Top 5 games of 2015

Much like last few years, here’s personal Top 5 games of 2015. Like last time, all these games were first played in their actual physical form this year. As the release year doesn’t matter to any reviewer out there either, I’m simply picking from the games I played this year. This post is going out about week before intended, but seeing how I’ll be a bit busy for the rest of the year, I don’t see myself picking up any new games that could affect this post.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

MonHun4U is a peculiarity on this list. The sole reason I bought a Flanders (N3DS) was to play with my friends who live elsewhere. After the initial whomp of daily playing, things died down a bit, but I kept going mostly by myself with some random players well into the final G-Rank quests.

I have about five hundred hours sunk into the game. I can’t argue against the time I’ve spent on it, MonHun4U is definitely the game I’ve played the most this year and deserves the top spot, even if there is no order with these.

The reason why the game gets the spot, and got all the hours from me, is that it’s challenging and fun. There really isn’t anything like Monster Hunter, and even if the series is not all that popular in the West, it does have a healthy player base. That’s part of the reason I enjoyed this game to the extent I have, most players I’ve met online have been very supportive. Not only that, but it’s a very rewarding game with grinding taking a small eternity, but when you get the equipment set you’ve planned, you’re able to put it into use right away and start messing with harder and stronger monsters.

I started with MonHun Portable on PSP, and the series has come a long way from having stupidly difficult start and controls to a game that’s nicely balanced. Fixed hitboxes help a lot in actually knowing where the monster is going to hit and where you need to hit it back. While I still dislike the fact MonHun is all about animation management than anything else when it comes to the controls, it’s still relatively tight. I would prefer to have more options via cancelling or comboing differently, but that would change the gameplay rather drastically. Monster Hunter X sort of did this, where all the Styles have different kind of gameplay. Aerial Style is damn fun, and I can see myself using it whenever I decide to get it. Most likely I’ll wait and see if CAPCOM decides to bring it to the West, it’s gotten pretty good respond from the fans overall.

Gravity Rush (PSVita)

Gravity Rush was the game you got the Vita for. Now you don’t need to, it’s being remade for the PS4. It’s a very short and very sweet game, which kinda makes me wonder why the hell didn’t they bundle it and its sequel together, because it also feels very incomplete towards the end.

The thing Gravity Rush does the best is flying. You can spend hours end just flying around and collecting things. Sometimes after finishing with a session I could feel my eyes and physical feeling still pulling me towards the skies. It’s absolutely fantastic. Sadly, the rest of the game isn’t really as stellar. The battle system is very basic, more a chore than an enjoyment. Side quests, like with most games, are a chore a well. At least they give you more reasons just to fly around. Nevertheless, once you get inside the game and begin to fly around like its your second nature, using Gravity Kicks to beat your enemies becomes fast and easy. It’s still a chore sure, but at least you know what you’re doing and are good at it.

Gravity Rush could’ve been SONY’s first proper great in-house game franchise, but they fucked that up by waiting far too long with the sequel, and now killing Vita by porting what can be described as its only truly unique game. It’s one of those games that are flawed, but those flaws don’t really stand out too much, mostly because the exact same flaws have become more or less a standard in the industry. It does few things well, and one of them really damn good. Flying and freefalling haven’t been this fun since last night’s dream.

Gravity Rush 2 most likely will be one of the reasons I will end up getting a PS4

Nier (X360)

Nier is a game that I got more or less because I have respect towards Drakengard as a franchise, and because I am having stupidly high expectations for Nier Automata for no good reason. It’s also one of those games where I didn’t go skipping story sequences. Nier and Drakengard games have stupidly expansive story that are both as entertaining and interesting to read about as they are heart crushing.

I never finished the original Drakengard, it is effectively a shit game. Kusoge, if you want to use the Japanese term. I’ve heard the second game improves the gameplay a lot, which is why I’ll be giving it a look at some point next year. Nier is a far better game than Drakengard in ever respect, yet it carries the same generic flaws as Gravity Rush; side questing to the extreme and dumb as hell combat. What makes Nier stand out from the crowd isn’t just because of the story, but how much it shows it was made with love. Effectively, the gameplay is what you’d expect from a 3D action game, in lieu of 3D Zelda. It has a very similar overworld-dungeon structure to boot. The music absolutely gorgeous, definitely one of the best soundtracks from previous generation.

The boss fights require a special mentioning, as they change the rules of the gameplay pretty drastically. I don’t know what good stuff the developing team was smoking at the time, but I want me some. The bosses, and some the minor enemies, have ability to turn the game into a large scaled version of bullet hells, which really makes the game’s bosses to stand out from the generic fodder you kill on the fields and dungeons, for better or worse.

Nier is also one of the few games that actually use video game’s own methods to tell a story. This is slightly spoilerific, so just skip to next bit if you don’t want to know. The main enemies in the game are Shades, and in the tutorial you are taught how to kill these by the dozens. Nevertheless, the fist Shades you meet in the game proper do not attack you, ever.  They are not aggressive, and items these smaller Shades drop are things like used colouring books or other stuff children tend to carry. It’s a very minor, but also very telling way to show to the player a foreshadowing element, where the Shades are not monsters, but human souls separated from their bodies, and you were just slaughtered bunch of innocent children without any provocation. It’s great stuff, and Nier ups the ante to the very end, even having an ending where you can choose to erase your existence, or in real world terms, all the saved and system data from your HDD. The DLC still stays, you don’t need to redownload that.

The reason why Nier also got on the list is that this year there were very little games that did actually tell me I’m on the list dammit! Nier’s not a kind of game I would otherwise put it on the list, as a game it’s pretty generic and even dumb, but as an overall piece of entertainment, including all the sidematerials and the insane shit they have in them, it got a spot. This kind of tells me very few games caught my eye this year, even less had the balls to be extremely good.

There’s something in this opening that I just like

Pitman (GameBoy)

Tetris is the ultimate puzzle game, Umihara Kawase games are the best puzzle-platformers and Pitman falls just under that. It’s Western name is Catrap.

The main goal in the Pitman is to beat all the monsters in a room. You got falling rocks to place, grass to cut and monsters to bump. Rather than trying to explain the gameplay mechanics incoherently in my whisky fumes, just give this video a look.

It’s a very fun game, but also very frustrating at times. It’s a great time sink and something I would recommend everybody to get their hands on, if possible. I think it’s available on the 3DS’ eShop, at least in Japan. There’s nothing much to say about it, all great puzzle games shine in their simplicity like that.

Captain Tsubasa II: Super Striker (Famicom)

When I was a wee lad, I ended up playing slew of soccer games as my older brother was part of a team. One of them was Tecmo Cup: Football  Game, which I always had fond memories of. It’s pretty much the only soccer game I remember liking next to Nintendo World Cup, both because they weren’t dull or aimed at realistic simulation, unlike Kick-Off!, which I should revisit after twenty years now that I understand how it work better. Of course, it took some time to find out that Tecmo Cup: Football Game was actually the Western release of Captain Tsubasa. The Cutting Room Floor has a list of differences that happened during localisation.

What makes Captain Tsubasa II an interesting piece that it’s something we could call a cinematic soccer game, derived from the fact that it makes extensive use of Tecmo Theatre, which is essentially a widescreen window on the screen showing actions and story progression. Other Tecmo games used it as well but not to the same extent. Ninja Gaiden may be the most famous example. The biggest difference with how Tecmo Theatre handles cinematics here is that they are completely dependant on the player input during gameplay. Modern games are very much on a lower calibre, where the cinematics play despite the player and only occasionally requiring an input or two. Outside when a cinematic of your action plays out, like Passing to another character or shooting, you’re in control the whole time.

Of course, prior to each match you’re given option to change the layout your team will be in, tactics and so on. If we really want to get into it all, you better be prepared to look closely into how the opposing team is playing and what their weaknesses are. All this becomes important later in the game after you’ve gained new team members and your current ones have levelled up enough. You read that right, Captain Tsubasa II has a level up system which gives a solid feel of progression and encourages you to play evenly rather than just relying on Tsubasa’s Super kicks.

As Captain Tsubasa II is a license game, it is an original sequel to the Captain Tsubasa comic, which had ended at the time. Funny thing is that certain elements appear in late World Youth sequel series. As such, it also carries a lot of elements that appeared in both the TV-series and comics when it comes to how it handles soccer. While it’s not necessarily unrealistic, it is cartoonish and supercharges the most dramatic moments, rivalries and of course, the kicks.

Supercharged would be a good word to describe the game. It feels fast, it doesn’t feel cheap and it simply feels so damn fun. Everything has been laid down so damn well with just the right design. The energetic music adds so much to the game, keeping the tension up and gets you pumped up. There is no one bad track in the whole game as even the damn Password screen theme get you hyped.

This is the key why Captain Tsubasa II is still popular among Japanese; it’s fast and wastes no time to throw you in. The game has got a lot of romhacks that modify teams, events and so on. Even Touhou has a soccer version that is essentially Captain Tsubasa II with a new coat of paint and new scenarios. It captures the gameplay pretty accurately, even if the running animation with the characters is rather awful. However, it adds far too long super moves with main characters, which in the end botches down some of the game’s pace.

Captain Tsubasa II: Super Striker is essentially a sport game for those who don’t like sport games. It’s also superior to its predecessor in every regard, which bums me out that this never got localised. It’s an excellent example how to manage cinematics with a solid and simple core gameplay.

Last games on my list have always gotten special spots. Captain Tsubasa II deserves it this time simply by being a damn good and entertaining game.

I really should read the comic one of these days, it’s basically responsible in making soccer a popular sports in Japan, much like how Slam Dunk did with basketball later on.

Those that didn’t make the cut

Unlike previous years, I’ll include a set of games that didn’t make the cut for whatever reasons. If you’re wondering why Schwarzesmarken didn’t get on either of the lists, it’s because I don’t consider Visual Novels as video games.

Metal Gear Solid V (PS3, 360, PS4, Xbone, PC)

The reason MGSV didn’t get the spot is that it was sort of boring on the long run. It forced a TV-series sort of structure, where every mission had opening and ending credits, which was an utter waste of time. I don’t give two damn who made the game, just let me get on with it already. The game had a large areas to play with, but there’s very little do in those empty spaces.

I know the game was released essentially unfinished, and this is also the reason why it feels very unrefined at times. Yet when looking at the time and money that was spent on MGSV, I understand very well why KONAMI wanted it out. Kojima spent too much time to make this a grand scale game, when one of the best part of the series has been that they all have been very tightly designed. I hope that whatever next Metal Gear game KONAMI puts out next will go back to the basics.


This game is also coming to West, and it’s not really worth your money. Well, it kinda is. I also hope they will drop TENSEI from the title.

I really love the Langrisser series, and RE:Langrisser was a disappointment I enjoyed. The most damning thing with it is the battle sequences; they are absolutely retarded. Turning them off actually makes the game very enjoyable, but at the cost of making it very in visuals. The music is tight as hell, and my favourite track Neo Holy War got in. Sure, it’s a Stage Results theme, but it got in dammit!

Speaking outside the fan perspective, unless the game gets a gameplay overhaul and content additions with completely revamping the battle animations, there’s very little reason to buy RE:Langrisser. It feels like a budget game without being one, and I wouldn’t recommend it to many people. Fire Emblem fans may get a kick out of it, as FE belongs to the same genre that Langrisser’s predecessor Elthlead started.

Ninja Gaiden Black (Xbox)

I wanted to like the game, but after hearing so many glorious things, my hopes for a great game were crushed. There are games that are difficult and fun, but Ninja Gaiden Black is just a chore. The difficulty it has isn’t really anything that can’t be overcome, but it’s just a damn tedious game with little to no fun factor in it. There are more fun games in my library, and beating the game about halfway through I just gave up and decided to spend more time on games that gave something back as well.

Transformers Devastation (PS3, 360, PS4, Xbone)

I like most of Platinum’s games. They are often fast paced, very well designed and exceptionally well realised. However, lately their games have become stale in what they do, namely with The Legend of Korra and Transformers Devastation. TFD is a very fun game to play, but ultimately it is also very much of the mould as previous games from Platinum. They have a thing they do, and they do it very well, possibly the best in the whole industry.

Nevertheless TFD feels like they are strongly stagnating and close to repeating themselves in an endless cycle. TFD’s lack of revitalisation in what they do is the reason it didn’t get the spot, it’s too much of the same. This is why my hopes for Nier Automata are stupid, because I know it’ll be the best game in the Nier/Drakengard metaseries, but it will also be your run-of-the-mill Platinum game that doesn’t evolve or refine their core gameplay one bit.

Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus (PSVita)

The first Senran Kagura was an awful game to play. It’s clunky, on the slow side and overall boring. Shinovi Versus was its first sequal, and is a lot better in every respect. The reason it didn’t get into Top 5 is that Senran Kagura 2 Shinku is a better game. It has better gameplay, better stage design, better tracks, and most importantly, faster load times. Shinovi Versus’ stages average around 45s, ranging from 5s to 1min 20s, all depending how well you know how to abuse the system. More often than not you’ll clear stages in about half a minute. This doesn’t even require you to grind for levels. This means the game should be a very fast paced game, but you’d be wrong thinking that. Loading the stage from the menu and loading the “overworld” after the stage takes 1min 50s, longer if there are more than one story sequence. When playing the game, ~51+% of your time is sitting and waiting for the game to load something. That’s infuriating, especially if you’re in the zone and just want to blaze through. The game takes twice as long to beat because of the load times. Without the long load times, this game would’ve been in Top 5. For a system that uses game cartridges, this is unforgivably awful optimisation.

Nintendo doesn’t think you’re stupid, but that wouldn’t be all too impossible

I have a couple of friends who are not the smartest of the bunch, to say the least. Granted, I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way about me. Nevertheless, they asked a very apt and a very good question; why is Nintendo pushing two variations of their handheld consoles nowadays? Not only this usually means larger loss of money and material on Nintendo’s par, but also may confuse the consumer to some extent.

Actually, the second one of those is why Nintendo is now refusing to release the standard sized N3DS Flanders in the US, opting to promote and sell its fat brother instead. It is true that it is harder to promote two different products, that do exactly same thing just in different pants, than to promote and sell only one sole product. After all, trying to advertise consoles named 3DS, 3DSXL, 2DS, New 3DS and New 3DS XL can be confusing, just like advertising Wii and Wii U and trying to keep the consumers on the roll what’s what. If we take into notice that there is also DS and DSi, things just get mudded down like no other.

While the hardcore consumer or the general gamer is well versed what is what on the market and by whom, the same can’t be said of the larger market. A person who is almost 24/7 in touch with the latest news either via Famitsu, Niche Gamer, TechRaptor or whatnot, the blue ocean customer doesn’t give two flying pennies about what happens in the industry. All he cares about is what the darn box is that plays Mario. In that Nintendo’s marketing has seen incredible failure. Wii U is still a damn PR disaster, people confusing what it is. At the E3 it was revealed, people thought it was a Wii add-on and rightfully so. You’d think Nintendo learned something about naming their consoles, but then they came up with the stupid New 3DS (Flanders.) Not only the name is unimaginative as hell, but it has already caused confusion among the general consumers.

As for why the standard and XL sizes exist can be traced back to the DSi.

The DSi is essentially what the Flanders is to 3DS; a bastard son created to replace its father. In the 3DS’ case, it’s what the father should’ve been in the first place. However, with the advent of the DSi, Nintendo had noticed that the DS’ large library drew in older audience in with such titles like Brain Age Academy. The DSi XL was designed and advertised this older audience in mind, with larger screen and far more pen like stylus. The colour selection reflected this with more mature colours like Burgundy as opposed to some of the more toyish colours of bright candy red. Of course, black and white are the standard colourchemes every and any company tend to use nowadays. Nevertheless, I’m not sure how well the DSi XL excelled, as the standard sized consoles sold decently well to the audience, but the XL is still warming shelves.

As such, it wasn’t a surprise that the 3DS saw two different versions as well. Nintendo’s approach not to release the standard 3DS in the US is a good move overall, as they have less confusion in the market. I’d like to know why Nintendo didn’t do the same thing for the PAL regions. Nintendo’s decision reflects on the age split the consumers have in the US. The XL at its core is directed for the older audience, the 20-years plus group. Seeing the US has its infamous problem with the size of their citizens, it makes sense to market the console that fits the most to the market. Nintendo does recognize that their core audience will have a pole up their ass because of this move due to the surprisingly fierce division between standard and XL owners’ sides, but they’re using their logic heads instead of emotional heads. The latter is just for dicking, after all.

This may seem uncharacteristic of me, but do keep in mind that I am all for the companies maximising their earnings, but not on the expense of the consumer or ethics. If the data does show that the XL sells more than the standard size, I will always be for the removal of the lesser selling version of that exact same product. The whole standard and XL mixing had its time when software library was attracting consumers from each and every corner of the sales ocean. The DS and the Wii were incredible hits with the blue ocean market, whereas the 3DS and Wii U returned competing with other red ocean products.

However, I do think Nintendo should have gone their way out and release the Standard version in the US as well, seeing they already have production line for it. In a market that relies on its core audience more than on the general one (unlike with the DS and Wii) Nintendo doesn’t have much leeway to push that core audience away.

If my personal opinion was asked, I would say that a standard and XL versions should not exist at all. One version is enough, and seeing frequently updating your system is a thing, you can produce wholly different design later in the future. That is, if the console lives long enough to see those iterations. Both GameBoy and GameBoy Advance saw three core versions respectively. The old ass brick GameBoy is an iconic thing, beauty in its size and gobbles AA batteries like a horse, whereas the Pocket version fit into smaller hands and found a faithful following with that. The Colour was a lesser redesign, but far more curved and fit more hands than the two together. The original GameBoy advance is incredible comfortable machine to hold for hours end, whereas the SP is a thin and flat bastard with its own users. The Micro wasn’t a huge success, but ultimately is as surprisingly comfortable as the SP is horrible. Yes, I do not like SP’s design and the 3DS versions, and to large extend the DS’ too, share its shortcomings in ergonomics. I often employ some sort of grip with the modern handhelds because I enjoy my hands actually working when I do work. Then again, you can argue that my line of work is not good for your hands anyways, but the I’d argue that even the smallest things to make things better can have a significantly positive effect.

Whether or not you like the standard better than the XL is up to you. Whether or not the market deems the other more desirable than the other should show which one is more preferred and what direction the next Nintendo’s handheld console’s design should go towards. I hope it will love our hands more than these damn flat flip flops we’ve been getting.

Clones don’t cut it

In fighting games you often see characters that resemble each other to a large degree. Street Fighter has the best examples; Ryu, Ken, Gouki, Sakura and Gouken all remind each other but all have their own visual design, tactics and approach to the gameplay. Ken did begin as a clone character of Ryu, back when mirror matches did not exist. However, as time went on and game development evolved in itself, the need for clone characters became smaller. The want for clone characters became even smaller, as the customer expects each and every character to be a wholesome deal without bogging it down with duplicate characters with slightly different variations.

As mentioned, Ken began as a clone character and evolved to be the more flashy and multi-hitting uppercut user he is nowadays. He shares the same starting point with Ryu, but is an example how to branch the character into another direction. We’ll have to see what the hell CAPCOM has done to the characters in USFIV Omega Edition, but that’s another topic. You could say that Ken does Ryu’s don’ts in the philosophy of the moves and actions to certain degree.

The same applies with Mario and Luigi in Smash Bros. series. The two mirror Ryu and Ken very well in that they share certain traits, but have differences in their actions. With time, these differences have been emphasized further. Making characters like this is surprisingly time consuming as it involves developing new sprite/model to the characters and tweaking their gameplay so that it may resemble each other, but ultimately are different.

Then you have actual clone characters, which use the same damn model and movesets, just with slight variations to the properties to the moves. These lazy clones are there to effectively save working hours and resources. Even then, these hours could always be used to balance existing elements of the game, troubleshoot bugs and fix broken stuff. Often it is said that a clone character takes a slot from other, more fleshed out characters, but in actuality they’re characters that didn’t get enough development time or the staff needed to meet certain character count.

To make it short, lazy clone characters are the sign of rushed development.

With the release of Super Smash Bros. for console X, a name that still is stupid as all hell, the players soon found out that three characters being essentially clones of pre-existing characters. I would include Toon Link to the group, and to some extent, Ganondorf as well, but the latter has seen a large extension of Kenification. Falco, however, is still just a clone of Falco, and we all remember how much we loved to see yet another clone of Fox in Brawl. You could say, that all in all there’s about seven clone characters in Smash Bros. for console X, and that’s just awful. In addition, Robin has two models dedicated to him, one male and one female. Add one more if you regard Lucario a clone of Mewtwo, rather than a replacement.

However, any and all developers have never truly commented on clone characters in their games. Often these clones get fleshed out in further instalments in a series, as the developers get more time to work on the product, but seeing how this is the fourth damn game in the series, they had no excuses to make clones.

Surprisingly, Sakurai actually came out to confront the given criticism and called his customers as children.

We’ve seen before how little Sakurai cares for the customer, and this is just further showcase the condescending attitude Nintendo seems to have towards their customers. They’re all happy and smiling when they’re presenting their products, but ultimately scoff of any given criticism. Comparing the characters as a dessert is highly inaccurate as well. More apt comparison would be having a luxurious soup with the best ingredients there is, but then you find blocks of flour and flies in there.

Sakurai even asks to leave him the character selection, as it carries all the monetary issues with it. All the customers can say is No. If you have no time to finish proper characters, then concentrate on ironing out the bugs and make the game a more finalised product. The customer is the god you serve, the customer pays your salary. Make sure you please the customer. The users have voiced what characters they would like to see in the games, but Sakurai’s favouritism and bias takes better of him.

All this reeks of Sorry, didn’t have enough time to finish the game, please understand. There’s other things that hint at this. Melee was a complete and utter overhaul in every regards to the original, and Brawl was more or less saw similar overhauls in every regard. Smash Bros. for Console X looks like it’s a Brawl 1.2, as pretty much all of visual assets were just brought over and tweaked. Brawl’s menu system was quite bad and the designs didn’t really serve their purpose as well as Melee’s, and Smash Bros. for Console X continues using Braw’s assets in this regard. It’s just as lazy as using clones to fatten the roster.

Sakurai shows the worst traits a service provider can in his response to clones. He doesn’t give a damn about the customer, unless there are people who he himself finds interesting. He doesn’t give a damn about the opinion the paying customer has and selfishly calls them children.

I he was serving that luxurious meal and would have this same attitude, he would be thrown out from the restaurant at high speed while the customer would get what he wants for free. Looking down on the customers doesn’t fly in any service business, and it can only flourish in an industry where the service providers are worshipped and elevated on a status that is supposedly above criticism. This is, of course, false. Rather than treating Sakurai as some sort of genius, customers and press should treat him more like the waiter or the cook who is there to prepare the dish we pay for.

All Hail the Nintendo DS

All of us knows that the DS had a bad start. We all saw that when it went from being a portable N64 to a portable SNES, it became something exceptional; it became the King of consoles. Nintendo’s wish to tap the untapped marked, ie. the Blue Ocean market and reset the userbase served them well; both DS and Wii became a steamrolling monster. No console was spared. There was something for everybody, new and old alike.

It really boggles my mind that Nintendo decided to ignore what Wii and DS were and proceed with the Wii U and 3DS.

Let’s take a look at E3

I’ve been quite busy lately with all sorts of work from crafts to writing. I wasn’t on the E3 train like I’ve been in the past, and perhaps it was for the better. Let’s take a look at the Big Three and their presentations.

However, let’s take a look at the E3 2006. The Wii was unveiled, YouTube: Kaz Hirai and Giant Enemy Crab became an instant meme, and Microsoft had something that nobody remembers. Nintendo’s stocks took an uplift after Wii’s unveiling and it divided opinions. The Wii created interest that made forums and messaging boards burn with fire. 2006 was a great year for gaming, the like we haven’t seen since the NES was brought to the West.

So, can 2012 hold up against 2006? Let’s start with the Microsoft presentation.

It was an unsurprising event that MS began with a Halo showcase, and this is a strong beginning; showcasing live gameplay without interruptions is always a good thing. It looks nice and dandy, and I’d love to play this game… on a PC with keyboard and mouse combination. While I’m not too informed of Halo story, I do know enough to tell you that the introduction of Forerunners wasn’t the most interesting move. It was expected, but they did it. It’s nothing from me, I’ve never bought Halo before, and most likely I never will.

When the MS representative steps in, he begins with propaganda without anything to back up his statements. While I have not followed the last years sales, I have hard time to believe that the 360 would be outselling either the DS or the Wii. Indeed, after a quick check we can see that in 2011 the 360 had a four percent growth, while the Wii had an eleven percent decrease. Still, the 360 and PS3 were selling less than Wii in total.

The new Splinter Cell looks like a… like an uninteresting piece. Why has the camera shake like that? Is the Kinect support necessary? Co-Op sounds good, but the game looks clunky.

And then EA rep steps in with sports. Sports games are a driving force, especially in the West, but there’s nothing of interest here either. If you’ve played any of EA’s sports games during the last decade, you know the drill. The same lack of interest continues with the new Fable showcase.

A new MS rep steps on the stage while proclaiming that 2012/2013 will be the best year for the 360. Why? Because we’re getting sequels upon sequels released on the system with little variety? Shouldn’t every year be a great year for a console? Oh yeah, I forgot. The developers do not like creating good games all the time, just games they are interested in. Sorry, my bad.

Forza Horizon looks nice, but where’s the gameplay?

Then comes the hammer; the next representative start babbling about other entertainment on your console. It’s never good idea to give access to your rivals. This is a showcase what a dumbed down PC can do, not what a video game console can do. People buy your console to play games on them, and if you do not provide games, people will end up using these other services that are ultimately out of your pocket. The music showcase was horrible on many levels as well.

This begs a question; why is Microsoft concentrating putting all these functions on 360 rather than on Windows, the thing that makes money? They could have an insanely well balanced dual support between PC and 360, much like Nintendo has between it’s home console and handheld consoles.

The Nike part was boring, but technologically interesting.

At this point we’re 45 minutes in, and I have no feeling to continue onwards. The showcase has changed from console showcase to personal computer technology showcase. They’re also playing into the hip crowd with Game of Thrones and the like. Later on we see Resident Evil 6 and another Call of Duty and the like.

What Microsoft’s event lacked was interest. There were one or two moments in the beginning and in latter half that makes you ask Why can’t this be on PC? HD gaming is present, and because of that everything else is lacking. All the games showcased were dumbed down PC games which will sell to a certain crowd, but only Halo will keep selling any hardware. I have to ask if Halo would sell better if it was on PC rather than on 360. Every game here tries to aim for a movie like experience and affect how we play rather than what we play, the same problem that both Sony and Nintendo share.

Speaking of Sony, let’s check their event next.
Sony decided to go with trailer showcase with uninspiring music. This lasts solid four minutes, where I was already making tea and taking some crackers. Disinterest quickly sank in. Much Microsoft’s starting words, Sony’s representative begins talking about the true heroes of the industry; the gamers. This man knows how to talk and how to complement people as scripted. However, if the customers are so important to Sony, why are they still sinking in the Red Ocean and are unwilling to listen what their customers want?

When Heavy Rain developer stepped on the stage, I had shake my head. Interactive storytelling is does not equal gaming or vice versa. Storytelling may be part of video games, but storytelling has always been driving force in computer gaming. These people do not know what makes a good game. The most important thing they have to reveal is the voice actor. What they continue to show is not a game, but a CGI movie. This should be the point where people again realize that the PS3 is not a game console, but the same kind of dumbed down PC as the 360.

Then, PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale. I have to wonder what forums do these people browse if they haven’t had anything but positive feedback. Nobody addressed the elephant in the room, which is the fact that this game is almost 1:1 carbon copy of the Super Smash Bros. series. Even the HUD during gameplay is nearly identical. This is like grayer and grittier version of Smash Bros., but not any better. The Hydra’s barely do anything but hang in the background majority of the match.

Only 80% of all PS3s and and Vitas are connected to the PSN. I say only, as this is a problem for Sony. I believe even less Wiis are connected to Nintendo’s network, but the amount of trust Sony has put on their network is stupidly insane. However, I do not trust these numbers, as there was large amount of people who disconnected their PS3 from the network because of the security issues.

PSVita’s getting the same kind of treatment with video and music services as the 360 and PS3 has had for some time. Vita’s becoming more and more like a smartphone rather than a handheld console, which will be reflected in its lack of sales. We’ll come to this point after we’ve taken a look at Nintendo’s event.

Now this is funny; 45 minutes in and I’m feeling of skipping things again. We do know how Assassin’s Creed already works, and we do know how Farcry works. It’s good to see some actual gameplay on-stage, but their showcase is uninteresting. I do have to admit, that the idea of playing as a pirate woman was interesting, but the Assassin’s Creed setting put me off.

Sony’s Wonderbook was… a surprise. It’s a neat idea that I’d expect Nintendo to pull off, but this isn’t a game. As the representative himself says; interactive books. One could call them as visual novels, no? However, a lot of people has thought the same thing as I; if I were to read a book, I’d read a goddamn book rather than boot up my PS3 to “experience” it. Augmented Reality has far more better uses outside this kind of… toying.

PlayStation phones. Let ask you a question; do you play dedicately on your phone? hTC is a good manufacturer for sure, but why would Sony want to divide their attention from handheld gaming to smartphone gaming (which is just another form of PC gaming)? It looks like Sony’s spreading their resources rather thin.

It just might be me, but the God of War showcase was cartoony with over the top motions I’d expect to see in a WB cartoon. It also looks very much same to the Splinter Cell demo in MS’s event, except the setting was naturally different. From this I noticed that HD gaming, while it may look better, sharper and all that, but it also makes all games look dull, uninspired and lacks the same touches non-HD gaming has. It makes games look less interesting.
And oh, the fire special effects looked bad, even if this was just a beta of some HD game.

While the new God of War indeed was a nice showcase for those who enjoy QTEs and PC hack-n-slash, The Last of Us was that peaked my interest in the while event. The Last of Us looks freeroam and explorable game, but at the same time I’d love to believe that it keeps the lines tight. However, the human monsters, which just are damn zombies with different appearance, put me completely off. Objectively this the Last of Us might sell decently, but I have hard time to see this as a system seller; it’s still a PC game at heart.

Talking about system sellers, Nintendo started with a game that never moved any systems; Pikmin. There’s nothing interesting here, so let’s move along.

WiiU Gamepad, which I will continue calling Tablet controller, is a threat to the 3DS. It’s part of the unfocused gaming, which many people confuse with “casual” playing. I used my DS and GBA to play games while doing other things, like writing reports and watching TV. The Tablet controller can replace this as it shouldn’t be dependant on the TV in most cases. If I had a WiiU, I’d be using that to play Super Mario 6 while designing a new chair or the like. I would have no use for 3DS for this.

Another point that we have to think about the Tablet controller is that it is symmetrical in design. This should enforce the way controllers used to be, and I hope this will also be used in such way that the controls will utilize the D-pad before the stick. The more we analyse the Tablet controller, the more we can see good points in it. Naturally, the low battery life is a factor, but we also have to notice another point with WiiU and the controllers; you do not need to buy new controllers abundant if you already had four Wiimotes. You might need to buy one extra Tablet, but that’s that. It saves money from both the developers and customers’ pockets.

Now, if Nintendo has always heard fans voices to have a new Mario game in the launch of a new console, why didn’t Nintendo have a new Mario game with the GameBoy Advance, with the GameCube, with DS or Wii or with the 3DS? Because at then Nintendo was lead by artists, but now the business side of Nintendo is forcing them to make a good decision. The musics are still horrible thou.

Nintendo’s trying to gather a strong launch lineup for the WiiU, but at the moment its weak. If we take a look at SNES’ lineup, it was much stronger, but after Super Mario World it took Donkey Kong Country to make the console move again. At the moment WiiU is lacking games that will create momentum. We see ports and few exclusives that nobody gives a damn about, like Alien; Colonial Marine, which also is a PC game.

3DS’ upcoming Mario game is a Wario game. There’s nothing more to add to this. I said that this is the fastest and least budgeted Mario game from Nintendo to date, and this just proves it.

Nintendo Land. Honestly, I don’t know what to say about this. If it is a continuation of Nintendo’s WiiSports, then it’s a good piece of software. WiiSports was one of the moving forces on the Wii, but Nintendo never took advantages of ‘Sports, and Nintendo Land continues this mindset.

After these three videos, I’m still a refusing customer for Microsoft. They have nothing of interest for me, but in general their event was plagued of disinterest. Sony got me interested in one game, but then threw zombies at me. At least they got me to shake my head and wonder why the hell is this company still producing games. Well, looking at how their financial status is, this might not continue for long. Nintendo didn’t convince me either, but WiiU might not be that bad after all. It would make my Wii completely useless device, and I’d have to take my GC from the closet after all these years. They should include backwards comp with the GC and GC controllers as well.

Not one thing will be as successful during the following generation and years. This reason for this is the governing economics. In 2006 the financial structure of the world was much better and customers had more money to spend. In 2012 the economical situation is much more bleak and unnecessities like games will always take the worst hits. 600 dollar game consoles would not survive at any point any more, and this is why the rumoured 200 dollar price point for the WiiU would be good. This is also the first time Nintendo’s home console would be going against imaginary consoles; the future of Xbox and PlayStation, whenever they might come. However, if both MS and Sony would like to play their cards right, they could announce that they’d continue working on their current consoles rather than creating something new. This would a blow against Nintendo, as it would mean that both Wii and WiiU would have fought against the same rival consoles. Of course, the people at MS and Sony are idiots and want something new and expensive under their belts and further bankrupt the companies.

The companies here do now really get the current macro economics, but they are feeling them. If they would look at the current world situation they would be able to maximise their profits. This glance at their E3 shows that the companies still don’t get what the customers are here for even thou one of them has hit the point three times already. I don’t want to paint the walls with devils, but I’m truly starting to expect Third Video Game Crash.

Now excuse me, I’ll be watching something good after these headache inducing events; Hepburn’s Sabrina.

3DS getting two noteworthy games, or just one if you’re not Japanese

Project X Zone seems to be quite normal fare for Monolith. If you’ve played their Endless Frontier game on the DS, or it’s Japan-only sequel, or kind-of prequel Namco X CAPOM on the PS2, you know what to expect. There seems to be no new tricks as such, but then again, Monolith fans expect no changes to the format.

Will PXZ come to the west? Probably not, but the 3DS is in dire need for games that would attract customers’ attention. This game would attract some, as this kind of crossover games are rather rare in the west. In Japan crossing over franchises is an old tradition almost, but then again what prevents eg. Super Robot Wars crossing the pond over here is the licensing issues. It’s actually a sort of miracle that we ever got Tatsunoko VS CAPCOM. Sure, we lost one character, but literally nobody cared about him anyway.

The other game coming for the 3DS is New Super Mario Bros. 2. Why now, and not during the release of 3DS? The simple answer is; 3D Land did not sell well.

2D Mario sells. Miyamoto and the creative minds at Nintendo do not want to make 2D Mario. 2D Mario takes work to make into a product that people would enjoy immensely. Being creative minds, they want to make what they want. Never a good business practice.

Why is the 3DS failing? Because it has no games that people want to play. The DS took off when New Super Mario Bros. was released. Nintendo’s trying to replicate that success much like they tried to replicate Monster Hunter’s success on the PSP.

3DS has the same problem as the DS did during its first year, as its games are mostly ports and N64-eaque games that people do not want. When the DS went from portable N64 to a portable SNES, the customers’ attention was gained. Contrary to the popular belief, Brain Age and its kin were part of the DS’ popularity. It hit the Deep part of the Blue Ocean. Nintendo didn’t compete in the Red Ocean where all other companies were at. Like they are doing now with the 3DS.

While it’s true that gaining new customers is harder than keeping your existing customers, it’s even more harder and unrewarding to steal customers from another company. The Red Ocean, where everybody competes, is a place to avoid. It’s not about innovation or making something or surprising the customers with something different. It’s about making a product that a customer who does not know you exist notices you. Brain Age did this. Wii did this with WiiSPorts. NES did this with Super Mario Bros. Arcades did this with PacMan.

But making games like WiiSports doesn’t interest Miyamoto’s lackies, or the man himself. This kind of games have nothing to do with creativity, but craftsmanship.

So, will the New Super Mario Bros. 2 be a new breakthrough? Will it be the new standard of 2D Mario as Iwata so proclaims? It is too early to say, but at this point it is apparent that the budget is low if the screenshots are anything to go by. Give a 2D Mario same treatment as 3D Mario, and you have a hit in your hands.

Project Rainfall is not yet a success

As reported during these last few days, Xenoblade Chronicles, arguably the best console role playing game of the current console generation, is going to get a release in the US. People have been heralding this news the proof that Project Rainfall is a success, but I they forget that Project Rainfall was to bring all three Big Names to the US. We have no information on The Last Story or Pandora’s Tower. Most likely Nintendo will see what kind of sales Xenoblade will make to before they wager whether or not it’s profitable to put work into either of the two titles.
The thing is, Xenoblade’s a GameStop exclusive. Nintendo’s losing loads of sales just because this point. A lot of people who know how GameStop works refuse to make any purchases there, and then there’s the point that this limits how widespread the game will be in the US. Nintendo’s losing sales because of this and it’s stupid. They’re not getting any momentum on this any more as the Wii is as good as dead by now. Nintendo’s consoles have always worked on momentum, meaning that they’ve been releasing wide variety of different games at a constant pace to ensure that the customers’ have a large selection of games. Wii was lacking in the RPG (and fighting game) side a lot and so a lot of people turned to look at the other two consoles.
Also the fact that the 3DS has failed and the 3DS Mario isn’t selling is a distraction to the company, not to mention the miserable sales of the Zelda: Skyward Sword. Nintendo needs to release Xenoblade Chronicles in a widespread manner. Actually, if we want to be realistic, Nintendo should have had released all three games some time ago in every major store in the country. At this point it’s far too late. Wii had a good start, but during these later years of its life cycle Nintendo turned it into another N64 and GameCube fest, not offering enough games and never realizing the console’s own potentiality.

I see that Project Rainfall has failed at this point. Nintendo’s not really releasing the game; they’re making it an exclusive for a store. I can agree that the Project has been partially successful only if they release The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower in a widespread manner with a strong marketing campaign. Otherwise, you might want to import or get the games otherwise.

On another note, I don’t expect the 3DS bringing anything good for the next year or so, as all efforts Nintendo’s making in-house is going towards the Wii U. I wonder when will the video game industry realize that a console never has end at its life cycle. If you keep releasing games for the system, it’ll keep living on. Look at Dreamcast, a console that was “dead” for a decade and still saw numerous official releases that all sold pretty well despite high prices and limited prints.

Nintendo showcases their sickness

This game looks like it was made with high budget to accomplish nothing. It’s like they wanted to make ironic showcase about their massive obsession on 3D.
Pretty much everything is wrong here; the gameplay, the world, the power ups and perspective. We even got the retarded version of P-Wing that teleports the player to the end-stage flag. That is NOT the point of the P-Wing! Miyamoto has been losing his touch as technology has given him the possibilities to realize his wish to make a totally 3D game. The industry, much less Miyamoto, is wrong when it comes to games; the Internet, ie the customers, are right. The 3DS practically has market monopoly and it doesn’t sell. 3DS is far too much alike with PSP than with the DS, and will in the end face the same end. You can bet that you won’t see much Nintendo products on 3DS anymore because the Wii U is in the horizon. While Nintendo and their circlejerk friends might think that a game and /or a console has three years life span, WoW basically trashes their idea of this for still being the biggest RPG out there, and most likely will continue to be so for at least five years from now on. The industry can’t understand why WoW’s service has such a large userbase when they simply refuse to acknowledge what their customers demand.

Sadly, we’re in a situation where customers are not demanding enough and are willing to spend their money for almost literal trash. These three last generations of video games have been going downwards worse that we, then the new generation, could see. Looking back at the history of games we can see few points of interest, namely Atari and Nintendo. It saddens me that this current generation of games at this state. We’ll just have to see how low the industry can go.

So yes, I am greatly disappointed in Nintendo.

Miyamoto showcases how he intends to destroy Mario franchise.

Interview with Mr. Miyamoto, Super Mario 3D Land.
Why won’t he make a game that the market wants? Super Mario 64 failed to get the 2D Mario audience, as did Sunshine and both Galaxy games. People who know Miyamoto are the ones who are really in the game culture, but to mass market he is a nobody, an unknown face who has no weight behind him.
In the video he just talks he tries to get the 2D mechanics into 3D realm, but he doesn’t talk anything about the game’s content; he doesn’t give any reason to buy this game. The mission of this game seems to be to get the 2D sales to a 3D game. He says that 3D Mario is harder, and we all know it’s bullshit. 3D Mario isn’t harder, it’s just more boring than it’s arcade 2D brethren. The more Mario games go away from the arcade roots, the more boring and stupid they get.

Miyamoto is a manchild going against the mass market. 3D Mario is the “hiptser” crap people pull.

Also, Mario isn’t 26 six years old. First Mario game was in the arcades in 1983, and even before that if we count Donkey Kong as a Mario game.

People do not remember Mario because if the 3D games. People remember Mario because of its 2D games, the Mario games that ever really mattered.

Above: They forgot that their own worker, Anouma, who is the head of the current the Legend of Zelda series, has trouble playing any game that demands pushing a button to jump

The Cradle of stupid

The 3DS Slidepad Expansion Cradle seems to be real. I can already hear the waves of tears coming from Nintendo fans. Personally I’m just feeling depressed because of this. The president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, is now under strong surveillance. His place as the head of the company is not secure, he has done far too many bad decisions since GameCube. Let’s see what the 13th announcement brings to us.