Earthbound Beginnings Announced for Virtual Console

Earthbound

Just before starting the Nintendo World Championships, Nintendo dropped a bombshell with the announcement that the highly anticipated prequel to cult-classic RPG Earthbound will finally be released on the Wii U’s Virtual Console.  Earthbound Beginnings, known as Mother in Japan, has never received an international release and was only available on the Famicom.  This is definitely an exciting day for Earthbound fans around the globe.

Lucas, Roy, and Ryu DLC Now Available for Super Smash Bros, New Amiibo Revealed

Super Smash

Three more characters have joined the cast of Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS.  Lucas from Mother 3, Roy from Fire Emblem, and Ryu from Street Fighter are all available for purchase now.  Lucas and Roy make their long awaited returns from Brawl and Melee respectively with all of their familiar techniques intact.  Ryu is the first entirely new character released as DLC and he is easily the most unique character to join the roster yet.  While his special moves can be performed with the simple Smash inputs, using the more complex inputs from the Street Fighter games will result in much more powerful attacks.  Performing a Shoryuken with SF inputs and hitting at just the right point can be an almost guaranteed kill.  He can also perform light, medium, and heavy variants of all of his attacks based on how long you hold the button down.  Finally, he is the first smasher to have two Final Smashes.  Performing the Final Smash directly next to an opponent will perform the incredibly powerful Shin Shoryuken.  Otherwise, he will fire of a massive Shinku Hadouken projectile.  Ryu definitely looks to be one of the most insane and powerful characters yet.

Along with the new characters, there are also three new stages added to the game.  The long-awaited Miiverse stage is available for free to all players.  The stage is essentially a reskin of the the Battlefield stage with the addition of Miiverse messages from players all around the world appearing in the background.  The brand new Suzaku Castle stage is based on Ryu’s stage from Street Fighter II and comes included with the purchase of Ryu.  The stage has two layers of large, stable platforms to the right and two smaller platforms to the left.  Finally, the Dream Land 64 stage from the original Super Smash Bros returns.  It’s not the only stage to return from the first Smash Bros as Hyrule Castle and Peach’s Castle 64 are also set to be released as DLC, but they’ll both come at a later date.

Plenty of new outfits have also been released for the Mii Fighters.  Along with the previously announced Splatoon outfits, there will be costumes based on Isabelle from Animal Crossing, Zero from Mega Man X, MegaMan.EXE from Mega Man Battle Network, Akira and Jacky from Virtua Fighter, and Heihachi from Tekken.  Ironically, the recently revealed K. K. Slider costume is nowhere to be seen.  The Mii Fighters will also be receiving their own amiibo figures.  The figures themselves are based on the default designs used on the character select screen, but their appearances in-game can be customized to your liking.  Along with the Miis, amiibo for R.O.B., Duck Hunt, Mr. Game & Watch, and Falco have also been revealed.  The Mr. Game & Watch amiibo is of particular interest as it will include multiple poses that can be swapped out.

The Tournament mode is now in its testing phase and will be released in August.  Lastly, there will be updates made to the replay function with Youtube intergration, allowing players to directly upload recordings of their matches online.  You will need a Google account in order to use this function.  Which of these announcements has you the most excited?  What are you still hoping to see adding to Super Smash Bros in the future?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

6 Things I Don’t Want to See at E3 2015

E3 2015

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo is only a week away and there is plenty of excitement surrounding what new games and hardware we might see unveiled.  I won’t deny that I have my own share of excitement for the festivities, but a part of me can’t help but feel cynical at this time of year. As such, let’s go over some of the possibilities that I’m most dreading for this year’s E3.

6. Another Assassin’s Creed Game

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“Oh, you mean you don’t want Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate to be at E3?”  No, that’s obviously going to be there and it certainly has every right to be.  What I don’t want is for Ubisoft to announce another new Assassin’s Creed game this soon after the announcement of Syndicate.  Before you call that absurd, I’d just like to mention that two Assassin’s Creed games have already been released between the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Unity and now.  Assassin’s Creed: Rouge launched on consoles right alongside Unity and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China released in late April.  Also, this is probably a wasted wish as the already announced Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India will probably be showing up anyway and may even bring Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia along with it just to spite me.

Now, the number of releases on its own wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  If I was that bothered by oversaturation, I wouldn’t be a Mario fan.  The problem is that the Assassin’s Creed games have been pretty spotty recently and many have been turned off from the series as a result.  I do think that there is still time to turn the series around, but the worst thing that Ubisoft can do right now is machine-gun titles back-to-back to further exhaust their consumers.  If they just focus on making Syndicate into something great, it may be enough to turn the reputation of the series around.  Right now, the failures will speak louder than the successes and the best way to avoid that is to stop churning out buggy, unfinished products and consolidate the series.

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5. More DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight

How sad is it that I’m already tired of a game that hasn’t released yet, I have every reason to be excited for, and have actively been avoiding media coverage of to prevent spoilers?  Warner Bros. Interactive is one of the most frustrating companies in the current industry.  With excellent studios like Netherrealm, Monolith, and Rocksteady working for them, Warner Bros. could easily be on par with the biggest companies in the industry today.  They could stand to hold their own personal E3 conference with all of the prestigious developers they have at their side.  T

he only thing holding Warner Bros. back right now is, well, Warner Bros.  They have been pulling all manner of shady practices recently and they’ve been continuously getting worse with every title.  They nearly sabotaged the release of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor by placing an unnecessary review embargo on it, which is publicly seen as a game being overhyped trash ever since Aliens: Colonial Marines, despite Shadow of Mordor actually being a landmark title that earned universal praise.  It was actually up to reviewers to save the title from its own publishers, and I’m not sure how you can even reach that level of incompetence on purpose.  Mortal Kombat X has taken some black marks against it for a rocky launch and greedy practices like microtransactions for easy fatalities.  I know Netherrealm is better than this, as displayed with their continued dedication to include a free costume to all customers with every DLC patch, but they’re stuck working for the kind of people that would dodge gold for pennies.

Batman: Arkham Knight is the latest example of Warner Bros. testing the limits of their customers.  Right in the game’s reveal trailer, they announce that a playable Harley Quinn is restricted to preorders.  Later, they announce that you better preorder through Gamestop specifically because that’s the only way you’ll get to play as Red Hood.  I generally don’t preorder games and no amount of incentives is going to sway me on that.  There’s no telling when a promising title is going to fall flat as companies are becoming harder to trust.  I still have faith that Arkham Knight will be fantastic given Rocksteady’s history, but I’m still going to wait to pick it up simply as a matter of wise spending.  Sell us on the actual game itself before trying to push even more it onto us.

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4. More “HD” Remakes of Games that Are Only a Few Years Old

With any new console, quality releases are always going to take some time to build up.  Still, the amount of reliance that has been placed on rereleasing games that the Playstation 4 and Xbox One could already play if they had just made their systems backwards compatible is getting out of hand.  I can understand rereleasing the Halo series as it dates back to the original Xbox and it could use a fresh take, and the Grim Fandango remake was direly needed because the game was impossible to legally get otherwise.  Rereleasing God of War III for the Playstation 4 with no real selling point outside of “It’s on the Playstation 4” is not even worth acknowledging.  Words can scarcely convey just how depressed and enraged I was when one of the most applauded announcements at Sony’s conference last year was that your $400 purchase now made you eligible to buy Grand Theft Auto V a second time.  The game’s most worth remaking are the ones that have either lost some of their luster with age or have become hard to find.  If a remake for Deus Ex, Mother 3, or Battletoads was revealed, it would certainly be cause for celebration.  What we don’t need are remakes of Gears of War, Super Mario Galaxy, or Unchar…  Wait, what’s that?  Uncharted: The Nathan Drake  Collection was just announced?  And it won’t even included any of the multiplayer features from the original games?

$#&*%#@*-$!* WITH A &$#Ω€`#>(%^_¡@`!&@?; AND RUE THE DAY YOU %$#)∑<&*ñ##¶@>Ω<+ THE SIZE OF A GIRAFFE’S [email protected]&^Ü¢?Ø#*%€Ñ<)_¶™$#!+=ü(:¡\Θ^} AND HAVE YOURSELF A NICE DAY!

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3. Limited Edition Amiibos

While I like the concept of amiibo, the amount of hurdles that people have to go through over them is quickly burning me out on them.  These figures have quickly devolved from cool collectibles with the bonus of interacting with video games into DLC with arbitrary scarcity.  Hopefully, things will even out once Nintendo increases the supply and the scalpers move on to reselling Lego Dimensions figures (you know it’s going to happen), but the last thing I want to hear about right now is limited edition amiibo specifically designed to be rare.  The gold and silver versions of Mario were infuriating enough to see and I don’t want to see the same treatment given to any other figures.  The quantity of normal amiibo is bad enough that it’s impossible to even tell the difference between the standard and special editions of them.

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2. Konami C-Games

I’ve made it abundantly clear that I don’t have much confidence for Konami after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain releases.  I fully expect them to start exploiting all of their franchises for cash-grabs in the mobile and gambling markets, but I don’t want them to prove me right and especially not this quickly.  The state of Nevada recently passed a bill for that made Konami ecstatic to hear it.  It’s only a matter of time before Konami starts to go for a gamble – literally – but making it at E3 is going to cost them whatever remains of their dignity in the gaming industry.  I can’t think of anything that could be announced at E3 this year more heartbreaking than to learn that Silent Hills was cancelled in favor of a survival-horror slot machine.

Quantum-Break

1. Trailers that Say Nothing About the Actual Game

I know I’m really asking for the moon with this one, but I would really love it if every new game announced at E3 this year included an actual explanation of what the game is.  The only thing that I hate to see at E3 more than completely unnecessary musical acts meant to fill time (a trend that, thankfully, seems to have died) is reveal trailers that just play a short CGI cinematic with little to no inclination on how the games they’re trying to depict are actually played.  Sequels and spiritual successors have some lenience with this as we have previous games to draw answers from, but this is the worst way to push an entirely new IP.  Last year had plenty of examples of this like Scalebound and Mad Max just showing brief trailers that couldn’t even depict just the general genres that those games would fall under.  The only reason I know that Phantom Dust involves deck-building elements is because I looked up the original myself after seeing the horrendously vague reveal of the Xbox One reboot.  Quantum Break was a personal thorn in my side for two years straight with nothing but wild guesses as to what it even was.  Fortunately, they finally revealed some actual gameplay at Gamescom late last year, so they can’t pull that stunt a third time.  Still, there is bound to be some new title revealed, and we’ll all be stuck waiting another year or two before being given the slightest reason to care about it.

So, that’s my personal rundown of the worst case scenario for E3 2015.  What are your most dreaded possibilities at this year’s showcase?  How much do I need to shut up for not mindlessly obeying the hype machine and being concerned over what might go wrong?  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

5 Games I Need To See At E3 2015

E3 2015

With E3 mere weeks away, everyone is beginning their yearly ritual of building hype and prepping for disappointment. It’s no doubt that we will be pleased with all of the exciting new titles, and disappointed with all of those that either don’t exist or missed the cut.

Each and every person who anticipates E3 has a select few games that above all else, they need to see at E3. With that I present to you my personal select few. Some might be obvious, some might be hopeless, but if I could ask for anything at E3, it would be these five games.


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I – Resurrect The Guardian

I’m starting to think that hoping for  The Last Guardian to make an appearance is like waiting for the cows to come home. Every year I think that we will finally be graced with an amazing demo showing off the enhancements they’ve made since it’s original showing in 2009, and every year I’m let down as the show ends, the lights go out, and there is no griffon and boy running around being adorable together.

I long for this game, and it looks like it could be as incredible as Shadow of the Colossus was. With rumours of cancellation showing up more than E3 itself however, I’m starting to think that maybe we’ll never even see it again.

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II – You Are The One Who Will Open The Door

Every time I think about Kingdom Hearts, I think about how much I adored the series that gave me so many fond memories as a young teenager. Kingdom Hearts was a game that showed to me the infinite creativity of video games on the PS2. After spending over a decade debating, pondering, and otherwise obsessing over even the most minuscule of details with my close friends, just thinking about another sequel has me watering at the mouth.

On the other hand though, the last several years has proven that Kingdom Hearts is a franchise worth milking to an almost sickening degree. Kingdom Hearts III has been put on the back burner so they can monopolize on every possible story-line on every possible device known to man.

What we’ve seen on Kingdom Hearts III is sparse to say the least, but the focus on theme-park rides in half of the trailers we’ve seen has left me with such a disgusting taste in my mouth, that I pray to Xemnas that we might finally get a proper trailer showing much more than an advertisement for Disney.

Please Square, show it off and show the fans why Kingdom Hearts is a console seller like it used to be.

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III – I Need More Blood

Bloodborne is a game that amazes me in every way. It is an incredible piece of art that stands proud amongst games like Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls. It’s no surprise then that after investing almost two hundred hours in the game, I’d love to see some more Bloodborne in action.

With the recent announcement of a Bloodborne expansion on the horizon, I can only hope, despite how futile it might be, that Sony and Fromsoftware have at least a cinematic trailer prepared for E3 to start the inevitable hype train.

My blood lust is far from over, and I’m just waiting to continue my adventures through Yharnam.

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IV – Fifteen Years Later…

E3 2013 will stand was one of the most exciting gaming events I’ve ever witness. I am a Final Fantasy fanboy, I admit it, and when Square-Enix literally smashed my face with a sword called Final Fantasy XV‘s revival, I craved for them to finish the job.

The E3 trailer showed us that Square was coming back to compete. It showed us that Final Fantasy was no longer about robotic pink-haired Cloud clones and mobile scams. It was finally the console Final Fantasy game that every fan had been waiting for.

While we have been getting tons of delicious tidbits of information on the game and even a playable demo, I’d love to see another gameplay trailer that wows us with some of the mechanics they’ve been working on. Beyond that, a release date to finally end our waiting. It’s been a thousand years Square, and we’re all waiting for our baby to come back to us.

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V – Wii U Would Like To Play

Yes, I admit it. This is not a singular game so it’s kind of cheating, but I care not! The Wii U was a console that became the laughing stock of the industry for the first year of it’s life. It had almost no worthwhile games that weren’t direct ports, and it seemed like Nintendo had completely lost touch with where consoles belong in the market.

Then E3 2014 happened and Nintendo showed us that they were trying to topple the giants and take back their throne. With games like Kirby, Yoshi’s Woolly World, The Legend of Zelda, Starfox, Smash Bros and Splatoon, Nintendo went from a joke to a serious contender. Now they just need to keep bringing the heat.

Please Nintendo, don’t let 2015 be 2012 or 2013 all over again. Show off your big titles and show us why the Wii U was a valuable investment. I need to keep believing that you can come back.

Nintendo World Championships Will Return at E3

Nintendo

Nintendo has announced their plans for E3 with a surprising announcement: The Nintendo World Championships will return after a 25 year absence.  Nintendo World Championships is a tournament based around Nintendo games and has only been held once before.  The previous tournament used a specially made NES cartridge containing competitive versions of Super Mario Bros, Tetris, and Rad Racer and copies of the cartridge have become extremely valuable collectors’ items.  At the moment, it’s anyone’s guess what games will be featured in this new tournament.  Will they be all new games or will they span Nintendo’s history?  The Nintendo World Championships 2015 will be held June 14th and will be open for anyone to enter.  Qualifying competitions are set to start on May 30th

This tournament will only be the beginning of their E3 show as they also have their third annual Digital Event scheduled for June 16th at 9 A.M. Pacific time followed by a Treehouse livestream going all day from the 16th to the 18th where they will demonstrate all of their upcoming games.  For those that won’t be able to attend E3 and try all the new games themselves, It has partnered with Best Buy once again to bring public demos of Mario Maker at over 120 locations across the United States.  For more information, keep an eye on Nintendo‘s official E3 website here.

Rainbow Six: Siege Gets New Awards Trailer

Siege

Remember Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege from E3? Sure you do. It was that game that everyone loved, where hostages were being rescued, walls exploded and tactics were deployed.

In case you somehow happened to forget it though, Ubisoft has graciously released a new trailer showing off the multitude of awards it won at E3.

Go ahead; click it. You know you want to see more of Siege in action.

I must say, that the level of destructibility in the environments, coupled with what appears to be sandbox tactical gameplay, makes being hyped up really easy. They must however, demonstrate to us why we should get invested in yet another modern military shooter.

Where’s the campaign gameplay? where’s a multiplayer match in action? I’m sure they’re coming, but less dilly dallying on awards trailers would be a start, Ubisoft. Even if the trailer itself kicks a lot of butt.

Over Two Hours of Far Cry 4 Gameplay

Gameplay

One of the best looking games at E3 this year, Far Cry 4, has been shown off on Twitch for the few lucky enough to get their paws on it. EatMyDiction of Youtube and Twitch fame, has uploaded over two hours of gameplay, showing both new and old mechanics.

If you’re like me, you definitely want to shoot many a foe with an M60 while atop an elephant, and you can do it in Far Cry 4, I promise! Simply click the link below to be taken to the ultimate in Far Cry 4 streams.

Far Cry 4 with EatMyDiction

Far Cry 3 was an absolute pleasure to play, and Far Cry 4, with all of its silly nonsense, is looking to take the helm as the most exciting new open-world shooter.

Splatoon Full Match Gameplay

Splatoon

Splatoon, one of the most surprisingly unique games of 2014’s E3, has finally had a full match shown off in the form of a toaster-esque video from the floor. The game shocked everyone for its innovative design and light-hearted fun.

It looks like an absolute blast to play and being able to witness a full match in progress is a nice touch. Nintendo’s showing was a great start, but an edited multiplayer match disguises the flow of the game, so for the first time, fans can see how the game truly plays out.

While this game looks absolutely bonkers, it still has an argument to make about longevity, as it could very well be a title people put down after only a few short hours. They need to give us a reason to keep coming back, and I haven’t seen it yet.

This cannot be the last we see of Splatoon however, so keep your eyes peeled!

Bloodborne Gameplay Trailer Leaked

Bloodborne

Bloodborne tickled everybody with its impressive CGI showing at this year’s E3. It perfectly captured the type of atmosphere, dread, and grotesque nature of Miyazaki’s vision, but it lacked something. It lacked gameplay.

Mere days after E3, Katana of Youtube has leaked the first gameplay trailer of Bloodborne. It uses images found in the previous leak but this time, it remains intact and in HD for your viewing pleasure. Check out the trailer below:

After a bit more digging, a few details came to light by the way of the Dark Souls subreddit. 

Here are some the major differences to the Souls games mentioned by Patrick Klepek at Giant Bomb’s E3 Show LIVE:

  • NO SHIELDS

  • Victorian Setting

  • No Heavy Armor

  • There will be a shotgun in the offhand slot that serves to stagger enemies.

  • More enemies to face at a time (up to 8-9)

  • A dash/sidestep alongside the roll.

  • A one hit attack to staggered opponents, similar to the backstab, except executable anywhere on the enemy.

  • ENEMY PLACEMENTS ARE RANDOM; when the bell rings, enemies will roam and scatter to other places.

  • BOSS PLACEMENTS ARE RANDOM (you will get locked into an area with soul gates upon the encounter.)

  • There will be weapons that have two modes, like the “flip scythe” seen in the reveal trailer.

Entwined Review and Gameplay

Entwined

On the gaming world’s biggest stage Entwined was born to high expectations. The short presentation during Sony’s press conference introduced the title as the first game from a group of recent college grads, a new Sony studio called Pixelopus. The short gameplay segment shown featured flowing audio and striking visuals, immediately recognizable as the barrel gameplay from games of old. The short presentation ended with the announcement that it was on sale, right then, to Playstation 4 owners.

The abrupt announce and sell strategy of Entwined may seem a bit shady to some, but after playing through the game I can assure you there is nothing to worry about. In short, Entwined complicates one of the classic gameplay types so intuitively that it remains interesting for an entire game. The music is paced and varied, with the best tracks earning a place in your memory. The visuals are great for the same reason music visualizers are, they manage to match the speed, music and gameplay in a way that’s beautiful without being in the way. As the game culminates, the difficulty can become off-putting, until you overcome the challenge and it is appreciated for it’s purpose. The game comes across as a good freshmen effort that promises greatness in thee years to come.

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The gameplay evolves and challenges you through each of the game’s nine section’s or ‘lifetimes’. Beginning simply, every few seconds players align two characters, each controlled with an analog stick, against a grid they can pass through (Check the gameplay below to see this in action). Each character, a blue bird and orange fish, is stuck in the right and left hemisphere’s respectively. The movement allows for small twists to the base gameplay, for example as the two  get closer they become green and are able to pass through green spaces. While this may sound simple and even be simple for the first two or three lifetimes, the difficulty and complexity of each level increases dramatically. The level design is smart, with one level requiring the two characters to always occupy opposite sides and the next required no synchronization at all. This building and twisting of expectations builds throughout the game and makes the real challenge of hand-eye coordination all the more difficult.


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As to the story, the gameplay and objectives lend themselves to a tale of connection and reliability. Many subtle messages are sent through minute actions, such as the two characters relying on each other for success and the relationship between the players movement. The undertones of relationship can be ignored for other facets as well, whether the soon to be beloved soundtrack or the elegantly stylized visuals. Entwined’s soaring soundtrack makes good use of quiet melodies and driving hooks, more than once pairing with vista’s for truly chilling set-pieces. The visual design changed slightly with each passing lifetime along with the music, making this one sharper, this one electric and that one airy. The best part in the game happened toward the end as all the past aesthetics’s and music blended for the last level. Halfway through the game I expected the collage, but that didn’t decrease the inexplicable happiness I felt seeing all the little bits and pieces brought together underneath the games best track. The culmination wowed me in contrast to previous levels which I enjoyed, but didn’t love.

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The problem with Entwined is the problem of many indie titles. Difficulty is to blame for the only real unpleasantness found within Entwined. While the game is by no means ‘hard’, the punishment dealt out during later levels serves only to distract and frustrate the overall calming experience. In the moment it feels so out of place, being mad at this game that has thus far has only projected joy and peacefulness. Disconnecting from the characters you have come to endear, while remembering that this is a video game that you can loose, can be disheartening to say the least. Entwined manages to alleviate some of the irritation by making players feel triumphant over the difficulty through the stellar music, but for some, the frustration may be too much to get past.

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Entwined provides a good experience all around with standout looks and sounds that will leave a player entranced. The game is a bit short at only 2-5 hours, and the difficulty is problematic for some. Overall, I thoroughly appreciated the atmosphere, enjoyed the distinctive gameplay and  reveled in a completed challenge. Entwined carries on the mood, individuality and aspirations of games like Journey and The Unfinished Swan with the same gumption and less polish.

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Final Score: 8.5/10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK4jIN9GvP4&feature=youtu.be