. As gamers, we're all looking to connect with other gamers in order to validate our love for gaming and this site is proof of that. If you truly desire to Streetpass another 3DS owner, I guarantee that there are other 3DS owners out there that want it just as bad as you do. Also, stop crying about what the 3DS doesn't have or doesn't do perfectly and accept it for what it is.

I love you guys and I'm sorry for the huge rant and the giant wall of text, haha.   read


3:26 PM on 03.20.2011

My Nintendo 3DS First-Time Reaction Video!

Hey guys! It's been almost 2 years since I've written anything on my blog, but I still love Destructoid and you guys as well. Maybe I'll start regularly writing for my blog again when my life settles down a bit this summer.

Anyway! Yesterday, while visiting my fiancee's parents in Houston, I got to try out the Nintendo 3DS for the first time! Of course, if you know me, you know that the DS was my favorite console of the last generation, so I was totally pumped. I video taped my reaction and did kind of a little mini-review. I also recorded the reactions of my fiancee and her mom. We were all pretty blown away by it and I thought that I would share it with you guys.

[embed]196835:37141[/embed]

So yeah! The 3D is pretty much perfect. It's hard to explain it in words. You really have to see it for yourself! I believe that I will be picking up Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, Rayman 3D, and Super Street Fighter 4 when it launches. What about you guys? What are you picking up at launch? What was your first reaction to the 3D? Should I bring back my "Sound Test" and "Game Run" segments? You rule Destructoid!   read


4:04 PM on 05.05.2009

Sound Test: Lost Odyssey- A Mighty Enemy Appears (Boss Battle Theme)



Music is relative. It effects us in such a personal way that we can't possibly hope to describe the extent of that effect to anyone. It's why we are so protective (and sometimes even snobby) about it. Your personal taste in music will always be better to you than anyone else. So it's best to probably just accept that.

Here I will weekly (heh...) choose a piece of game music that I love and share it! Then talk about it. Not too complex, but I hope it's something you'll enjoy!

[embed]131078:19105[/embed]

AAAAAAND... WELCOME BACK!

After a 2 month hiatus Sound Test is back! I was frantically searching for a song epic enough to celebrate this occasion and I believe this is it. Last summer, when I joined Destructoid, I kept hearing about an RPG that many felt was a love letter to the RPGs of old. I was intrigued, but ultimately ignored these claims and dismissed them as hype. However, one weekend I had a few extra Blockbuster points and decided to rent Lost Odyssey... Which I then played for nearly 20 hours straight. In that span of time, I laughed, I cursed, and I even cried. Lost Odyssey is truly an amazing game and it reminds me of why and when I joined Destructoid a year ago.

Nobuo Uematsu composed the score. 'Nuff said.

This particular song has relevance to me because I was stuck on the game's second boss FOREVER!! You know which one I'm talking about? The stupid, giant, electric worm? Oh, and the BEST part about this boss? You have to fight another one immediately afterward. Even though I was swearing up a storm, resisting the urge to throw my controller, and feeling like giving up, I remember that this song was so epic, I actually felt as if I was in a desperate struggle with this beast and I continued to fight it over and over and over again until I had finally triumphed. I believe that I prefer most of the game's earlier music, but I generally feel that way about most games. Make sure and listen for the EPIC trumpet line too! Enjoy the song guys and feel free to comment!   read


8:02 PM on 05.02.2009

What Have I Been up to!?

DESTRUCTOID!! I'm SO sorry that I disappeared from the face of the Earth... I promise that it has been for good reasons. How do I say this? I've been dealing with a lot of personal issues lately. Over the past few months, I've cut myself off from most of the world. I was pretty much content to lock myself in my dorm room and just sleep, pretending that I was never going to have to deal with my mother's second divorce, my relationship with my father and brothers, the fact that I'm failing college atm, mounds of backed up assignments and homework, my troubles with my girlfriend, and my creative slump. Sorry if I'm being too open, but I'm just tired of holding all that in.

Anyway, due to to school, I probably won't be able to resume posting on a regular basis for another couple of weeks. However, when the summer rolls around, I'll have plenty of free time. I promise that I haven't forgotten any of you who read and comment on my posts and I've already got a new Sound Test blog ready to post. So! I'm sorry for my selfishness and I can't wait to get back to writing!

In the mean time, I've been working on a couple of things. Here they are!

1. A Webcomic!

It's still in it's early phases, but it's coming along nicely. It'll have an on-going story and be very action-heavy. Like... To a ridiculous degree. It's based on a terrible story that was written by myself and several friends in Jr. High School. I'm still trying to work several things out, but know that it will parody American Otaku culture as well as the kind of Fan Fiction that a 13 year old would write.

Imagine something that tells a decent story that also parodies itself and it's own origins in the process. Since the story was written when I was younger, I ripped off everything from Cowboy Bebop to Dragon Ball Z. None of that seemed lame to me at the time, but these days it most certainly does. What this comic will do is sometimes parody the fact that it was written by a 13 year old ripping off other anime. I think it'll be good, but it won't take itself too seriously. It's a bit hard to explain.

Here's some VERY early concept stuff.









2. Indie Games!

While it's still too early to show anything, I've been toying with ideas for a few different indie games. I will say that one is an RPG entitled "Driftwood" that takes place on an island. The other is a platformer that is untitled at the moment. We'll see how they come along after a while, I may move development over to the iPhone, but we'll see.

So! There you have it, that's what I've been up to lately. Feeling sorry for myself and conceptualizing. Anyway, I thought I would just update so that noone would think I was dead or something.   read


3:07 PM on 03.20.2009

Suikoden Tierkreis (DS) Impressions!



As I searched for reviews on Suikoden Tierkreis for the Nintendo DS, I could surprisingly find next to nothing. IGN reviewed the game, but I've frequently found that they rate games too high for my taste. Nintendo Power gave the game a resounding "Meh." and Hispanic review site "Meristation" had a review that reeked of teh bias. Therefore, I decided to post my own impressions for anyone thinking about purchasing the game that makes the lofty claim of being "The deepest handheld RPG of all time".

First off, let me say that I like the Suikoden games, but haven't been fully exposed to the whole series or story. I played Suikoden 1 when I was younger, but found it much more confusing than the linear Final Fantasy games and quickly lost interest. However, a little over a year ago, I heard that while the first game was decent, the second could have stood toe-to-toe with nearly any other game in the RPG genre. After playing a good chunk of it for myself, I would have to agree. However, I haven't beaten the game and I've never played any of the Playstation 2 Suikodens. All that being said, I feel like I'm the perfect candidate to jump into this newest entry since it pulls so far away from previous Suikoden games, while still holding on to many of the series best gameplay elements.



I've been pumped about this game for about a year. It was something that I knew I was going to buy no matter what, but mixed reviews made me cautious about investing in it, especially when there are so many other great games coming out for the DS. In the end, I decided to take the leap and buy it. When I got back to my car, I plugged my DS into my car stereo (via headphone adapter) and turned it on to listen to what was sure to be the amazingly EPIC intro music. Instead... I got this...

[embed]125694:18166[/embed]

Had a I bought a licensed Naruto game on accident? Why was I watching solemn anime characters? To give you an idea of what I was expecting to hear, watch the epic intro to Suikoden 2 for the Playstation.

[embed]125694:18167[/embed]

See the difference? One makes you want to play the game and one does the exact opposite. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the anime characters that turned me off. While I'm not a fan of anime themed games, I would have been fine with the anime opening if it was done right, but it was the spirit of it that irked me. Well... That and the headache-inducing music... However, the nightmarish rape that my ears would experience had only just begun.

When I got home, I began to play the game and was treated to what has to be some of the worst, most over-the-top voice acting I've heard in a while. I frantically searched for a way to turn it off or switch it to Japanese... However, I was disappointed find nothing of the sort. Why? Why Konami? How hard is it to give me an option to turn off the voice acting? Why did we need it in the first place? I would have been fine with none at all, actually, I would have been thoroughly pleased! Within 40 minutes of the playing the game, I was ready to put it for auction on EBay. What had I done!? Why didn't I buy Henry Hatsworth or Valkyrie Profile!?



However, I didn't feel that it would be right to judge a game (especially an RPG) without even knowing what the battle system or story were like. So, I soldiered on, turning the sound off during major cut-scenes. However, one thing I began to notice was that the game's graphics were gorgeous! They featured 3D character models against hand-painted backgrounds. Think a really gorgeous Playstation-era RPG. The battle system really took me by surprise though. It's pretty basic turn-based stuff, but at the same time it feels very fast and fluid. Battles are fun to watch and I didn't mind the fairly high random encounter rate because the auto-battle mode sped things up quite a bit. It seems that this was done pretty strategically too. While you may select commands in a turn based fashion, 2 or 3 characters may start attacking an enemy at the same time as opposed to 1 character attacking, going back, another character attacking, going back, enemy attacking, etc. Like I said, it makes the battles much more cinematic and exciting to watch. Also, when you equip weapons, they show up on you. I love games that have that.

The music in the game is also above average. Some of the earlier tunes could wear on me a bit after a while, but it really is a soundtrack that I wouldn't mind owning. The voice acting continued to take a toll on me though... I continued to turn off the sound during cut scenes, however, the cut scenes with voice acting became less and less frequent. The story also got better and better. Was I actually starting to like this game? A bit later, I looked at my clock and realized that I'd been playing for nearly 6 hours! Not only that, but I was thoroughly enjoying it! Sure, there had definitely been a bit of eye-rolling, but this was shaping up to be a great game. I had also gotten used to the voice acting and stopped turning the volume down at cut scenes.



The game has a very specific PSX-era RPG feel to it and that is exactly what I was hoping for. When I stopped playing, it was at the end of a big battle that resulted in my team owning our own base of operations and being officially recognized as a military company. Sure, it was a bit ridiculous that my character and his rag-tag band of teenagers were now a recognized military force, but like I said, the game has some noticeably anime roots (or flaws, you decide). That being said, the story is good and features some decent twists and turns as well. Suikoden fans may also have realized by now that the whole "You have a huge base, now fill it with people" thing is a staple of the series. Oh, by the way, there are 108 characters to unlock, which should keep you busy for a while.

In closing, Suikoden Tierkreis has some noticeable flaws and will definitely rub long-time Suikoden fans the wrong way at first, but this really is a game that has a significant pay-off for those that stick with it. If you are a Suikoden fan, please don't approach this game expecting the same thing you would from the numbered entries in the series. If you've never played a Suikoden game and like RPGs, this game is certainly a good place to start before moving on to some of the better and more mature entries like Suikoden 2. I really think that's who this game is aimed at, people who haven't played a Suikoden game before. It's apparent that it's attempting to reach a wider audience, but that doesn't change the fact that Suikoden Tierkreis is a great RPG and has something for everyone. Is it a must buy? Probably not, but if you're looking for a good RPG and you've got the cash to drop, I would definitely recommend it.   read


11:08 PM on 03.17.2009

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Impressions!



Hey guys! Sorry I haven't posted in a while! My internet wasn't working for about a week and then I just got lazy... I'll post a new Sound Test soon! I already know which song I'm going to use!

Anyway! Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars! I have recently become a DS gamer due to my fast, exciting life of woman and rock & roll... Or maybe just college. Anyway, I haven't minded in the slightest since the DS is an amazing console with tons of great games. Well ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you about yet another one of those great games. In fact, maybe the greatest.



As of today, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is the best reviewed DS game of all time with a stellar score of 95 on Metacritic.com. I knew the game was going to be good, but I had no idea that it would be THAT good. I mean, the lowest review score it recieved was 90! However, I also know that numbers aren't everything and there are many high-rated games that I can't stand *cough* Halo *cough*. Either way, I went into this game with a feeling of excitement and skepticism. Having now spent about 3 or 4 hours with it, I think that I can honestly say that it's an amazing game. I almost don't know where to start... There's so much to talk about. Let me say this. It doesn't feel like the PSOne GTA games. This was a potential complaint that I heard from a lot of people and I'm here to squelch it! No, it feels more like a mix of the PS2 GTAs and GTA 4.



I was under the assumption that Chinatown Wars would remove a lot of things from the GTA games in order to be fitted to the DS, but in fact, it has added more than it has taken away! The ways that touch screen is used are awesome and don't feel gimmicky what-so-ever. There is also a new way to bring your wanted level down by causing cops to crash Burnout 3 style. It all feels natural and just... Fun! Also, I haven't experienced a single frame rate drop, which is very surprising to me, especially considering how great the game looks! There's day and night as well as weather effects!



The game even has a physics system and different vehicles handle in different ways. Did I mention that the city is the same size as the Liberty City of GTA 4? Yeah. It's huge. Did I mention that you can drive boats, motorcycles, and helicopters? I know that I'm not even scratching the surface here, but I mean, how do I else can I say it? You need to go buy this game. It's Grand Theft Auto on the DS. There's hookers, cars, guns, drugs, side-missions galore, and a story that will have you guessing at every turn.



My only complaints? No voice acting during cut scenes and no licensed soundtrack, but both are understandable with the DS' limited capabilities. Especially when you consider everything else that has been crammed into it as it is. That's really all I have to say about the game. It's a Grand Theft Auto game and as such you already know what to expect and how good it's going to be. So, I think I'm just going to cut it off here. Also, I can't stop thinking about getting back to playing it and the best news is that I can now play it anytime I want! Also, keep in mind that this is only after about 3-4 hours of gameplay. To own a DS and to not own this game is a sin. Plain and simple.

[embed]125329:18052[/embed]

Check back tomorrow (hopefully) for my impressions of Suikoden: Tierkreis!   read


3:34 PM on 03.02.2009

Neo Retro Preview- Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled (DS)



The DS certainly has no shortage in the RPG department, but the anticipation of waiting for some of the bigger DS titles has been killing me lately. I've really had to fight against my inner impulse buyer and keep in mind that I'm on a tight budget right now. However, while checking over Joystiq's DS release list for this week (Destructoid really needs to do something like that), something caught my eye.



I thought to myself "Black Sigil? What the heck is that?". It certainly sounded like an RPG, but I'd never heard of it. So! I decided to do some research.

It turns out that Black Sigil is indeed an RPG, but not just any RPG. It's a low-budget game created by first-time game makers Studio Archcraft. The underdog story of it's development reminds me of the ill-fated Game Boy Color RPG, Mythri. It was originally developed for the Game Boy Advance, but has now been moved over to the DS for obvious reasons. The story involves a main character who lacks the ability to use magic, unlike everyone else in his world. Because of this he is distrusted and ridiculed by just about everyone. Especially since the last person they knew who couldn't use magic became an evil, power-hungry war lord.



The game boasts vivid environments that create a realistic yet imaginative landscape with 40 to 50+ hours of game play and tons of side-quests. As well as the ability to strategically customize a 3 person party from up to 8 unique characters, and the addition of 100+ different physical and magical skills/combos, 100+ different weapons, and 200+ different pieces of armor. Quite an accomplishment for a small, first-time developer.

RPGamer.com certainly seemed impressed with it and stated that the entire style of the game, from the graphics to music, feels like a Super Nintendo RPG. After watching the an early trailer of Black Sigil, I'd have to agree. The graphics, while simple have an amazing amount of detail to them and the music sounds great. The battle system is apparently very reminiscent of Chrono Trigger as well, which is fine by me!



I've become very excited for this game and if it truly is being released tomorrow, it certainly hasn't been getting very much press attention. However, the game's website says that it's being released in April and other sites say that it's not coming out until next week, so who knows. Either way, Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled looks like it has the potential to be a great game and I thought that I would just try and get it some more attention. I've always been a sucker for small-time and indie game developers and I would hate to see a game that's obviously had so much time and energy poured into it simply flop due to lack of publicity.

Please take the time to watch the trailer below. I wouldn't ask you to go out and buy it without reading a review or two first, but I feel like this game at least deserves some consideration.

[embed]123450:17837[/embed]   read


12:02 AM on 03.01.2009

Dragon Quest 3 SNES Remake English Patch is Released!



Huzzah! For many years I have waited to play this game. Dragon Quest 3 is probably my favorite game in the series (but may be soon be cut down by DQ5) and while I have played it on the NES and Game Boy Color, I've always wanted to play the Super Nintendo remake. However, the game was never released in English... Until tonight!

If you love Dragon Quest or RPGs in general this is one that should NOT be passed up. This remake has been given a lot of care and is easily one of the best looking RPGs on the SNES. Below are some comparison screens and a video of the SNES game's intro in English. Once again, this is a stellar game that should not be passed up. Please enjoy!

Patch Download:

http://www.dqtranslations.com/downloads/DQ3%20English%20Translation%20RC1.zip

Screenshots:

NES:




[b]
Gameboy Color:[/b]





SNES:





Video:

[embed]123230:17821[/embed]   read


7:38 PM on 02.22.2009

Sound Test: Super Mario 64- Dire Dire Docks



Music is relative. It effects us in such a personal way that we can't possibly hope to describe the extent of that effect to anyone. It's why we are so protective (and sometimes even snobby) about it. Your personal taste in music will always be better to you than anyone else. So it's best to probably just accept that.

Here I will weekly (heh...) choose a piece of game music that I love and share it! Then talk about it. Not too complex, but I hope it's something you'll enjoy!

Sound Test: Super Mario 64- Dire Dire Docks

[embed]122499:17721[/embed]

(Sorry, a little bit late with this one. Maybe I'll make it up with a second post tomorrow.)

I was 10 years old. My parents had just gotten divorced and I was now living with my mother. In the process, I had been forced to switch schools and had also been held back a grade. My mother worked long hours and was also putting herself through college. I was completely and utterly alone. It was one of the worst times of my life and this song constantly reminds me of the escape that I discovered in video games.

I never played video games before then and I never stopped afterward. I started out on my neighbor's NES, but he received an N64 one Christmas and along with it came this game. The main thing that I remember about playing it with him is this level, Dire Dire Docks. From those stupid, chomping clams, to the treasure chests that electrocuted you, I barely remember playing any other level until I bought the game myself. Also, what about that huge freaking eel!? I remember wondering what it was, swimming in to get a better look, and then having it lunge out to attack me! I was terrified of that freaking thing.

Anyway, like I said, this song always reminds me of a very hard and lonely time in my life. It seems sad now that I look back on it, the fact that I felt so scarred and alone as a child that I sought out an escape. However, those times are over and now and I can look back on those bittersweet memories with a unique type of fondness.

The song itself brings so many descriptive adjectives to mind that it's hard to put it all into words. It's dark, yet relaxing, haunting, yet simple, sad, yet inspiring. If you pay very close attention, there is actually a lot of expansion as well. As it plays, more and more instruments join into it's simple theme until it becomes a beautiful, resounding chorus. This song is one of my favorite video game themes of all time. If I was to compile an actual list, it would surely be in the top 10. Please enjoy this song and feel free to think back on the place in your life that you were at when you first heard it.   read


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