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We have our paws on the upcoming version of Animal Crossing!
Upon starting Animal Crossing: New Leaf, I was keeping a keen eye on what felt the same as and what felt different from previous installments of the franchise. Having put dozens of hours into the original Animal Crossing, but fading quickly on every version since, I was looking for something new to keep the experience fresh.
Among the things that were immediately different, the most noticeable was the new tutorial mode. Rather than working off debt from town overlord Tom Nook, you are appointed mayor and have to work with Nook to secure home ownership before you can establish yourself as a resident and begin your mayoral duties. This initial segment of the game is far less guided than the traditional "work for Nook" tutorial of previous games and allows you to proceed at your own pace.
Every game in the series has felt slightly different, but New Leaf presents the largest amount of change yet, opening a second-hand shop in town while splitting tools and home improvements to separate shops on "Main Street," which replaces the City from the Wii game.
While the 3D effects are largely underwhelming, I am quite impressed by the visual polish laid on top of the existing Animal Crossing style. The grass shimmers under the sun as it fades into the background, and the animals seem far more textured than before. The visuals definitely feel like a substantial upgrade from the Animal Crossing I'm used to seeing, even if the style is largely the same.
The good news for longtime fans of the series is that its addictive nature is fully intact. Despite the fact that the game is meant to evolve slowly over time rather than at the whim of the player, I am finding myself playing the game often, even if all I can do is shake trees, talk to animals, and sell seashells I found by the sea shore. Every morning since I got the game, I grab my 3DS and play a few minutes even before getting out of bed (even before checking my iPhone!). I cannot wait until I have people to play with online, new shops to visit, and new fruits to plant. In other words, Animal Crossing is still a game that will consume you initially. Whether it has the lasting power of the earlier games in the series remains to be seen.
The classic is reborn by WayForward this summer.
DuckTales Remastered, a re-imagining of the NES classic, has been announced for a summer 2013 release on Wii U. The game, developed by WayForward, will feature hand-drawn sprites against 3D backgrounds. In addition, voice actor Alan Young will be returning to voice Scrooge McDuck.
The game, introduced at PAX East 2013, will feature some content from the original game, but also new content such as new areas like Scrooge's Money Bin and the Museum. The original songs from the game will be remastered as well.
The original 1989 NES title has long been on the Virtual Console wishlist for many fans, and is considered to be one of the most beloved games on the system. In particular it is known for it's pogo-style combat and incredible soundtrack.
The trailer was posted by Capcom Europe on their official YouTube page, but quickly pulled. The trailer that was pulled is shown below.
Madden may be missing Nintendo's home console for the first time since 1991.
Madden NFL 25 has been announced for an August 2013 release, but the announcement did not include mention of any Nintendo platforms. The game, named in honor of the 25th anniversary of the series, was announced specifically for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The Madden series has been available on Wii since Madden NFL 07, and the GameCube received Madden every year from Madden NFL 2002 through Madden NFL 07. Before that, the game came to Nintendo 64 in 1997 with Madden 64 and came yearly after that through 2001. The series made it's Nintendo debut on Super Nintendo in 1992 and was available yearly through 1998.
The game appeared on Nintendo 3DS for the system's launch year, but has not reappeared since.
Nintendo World Report has reached out to EA Sports for confirmation that the game will not be available on Wii U.
A bucket full of crazy is headed to the west.
Project X Zone has been confirmed for a release in North America, Europe and Australia. The game is set to release for Nintendo 3DS in summer 2013, and contains characters from multiple franchises including Sega, Namco, and Capcom. In all, 29 different franchises, and over 200 characters, are represented in this strategy RPG. A co-development project between Banpresto and Monolith Soft, the game was published in Japan by Nacmo Bandai.
Despite being released in Japan last October, chances for the game to see a release in the west seemed slim due to the niche appeal of the genre. The game contains many characters that are familiar to western audiences, such as Jill Valentine, Mega Man, and Frank West, however the vast majority of the characters are much more obscure.
Check out impressions from Danny Bivens for the Japanese release of the game.
Is Nintendo bridging the divide between the handheld and the console divisions?
Nintendo is undergoing a significant reorganization, bringing their handheld and console hardware divisions into one studio according to a report from Japanese newspaper Nikkei. This is the first major restructuring of these divisions since 2004. The new combined division will be responsible for thinking into the future, beyond Wii U and 3DS, and helping Nintendo compete in a market with the growing distribution of smartphones and tablets.
The move, coming February 16, will bring the 150 employees in the handheld division and the 130 employees in the console division into an entirely new department, "Unified Development Headquarters", which will eventually fill a building next to Nintendo's home office in Kyoto by the end of next year. Once the teams are united, they will be broken into new divisions based on hardware expertise such as design or circuitry.
Nintendo hopes this unification will help create product synergy between their handheld and console devices, something heavily pushed during the era of the GameCube and Game Boy Advance. While Wii and DS saw some integration, there has been very little integration between 3DS and Nintendo's home consoles. In addition, this should help out by maximizing the shared resources which exist in both handheld and console development.
Personally, I think the first Metroid is unplayable; and that's coming from a huge fan of the Metroid series as a whole. Super is where I'd recommend anyone new to the series start.
Good luck though.
Have you been buying digital games on your Deluxe Wii U? Time to cash in!
The Digital Deluxe Promotion website, which allows you to redeem earned points for eShop credit, is now live in North America. The site can be found at http://ddp.nintendo.com and will require you to sign in with your Nintendo Network ID.
Wii U Deluxe owners will earn approximately one point for every ten cents spent in the Nintendo eShop. 500 of these points can be redeemed for a $5 eShop credit, which can be spent on either the Nintendo 3DS or Wii U eShop. This is the only current method of redemption, meaning that until you earn 500 points, you cannot redeem points for credit at all.
The site also gives you the opportunity to look at point history, showing you how many points you've earned, from which purchases on the Wii U eShop.
Do you want your hardware repaired out of warranty? Here's your invoice.
The Wii U repair costs have been revealed to be $175 for the console itself, and $85 for the GamePad, according to Nintendo World Report staff members who have had their systems in for repair. The $175 cost for the Wii U Console was specific to the Deluxe model.
Since the GamePad is not for sale at retail at this time, aside from being bundled with the console itself, one can only speculate what the price will be to customers. The $85 component cost being printed (and then reversed due to warranty) on repair invoices point to a retail price starting at $99 and then going upwards from there.
Obviously, All Wii U systems are under warranty for at least a year unless an owner breaks that warranty. These costs will be more meaningful as the system ages past its first year.
Just dance, and that's it.
The Just Dance series came around a few years ago as a surprise casual hit among Wii owners. Continuing perhaps one of the biggest success stories on the console, the fourth game in the annualized series hit shelves recently. As a reviewer who has no interest in or tendency to Just Dance, it is my solemn vow to attempt to evaluate this game nonetheless. Be warned, I do not have any moves like Jagger.
Just Dance 4’s front-end interface is surprisingly smooth. It’s not complicated: simply pick a mode (Just Dance or Just Sweat) and then pick a song from the list. It’s a shallow interface, but it’s polished, and simple enough for anyone to pick up and navigate without issue.
Once you pick a mode and a song, you see a silhouette of a dancer on screen with one hand colored. This represents the hand that you, the player, use to hold the Wii Remote. As the dancer begins going through the motions of the dance, you mirror them as closely as you can. Small icons appear in the lower left corner to indicate the basic motion behind the move, and while this may seem like a duplication of information, it gives you a bit of advance notice.
I have no doubt that Just Dance 4 is at least somewhat competent in measuring accuracy of movement; however, after playing for some time, I’ve come to accept that I’m ill-prepared to make that judgment one way or another. Instead, I brought in some friends and played the game in a small group. Unsurprisingly, those less movement challenged than I had no problem consistently getting more than twice my score. Most importantly, they were having fun. Despite the silliness of the whole thing, everyone was laughing and having a good time.
Just Dance 4 seems to have a scoring system in spite of itself. Certainly, you can gain rewards by playing well, but for the most part, success and failure seems secondary to simply having a good time. It’s not really clear how to get better at the game if you are already bad at it aside from trying harder to closely mimic the on-screen dancer. With no real tutorial mode or specific settings for beginners, it seems somewhat irrelevant if you’re not any good. As a dance-challenged gamer myself, I would have loved to have seen some sort of training mode helping me grasp the basics of dancing, especially as my wife pointed out that one of the easier songs in the game was asking me to perform a very basic dance step. In the end, though, I got a kick out of watching my friends play while I flailed around like a buffoon. That's the trademark of a good party game.
Rewards come in the form of achievement-like “Dance Quests” on each song. As you unlock these achievements, you gain points to level up. As you level up, you spin a roulette wheel with rewards including a new song, a remix of an existing song, or a new workout routine. The track list contains a nice variety of songs, including kitsch cuts (“Rock Lobster” by the B-52s and “Instanbul” by They Might Be Giants), soundtrack classics (“Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing), and modern hits (“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj). Although most of the track list is not my cup of tea, I found a handful of songs that were fun to dance to, even though I did so poorly.
Just Dance 4 also includes “Just Sweat,” a workout mode that gives you the option to dance for a set period of time, nonstop, alternating between fast-paced and mellow songs. The mode features five workouts: ‘80s pop, World Music, Electro Music, Punk Rock, and Classy/’60s pop. Each, except the “Swinging ‘60s Workout,” is available from the start, with that one being an unlockable bonus.
This is a game for a very specific set of people, and I am not included that set. Nonetheless, I had a good time with the game once more people got involved. If you have a group of friends that like to bust a groove, Just Dance 4 may be the party game for you. If you’re more interested in leveling up a black mage than a dancer, then avoidance is your smoothest move.
Two degenerates, a Brahma bull, and a Texas rattlesnake walk into a bar...
Professional wrestling is not a competitive sport. It is a dramatic event wrapped in the trappings of a competitive sport. The interesting thing about video game adaptations of professional wrestling is that there is no distinction. Wrestling video games are as much sport games as Madden NFL Football, and thus every year we are treated to a new release with a roster update and a few new modes. WWE 13 for Wii has the distinction of being the last wrestling game, and probably last sports game, to launch on Wii before it is officially a last-generation system. Even so, it’s a slobber-knocker.
The main campaign mode in this year's WWE game is Attitude Era mode, a carefully crafted set of video packages and matchups that tell the tale of some of the major superstars that rose to prominence during what is often considered the WWE's finest era, the WWE Attitude era, which stretches from 1997 through early 2000. The game breaks Attitude Era mode into six main chapters; the first five focus on specific superstars, and the final showcases the events that led to WrestleMania XV. "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Mankind, The Undertaker, Kane, and The Rock are among the icons featured in this mode, with many supporting characters appearing along the way.
Seeing a modern wrestling game dedicate a mode to recreating these classic matchups and personalities is a treat, especially for anyone who followed wrestling during this period. The video packages, as per usual, are superb, and while the specific pairings get a bit repetitive (How many times did Kane, The Undertaker, and Mankind all meet in the ring during 1999?), the objectives in each match keep things fresh and fun. You can also unlock tons of bonus matches if you go the extra mile and recreate the original matches with specific stunts and sequences. The more you play, the more characters, outfits, and arenas you unlock. The game dedicates almost half its roster to wrestlers from the late 1990s, including alternate (younger) versions of superstars that still wrestle today like The Rock, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, and Triple H.
In addition to Attitude Era, the game includes WWE Universe mode, which returns from prior years mostly unchanged. It's essentially a way to recreate whatever WWE storylines you want, and at the pace you desire. If at any point things get too crazy for your tastes, you can reset the mode back to its default settings. With this mode, dedicated wrestling fans get a chance to shape the WWE world as they see fit, for as long as they want to play. The game automatically puts matches on each card, but you can change them around as you see fit before beginning each show. You can even change the difficulty on the fly by setting it to a Quick, Normal, or Epic length match. The lack of direction felt a bit daunting to me, but for many wrestling fans, this dream booking will provide many hours of gameplay. This mode allows you to play the game in perpetuity, playing or changing up matches on the various WWE events that take place during the year. Championships swap, teams form, and alliances break.
The gameplay is polished, as you may expect from a developer who has made these games for about a decade. The grapple/strike/reversal system feels somewhat simplified, but has many combinations that aren't necessarily obvious. Though the game doesn't come with a detailed manual (the era of the single-page instruction pamphlet is upon us), there is a somewhat helpful tutorial in the pause menu. It doesn't tell you much about how your specific wrestler operates, but it does provide instruction in executing useful maneuvers like submission holds or Irish Whips, and repositioning your opponent as needed.
The game looks great at times, awful at others. From a distance, things look fantastic; the wrestlers animate just like their real-life counterparts, and actual superstars provide the voice acting. Unfortunately, closer views reveal some incredibly ugly models, notably among the audience members. The game doesn't show them up close very often, but when it does, they resemble Silent Hill monsters. The wrestlers are much better, of course, but even among the superstars some duds crop up. Faces are hit and miss; some look great, but others are completely unrecognizable.
As a complete package, WWE 13 may be the best wrestling game on the market in years. Although the storyline mode caters to a bygone era, there are still plenty of modern wrestlers to choose from, and match types aimed at current WWE fans. Though the Wii version lacks the downloadable content and online play of its HD counterparts, it still feels like a solid update.
The next 3DS-to-Wii U eShop port is coming early next year and might use Miiverse.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe will release on the Wii U eShop in the first quarter of 2013, according to Renegade Kid Co-Founder Jools Watsham.
In addition, the Wii U version of the game will feature "even more" content exclusive to the platform. Recently, the 3DS version of the game was updated with new levels that were developed for the PC version of the game. Those levels should also be included with the Wii U version.
When asked if the game would support Miiverse integration on Wii U, Watsham stated that they were investigating the possibilities.
Homebrew ≠ Piracy.
OMG OMG OMG...
SO, there is very VERY little online about the content involved, but with the Uplay rewards, you can trade in 40 points for... wait for it... Multiplayer Survivor Mode! I'm really hoping this means a Co-Op Survivor Mode, but I really doubt it because that would make my year. Has anyone looked into this at all? It's really not that hard to get 40 points, just start a Uplay, get the BOB, and top 2k on Survivor Score. Bam, DLC.
Thoughts? If anyone knows more, let me know. I'm going to hop on tonight and see what if I can get it. I already managed uplay rewards, so maybe they'll be added once I link. I'll post more then.
The GameTrailers review showed stuff like enemies floating through walls, there are graphical gltiches (even if it's not the textures).
All your favorite shows are brought to you on Wii U with limited commercials.
Hulu Plus is now available on Wii U. The app, which can be downloaded from the Nintendo eShop or by launching the placeholder app on the home screen which will prompt for an update, will allow access to the Hulu Plus video service for members who pay the $7.99 subscription fee.
On Wii U, the GamePad screen can be used to look up more information on the current video playing, while the actual show plays on the TV.
The service is not yet tied into Nintendo TVii, which is set to launch in December.
London Bridge is burning down.
ZombiU is terrifying. Let’s get that out of the way early. This is a game that hammers home how fleeting life is, over and over again. It’s a game that makes you swear out loud with frustration, and a game that has your heart racing with every hit of a cricket bat to a zombie’s rotting skull. It takes you up high, and then throws you off a building. As London burns to the ground around you, you inhabit a series of survivors from the zombie infection. How many survivors you play as all depends on you.
As you take on the role of each survivor, you begin with the cricket bat and a pistol containing six bullets. This is true no matter how far along in the game you are. How well prepared you are to handle this sort of consequence is entirely up to you, as your safehouse holds a storage box in which you can stash weapons and ammo. Every time you die, all the gear you held remains attached to the now-zombified body of your previous character. You have one chance to kill that zombie and reclaim your goods; if you die in that effort, those supplies are forever lost. You can replenish these items, as they regenerate in areas you have previously found over time, but to say that losing supplies is a setback is a major understatement.
Melee combat is slow and difficult, requiring precise timing and spacing. If you miss a shot, you leave yourself vulnerable to attack for several moments, which is all a zombie needs to kill you. Don’t fret, though: you will die a lot no matter what you do. This is the nature of the game. As you play longer, however, it’s easier to adjust to the challenges of swinging the cricket bat, becoming more proficient at beheading undead foes. Some zombies take quite a few hits to kill, so if you have to deal with a horde, you are better off advancing and retreating to maximize your chances of success.
The game requires you to use the screen on the GamePad for all non-combat tasks, such as inventory management or barricading a door. While in many games having to take your eyes off the screen may seem like bad design, in ZombiU, it’s effective in adding to the sense of panic and vulnerability. When you need to manage your inventory, you have to do so quickly and without error, or you leave yourself helpless against attacks. The inventory screen is a bit clunky, but perfectly usable without resorting to the stylus. ZombiU also uses the GamePad as a scanner. Scanning requires that you hold the L button on the GamePad, and use either the right stick or the gyro controls to move around and detect items in the distance. Unlike in games like Metroid Prime, where the story is largely revealed through scanned items, the scanner in ZombiU is mainly used to find ammo and health items. It can help identify from a distance which zombies are worth looting for supplies, and which are empty-handed. It’s occasionally used to progress the story as well, but if you find it slowing the pace too much, you can scan only as often as you feel is necessary most of the time.
The story is a bit uneventful, unfolding the tale of a prophecy that foretold the zombie apocalypse. A faceless NPC called “The Prepper,” whose sole job is preparing survivors to get by in this hellish world, guides you through the game. It’s a bit jarring when he talks to you as if you’re the same character the entire way through when clearly you’re going through multiple characters as you die, and the same goes applies to several other NPCs you meet in the game. The story feels as if it came before idea of multiple player characters was developed, and never tweaked to make the two agree. Regardless, the voice acting is well done, and lends to the realism of the bleak world.
Aside from the cricket bat, your character can use firearms, but they are easy to lose if you die, and ammo is hard to come by. You always start out with a pistol and one clip of bullets, but the pistol doesn’t necessarily seem like a better way to kill zombies once you are proficient with the cricket bat. Luckily, you can upgrade all the weapons, and those enhancements survive even when your player character does not. It’s one of the few things you can bring across from character to character, and it’s very helpful.
The longer you survive and kill zombies as an individual character, the higher the score attached to that character. This ends up being a fun way to have a high score battle with yourself as you play, and alternatively, a fun way to know how well you were doing after you die. Folks from Miiverse show up in the game as zombies as well, carrying whatever loot they had on them when they died, which is another way to compare character scores and get extra supplies. It’s a fun reminder that Nintendo has built a very subtle, but effective, social media platform running underneath the games on Wii U.
The world of ZombiU looks fantastic, for the most part. Some textures blur when you get too close to a sign or a wall, but many areas have incredible detail and are littered with embellishments that make this post-apocalyptic version of London believable. One scene in particular subjects you to a thunderstorm, and the weather effects add to the game immensely. The lighting tricks the game employs are very successful, and despite my early misgivings about blurry textures, the more I played of the game, the more impressed I was by how it looked. The world of ZombiU falls apart around you, and the mood is set early and often.
The game contains a few simple local multiplayer modes wherein one player uses the GamePad to deploy zombies, and another player uses the Wii U Pro Controller or Wii Remote and Nunchuk to play as a survivor. One mode has you capturing flags, and another simply asks the survivor to hold out as long as possible in a score attack-like mode that includes leaderboards. Neither mode seemed all that interesting when compared to the single-player campaign, but their inclusion is a nice touch. Another way in which you can compete for high scores is the Survival mode. This mode is identical to the main campaign mode, except once you die, that’s it. There are no continues. You are scored based on how long you last and how many zombies you kill, much in the same way that you are scored in the regular campaign on a per-survivor basis.
ZombiU seeks to scare the hell out of the player by making their very survival doubtful, and wildly succeeds. This game is stressful, terrifying, bleak, and, in all of that, wonderful. It is one of the best launch titles I’ve ever played, and quite simply, a return to form in a genre that has taken a distinct turn toward run-and-gun. These kinds of games are not for everyone, and some people may not like ZombiU due to its high level of difficulty or clunky combat. However, if you appreciate the qualities of the older Resident Evil games, the challenge of a game like Dark Souls, and the exploration of a Metroid-style world, this game is absolutely for you. Enter the survival horror.