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TalkBack / Great Detective Pikachu (3DS) Review
« on: February 22, 2016, 07:46:38 PM »

Get ready for a trip to a side of Pokémon that you've never seen.

Great Detective Pikachu has been available in Japan for a few weeks now. There hasn't been any news of a release in the West but gamers in Japan seem to be enjoying the new adventure starring the talking Pikachu and his partner Tim Goodman. While the game oozes charm with both the visuals and fantastic voice acting, there are a few issues that keep this new entry from being something great.

The gameplay mechanics in Detective Pikachu are sound and easy to grasp. A majority of the time, players are navigating Tim through the game world and using the A button to interact with various things in each area. QTE sequences are even sparsely used. For example, early on in the game, players have to press the A button at the right time to avoid getting nailed in the face with a hot dog, and shortly thereafter you'll have to rapidly press the button to help Pikachu up to a ledge before he falls and breaks a leg. These are familiar and feel pretty good.

The touch screen also plays a large part throughout the duration of the experience. Important information such as different Pokémon and characters that you come across, items, a log of conversations and clues to help solve cases are easily accessible via buttons on the lower screen. There is also a Pikachu button that occasionally lights up when he has something to say. Usually this is something pertaining to the case at hand, but occasionally it will just be an offhand funny comment thrown in there for a laugh. When a case comes to its climax, players are tasked with piecing together what exactly happened by dragging icons of Pokèmon or items into specific areas on the lower screen. These are essentially very simple logic based puzzles and as long as you review your evidence (or have been paying attention to the story), the puzzles can be solved pretty easily. Overall it's super simple, but the variety in physical and touch screen gameplay keeps things interesting.

Overall, the narrative in Detective Pikachu is pretty lighthearted and simple. Throughout the game, things do continually get a bit more dark, but nothing along the lines of what you might find in other games in the genre such as Phoenix Wirght or the Telltale Games products. The voice acting is believable and entertaining with Pikachu stealing the show. The grizzled demeanor planted on of one of the most recognizable and cute Pokémon is surprising and hilarious from start to finish. There’s not a lot of depth here, but it’s a fun ride.

Visually, Detective Pikachu looks fantastic though does have some slight framerate issues here and there. This is usually apparent when there are multiple character models on the screen at the same time. These situations are few and far between, and outside of them, the game runs pretty smoothly. The engine is sharp looking and the close ups with characters talking look particularly nice. The various environments are carefully crafted and detailed and fit the visual style perfectly. Simply put, this is a pretty good looking game with a lot of attention to detail.

The problems that are found in Detective Pikachu aren’t new to the genre, however, they still can be annoying while playing through the game. There are times when players are forced to backtrack to obtain items that they came across earlier in the game. With this being a relatively simple title, it can be a little easy to figure out some of the cases before things have fully come to light in the story properly. For example, in one part of the game, I came across a mysterious device in a storage room that I would have loved to pick up and just carry around with me for its obvious use later in the game. However, I was forced to wait until a certain point in the story when a key character told me to grab the device to help complete a segment of the case. This makes for somewhat inflated playthroughs of a game that probably would have been over with a lot sooner. There is also next to no punishment to players should they make mistakes when trying to solve cases. If you do make a mistake, Pikachu basically tells you to try again until you get it right. On the flip side, this is a title that is obviously aimed at a younger audience but is something that older players should keep in mind before diving into the experience.

Great Detective Pikachu does a great job representing the world of Pokémon outside of the usual perspective of catching the creatures or simply using the characters in puzzle game type settings. The visuals are great and the sound, especially voice acting, is top notch. While the presentation of the game is phenomenal, the overall simplicity of the story and back tracking keep this from being a must own for people outside of the most ardent Poké-fans. It’s worth taking a look, but it doesn’t have the same reach that some other point and click adventure games have to offer.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Famicast 73 - HARD BOILED PIKACHU
« on: February 20, 2016, 10:20:14 PM »
There hasn't been any word yet. I think it will, though. I think they've put too much into it to just lock it to Japan only.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Famicast 73 - HARD BOILED PIKACHU
« on: February 18, 2016, 07:41:29 AM »
yay you're talking about detective Pikachu like I asked!

Yeah! Since finishing up the edit of this episode, I've actually beat the game. I'm working on the review for it now. Expect to see that up on the site in the next couple of days!

Podcast Discussion / Re: Famicast 72 - DRUNK UNCLE MENDOZA
« on: February 17, 2016, 07:55:47 AM »
The last song of the episode is actually from 1080 Snowboarding on the Nintendo 64. You can check out the full thing here. As always, if any of you guys have any questions about which songs are used, hit me up here, Twitter (@dannybiv) or via the famicast email (

TalkBack / Re: Wii U Shortage In Japan Causing Sales Slump
« on: February 16, 2016, 02:31:18 AM »
I ate cheeseburgers and junk food instead of going to game shops in Tokyo. I'd say we just go with what micaelbaysuperfan616 says and call it a day.

TalkBack / Re: Wii U Shortage In Japan Causing Sales Slump
« on: February 13, 2016, 07:58:28 AM »
I'm actually going to be in Tokyo tomorrow actually. If I spot any electronic stores or game shops, I'm going to check them out and see what they say as well.

TalkBack / Great Detective Pikachu (3DS) Hands-on Preview
« on: February 05, 2016, 11:39:17 AM »

It's time to fight crime and do some detective work with a talking Pikachu.

Pikachu is a detective now. Well, ONE Pikachu is a detective that is apparently capable of saying more than, “Pika” in the recently released Meitanei Pikachu: Shin Combi Tanjō (aka Great Detective Pikachu: Birth of a New Duo) on the Nintendo 3DS. Detective Pikachu has been a known quantity to some degree after the game was outed on a Japanese TV program a few years back. Despite this, almost nothing was known about the game until now. After sinking a few hours into the final Japanese version, I can say that Detective Pikachu is something that diehard and even lapsed Pokémon fans should check out.

Detective Pikachu kicks off by introducing you to a city dwelling Pikachu who likes coffee and cute girls. He unfortunately never has any luck with the lady folk because they can’t understand a word that he’s saying. It isn’t until a chance encounter with Tim Goodman that Pikachu actually finds the one human that can actually understand every word he’s saying. This turns mutually beneficial for the two as the happen upon their first case when a pair of crazy Aipom nab a little girl’s necklace and take off. This in mind, interactions with NPCs are not just limited to human characters. With Pikachu’s ability to speak with other Pokémon, he translates for Tim and also feeds him things to say to other human characters in order to solve cases. This dynamic serves as the foundation for everything in the game.

There a few different facets of gameplay in Detective Pikachu, all of which are easy to get the hang of. You’re able to move around freely in the segmented parts of the world and interact with items while searching for clues. The touch screen is also used at times as well. For example, after tracking down one of the aforementioned Aipom, Pikachu and Tim had to search his unconscious body for clues. This was done by touching the creature itself as well as other debris scattered where he was laying down. There are even a few quick-time-events that I came across. Simply put, there is a lot of variety here but nothing at all about fighting or raising Pokémon.

Detective Pikachu is a decent looking game filled with cutscenes with funny dialog. Just getting to hear Pikachu’s middle aged man voice being very frank with people is a laugh. All of the other Pokémon represented in the game retain their cries to put gamers into the world as well. The visuals are good at times and go out of their way with extra details, such as the hood on Tim’s sweatshirt bouncing around slightly as he runs. The environments however, are a bit limited. Don’t go in expecting anything resembling as open of a world that you might come across in other Pokémon games. Given the fact that the game is a download title and that it’s more or less a point and click adventure, the smaller areas work in its favor. It’s not quite the best looking game on the system by any means, but the consistent framerate and graphical touches make for a pleasant experience.

Great Detective Pikachu does what exactly what it aims to do - putting Pikachu in the role of a detective. After only clearing the first case in the game, (without giving any spoilers) the story hasn’t really picked up just yet. It’s difficult to determine if the game will move into the realm of crazy town that we’ve seen with the Phoenix Wright series or just stick with simple stuff like it has up to this point. The mechanics here are sound, the visuals are solid and the fact that you’re solving crimes with a talking Pikachu are all enticing enough to at least pay attention to what the game has to offer. I’m looking forward to delving in a bit deeper to see what more the Great Detective has in store.

TalkBack / Re: Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. (3DS) Review
« on: November 30, 2015, 08:47:31 AM »
The paper craft stuff looks really cool. I almost wish they made a whole game just of that!

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 66: TRIFORCE ZEROES
« on: October 17, 2015, 11:38:40 PM »
Thank baby Buddha. I know I was concerned.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 65: TGS 2015 - MAKING HISTORY
« on: October 01, 2015, 11:53:31 AM »
Thank you. Thank you very much!

(I couldn't take it out of the edit. It was just too perfect!)

TalkBack / TGS 2015 - Project X Zone 2 (3DS) Hands-on
« on: September 19, 2015, 10:31:52 PM »

We get our hands on the latest build of the Bandai Namco/Sega/Capcom crazy crossover title on the TGS show floor!

The original Project X Zone burst onto the scene in Japan back in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since. With a roster spanning multiple companies and generations, this strategy RPG had character interactions that most gamers didn’t think would ever be possible. Fast forward to 2015 and Bandai Namco and partners are looking to continue on with the insanity in the sequel Project X Zone 2: Brave New World. It should come as no surprise that I was stoked that Bandai Namco had a build of the game at TGS this year, so obviously I had to give it a try!

The demo on the show floor immediately put you into the action with tons of characters from a plethora of series ready to duke it out on the battle field. The game controls identically to how the previous title did allowing players to choose the location of their character on the tactical map and then to duke it out with enemies that they come across. While in battle, you still attack by pressing face and directional buttons in combination. Special attacks bring out cool impressive animations for the characters that deal loads of damage. Some of the notable teams that I came across during the demo were Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima from the Yakuza series, Dante and Vergil from Devil May Cry and Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey from the Ace Attorney series. From my time with the demo, the beloved Segata Sanshiro and the recently announced Nintendo crossover characters were nowhere to be seen. If they were in there, it’s quite possible that given my short time with the demo (10-15 minutes), I just didn’t have a chance to access them.

From a visual standpoint, Project X Zone 2 retains the same look and feel of the original. The sprites look top notch and the animated anime character art looks sharp and is smoothly implemented on the 3DS screens. The 3D effect isn’t necessary to enjoy the game but it does give an extra sense of depth by layering the content. It might not be much of an upgrade from the original, but the visuals in X Zone 2 still look excellent.

The TGS demo of Project X Zone 2 might not have given a great look into the narrative of the game, but it did give players a chance to try out some of the new characters that are being thrown into the mix. Gamers in Japan can get their hands on the final version of the game on November 12 while gamers in North America and Europe will have to wait until February. To check out more of the game, be sure to check out the trailer below!

TalkBack / TGS 2015 - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 6 (3DS) Hands-on
« on: September 19, 2015, 08:14:00 PM »

Capcom certainly doesn’t object to having a new Ace Attorney at TGS this year.

Gyakuten Saiban, or Phoenix Wright : Ace Attorney as it is known in the West, has been around for quite a long time and has made many appearances at the Tokyo Game Show throughout the years. This year, Capcom is making a return to form by showcasing the latest entry in the series, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 6, with a playable demo on the show floor. To be perfectly honest, having never played a game in the series before, I was a bit apprehensive to tackle a demo of the game in such an environment. After entering the elaborately decorated booth and getting a brief hands-on, I left surprised by what I saw.

The whole setting behind Ace Attorney 6 puts Phoenix and his team in the mysterious Kurain (potentially Klein?) Kingdom. The kingdom doesn’t exactly have what most would consider a modern court system, but rather relies on oracles to render verdicts in cases making the need for defense attorneys like Phoenix unnecessary. Of course, he objects the minute that his tour guide, Bokuto, is accused of a murder that he claims he has no knowledge of. After being thrown into this kangaroo court, it’s now your job to try to prove the friendly tour guide’s innocence. You’re presented with numerous pieces of evidence to use to try to make your case to the presiding priest-like judge.

Ace Attorney 6 seems to be running on the 3DS engine behind Dual Destinies and the recently released Dai Gyakuten Saiban (The Great Ace Attorney). The characters still look extremely sharp and with the new setting in Kurain, the inhabitants and locations have quite a different look than what you would find in previous titles. The court room is now almost cathedral-like and rather than being full of lawyers wearing nice suits is filled with priest and priestess-like characters. It’s an interesting visual and narrative dynamic that is likely going to set up some pretty crazy stories and interactions.

Sitting through a 10-15 minute demo on a loud show floor for a game like Ace Attorney 6 simply isn’t enough to get a complete feel of what kind of experience the final game will provide. Regardless, the game looks great and is set to give more crazy cases that fans of the series can definitely look forward to. Ace Attorney 6 is scheduled to hit retail in Japan in 2016 and has been confirmed for a release in the West. Be sure to check out the trailer below.

TalkBack / TGS 2015 - Monster Hunter X (3DS) Hands-on
« on: September 19, 2015, 07:08:00 PM »

The king of TGS makes its return. Again.

Monster Hunter has been a staple of the Tokyo Game Show for years. Capcom always puts together an extremely elaborate booth that is permeated with all things Monster Hunter. This year, although there were nearly half a dozen Monster Hunter titles at the show, Monster Hunter X (cross) was THE Monster Hunter game that Capcom wanted people to play at TGS. Luckily, I had a chance to get into the booth and try it out.

For my demo at the show, I decided to try out the solo mission as I didn’t have any friends with me at the booth. After starting up the demo and selecting my hunter class, you are then prompted to choose one of X’s new hunting styles, a feature that is new in this iteration. Guild Style is a balanced basic hunting style that is plays pretty similarly to previous games in the series. The Striker Style is more attack heavy and was recommended to me by the staff as it is one of the easier styles to play. Aerial Style does just as the name implies. It allows for more aerial based attacks using the monster as a vaulting point to come crashing back down to deliver blows. The most difficult, pro-level style is the Bushido Style. Bushido is all about evasion and counter attacks. It also proves the most risky, as one mistimed evasion or counter can have a monster knock you down quickly.

After first starting off with a mid-tier level monster and getting wrecked as a Dual Wielder with the Striker Style, I decided to go down and face Dosumakkao, a raptor-like enemy that was the easiest monster available in the demo (point and laugh, it’s okay!). After tracking him down, for the first time ever, I found myself actually doing some serious damage to a creature in the series! Sure, as with all Monster Hunter games, it’s all about being patient and waiting for the right opportunities to attack, however, the Striker Style seemed to make it easier to time and execute attacks.

Visually, X looks almost the same as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. One thing that Capcom did this time around was, however, was making the environments (at least for the demo) more interesting than what I’ve seen in previous demos. As I was making my way to track down the monster, I noticed an abandoned ramshackle hut in the middle of the what would usually be filled with vegetation. It was a nice little touch and made it seem as if the monsters in the area made it too dangerous for people to actually inhabit the location.

Not being a Monster Hunter expert, the changes in X from 4 Ultimate seem trivial on the surface, however, the nuanced differences between the hunting styles can really change how you approach taking down monsters. It was even a bit easier for a complete novice like me to feel like I was better at playing the game thanks to the new hunting styles. Gamers in Japan don’t have to wait much longer for the retail release of Monster Hunter X on November 28 while gamers in the West will have to wait a little while. To see more about the game, be sure to check out the promotional video below!

TalkBack / TGS 2015 - 7th Dragon III: code VFD (3DS) Hands-on
« on: September 19, 2015, 05:38:00 PM »

Sega’s only Nintendo offering at TGS was surprisingly enjoyable.

7th Dragon III: code VFD is a turn based RPG for the Nintendo 3DS that has aspects of time travel, dragon slaying, dating and tons more. This is actually the first time since the inception of the series back in 2009 that 7th Dragon is coming back to a Nintendo platform after a brief stint on the PSP. Even though that's almost all I know about the series, I decided to take the plunge and try out the beefy demo at Sega’s booth at TGS.

Starting out the demo, players are given the option to go through in either normal or casual mode. Wanting to make sure I could get everything I could out of the 25 minute demo, I opted for casual. The TGS demo allows players to have up to three members in their party. While the final game boasts eight different classes, the Samurai, God Hand, Agent and Duelist were available to play on the show floor. There are voice samples from 40 different (I’m assuming famous) Japanese voice actors to assign to your male or female characters. There are three different visuals styles that you can also choose for your character as well. They include Atlantis Style, Tokyo Style and Eden style each with a different anime aesthetics and multiple color variations. Simply put, 7th Dragon III offers quite a bit of customization.

After creating your character and going through some dialog, the gameplay kicks off with you on a lower section of Tokyo Sky Tower (based on Tokyo Sky Tree). The tower is covered in all sorts of vegetation and has a gloomy, creepy atmosphere giving you the feeling that something could go wrong at any moment. Battles are handled via random enemy encounters that place enemy characters front and center similar to what you would find in Dragon Quest. After choosing an attack, party members appear on the screen and dole out damage to the opposing creatures. Of course, as in most RPGs, there are also special attacks that can be used that differ based on which character class you choose. For example, one of the moves with the Samurai class had my character come in and take a few good slices dealing quite a bit of damage. From my time with the demo, the system isn’t entirely groundbreaking, but it was still enjoyable and offers plenty of variety when taking the classes into consideration.

7th Dragon III definitely has an anime vibe to it. Anime-like versions of the characters appear while dialog is on the screen and during the character selection process. The majority of the game is in 3D with a fixed isometric camera while players are exploring the world. The character models look a little bit like skinnier versions of what you would find in Bravely Default and look appropriately like their anime counterparts. It doesn’t have the best visuals that you’ll find on the system, but it gets the job done.

I had a surprising amount of fun with Code VDF. The visuals were interesting and the gameplay was enjoyable enough to keep me engaged throughout the demo. It can be challenging and yet fair at the same time. Typically at any trade show, it’s hard to get a good grasp of an RPG in such a short amount of time, but the 25 minute allowance was a great call to really give players a taste of the game. Even with the ample amount of time for the demo, I was still unable to complete it but left pleasantly surprised.  At this time, there’s no information about a release in western territories, but gamers in Japan can pick up 7th Dragon III: code VDF on October 15. If you have a Japanese 3DS, you can download a demo on the eShop starting on September 30. Be sure to check out the trailer below.

TalkBack / Re: TGS 2015 - Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS) Hands-On
« on: September 18, 2015, 08:00:28 PM »
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the scarf is going to be included in any of the SKUs that they're releasing. Oddly enough, all of the staff around the demo unit were wearing them and attendees could even try one on and get their pictures taken with it (along with the Master Sword and Hylian Shield). They're just teasing us now!

TalkBack / TGS 2015 - Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS) Hands-On
« on: September 18, 2015, 04:11:00 AM »

The Zelda spin off sees new life on the 3DS and it’s better than you might expect.

Having played my fair share of Musō (aka Warriors) titles on the Nintendo 3DS at previous Tokyo Game Shows, I can honestly admit that as soon as I heard that Zelda Musō Hyrule All-Stars (known as Hyrule Warriors Legends in the West) was heading to the dual screen handheld I was a bit doubtful. Okay, so maybe I’ve only played one or two titles in the series on the platform. Even though the gameplay was usually just fine, various technical aspects of the games such as the frame rate or graphics were deterrents from making the games something special. After getting my grubby mitts on Hyrule Warriors Legends at Tokyo Game Show, I walked away impressed and can easily say that the console experience translates well to the 3DS.

The demo allows players to choose between Hyrule Warriors Link, Toon Link and Tetra before they go into the field of play. Unlike the Wii U version, the 3DS version lets players cycle between two characters to control throughout the level. This is done by tapping an icon of the character on the touch screen. This mechanic has been put to use in Warriors games in the past (such as the Warriors game I played at TGS last year) so it’s really nothing new to the series. Still, being able to change characters on the fly typically can be very beneficial. For example, there are times when you need to get to an area that is about to be taken over by an oncoming wave of enemies. As opposed to hoofing it across the stage, if your other character is closer, you can simply choose them and proceed with the mission in a more efficient manner. It’s a nice touch. Other than that, the gameplay translates pretty well to the 3DS. You’ll find yourself easily cutting through hundreds of enemies just as easily as you would in the Wii U version.

In my time with the game, I played through the demo using Tetra and Toon Link, two of the new additions to the game. Tetra came equipped with a sword and a pistol that she used in combination against the enemies. Toon Link seemed like somewhat of a quicker version of Hyrule Link but seemed a bit weaker. My limited time with the demo didn’t allow me to try out the stage with normal Link. While not all of the new content for the game was shown off at TGS, we did get a peek at a new item the game offers. The hammer was added to the repertoire of items and can be used to attack and to help with solving puzzles. There is nothing nearly as complicated that you would find in a mainline Zelda game, but it’s a fun addition nonetheless.

Legends is no visual slouch. The game has an extremely smooth frame rate and looks great on the hardware. Even with the multitudes of enemies coming in from all sides the game never took a hit on performance. Obviously the game doesn’t look quite as nice as its HD counterpart on Wii U, but it is still an impressive looking game.

Hyrule Warriors Legends plays well and looks excellent on the 3DS. While the final game is by and large the same game that you played on the Wii U last year, there are a few enhancements and additions that might make it worth your while. It launches in Japan on January 21, 2016 and is hitting western markets early next year. Be sure to check out the latest trailer from TGS below!

TalkBack / TGS 2015 - Monster Hunter Stories (3DS) Hands-on
« on: September 18, 2015, 02:35:04 AM »

Who says Monster Hunter can't be for everyone?

Monster Hunter is a hard core game that isn’t quite accessible to uninitiated players, particularly in the West. Over the years, Capcom has come a very long way since the days of “the claw” making the series easier to get into and bringing in more gamers to the hunt. Despite their efforts, is it possible that Capcom has reached the ceiling with how many more people they can welcome into the fold of traditional Monster Hunter? While that is certainly debatable, Capcom has decided to go a completely different route with the series with the spin-off RPG Monster Hunter Stories for Nintendo 3DS. Cacpom brought a build of the game to Tokyo Game Show and I walked away extremely impressed by the promise this game has.

Monster Hunter Stories is still set in the Monster Hunter world, but instead of focusing on the hunters, it focuses on an entirely different group known as riders. Riders don’t hunt and kill monsters in the same way that hunters do, but rather capture (usually when they’re still inside of eggs), raise and fight with these creatures on their adventures. The demo at TGS starts by immediately putting you into the role of either a boy or girl as you start your quest to steal a monster egg. After grabbing the egg and running away from the crazy monster parent, the little guy, known as a Monstie, hatches giving players a companion to explore the world with. This aspect really helps to make the world of Monster Hunter feel deeper and more than simply a world full of hunters.

Unlike mainline Monster Hunter games which go for a more realistic feel, the art direction in Stories sets the game apart visually with its colorful cartoony style. It’s similar to the huge difference between realistic Zelda titles and Wind Waker. Like the cel-shaded Zelda adventure, the characters in Stories can come to life more than any character ever could in past Monster Hunter games. There are tons of great facial animations that are fun and make character expression one of the main focuses of the game. The locales from the demo - a small forest, a town, and a wide open field - all look stunning and have bright vivid colors that make the game akin to watching an anime on your 3DS. It’s an incredible visual achievement on the system and it runs silky smooth.

Being an RPG, things work quite a bit differently than typical monster hunter games. Battles initiate once you run into a monster in the open field. All of the actions that you can do while in combat are mapped to the touch screen (you can cycle through them with the d-pad or Circle Pad if you like). From there, you have the standard menu items that you find in most RPGs. One interesting element that is added to regular attacks is a rock, paper scissors element that can give you an advantage over you foe. Once you choose the standard attack, you can then choose if you want to focus on using power, speed or technique. As you attack, enemies also choose one of these to counter your attack. With the system, power beats technique, technique beats speed and speed beats power. No matter what, you’ll deal damage, but if you hit just right, you’ll deal quite a bit more damage than usual. On the flip side, if the enemy wins this, you’ll take a serious amount of damage. It’s a cool addition to make even basic attacks more of an event.

On top of standard attacks, players can use special attacks that unleash a specific player skills, Monstie attacks, the ability to swap Monsties or use items and the option to retreat. The center of the touch screen features a kinship gauge that fills up throughout battle. Once it is completely full, you are able to hop on your Monstie with Y and unleash some very strong, satisfying attacks. The entire battle layout on the touch screen looks extremely sharp and is very easy to use.

Monster Hunter Stories was a pleasant surprise that is not only fun but also looks fantastic. It’s great to see a game being set in the same world as Monster Hunter but being more accessible and something completely different from what Capcom has done in the past. Stories is set to come to the 3DS in Japan in 2016. There still isn’t any word on a release in the West at this time. Be sure to check out the trailer below!

TalkBack / Tokyo Game Show 2015 - Software for Nintendo Platforms
« on: September 16, 2015, 02:08:59 AM »

See what hot games will be playable at Japan's biggest gaming event this week!

You are probably wondering why you should be excited at all about Tokyo Game Show this year if you're a Nintendo fan, right? While it still remains true that Nintendo as a company does not attend the show, that doesn't count out third party titles from showing up on the show floor. This year's show is one of the sparsest I've seen in my time here at NWR, but there are actually a few heavy hitters that you'll be hearing about from us very soon.

Perhaps one of the biggest titles at the this year’s show comes from Koei Tecmo in the form of Zelda Musō: Hyrule All-stars (Hyrule Warriors: Legends) on the Nintendo 3DS. This port of last year’s hit Wii U title promises to do bring the same experience to the small screen with quite a bit more content. While The Musō series has been hit or miss on 3DS, it’s going to be interesting to see how this ports fares.

What would the Tokyo Game Show be without Monster Hunter? It’s no secret that Japanese gamers absolutely love the series and Capcom always does something Monster Hunter related every year. At the show this week, gamers will not only be able to play the next big iteration of the series with Monster Hunter X (cross), but also Monster Hunter Stories and the recently released Poka Poka Airou Mura DX. Notoriously locked behind required time stamped tickets, we’ll do our best to get our grubby mitts on all of the Monster Hunter that we can.

Below is the current list of titles for 3DS and Wii U that are going to be at the show in some form. We hope you guys enjoy the written content as well as the upcoming episode of the Famicast where we’ll talk about all things TGS!

Koei Tecmo Games

  • Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS) - Demo, Stage Show

Bandai Namco Games

  • Project X Zone: Brave New World (3DS) - Demo, Stage Show
  • Disney Infinity 3.0 (Wii U) - Demo
  • Pro Yakyu Famistar Returns (3DS) - Video only
  • Disney Magic Castle 2: My Happy Life (3DS) - Demo
  • Lost Reavers (formerly Project Treasure, Wii U) - Video only


  • Monster Hunter X (Cross, 3DS) - Demo, Stage Show, Online Broadcast
  • Monster Hunter Stories (3DS) - Demo, Stage Show, Online Broadcast
  • Monster Hunter Diaries: Poka Poka Airou Village DX (3DS) - Demo
  • Gyakuten Saiban 6 (3DS) - Demo, Stage Show, Online Broadcast

Sega (and partners)

  • 7th Dragon III: code VFD (3DS) - Demo, Stage Show

Square Enix

  • Dragon Quest X: Online (3DS, Wii, Wii U)

TalkBack / Re: Amazon, Nintendo Team Up For Digital Code Store
« on: September 02, 2015, 04:43:40 AM »
With time the available titles will grow. Nintendo did the same thing with Amazon here in Japan and the initial offerings were kinda lackluster.

TalkBack / Re: Xenoblade Chronicles X Review
« on: July 24, 2015, 10:31:49 AM »
Honestly, I was SUPER careful about making sure that I didn't exceed my Skell getting destroyed more than three times. On my first one, I think I junked it two or three times, but after that, I didn't have any problems. It should be noted, that as your Skell is essentially exploding in battle if you take too much damage, a QTE-like prompt comes on the screen telling you to hit the B buttons before a circle depletes. If you hit the button within a certain range, your Skell will remain in tact without any need for repairs. It's only if you miss the timing on it (or jump down a hole or something) that it will count against you. The QTE prompt is actually pretty forgiving so if you're paying attention to how much HP your Skell has, you should be able to avoid it getting destroyed without any problems.

As far as I know, after your Skell is junked the initial three times, you have to pay the repair costs thereafter indefinitely. So, if you go beyond that, you're shelling out for repair costs. By the time I unlocked Skells in the game, I had so much damn money that even if mine got junked, I could purchase another with relative ease.

Between the two hefty sets of hands-on preview and this review, there are still tons of stuff in the game to talk about. If you guys have any other questions, I'll do my best to answer them here (spoiler free, but if you want spoilers, hit me up via DM on Twitter or here).

TalkBack / Re: Xenoblade Chronicles X Review
« on: July 24, 2015, 07:11:41 AM »
Haha! Not trying to be trolly with the abstract. For some reason I thought there were more RPGs on Wii U...Like maybe 3 or something! :-p

Enner, even though I haven't even come close to beating the original Xenoblade Chronicles (I have it on Wii and 3DS...yeah, I'm one of those people), everything I'm hearing is that if you like the gameplay that you experienced in the first one, this should be right up your alley. This time with giant robots.

TalkBack / Xenoblade Chronicles X Review
« on: July 23, 2015, 06:54:19 PM »

Say hello to the definitive RPG for Nintendo's home console.

Xenoblade Chronicles X has been on the radar of Wii U owners for the past few years. With the game finally being available to the public in Japan and the official release date announced for North America (December 4), information about the latest JRPG from Monolith Soft abounds. The Japanese gaming media has been pretty positive about the game as have been numerous fans across the internet who have really enjoyed what they’ve played. With the reputation of Xenoblade, X has a lot to prove. I can honestly say that after spending a considerable amount of time with and beating it, Monolith and Nintendo have something special here.

Unlike its predecessor, Xenoblade Chronicles X puts you in control of a completely customizable avatar that you name and adjust the appearance of. There are numerous options for customization, even outside of the deluge of settings for your character. As with the original Xenoblade Chronicles, equipping different gear alters the look of your player giving you even more options to personalize your avatar. While not related to visual elements of the game, the customization even extends to how to choose and respond to situations and conversations throughout the game that can effect NPC relationships. At first, it was a bit strange to have the avatar's muted response interrupt a free flowing conversation, but I found myself getting used to it over time.

An extremely deep battle system greets players right off the bat. Borrowing somewhat from its predecessor, X makes use of the Arts system. For the uninitiated, the system allows for free movement during battle and has players attack by scrolling through circular like orbs lined up on the bottom of the screen representing actions you can do. All the while, another system, called the Soul System, also comes into play. By listening to your party members and attacking specific parts of enemies or performing certain actions, you can dole out more damage or even heal your party members. The system is extremely complex and offers tons of customization. Mastering the battle system gives you a sense of empowerment and is an extremely enjoyable facet of the game. Alongside multiple classes to master and tons of different gear to obtain and craft, the battle system is fantastic and offers a lot of room for unique configurations.

Dolls, known as Skells in the English localized version of the game, are one of the main draws of the game. By now, it’s no secret that obtaining a Skell takes quite a bit of effort and time (for a more in depth look at that, be sure to check out my hands on preview here). Regardless, after getting one, the way you play the game changes. Even after acquiring your first Skell without the ability to fly, you are still able to reach tons of areas that you couldn’t before. By the time you have a flying version, you can pretty much go anywhere you want. Battles also take on a different feeling as your team, even with the inclusion of just one Skell, will be taking out enemies faster. While Skells do give you a greater sense of power, this is offset by Skell fuel, which limits how long you can use the mechs. For example, attacks during battles use fuel, as does flying around the game world. This makes it necessary to keep an eye on the fuel gauge at all times. This limitation helps bring a balance to the game where it could have easily gotten out of hand. As with nearly everything else in the game, you are also able to fully customize the equipment and appearance of you Skell. Without a doubt, Xenoblade X’s giant robots are one of the best, if not the best, aspects of the game.

The implementation of the GamePad might not be the most groundbreaking use of the touchscreen, but it definitely offers the best way to play X. Gamers also have the option to play through the game using the Wii U Pro controller, however the added functionality that the GamePad brings to the table is enough to make gamers forget about using the Pro. Having the map being constantly displayed is great as it prevents you from getting lost in the enormous world. Just the simple fact that it's always there keeps you from having to constantly delve into menus a dozen or so times during a play through. Other useful things can be done on the touch screen as well. After visiting and planting data probes in the game world (which you will be doing a lot of), you are able to upgrade them directly on the touch screen from anywhere in the game world. Fast travel spots are easily accessible and are just a touch away from sending you instantly to another location. Off TV is supported, however because you can’t easily access the map, using the feature can limit your experience. Off TV aside, playing with the Gamepad is extremely useful and a borderline necessary feature to help explore and navigate through this huge world.

Xenoblade Chronicles X features a stunning fully realized sci-if world packed with detail. Developer Monolith Soft shows that not only can you have a visually appealing world on the Wii U, but also that this world can be brought to life with minimal load times. The look of human character models might be not appeal to everyone, but the designs of the creatures and aliens are outstanding. Gear, weapons and Skells are all extremely detailed and look great. The continents all feature very different terrain giving them each a unique visual feel. Volcanoes, prairies, mountains, beaches, deserts, floating gigantic rocks in the sky - there are a ton of great looking places to visit. There are also tons of tunnels and caves hidden all around the world for you to explore. Out of all of the locations in the game, only one of the continents was less technically impressive than the others - the desert area known as Oblivia. The ground and mountainside had a tendency to have somewhat muddy textures. Looking past this, Oblivia is full of buried ruins which peek up out of the ground and mysterious caverns giving it a mysterious vibe. It would be easy to write an entire novel detailing the world and environments of X. (*Note* I am playing the disc based version of X with one of the four data performance packs installed on my Wii U. For optimal performance, the digital version or having all of the data packs installed is suggested.)

The music is just the icing on the cake as the great soundtrack really helps to tie game together. The majority of the tunes in the game feature grand, orchestral pieces that really help to give X an epic feel. Situational music, such as smoothly transitioning into different tunes while engaging in battle or switching to a special track for exploring caves, might not be anything new in video games, but fit nicely into the overall experience. There were only a few stinkers in the soundtrack (I wasn’t particularly fond of the tracks used in New Los Angeles), but overall fans of the genre or good music will be satisfied.

To match the sci-if world that was crafted visually, the team at Monolith tried to match the awesome visual aesthetics with an engaging story. While there are some bumps along the way that fall into typical anime/JRPG territory ( i.e., "Hey guys, I have amnesia!"), there are some interesting characters and races in the world as well as understandable motives for key characters. Voice acting is used abundantly throughout the game and does a pretty good job at getting across the personality of each character. Even in situations when there isn’t spoken dialog, such as some of the side quests, conversations still have a good flow and are funny or serious when they need to be. It probably won’t win any awards or anything, but it will keep you entertained throughout the dozens of hours of gameplay that X has to offer.

Online functionality, while not necessary to play and enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles X, is a welcome addition that really enhances the game overall. X makes use of what is touted as a “loosely connected” online experience. Before the start of the game, you have the ability to join a squad that is made up of up to 32 other people playing at the same time as you. Each squad is given a variety of missions, such as to kill a certain number of monsters or collect a certain number of items throughout the game world. Participation is all up to you, and even if you don’t help at all when your squad clears a mission, you will still see the spoils of victory. This loose connectivity with other players doesn’t end there. Players are also able to scout NPC versions of players to join their parties and can purchase or sell items. Of course, there is an option to play with four other players directly on special quests to defeat monsters (ala Monster Hunter), but the real meat of the online is found in the unobtrusive passive online system. To get the most out of X, playing with a connected console is a must!

Most of my time with X has been really enjoyable, however, there were a few minor annoyances that popped up here and there. The chief complaint I had has to do with progression in the game’s story. After each mission, you are often tasked with required quests in order to be able to continue on in the story. Although some of these can be tackled in an hour or so, others will have gamers playing upwards of half a dozen hours or more (depending on the level of your characters, general skill at the game, etc.). This allows players to get deeper into the world and lore of X, but at the same time almost takes away from discovering the world in a more natural way. Typically as I was going through these kind of situations (for example, unlocking a certain percentage of search completion on a continent), I was just ready to move on. However, looking back shortly thereafter, it would feel satisfying to have explored or to have done what was required of me to proceed. This isn’t really anything new to the genre, but it can be a bit draining for those that want to see what’s next in the story.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is a sensational game that will keep gamers busy for hours on end. Going into the game, gamers should be well aware that X does have a few flaws, namely the required side quests between story missions and a few graphical hiccups here and there. While these can be a bit annoying, getting past them is easy thanks to the engaging battle system, fantastic visuals and smartly implemented online system. X has a ton of content, even apart from the story, that will keep players busy for a long time. On my first play through of the game, it took me over 80 hours before I saw the end credits, and that was without delving super deep into any of the optional side quests. X is one of the deepest, most complex games that can be found on Wii U and you owe it to yourself to check it out.

I picked this game up a few weeks ago here in Japan. Not bad, and the additional Super Famicom game was a plus. It is interesting to note that Super Butōden 2 was also released in Europe (France, I believe) back in the day, too. So it makes sense to see that coming as a bonus in Europe. No idea if they would opt to do that in North America and then give it to gamers in only French of Japanese.

TalkBack / Re: Devil's Third Video Confirms Japanese Release Date
« on: June 11, 2015, 10:58:47 AM »


"JC represents all sane people on the Famicrew! Despite how silly this game looks, I'm interested. I like these kind of broken-ass third person action games. I'll be giving it a shot, like I did with Yakuza HD collection, which also sucks ass" - Danny Bivens, 2015.

TalkBack / Xenoblade Chronicles X - Doll Lover (Hands on Preview)
« on: June 03, 2015, 03:31:51 AM »

We take an in depth look at Skells and online functionality.

Over the past few weeks, I've been playing quite a lot of Xenoblade Chronicles X. At more than 50 hours into the game, I'm well over half way through and can probably finish the story section within the next dozen or so hours. Being this far in the game, I’ve had an extensive look at X’s online functionality as well as the Skells and have been left very impressed.

The journey to obtain a Doll, or Skell as they are known in English, has been one of my main goals as soon as I first started playing X. Right off the bat, I can tell you that getting one of these robotic beasts isn't as easy as walking into a hanger and picking out your favorite one. The game puts you through a complex set of tasks to obtain a Skell License. From collecting items, defeating enemies to placing data probes on the game map, there is quite a bit of running around (literally) to do. It's not super difficult, but it is definitely time consuming and sometimes tricky. For example, one of the missions had me looking for a handful of dragonflies that could be picked up by collecting the various crystals throughout the game world. After searching for probably around 30 minutes to an hour, I finally found all of the required dragonflies I needed to continue on with my quests.

After completing all of the required quests, you are given a Skell License and a Skell. While the base model for the Skell is a specific model type, there are tons of different ways you can customize it with various weapons, armor and colors. You can even edit the color of the visor on the head and the boost color that comes out of the back of the machine. Of course, as with character creation at the beginning of the game, you can spend as much or little time with customization as you want. With my first Skell, I spent a grand total of 10 minutes or so and got something half way decent looking.

Combat in the Skells is more or less identical to combat on foot. The Soul System still comes into play and using Arts still play a big part in the gameplay. Typically, the Skells can dole out more damage to enemies than what characters can on foot. The first time I fought with my Skell, I was pleased to inflict sometimes two to three times more damage (or more) than I was previously dishing out. There is also a move that allows Skells to "catch" enemies when prompted by press the ZL and ZR buttons. This temporarily prevents the enemy from moving and makes them more susceptible to taking greater amounts of damage.

Traveling on foot is already pretty fast in X, but the Skells make traversing Mira significantly quicker. Whether it be simply walking in the huge mech, or pressing in the left stick (which usually performs a dash mode while on foot) to transform into an armored car, you'll be blowing through the landscapes toward your destination in no time. Right off the bat, players have to settle with only the ability to jump while in their Skells. It is still a drastic improvement over jumping on foot and can still allow you to reach some new places to explore. When you finally do get the ability of flight, the game opens up even more. As soon as I received the flight custom upgrade on my Skell, I rose to the skies right above New Los Angles and seamlessly made my way to other areas on the planet. There were no load times or slow down, although you can clearly see finer details of locales being rendered and loaded as you got closer to them.

With it being advantageous to use Skells to get to unreachable places or to fight strong enemies, player are somewhat limited with how often and how long they can use them. Skell fuel has to be taken into consideration. Once your Skell is engaged in a battle or if you are flying through the air, your fuel begins to deplete. Things such as using super strong Art attacks or using an extra speed boost while in the air (by pressing in the left stick, similar to the dash) will deplete the fuel quicker. You can refuel by either spending an in-game resource called Miranium or exit the Skell and wait for it to refuel over time. If you go with the latter option, it can take quite awhile to replenish. However, if you turn off the game completely, the fuel comes back over time while you are away.

As many of you know, Xenoblade Chronicles X has an online component. There is an option to participate in online quests with up to four players (this is one thing I haven’t tried yet, unfortunately). However, the majority of the online features are what the development team calls a "loosely connected" online system. Upon starting the game (after completing an early part of the story), players will be connected online with up to 32 other players in what is called a Squad. The Squad is assigned a mission collectively to defeat a variety of monsters or collect items within a time limit. Even if players don't participate in the missions, they are able to see the progress in real time via a counter on the lower right hand portion of the TV screen. Completing missions can give everyone on the Squad things like experience or items, even if you do absolutely nothing.

The inclusion of the online is seamless. While playing, you will constantly see various small messages popping up letting you know information about what the other players on your squad are doing. This is mostly done by showing you what in-game awards other players are getting. Of course, other players see everything that you are doing as well. Through Squad Reports, players are able to send messages that appear in real time to all members of the squad. You're able to choose topics to headline the message and as with Miiverse, can even tag a message with spoilers. This system is well implemented and is out of the way enough so that players who are wanting to venture through the game on their own can. For myself, at the earlier parts of the game, I wasn't paying much attention to the Squad Reports. However, after I received an award for plummeting to my death down a nearly endless pit, somebody on my Squad commented on my triumph/stupidity. It just goes to show that even if you aren't interacting with other players in active ways, the loose connection can still make you feel like you aren't playing X alone. Not only that, but the Report feature can come in handy for those who are looking to get more involved in the previously mentioned Squad missions.

There are other aspects of this loose connection that can really benefit players. NPC versions of other players can be found throughout the game world. If you speak with them, you have the option to “scout” them so they can join your party. This is all done passively, so you will simply have an AI controlled version of a character on your team. The benefits to the player scouting may be obvious (have stronger characters in your party, etc), however, the scouted players also get something in return. If they are used in battles, they will get a share in the experience gained and can also receive items. You can also interact with players by giving away or selling items. This can also come in handy when things like the aforementioned dragonfly section of the Skell Licence quest come up. You can usually find and purchase items that you would need to complete collecting quests. When rare drop items from monsters are required to carry on in a quest, this can feature can be very helpful.

Even after spending over 50 hours with Xenoblade Chronicles X, I still feel like there is so much left to do and so many places left to explore. Getting a Skell really does open the game up, and even more so once you gain the ability to fly. The online functionality of the game is also surprisingly deep. It’s not perfect, but X offers one of the deepest and most robust experiences on Nintendo’s home console.

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