Piracy on the DS was kind of a big deal, which is why Nintendo has been taking measures to ensure that the same filth doesn't infect the 3DS ecosystem. The 3D handheld has remained more or less untainted thus far, but the onl... read
Well look at what just popped up over on Amazon! The Legend of Zelda Box Set is a collection of Prima strategy guides that includes six hardcover books for Ocarina of Time 3D, Spirit Tracks, Phantom Hourglass, The Wind Waker,... read
Renegade Kid's Jools Watsham has some good news for Moon fans -- they will regain the rights to the Moon IP in 2014. Apparently a deal was struck between Renegade Kid and the publisher (Mastiff) in 2009, with a five year agre... read
I am so jealous of kids growing up this day and age. They have the coolest videogame consoles, the Internet, iPads, and now LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Combining Marvel, one of the hottest movie proprieties right now (and not t... read
May 10 //
Color Commando (DSiWare)Developer: Goodbye Galaxy GamesPublisher: CIRCLE EntertainmentReleased: April 25, 2013 (US) / May 9, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $2.00 (200 Points)
Despite the latter half the moniker that may imply a heavy emphasis on action, Color Commando is actually a puzzle game. The only "action" you'll be participating in is falling, moving, climbing ladders, and touching the screen to paint. See, Color Commando plays out the same way in nearly every level -- there's three optional coins to grab, and a treasure chest goal somewhere on the map.
It's your job to pick up different paint balls (pink, purple, or green) to gain the ability to "paint" the screen by tapping it, which nullifies enemies of the same color in a small square-shaped area. On paper, it makes for some pretty interesting puzzle possibilities, as you essentially have to choose which area to paint (even though there might be multiple enemies of the same color), since you only get one glob per color per map. At first, you start to see the potential in the game as you pick it up, but it quickly goes downhill from there.
The main issue with the game is hit detection -- to be blunt, it's off. Many a time I've blotted out an area, making it a safe zone from the same color enemy only to find out that it wasn't, and one pixel wasn't covered, causing me to die and restart the entire level. Some of the puzzles are outright broken as well. For instance, there are a few areas where it's obvious that you're supposed to fall off a ledge into danger to grab a coin -- but in many cases, you can just teeter off the edge and grab the coin without falling. The design of a handful of levels feels unfinished, and unpolished, leading to some really easy 100% victories without much of a challenge.
It's a shame, because the retro veneer is fairly charming, as is one level tune that sounds like it's straight out of the RPG Lunar. But in this case repetition is a curse -- you'll eventually get sick of hearing the same song over and over and seeing the same two enemy variations level after level.
There's five worlds with five stages each (one in each set is a bonus level, unlocked by getting every coin in that set). If you're skilled at puzzle platformers, you'll finish it extremely quickly -- basically, for a few bucks, you'll be getting around an hour of entertainment. It took me about 45 minutes to nearly 100% the game. As an aside, it's actually on DSiWare, so you don't necessarily need a 3DS to play.
Color Commando has initial shades of fun, but it's basically over before it starts. Despite the cheap-looking enemy designs, there is a decent amount of charm here -- the game just doesn't get an opportunity to develop it. If you're itching for a platform puzzle title and have exhausted all of your choices on both the DS and 3DS, Color Commando is a decent way to spend a couple of bucks, but otherwise, it's skippable beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Strokes of gray The combination of puzzle and platforming is one of my favorite hybrid genres of all time. There's something about having to figure out challenges on the fly while testing your twitch capabilities that makes for a unique expe... read feature
The next game to get the LEGO treatment is Marvel, and this new teaser trailer for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes shows off some of the 100 characters you'll be playing with. The teaser also ends with Galactus's giant shadowing ec... read
In its fiscal year report released earlier today, Nintendo withheld a forecast for DS unit sales through March 31, 2014. Considering that even the Wii received a new yearly target, the logical assumption would be that Nintend... read
Apr 24 //
Tony Ponce Numbers for DS and Wii were also given. The Wii struggled to hit 3.98 million sales this year, while the DS performed even worse with 2.35 million. Not surprising considering that their successors are already out in the market, but clearly those old owners are not upgrading. Getting those folks to step up will be Nintendo's prime directive for the new year.
Despite the rather miserable results, Nintendo is comfortable in predicting 9 million Wii U sales and 18 million 3DS sales by next year. The company even believes it can squeeze out another 2 million Wii sales! Unfortunately, no forecast for the DS was given, lending to the notion that its official retirement is just around the corner.
Let's see what Satoru Iwata, SUPER CEO, can do!
Nintendo misses its fiscal forecasts as the Wii U struggles to sell [Gamasutra]Nintendo FY13: $70M Net Income; WiiU 3.45M, NDS retires, 3DS/WiiU miss expectations [NeoGAF]
Still made a $71.4 million net profit due to depreciation of the yen Nintendo's fiscal year 2013 report was just released today, and the details are... well... umm... they're certainly something alright. Neither hot nor cold. Just... there.
For the year ending on March 31, 2013, Nintendo poste... read feature
Analyst in "pisses off Nintendo fans again" SHOCKAH!
// Jim Sterling
In the latest episode of Michael "Frisky Buns" Pachter Says Things About Nintendo And Everybody Gets Angry, the industry analyst was asked if he hated Nintendo. The slick-tongued gentleman said he didn't actively dislike the ... read
Apr 04 //
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii U, 3DS, PlayStation Vita, DS)Developer: TT GamesPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentRelease: Fall 2013
The story of LEGO Marvel straddles a similar line to LEGO Batman 2; a comic book-style story with a liberal helping LEGO silliness. Like the recent LEGO City: Undercover, the story here is fully voiced. Speaking with TT Games producer Phil Ring, he said the team "wanted everything to feel alive, and more than what we had in LEGO Batman 2 where characters only spoke in cutscenes. We wanted bosses shouting at you and characters talking with each other, so we're recording a lot more audio for this game."
Having a fully-voiced story also affords more opportunities for humor, outside of the physical comedy gags that are common to the series. It works to good effect, too -- the banter between the less than sharp Hulk and the always-on sarcasm of Iron Man played like a Saturday morning cartoon.
Less-referenced Marvel entities will be making appearances as well. At the end of the demo, when Iron Man and Hulk help Nick Fury (modeled after the recent Ultimate/Sam Jackson version) take Sandman into custody, you could spot three day workers with Damage Control marked across their uniforms.
Ring continued: "If you're a Marvel fan, there's plenty of small references like this you'll get, and if not, then what the hell, it's just three clean up guys in uniform." The script itself will see stewardship by Marvel writer Matt Hoffmeier, so there should be no shortage of Marvel cameos, references, and the like.
The moment-to-moment gameplay of LEGO Marvel looks very much like a traditional game from TT. You'll run around the environment, smashing pieces and reconstructing them into new objects to move forward. That said, you do get a host of heroes and abilities to play around with. Full disclosure, our presentation was hands off, so I can't say how well the powers feel, but the combat didn't look particularly amazing.
Really, it's those classic problem-solving moments that make better use of the hero license. Going up against Sandman, Iron Man and Hulk need to come up with a way to get past his giant sand wall. Hulk's brute strength won't work and neither will blasters. With a little searching, we get Iron Man to blast a nearby fire hydrant and generator, then have Hulk revert to Bruce Banner to reconstruct the pieces into a giant water cannon to solidify the sand so Hulk can break through it.
It's the way each of the characters, and their abilities, play off each other in these puzzle-esque scenarios that gave the LEGO games their charm, and that much looks well intact here. Though TT is staying hush hush on some details, there will be side activities to partake in outside of missions, such as explorable miniature hub area of New York. "There is a hub world...you can go into new areas and explore including some places significant to the Marvel Universe and other like the Statue of Liberty, but it's all miniaturized of course...it's very much a LEGO world," said Ring.
Basically, if you've enjoyed LEGO titles in the past, you should be right at home here. There doesn't look to be crazy breaks in series tradition -- just refinements and augments. And if you're a Marvel fan, then I suppose that only sweetens the package.
A more traditional LEGO experience Just when you thought they were out of good licenses to adapt for LEGO videogames, they pull one back in. Among others, we've explored the adventures of Indiana Jones, the far away galaxy of Star Wars, and the hallowed halls ... read feature
The announcement of DuckTales Remastered caused a lot of people to freak the hell out, but that wasn't the only trick WayForward had up their sleeves. They've got a new IP coming "exclusively" to Nintendo 3DS, DS, Wii, W... read
Apparently development staff and even Harvest Moon fans didn't see the need to add combat to the farming formula. Marvelous AQ Executive Officer/CCO Yoshifumi Hashimoto shared at a panel this morning that he didn't have many ... read
Indie game developers are certainly an outspoken lot, aren't they?
Phil Fish, creator of the dimension-flipping XBLA platformer FEZ, finally decided to hop on the Monster Hunter train starting with Ultimate for 3DS. He thinks... read
A better look ahead of next week's distribution event
// Jordan Devore
Beginning March 4 in North America, there will be a limited-time Pokémon distribution event for Meloetta at GameStop. After that date, you'll have three weeks to make a trip over to secure this Normal- and Psychic-typ... read
Clarifies the company's not in danger, but its glory days may be over
// Jim Sterling
Following yesterday's angry protests from Nintendo fans, industry analyst Michael "Fishy Sunday" Pachter took to NeoGAF to clarify his statements.There was uproar when Pachter said the Wii U was a mistake Nintendo may never r... read
There are many things that make me proud to be a gamer, and one of them is the homebrew/fangame community. To me, there's almost nothing better than a group of passionate fans getting together and creating something ... read
Every once in a while Nintendo emerges from its ivory tower to participate in special charity events where it provides free Pokémon for the unwashed washes to enjoy. Sometimes they're cool, other times you ge... read
Feb 06 //
Jim Sterling [embed]244154:46787:0[/embed]
While the system is designed for Dennis to trick women into having sex with him before abandoning them, its applications in business are frightening, and Nintendo's mastery of it is absolute. Like Dennis, Nintendo is able to seduce and conquer its fans by demonstrating value, engaging physically, nurturing dependence, neglecting emotionally, inspiring hope, and then separating entirely. Do you remain skeptical? Read on and understand.
This one's easy, because we already know, by Nintendo's own admission, that it secures customer loyalty by demonstrating the value of its product. Through marketing promotions, competitive pricing, and pledging to offer the widest variety of games to the widest variety of consumers, Nintendo attempts to demonstrate its value to the user. More often than not, it succeeds.
In fairness, all videogame companies utilize the first step of the system. Duping the consumer into believing a product is worth the entry fee is what the game industry is all about. Nintendo's as committed as any when it comes to demonstrating its value.
No other company works harder to engage its customers physically than Nintendo. With the Wii, the DS, the 3DS, and the Wii U, Nintendo has been doing more to encourage physical interaction with users than any other company in the games market. Whether you're waggling a remote, tapping a touchscreen, or tilting screens left and right, when you're on a Nintendo system, you're 100% physically engaged.
Even those shy to embrace Nintendo's whimsical world of bodily nonsense are eventually suckered in. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword test the resolve of even the most adamant anti-waggle gamer, and the excellent Nintendo DS library has us all dragging styli around like they're little Weekend at Bernie's corpses! If you're a Nintendo customer, consider yourself physically engaged.
Nintendo has the key to the cage of some of gaming's most beloved and cherished franchises. Your inner child is Reggie Fils-Aime's bitch. Miyamoto is the way and the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Mario except through him. To get your hands on Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, and so many more, you depend entirely on so-called Big N.
Nintendo knows it, too. It knows what you like, and it knows you have nobody else to turn to. Games like Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. feed your nostalgia, remind you of happier times before you became an evil-hearted adult, and convince you to stay with Nintendo if you want to keep getting that sweet, sweet hit. One look at the dogged loyalty of Nintendo's most ardent fans will tell you this has already been achieved. They remain hopelessly in the thrall of their master, suckling at its red, cracked teats with all the gratitude of a freshly-fed dog.
We're halfway through the system, and Nintendo's three for three!
Nintendo's demonstrated its value to you. It's engaged you physically with its cool new toy. It's nurtured your dependence with the allure of childhood memories and honest-to-goodness gaming. What happens next?
Wii Music happens next.
Yes folks, you've just been neglected emotionally!
Satoru Iwata's band of merry men are wizards when it comes to this step, leading fans on for so long before totally cutting them off. After stringing gamers along, Nintendo does an about-face, making its press conferences and announcements all about family-friendly crap that nobody cares for. We get some maniac woman on a stage, grinning like a bargain basement Joker as she tells you she's going to put a smile on your face. We get promises of Pikmin 3, but no actual news, while other favorite franchises are completely ignored. Reggie tells us Animal Crossing is a hardcore game and can't understand why anybody's feeling shortchanged.
"Nintendo has abandoned the hardcore gamer," the cry rings out, over valley and hill. My Lord, why hast thou forsaken me? The answer is clear -- Nintendo's neglecting you emotionally.
Wait, they just announced Pikmin 3? Holy shit, was that a new Kid Icarus? New Donkey Kong? And what's with this Wii U eShop? It's, like, actually good. Nintendo's got a new online strategy, Nintendo's promising more core games. Nintendo's back, everybody! Nintendo finally gets it.
"Nintendo finally gets it." I've honestly lost count of how many times I've read that phrase over the years. After neglecting us emotionally, Nintendo makes some announcement or presents a fresh feature that has everybody (myself included) pull a U-turn and declare that, this time, Nintendo finally understands what we want, and at last knows how to give it to us. We are relieved. We are appreciative.
And then ... we bang.
Weeks without games. A sudden 3DS discount that pisses off everybody who supported the system early. The eShop turns out to be bereft of content and shit as always. A reality that fails utterly to live up to the promises we breathed in like sweet oxygen. And all the while, Nintendo sits there, deaf to our pleas, blind to our entreaties. It's working on something else now, and has cut its consumers loose.
It's okay, though. You need not be alarmed. Nintendo will be back, next time it needs to demonstrate its value to you.
And the D.E.N.N.I.S. System rises again.
It's Always Sunny at Nintendo Earlier this week, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto claimed his company had failed to "communicate the value" of the Wii U to consumers, a turn of phrase that struck me as quite amusing. As a fan of It's Always Sunny in Phila... read feature
March? I don't even want to start thinking about March yet. That said, it's nice to get the heads-up on the planned distribution event for the Mythical Pokémon Meloetta in North America. You'll want to take a trip... read
All you need is $15 and master sticker placing skills
// Brett Zeidler
Who out there is unlike me and doesn't still have their original Pokedex from back in the day? Well, if you have a 3DS and/or 3DS XL you can turn that boring device into a freaking Pokedex!
Etsy shop GameThemedThings&nbs... read
Jan 31 //
Anyone who knows me, knows that I loves me strategy games. I love StarCraft, Rise of Nations, Sins of a Solar Empire, Civilization -- you name it. Company of Heroes was probably the first one that got me really into WWII from a strategy perspective. It is also one of the first games that took advantage of advanced graphics -- namely, destructible environments -- that have a huge effect on gameplay. As tank shells create craters, for example, your infantry can use the modified terrain as cover. Subtle details like that keep gameplay fun and dynamic and also provide a refreshing twist on the classic RTS. - Daniel Starkey
[Take a look back at our previous Company of Heroes coverage.]
Licensed games, as a general rule, tend to be rather uninspired affairs. Relic Entertainment's acclaimed Warhammer 40,000 titles fly in the face of that trend. Space Marine and the Dawn of War series are genuinely entertaining titles that pay homage to Games Workshop's license rather than abuse it. Relic has delivered quality experiences time and again, developing games capable of standing on their own merits while still providing ample amounts of fan service for the already initiated. As someone who has spent more than a fair share of hours painting miniatures and rolling dice, it's clear Relic has a great deal of reverence for the source material. Captain Titus' battle with Ork and Chaos forces on Forge World Graia brought that universe to life for me. I wish Relic the best and hope that their new overlords at Sega allow them to keep making these games for a long, long time. - Kyle MacGregor
[Take a look back at our Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine review.]
While the game was initially buggy, a heroic modding community has managed to make S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl into something worth celebrating; despite its dreary setting and almost constant peril, the Zone was a place that oozed life. It is a brave game both mechanically and tonally, considering no FPS has come close to what S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl attempts is slightly sad; the singular highpoint of the whole Call of Duty franchise is when the series visits Pripyat in the irradiated zone. - Alasdair Duncan
[Take a look back at our S.T.A.L.K.E.R. coverage.]
It feels wrong to love Saints Row 2, but it feels even worse not to. The presentation lacks polish, the writing is tasteless, the focus is aimless ... but it's so fun! Where Saints Row made a marked improvement on the GTA series' controls, Saints Row 2 makes a remarkable improvement on almost every other level. GTAIV offered flawless presentation but boring combat; Saints Row 2 is just the opposite. It's the sandbox game I've always wanted, where nothing matters but the player having fun. Want to surf on a car for no reason? Hell ya! Want to ride golf carts through a mall while doing a drive-by? YES! Even the music is awesome in this game. GTA is great but nothing compares to firing infinite rockets at cop cars while driving to Hum's "Stars". If only I could merge Saints Row 2's gameplay with GTA4's presentation and story, I'd have the greatest game ever. For now, I'll take Saints Row 2 over GTAIV. After all, I can watch The Wire if I want inner city drama. - Allistair Pinsof
[Take a look back at the only Saints Row 2 video that matters on the internet.]
Lock's Quest is one of the most unique games released on the Nintendo DS. It spices up tower defense with direct character control and RPG elements. Long before Iron Brigade and Starhawk, Lock's Quest had players building walls and constructing turrets to later fight among them. The ability to directly control Lock on the battlefield may seem trivial at first, but it adds an entirely different prioritization element to tower defense, where Lock's location, health, and special abilities all factor into the decision making process. As a tower defense game, it really shines in that it's not unforgiving in its difficulty, but the later levels really feel like they push you to your limits. While it's satisfying to have a great base built that easily repels the hordes of robots, it doesn't get much better than feeling all is lost only to scrape by with a well timed electrical explosion that takes out the last of the advancing enemies. Lock's Quest is pure fun, whether you are a fan of tower defense or not. - Darren Nakamura
[Take a look back at our Lock's Quest review.]
50 Cent: Bulletproof was an awful waste of time. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, on the other hand, stands as the greatest guilty pleasure for any person who was brave enough to try it back in 2009. 50 Cent and G-Unit are playing a venue somewhere in the Middle East where his payment is in the form of a diamond skull, because why the hell not? As luck would have it, that skull is stolen and 50 Cent goes on a bullet hose rampage, destroying the country and yelling "you fucked up!" at everyone until he finds it. Because no one takes Fiddy's skull. No one. - Brett Zeidler
[Take a look back at our 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand review.]
Red Faction: Guerrilla is initially interesting for its building destruction mechanics. It's quite a hoot to blow up a building's support beams and watch it tumble down into pieces on top of anyone around it. I might die in the process, but it hardly matters since I'll just get a new guy and have at it again. That's when it hit me: these thoughts and ideas have a lot, perhaps too much, in common with those of terrorists. After all, the goal is to drive these uninvited invaders off of the planet, since they're only there for economic reasons. Guerrilla explores terrorism in an almost uncomfortable way, by executing it perfectly. Throwing away a life in an explosive raid is okay to do within the game, though it does make me a bit uncomfortable. And I love that. - Patrick Hancock
[Take a look back at our Red Faction: Guerrilla review.]
Very few games have warmed my heart like Costume Quest. There's just something about it. Although many people were quick to point out it was a very basic RPG experience, for a downloadable title it was perfect. Subtle changes to RPG tropes, like candy as currency and trick-or-treating as quests, helped showcase that the game wasn't merely a homage, but a labor of love. Combat has elements reminiscent of Super Mario RPG and exploring the whimsical world never felt like a chore. Double Fine did a great job recapturing the spirit of every child's favorite evening, and THQ did the right thing by publishing it. - Chris Carter
[Take a look back at our Costume Quest review.]
Until the arrival of Darksiders 2, drawing comparisons to Zelda was used interchangeably as a slight and compliment. Whether shamelessly cribbing from God of War, Portal, and Panzer Dragoon made the game stronger or not was also a point of contention. Never before had a game attempted such blatant copying of contemporary, popular games. Though some resisted Darksiders -- and still do -- for me, it showed that there is no shame in copying others when quality and holistic design come before tribute. The variety of level design comes from copying other titles, but Vigil Games is what made all the disparate parts come together in a game that continues to surprise until its end. When stripped away from its idols, you get Darksiders 2, the equivalent of a dried-out sponge. - Allistair Pinsof
[Take a look back at our Darksiders review.]
Some people may say that its predecessor, Saints Row 2, was a funnier and better game. These people are afraid of change. The Third is the full realization of what the series had been working towards. It is utterly ridiculous and doesn't pretend to be anything but. By doing this, the actions of the player outside of cutscenes fall in line with the character's actions within them, unlike a certain other company's open world games.The http://deckers.die mission in particular is what skyrockets this game above any other. In a single mission you become a toilet, a sex doll, use the Mega Buster, participate in a text adventure, and fight a boss that simulates lag. I truly hope that when future generations talk about the best levels in video games, deckers.die is sitting alongside the classics. - Patrick Hancock
[Take a look back at our Saints Row: The Third Dildo Baseball Bat review.]
From wrestlers to panda-suit-wearing sociopaths When assessing a publisher's impact on the industry, we tend to focus on the highs rather than consistency. THQ was anything but consistent, putting out Nintendo DS shovelware, rushed licensed games, and taking part in one of... read feature
Wii U projection down to 4.0 million from 5.5 million
// Tony Ponce
It's good news, bad news time.
Good news: After suffering a rough year of losses thanks to the 3DS' sluggish start, Nintendo was able to become profitable again through the first nine months of the 2012 / 2013 fiscal period. ... read
Fire Emblem: Awakening is almost here, guys. Just one more week; you can make it. To get you ready and up to speed, Nintendo has produced a new video that completely explains the character progression system in the latest in... read
Beyond Nintendo's regular maintenance of its online services, the company will be going through a brief period of emergency maintenance for the Nintendo Network this week. If you experience any odd behavior over the next two ... read
Jan 21 //
Tony Ponce [embed]242714:46443[/embed]
The original Ni no Kuni was announced way back in 2008. It would be nearly two years, mere months before the DS game's release, before any mention was made of a PS3 version.
Wrath of the White Witch is no mere update of the DS version, subtitled The Jet-Black Mage. From what I've gathered, both games were developed separately and feature several elements that differ in significant ways, even though the general framework is the same.
Even if Mage and Witch were identical save for the graphics, I still believe there would be strong interest in the former. The large library of quality RPGs on the DS and PSP indicates that the genre has found a cozy home on handheld devices. It's ironic that a genre infamous for demanding massive time investments would adapt so well to the style of bite-sized gameplay fostered by portable hardware.
Level-5 envisioned Ni no Kuni as a franchise, thus there is no reason why anyone ought to picture Mage and Witch as anything but complementary experiences. I understand that the big draw of Witch is how closely the in-game assets resemble the original artwork, but it's not like Mage is a slouch in the art department either.
It doesn't end there! In order for Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi's score to sound as crystal clear as possible, Level-5 opted to use a 512 MB game card, the largest of any DS game. "Compromised," The Jet-Black Mage is not.
More important than graphics and card space is the fact that Ni no Kuni is a major milestone for an animation studio that has historically avoided getting involved with videogames. Ni no Kuni is technically not the first time Ghibli had a hand in a game's art direction -- Magic Pengel on the PS2 holds that distinction -- but the level of involvement here is unprecedented. Why would you not want to experience such an event firsthand?
But Wrath of the White Witch was announced for the West, while The Jet-Black Mage wasn't.
Localization for Mage was definitely considered, but according to Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino, the big spanner in those plans was the book bundled with every copy of the game. For those unaware, the 352-page Magic Master book is a companion guide that details in-game lore, creatures, and magic runes that can be drawn on the touchscreen to cast spells. This book is a crucial element of the game, and its existence as a physical object was intended to add an extra layer of immersion.
Apparently it was too expensive to translate, and even if it were translated, there would be the issue of printing enough copies for each game and expecting consumers to pay a premium for the bundle. I'm sure Level-5 could have found a decent workaround, but I do understand the cost concerns. Disappointing news, but that's the way the world turns, right?
By the way, Witch also requires the use of the Magic Master book, but instead of being a physical object, it's an in-game item accessible from the menu. And oh yeah, US publisher Namco Bandai is selling a limited "Wizard's Edition" bundle that includes a physical version of the book, now called the Wizard's Companion.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
So all that talk about expense and translation hurdles was just bullshit? I'm trying to be as rational as I can, but the only conclusion I can draw is that neither Namco nor Level-5 thought Ni no Kuni would have been able to sell on the DS. I don't see how it wouldn't unless Namco wasn't planning on advertising the game at all.
Look, I'm glad that Ni no Kuni is coming out for PS3, but we are still being robbed of delicious Ghibli goodness! There has got to be a way for the DS game to make it out here somehow.
Here's what to do
The DS is a lame duck. There might be a studio or two still releasing new DS software, but most have moved on to its successor. Therefore Level-5 should port Ni no Kuni: The Jet-Black Mage directly to the 3DS. The team won't really need to touch it up too much -- as you saw in the footage above, its a very beautiful game, I would say even by 3DS standards.
With this platform transition, Mage would benefit from the larger game card capacity -- cards at the 3DS' launch could already hold 2 GB, four times the size of the DS' largest. I'm going to take an educated guess and assume that Mage's card was fairly packed, thereby preventing Level-5 from -- oh, I don't know -- including a digital version of the Wizard's Companion. Because 3DS game cards are much roomier, the already translated book ought to fit in nice and neatly.
There you have it! Players now have in-game access to the book, just as PS3 players do, and they won't be prevented from casting spells be drawing the runes. And for those who desire the original experience as intended, there could be a 3DS version of the "Wizard's Edition" as well.
[DS version unboxing by Espelancer]
But what of the argument that a currently two-year-old game from a previous generation platform would be a hard sell no matter the pedigree of the parties behind it? If Namco doesn't want to play ball, Level-5 should take its business to a progressive company like XSEED, which has recently shown great willingness in taking chances on niche but highly demanded RPGs on Nintendo consoles. XSEED has already been rewarded for localizing The Last Story, and even Xenoblade Chronicles, which Nintendo of America itself published two years after its Japanese release, has done "quite well" by the company's expectations.
If Wrath of the White Witch performs to Namco's satisfaction, there ought to be no reason to hold off on localizing The Jet-Black Mage any longer. But if Witch does not meet its goal, Mage should nonetheless be given a shot for the sake of sharing one of the most beautiful-looking games in recent memory with the rest of the world. We have evidence that low-print software runs can pay off handsomely, just as long as the parties involved keep modest expectations.
I just want some Level-5 / Studio Ghibli magic on the go. Is that so much to ask? Am I asking for the sun and the moon? Am I being naive in regards to the nature of big business?
And here's how to do it Tomorrow, January 22, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch finally arrives on US shelves. The PlayStation 3 role-playing game is a collaboration between developer Level-5, and animation house Studio Ghibli -- two companies th... read feature
Mixing LEGOs, videogames, and comics together has always seemed like a good idea -- certainly something I would have loved to see as a kid. TT Games is pressing on with yet another title, and this time it's LEGO Marvel Super ... read
If you had told me that Legends of Chima was already a successful LEGO property, I would have believed you. But it's not! Not yet, anyway. Described as a "fantasy adventure set in land inhabited by different magical animal tr... read
You'd expect to play as a wizard or warrior in a Dragon Quest game, but in this McD DS downloadable promotional game in Japan, you can also play as a McDonald's crew member or store manager.
DS title Dragon Quest VII: McDonal... read
Guys, Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd you steal our garbage?!! (also known as the greatest thing to ever happen to me) has an amazing soundtrack. I don't even know how to begin to describe it to you guys. Which is good, ... read
This is weirdly the greatest thing to happen to me all day
// Brett Zeidler
All the coolest stuff goes way too fast in the Club Nintendo shop. Once it's gone, it's gone for good. That is until the rare occasion that Nintendo realizes just how popular an item was, and brings it back for a limited time... read